Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's potty time over and over again

Happy 2011. And I hope everyone had a stellar holiday season.

The new year brings new challenges, especially being the dad of a toddler.  Can you say potty training?  Sure.

My wife and I started 2011 by beginning to train our two-year-old daughter, Katie.  Have we tried to make it fun?  Yes.  Have we been successful?  No.

We just started, but why can't Katie get the routine down.  I mean, she has been in this world for two years.  You would think she would have picked up the exercise by now.

We have been keeping her on the baby potty for more than four minutes, but the bottom of the device has been as dry as the liver of a tea party Republican.  Wait, maybe that isn't a good example.  Doesn't Katie realize we are trying to save money on pull-ups and put the money into her college fund so some day she can attend a community college of her choice?  Or maybe buy a 15-year-old vehicle of her liking?

We have been taking her to use the pot about every 45 minutes. The time adds up. Maybe we should start charging her for our time. What's the minimum wage?  Eight bucks an hour?  Heck, we would give her a break, make it $6.50, with Sunday being a free day.

That will teach her early that this parenting gig isn't cheap. But where will she get the money to pay us? Out of her college fund.

I guess a community-college education may be out of the question. And she can always get a bicycle for that job at McDonald's.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I have good reason to be thankful this year. You see, I had a stress test a week ago and it showed some abnormalities in my heart. The doctor wanted to do a heart cath on the spot.

I delayed it until Monday, but when the day came, it showed an artery that was 90 percent blocked. Why? I didn't smoke, I ran, played tennis, golf and rode my exercise bike.

I did have a strike or two against me. I didn't eat that well. I love sweets, and probably eat  more cookies, cakes and ice cream than I should. And then there is family history. My dad had his first heart attack when he was my age.

The doctors placed a stent in my artery on Monday, and 24 hours later I was out of the hospital. I feel good and the whole episode was a wakeup call to eat better.

I can't exercise until next week, but when I resume, I plan to give it all I can. I thank the doctors and nurses who gave me great care and to my family for their loving support.  This is one Thanksgiving I will always remember.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Non political ads that will never air

Picture an election season where negative ads didn’t exist, where candidates spoke of their own positive accomplishments, not sling mud at their opponent.

Forget it, it’s only a dream.

Now, picture businesses using the same tactics candidates use.

This ad slams an opposing pet care business:

“Little puppies have little chance at Patti’s Pet Care. The employees use the dogs for target practice during deer-hunting season. If they can hit the small pets, the shooters will have a much better chance to hit the deer. At Don’s Dog Center, we treat all animals with loving care. We don’t allow guns within 100 feet of our business. Now who do you trust, a pet center that uses dogs as target practice, or a shop that treats all animals with loving care? We think the choice is clear. Come in today where pets are treated like humans, maybe better. This ad was paid for by People against Guns but love Pets, Don Greyhound, chairman.”

Or what about this ad for a car dealership?

“Albert’s Auto Store has been around for 60 years. And in those six decades, the dealership has been sued more than 6,000 times. Albert and his car salesmen can’t be trusted to sell you a safe car. They sell cars that break down after two days. But there is a better way. At Chuck’s Car Lot we sell nothing but great new cars that last at least 500,000 miles. And if something ever goes wrong, we will pay you $230,000. You have our word on it. The ad was paid for People who will believe anything, George Gullible, chairman.”

These ads would never air because they are completely false. Lawsuits would be aplenty within minutes after they first aired.

So the moral of the story: Listen to the candidates ads, but believe at your own risk.

By the way, I have land for sale for only $2.50 an acre. Call 1-800-U-SUCKER if interested.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A busy day for dad

Some days I have to step aside from everything else I do, work, business, running and doing things around the house, and do things for, and with my kids. Friday was one of those days.

I started the day by going to Pittsburgh and picking up Erin, my 19-year-old daughter, from college. She wanted to come home to attend a Halloween party with her boyfriend. It was a refreshing trip because we talked for almost an hour on the way home.

And she did most of the talking. It was unlike previous trips when she hardly opened her mouth. Granted, she slept the second half of the trip home, but I was pleased.

