Rock Fists

Rock Fists

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Best Things in Life are Free

There are things in life you want. Sometimes it's a job, sometimes it's a person, sometimes it's a material object. What I've always wanted though, actually happened to me last weekend.

It may sound corny, but since my boys were born, I've always wanted to do certain things with them. Yes, there are the obligatory wrestling matches, teaching them how to ride bikes and coaching them in sports. I've done all of that. But this past Sunday was different. It was a beautifully perfect fall day in New England. T-shirt and windpants weather, perfect for outdoor sports.

They wanted to ride their bikes to a friends house and when we knew he was home, they took off and I followed behind. When we got there the boys wanted to play football. So it was their friend and his father vs the T of A and me.

And that's when it happened. Here I was in a huddle with my boys drawing up passing routes on my hand like we all did when we were kids. Who doesn't remember "ok, you go to the car and turnaround, you go to the rock and cut across and you just go deep and I'll hit whoever is open"? A wave of emotion came over me for a moment and I had to stop, compose myself and continue telling them where they needed to go for the play.

I had the best time just playing outside with them and their friend. So much so we lost track of time. About 3 hours went by and we realized we needed to start heading home for dinner (the street lights were about to come on).

They say that childhood goes by quickly so you need to take pictures to remember certain events. I don't need a picture of that huddle. I'll never forget it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Everyone Remembers Their First

Everyone remembers their first..  That sentence is usually tied to one's first sexual experience. But it doesn't matter what first you're talking about.  Whether that be your first pet, your first kiss or first concert, these are things that humans tend to lock away deep in their memories and can recall at a moment's notice.

Well maybe you have heard there is this little band called the Foo Fighters who this past weekend played this little ballpark called Fenway. I've seen a number of shows there and I'll be honest, the acoustics aren't great. And, as long as we're being honest, it's not that great for watching a ballgame either. It's an amazing park, but the seats suck, they don't even face the field half the time and more often than not the product on the field isn't even worth watching. But I digress..

For a long time it has been a goal of mine, a bucket list item if you will, to sit front row at a concert. And unless you count being belly up to the stage for Letters to Cleo and Bare Naked Ladies at Smith College in the mid 90s front row (which I don't), it was still on the list. Until Saturday.

I was lucky enough to go to this show with my wife and 2 friends and sat front row, right in front of a wall of bass amplifiers. I truly thought my heart was going to explode during the Mighty Mighty Bosstones set. Thankfully, the Foo Fighters are not a bass heavy band and Taylor Hawkins, the drummer was set on the opposite side of the stage. Again, having never officially sat that close for a show before I had no idea what I was in for. I was able to see small interactions between the band as well as between the band and friends that were offstage which was interesting.

I had always wondered what it was like to sit front row, and now I know.. it's LOUD! Thankfully we were wearing ear plugs because we're not that young anymore and actually value our hearing.. But it was such a different perspective, turning around and looking at tens of thousands of people behind me was weird. And although I enjoyed it, I don't need to do it again. I can cross it off the bucket list and move on to something else.

And that something else was enjoying a Foo Fighters concert with my boys. They are still young (8 in September), however they have been listening to the Foo Fighters since they've been alive. We always told ourselves that we would not succumb to the Barney and Disney Radio crap.. If we were driving, they were going to listen to what we listened to. Hence, their music library consists of all sorts of music. (See earlier blog entitled Müzik, Μουσική, Musiikki)  For example, their favorite song right now is Fire by Jimi Hendrix. A friend's son is learning drums and he made a birthday mix of good drum songs and handed it out at the party. My boys listen to it every time they're in the car. Sadly, they have been asking if they can see Jimi in concert. I told them that unfortunately he is dead and has been for a long time. But, I know there are many people right there with them who would like to see him in concert.

Thankfully I am in a position where I was able to take them to this show and share their first concert experience with them. Everyone plays the game. You know, "what was your first concert"? Mine was Steve Miller Band at Great Woods (known by no other name) in the summer of 1992. We were CIT's at summer camp in NH and as a special night out trip we all got tickets to the show. We sat on what was known back then as "The Lawn". Great Woods is an amphitheater in Mansfield, MA that holds about 19K people. 10K in the lower seating area and then another 9K up on the lawn. This was pre cell phone days where you met someone at a place at a time and you went there. There was no "text me when you get there" or "change of plans we're going here instead". You had to wade through thousands of people just to get the side of the lawn to go to the bathroom, get something to eat, etc. There are very large cement poles that tell you what section you're in if you are in the lower bowl area. Well people on the lawn used to use those as markers so you knew about where you were. And then you used that pole and and an approximation of how far up the lawn you were so you could meet back up with your group. An inexact science at best, yet we always seemed to manage to meet back up with our friends. But after numerous iterations of "the lawn" going from grass, to mulch, to sand, etc they have now turned it into actual rows of seats which makes it more difficult for larger groups to sit together, dance, etc. Oh well, another part of my youth gone.. 

But everyone has a first concert and everyone has that conversation with people regardless of who they are. And it doesn't matter what it was. Oftentimes kids were taken to a show by their parents because either a) they thought it would be a nice night out or b) the parents had tickets and couldn't get a babysitter. But this show was something I knew the boys would want to see and I wanted to share it with them. Again, they've grown up listening to this band and know about 10-11 songs. That is probably more than some of the people that were there to be honest. They were able to sing along to some of the them and had no problem dancing around and just being mesmerized at the live performance that was happening right in front of them. 

As I've said before, life is full of experiences and this opportunity was one I was not about to pass up.

Cross another one off my bucket list too. It's something that they will never ever forget, nor will I. 


