Friday, May 22, 2015


The backyard again. We’re outside, pushing around the mowers, watching planes drift by and otherwise just enjoying the evening. Suddenly, Simon rushes over to the fence and snatches a fistful of honeysuckle.

He looks like he knows what to do with it too. He runs up and hands me a sprout.

“You know about honeysuckle?” I ask him and he nods with a big grin on his face. It takes me a second, because it’s been years and years since I’ve properly drawn out a honeysuckle stem. But I get it, and my son waits patiently, his mouth open and hanging tongue stifling his giggle. 

“Okay, ready?”

“Uh huh.”

I slide it out, just so that little droplet of liquid pops out of the end. I set it on his tongue and he squeals with excitement. Then he takes off running around the yard, around the bush and through the swing set. A couple laps and he’s back, tongue out, waiting for more. The second time we both have some, and then we both take off running and laughing.

It’s one of the best parts about being a parent, is reliving that magic of childhood. Honeysuckle, fireflies, the morning dew of the grass on barefeet. It’s a good time, for sure. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Faking it

So this is my all new, grown up blog template. I hope you like was either this or robots.  I've been doing some thinking, and it's time for some changes around here, some more, uh, adult content. 

It’s been a good run, all this faking like I'm a grown up stuff...but now, nearing forty years old, I've decided to join the ranks of adult society.

For over twenty years I’ve been able to slide through undetected, passed over as eccentric or “funny” when in actuality I was performing. I was playing the lead role of Me, The Adult.

And no one's been the least bit suspicious. Well maybe a few people, like the cashier at the grocer store when I slap down an industrial-sized bag of Fruity Pebbles on the belt and avoid eye contact. Or maybe a few of the neigbors when I head down the street to go shoot hoops until my wife calls me for dinner. And at the bank, but, then again, why put the suckers out if you're just going to shoot me a look for taking one...or three?

But my love of candy aside, I've had everyone fooled. I paid bills and even got the hang of that smile/grimace thing people do in passing at work. So what I have an affinity for toys and or poop jokes that never morphed into something refined or mature. At least sometimes I do manage to tame or at least fight off the impulse to fall on the floor kicking and screaming when told I have to do something that I really really don’t want to do.

I've gotten scary good at faking adult conversations, nodding and uh-hushing, all the while thinking about those little plastic pizza topper things they stick on pies as my favorite pizza places while unknowing adutl yammers on about  budgets, plans, insurance, or maybe even gulp, vegetables or politics.

And for years it’s worked, getting pegged as an eccentric when I’m really wondering how I’ve managed to fool all these people into thinking that I’m really an adult. I mean, I even drink coffee, albeit loaded with sugary creamer so that it resembals liquid caramel, but still, coffee+adult.And even on the occasion that I get caught, stuffing my face with chocolate at work, or hopping up and down after getting free ice cream. Most people laugh it off as a joke anyway. Oh yeah, I was joking.  

But now we reached the dreaded but portion of this post. (See, no butt jokes?) Now that I have a kid, one who's vocabulary seems to be multiplying faster than a Gremlin after midnight, I realize that I have to be a uh, father figure. and it might not be best for my son to see me behaving like adult. It's time I acted my age.

I mean, I'm not going to start wearing a watch or smoking a pipe or anything. But maybe I can work on toning down some of those knee-jerk reactions. No temper tantrums, and  I’m adjusting to saying no. Because as much fun as it's been playing Tom Hanks Big, it’s more important, I suppose, to set a good example.

But back to this blog, I'm going to start posting more stories and other kinds of stuff, whatever I feel like really. So for all of you readers out there, and that goes for both of you guys. Sit back and enjoy...

Friday, May 15, 2015

One Of Those Weeks...

It was the axle. On my car. I broke the axle on my car. And that was good news because it’s significantly cheaper than a new transmission. I picked it up the other day and it's as good as new.

Back to that day without a car. So I hate waiting on people. And I’m not good at making plans. Add the two of them together and I ended up walking home from work.

It wasn’t bad. Four or five miles maybe. I started off thinking that as soon as my wife called I’d let her know where I was and she could pick me up. So I just kept huffing it. It was ninety degrees but there was a nice little breeze in the air, and it was a nice way to clear my head.

I’m just glad this week is hurling towards an end. Broken axles, lawn mowers…Oh and my dog’s got worms. I'm going to the vet today to take care of problem number three. Now if that isn’t just the kicker.

But what are you going to do? Just keep on getting it. The weather is nice, the car if fixed  and my kid is happy. 

Bcause what could be better than a brand new lawn mower?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

One Of Those Days...

Every now and again a great day thrust itself upon us. And while it can be said that the days are what we make of them--that it’s all a matter of perspective--it seems to me that sometimes the morning sun beams just a little brighter, it's golden rays are a bit more promising, and the whole day seems ripe for an adventure.

