Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Six

Once again the scary ball of fire hung in the sky, confusing those of us who had previously known only darkness and rain. First thing in the morning I took Guinness outside, but the moment I got him down the stairs, he tried to bolt for the van. Seeing as how I controlled his rear legs with the beach towel sling around his belly, he could steer but had little traction. He slowly pulled me to the van and then sat there, pawing at the door. The poor boy was done with New Hampshire. He just wanted to go back home where good dogs weren’t given away. He was breaking my heart. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Five

For the first time in nearly 600 years, it wasn’t raining when we woke up. The cool New Hampshire air gave way to warm New Hampshire air, while we all recoiled in fear from the scary new ball of fire floating in the sky. Our vacation of doom was coming to an end as the future promised three days of unrelenting sunshine, white puffy clouds and an endless supply of Whoopie Pies.

We decided that on this, the end of monsoon season, we would take advantage of our free tickets (thanks Grandma!), and take a ride on the M/S Mt. Washington, a large passenger ship that sails on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. This ship has been sailing in one form or another since 1872 when it was a side-wheeler paddle boat. For as long as I’ve been going to New Hampshire, I’ve been riding on the Mt. Washington, and given the fact that I collected coins during this country’s bicentennial celebrations, that’s a long time. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Four

On day four of our adventure, it rained. Again.

I once heard someone say that Irish people like the rain. I’m Irish, and when I was younger I did enjoy a long walk in the rain with my sweetie. But this rain was making my sweetie grumpy, and I’m here to tell you that this rain was not appreciated by anyone except the dogs, both of whom would have been perfectly happy sitting outside in the rain all day long.

Once again we could do nothing interesting outside, so we did what anyone in our situation would do: we went to Walmart. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Three

On our third day in New Hampshire, the sky finally cleared enough that we could venture outside without getting soaked. We took advantage of the opportunity and went to see the Castle in the Clouds. Once again we staggered ourselves so that the dogs wouldn’t figure out we were leaving them at Grandma’s. Once again, we proved ourselves smarter than our dogs, even if we weren’t yet smart enough to figure out a way to make Guinness eat. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day Two

After the excitement of our arrival, we were prepared for anything on our first day of vacation. Well, anything except for continued rain. Naturally, it rained – a lot.

Miraculously, we were not abducted by aliens in the night. New Hampshire has a rich and storied history of alien abduction, and I imagine it’s because there no friggin’ cell, Internet or long distance phone service. The aliens know that you couldn’t even send a text message for help, so the deep woods make for ripe picking of human probing subjects. I credit the dogs with our lack of midnight probing that first night. The way I see it, even interstellar travellers would not want to deal with Annie nudging their arms, or tentacles, or whatever it is they use while operating the probulator. Annie got extra head pats from me that morning while I thanked her for keeping the pesky aliens at bay. (more…)

Vacation with Two Newfs – Day One

Somehow, Lauren and I came to the conclusion that driving two giant dogs, two kids and ourselves almost 400 miles to visit my mother in New Hampshire was a good idea. My mother only knew of Annie through pictures and from the tales spun here in this very blog. As you might imagine, she was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but from my point of view, she had the easy job. She didn’t have to share a vehicle with three hundred pounds of dog, a family of four and all the luggage required for their seven day adventure. (more…)

Annie, Babies and Fimbo

Our house is loaded with stuff. I like stuff, the kids like stuff, we all like stuff. This love of stuff has lead to a house filled with trinkets, toys, and other shiny items that we couldn’t resist. Every so often we purge some of the stuff, but no matter how often we do this, we seem to continuously find more stuff.

I blame myself, since I am the chief hoarder of stuff. From guitars to fountain pens to computers to Lego kits, I have some pretty fine stuff. Really though, when it comes right down to it, it’s all just stuff. That’s how Annie sees it all, I’m sure. Maybe she has different categories for our stuff. Perhaps Tasty, crunchy, soft and pointy might be some of her descriptions for our stuff. Maybe she sorts it by smell instead. In any event, she doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not all her stuff. (more…)

Guinness and the Air Conditioner

It’s been hot here in the northeast. One day last week it was 105 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 735 degrees in dog years… or something. It was hot. Stupid-hot. Not only was it hot, but the humidity here in New Jersey makes it feel like you’re walking through hot Jello all day. Hot sticky Jello with angry people floating in it. Yum

We wanted three things when we bought our house: Central air, a basement, and a fireplace.  We got the fireplace, and the house, location and everything else was perfect so we bought it without the required basement or central air. We then proceeded to sweat the perspiration of the damned for the next fifteen years. OK, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, and we only sweat the perspiration of the darned, but dammit—it was hot! (more…)

My Other Daughter Beat Me at Chess

It’s official. Both of my daughters are chess prodigies. That is, of course, the only plausible explanation for the fact that they have now both beaten me.

It has been said that chess is life. I don’t know who said it, but I’m sure it’s been said. Heck, I just said it, so now it’s been said. Actually to be painfully accurate, it’s now been written, but rest assured, I said it just now for good measure.

If chess is life, and both of my pre-teen girls have beaten me at the game, then is it not therefore true that they have both beaten me at life? It sure feels that way.

Beating your dad at chess is supposed to be a big deal. You’re supposed to work for years before you finally rend that hard-won victory from the old man’s weathered hands. That’s the way it’s been since time immemorial, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be now. It’s not supposed to be like this! (more…)

My Mom Rocks

My mom is better than your mom. OK, well that may or may not be true, but my mom rocks. Why you ask? I’ll tell you why.

My mother taught me to love language. We were always reading when I was young. My mother routinely used large words and spoke correctly, even in casual conversations. I once had a girlfriend ask me, “Why don’t you talk like everyone else?” Turns out I was speaking correctly and she wasn’t used to hearing proper grammar.

My love of writing is a direct result of my love of reading, which I also learned from my mother. Therefore I could extrapolate that this blog is my mother’s fault, so I guess you’ve got her to blame if you don’t like it. (more…)