October 29, 2011

No Day for a Snow Day

I get it, it's weather. What are you going to do about it.

The scene out my front window
Obviously nothing unless I want to move. But that seems like a pretty big hassle every time that it snows. I like the snow, I really do, but in October? Not so much. I shouldn't have to take out my snow shovel before I I take out my rake. There is a big pile of leaves that still need to be cleared away, I guess I will get to it after I clear the snow from my sidewalk.

I know this shouldn't be too surprising, we do after all live in the northeast. But we just went to the beach in 90 degree weather three weeks ago! I can't for the life of me remember that sort of extreme change in weather in my life. My boys are confused, the idea of snow before we go trick or treating is baffling.

This was just three weeks ago
I do remember when I was a kid that there were a few cases of snow being on the ground during Halloween, but I grew up in upstate New York where it wasn't too unusual to have snow on Mothers Day. We all know the story, the weather was different back then. Everyone remembers piles of snow starting in November and not melting until May. Now it snows, it melts and repeats itself over and over.  You almost wish it would just stay there and not tease us so much.

Hopefully this isn't a repeat performance of last year.

We got hit with three big snowstorms last year, including one that dumped close to two feet us. It was an historic winter in that regard, and one that we will not soon forget. There was so much snow in fact that it made it hard to go outside and play in it. You couldn't sled, you couldn't walk, you couldn't do much but sit inside and drink hot chocolate. It's pretty, but when there is TOO much, there is not much you can do but sit around and look at it.

I don't know how much more shoveling I can do this year. Hopefully winter is getting itself out of the way early so it will be a quiet season. I would like to get some snow, maybe about six inches here or there so the boys can get out and enjoy it. Snow is fun, but too much is annoying.

Right now on October 29th, it's VERY annoying.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 27, 2011

The Legend of Sleepy Lego

Halloween can be a fun time of year, but it can also be a creepy one.  Everybody's house is decorated with zombies, ghosts, or goblins and it puts images in my head that I just can't erase.  It's hard to shake these visions especially late at night, where my summer dreams are slowly turning into autumn nightmares. I've had some crazy dreams in the past, but nothing as strange and unusual as this one.  This one is one that I don't think I will be able to shake for a very long time.

The Movie

I can't wait until this is all over and we move on to Christmas.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 26, 2011

Wednesday's Window... The Fall

There is something about the fall that I love.  No it's not the falling temperatures and the fact that winter is right around the corner, it's the colors.  There is no season like it. Spring is nice with it's new blooms, summer is beautiful with it's lush greenery, winter can be awe inspiring after a coat of new fallen snow, but it's the fall that beats them all. The mix of oranges, reds, and yellows makes it the most beautiful time of the year. Stop and look around, it doesn't last that long.  But when you catch it at the right time, what you see can be magical.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

Turkey Swamp Park, Freehold NJ 
Sometimes they just fall right
A fence to nowhere
A rainbow of colors
Right before they drop
Reflecting beauty
I think there is nothing better than a perfect pumpkin
These are not perfect but cool nonetheless
We like the fall too!

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 25, 2011

Taking Back My Freezer

Somewhere in the depths of this frozen tundra could lie the remains of a dead body.  I would have absolutely no idea, because it seems that things go into my freezer, but they never come out.  I can't tell you how many times I have gone to the store to buy chicken with the idea of freezing it when I get home. I should have an entire Purdue chicken plant in there by now.  

I wrote not too long ago about a smell that was coming from my refrigerator, I have fixed that problem.  However there is an equally if not worse smell coming from the freezer.  I know this is hard to do because everything is SUPPOSED TO BE FROZEN and it shouldn't have an odor.

But alas it does.

If you are anything like me your freezer looks something like this.  Frozen something or others stacked on top of each other with no idea what is underneath.  This is what makes finding anything difficult, and explains why I buy chicken every time I go to the grocery store.  I can't tell you how much money I must have wasted buying new meats to freeze.

Take a look at this ice cream.  I knew that I had two of these boxes as I just bought the ones on the left.  As for the other box of ice cream sandwiches I don't know where that came from and I certainly don't have any idea when I bought it.  I know that my kids love to eat ice cream so to find a whole box of sandwiches is baffling.  I could be from before we had kids for all I know.  Maybe I'll get lucky and no one will get sick from eating them.

But where is that odor coming from?

