Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random Post

So I don’t really have a topic…just some random conversation topics that have taken place in the household over the last few weeks.

In no particular order….

The Notebook

While cleaning up downstairs in the game room I came across a one of the kids notebooks. I flipped through it to see if it was all filled or still had some blank pages left to write on. To my surprise I see a page filled with drawings of…well…male reproductive parts…yep….pages filled with drawings of penises. I immediately flash to a scene from the movie Super Bad wear Jonah Hill’s character as a kid is obsessed with drawing penises. If you don’t know it just search for ’Super Bad Drawings’ on YouTube (warning if you are easily offended then do NOT perform the search).

Then reality hits me that this notebook belongs to one of our little girls (ages 7, 9 and 9). I asked Deanne (tired of attempting to think of a clever nickname) to take a look and she tells me that she drew the penises to answer a particular question regarding an anatomy question that the girls had…I just look at her with a blank look on my face and think….what…you are drawing pictures of penises…I will truly never understand girls…no matter what age…

Bottom line is the girls are asking questions about male and female body parts….sex…Ugh…I don’t know if I’m ready for those questions yet…

The Doctor Visit

I took the girls to Doctor for their annual checkup and to get a flu shot. When the nurse brought in the gowns for the kids to change into, Abbie asked me to leave the room so that she could change into her gown. It kind of hit me…she’s getting older on me and the signs that she’s not my little girl are getting stronger and stronger every day. Allie on the other hand still runs around naked all the time and could care less…these girls are a piece of work.


Winter time means indoor soccer for all four kids. Abbie and Kelsie play on the same team and I really enjoy attending their games. They are both good soccer players and have hit the age where it all starts to come together. Allie is still in the youngest league where the kids all bunch together and follow each other, but she enjoys playing and seems happy and content.

A few weeks ago Abbie and Kelsie’s team played a very good team and got beat in every aspect of the game…it was funny to listen to the two blondes discuss how mean the other girls were and what they were going to “do” to them the next time they played that team.

More Soccer

Abbie scored her first ever indoor soccer goal a few weeks back. Before the game she asked me if we could go to DQ (Dairy Queen) after the game. I told her sure we could…if she scores a goal…sure enough she scores her first goal.

While at DQ Allie asked me where will we go if she scores a goal…I told her and I quote myself, “Allie, if you score a goal, we will go to Disney World”. She has been hustling more and more in the games recently, but believe me the odds of her scoring a goal are very, very slim. So far this year her team has been scored upon 61 times…and her team has only scored 2 times…so I feel pretty safe in my statement with only 3 games left to play.

Girl Drama

The drama of having four girls in one house is…well…let’s just say very interesting and never ending to say the least. It goes something like this…

The oldest girl (Wife / Mom) sets the tone for the entire house…if she’s not happy…no one is happy – plain and simple.

The two nine year old blondes are either best friends and loving sisters or sworn worst enemies. Keep in mind that this love or hate thing can happen in a flash. It’s very unpredictable and you just never know when it will strike.

The little one (age seven) is constantly feeling left out and then lashes out at everyone and anyone…ESPECIALLY when she’s tired…then look out.


I keep joking that I may have to get a second job to support the five kids we have. Well, actually we only have four kids but one (Daren) eats for two. I have never raised a boy so watching them eat is little mindboggling and a little disgusting to me.

I have just recently finally accepted that 10 year old boys just plain out eat twice as much as 40 something year old adults. I have never seen a kid eat like this before…two lunches every day at school then he eats more then me every night at dinner…sometimes we have to remind him to breath since his mouth is usually filled with food.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Children’s Grief Awareness Day

Today is Children’s Grief Awareness Day and yes I am wearing Blue to show my support.

This information is directly from the Highmark Caring Place website


Before they graduate from high school, one child out of every 20 will have a parent die—and that number doesn't include those who experience the death of a brother or sister, a close grandparent, aunt or uncle, or friend.

Children who have had someone die—especially a close family member — can feel the loss forever. They eventually go back to school. They might pick some activities back up. They certainly look "normal." And yet there's still that hole inside.

It often gets worse during the holiday season when the already hard feelings of longing and pain become intensified and when memories of past holidays contrast sharply with the loss of the present holiday.

This is a time of year when the grieving child can feel even more set apart, different from their peers, more alone than ever.

Every school and every community has children who have experienced some type of loss. Even if they keep their loss and experience to themselves, there are many children who are grieving among us.

