Archive for the 'mykidsdad' Category

Car Trouble

With all the seriousness on my blog lately, I need to include some lightness.  What follows is a true story.

The Friday before the end of Passover I had parked my car like I always do near the edge of my town and then I walk to the train station to catch the train to NYC.  It was a cool morning so I wore my coat, but by the end of the day it had warmed up considerably, so on the way home, I carried my coat.  I took the train back to New Brunswick like I do all the time, and on this day I was lucky to catch a Rutgers bus that would take me near to my car.  Rutgers buses are free for anyone to use, so it was a nice ride since it was warm out.

I got off the bus and walked to my car.  As you may have guessed, I left the coat on the bus, and in the pocket of my coat were my keys.  My house and car keys were on that key chain.  Normally, I could just call my wife and she could come with the other key.  However, this being close to Shabbat she could not come and this was the only car key I had.  I had gotten the car when my grandfather passed away and only one key came with it.

So I left the car and walked home.  I decided it was pointless to think about it over the holiday.  I called the Rutgers bus dispatch and left a message about it and hoped that on Monday I would find my keys.

Monday came and my coat and keys were nowhere to be found at Rutgers.  OK, so I can get a locksmith to open my car and make keys.  The problem is that all car keys in America have transponder chips in them and you cannot just cut a key.  The keys have to be programmed to your car.  For my Ford car, if I had two keys, I could purchase a transponder blank, have it cut at a locksmith and the program it myself.  Since your car’s computer does not have a keyboard you program the key (at least in my Ford) by putting one key in and turning to position 3 (the position just before starting the engine).  Then you take it out within 5 seconds and put in key 2 and do the same thing.  When you take out the 2nd key it is in program mode.  Put in the new key and turn to position 3 within 10 seconds and it is programmed.  Sounds great, except I have no keys.

I called a locksmith and they will charge $300 for one key and $50 for a 2nd.  I call the Ford dealer and they will do it for $189 for two keys, but I have to have it towed to them.  Thank God for AAA.  So my wife calls AAA and they come within 15 minutes (a minor miracle!) with a flatbed.  They cannot use the flatbed because the car needs to be in neutral to get it on the flatbed and we cannot do that without the key!  Now mkm told AAA that we have no keys, but they don’t listen.  The only thing that can be done is to get a wheel lift tow truck (the old fashioned kind) but that has to pull right in front of the car and there is a car in front of mine.

Mkm cannot stay any longer, so she goes about her day and at 9:30 after my kids are asleep, I go over there.  Sure enough the other car is still in front of mine.  So I call the police and they look up the license and get a name.  The dispatcher said she cannot tell me the name, but she can tell me that on Friday, there was an ambulance call to the address where the car is registered.  Great, no one is around to move the car.  So she looks up the name in the white pages and find a phone number and tries to call the house.  No answer.  She gets back to me and says she will have an officer knock on the door to the house.  Of course she cannot tell me the house, but when the officer comes, I see where he goes, so now I know which house.

He knocked on the door, and later I found out that there was a high school girl at home and she told the officer that her step-dad would be back in an hour.  So I figure I would come back at 11 pm to deal with it.

I get back at 11 and the car is still there.  At about 11:15 I notice someone walking up the walk at the house in question.  I quickly get out of my car and called to the person.  It turns out to be the teenager, who never called her step dad earlier.  She had just thought he would be home.  So she said she would call and he tolder her he would leave the hospital (where his wife was at the time).

About 15 minutes later, he comes home and walks over.  He then tells me that the car battery is dead and that he is trying to give it away to charity.  I ask him if he can just let it roll forward as far as possible as we are on a slight hill.  He did that and then I called AAA.

AAA came with the wheel lift truck but unfortunately I was very close to the curb.  It took the guy quite soem time to get my wheels in the lift.  Then he asked me to open the car and release the parking break.  How many times did I tell the AAA people that I could not open the car!  Anyway, he took this plastic wedge thing and pried open my door a tiny bit at the top.  He took a long curved rod and put it through the crack and used it to push the door unlock button.  He broke into the car in less than 30 seconds!  Unreal.