I think we have now found an issue.  First of all fish from almost three years ago has got to be a problem right?  I don't think that I have ever eaten frozen fish, unless of course we are talking fish sticks, where I have unfortunately eaten more than my share over the years.  Second, take a look at the date on those garden burgers, August 05.  THAT CANNOT BE GOOD. 
Garden burgers are not good to begin with, six and a half year old ones, probably don't taste that much different than fresh ones, but why have these been in our freezer so long?  I can't swear by this, but I think they bought when we had ANOTHER FREEZER. Countless Power outages through the years and a transfer between freezers have certainly taken their toll on these burger wannabes.  Out they go.

Now we all know that the only reason I removed anything out there aside from the smell, was to put things in there that are really important.  I know my kids could care less about frozen meats or vegetables, I don't even know if they know what a vegetable is, and the next time they beg me for a steak will be the first.  The only things that they care about are frozen waffles and chicken nuggets.

Chicken?!  More frozen chicken.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 22, 2011

The Best Girl I Know

They were just two young kids, with no idea what life would throw their way.  They have grown up a lot since then, had some highs and some lows.  But look at them now, they are parents with two awesome little boys.  Life has been pretty good them over the years, and as they say, the best is yet to come.  Happy Anniversary to the best girl I know. 

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 20, 2011

Halloween Costumes... Starring Legos

The force has been with us
Halloween at our house is always a fun time, the boys get so excited to pick out their costumes.  The trip to the Halloween shop can be an experience on its own. One year we ended up in the emergency room after Tyler hit Carter in the head with an axe.  He didn't chop off his head or anything, just a little wound above his eye.  It's been fun seeing what they want to be for Halloween over the years, and even more fun dressing up with them.

The Movie

I can't wait to see what they come up with.  What are you going as?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 19, 2011

Wednesday's Window... My Anniversary

This week we take you back 11 years to the day that my wife and I got married. October 22, 2000 will always rank as one of the three best days of my life, the other two are the days my boys were born.  If we go back 11 years you will recall that the movie The Wedding Singer was fresh in our minds, at least mine anyway.  Yes I decided I would be the cheese ball that would sing to his wife at his wedding, not too many guys can say that.  Now I don't have the voice of Josh Grobin but who cares, I was going to do it.  11 years and the song rings true to this day.  I apologize for the horribly off key singing, but I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window, at my expense.

Of course my band wasn't the smartest group, the head of the band came up to me later and said they would have been more than happy to sing it for me.  Well, that would have kind of killed the moment, don't you think.

Happy 11 years to my beautiful bride.  

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 17, 2011

Raising Eyebrows

SAME parents two DIFFERENT kids
It always amazes me how different two children can be when they have the SAME set of parents.  Different habits, different mannerisms, different ways of doing things.  They get some of their most distinctive traits from both parents.  Carter has my wife's face but my ears and tongue.  Tyler's face looks just like mine, but he has my wife's ears.  You get the idea, there is a little bit of both of us sprinkled throughout our children.  I am sure it's that way with most families.

Sometimes I do wonder how these two kids came out of the same person.  Carter is much crazier and much more athletically built than Tyler, whereas Tyler is more artistic and cerebral than Carter.  I guess they are a good balance for each other, at least they haven't killed each other yet.  There are certain things that Tyler could do at Carter's age that Carter could not, like reading and drawing pictures.  However there is one thing that I noticed Carter could do that Tyler has no shot of getting down.

Notice the eyebrows.  Carter can easily make them go up and down.  Now my Mother in Law says he has bedroom eyes, but I am not so certain that I want to anoint my four year old Rico Suave.  It is quite an ability to have, and one that in the future is surely going to make the women swoon.  Tyler on the other hand might have some trouble when it comes to the ladies.

Clearly we have a little bit of work to do on this task.  I don't think he is going to make it through life if he keeps trying to move his eyebrows like this.  Where he failed at this ability is beyond me, my wife and I can both move our eyebrows up and down.  This is really starting to make us question whose child this really is.

What do you notice about your kids?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 14, 2011

I Hate the Tooth Fairy

If your name is Tyler and you happen to be my son, please stop reading right now.  Also if you are my nine year old nephew Dylan you best cover your eyes, I don't know what you believe in anymore.

Let me start by saying that I am a big Santa fan. If my kids believed in Santa Claus their entire lives I would be a happy man. They might get picked on a little bit in college, but who cares, there is something sweet and innocent about a child and Santa Claus.

The Tooth Fairy not so much.

Yeah thats a tooth, disgusting I know
Tyler lost another tooth tonight, his third. And so we expect the ATM with wings to be making an appearance in our house tonight. The idea of a woman breaking into your house in the middle of the night and stealing teeth just seems odd. Sure she leaves behind some cool cash, but what the hell is she doing with all of these teeth? Is she making little kid dentures somewhere? My kids are totally going to catch on to this ruse.

