Tag Archives: Holidays

Where do lost socks go?

Where do lost socks go?

May 9th was National Lost Sock day. A phenomenon so common that my family even has a special word for it.

Pung noun 

Definition of PUNG ……………………….

Plural   Pungs

1. A single unmatched sock that sits in a drawer without ever being matched to its partner

Origin of PUNG

First Known Use: before 1995

Leave a comment

May 10, 2014 · 9:52 am

Father’s Day : Presents to make BOTH of you happy

I Love DadWith Father’s day just a scant few weeks away I thought I would take a moment to help the ladies.

You know how things go…you have a nice house and try to keep on top of things.  But the gutters need cleaning, and the bookshelf that your husband was really interested in making (instead of buying) is still missing two years later.

You’ve tried hinting, making a start on the project in the hopes he will follow suit, and even the occasional late night pillow lecture, but with no luck.  What can you do?

Simple…It’s all about the tools.

Men are seemingly pre-programmed to want to use tools.  It’s in their blood.  Give a man a sharp stick and he’s going to find something to poke with it (there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m not touching it) and so it is with quality tools.

Sirens CallTry it.  Fire up a chain-saw in the back yard and watch in amazement as men are drawn to the sound from miles around.  Like a siren call they just can’t ignore it.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage, and Father’s day is the perfect time to appear loving and move those projects along at the same time.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Need those gutters cleaned?  A pressure-washer with a big red ribbon on it is all you need.  He’ll be just looking for an excuse to show how powerful that sucker is.  All you need to do is periodically Oooh and Aaahh at the impressive results, and maybe just wonder if it could do a nice job on the dirty patio too.
  • Need that book shelf finished?  A nice router or table saw will make light work of whatever piece he’s been stuck on for a while.
  • Do you have a loving geek?  Ask him to set up an on-line to-do list.  He will happily spend hours taking care of tasks on there just so that they can tick the box and have it send you an email of completion…at least for a while.

But before you rush out there are some basic rules about buying tools that you will want to follow:

  1. Buy tools that HE wants.  You’re going to have to think carefully here.  If he really wants a table-saw and you buy him a cordless drill then you could be sending the wrong message.  Some simple probing, or even outright calling his friends (yes…guys actually don’t mind people asking what they want) will save a lot of angst later.
  2. Don’t buy cheap tools.  If he doesn’t think it’s cool, and can’t show off to his friends, then he’s unlikely to use it.  Better to find out what he thinks is cool, or even let him buy it himself, even if it costs a bit more. Remember, if you “let” them buy an expensive tool then you can always get a few more chores done later by pointing out that they spent all that money and now don’t use it.
  3. Know his limits.  If your husband has no idea about engines then you might not want to buy him a 2-cycle machine that requires careful pre-mixing of liquids flammable.  There are usually electric / rechargeable options available these days that don’t need an engineering degree to use.  If he’s a gear head – get him the most powerful machine you can!

Pick the right power tool this year and you can show you love him enough to understand his real wants and get those honey-do tasks done all at the same time.  And what could be better than that this Father’s day?


Filed under Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

Beware the Empty Seat

A little before Christmas I attended an evening of music put on by the New Jersey Choral Society.   I enjoy these events for several reasons:

  1. I’m a music lover and they really are excellent.
  2. Because I used to sing with them and always see old friends.
  3. Because it scores huge brownie points with my wife, who still sings with them.

Since the concert was a sell out arriving early was strongly suggested.  Instead a combination of returning visiting children and feeding my offspring ensured I not only arrived late, but after the concert had started.  Fully expecting to find myself in a seat with a great view of a supporting column I was instead ushered to a seat in the last row, right next to the middle aisle, affording it both an unobstructed view and plenty of room.

How could this prime seat still be empty in such a packed house?  I could see it surrounded by a golden halo and with angels singing.  Or perhaps that was just NJCS in their glory. I smugly took my seat and settled in for another glorious concert.