Anyway, he towed it to the Ford dealer and then the next day I had two new keys for my car.

What an ordeal!

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Whats been going on

Its been almost two weeks since my last full posting, and now I have so much to say, I have been putting it off because I just don’t know where to start. I think the easiest way is chronologically, so I will pick up where I left off and tell you about our Passover holiday.

Friday night the 18th we all went to one of the mom’s houses for Shabbat dinner. Dinner was to be at about 6:30 but for many reasons we did not actually eat until closer to 8:00. Dinner was fine but we needed to get a lot of the food back to our house for the rest of the holiday so a nice old-fashion wagon came in handy. We got home by 11 pm and thank God the kids went to sleep.

I think we made it to Synagogue just about when it ended. We went to the other mom’s house for lunch and that was actually kind of nice. It was a nice day so the kids played outside and we all got a chance to relax. One of the many kids was a bit sick but she just stayed asleep on a couch. By about 3:30 the moms moseyed back to our house to begin to get food in the oven and set the table for the Seder. I brought a few of the kids back at about 5, and helped to finish getting ready.

Normally dinner is during the Seder. On the other hand, the Seder cannot start until after sundown, so we would have to feed our kids very late if we did that (not to mention the hungry adults!) So we decided to have dinner first and then start the Seder on time. At the point where dinner would be we would have dessert.

I wont go into details of the Seder itself, except to say it was lively and I think everyone had a good time. Of course we did the whole thing over the 2nd day and I think everyone had fun then too.

Will we do this cooperative Seder again? I don’t know, but it did make for some fun times despite the difficulties of getting ready. Next year we may try again and we will have learned from our past mistakes.

When Nothing Seems To Go Right

Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right?  They don’t happen too often, but when they do, it makes for a very trying day.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I knew something was up when I was running late for everything in the morning.  Things seemed to go ok after that, but then I got a call from mkm telling me that she forgot to leave the key for the cleaning lady.

WHAM!

That totally put a kink in the day.  If you have been reading about our passover prep, you know that we have this all laid out day by day.  The house was to be cleaned so we can start changing over to Passover tonight.  This means that I would have to stay up late to clean the refrigerator last night and make sure that we will be able to do the change over.

Then if that weren’t enough, we have a Cub Scout pack meeting last night.  The previous cubmaster had planned this one and we were going to have a police detective come and speak to the boys.  Well, turns out she could not make it and no one got the message.  So there I was with about 15 boys with no program and an hour to kill.

The good thing is that these days end.  You usually figure it all out and then go on.  Our cleaning lady is now coming today at 4:30 (when mkm will be home) and after talking with the boys we had relay races and they had a good time.

Today, everything is back on track.  I actually got an early train today as the earlier train was in the station as I got there.  We got free pizza for lunch at work because someone in my office won an NCAA basketball tournament and the house should be totally clean when I get home.

Things always seem to snap back into place.

Passover prep part 2

When I last discussed this monumental process, the three moms had just decided on menus. One might think that this is easy, and in some years it is not that hard. You have two Seders. You make a lot of food and eat it both nights. In many ways we are doing that, with minor changes. However, this year a wrench is thrown into the gears because Passover begins Saturday night right after Shabbat. This means that we cannot do any preparation at all the entire day before, but our houses have to be “kosher for Passover” before Shabbat. So the 2 Seder menus just went up to three menus, including Friday night Shabbat dinner.

The three families will each dinner on Friday at one house, lunch Saturday afternoon at another and then all descend upon our house for the first Seder on Saturday night. One final wrench is that you really cannot start the Seder until after sundown on Saturday night with is around 8:15. Way too late for dinner with kids. So we are introducing an innovation, and eating the meal before the Seder and at the “meal” during the Seder we will have dessert. Here is a PDF of our basic menu.

passover-2008-menus

Yesterday Marsha and the moms met again to discuss shopping and what we will need.  As we are all hosting these Seders together we are sharing the costs.  For example, we know that we need a minimum of 15 dozen eggs.  Eggs are a major staple of passover cooking and thank God the holiday is only one week long.  We will be making 200 Matza balls.  That equals 5 1/2 dozen eggs right there.  You get the idea.  By the end of this week much of the shopping will be done.

