Day 12: Kid Date, Rage, T-Shirt Purge

Amy and I take a weekly date night with our kids -- one week I'll go with one, the next week she'll go with the next, etc. By rotating like this, it gives us the chance to, every other time, have some one-on-one time with a different one of our kids.

Last night was date night for Charlotte and me as we braved a massive downpour and hit up Barnes & Noble before some fine dining at Steak 'n Shake.

With stomachs full of burgers, corn dogs, and milkshakes, we wrapped up our night at home with a new Shopkins puzzle.

. . .

I came downstairs this morning to find this note on my desk.

So proud.

. . .

The countdown reached zero on the Prophets of Rage website and the big announcement was officially made. Yes, indeed, various members from three of my favorite music groups -- Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy -- have combined to form a new "super group!"

The only thing that might excite me more would be a combined effort between the surviving members of the Fat Boys, Beastie Boys, and Run DMC.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

"Dangerous times demand dangerous songs."


. . .

Amy and I spent part of our morning cleaning out our closet and getting rid of old clothes. She's been trying to get me to thin out my t-shirt collection for years and I finally did it by cutting the number of t-shirts in my closet almost in half. Among many others, I bid farewell to some old friends.

So long, t-shirts from college. You've served me well for the past two decades.

. . .

And finally, thanks to a friend on Twitter, here's a 1976 picture of Tom T. Hall and Captain Kangaroo.

You're welcome.

Day 11: Deep & Simple

Let me tell you what I love -- the fact that I'm eleven days into my break and the calendar still says May.

I wish I had something exciting to report from today, but I don't.

And that's perfect.

It was hot today, but not too hot. After a day of yard work and house cleaning, we headed across the street to my in-law's for a few hours in the pool and a dinner we didn't expect to stay for.

Okay. Full disclosure. The kids swam while we all sat on the side and talked over a few drinks.

But whatever.

I recently started (re)reading Bo Lozoff's book Deep & Simple. Probably the sixth or seventh time I've read it and it strikes a chord every time.

It's spiritual. Not religious.

It's deep. And simple.

Days 08-10: Wedding Weekend

My sister-in-law got married on Saturday so it's been quite a busy weekend starting with Friday's rehearsal dinner and ending with Sunday's recovery.

I'll take it easy on the recap of the weekend and just summarize it all with a few trips to the wedding reception photo booth.


Day 07: Make Way for the S-O-T!

There have been times over the past fifteen years when I've considered a career change -- but then late May / early June rolls around and those thoughts go away in a hurry. Don't get me wrong, I love my job ... I do.

But I really love summer break.

There is nothing like the feeling of closing my office door for the last time for two entire months, disabling my daily alarm clock, and trading in my shoes for flip-flops.

. . .

I wrapped up my responsibilities at work by mid-morning and hit the road. I hadn't eaten breakfast and had a few errands to run before picking up the kids from my in-law's. Luck was on my side as I got to Taco Bell just before their breakfast menu shut down for the day.

Now I realize that most people either love Taco Bell or they hate it -- but if you fall in line with the haters and you've never eaten a Taco Bell breakfast, your opinion is temporarily void. As a guy who could eat breakfast foods at every meal for the rest of his life, I was mesmerized by Taco Bell's A.M. Crunch Wraps when they were first introduced. It was everything I love about breakfast -- bacon, hash browns, cheese, eggs -- all smashed into a tortilla.

And it is uh-may-zing.

So I scarfed down a stomach full of awesome and headed out with my cup of coffee and a sack full of Diablo sauce for good measure.

. . .

I took care of my errands and quickly realized I was in the neighborhood of two of my favorite stores -- Goodwill and Friar Tuck.

I now had two more errands to run.

It's been a while since I've had what I'd consider a successful trip to Goodwill but today paid off to the tune of about five bucks. For some reason, the two Goodwill stores in my area quit selling most toys a few years ago so I was pleasantly surprised when I found this guy for three bucks.

Despite the fact that it was dirty and had Play-Doh packed into the track on top, I'm a sucker for anything related to classic Fisher Price Little People. This late 70s Lift and Load Depot came home with me and cleaned up nicely after a quick dismantling and cleaning.


I also grabbed a Cracker CD I was surprised I didn't have and a copy of the Karate Kid Part III book which I did have already.

Why did I buy another copy of the book? Well, this one was bigger and has a different cover.

I had to.

. . .

Then it was off to Friar Tuck -- the liquor store the size of a small grocery store. You may recall that last year I toasted the end of the school year with a bottle of Yeastie Boys. This year, I found the perfect drink to start off my summer. More on that in a minute.

First, what I didn't buy. I saw these on an end-cap and (although quite intrigued) couldn't pull the trigger.

. . .