I got home and only had about an hour before I had to meet son Justin and my ex-wife at his high school for senior band photos. Justin is quite the social butterfly, knowing all his bandmates and many of the parents. He was joking with them the entire time we were waiting to get our pictures taken.

Later, during halftime of the football game, I stood at the 50 yard line with Justin and his mother as we were introduced. At that moment, I realized how grown up he is. He will attend college in less than a year.  The years have flown by.

After the game, I came home and played with my toddler daughter, Katie while watching the baseball playoffs. It's great to experience fatherhood again with a child so innocent. She doesn't ask for much, just my time.

If you think about it, that's all most kids want, your time and love. It was a rare day I had time to spend with all three kids, at different stages of their lives. It was a day I will remember for a long time.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life with Katie

When was the last time you had a good, hard laugh?  Maybe it's been awhile. And that's OK. We have been programed to be serious about life, that it's the way to get ahead, except for comedians, of course.

I bring this up now because our daughter Katie is into the "terrible twos", and she is only 22 months old. She must have a fondness for the number 2.

Wait. That didn't come out right. But you know what I mean.

She certainly could give a more serious person gray hair very quickly.

Katie has not met a furniture drawer she didn't want to explore, especially in our bedroom, especially on my side. She pulls out my assortment of junk and plays with old watches, booklets and such. You know, the stuff that should be thrown away, but you just can't part with.

That stuff may be junk to you and me, but to Katie it's pure gold.

Another "trick" she has learned is hiding objects. I gave her an old cell phone to play with last week, and a few days later, you guessed it, no where in sight. I asked her "Katie, where did you hide my cell phone?"

She responded, but in Katie-speak, as we like to call her talk when we can't understand her.

As for her career aspirations, at two-years old, Katie has no idea what the term means, but I hope being a stripper is not one of them. Yes, the dear girl likes to go around in her birthday suit. My wife and I hope that as fall turns to winter, the cold temperatures will prompt her to keep her clothes on.

One thing is certain: She keeps us on our toes, and keeps us laughing.

Stay tuned for more stories about Life with Katie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A good role model

Many celebrities make the news for all the wrong reasons. Alcohol, drugs, sex, you name it. Entertainment, sports and political figures get their names in print and over the air for their bad acts.

And unfortunately, our kids are watching. These "heroes" get attention and youngsters may think it's OK to act that way.

So it's refreshing to read about a NFL star who is in the news for doing good off of the football field. His name is Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has had an impeccable career. He has two Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP award and leads the Steelers in most all-time receiving categories. He should be a strong candidate to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after he retires.

He is a football hero on the field, but it's what he is doing off the field that gets my admiration. Ward has been named to President Barack Obama's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The panel works to advise the president on ways to improve the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Ward was born in Korea, the child of a black American father and an Asian mother, and has seen the discrimination that results when youngsters are biracial. To that end, he started the Hines Ward Hands Foundation to help such children. He used $1 million of his own money to launch the foundation.

Each off season he returns to Korea to advise biracial children and brings kids to the U.S. to get a taste of life in America.

Hines Ward is is fine example of the good celebrities can do. Unfortunately, many don't. If your kids are looking for a true sports hero, they need not look any further than Hines Ward.

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two words

As parents, we are our children's first teachers. They learn from us through example. They watch how we handle situations that occur each day.

Life throws each of us curves from time to time. Bad things happen to good people. It's how we handle those things that will define us and teach our kids how to handle similar situations when they happen. We can either handle them with grace and learn from them, or we can fall to pieces and point fingers.

Two words have helped me get through tough times: Stay positive. I think of all the good points in my life. I have a career, a loving wife and three great kids. I have a house, two cars and probably most importantly, we are all healthy. That's probably the biggest point of all. It's been said that if you have your health, you have everything.

Will I ever be rich? No. Drive a fancy car? No. Live in a mansion with servents? No. But I look at the glass as being half full, not half empty. I have to, or else I would not be happy.

So next time life drives you into a pot hole, stay positive and think positive. Your kids will be watching and learning from your positve attitude.