Sunday, June 22, 2008

Further evidence for chooch of the year.

I actually left a copy of the letter from this entry on the kitchen table Wednesday morning.

The boys "missed" seeing it and when I got home Wednesday night, the door was wide open, no one was home and the grass was uncut.

That's when I left this "memo" on 20 x 30 inch poster board on the kitchen table when I left for work on Thursday morning. I added a "Big Enough?" tag on the right side.

We made some progress with this one.

The dishwasher was empty, the computer area was cleaned up and downstairs vacuumed.

I had made an assumption with "wash your sheets" and that was "and put them back on your bed when done". Foolish.

Guess who cut the grass Friday after work? The future Chooch of the year, that's who.

I am a shoe in. Bet the house.

Separated at Birth

Axl and Slash, together again.

Youngest Son (Cousin A head sticking out) and Cousin Slash. If we had a top hat and leather jacket, we're all hooked up.

The real Axl and Slash circa 1988

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chooch of the year.

The boys are off for the summer and these first couple of days are an adjustment period for all of us. I have to remember not to wake them at 5:45 and I make them a list of things to do.

This morning as I rushed out the door to go work I took the time to write the following note:

Tuesday 17 June 2008

I'll give $20 to whoever cuts the grass, please make sure that both of you are here when the lawn work is being done.
No A/C today. It's nice out and open the windows.
If you go out, lock up.
if you use the shed, close the door and shut the lights.
: Eagle Eagle Eagle

That last bit was about his Eagle Scout badge and has oh, 40 days to complete a project and 5 merit badges that are various stages of completion.

I came home to find:

No grass cut.
The doors to the house wide open.
All the lights on.
The shed just as it was at 6:45.
Someone had made coffee and left the coffee, the grinder, the cups and the pot out. Someone had cut cantaloupe and left the fruit and seeds in the sink.

Think we have a failure to communicate. I think we need a break through communications.

Here then, is tomorrows note:

Wednesday 18 June, 2008


Feel free to wake when ever you want and then make yourself something to eat. Please DO NOT eat it in the kitchen. Eat it where ever you please and when you are done please hide the utensils. DO NOT put them in kitchen or even leave them out in the open but make sure they are hidden, like under a bed or better yet, in a couch cushion. I love it when your mother says "what is that?" and Everyone loves a good treasure hunt.
Al Gore can complain all he wants, I enjoy running the dishwasher every day so we have four forks.

Speaking of the kitchen, do not use the garbage disposal! It's for sissies. Leave what ever you want in the sink and let it rot in the summer heat. It's like a little science experiment.

DO NOT cut the grass. I actually enjoy hiding my face from our very patient neighbors, especially Mr F across the street who is always kind enough to tell me when trash day is even though I've lived on this street since 1993 and trash day has not changed. Maybe we'll get deer or even elk to graze on the tall grass. Perhaps a goat. Mr F should love that.

Make sure the A/C is on and the widows are open WIDE. Make sure all the lights are on in every room, whether or not it is occupied. We are up for customer of the year with PSE&G and we are this (hold two fingers 2 mm apart) close to having a new power plant named after us since we pretty much support one on our own. Pull those carbon rods up out of the core the Fxxxxxx are home! Woo Hoo! The planet is not heating up no matter what Al Gore says.

If you leave, makes sure all the doors are open. Not just unlocked, but WIDE open. Heck, prop them open so the dogs get out. Make sure the burglars can see the door is open from the street. I don't want them walking up to the door to see if it's open, tripping over your friends bike and suing us. Make sure you DO NOT TELL ME WHERE you are going even though you have more communications power in the pocket of your shorts than Morse and Marconi could have ever dreamed of.

Speaking of the dogs, makes sure that have clear access to the trash. Make sure the closet door is open so they can get to the trash can. Also, don't walk them even though they are a little hyper. We love it when they knock us over from the excitement of seeing someone they know when we get home.

When your Mom and I come home from a day at the office (which, by the way, is always a joy and it's criminal that they even pay us), make sure 16 of your closest friends are here so that we don't know whether to make 4 hamburgers or 20.

If you use the pool, please, please, please leave the towels where ever you want. The musty smell covers the trash smell from the dogs.

I am up for chooch of the year at my local chooch club and you can just follow through on the above, I'm a shoe-in. You can make me the Tiger Woods of Chooch-dom and put me at the top of the leader board.


Monday, June 16, 2008


If my grandparents were alive this would be the kind of cell phone they would have.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A milestone. One down, one to go.

Oldest Son's High School Graduation was held on Friday Evening.

The day had begun as we were accustomed, with my alarm waking me at 5:45 and me waking the both boys. Thinking it was the last of school I said "This is the last time I'm waking you for school" thinking "for the year".

Oldest son remarked how true that was.

He got up and went to high school for the last time. I though back to the first day of kindergarten. All four of us went to the bus stop. Oldest Son with placard stating his name and teacher, Youngest son in cape, like batman. The boys wore capes constantly from age 2 1/2 until school.

