Kindergarten: One book to rule them all.

Look, it’s no secret, I’m slow. Things dawn on other people faster than they dawn on me. Not sure why it is, it just is. So when we got through the decision making process, the evaluation, and the car lobby pick up line, I thought we were finally off and running. It really never occurred to me we would have to dance for our supper. Peep that picture. Can you read the Established date? Yeah, they started this in 1969, a scant two years after I was born. Yet somehow I was unaware of my pending relationship with The Book. And by that I mean selling coupon books.

The Good Book.

The Good Book.

Fear not my good friends! This is not a sales pitch. The season of The Book has come and gone. I specifically waited to write this one until after the storm had passed. Lest y’all think I was shilling for sales to get to that coveted 30 book sales plateau. With all it’s free ice cream in the cafeteria, buy one get one apple pie type product at your local fast food joint, and of course the name recognition, it was tempting to reach for the stars. But NO! We here at Frank’s Place have a modicum of dignity, and dram of self respect, waning as it may be. Read on, unencumbered by the burden of the dreaded sales pitch.

Much like Major League Baseball, a lot of the rules surrounding The Book are implied or unwritten. Were we required to sell any books? Were we required to buy a few to make it look good? Are their penalties, ramifications, judgements? The kid is shy. What if he comes up empty? Would the boy be shunned, ostracized, marginalized? Lots to stress over. I picked a bad year to stop abusing Pepto Bismol.

As usual when crisis’ of this nature arise I lateral to Mrs Frank’s Place. Besides, she’s in sales, this is her arena. My arena appears to be bringing mayhem and disarray to the car lobby pick up lane. A task I’m suited for, possibly even born for. Anyway I tagged out and Tracy went in.

She had a plan. Tracy decided she would take Frank door to door and he would “sell” The Book to our neighbors. People who, I wagered, would no longer speak to us. She felt it would be a good exercise to draw him out a little, give him some confidence, and help him learn to deal with people. It was better than mine, which was to write a check for 5 coupon books and call it a day, straight lines and shortest points and all that.

I mean door to door? Lets put aside the fact the kid barely speaks in public. Door to door? It’s just so 1950. Then there were the loyalties to The Sac to think about.

Ironically, my lofty position as the only stay at home dad in our Sac requires me to send out Sac Alerts; text messages to everyone on the street when sales people, faith peddlers, and any other unsavory characters come a knockin. So I was in a spot here. Do I send out a Sac Alert on my own kid? Do I out him to the neighbors or let them get ambushed, thus being derelict in my duty as rif raf runner off guy? It was a moral quandary to be sure.

In the end blood is thicker … yeah you know the deal.

So off they went, my 5yr old and my wife, out into the cold, cruel world of door to door sales. And as I’m sure most of you have already predicted, he did great. He made a sale at the first house. Our prince of a neighbor, JB, bought two Books from Frank. It was like blood in the water to a hungry shark. Now he was looking for doors to knock on. No one was spared. He cleaned up the Sac in short order. But he didn’t stop there. Like a deranged telemarketer, he began the process of hitting up our neighbor’s relatives by phone. Then he hit up the moms of his friends from pre-school, again by phone. Then with his moms help, he started working the members of the board of education in Knox County, snagging the chairwoman for a sale. Then he flashed his smile at the local flower shop. They were putty in his hands. Knoxville gang, if you’re not shopping Echelon Florist, well you’re probably a communist. No matter, Frank was a juggernaut.

For the record, we, the parents, only bought one. Just one. The other 24 he did on his own, door by door, person by person.

First taste of victory.

First taste of victory.

The pay off: well Mrs Frank’s Place was right. He did open up a lot and he does interact with the adults in the Sac much better. Plus, he was the lead sales-kid for his class, got to help tape the Principal to the wall, and got in the local newspaper. Yeah they butchered the last name, but hey not the first or last time that’s gonna happen.

As far as school fund raisers go this one is pretty painless and The Book turned out to be a teaching moment. Who knew?

Apparently most everyone but me.




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World Prematurity Day

Same Kid - Different Day

Same Kid – Different Day

Believe it or not the kids in that picture are one and the same.

The picture on the right is Anne Marie, September 2014, on her first day of pre-school, or spree-school as she calls it. She’s 2 1/2 years old and about 27 pounds in that shot.

On the far left is Anne Marie too. It was her first week of life, March 2012. Anne Marie was a micro-preemie, born 3 1/2 months early in week 25, she weighed 1 pound 12 ounces and was 12 inches long. If not for the doctors, nurses, and staff at the University of Tennessee, especially in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she would not be alive.