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Luke 6:40

So we're in the car recently and a song comes on the radio. Mitch says "Oh, I know this song." "It's Cecilia and the Satellite". I said that's correct and it's by Andrew McMahon. (I will forever believe that it should be sung by the band Phoenix, but I digress). Anyway, I said the scroll on my radio also says In The Wildnerness.

So naturally, I say that the word wilderness has a bonus letter. Quickly the conversation devolved into a 1st grade (now 2nd grade) grammar conversation about bonus letters, digraphs and the like. I asked what makes a bonus letter and the answer was it has to have a short vowel sound that precedes the double letter f, l, s and sometimes z. So we all took turns thinking of examples of bonus letter words.

The conversation between us went back and forth for a few minutes until Mitch finally says, "you know dad, sometimes I think we're the teachers and you're the student".

I couldn't agree more Mitch.. I couldn't agree more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blocks

Recently we went over to a friend's house for dinner and they have a year and a half old boy. While my boys were playing in 1 room, the other 3 adults were cooking and I was on toddler duty.

Man, that kid was all over the place.. Climbing on chairs, playing with this, going into the other room, wanting to play with that.. It was like he had new batteries in him and was fully charged, ready to go!

Then finally we settled on stacking blocks. We sat there for about 30 minutes just stacking blocks, but he was having so much fun. (And to be honest, so was I). It had been a long time since I just sat there and stacked blocks. He was doing really well too.  I started remembering all the times we sat there and played with blocks, etc with the boys and how much fun it was..  Did I miss this time? Did I miss it enough to want to have another child?

To quote one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale: "Thanks, but we're good where we are".

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Kick is Up and It's Good!

Everybody remembers this game..



You made the football out of a piece of paper and used your hands as the goalposts.. You slid the paper across the desk and if it landed across the edge and teetered, but didn't fall, it was a touchdown. Then you flicked the paper football (however you felt comfortable holding it) through the "uprights" for the extra point. Indoor recess would never be the same once we found out about this game. That was 30 years ago. And now, the Twins of Anarchy have discovered paper football..

There's just one twist.. You can now purchase a paper football "kit". It comes with a triangular football, however it is not paper, it is rubber. And it comes with a goalpost that is plastic and sits on a spring that is loaded into a base so it is flexible, for whatever reason.

Before you ask, no I did not purchase this for my boys. However, one of their favorite places to go eat is the Charlie Horse. They love the arcade games there and the food is decent. So they know the rule is that if they eat their dinner, they can go and play games for a bit. Their favorite is this cool Batman game. And they have the gas pedal rigged so you don't need to press on it.. That is a huge help for parents who have kids who can't reach the pedals.. But I digress..

With certain games, you can earn tickets. We convinced them to keep saving their tickets and maybe pool them together at some point when there is something they really want and we can redeem the tickets for it. Unfortunately, they both saw the "paper football kit" and wanted to redeem their tickets so they could each get one. This way they would each have a goalpost and a football.

Well, when we got back home and started to play, the rubber football didn't exactly careen across the table like a paper football does. In fact, it doesn't move at all. So all they end up doing is flicking the rubber triangle through the plastic uprights..  BLASPHEMY I SAID!

I took out a piece of paper, made a paper football and removed the plastic goalposts. I showed them how to really play and then we started flicking extra points..  The first one I flicked right into Mitch's face..

Welcome to Paper Football Mitch.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Now batting....

It's official!  The Twins of Anarchy have been signed by the Red Sox!!  Well, not the Boston Red Sox unfortunately, the Little League version of the Red Sox..  But hey, still better than being on the Yankees..

And it's so amazing to see them be on the field, taking grounders, catching pop ups, hitting off a tee against the backstop. It seems like just the other day Max was moving the toys away from Mitch because he couldn't crawl and therefore would have no toys to play with.. Now I can just envision them being in the middle of a 6-4-3 double play..

I'm just wondering when this happened... I mean, I throw grounders to them in the yard and we work on pop ups and hitting off a tee. However they never played T-Ball. There's something different when they're actually physically on a baseball diamond, in an infield position fielding ground balls.

Their first practice of the season was on Monday. And here is one of them, with his hat backwards in the ready position to field the ground ball. He watches it into his glove, scoops it up and takes it out and throws it right back into my glove like he had done it a thousand times..  I said "great job, that's the way to field a ground ball" while pointing my glove at him.. He points back with his glove in acknowledgement and starts to jog to the end of the line..

It was one of those moments that makes you proud to be a father.. But it was also kind of scary realizing that they're not always going to be my little boys.. They are going to grow up, and faster that I would like them to. They're already almost 8 which if you've been following this blog and/or just know their story, is an amazing feat in and of itself.

So I'll keep my dream alive of course of watching them at Fenway turning the double play for the Red Sox. But for now, I'll just enjoy pointing gloves at each other and being proud.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Reading is Fun

I understand we as adults and parents have a lot on our plates. Whether it's paying the bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry or sometimes even having to do some work at home after hours. But you should never, ever, ever say no to your child when they ask you to read to them. This is one of those times where it's just you and him/her (or them) and they are totally fixated on what you are saying and showing them. You have their undivided attention for around 10 minutes and they love it. That is precious time you should never turn down. As they get older it also gives you a chance to practice the alphabet, spelling and reading.

Plus, it gives you a chance to re-live all the books that hopefully you read as a kid. Where The Wild Things Are (aside from that kid being a spoiled brat) was one of my favorite books as a kid. Miss Nelson is Missing which they are starting to enjoy. Not to mention all the Dr. Seuss books. But there are many good new books too. Giraffe's Can't Dance, Walter the Farting Dog and the Pigeon books by Mo Willem, just to name a few.

Moral of this post: Enjoy the time you have when your kids actually want to spend it with you. Before you know it you'll just be this embarrassingly uncool adult who gives them money.