February 4, 2016

I've Got Friends in Snowy Places

By all accounts this was going to be the storm of the century, well this season's storm of the century anyway. Bread was bought, milk was procured, and the eggs were purchased; all we had to do was sit and wait for the storm to hit.

This winter hasn't been a very harsh one here in the northeast.  We've set record highs left and right and it was 72 degrees ON CHRISTMAS EVE.  While my wife loves that kind of weather, the kids and I were longing for some snow to fall.  Up until last weekend, we had none... but that was about to change.

My oldest son Tyler swears that his favorite season is winter.  I'm not so sure that I believe him because he's always asking when baseball season starts. My other son Carter seems to be indifferent about the cold weather; he will play any sport in any type of weather.  However it always seems like we play basketball outside when the temperature is the coldest. As for myself, having grown up in Western New York, I've always had an affinity towards the cold.  Like a lot of men my age and older I can vividly remember walking uphill five miles in the snow to get to school and I liked it.

We don't get as much snow as I used to get when I was a kid.  Back then in Western New York a lot depended on which way the wind blew.  You could get four feet, while your neighbor a mile away might not even realize that it snowed.  When I was younger, the snow would fall before Halloween and last until Mother's Day. Now it snows, then it melts, then it snows, and melts again.  I'm under the feeling that if it's going to be cold outside, it might as well be snowing.

And last weekend it snowed... did it ever snow.

Twelve inches may seem like a lot, but at this point we were only half way through the storm.  It would go on snowing for another 12 hours and the storm would dump 21 inches of snow all together.  I'm not one to let the snow finish falling before I get out and clear my driveway.  I would much rather clear our seven inches three times than the entire 21 inches as once.  I'm tough, but not "clear 21 inches at once" tough.

I was sent a pack of lozenges by the folks at Fisherman's Friend and asked to take an EPIC picture.  I didn't want to fake a winter scene like Patrick Quinn did, pretend to know what snow is, like James Zahn, or never leave the house like The Thirsty Daddy. Much like Chris Burnholdt, this Winter Storm Jonas (can we stop naming these storms please) was the perfect opportunity to get out and show how tough I was.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

I like to call this one "The First of Many."  This was about 10:00 am and the plows had barely been through our neighborhood (which is another story).  The snow was really falling at this point; probably two inches an hour at least.  I think one of my kids was still asleep and the other was at a sleepover party in the neighborhood.  I didn't need to get out of my driveway, but I'm a guy with a snowblower... I HAD to get out of my driveway.  By the way, I took this photo myself (#SELFIE!)

The only problem with getting so much snow at once was that it made it almost impossible to sled in. We had to really wait until the next next day before we could get out and play in it.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

Sadly, it's only a week and a half later and all the snow has melted... but there might be more on the horizon!  Better go get bread, milk, and eggs... and Fisherman's Friend Lozenges.

Fisherman’s Friend throat lozenges are the toughest on the market, originally formulated in 1865 for deep-sea fishermen from Fleetwood, England. And they are now perfect for a dad who shovels snow in New Jersey. It's good to have friends in snowy places.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


December 4, 2015

Kindness is Contagious

It seems like the only news we hear nowadays is bad news.

With terror attacks in Paris, wars raging in the Middle East, and mass shootings in California, it's hard to realize that there is a lot of good in this world as well.  We don't celebrate the random acts of kindness like we do the random acts of terror, but perhaps we should.  

Good news is boring.

As a news guy I've always worked under the "If it bleeds, it leads" mantra.  Watch the news and there is always a murder or a fire as the top story. It's never about the guy that held the door for the little old lady at the mall.  If you go by what's in the paper or on the nightly news you would think that nothing good ever happens.  But it does.

The world is filled with good people. Some times it just takes a little kick for people to realize that.  For every person filled with hate there are literally MILLIONS of people who are filled with good. But some times we forget that.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

Last weekend I was in my hometown of Geneseo, NY driving around looking at all the old sights like I do every time I visit my parents.  I stopped in Cricket's Coffee Company on Main Street and bought a $50 gift certificate.  I told the two workers behind the counter, Mike and Jordan, that I didn't want to use it; I wanted THEM to use it.  I asked them if they could buy people coffee as they came in.  Thanks to them I was able to spread a little holiday cheer in my home town.

I got a message from the coffee house later in the day telling me that thanks to my random act of kindness people began paying it forward and they ended up serving $100 of gifted coffee that day. If that's not proof that kindness is contagious, I'm not sure what is.  You never know what one good deed will lead to until you do it.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

I decided not to stop there.  When I got home I went to the nearest Toys "R" Us and bought a $50 gift card. I asked Caroline if she would find someone who could use it a little more than I could.  After looking at me like I was nuts, she of course said she would find someone buying Christmas presents for their kids.  I don't know what happened after I left or who she gave the card to, but I like to think that that person paid it forward as well.  Maybe they didn't buy someone else a $50 gift card, but perhaps they did a little something like holding the door for a little old lady.

Perhaps we don't celebrate the random acts of kindness like we should because they are happening all around us.  We seem to focus on the bad, but forget to realize that people are inherently good. People don't do nice things to draw attention to themselves or to gain praise, they just do it and hope others do it as well.

A photo posted by @jdubs44 on

I've partnered with KIND Snacks and Life of Dad to draw attention to people doing kind things. Their #kindawesome campaign spreads kindness by celebrating kind acts.  KIND has been on a mission since day one to inspire kindness and their hope is that it resonates with parents as they try to instill kindness in their kids.

It's important now more than ever we teach our kids the RIGHT thing, the KIND thing. If you know of someone doing something nice and would like to reward them, hit me up on my Facebook page and let me know.

*I've partnered with Life of Dad and KIND Snacks for this promotion.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?