These children can be helped to not feel so alone. Children and adults together can show their support for grieving children and show their awareness of what grieving children might be going through by participating in Children's Grief Awareness Day.

I can’t say enough about how good the Caring Place was for us. It gave the girls a chance to feel “normal” if not for just a little while and me a place to make sure I was doing the right things. The counselors were very nice and when the girls are a little older I still fully intend to go back and volunteer. It’s very important for people to know that life will go on and things can and will get better. I was so skeptical in the beginning but after attending the meetings I was so glad we all stuck with it. I want other people to know that and to feel that feeling…so today…I wear Blue.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monthly Update

Where to begin…so much stuff going on and so little time to write or blog.

The Kitchen

Well our kitchen is done and we couldn’t be happier. Our contractor turned out to be very unreliable, dishonest and a liar…but we finished the job in spite of him. We still a few minor things to finish, but for the most part I can do that myself…in all my copious spare time.


I had to attend a work conference out in Seattle in the early part of October. Again, Seattle is the only city that I travel to where the weather is crappier then the Burgh. It’s not real cold, but it just rains ALL the time.

Crazy Fall Weekend Schedule

On every weekend in the Fall we had 3 outdoor Soccer games and 2 outdoor Dek Hockey games…from mid October on we also had 3 additional indoor soccer games…it was really crazy their for a few weekends.

Class Reunion

In mid-October I attended my 25 years high school class reunion. It was actually the first reunion that my class has ever “officially” had, and it was a blast. Seeing some people that I hadn’t seen in 25 years was just a fun, fun night. I had a lot of friends in high school and Facebook has allowed many of us to get reacquainted over the years, but seeing everyone in person was truly a great night. I just hope we don’t wait 25 more years to do it again.

Indian Princesses

The second to last weekend in October I took all three girls on a weekend campout to Deer Valley for Indian Princesses. All three girls had a great time. The weather was perfect and all of us had a really nice weekend. Being the only Dad with three girls at the campout was a little exhausting for me, but well worth it.


The kids got their report cards last week and we couldn’t have been more pleased. ALL four kids had a great first term. I was really anxious about Allie since she had so many issues / struggles with her first grade teacher last year at our old school. Her report card was fantastic. Her complete attitude, approach, yearning to learn and reading levels has skyrocketed this year and it’s because she loves her teacher at her new school. Instead of remarks on how her attitude needs to improve and she needs to listen better – the remarks were how well she listens, participates in class, shares with other kids and tries her best.

It’s a complete 180 and I have NO DOUBT it’s due to the fact that she doesn’t have that Bitch of a teacher who yelled all the time from last year. I personally feel bad for all the kids that Miss Bitch has taught…continues to demoralize. What stinks is that one of my friends whose daughter is in first grade this year back at the old school has Miss Bitch and is seeing very similar behavior from his daughter. It upsets me how much influence one horrible teacher can have on a small child in their very formative school age years.

The other three kids all did very well on their report cards. Not a single ‘C’ in the bunch between the three of them. They are all playing an instrument as well. At any given time you can hear the trumpet, saxophone or violin and in some instances all three playing at once. With all the changes and adjustments these kids have gone through in the last few years, we feel very, very fortunate to have such good “normal” kids. Things could be totally different and don’t think for a minute that we don’t think about that and appreciate our four amazing kids.

Niagara Falls

Last year “D” (still need to come up with a good nickname) and I went to Niagara Falls, just the two of us…and we had a blast. It’s off season so it’s not crowded at all. We both agreed that we have to take the kids up here…since it’s basically Vegas for kids…so this year we did. Last weekend the six of us went on Friday and stayed the weekend, and had a great time. We did all the amusements, the water park in the hotel and of course the main attraction (the Falls). We all had a great time…it was a really good weekend away for all of us.

That’s it for now…for those of you wondering what’s going on and how we are all doing I will seriously try to write more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Move, Merger and the Mayhem

The Move

Well we have moved into the new house…and what an experience it was and continues to be. We bought the house in the beginning of May and decided to redo the kitchen. That turned into redoing the family room, powder room and the game room.

To make a long story short…I hired a contractor who had done excellent work for us in the past. Well, turns out the contractor is going through a messy divorce which translates into a messy job. Unfortunately, his personal issues carried over into his business handlings and things were very tense for a long period of time.

