Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

The first decade of the 21st century is in its waning hours. This was an eventful decade for yours truly. A child, a dog, two moves and of course, a blog. Things also remained the same, such as one wife and one job.

Here's wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year! My latest column can be found at:

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Happy Birthday sans complaints

I'm back from my hiatus. Did you even notice?

I really meant to post something, but evidently found better things to do with the little free time I have these days. Fortunately for those of you going through withdrawals waiting for the next column, I found some time to get back on my soap box. And what a great time to do it. With my birthday fast approaching, I needed a good cleansing.

Hope you enjoy the column.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Long Hot Summer

Ok, Al Gore, enough already, I believe you. I'm not sure you can blame the oppressive heat on global warming, but heck, it works for me. After last summer's cool weather, this summer was bound to be hotter, but I don't think anyone was expecting day after day of 90 plus temps with humidity. As I drip in sweat, I have to remind myself I'm in Hinsdale and not Houston.

In writing my new column, I promised my wife to stop whining about the weather. A difficult task, but I managed. Instead, I wrote about some memorable experiences from this long hot damp summer. Here's my latest...

Friday, June 11, 2010

School's out for Summer!

Today was the last day of school. Let the rituals of summer vacation begin!

Check out my latest column from The Hinsdalean (June 10, 2010).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just Call Me Mr. Mom

I recently had the pleasure of managing the household for an extended period of time while my wife was out of commission. It was quite the experience. Read all about it in my most recent column.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Pinewood Derby

I decided to take a big step outside of my comfort zone. Not being the most mechanically inclined guy in town, I typically steer away from any occasion which means putting my manhood on the line if it involves tools. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally inept. I can hammer a nail and weld a mean screwdriver when needed. But fixing and building things were never in my repertoire, much to my dad’s chagrin. However, when the flyer came about the Indian Princess Annual Pinewood Derby, I figured it would be a good opportunity to bond with my kid and frankly, how difficult could it be.

When I received the derby car kit, I was expecting something else. In the plastic bag was a block of wood and four wheels. I thought all I’d need to do was slap some paint on and it would be good to go. Nobody ever said anything about carving! So I did what any dad without a clue would do. I called another dad who had a little more experience as Daniel Boone whittling a car from a chunk of pinewood and suggested it would be more fun for the girls to work on the project together. John kindly obliged, but I’m sure he saw through my ploy for what it was, a desperate cry for help.

What I never thought about was the actual design of the car. Luckily, John had printed out a few blueprints he found on the Internet. I chose the easiest one! However, it wasn’t that easy. Maneuvering a hand saw through a small piece of wood was evidently not my forte. So my design went from a slick race car to something that looked more like Noah’s Ark. Madison was not convinced. “Daddy, it doesn’t look like a car?” she sighed. Quickly reversing what was spiraling into a disaster, I convinced her that the design was ideal to mount a horse on, her favorite animal. Her friend Kayleigh chimed in that she liked the idea and Madison gave it her seal of approval. Now that the vehicle was carved and sanded, it was time to paint. My budding Picasso, Madison did a magnificent job.

Derby Day arrived. There were cars of all shapes and sizes. Many of them looked like slick renditions out of Popular Mechanics, where the dads were clearly more vested in the success of the cars than their children. These dads were easy to spot. With sweat on their brows, they were lubing the wheels and making modifications up to the very last minute.

Madison was so proud of her car named “Horsepower.” Her brightly colored ark-ster with the pony on top was ready take on all those fancy cars. She gave it a few test runs and was ready to go. When the flag was raised, Madison’s car accelerated and was leading. But due to being a bit top heavy, it slowed down at the bottom of the hill and never quite made it to the finish line.

While a bit perplexed, Madison was caught up in the excitement of the race and didn’t seem to mind too much. She’s already talking about the improvements she wants to make for next year. That gives this Mario Andretti wanna-be a year to study up on the finer points of getting a block of wood to the finish line. Perhaps a subscription to Popular Mechanics is in order.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Winter's Final Lap

I woke up to a beautiful sun filled morning. What a shock! Here's my latest column from The Hinsdalean which was published on March 4, 2010.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You Make Me Want to Shout!

Toilet paper strewn down the hallways. Empty wine bottles littering the dining room. Bras hanging from the chandeliers. What kind of debauchery could this be? Tiger’s South Beach pregame Super Bowl Party? Nope, it was the Madison Elementary School annual fundraiser.

Now, before you go crazy and start sending off complaint letters to some ultra right wing family alliance group. This year’s theme was “Madison House,” as in “Animal House,” a classic coming of age film about a misfit fraternity. The decor was perfect. A country club trashed to give it the appearance that Bluto, Flounder, Boon and Otter partied hard here.

And the attire was equally “animalisque.” Toga, Toga. Yes, togas! The togas were not the K-Mart white sheet variety from my day. Being that this is Hinsdale, many of the togas were clearly fit for a New York runway. Even the local florists were kept busy making politically correct crowns from live plants. Other party goers wore their school colors and most were Illini. Yours truly felt pretty cool by wearing his fraternity shirt. But what was really cool, by donning it, I found a new brother in one of my neighbors.

A good time was had by all. Memories of days gone by when there were no responsibilities, except getting to your class on time the next morning flooded back. The party gave us middle aged types another opportunity to remember what a great experience college really was. Fortunately, for Madison School, we learned something as well and found careers so we could pay up at check out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Twenty Ten!

A new year. A new decade, although some will argue that this is the last year of the 00's. Whatever! 2009 is put to bed and I'm ready to move on. Here's my column published in The Hinsdalean on January 14.