To bring us to today, on Sunday mkm and I defrosted and cleaned the large freezer in the basement and we are now emptying out our main freezer in the kitchen and relocating the food downstairs.  Half of the large freezer will be dedicated to passover foods while the rest holds are every day stuff.  We also cleaned out mkm’s grandmothers fridge which is also downstairs to hold the every day fridge stuff that needs relocating.  Tonight we will remove everything from the kitchen fridge and freezer, the pantry and the counters so the woman who cleans our house every other week will do a more thorough cleaning in the kitchen on Wednesday.  Thursday night, the dads will convene at our house to bring upstairs all the Passover supplies (pots, pans, dishes etc.) and put away all the every day stuff.

This then brings us to this coming Shabbat.  Cooking is going to occur Saturday night and Sunday, and I will post part three of Passover prep on Monday.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Sunday night mkm and I took advantage of her parents’ netflix shipment and we saw the movie “Into the Wild.” The movie is well done and I highly recommend it. It got me thinking though, of some people’s need for solitude. Without wanting to give much away, I understand that the main character in this film had many issues that drove him to where we ended up.

It seems to me, though, that many people seem to need some sort of solitude. At its simplest, perhaps, it is just the need to have 15 minutes of quite time by yourself to get your thoughts in check. Even though I dislike commuting into New York City every day, I can say that the 2 hours of travel time each day is very relaxing.

What of people though, who seem to just stay to themselves all the time. I know too many people who bottle up all of their problems and although they may socialize with others, they are living in a solitude not unlike Chris McCandless. Throwing away all materialism is extreme, but keeping everything to yourself, can be just as extreme.

We are blessed with wonderful friends to whom we can turn for almost anything. And I thank God that despite our problems with Avi, they still choose to be our friends. It does take a village, and perhaps not only in raising children, but living healthily in society.

Dancing with the Stars

I’ll admit it. I’m hooked! We love Dancing with the Stars. I did not watch the first few seasons, and last year we tuned in at the end of the season, but this year mkm and I are totally hooked.

Last night was a lot of fun, and I will make the prediction here and now (lets all see if I am right). Kristi Yamaguchi is going to win this season. She may have an edge over the rest because skating (a major favorite of mkm) has taught her how to move and how to use her body in a similar way. It is possible that someone else can win, but I am picking her now. I think Marlee Matlin and Priscilla Presley will also be in the competition for a while too. On the mens side I think the last three men standing will be Mario, Steve Guttenberg and Jason Taylor.

As for those to leave soon, I the first two guys to go will be Penn Gillette and Adam Carolla and the first two women Monica Seles and Shannon Elizabeth. The only reason Shannon might stay longer is because she will get popular votes because she is so beautiful.

Tune in tonight to see if I am right!

Sometimes drugs are not enough

Avi had a very difficult day on Saturday.  We went to Synagogue like we do every Saturday morning.  Usually Avi, Shayna and I go earlier and mkm and Noam come a bit later.  Our Synagogue has a lot of age appropriate programs for kids on Saturday morning as we have a lot of young families, but Avi has never really wanted to go.  We have learned to let him be in this case, and generally he either sits with me in services, or he just plays by himself nicely (or sometimes not so nicely) in the hallyway.  This time, though, he had brought a ball with him and at some point started throwing it around and he hit a couple of people.

In the end, as soon as mkm got there, I had to take Avi home.  I think it was the first time I had to take him home from Synagogue, but it does remind us that the medication is not a cure-all.  It helps him to focus and cope better, but it does not make him a different person.

From now on, I cannot leave him unsupervised no matter what I or mkm have to give up and we will have to work with this for now.

Sunday came along, and here was a totally different Avi.  We were back at our Synagogue for our Purim Carnival.  Unfortunately due to the fire last year, the carnival was in a different room from usual and Avi did not want to go downstairs to the room.  So he stayed upstairs helping different people doing some things in the Synagogue.  He was such a good boy and in no way resembled the Avi from Saturday.

We just have to take it day by day and hope that the good days outnumber the difficult ones.