The two of them never did anything separately but it never occurred to us to tell youngest son that oldest son would be leaving. On bus.

Here we were all four of us waiting for the bus.

I had the family video camera. I say family but it was really my dad's and it was a full sized model that was a large as piece of luggage. It was like having a small suitcase on your shoulder. People forget how big those things were with those days. They were full sized VHS tapes. But then again cell phones were the size of bar stools too. Everything was big in 1995.

I had it on my shoulder waiting for the bus.

The bus came and went right on past us. They never picked up anyone on our corner before and so the bus driver went right on past.

Then it was a scramble for the bus. Me, lugging the gigantic video camera and dragging youngest son, my wife a oldest son scrambling ahead to catch the attention of the bus driver.

Finally they caught up and oldest son got on the bus and I video taped it like the paparazzi chasing Brittany. There was a lot of background.

As the bus door closed and finally drove off freeing the trapped drivers staring at the flashing red lights, Youngest son screamed out like he had been left behind.

He thought he was going too.

Here is the video:
Part one (we miss the bus)

Part 2:
He gets on the bus.

So now here we were 4,693 days later. My wife slept in and Youngest son was the one getting on the bus while oldest get a ride from his friend.

Here, with much less drama is the last day of school his senior year.

Oh and the camera was my digital still point-and-shoot. It weighs, what, 6 oz.?

And yes that is a pirate hat on his head. We wouldn't allow the cape the first day of school but had pretty much given up by time his senior year came around.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

All we need now is our own flag.

"New Jersey is like a beer barrel, tapped at both ends, with all the live beer running into Philadelphia and New York." - Ben Franklin.

For years the boys and I would take Boy Scout camping trips in the poconos by heading north from South Jersey, following NJ State route 31 from I-295 all the way to Buttzville ( a town name that a car full of teen aged boys will never tire of ).

Over the years on our trip up RT-31, we began to notice something: In Trenton , at the intersection of I-295 and 31 those long thin sandwiches filled with Italian meats and chesses were clearly called Hoagies. In Buttzville (giggle, giggle) these same sandwiches were always called Heros.

The question became: where exactly on our route did that change?

We narrowed it down to Flemington, a New Jersey Town known to us only for it's many car dealerships with gigantic American flags flying in the breeze. It is frightening to see so many disproportionately sized flags. Anyway this is where we found the line. Big flag town.

We narrowed the point to this spot on 31 just past the last giant flag car dealership, where the road dips under a railroad underpass. On the south side of the underpass is a Wawa where you can proudly step to the counter and order a Hoagie. On the north side is a small "Hero" shop. South - Hoagie. North - Hero. We found it.

We had found one point of a line thought to be imaginary and we (or specifically, I) had always wanted to explore this line out a little further.

Then, this morning I read about Steve Chernoski, a man who has taken this a step further to determine where north and south Jersey divide and is filming a documentary about this burning topic.

Among his strategies for determining alliances:

Conveniences stores: Wawas vs 7-11.
Sports Teams: Eagles v Giants, Devils v Flyers,Phillies v Yankees,Sixers v Nets. (It turns out there is a lot of overlap and it's easy to be a Phillies-Devils fan).
Food: the eternal jimmies vs sprinkles debate. Hoagies v Heros.


According to Steve, it turns out that the single greatest N v S predictor is Dunkin' Donuts. That's right Dunkin' Donuts. Read about it here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Thinking of renaming

I'm thinking of renaming this blog.

The whole suburbanstories thing never really took off and the La Dolce Vita name is just kind of confusing. Is it La Dolce Vita? Is it Suburban Stories? What is it? It's time for a re-do.

Here are my Candidate names:

"Watching ESPN pantsless"
Every man's dream and I think this one speaks for itself and pantsless aspect will draw in a new element.

"Your Emerson MW8998B Place" or the "MW8998B Blog" or "The B in MW8998B is for blog"
The single greatest comment lighting rod on this blog remains this post about the MW8998B Microwave. I got one just today. If you Google "MW8998B" guess where you come? Tens of people have had their lives enriched by this post about the stupid Emerson MW8998B, why not write a whole blog about it? I could expand to other appliances as well.

"16 inch Tsunami"
It's nearly a foot and half high! Run for your lives! It's just that underwhelming. Besides, it's one of those expressions like "penetration test" that sounds dirty but isn't. I own the domain too.

"I'll be in the car"
From this post.

"The Shed" or "I'll be in the shed"
I am thinking of doing a coffee table book about men and their sheds. Just pictures of guys and their sheds. This could be a start.

"Two yappy schnauzers"
They are giving me a headache.

"Crazy Uncle Mike"

"Tom on Myspace is my only friend"

"I might as well write this since Lost isn't on until February"

Vote in the comments.

Parental Question of the week.

"Why is there firewood in the trunk of my car?"

Yesterday I went to home depot and I used my "work" car that I "share" with oldest son. When I went to put my paint supplies into the car, I couldn't help but notice that there was firewood in there. Firewood I didn't put there.

It just leads to questions.

Why was it there?

Where was the fire?

When was the fire?

Is the fire out?