No work was getting done on the new house. Our move date was approaching fast and the house was NOT in move-in condition. The contractor wouldn’t return phone calls or show up when he was supposed to. The workers who did show up were asking us to call the contractor because they wanted to get paid. It seems that their paychecks were bouncing and they were fed up with him. We ended up contacting the workers directly and paid them ourselves. We moved in with half of kitchen cabinets installed and no running water in the kitchen.

The Merger

Everyone keeps asking what’s taking so long with the unpacking well…merging two houses together….basically we have two or more of everything. Where do you put it all? Not having a finished kitchen hampers the decisions on what to keep and where to store it.

What couch to use, what furniture, which chair, which table, what about the these shelves or this thing or that thing etc. Fortunately for us (me and D) we seem to agree pretty easily about what to keep and what to give away, but it still takes time. You never truly realize how much “stuff” is accumulated over the years until it has to be moved.

I do feel good about all the stuff we have donated to Goodwill. I have been making weekly trips to Goodwill and some of the stuff is in awesome shape and I’m glad that it will go to people who can use it.

The Mayhem

Four kids…two adults…a half done kitchen with no running water…just an FYI…I would NOT recommend it. I know that someday we will look back and laugh about it all…I just can’t wait to that day is here.

The good news is that everyone seems to be adjusting very well. Two of the kids started a new school and the anxiety level was pretty high, as to be expected. I am very happy to report that things are going well on that front. New school, new friends new things to learn…all in all the girls handled it great and they have met many new friends and really like their new school and teachers…that was a huge, huge relief for me.

All four kids are all getting along very well, which in itself is very cool. Not that they didn’t get along well before, but they realize things aren’t ready or done at the house and have really pitched in and been very understanding with the entire situation.

I know it will take months to get everything sorted, situated and organized to my liking. It’s hard (maybe pathetic is a better choice of words) to feel sorry for myself when every day on the news is yet another story about all the flooding that hit the east coast and some folks have lost everything. The boxes in all the living areas are just about gone…the next monster will be the garage…which looks like a disaster. We are slowly but surely getting there.

So for now, in between the soccer games, the dek hockey games and swimming practices we unpack a box or two at a time. The house is coming along, everyone is happy and healthy and things are progressing nicely. There is truly never a dull moment around the house…and yes I complain about it…but I don’t think I would want it any other way…we have four kids who constantly keep us moving, they are social, active and in the mix of things…all in all…things are going well…

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Old Yeller

No not the Disney movie about the dog…this is more about me and my attempt to not yell. First and foremost…I am a yeller…Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes this is a bad thing. I have really, really tried to tone down and stop yelling and over the last few years I have seriously reduced what I yell about and when I decide to raise me voice.

This past New Years…my New Years Resolution was to not yell anymore. I did pretty good for a few months, but lately I have been yelling a lot. I have been yelling at the kids, our subcontractor in charge of remodeling the kitchen at the new house, custom service representative…you name it.

The problem is this…no one listens to me if I don’t yell...NO ONE!

Hearing Issue

My kids seemed to have this weird hearing issue / condition. Apparently they can only hear what I’m saying when I yell. I have had their hearing checked out and every time the result is good.

I don’t believe it’s a speech thing either. One of my best friends is a speech therapist and doesn’t believe that there are any speech type issues so I default back to their hearing…and yes I am being very sarcastic.

If I ask them to do something like, put away their toys, pickup their room, put clothes away, straighten up etc…something of that nature it just seems to get ignored. When I ask a second or third time (the level of my voice raises with each request) it’s like they can’t hear me or don’t understand what I am saying. It’s not until I YELL at them TO PICK UP YOUR STUFF NOW that anything seems to happen. Then the frantic efforts to pick everything up as quickly as possible kicks into full gear.

Not Just the Kids

But what I have noticed is that it’s not jus my kids that don’t listen…no one does. Customer Service types, Contractors, business types…no one seems to respond or act upon a request until the yelling starts…and to be honest it really, really pisses me off.

To the point that anytime I actually get good customer service I make a point to tell that person that I appreciate the time and effort that they gave me. It’s a real problem. I honestly believe that not too many people give a crap about how they treat you until the yelling starts and the threats to go some where else come into play. And what’s even more disturbing is that I have fallen right into the trap.