Just before car grinded to a halt...
But then there is today. Where sure enough the sun is out, but only to shed light on the array of hurdles and difficulties that lay before you. Not to be a downer here, but it has not been a banner day.

Actually, I guess it all started on Mother's Day when I broke the lawn mower. Long story, but lawn mowers are relatively cheap—at least the ones I buy, (which may be part of the problem). 

But back to this morning, I was running late because my son declared it pajama day and flat out refused to get dressed. So I did what any parent would do, I bribed him. Actually it was more of a negation, one that he clearly took control of because I found myself stuffing his little toy lawn mower in the backseat.

Bad idea.

I got him situated and we were off, backing out of the driveway. But trouble came early on this ghastly depiction of a day. Simon began yanking and tugging and making a fuss about the mower in the backseat. Okay fine, I thought, out with the mower. It wasn’t exactly the safest way to travel anyway. So I stopped the car. We'd travelled maybe eighty feet, give or take, but something sprung…or popped….or groaned…or something.

The car wouldn’t move. Not forward or backward. Well, I guess it did go backward because I had to drift back to let the neighbor out of his driveway just before he plowed into us. But I guess that was our fault for being in the middle of the street with a toy lawn mower in the car.

My bad.

So I had to drift back and leave the car in the middle of the street. My kid, being a creature of habit like his dad, did not take a liking to this sudden change in the flight plan. And getting him inside I felt my shirt snag on the door.

Well this might as well be happening.

It was all happening. I called my boss to let him know I was running late. Then the tow truck guy told me it would be $80 bucks to drag my car less than a mile up the road. And now I’m just hoping I don’t need a new transmission for my car. 

But really, none of that's the biggest deal out of the whole thing…

Now for the corny conclusion to this post!

The morning was bad—even by my standards—but the worst part about it was that I was so caught up with everything happening that I forgot to say goodbye to the little dude. He probably had no idea why I’d handed him off to Mommy and then headed out to the street on the phone. I should've done a million things different. As always...

So as I hammer out this little post out on my lunch break, waiting for my phone to ring with what I’m hoping for will be good news, two things are on my mind. One, how am I going to get home from work? I'll figure out something. And two, how I can’t wait to see my little boy and hang out. Maybe we’ll even get the mower out.

Oh wait, it’s broken.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

No Big Deal

Yesterday I was out in the backyard with my son. He was pushing around the big mower, making the engine noises, while I just watched him go. It was warm out, and upstairs I could hear my wife clinking around in the kitchen. The dog was freshly walked and just kind of hanging out.

It sounds like nothing. But it’s my life and I love it.

Inside, the television was only a button click away from announcing just how scary the big bad world is. The computer was booted up and ready to let me know about the newest trends and fads and what people I haven’t seen since high school were eating for dinner. But out back, my son had found a caterpillar.

He squatted. I love the kid squat, his dirty knees spread apart and his head bowed, he pointed to the furry little guy wiggling across a rock. Then he looked up to me with that great big smile.


“That’s right.”

And that was it. We pushed the mower around some more, examined some sticks, played with the hose, and then it was time for dinner. Later that night as I put him to bed he reminded me that he had pushed the mower all by himself. Because what didn’t seem like anything special to me, was a pretty big deal to him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Dinner Debates
I write mostly middle grade/young adult stuff. I've written maybe six or seven novels, anywhere from 40-90k words a piece. With each one I've improved, I hope. And one day I hope to actually write one worth reading.

In middle grade, it's best to move the parents out of the way and let the kids solve their own problems. But in this book, the parents are the problem.

I've posted The Dinner Debates over at Authonomy for review. You'll have to sign up to read it, but I'd love for anyone who has the time or likes boy books to give a read/review.

Here's the blurb:

When a Mega More Super Store plans to open up shop in the small town of East Ridge, Virginia, twelve-year-old Marcus Hawthorne has no idea that it will change the course of his summer—even his whole life. 

His father is a foreman for the construction company that lands the gig for the build. But his idealistic mother worries that the store will desecrate the little nearby cemetery known to most folks as Squabble Creek. At first, Marcus sees both sides of the history-versus-progress debate. But an eye-opening trip to the build site opens his eyes to what’s at stake. Marcus joins the cause, and along with his mother and feisty new neighbor, they form a rag-tag team of resistance. Posting flyers, pulling pranks, even taking on the mayor, soon Marcus is having the time of his life. But also feeling the pressure. His old friends think he’s lost his mind. His dad catches heat from work. The town wants their store. And with the ground breaking ceremony looming, the sacred land seems destined to be sandwiched by heavy traffic and retail. But seeing that majestic blue heron perched stoically on his father’s ripper, Marcus knows that the battle of Squabble Creek has only just begun.

Set against the backdrop of the 1992 presidential campaigns, THE DINNER DEBATES is a middle grade story of one incredible summer that changes the way one boy sees his parents, politics, and most of all, himself. 

If you're still interested, here's the link:

And yes, I know the cover is terrible, I made it myself!