Here is my fear. The existence of the tooth fairy is going to destroy Christmas. There are only so many lies that we can tell our kids, and if we keep up the story of the tooth fairy, they are bound to catch on to all of them.  Why did we start this?

The Eastern Bunny is the same way.

How much longer can we keep this up?
Come on. A giant bunny hops around our backyard leaving eggs filled with candy. I don't know how much longer I can keep that up. My boy is pretty damn smart, a bunny traveling the world leaving treat for everyone is something he is surely going to catch onto.

Christmas is different. There is something magical that happens Christmas morning that we as parents wish we could make last forever. The whole idea of it is crazy, a fat man dressed in red flying through the sky with his reindeer, giving presents to every girl and boy. It really is nonsense but it's cute, I just don't know how much longer its going to last.

I hope forever.

But I know it's not going to be the case. These idiots like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are going to ruin it. They are going to slip up one of these years and someone is going to find out the truth about them. Will the boys upon knowing about Miss Toothy realize all of it's a hoax?

I wish she never existed, for the sake of Santa.

Are we prepared for the magic to end?

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 13, 2011

Carving Pumpkins... Starring Legos

Carving out pumpkins is one thing that I can vividly remember doing with my dad.  We would lay out newspaper on the floor, and remove all of the seeds.  I always liked reaching in and pulling out all the guts of the pumpkin.  It was pretty gross.  When I was a kid it seems like we just carved out simple faces.  Kids nowadays are getting much more creative.

The Movie

I am amazed at what these kids can come up with.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 12, 2011

Wednesday's Window... The Pumpkin Patch

This week we take you to the pumpkin farm.  Columbus Day was an unusually warm day here in New Jersey and it made for the perfect opportunity to head out and get ourselves some pumpkins.  Like everyone else we get pumpkins every year, but unlike everyone else ours just sits on our front steps until I scrape up it's frozen rotting lump sometime around Christmas.  I guess nothing says Christmas better than an old rotten pumpkin right?  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

Tyler does make a scary ghost
We had to take a hay ride to get to the pumpkins
Something tells me they didn't just grow here
Clearly this was the highlight of their day
You can never find a perfect one
Carter I think just likes kicking them over
Pumpkin picking is one of those fall things that we just love to do.  We have yet to go apple picking, another one of our favorite fall past times.  We actually went TO THE BEACH last weekend, it's been that warm.  What is your favorite season.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 11, 2011

Taking Back My Fridge

Something really stinks, and I just can't seem to place exactly where it is.

The refrigerator is one of those places, at least in my house, that leftovers get put in and they never come out.  I did a thorough cleaning not too long ago and found some food product from seven years ago. That was before we were even in our current fridge and our current house.  As you can imagine my refrigerator does not smell like peaches and rose petals.  Every time that the door opens, a fresh odor of rotting produce and half finished cups of milk fills the kitchen air.  Its not a sweet scent to say the least. It's one that makes you want to throw up.

It's time to get to the bottom of this.

Do we ever eat anything?
The first task at hand was to move all the leftovers out of the fridge.  Certainly this is where most of the problems lie.  Most of this food I have no idea when we ate it.  I am thinking that I made the tomato sauce about a month ago but I'm not really sure. So out goes the sauce, out goes the pasta with some sort of fungus growing on it, and out goes some other thing that I cannot recognize as it is covered with a layer of congealed grease.

What the hell that thing was I have no idea.

So now that the leftovers are out of the way, its time to tackle the produce drawers.  The fruit drawer looks fine.  There are some fruit from the Eisenhower administration, but they still look edible and are somewhat firm.  They get to stay in, as it actually smells OK.  They add a plum and apple fragrance that can only make everything smell a little bit better.  Upon inspection of the  vegetable drawer I think we have found the culprit!

Looks like an onion, smells like an onion
This used to be an onion.  What it is now is a rotted, mushy disgusting ball of nothingness.  Now I know there are differing theories on where you are supposed to store an onion, I choose the fridge simply because I don't ant it on my counters. I have enough junk on there that they though of a pile of onions would put me over the edge.  I still would probably forget about them and end up with the same rotting mess that I have now.

We'll see if this solves the problem.

It's safe to say that I will not be going through this again, at least with the fridge.  I have noticed a very strange odor coming from the freezer though, and I really don't want to know what's in there.  It's been years since I ventured into some parts of it.  Certainly there are other life forms in play in there.  Why can't these things be like an oven, and clean themselves?