Linda Clare  22 March 2012

Linda Clare 22 March 2012

Anne Marie was not alone. She has a twin sister, Linda Claire, same weight, same length. Linda Claire passed away 5 hours after birth. Thanks to the UT staff, Linda Claire also survived the birth. It was what didn’t happen in week 21, no lung development due to lack of sac fluid, that left Anne Marie to go it alone in her 5 month stay at UT Med Center.

17 November is World Prematurity Day. You know I’m not entirely sure what these “Awareness Days” accomplish, other than allowing parents like me to brag on and remember our kids. I mean, yeah I’m going to shake you down for money at the end of this, but hey I can do that any time. World Prematurity Remembrance Day might be better.

We look at Anne Marie run into her spree-school classroom and we remember the days and nights in the UT NICU wondering if she would survive. We remember the constant buzzing, beeping, and blipping of the myriad of equipment hooked to her and all the babies in the Big House, the large ward were the preemies fought their battles literally side by side. We remember the docs and nurses working tirelessly morning, noon, and night; dealing with heart monitors, feeding tubes, needles, and of course deer in the headlight parents. I even remember little George, a boy making his fight just the other side of Anne Marie. George was thriving one day and gone the next. No answers, no reason, no explantation, just gone. So we remember.

Of course every March 22nd and July 29th and Christmas we go to Linda Claire’s resting place and remember the events that altered our family forever. I remember Tracy digging deep at the moment of truth, realizing she would have to keep her head amidst the chaos of the triage room if these kids were to have any chance at all. I remember the doc who was working on Linda Claire, he just couldn’t bring himself to give up. I remember another doc, a kid really, a kid I would come to call TopGun, telling me someone had to make a decision. The someone was me, the decision was to keep going or stop extreme measures, with just a few more hours with our Linda Claire the only result, no matter the call.

I didn’t want remember any of that. But it turns out it feels good to remember, feels good to cry a little. There is some joy in the remembering, some sanctuary in the story telling. Awareness Days come with a lot of stats and facts, but Linda Claire isn’t just a statistic, she’s our story and we’re hers. Anne Marie isn’t just a fact, she’s a reality. Something she’s fond of reminding us everyday.

No, these kids aren’t stats and facts and fund raiser flyer material. They are part of who we are. They’re part of our history and thankfully, our future. They shape us, reveal things in us we might not have known about ourselves. They are our story.

Take it from me, they are a story worth telling.



If you must, here’s a link for the stats and facts:

And if your heart desires, donations can be made to:

In Memory of Linda Claire Linardo

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Tennessee Medical Center c/o Office of Development

 2121 Medical Center Way, Suite 110, Knoxville TN, 37920

Hey man, it’s dead already.

Just eat the thing already Anne Marie.


There’s no need to kill it again, it died a while ago. So eat or don’t, but stop playing with your food.


What did you say?!?

I said NO!

Such are the dinner conversations with my two year old these days. Hard to tell from that exchange but I’m pretty sure I’m losing. The big problem is she thinks I’m deaf. So when she gives me the “I said no” routine she says it with the attitude of, look donny deaf boy I’m getting tired of repeating myself. That’s no joke. The slant in her voice is clear and obvious.

She has no fear.

She has no fear.

With Frank all I had to do was look like I was about to stand up and he would recant, confess, and beg forgiveness. Anne Marie just doesn’t defy me, she flat out dares me to come over there. It’s as if she likes her chances against me. How old, broken down, and feeble must I look in her eyes for her to adopt that attitude?

Of course her tune does change once I get to where she is. The shocked look on her face the first time she realized she was no longer hypo-sensative to pain and could now feel getting spanked made me turn my head to keep her from seeing me laugh. Ah small victories. Didn’t last long though, once the shock wore off she was right back to finding a new angle. Always thinking, always thinking. Still, it hasn’t changed her pig headed ways. Maybe dulled them a bit. She is really in her terrible two’s, hopefully climbing out of it.

The one area she will not relent is in the dismantling, dismembering, and destruction of her food before she eats it. And it drives me up a wall. For whatever reason, playing with food is the one sin I can not overlook or handle with any degree of sanity. It was programmed into me at some point, but I don’t remember it being such a big life lesson. It just was a thing I remember hearing, “Don’t play with your food.” But Anne Marie is not really playing with it as it turns out. It’s like she’s killing it so she can eat it.

Now I’m no sociologist, or whatever ologist would be responsible for studying the hunting, killing, and eating habits of the indigenous two year old, but it seems to me like our indigenous two year old is working for her supper. It’s the only thing I can figure.

