Old school meets spring break


The kids are home for spring break but the sun is not shining. In fact, the weather is not cooperating at all. it’s been raining all day.

So what to do to keep the kids from wasting away playing video games or watching YouTube videos?

Go old school!

Don’t judge. Our Monopoly game may be the LOTR version but at least the kids now have a reason to annoy each other.

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Why am I all of a sudden interested in golf?


Maybe I’m just getting older, but I’ve been surprising myself lately when it comes to sports.

I’ve never been much of a fan. I’ve tried, however, sports just aren’t a big priority to me. I’m more the fair weather type – someone who waits for the end of any particular season before getting interested, if at all. But I do like to go to the ballpark from time to time. In fact, early spring baseball games seem to be turning into a tradition.

For the second year in a row, our son and I spent our birthdays shivering through nine innings.

Our oldest kid came into the world 16 years ago this week – two days before my own birthday. You could say he’s the gift that keeps on giving. And, in all those years, he’s never failed to disappoint.

When he was younger, it was a birthday present to just have him around. It still is, only now he’s getting more expensive. It’s his superpower. For example, this year he presented me with the school form the DMV requires for a learner’s permit. I see a long line in my near future that’s just going to end with a more expensive monthly insurance bill.

His ability to drain my bank account notwithstanding, last year we celebrated our birthdays in Washington, D.C. I took our son to his first major league baseball game at Nationals Park. It was a great day for baseball, but by the time the sun went down, I could hear my mom in the back of my head warning me to take a jacket. “You’ll freeze,” she used to warn the teenaged me as I left to join my friends for a minor league game in my hometown of Charleston.

This year, I actually became my mother for a moment and warned my son that he’d “catch his death of cold!” if he didn’t bring a jacket along. And not only did I remember mine, I even grabbed a blanket.

Despite taking mom seriously for once, we still shivered in the stands, but at least I didn’t spend as much money for the privilege. Since our son is taxing my wallet more with each succeeding birthday, I opted to stay closer to home this year. We drove over to Hagerstown and spent a teeth-chattering evening this week watching the minor league Suns play.

My interest in following a sport such as baseball so early in the season, must be having an unusual impact because now I’m actually paying attention to golf, too.

Many of the world’s best players are at Augusta National for The Masters, the first major tournament of the year.

I’ll be watching Sunday’s final round closely, even though I don’t know exactly why.

Watching players walk the links trying to sink a small white ball into a hole over and over again isn’t normally my idea of fun. But maybe some sort of collective memory is catching up to me. After all, I was a newborn 50 years ago when the legendary Arnold Palmer won his fourth green jacket. It was Palmer’s last major tournament victory.

Of course, there’s another possible reason for my newfound interest. I’m getting older, which means I may not be as easily bored.

And you thought it wouldn’t be done


Just in case you’re keeping score at home, here’s proof I’m not a total dolt.

The kitchen sink is a far cry from the mess it was just a few days ago. In fact, it’s sparkling.20140330-161927.jpg

Plus, much of the laundry is folded and put away — the last load is spinning in the dryer right now.

The carpets have also been vacuumed and the bathrooms are presentable.

All this completed well before my wife’s ETA back home from her trip to the beach.

Perhaps my greatest achievement while she was gone? Not once did I misplace either one of our kids, although I guess there’s still time for that since she’s not quite home yet.

I’ve got a lot of chores to do before my wife gets home


This is my newspaper column for this weekend. If it looks familiar, that’s because I mashed up a couple of recent blog posts.

Dirty dishes are in the sink.

The kitchen floor needs to be mopped.

The beds need to be made.

The carpets need to be vacuumed.

The bathrooms need to be scrubbed and the dirty laundry is piling up.

Just about the only thing that doesn’t need immediate attention at my house this weekend is the yard. The long winter has seen to that.

But while the grass won’t need to be cut for a few weeks yet, I have high hopes for a lush lawn this summer. That’s because I actually seeded our yard a couple of weeks ago.

That may not seem particularly remarkable, but I have a brown thumb. Our yard has been in terrible shape for years.

I’ve tried everything to get grass to grow among the weeds I end up mowing. And, when I say I’ve tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING!

Well, everything except spreading seed before a snowfall.

In an effort to spare my wife the ignominy of having the worst lawn in the neighborhood (again), I took a shot in the dark. I decided to see if what I’ve read on the Internet is right about snow and grass. I got home from work one afternoon, raked the yard and seeded it just before it was supposed to snow.

I like the idea of using snow to my advantage. For one thing, a fresh snowfall hides the seed from hungry birds. Then when it melts, it’s supposed to encourage the seeds to snuggle into the ground, where, if the Internet is right, they will germinate and make my wife happy.

That’s the idea, anyway.

The thing is, I have no idea if it will work.

Call it an act desperation on my part, but it’s a trick some people swear by.

Others, not so much. One friend told me not to waste my time. Another flatly said the seed would wash away.

Only time will tell.

With my luck, though, I just wasted a $100 dollar bag of seed.

While I’m waiting to find out whether I’ll be mowing weeds or grass this summer, I’ve still got plenty of chores to do around the house.

My wife left for the beach this week. She goes each year at around this time with a group of close friends.

Usually, she leaves the house spotless before hitting the road. It’s her way of limiting the damage the kids and I do while she’s gone.

This time, however, she left me to wallow in my own mess.

The dirty dishes I promised to do the night before she ventured off are still in the sink. And now the kids are running out of clean clothes to wear and our dog Rodney keeps tracking in mud from the back yard. Plus, the beds need to be made and the bathrooms need a good scrubbing.

After more than 20 years together, either I’m rubbing off on her or this is some kind of test.

And if it’s a test, I’m more likely to get grass to grow than to pass it.