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The value of keeping an old-school journal

I started journaling a few years ago as a way to get some of the thoughts in my brain out in a less public way than a blog. I focused my journal on writing letters to my daughter about everything from my own childhood to her loving attempt to serve breakfast to our family this morning. The journal coincided with my decision to wind down the number of blog posts about her, mostly because she deserves to tell her own story when she wants to tell it and in the way she wants to tell it.

I also want to save the embarrassing stories for when she starts dating.

Lately, I have done a lousy job keeping up on my journal. Until a few nights ago, I had not updated it since mid-June. Life has been hectic, trying to balance a demanding job with an exacting MBA schedule, family, and my want for being involved in city politics. Putting off journaling has been easy, there is always something that seems more pressing on my plate.

Finally I made the decision to wait one more day before finishing a pape…
Recent posts

My fourth Father's Day

This Father's Day is a happy one while being a great day for personal reflection. The Kid could hardly contain her excitement waiting for me to wake up so she could give me her gifts. Church, lunch at the Original Buddy's Pizza and kayaking on Lake Muskoday made today happy.

I also can't help reflect on the past. Four years ago today, we were at Lincoln Hall of Justice, Family Division in front of Judge Christopher Dingell to finalize The Kid's adoption.

It was a strange day. Our adoption could have been over a few weeks before if we had opted to have Wayne County Courts mail us her new birth certificate, but we decided we wanted to hear it from the judge himself. What we assumed would be a joyous occasion wasn't, the Judge was annoyed we wasted his time and told his clerk as soon as he decreed our adoption final that he never wanted to do another hearing like that again.

Still, it was a joyous day. Adoption Day unintentionally fell on my grandmother's birthda…

Reflecting on our walk in the enchanted forest

The weekend before Mother's Day, The Kid and I went on a lovely walk through a beautiful enchanted forest. There was lush green grass, towering trees that shaded you from the hot sun, beautiful flora lined our path, and healthy fauna seemed to appear around every corner. That was until we turned a corner and encountered ponds filled with hungry, biting alligators and angry dragons. We ran through that part, narrowly escaping our impending doom.

Our harrowing escape made our walk through the rest of our neighborhood that much more enjoyable.

On the way home, The Kid started worrying that we hadn't done anything for Mother's Day and started to pick weeds out of a neighbors yard. It was the prettiest flower she could find. I started to protest, we have plenty of weeds in our own yard, but The Kid insisted because she wanted Mama to have something beautiful from our walk. We ended up with a few pockets full of maple seeds and her flower.

Mama was appropriately, genuinely exci…

We voted. Just not when The Kid wanted to vote.

Gladys and I have always taken The Kid to vote with us. Voting is just something we do as a family.

I was a little surprised when The Kid told me yesterday at breakfast that she wanted to go vote with me. There is nothing exciting about voting, except watch the returns that come in way after she falls asleep. But we agreed that I would take her with me after work instead of before pre-school because she didn't want to rush.

At her doctor appointment yesterday, she leaned in to whisper to me.

Her: "You told a fib, Papa. You said we were voting but we are at the doctor instead."

Me: "Sorry, kiddo. Tomorrow is Election Day and we can't vote until then."

Her: "But I want to vote today!"

After a little more discussion, we agreed that she could wait a day and that she only wanted to go vote when I went.

I was excited to take her because I want to help her build some of the memories of civic participation I hold dear. Walking into the old school lever v…

To a generous young trick-or-treater for his kindness

Our neighborhood is unbelievable on Halloween night. Starting about 6 p.m., our street is packed with trick-or-treaters. If you don't start stockpiling candy early, you could go broke trying to keep up with the crowd.

The Kid doesn't really like the trick-or-treating part, she loves to hand out the candy. She ventured out twice, once with me and once with Grandma, but returned because she loved being the helper kid who was making everyone enjoy their holiday.

One young man hesitated at our door after she stuffed a few treats into his bag. If I had to guess, he was about 10 or 11 years old himself. He started fumbling in his bag, pulled out a treat and said, "This is for her since she hasn't been out trick-or-treating for herself."

I think he was a little embarrassed by our effusive praise of his generosity. He didn't have to do that for our little Wonder Woman. She was having a great time and has a boatload of candy from her two tours of our block. But he wa…

Grandparenting a stuffy can be hard, rewarding work

I am not exactly sure where we got Hip the Hippo. I think The Kid found him on one of the community walks they take during the day at her pre-school. There isn't much remarkable about him, except the letters HIP on his back, which make it easy to remember the name of a stuffy we only see once a quarter or so.

Today, she decided that Hip wasn't feeling well and needed to spend the day with Papa. I was given her trusty Doc McStuffin's thermometer and firm instructions on how to tell if Hip was running a fever.

Whatever Hip's illness, he felt much better after we got on the road. We had a great time together, going to a press conference, eating lunch with Uncle David, writing and editing blog posts, checking out a gas meter, and drinking coffee. He felt well enough to try sneaking a slice of Buddy's Pizza on our way home from work.

I like the days The Kid decides I need to take a stuffy with me. It gives me a fun focus in what can be a monotonous work day.



If you see my kid walking around with a tire pressure gauge, you'll know why

I've had a slow air leak in the right front tire of my car for a few weeks now. I initially brushed off the loss of tire pressure as typical for colder weather, but the weather hasn't been much colder and I found a nail in the tire today. 
While I know I need to get it fixed, I will miss the chance to watch The Kid being a helper with my car. I showed her how to check the tire pressure and use the portable air compressor a few weeks ago. Today, she grabbed the gauge out of my hand and got right to work before I could unpack the compressor. 
She relishes every opportunity she gets to help, the other night it was putting the clothes from the washer into the dryer. She enjoys making pizzas for the family and stirring pancake batter. She likes to help carry groceries in from the car. She's trying to learn how to walk our dog Barney. She really is my number one farm hand.
Watching her use the tire pressure gauge, I started reminiscing about my grandfather. He was always findin…

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