Give her a slice of pizza and she’ll tear the heart out of it, literally ripping the center from it before eating it. Hand her a slice of toast and she’ll stab it with her fork, hold it up, utter some unknown language, and then laugh like she’s putting the head of her mortal enemy on a pike for all to see. Frank laughs with her like he understands what she’s saying, but he doesn’t. He’s just playing along casue he’s afraid he’s next. And my favorite, give her a PB&J she keeps begging me for and she pulls it apart, pokes 8 to 10 holes in each piece before spiking the jelly slice to the floor, business end down of course, and mauling the peanut butter side. SHE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE PEANUT BUTTER!

All I get from her by way of explanation is, “Oh man, not again!”

The signs were there...

The signs were there…

I blame myself of course. I should have seen this coming, should have been prepared. I didn’t, I wasn’t. How could I have missed it. The signs were there.

<———-Who does that to beef and mushroom? That is an 18 month old with the taste for blood and the look of the devil. Tell me she’s not plotting something. This picture is the reason I haven’t taught her to use a knife yet.

Well she’s almost 3 now and learning to use scissors in pre-school, the proper way, not to pry open the fridge with or perform an appendectomy on her closest neighbor.

<———-But still.







Doughnuts on the Deck

So Mrs Frank’s Place headed north Friday afternoon to Lexington for a sorority reunion at the University of Kentucky. That left me and the kids alone for the weekend. Finally a little respite from the constant messes, demands, and all around chaos a child injured spouse brings.

Both kids were snotty and Frank was hacking so it was basically shut in time for Saturday and Sunday. My kind of weekend. Since both kids were down and out I decided we’d do all the cleaning on Saturday and run any errands on  Sunday morning and then I could fold clothes the rest of the day. We were on track too until an impromptu cave made from a lot of blankets started forming in the living room.

In the pantheon of messes in that room, it was small potatoes. But it still needed to be cleaned up. And this little Occupy Living Room hovel was jamming my schedule. The mess was getting bigger and the kids were getting lazier. How long before they form a drum circle and demand an equal share of the doritios? Gotta put a stop to this quick, fast, and in a hurry.

Our final errand Sunday was Target. Super Target to be exact, the kind with the grocery store inside. Passing through the snack isle both kids perked up at the sight of doughnuts. Ha! Got ya!

Hey you hippies. Y’all want some doughnuts?


Ok we’ll go home, clean up the living room, and then eat some doughnuts out on the deck, ya?

I want to eat on the deck toooo!

Yes Anne Marie, you get to eat on the deck too.

You need ya a Fuller bro!

You need ya a Fuller bro!

Like shootin fish in a barrel. Or whatever other euphemism you can think of for tricking someone into doing things you’d rather not do yourself. I’m happy I can mentally manipulate my kids so easily to my own benefit, but I worry they will grow up weak minded fools. Ah well, they did it to me when they were infants and no doubt they’ll turn the tables back on me soon enough when I’m in old people diapers.

So out on the deck we went. The adult in the group requested lunch before his doughnut. That Frank, always the buzz kill. Of course his copy cat of a sister now wanted lunch first too. So now I’m working to make lunch. Sammiches (as Anne Marie says), and carrot sticks. These kids are weird. We did have music though, and we did finally get to the doughnuts.

Keep in mind these kids don’t do kids music. Frank is a Bon Jovi fan and he cut his teeth on Frank Sinatra. Fly Me to the Moon and Livin On A Prayer are his favorites. AM on the other hand was serenaded in the NICU by Chuck Berry and Ray Charles. She goes into dance mode at the sound of Route 66, Johnny B. Goode, or You Are My Sunshine. If you don’t know who sang which song I can’t know you. Shout out to John Couchoud, Nickleback makes her cry.

Anyway the point being, DJ’ing for these runts ain’t easy, especially when they are all hopped up on carrot sticks and doughnuts. But man, hit the right tune and they get their dance on. Two unique styles too. Anne Marie dances like she’s tripping on acid which ultimately devolves into spinning in circles until she falls over and pees herself laughing. Frank looks like he’s being electrocuted. And then it doesn’t get much better. And then he falls and pees himself laughing. So a lot of laughing followed by a lot of pee.

Now before Mrs Frank’s Place comes on here to take me down a peg let me say I can’t and don’t dance, aside from the Tennessee Waltz with Mrs Frank’s Place at our own reception. At a friend’s wedding reception I let Tracy talk me into going on the floor for a fast song. I was handed a dollar to go sit down. Dance career over.

