Friday, September 27, 2013

Stocking Up

Since I get to the Mid Atlantic region once or twice a year, I tend to take full advantage.  It's going to be a fun weekend:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Teenage Angst

My eldest son turned 13 this past summer.  He had already been displaying the typical teenage attitude for months: mumbling, one word responses to any questions; preferring friends to family; extraordinary amounts of time spent in the bathroom.  The usual routine.

While Wifey was freaking out about it (as she tends to do for most things), I was ok with it.  We've raised him as best we could.  To our credit, he's a caring, compassionate kid who has a lot of friends, plays sports and is smart and funny when it's required.

The one aspect of teenage life that concerns me is something I didn't have at his age: social media.  I seem to have brainwashed him into wanting nothing to do with Facebook and wouldn't allow it even if he did.  He is on Instagram (which I still don't understand) and uses his iPhone to Facetime his cousin in Vermont and text constantly with girls.  Yeah....girls.

He's already had one official 'girlfriend' and experienced first hand the particular and peculiar brand of female psychosis.  She would text him all hours of the day and night, to the point we had to tell him to put his phone into Airplane Mode so her messages wouldn't keep waking up the house.  When he didn't respond immediately to her messages she would have her friend text him asking why he wasn't responding.  When that didn't illicit a reply the friend would call him.

They never had a date and I don't even think they kissed (he won't admit it, anyway).  When they broke up she had the friend call him.  I heard his side which didn't include more than ten words.

'Yeah?'

'OK'

'Yeah, that's fine'

'Not really'

'Whatever, bye'

He then went back to shooting hoops outside without blinking.  When I asked what the call was about he told me the girlfriend had her friend break up for her.  When he didn't respond with absolute devastation she told him he had no emotions.  That's when his 'Whatever, bye' was uttered and he hung up the phone.

That's my boy!

Things have been quiet since then, although we do catch one of his friends dropping an F-bomb in texts to him now and then.  We let him know that's not appropriate and to tell his friend to not use that language when texting him.  If they continue we block the cell number.  It's been effective.

Last night Wifey checked his phone and found this message:

'Stop causing trouble with Tony, you faggot.  You and your friends can go fuck yourselves.'

This was sent by my son to another kid in his school.  Needless to say, we are not happy.

The problem resides in the use of language, of course, but he's at the age that I think we need a bit of balance when dealing with him.  He can't be treated like an eight year old, any longer.  He's got more freedom, but at the same time, we can't let him get away with things like this.

I boiled it down to three points:

Lesson one:  Do NOT use either F word again.  We're in a new age and the name calling can be construed as a hate term now.  I said 'If he shows that to the Principal in your school, you can be suspended'.  He has a knack for just nodding when you lecture him, but that opened his eyes a bit.

Lesson two:  I do appreciate that he is sticking up for his friend.  That's something I've drilled into him since first grade.  If someone is picking on someone else, you stick up for them.  Especially if they are your friends.
Lesson three (and the most important one to take from all of this):  If you're going to threaten somebody you NEVER PUT IT IN WRITING!!!!

Stupid kids

Today's Distraction:  Five ways to deal with teenagers according to Psychologies Magazine.  So they must know what they're talking about.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fresh Start

Hello, all.   Yes, I'm still alive and well with the usual exception of my mental dementia tinting my thoughts and opinions. 

Let's get caught up.

For newbies, here is a quick refresher.  I'm a middle aged father of two boys (aged 13 and 8) living in the Boston area.  Often I act more immature than both of them.  My wife is a champ who tolerates my behavior for reasons I have yet to understand. 

I like beer, music, movies, beer, good and bad television, beer, beaches, and more beer.  Also, beer.  I like beer. 

This blog was orginally created to keep my friend DA entertained.  That's a long story that can be found in some of the older entries.  Suffice to say that DA stands for Dumb Ass, a nickname both of us take it as a term of endearment (as everyone should).

I have not posted an entry in nine months for the following reasons:

1:  Frankly, I got bored of this.  Didn't feel like I had much to say and didn't want to waste everyone's time. 

2:  Work got in the way.  A lot.  Especially between January and April when I was working on several time sensitive projects.  It was balls to the wall for several months in a row which took it's toll on my mental and liver's well being.  Things have calmed down, though, so there is breathing room.

3:  As judged by my moniker, I enjoy the beach.  Or, more accurately, anything to do with the ocean, relaxing with friends, drinking heavily (in the most responsible way possible, of course) and sunshine.  Since Wifey and I are financially in good shape, we took a big leap.