That reminds me... ugh.    

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 8, 2011

100% Cotton (Candy)

Please try not to blink or you might miss what is about to happen.

This amazing time lapse took about thirty seconds. Funny how fast it can disappear, huh?  Something tells this would not happen with something like green beans or spinach.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 7, 2011

It Will Get Done... Maybe

Ask my wife and she will tell you that there are projects to be done all over the house.  I take that back, there are projects that are half done all over the house.  I am one of those people that gets on a roll at times and will do a million things at once.  That can be good if I ever finished anything.  There are spots that need to be painted all over our house, they're not big ones but just enough for you to notice them on a daily basis.  I guess if an entire wall needed to be painted I would do it, I mean seriously who wants to drag out all of the painting supplies for a little spot?  And then we would have to do that for about five different colors.  That's a lot of work.

I built a fire pit!
I will tackle some big projects like redoing the decking on our back porch, but it is going to take me a while as I am also going to fix a pump to the toilet in our basement, reseal the driveway, and fix the ceiling in our kitchen.  I can never just do one thing at a time, it's why nothing ever gets done, and we will always live in a house that is going to look like it was just moved into.

We've been in our current house seven years.

I have been meaning to repaint the kitchen for some time.  I am just not a fan of the color that the previous owners used.  The problem is, it's livable.  Who wants to do a project when you can certainly live with what is already there.  It really takes me a while to get going, usually it's my wife telling me that she wants something done by a certain time and amazingly enough, that little bit of pressure, gets me going.

I need to fix the ceiling and walls
Since becoming a stay at home dad, it's been difficult to prioritize.  I have always been the type of person that does a kick ass job when I am told to do something.  I was very good at my old job in TV, I never won any awards but I didn't care about those.  I just wanted to be the person that everyone knew would get the job done, and get it done well.

But now I struggle.

I am the one making my decisions for me.  I am now the boss and the employee.  There is nobody telling me to get something done and I will be honest with you it's been hard.  I have never had the mentality of telling people what to do, especially myself.  Sure I can get in the shower, something I haven't done in a couple of days mind you, and tie my own shoes, but when it comes to my actual job, I fail.

Add this to the list in the winter
I have not been living up to my own standards and have not been doing my job to the best of my abilities.  That is going to change as of today.  No more half done projects, no more half assed projects, anything that isn't done, will get done.  Of course, I have to clean the house, do the laundry, mow the lawn, clean the garage, trim the hedges, do more laundry, cook dinner, do the grocery shopping, fold the laundry, bake cookies, and research insane asylums.

I'll get to it.

Just as soon as I take a shower.

Dammit, nothing is ever going to get done around here.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 6, 2011

Playing Rough... Starring Legos

The boys are starting to get to the age where they play real well together.  However they are also at the age where there is a lot of rough play, too much if you ask me.  It seems they are always breaking things and taking things apart not really realizing the consequences involved.  It's tough being a parent. You watch everything that you have built come crumbling down before you.

The Movie

I really hope this is just a phase.  

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?


October 5, 2011

Wednesday's Window... The Finger Lakes

This week we take you to the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York.  If you have never been, it is truly one of the prettiest places in the country.  These lakes are home to one of the lesser known wine regions in the world.  It's not quite Napa or Sonoma when it comes to the wines produced, but there is a charm here that its big brother is missing.  It's much more laid back and WAY less expensive, and I think it's much more fun.  Tastings will only set you back about two dollars per winery as opposed to some places out west where I remember paying upwards of $25.00 to taste. Don't get me wrong Napa was great, but it can't beat scenery of the Finger Lakes.  I hope you enjoy this weeks Wednesday's Window.

View from Dr. Frank's Winery, Keuka Lake in the background
That's my wife!
A lot of places don't charge to taste, the most we paid was four dollars
Keuka Lake
A lot of tasting rooms are in old barns
Groups gather around old wine barrels
One of the better producers, and one of the better wines
It's harvest season on Seneca Lake
Vineyards line the banks of Seneca Lake
You get views like this from the tasting rooms
One winery is only good for popcorn, but after a long day... it's worth it
Sun is setting on Two Goats Pub
The Idlewilde Inn, the B&B we always stay at

There are over a hundred wineries in total, some good and some not so good.  They are known for their Rieslings more than anything.  Take a journey and find out for yourselves. This area will always be home to me, as I grew up near the westernmost of the Lakes. It's a region that draws me back every year and one that I hope to retire to one day, at least part of the year.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?