But it does my heart good to see my kids dance in semi-public without a care in the world, no matter their style. By the age of five I was already subconscious about that stuff. So the way I see it Frank is ahead of the game. Thankfully my wife’s joy of life has rubbed off on them.

Unfortunately my joy of cleaning up has not rubbed off on them and they tried to welch on the deal. Eventually Frank’s ethics got the best of him and he went in the house and began the clean up. They say music make workers more productive so I offered my rendition of the clean up song:

“Clean up clean up, everybody does their share. Clean up clean up, if you don’t I’ll pull your hair. Clean up Clean up, everyone will stop and stare.”

Hey man, I never claimed to be Mozart or even P. Diddy. No matter, it didn’t really have the desired effect. Production actually slowed as midget #2 was belly laughing at her father’s singing voice. Needed a new plan.

Turns out Johnny B. Goode is a better clean up song and the youngest runt got to work. And by got to work I mean undoing everything Frank was doing and dancing simultaneously. Much to the protestations of Frank.

Hey man, I'm union!

Hey man, I’m union!

There had been an offer of a 2nd doughnut for a job well done. Ya get zip for unfinished work. Well Anne Marie toddled off and Frank did the job himself. When I asked who earned a doughnut he took another one for the team and said Anne Marie had helped him.

He was lying but I can live with that. We told him his job is to protect his little sister. He seems to be taking it to heart, at least when it comes to snack time anyway.

So back out on the deck for doughnuts and dancin.

That’s a Sunday I could get used to.










Navigating the minefield that is kindergarten.

Hey, if you think this will be anything other than a post of me bragging about my kid, turn back now.

So after much trepidation and some accidental stringing along of the local Catholic School, we decided to send Frank to kindergarten. I was pretty confident we could help him through whatever troubles he might encounter. Well so far the boy is flourishing. He loves going to school, loves his teacher, and has made a lot of new friends.

As it turns out I am the one who may have not been ready for kindergarten. Pre-school was so nice. First and foremost, it started at 9am. Rule of thumb was get there no later than 9:15. Since both of our kids were sleeping till 8 – 8:30, that was awesome. Honestly neither Tracy nor I knew what it was like to be out of bed before 8am until Frank started kindergarten. Plus drop off and pick up was so friendly. People were glad to see you. I mean, one of the kids used to announce me when I rolled up to the yard to pick Frank up from Pre-school; “Frank, your dad is here!” I miss hearing that. There was just a general happy valley lets all learn together vibe about pre-school.

Now I have to get up at 6:30 every morning without fail. There is no slip factor in that. He has to be at school by 7:30. I know most of you are flipping me off right now, but bear in mind I go to bed around 12:30 – 1am. Of course I’ve adjusted that back to 10:30pm but it was nice having such a wide margin for error.

Then of course drop off and pick up is so different. And by different I mean bad. It’s bad. Very rigid, very unforgiving. Make one honest misstep and blows rain down upon you by people not fit to be in charge. No happy 4yr old yelling out to Frank that his dad is here, just Darla Drill Sargent checking my ID and pole-vaulting over her authority, chastising me to the point she put her own life in danger. Honey, bottom line, it’s just elementary school pick up not the Manhattan Project. With 700 kids I get it, there are morons in the pick up lane and I may have been one of them. Still doesn’t excuse your behavior. No matter, I talked Frank into riding the bus home. Problem solved. The drop off lane is a much smoother, calmer operation.

Those bumps aside it’s a great school. The principal is awesome and Frank’s teacher is the perfect match for him. I didn’t think he’d be excited about any teacher again after the two wonderful pre-school teachers he had for his final year there. But he took to his kindergarten teacher pretty quick. Always has a big smile on his face when anyone asks who his teacher is.

Very thankful for Beth and Leigh Ann

Very thankful for job Beth and Leigh Ann did.

Very thankful for the job Mrs Givens is doing.

Very thankful for the job Mrs Givens is doing.











Believe it or not we are 8 weeks deep into this kindergarten experience. And it has been an experience. Just 2 months in and I’ve been to 868 events. Maybe not that many, but it’s been a lot. One huge thing this school does is condense all that fundraising stuff into one night.

They don’t do wrapping paper, popcorn tins, car washes, etc… On one night they hold a “Great Harvest” fund raising dinner and auction. Adults only. This is the third or fourth year. This year’s take was approx $110,000 american dollars. I’m pretty sure they’ve busted the six digit mark all four years. The only fund raiser they do outside of that is the coupon book sales. That’s a blog post all it’s own, coming to your favorite blog very soon.

Great Harvest is pretty slick. Fun night out for the parents, gobs of money for the school, and no door to door crap for parents and kids a like. The ultimate definition of a win win scenario.