In hindsight little alarm bells should have gone off.  I’ve ridden enough New York subways to know that an empty seat on a packed train usually means a urine soiled hobo as a neighbor.

The first number was a beautiful pianissimo piece and I let the warm, soft music wash over me…right up to the point where I heard “MOMMY!”   I looked to my right to see a toddler loudly talking with the obliviousness of surroundings that only exists in the very young and the very old.

As a father of 3 I wasn’t too concerned.  His parents would no doubt quiet him down or remove him from earshot if that proved too difficult (I know I would have).

Sadly that was not the case this time as the boy continued to chatter with little more than the occasional “Shhh” from the parents and more than a few disapproving looks from the paying members of the audience.  Then a new sound was added to the mix, the insistent cry of a hungry baby followed after a brief pause by a loud thumping as the father attempted to burp the child.  Now if only the thumping had been in time with the music…

Near the end of the concert the baby started to cry again and, as the father reached for another bottle, he accidentally hit his phone which immediately shouted “SAY A COMMAND!!” at full volume.  That was the last straw for one audience member who turned around and expressed his disapproval with some choice words, finally causing the father gather his belongings and head out.  Sadly the concert ended a few minutes later.

For most of the people in that part of the church the concert had been significantly marred.  But there’s a lesson for all of us here – Beware the Empty Seat!

The “empty seat” could be on the subway, in a concert, a can’t lose business opportunity, an open job or a date who seems to have it all.  Somewhere along the way someone else has  decided that  it was too much trouble and passed by.  So before jumping into something that seems too good to be true it’s worth taking a moment to look around to see what dangers are lurking.  Maybe these are things you can live with, in which case go for it.  Just don’t do it blindly.

As the saying goes – if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.

Happy New Year!


Filed under Children, Life - or something like it, The Human Condition

A Valentine’s Day Message for My Wife (but you can read it too)

Fifteen years ago today I scared the bejesus out of Joanne by talking about “our future” over a romantic dinner.

Since we had only been dating for a few months Joanne panicked and, after dinner, held long, torturous phone calls with her mother and sister.  Here every word and nuance was examined in minute detail; numerous scenarios were teased out, discussions were held on whether she was being honest with me…or herself, and whether she should stop seeing me.

Obviously, being a guy, I was oblivious to this – which can be best explained by reading this.

Two years later, almost to the day, Daniel was born!

I’m not sure who said what in those conversations.  But I am certain  that I’m eternally grateful that those post Valentine ’s Day conversations went my way.

Valentine’s Day is a double-edged sword for me because Joanne can be terribly difficult to buy presents for.  She doesn’t need much in the way of material things (she isn’t particularly interested in jewelry), and my fashion sense is so poor that I would never think of buying her clothes…unless they came from Frederick’s of Hollywood or Victoria’s Secret.

On the other hand, Valentine’s Day is one of those times when I stop taking things for granted, at least for a few hours, and actually let her know how appreciated  she is.

Joanne is the heart that beats in the center of our family – a constant source of love, strength and common sense that we all rely on to a ridiculous degree.

Our paths were so different that I really should never have met her – but I am so glad that fate intervened, because I have found my soul mate.  She is so much more than a wife.  She is my lover, my mentor, my confidant, my best friend, and the best mother my children could possibly have.

In the fifteen years since that Valentine’s Day dinner I have learned an incredible amount about life, love, family and, of course, Joanne.  I have discovered Joanne’s two evil twins – the fun one that appears after the third screwdriver, and the sharp-tongued one that appears when her sleep is disturbed.  Along the way we have collected memories and stories that made us cry with sadness and cry with laughter.  I wouldn’t change any of it.

I believe it was Theodore Hesburgh who said “The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”  Fortunately Joanne makes this so easy to do.

A few years back I bought a book for Joanne called “Six Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak”, which contained the following:

Scared her a lot.  She stayed.

I’m so glad she did.

Happy Valentine’s Day     !!!


Filed under Life - or something like it, The Human Condition