It rained pretty hard here this morning. I've learned many things from my dad throughout my life and one of those things is this...

When you're driving and you see a puddle -- especially a big one -- unless there is a person in the way who will get soaked, even if you have to go out of your way to do so, drive through it at top speed.

This is what I do. My kids think it's awesome.

. . .

So here we go. Work is done and the Summer of Tim is in full effect!

Make way. Make way for the S-O-T!!

I think I'll put on some Kanye.

Day 06: RIP Underwear, Superhero Girl Notebook

The underwear is gone.

I repeat...

The. Underwear. Is. Gone.

My neighbor decided to till his ditch for whatever reason and apparently felt that his tiller needed to show the old pair of briefs who was boss. With a few tiny pieces of chewed-up fabric remaining on the edge of the road, ready to wash back into the ditch with the next significant rainfall, the majority of the Fruit-of-the-Looms are now one with the earth.

Ashes to ashes.

. . .

Not gonna lie. I spent almost four hours today sitting in the recliner watching the Cubs beat the Cardinals.

I regret nothing.

. . .

A teacher in my building cleaned out their classroom today and had a huge stack of spiral notebooks to share. I brought home several in hopes of deterring the kids from constantly taking paper from the printer.

Anna has used one of hers to start a pretty awesome "Superhero/Villain Girl Book" (her actual title written on the cover in Sharpie).

. . .

Wrapping up the evening...

Have you ever tried to bathe a feral cat? Neither have I. But I can only imagine that it would be slightly easier than getting our three kids to successfully and cooperatively take a shower or bath.

Blood pressure: high.

Kids: clean.

Day 05: Field Day and Water Guns

Today was the last day for students and all second graders spent a few hours at the high school for their Field Day activities. With Charlotte in my building, I did take a few pictures of her playing with her friends -- but even better was standing in the distance and watching her in her kid element. Much like the narrator of a National Geographic special observing quietly from afar, it was fun to watch her when she didn't realize I was still there.

I love watching my kids be kids.

With it being the last day of school -- and the day dismissing about an hour early -- the girls' bus driver planned ahead for the kids on her bus and another bus to meet at a nearby park before they were dropped off at home for the final time this year.

You might think the kids would be eager to get home and have their summer vacation officially underway.


Not when a massive water gun fight is involved!

With these two armed and dangerous, it goes without saying that I was "accidentally" caught in the crossfire a few times.


With students done for the year, only two more easy days of work for me, folks.

And then this...

Day 04: Crayons, Scrap Wood, Irritable Buttons

The high point of a long and irritatingly boring day at work took place within the first few minutes of the morning.

My two school-age kids are able to get on and off the bus outside the high school where I work which saves us (and other teachers with kids) the trouble of finding 30 minutes of before/after school care each day. During the time the girls have spent with me on either end of their school days this year, they've done their share of art work which continually piles up on my side table.

I wish part of my job evaluation was based on how many Crayons I've picked up off my office floor this year. I'd be the best school counselor in history.

Anyway, as I sorted through the pages and pages of artwork and determined which were keepers and which were destined for the garbage, I came across this keeper...

This day had promise.

Heading home for lunch though, I remembered that I had recently agreed to take some "scrap wood" off the hands of a family friend -- thinking maybe some 2x4s or a handful of unused deck boards. If there was any junk in the mix, I figured I'd just throw it in the fire pit and burn off whatever I couldn't use. Well, the wood showed up in my driveway today and I quickly realized that "scrap wood" apparently meant just that -- scrap wood.



I agreed to take this garbage though -- sight unseen -- so apparently I'll be spending one of the early days in the Summer of Tim occupied with some backyard burning.

Bring your marshmallows.

After school, the kids played soccer for a bit in the backyard.

This was fun for a while but went downhill quickly when it came time to clean up. Balking and compaining every step of the way, they did a great job of pushing every one of my irritable buttons. By the time Amy got home, I was just about at the end of my rope.


Cubs and Cards are on.

And at least there was this tonight which cracked me up a little bit.

Day 03: Buddy Stuart, Mr. T, Mars

I recently watched the eight-episode Netflix series Flaked. One particular episode features a scene where Chip, played by Will Arnett, sings along to Buddy Stuart's Sun Shine On Me. I woke up today with that song in my head and have probably played it twenty times throughout the day.

Maybe the unofficial theme for the Summer of Tim...

The kids have loved being outside now that the weather has started to warm up a bit. In many ways, they're totally different kids than they were living in our previous house. Back at the other place, we had a yard with no trees and therefore no shade. They hated playing outside as there was never any relief from the summer sun.

Now, with plenty of shade everywhere they look, apparently all we've got to do is pitch a tent and they're set for a day outside. We can't seem to keep their fingernails clean anymore and, as far as I'm concerned, that's a good problem to have.

