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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Radio, Jr. High and Bikes

Radio and Jr. High

Let’s start in the same order as the blog entry title. Last weekend the weather here in the Burgh was fantastic. Low 80’s in the daytime and high 50’s at night. Swimming during the day and just enough of a slight chill to wear a sweatshirt in the evening…in my opinion…absolutely perfect weather.

After a long day of swimming, running errands, playing and making a great dinner on the grill and while the other kids were taking their showers, it was just me and my youngest daughter on the deck. We were watching the sun starting to disappear for the night and just hanging out. The radio was on and it was of course set to the all 80’s station.

As the tunes played…Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Styx, the Police etc…the tunes were good…for some reason it brought me back to Jr. High School and the dances my school had. I thought about how life seemed so hard and difficult back then. I remember the girl I had a crush on, the attempts to play it cool, the all so "important" things in Jr. High.

Then Allie put her head on my shoulder and snuggled in close next to me and everything was right in the world for those few precious minutes. It was just a real nice little moment…


So I did something last night that I haven’t done in a long, long time…and it was awesome. I rode a bike.

The kids have been asking…pestering…nagging me for weeks to get my bike off the wall where it hangs upside down in the garage and ride with them. Well, last night I finally did. I haven’t ridden that bike in 14…15 years…it’s an old fashioned 10 speed bike. I was surprised that the tires were able to hold air and not all dry rotted away.

I have to say it was awesome…as a kid I rode my bike everywhere. Some of my bike trips were pretty impressive if I do say so myself. We lived in the country and nothing was close by so trips on bikes were miles and miles. I know one day I logged 40 miles round trip.

The wind hitting your face…the feel of the pedals…crouching down to be more aerodynamic…standing up to pedal when going uphill…I love the feel of riding a bike…gliding downhill and the freedom of just coasting brings me back to being a kid again.

I use to push myself as a kid…how far could I ride, how fast from place to place etc. I would time myself on trips to places and see if I could beat that time the next day. I knew what houses had dogs in their yards and what dogs would chase you and what ones wouldn’t. I use to plan my trips so I knew when certain people would be outside, whether it was people watering their flowers, or girls sunbathing by their pools. I rode my old bike everywhere.

The day I got my drivers license…was the day I stopped riding my bike…that is about to change…I may not be able to go out on long bike rides anymore…but now I get to enjoy riding with my kids. Seeing the smile on their faces as we all rode together and the wind blowing in their hair…it was another cool little moment. I want to keep finding these little moments and save them in my mental album.

For now...It’s time to ride again…

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Fresh Air Fund

This is a first for me…..

Someone from the Fresh Air Fund Organization contacted me about mentioning this on the Blog. I checked it out and it looks good and legit.

I have never participated nor do I have any affiliation with the organization but the idea looks good…so here is the info in anyone is interested.

From their Website…

What is The Fresh Air Fund Friendly Town program?
Summertime is Fresh Air time for thousands of New York City children growing up in disadvantaged communities. The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency providing free summer experiences to inner-city youngsters in need. Through The Fund’s Friendly Town program, close to 5,000 children visit volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities. Fresh Air children stay for two weeks or more in over 300 Friendly Towns across 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

Since 1877, more than 1.7 million inner-city children, living in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods, have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences. The Fresh Air Fund is primarily supported by the generosity of thousands of contributors.

Follow the links above for the complete information.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


So I have written a couple of new entries and for some reason have not posted them. As weird as this my sound one of the reasons why I haven’t posted them is because I am…well…happy.

I have this theory…and I have many theories on life in general, that no one wants to hear about people who are happy. Sounds kind of crappy but no one really wants to hear how happy and great you are doing – it only makes them feel worse about themselves. What people really want to hear about is how bad and miserable things are so that they can feel better about their own life. Okay now that sounds absolutely horrible so let me attempt to explain a few things.

Pick your favorite recording artist. Think of the some of their best songs…are they the happy songs or are they the songs about some trial or tribulation. For me it’s a no-brainer…I like sad songs…songs with a meaning and a purpose. Whether it’s about love or loss I like songs that invoke a feeling and take me to a different place.

Not ALL songs have to be sad, I don’t want to give people the wrong idea, but I think most artists do their best work when they are sad. When they feel wounded, open vulnerable, and they just let it all hang out and express what they feel in their work.

I really like Sheryl Crow. Look at her albums (showing my age here…) sorry look at her CD’s. When she was single her songs where good. When she was happily dating Lance Armstrong her songs were…well….bad. After her and lance broke up her song quality improved greatly. Pick a band or performer and you can more or less find out when they were heart broken (awesome songs) or when they were all happy and content (songs sucked). The Counting Crows, Springsteen, Mellencamp, Depeche Mode, U2…it more or less works with any artist.

As it stands with now things are good. The six of us are adapting and learning how to all get along with each other. There are issues, but for the most part things are good. We are trying out new things like a written down copy of “Da Rules” which each child signed. So now it’s funny if one of them breaks a “rule” the other kids tell them about it…

Life isn’t always how you think it will be…but it’s important to make the most out of it and right now I feel very lucky and fortunate…what is unfortunate for any followers of the blog is that you probably don’t really want to hear about all that…ha….

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 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...