I am not shy about voicing my displeasure when I get bad service. So when I receive poor customer service at a place like Best Buy or Lowes I have no problem in requesting a Manager immediately. Answers like “its store policy” or “the company’s policy” are understandable, BUT that does NOT give the stores employee a right to treat me like crap. So when I tell the person behind the counter that they are extremely rude and very disrespectful in a very loud tone so other potential customers can hear me, that is the only way I seem to get an immediate turnaround and an offer to rectify the situation.

Do NOT get me wrong or misinterpret the situation here…I am NOT difficult to deal with as a customer. BUT I expect a certain quality of courtesy when making a purchase and if you are going to be rude to me – I will gladly make my purchase somewhere else.

Getting Better

Honestly the kids are getting way better at listening. Well, after we (the Parental Figures) sat them all down and explained to them that we are not going to ask them repeatedly to pickup their things anymore. Instead we are going to ask once and only once, no more repeat warnings. After that the leftover stuff gets collected and not…and this was the key, NOT thrown away, BUT collected and then given away to Goodwill…I was amazed how well they started hearing.

They knew we wouldn’t throw away their stuff, but they know I take stuff to Goodwill because I have taken them with me when we donate things. I have explained to them how this helps out others who are not as fortunate as we are. Well the thought of giving away their toys, games, electronics stuff to Goodwill seems to be working so far. Now if only I could find away to get others to hear as well…

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Time

I don’t know why but lately I have been thinking / reminiscing about my childhood. If I had to guess I would think it has to due with my upcoming birthday and the summer season.

Just curious what others recall about summer…here are my thoughts…

The Summer Season


- green…the grass, trees, plants, flowers and vegetables etc

- the sun

- kids paying outside

- fireflies

- lights (from neon signs to billboards) they just seem more vibrant in the summer

- blue skies

- the beach


- the birds chirping

- an outdoor radio (the radio always seems to sound better outside)

- the hum of the air conditioner

- thunder

- the intensity of the rain

- kids playing


- suntan lotion

- food on the grill

- chlorine from the pool

- fresh cut grass

- corn…yes corn…I love the smell of fresh corn


- walking barefoot (on the grass, the street, the driveway ,on the beach)

- the heat from the sun on your skin

- air from the fan blowing on you

- the coldness of a popsicle, Italian ice or ice cream

- the “freshness” of everything (fresh picked veggies and fruit)

- the stiff feeling of clothes that were washed and left to dry on the clothesline

People just seem friendlier in the summer…happier…more easy going. Some of my best memories from my youth are during the summer months. Hanging out with friends, picnics with family members, baseball games and the feeling of being free.

Father’s Day 2011


It was good day. We went out to a park and had a picnic…something we started doing before the kids were even born. I don’t recall exactly when we started going to this particular park but I would guess 11 or 12 years ago. It’s about a 45 minute drive through some scenic and rustic neighborhoods in the Burgh. As in with most places in and around the Burgh their just isn’t a very direct route to get from point A to point B. I complain and get frustrated every time I have to drive out to this park…but it’s always a good time after we get there.

The reason we started going there in the first place was because it was closer, driving distance for Jen’s Grandparents. It’s funny how things have changed over the years. Jen and her Grandmother are no longer here and even the old pavilion is gone (I wrote about that last year - A First, the Middle and Endings)

The Attendees

The picnic goers have changed and so has the pavilion but the tradition go on. The very first time we went it was Jen, me, her parents, her brother and her Grandparents – the seven of us. Yesterday it was me, the girls, (MENTAL NOTE – I need a nickname for my new bride), Jen’s parents, her brother, her Grandfather and his lady friend and her son – the ten of us.

Now some might think it would be weird or awkward…such an interesting mix of people…well this is one of the reasons why I wanted to write this entry…it wasn’t…not at all. It was such a cross family and non-family representation of people yet we all had a good time. Granted this was not the first time we had all met or gotten together but that is the point that I am trying to make.

Life goes on…it does. Yesterday could have been awkward, a disaster, filled with long periods of silence. Instead it was just the opposite. It was a good day spent with people who choose to spend some time together and just enjoy the afternoon for what it was worth.

My Rambling Point

I guess what I am attempting to say is don’t be afraid to do something different. Don’t be afraid to break out of the norm and just go with it. What’s the worse that could have happened yesterday, no one really has a good time so we all eat and then take off? Instead it turned out to be a really nice day.

Had you asked me five years ago to pick the attendees for the picnic yesterday I would have been very wrong in my selections. Even for someone like me, who has to plan out everything, sometimes you just need to go with the flow.

Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)

In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.

I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what happened...in order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.

This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...