Monday, September 8, 2014

The Question of the Day

The question is, "How is Amanda doing in high school?"

The answer, I'm proud and happy to say is, very well.  She has transitioned better than we expected.  She has made friends with both the students and the staff.  Her best friend from middle school transferred with her and is providing some consistency and the new activities are both stimulating and challenging her.

She is picking out her clothes the night before all by herself which proves she is more like her mother than me.  She is being a constant help at home now with laundry and the kitchen, both of which are a joy.  And finally but certainly not least, she is going to bed earlier than she did during the summer.

While all this is very positive I still have to say the best part is how each morning on the drive to school she and I rock it out.  She has a playlist of One Republic, Little Mix, DJ Snake, Paramour and just for a southern twist, Toby Keith.

We go to Starbucks and get her apple juice along with my Grande Pikes Place in a Venti cup and then we go onto school.  This allows us most of the playlist which she sings along with.  It puts us both in a great mood.

She is currently bragging about her perfect attendance of 10 days and looking forward to her first field trip.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Phone

We’ve all seen the internet post, “No Matter How Tough You Think You Are, If A Two Year Old Hands You Their Play Phone You Answer The Call.”
Amanda has loved phones her entire life.  A couple of years ago I broke down and bought her a real cellphone, an I-Phone 5 to be exact.  I put about a dozen contacts in it, me, my wife, my mother, brother, and a few of Amanda’s babysitter/friends.  Since then she has had a few of my salesmen give her their numbers.  Some amazing things have come out of this.

1.       Amanda can read well enough to know who she is calling
2.       Amanda can leave the best voice mail you’ve ever heard
3.       Amanda cannot spell anything and therefore her texts are simply annoying
4.       Amanda has never broken or lost her phone
5.       Amanda’s phone has to be recharged at the end of every day because she is a typical 16 year old girl

I think what is most enjoyable about her phone calls though is how much better she speaks on the phone than she does in person.  She has taken the time to think out what she wants to say and she projects and enunciates. 

Now, Facetime is a whole other story.  She holds the phone and iPad too close to her face and you only see her eye.  It really is just a waste of bandwidth.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I've missed the Bench

I’ve missed the bench
This past year has been different than the previous years and for that I am thankful.  We took our third trip to Disney World last September and it was a grand time if not a little more taxing than years past.  We took Tina’s family: sister, her husband and son, and both her parents.  Five people can get through Disney with minimal difficulty, which is what we did in 2012.  Eight people is more like a group of refugees.
Granted, we did see and do more than we had in the previous two visits, but at the same time we also decided that we don’t need to go again for a while.
After that I had several months on work related issues to deal with that left me in a non-communicative mood.  To put it bluntly, I was a grump with very little to say that anyone actually needed to hear.  But, at the same time, Amanda continued to grow up and simply become a sweeter and better person on a daily basis.
Then in December of last year there was the kitchen remodel.  The only thing I want to say about this other than the end product is great: CONTRACTORS LIE!
The spring was uneventful with one major exception, Amanda had a blood test that didn’t require me to restrain her.  She was as brave as she could be and we all survived.
At the end of May Amanda graduated from the 8th grade.  She walked across the stage by herself and shook the hand of her principle and hugged a vice principle.  She was the first person anyone clapped for and a lot of us cried.  Simply put, she is awesome.
In June we took a nine day trip to Boston and New England.  It was Amanda’s longest trip to date and she did great.  It was a nearly flawless trip with the exception that I forgot half her wheelchair.  But we rented one which actually worked better.  And as I told Tina, “If I didn’t screw things up, how would we ever learn?”
Over the course of the summer Amanda has been coming into work with me almost daily.  She helps the ladies in both accounting and sales and has grown because of it.  Her vocabulary and conversational skills have improved to the point where it is hard to believe where she was just three years ago.
In July we took a road trip to North Carolina.  This was 1,200 miles one way with our final destination being Carolina Beach.  We rented a condo for five days and while I worked with my area sales rep, Amanda attempted to remove all of the sand from the beach.  Both she and Tina love the beach and they are planning our next trip, all be it much closer.

Now we are at the end of summer.  Amanda starts high school next week.  We are approaching the last few laps of the school district saga of our lives.  I imagine this time will fly by because as I write this I realize I just recapped an entire year.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's football season and two thirds of my household is ready.  This year Amanda has her own fantasy football team.  When I asked her to name it she came up with "The Dominators."  Meanwhile, I will be leading the Bowlers to victory.

One thing that is necessary with kids like Amanda is the need to get them involved in your activities.  If you don't, there is a good chance they aren't going to let you do anything at all.  So she is signed up with the rest of my friends and has already decided we are eating a lot of chips and dip this fall.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First week of school

The first few days of school have been going well.  Amanda got back in the swing of things like she had only taken a couple of weeks off and not three months.  She is so much more relaxed about things now and it makes all the difference in the world.

Like all teenagers though, I'll ask her, "What did you do at school today?"  And her answer will be, "Nothing."

But then a little while latter we'll be sitting down and visiting and she will start telling me everything without a prompt.  Apparently a lot does go on up at her school and in her class.

Her favorite class is history because, as she says, "I like to learn things."  And her least favorite class is math, because, "They make you count everything."

I like the fact that she and I agree on those two classes.  The biggest mistake I ever made was convincing my 8th grade teacher that I could do algebra the next year.  I spent the next  four years of high school and two semesters of college killing my GPA.  And guess what, I have an app for all that now.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Something for Me

It was suggested that I find an activity for myself again.  These past two years I kept myself occupied with writing two books and going to the gym on a very regular basis.  Then I kind of hit a wall.  The books are finished and a new work schedule changed up my free time for the gym.  So the past six months or so I've been in kind of a limbo.

Well yesterday, out of the blue, a new friend of mine asked if I would join his bowling team.  So I decided that sounded like a good idea.  Last night was our first night.  I'm a decent bowler, I have my own ball and shoes but this team I joined is kind of stacked.  My 171 average that I established last night is 30 plus pins lower than the next guy on the team. 

But there is an up side to this.  Even though I don't work out as often as I used too, compared to the regular members of a bowling league I'm in prime condition.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Knuffle Bunny

Amanda is 15 1/2 years old and her favorite books are the Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems.  They are short picture books about a girl named Trixie and her favorite toy, Knuffle Bunny.  Each of the three books shows that Trixie is not very responsible with her stuffed rabbit that she can't live without but can't seem to keep up with either.

The best part about these books is that I have them completely memorized.  I turn the pages and recite them Amanda who is enthralled with the story.  As soon as I finish on of the three books Amanda goes to bed.  The whole process takes less than 10 minutes.  This is one of the great improvements we have made the past couple of years.