We bought a boat.  Nice one, too.  It's used, but in very good shape.  27 foot Rinker with all the amenities you can think of.  It's basically our floating vacation home.  We've spent the better part of the summer taking it out and anchoring off one of the islands in Boston Harbor and enjoying views like this:



You can see how that can get addicting.  Not to mention time consuming as I have had to repair various lights, carpeting and canvas covers.  Hey, I'm happy.  Let's just leave it at that.  I can be a legitimate BeachBum any day of the week.  It's like a mini holiday just going down to the boat club and hanging off the back.  Smoking cigars and talking with the other boat owners around us.  It's a fucking blast. 

Oh, sorry. I also curse a lot. 

As for what else has been going on, let's hit the major events of the past year.

Marathon Bombing:  You can tell how many friends you have from across the country when the shit hits the fan.  We were lucky enough to be taking a vacation down to Washington DC when all hell broke loose.  Just three hours before the bombs went off we drove past the marathon course.  We were half way down the Jersey Turnpike when both our cell phones exploded.

'Are you OK?'

'Are you safe?'

'Are you at home?'

Thirteen text messages came through in less than a minute.  My phone was vibrating so hard I thought it was going to fall apart.  We had no idea what was going on.  We learned bits and pieces through Wifey's sister who was in a panic because her husband was in that area working.  We drove another 20 minutes before pulling into a rest stop to get a grip on what was going on. 

Images are so much more disturbing than reports.  The first replay we saw was nauseating; the full impact of what happened settling into your lower gut.  There was discussion between Wifey and I on what our next step was going to be.  Rumors on the radio mentioned DC going into lockdown.  We called Wifey's sister who told us she had heard from her husband and he was fine. 

What could we do?  We just headed down to DC and watched CNN throughout the week in a surreal, somewhat detached haze on what was going on in our home town.  All the familiar places we hung out when we were single and childless, now covered in body parts and unreal amounts of blood. 

And anger.  There was the anger, of course.  Anger on why someone would kill and maim for any reason.  Anger at why I had to explain to my sons why someone would do something that terrible.  My answer boiled down to 'Because some people are just crazy'.  What I wanted to tell them: 'There are fucking assholes around us all the time.  Some of them go off the deep end for reasons we'll never understand'.

One of the victims who died was from the city we live in; about 7 miles outside Boston.  Without thinking about it, my oldest son wore his basketball team T-Shirt on our last day there.  Up until then we were keeping quiet that we were from Boston.  There was sadness and tension and grief from people all over and we didn't want to exacerbate the vibe. 

Our waitress noticed the shirt and asked quietly if we were from there.  When we confirmed, she put her hand on Wifey's shoulder and walked away quietly.  Minutes later she came back with toys for the boys, tears in her eyes and an apology for what happened.  A few minutes after that, the bartender came over with complimentary mimosas.  When we paid the bill and got up to head home she gave us all a hug and cried more. 

As personal and civic as the bombing felt to Bostonians, it affected people everywhere. 

The trip home was just as stressful.  We spent the entire ride monitoring Twitter and Boston.com because the suspects had just killed an MIT officer and shot at another.  Police from multiple towns were on the hunt.  You know the rest. 

I should point out that Twitter is a TERRIBLE way to get news.  Reporters just throw out any rumor they hear as 'unconfirmed'.  At one point the entire city of Boston was shut down (subways, buses, shops, businesses) because there was a rumor that the suspects had more bombs and were last seen heading that way. 

In short, the manhunt was a full fledged shit show. 

One more thought before moving onto lighter subjects.  We are still seeing victims everywhere.  At our boat club I was talking to a friend when two people in wheelchairs came by.  Both were missing a leg.  My friend asked if they were injured in the bombing and they confirmed.  Without another word he bent over and gave them both a hug.

The healing continues. 

Summer Time:  Quite possibly this was the best summer ever.  New boat, vacationed in Maine for week, the boys had a blast with their friends and cousins, we had a blast with our friends and relatives.  It was just a good time all around.  Odd considering the season has been bookended by the bombing and now the Navy Yard shooting.  Fucking assholes ushering in and out one of the best stretches of the year.

Work:  Meh.....

Sports:  Sox are looking good and it's nice to root for (what seem to be) a good group of guys.  Although Lackey still seems like an asshole. 

Celtics have appropriately blown it up.

Bruins choked away Game 6 in an extremely entertaining Stanley Cup series.  Congrats to Kos who I'm sure watched the Cup go parading down Magnificent Mile.  Fuckers!

In a recent development, the Patriots could be terrible this year.  Two squeakers against bad teams.  Not a good way to start things off.  Although they are 2 - 0 which is a borderline miracle considering the way they've played.  If they win their division and do damage in the playoffs, it will be Belichick's finest coaching performance. 

Music:  We'll save this until later, but it's already been a banner year.  Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, Killswitch Engage.  Much to discuss.

Let me know if I missed anything.  It's been a long time and I'm out of practice. 

Hope everyone is doing well!