Yesterday, my old friend Mike mentioned on the Facebook that he'd been looking back through his old trading cards...and that got me eager to do the same.

The A-Team cards I picked up a few years ago at a flea market and this is a set of cards so lazilly produced that it's just funny. For example, here are cards 5-8. All pretty much the same card, just with a slightly different pose and phrase from Mr. T from one card to the next.

Okay. Full disclosure. I'd absolutely buy an entire set of 50+ cards just like this -- all Mr. T standing against a green wall doing something a tiny bit different from one picture to the next.

Then there's this. Anyone else see a missed opportunity here?

After the kids were in bed, I stepped outside to see if I could spot Mars in the sky as I'd read early today might be a possibility. I'm guessing it was too early as I didn't see anything. I probably could have gone back out later and seen it, but I watched the end of the Cubs game instead.

All this talk of Mars, of course, kept bringing to mind the most important Mars in the galaxy ... Mars Blackmon. Mars was the fast-talking character played by Spike Lee who showed up in his 1986 film She's Gotta Have It as well as a handful of subsequent Nike commercials with Michael Jordan.

Doing what my mind tends to do best, I remembered drawing pictures of Mars in junior high and it didn't take me long to find an old sketch book as evidence. This one's dated 1-3-90 and is even signed by the "artist."

Man, check out those Garfield eyes. Everything I drew when I was a kid had Garfield eyes.

Back to work on Monday for four easy days in the office....

Day 02: Tonka Trucks and Underwear

Making my best effort to hit the ground running, I was up by 5:30 today and walking through the front door of Menards by 7:15. It seems that year after year, I have a list of tasks to accomplish over the summer that I find myself scrambling to complete in the final days of each break.

Not this year. Nope.

But as I was leaving Menards, I realized something. It was just after 8am on a Saturday morning in mid-May...

Obviously I was stopping at some garage sales on the way home.

Sale #1: A total bust. Mostly clothes and a few dishes.

Sale #2: Promising at first sight...but way overpriced.

Sale #3: Jackpot. A box of old Tonka trucks that I knew Mason would love for the sandbox. At 50 cents each, I dropped $3.50 and headed home to bask in an few moments as the best dad in the world.

Anyway, I knew if I was going to accomplish much around the house and in the yard, I needed to find something to occupy the kiddos for the morning. Mason clued me in to the answer when he noticed the tent in the top of the shed.


Kids: occupied.

From there, my morning was spent moving and stacking a pile of firewood that was left by the previous owners of our house and also redirecting a gutter that was angled toward the house and therefore sending all rainwater from the back of the house directly onto the foundation.

The day wasn't all work though as my father-in-law and I took a nice break in the sunshine and rewarded ourselves for five minutes of hard labor after putting a new solar cover on his pool.

[For those who don't know, the house we moved to last fall is across the street and one house down from my in-laws.]

But enough about all of that. Let's get down to what has already become an unexpected subplot to the early days of the Summer of Tim. I'm talking about the underwear in the ditch across the street.

As I mentioned yesterday, this pair of Fruit of the Loom briefs showed up in the general vicinity of our mailbox about a month ago -- most likely a garbage day trash can escapee. Thinking I'd be a good neighbor, my initial intention was to grab a stick and dispose of it after dark so as to not be seen handling my neighbor's old underwear.

But I forgot. And then it rained.

Washed into hiding, the underwear found its way from the streetside into the ditch where it has made its home ever since. Over the past few weeks, it has become less noticeable as it has changed from a white-ish hue to more of an earth tone. I can only assume the underwear has entered survival mode and is using its chameleon-like abilities to camouflage itself within its surroundings in hopes of going undetected.

More to come on the underwear as the story develops.

Have you heard of this website called YouTube? It's got a lot of videos to watch. I used to think that the Obelisk & MC Cat Genius cover of the Fat Boys classic Protect Yourself (My Nuts) was the best video in the history of the internet.

Okay. I still think that. But barely.

This clip of New Edition I came across a few weeks ago is running a close second. While I realize that Bobby Brown's mesmerizing moves early in this video are almost too much to handle, be sure to stick around for the full dance routine starting around 2:06. My goal is to master this routine by the end of the summer.

In other music news, the new album from Hard Working Americans is phenomenal -- start to finish. Truly, stop what you're doing and buy yourself a copy.

Right now.

Although I should warn you that a few of the tracks are a bit catchier than I realized. I recently heard my eight-year-old daughter skipping through the house singing the chorus from Track 4:

"Dope is dope and you're high up on it...."

Parent of the year. Me. Right here.

Random note(s) from today...
  • If you are having a garage sale and put a price tag of $5 on each CD you are trying to sell, you will not be selling your CDs.