White Fluffy Children

Tina and I love our kids. I cannot even tell you how glad we are to have the girls home for even part of a summer. To be honest though we didn’t have a lot of time to miss them this winter. Our lives were so busy.

     I think we have discovered a key to conquering the empty nest. Staying busy enough to have to schedule pee breaks helps a lot.
     One way we did that is by buying replacement children (at least that’s what our kids call them). Last Father’s Day Amanda our oldest daughter gathered the other kids into a pact to buy us two maltese puppies. I say pact because buying maltese is not just a decision it is almost a religious commitment.
      Now we have had dogs before. I have to admit we have always been consummate failures at keeping them. I always said that if we got a dog again we were going to make a long term commitment to it, no more of this “love  ’em ’til they grow up” poop. I didn’t realize when I said it that my word would be tried with not one but two white fluffy children.
     We struggled with the names at first. We decided to name them after the hero and heroine of our favorite movie,  The Count Of Monte Cristo.  Edmond and Mercedes were so cute together those first weeks. They pretty much fit into my coffee mugs when we first got them. It was two weeks in, that  I decided Edmond was far too human a name for my little boy. So we changed his name to Jacopo.

      By the end of summer, when the kids had to leave, I had learned why we were never able to keep dogs before. We had kids. When you have three kids to truck around, do home work with, and keep house for, who has time for a dog?

     Now that I have two maltese who need to be walked 5 times a day, washed and blow dried, held and played with and brushed every day who has time for kids?

At The Mouth Of the River

Can I just start by saying, “What were we thinking?”
We thought having three children in three years was a brilliant idea. We said things like: “They”ll grow up close.” and “We’ll get through all the tough stages at once.”
We never stopped to think that because they were so close the older two would wait for the youngest to graduate, and then they would all leave for college together in the same weekend! Ugggh major change.
Tina and I knew we were going to have to be proactive.You know do something to stave off the “our kids have all flown the coop and we are really depressed about it.” blues. Actually Tina knew we would have to be proactive. If she hadn”t made some plans I probably would have sat in the back yard staring at my gardens straight through snow-fly.
So what’s a couple recently bereft of kids to do? Why white water rafting of course!!
We drove up to Maine, joined a crew rafting the Dead River, and launched out into the deep, so to speak.
I was all set. I had my nylon shorts, my polyester shirt (cotton kills you know), my baseball cap fastened tight enough on my head to squeeze my brains back to sixth grade, and my sunglasses with the little nylon tightening string you see all the adventurers wear.
We jumped onto the blue bus which would take us to the river and rode the nine bumpy miles.
Now I guess I pictured us arriving, walking down to the river, and jumping in a boat led by a river sherpa.I thought maybe I would enjoy a lemonade as a bunch of “experienced” rafters took us through the twists and turns.
Instead we began the journey by having paddling practice a half mile from the river on the dirt. I looked around at our crew: me, my wife, a middle aged teacher, and her teenage nieces and nephew. The nephew was a wiry youth. He looked capable. But I knew we were going to have a little trouble with his sisters when they grimaced as the paddles dented their manicures.
It’s a sad day when a canoe ride on a pond in Massachusetts thirty years ago makes you the experienced rafter.
We carried the raft down to the river and struck out into the current. Our guide told us that we would be doing several level three and one level four rapids. He also told us not to worry if we fell out of the boat. Our instruction was to pop up near the boat and wait for somebody to drag us back on. The method of dragging a bobbing rafter is to grab them by their life vest’s shoulders and fall backwards. The idea is that the weight of your body falling backwards will drag a person up out of the water with you back into the boat. Our guide told us that sometimes this method does not work and the secondary method is required. Now, the secondary method is to push the bobbing rafter down under the water while holding onto their life vest. The thought is that the bouyancy of the life vest will make the rafter the equivalent of a beach ball pushed under the surf. We’ve all watched as the resulting water pressure exerted on the beach ball pops the ball straigth up into the air. So the idea of the second method is to turn the rafter into a missile of sorts that will launch back into the boat.
I looked at my crew. At 245 I outweighed everyone in the boat by a good 100 pounds. I am beach ball material. I decided then and there not to fall out of the raft.
I am being a bit flip about all this but really the ride was one of the neatest things I have done in my life. The rapids were a thrill and the scenery along the river was gorgeous.
We stopped about half way through our trip to do some cliff jumping from a small falls.
The last few miles of our journey was all lazy river. So Tina and floated down side by side (toes and nose of course).
The whole experience was topped off by a great meal which is my favorite way to finish off everything.
In answer to your question, dear reader, no I didn’t fall out of the raft. But Tina did. So I conquered the Dead River and I got to be my wife’s hero all in the same day! Does life get any better than this?

Reinventing the We’ll

     I have found only two constants in life: God and change. Now not everyone knows God but everyone is acquainted with change. The human condition leaves us in a constant (there’s that word again) state of flux. It doesn’t matter, young or old, we are always going through changes.    

      Now about us! I say “us” because this blog is not really just about me but about the us that comprises the “We’ll” in our title.

      My wife Tina and I have got to be among the most blessed people on earth…really!! Oh, we’ve got our issues like everyone else but, I have to say, the blessings  far outweigh the curses.

     Together this wonderful woman and I have packed lifetimes of living into the last 23 years. When we married, she was 20 and I was 19. Our first son, Joe, was born in’89. Since then  we have had two more daughters and adopted another son. Our youngest daughter left for college last September.  Can you say “empty nest”?

     Add two puppies, four bunnies, three disabled roomates, and snow bird in-laws who live in the apartment next door and you have a pretty good picture of our life at the moment. Change! Change! Change!

     This blog is about two people, who fell in love half a lifetime ago,  the changes they have met along the way and the God who has seen them through it all.

    Anyway I hope you’ll join Tina and I on this intensely spiritual journey of “Reinventing the We’ll”. Maybe, just maybe something we have seen  along the waywill help you along your own path.