Saturday, October 17, 2009

But I Need My Car!

It turned out to be a day of running around the city.  I took care of my minivan; the 'check engine' light was on for the last two days.  So, I dropped the kids off at school, drove to 7-11 to get my coffee and donut, and went to the auto repair shop.  The repair man checks the car and begins giving me an oil change.  He comes back in with the bolt that seals the oil pan and says its damaged. 

"You need to get it replaced."  he said.

"Okay", I responded as I am sipping my coffee.

About three minutes later, he returns and says, "We have to replace the entire oil pan because it is damaged.  I cannot let you drive off with it in this condition.  What are you gonna do?"

I'm thinking to myself, "What do you mean, 'What am I gonna do?  I have no car!'" 

I begin calling my wife only to remember that she was in an all day conference-I could only text her.  Meanwhile, the repairmen comes back in the room and says to me in his heavy accent, "You will be without this car for the wekend.  You can get it on Monday.  God be with you!"  And he walks out. 

Nice!


This was supposed to be a routine look at the car.  It has now become a miniature travel on foot. I had to walk a mile to the Metro in the rain and 40 degree weather with two big bags from work.  I found out where my wife was, hopped on the Metro,  picked up our other car, and then the kids.

I have begun to talk to my boys about different survival techniques.  No, I am not talking about killing squirrels to eat or using tree limbs to make rafts. And plus, squirrel tastes nasty, especially city squirrels; country ones have a better tas...sorry.  Our latest 'survival' conversation was how to walk in unfamiliar areas.  They understand, hopefully.

We have been truly blessed to have the things that we have.  But what happens when those comforts are unexpectantly taken from us, like my car?  I had to think on my toes in this instance.  I am almost sure that if I don't teach this to my boys now, they may be lost when those situations come.  And we know they will come.  A while ago, we were at the dinner table talking about procedures needed to be done if there is a fire in the house.  The conversation freaked them out a bit, but they will know what to do.

How are you preparing the kids for the unexpected?  Talk to me.  I am NOS in learning...

Monday, October 12, 2009

He Always Took Us To Shoney's

My granddad passed away today at the seasoned age of 84.  A man of strong faith and character, a teacher, and a deacon.  He was awesome!
I am even more grateful to God that my boys got a chance to really experience his wit and fun loving heart.  They were able to be with him at least twice in the last three years.  He lived in Sumter, SC, and God allowed us the opportunities to make the trip to see him.  As he got up in age, he began to forget their names more and more.  He had Alzheimer's Disease, so it took a toll on his memory.  But he could remember the boys and their character.  He could remember what they did when they were younger.  He still seemed pretty sharp to me. 

If I were to ask my boys about a memory they had of him, I am sure that they would mention going to the breakfast buffet at Shoney's.  Every time we entered the city of Sumter, that was our first destination.  We would would get up in the morning and go eat plates of pancakes, bacon, and grits!  Then we would eat more pancakes, bacon, grits, with sausage!  Granddad would sit back in his chair, barely eating, and watch the boys eat and laugh!  He loved them.  They loved him.  He will be missed.  I wrote about him in a previous blog.  I am so grateful to God that my boys knew him.

I haven't told the boys that he has passed on yet.  If you have been in this situation, how did you handle it?  School me---I don't have an offseason for learning.  And keep me, my family, and especially my grandmother in your prayers.  They were married 62 years-incredible!...Peace.

My boys are like NY and California pizzas

We were in the Bronx this past weekend.  My wife and her family was celebrating the life and death of their grandmother; she would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year.  Well, the Bronx for me is always a treat.  I love the constant activity, the smell of the streets, the racket of the 4 and 5 trains, and the people.  So many cultures wrapped into one place.  New York is a great place.

As I usually do, I go to White Plains Road and order some slices of pizza.  Throw some garlic and oregano on and I am good to go!  Since the whole family was with me and everyone was hungry, I ordered a whole pie.  While waiting, I watched my two boys in the pizza shop.  They reminded me of NY and Cali pizzas.  My oldest sat in the front of the shop watching the college football game, oblivious to the other people and commotion of the streets.  My youngest stood in the back of the pizza shop in the open window facing the street watching the people go by and listening for the trains, oblivious to the fact the my wife and I were watching him.  It is safe to say that the oldest is an introvert (like his dad). He is fine with reading a book or watching the latest scores on ESPN.  The youngest is the opposite- he loves to be in the mix and usually asks if we can stay out a little while longer instead of going home.  Both are fine in their own way.

It was reminded how I truly have to be conscience of each of their own needs.  I also need to take them out of their comfort zone so that they can know how to function.  It's a delicate process, but I, with God's help, am going to make it work.

I wanna know what you do.  Any secrets on how you meet those needs?  I would love to know how other fathers do this (moms, you know I am not excluding you here!)  How do you make and juggle the time to do this? School me -- I have no off season for learning...