Thursday, May 25, 2017

178 days

Well, here we go again. Each year I do this and it gets tougher and tougher.

I started last night by insisting that the kids find the shirts they wore on the first day of school. For such a simple task, there was a lot of eye rolling, grunts and stomping.

Blaming, too. Lots of blaming.

Eventually, oh, about 20 minutes later, both kids came into the kitchen, each extending an arm with a wrinkled black t-shirt clutched in their fists. These were the shirts they wore on first day of school 178 days ago.

"Are they clean?"

"Clean enough" was the response.

Very good. Be prepared to wear your shirts and get pictures taken. That means, Trent, do not sneak into the shower until I have your photo.


This morning.

Kat is already up.

Trent is still in bed. "TRENT! You have 2 minutes to get your shirt on and outside. You knew this was coming."

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Ok! Smile!

"I'm going in."

"No Trent. You're not. We can stay out here forever. Don't care.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

I take a few snaps. This is all they'll give me. So, you tell me. Is the first picture from today or 178 days ago?

I'm going in.
Fine, Trent.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Trent in 10, Kat in 7th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I'm so tired. It's the day before the last day of school. My daughter is bringing over the grand kids.

Did I mention I was tired?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

1 star = aweome

I must have missed the email from Norton Family that the subscription was up. It expired 3/25.

That means my kids have been alone on the internet for almost 2 months.

I did a quick "random phone check" and luckily I found nothing.

Not being so thrilled with Norton, I started looking around at other products. I didn't want to spend long doing it because I wanted something on the kids' phones immediately.

I wanted something that monitored time, monitored Chrome, Google photos and private messages in social media. I learned the hard way that some apps like Skype and Instagram have private messaging and is NOT monitored by Norton. Google photos seems to be a free for all (but at least at Norton I they tell me what they're searching for) and NOTHING on Chrome is monitored but it does tell me when they get on Chrome.

24 hours later I went back to Norton and renewed my subscription. I couldn't find anything that did all of that and since everyone already had Norton on their phone, I just did renewed.

I was looking at the number of stars on the Norton Family app and noticed that they had way more 1 star reviews than any other. Why? Were other people having the same issues? It only has a 2.8 review!??

I go to read some of the reviews and find this:

It seems that so many of these 1 star reviews are from kids that have it installed.

That means it must work better than I thought.

I signed up for another year.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


So Kat is at silks and I hear Trent in the kitchen making himself dinner. It's probably a quesadilla.

I ask him what he's making but he ignores me.

Oh, I know what he's doing. I hear the crash of silverware on the counter. He's emptying the dishwasher.


I asked him to do that an hour ago.

I have nothing to write about.

No cute stories come to mind.

I'm just here. Existing.

I haven't made a scrapbook page in decades.

Ok, maybe not decades.

The other day, Katrina wanted to play a song for me.

She was excited to share.

I hear:

"Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go..."

"KAT!" I say loudly.

"THAT IS THE RAMONES! You've heard this before."

"I have?"

Yes, she's heard it many times. Maybe it's been a decade, though, since she has heard it.

When Trent was a toddler, we'd play the Ramones constantly. He would sing along in his car seat, "HEY HO LET'S GO!..."

I think the first time I ever heard the Ramones was from the movie Times Square. I was just a teenager and looking up the movie now, I see it was rated R. Why my parents allowed me AND my younger sister to watch a rated R movie is unknown. To this day, I've never seen all of Animal House or Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Sometimes I would sneak into my parent's room and turn on HBO and just hope that some rated R movie was on because it was oh-so-restricted. I would watch short segments of the above mentioned movies and then quickly change it to Popeye when I saw the shadow of my mother coming down the hallway.

Once I was old enough to watch rated R movies, the novelty of the forbidden quickly wore off and so that is why I never got around to watching the movies I mentioned above.

Anyway, back to Times Square. I still wonder why I was allowed to watch that movie. I fell in love with that movie. And thinking about it now, I don't think it was because of the movie but because of the music.

I'd like to say that the movie made a shift in my life but that sounds so dramatic. But I was dramatic at 13. It was the music that made the shift and changed the course of my life to where it is today. And I don't mean "sitting in bed in my underwear, Hot Bench on the TV in the background and typing this" today.

Let me just give you a brief rundown of what was on that soundtrack that made its impact on my 13 year old little self:

The Pretenders "Talk of the Town"
Roxy Music "Same old Scene"
Gary Numan "Down in the Park"
Talking Heads "Life During Wartime"
Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
The Ruts "Babylon's Burning"
Lou Reed "Walk on the Wild Side"
The Cure "Grinding Halt"
Patti Smith Group "Pissing in the River"

This was a type of music that I had never heard before. It hit my ears, dripped into my brain and then scratched some itch in my chest that I didn't even knew existed. It ran down the veins in my arms and wrapped itself around me. It was mine and it was personal.

and the worst part was...

I couldn't have it

I scraped up enough money so I could buy the soundtrack on a cassette tape at Gemco. My parents seemed proud that I had found something that I loved so much.

I got it home and played it.

I wanted to play it again. It wouldn't play.

I was upset. Very upset. But my parents knew that this was important to me so they took me back to Gemco for an exchange.

That fucking cassette didn't work either.

I took it back, too. The store was out. There was no replacement. My father asked about ordering it. Nope. No vinyl. No cassette. No music. No scratch on my itch.

I wanted to keep the cassette that didn't work. I guess I thought if I held onto it long enough that I could still hear the music. Or maybe I could fix it. Or maybe my Uncle could fix it. Or maybe...

I had run out of "maybes". There weren't a lot of options back then.

I was devastated. It's not like they play those songs on the radio.

(Remember listening to the radio with two fingers on your cassette recorder? Just waiting for your favorite song to come on so you can record it. Damn. I would spend hours waiting for songs to come on so I could record them.)

I NEVER forgot that soundtrack.

It made such an impact on my very existence and reason for living that I could never forget.

So dramatic, huh?

Well, now decades later I have access to that music, to those songs that I still feel changed the course of my life.

(Is that possible? Can music change the course of your life?)

I have downloaded all those songs (and more) and made my own little Times Square Soundtrack playlist.

and now my itch is scratched and I don't have to worry about never hearing the music again.

and decades from now my kids will still be listening to the Ramones because it will remind them of me and maybe their childhood.

Their childhood that was filled with lots and lots and lots of music. 

And even Ashley will hear The Residents and it will remind her of me.

 yes, decades later

and wow. I found something to write about.

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