This is a good idea.

This is a good idea.

You know what else is slick, making their first day an ice cream social that only lasts about 3 hours. It’s held in the cafeteria so the kids even get the feel of what it’ll be like when they start full time. How slick is it you ask, well we all got tagged with a color depending on which of the six kindergarten classes our kid is in. It was then easy to find his teacher, classmates, and other parents of the kids in his particular class. Smart. I like smart.

The place is big on involving parents as I’m sure most elementary schools are. They even got me to run a race, a charity race where they throw paint or something at you and you end up all colorful at the end. Tons of fun. The University of Tennessee Track Team came to workout and run with the students. Frank got to work out and run with the women’s team. I trailed behind, ya know, didn’t want to cramp his style.

Rocky Hill Rampage 2014

Rocky Hill Rampage 2014

That’s us pre-race, hair still in perfect working order. Frank is styling the Rocky Hill Rampage official t-shirt and sunglasses. I, on the other hand, am rocking the official Property of Frank’s Place limited edition t-shirt.

The good folks of the PTO say I ordered a large. I replied, “Lady, I haven’t ordered a large since my junior year of high-school.” Unlike Frank, I am not making friends at kindergarten. Either way, my size large Rocky Hill Rampage shirt was in the van, leaving me to some shameless advertising of Frank’s Place.


Working out with the women of UT Track & Field

Working out with the women of UT Track & Field

Here is the lady killer showing out for the UT Women. Standing right next to his new college aged friend. Frank was in rare form. This might be a problem down the road.

It was funny and almost sad to see the big smile on his face as he ran with perfect form along side two of the girls who took a shine to the kid with the best hair in the school. I mean, if you’ve seen him run around the Sac… he’s not Jesse Owens is all I’m saying. Unless of course a couple of cute college kids are running with him, then he becomes the embodiment of Roger Bannister. (four minute mile, look it up)

Regardless of all the fun pictures, he’s actually engaged in some school work. The first week was learning to write his name. Well, he already knew how to do that thanks to pre-school. After the third day of this he took some liberties.

The task was to write their names down one side of the page and then again on the other side. Frank stayed true on the left side of the page, but on the right side…. Yeah he wrote his name in the reverse, mirror image all the way down the right side of the page so when folded in half, both sides lined up and it looked like one row of names instead of two. So Frank on the left became knarF on the right with the letters facing the other direction. Obviously I can’t do that part here, but you get the gist.

He struggled where we thought he would, letter sounds and reading. After some yeomen type work from him, his teacher and us, he’s writing sentences, reading his books, and has the alphabet down pat. Still lagging behind a bit, but gaining ground.

When they hit the first math segment he shot way a head of his class mates. Hell, the kid has been keeping his own score on the golf course since he was two, can add and subtract in his head, and solved this equation I wrote down for him: 2-x=1. It’s as basic as basic can get, but I was curious if he was guessing at numbers or actually thinking about them. When I asked him how he did that he said, “I just took away the x and the two lines (equal sign).” Welcome to Algebra I Frank.

After talking to his teacher we are finding out his mind may work a little differently when it comes to numbers and patterns. Asked to line up flat rectangle chips in a stair pattern starting with 1 and going up to 10, Frank took a different stair way to mathlete heaven.

Instead of laying his chips flat like the picture showed, he stacked his starting with one, ascending to 10. He made an actual stairway. I didn’t think anything of that until the teacher said she would have never done it that way and her mind would have never seen it that way. So guess what, learning to read is now more important than ever. Math is nothing but words and sentences laid out in numbers and formulas. I’m ecstatic he’s doing so well with math, but it sounds like a lot more work for me and Mrs Frank’s Place to get him reading on par with his class.

Another area where he is woefully behind and is another sign he might be a budding mathlete: art class. The Linardo side of the family tree has never been and will never be full of Michelangelos. My parents, seven brothers and sisters, and I didn’t have too many of our pieces hanging in the gallery that is the front of the refrigerator. Frank is following in those footsteps. I give you his first work in kindergarten:

Red in a sea of white.

Red in a sea of white.

Asked to fill the page with a drawing of his family, this was Frank’s effort. And make no mistake this is his 100% effort. I tag this as his early minimalist/cubist period. That’s him and his little sister if you couldn’t ascertain that from the work itself.

His art is coming along and he is meeting expectations in art class. This makes me curious about the expectations in art class, but not enough to look into it. He loves it so I’m good.

So while love may be a battlefield, kindergarten is a minefield. We’re 1/4 of the way in and we’ve lost our map of the mines.

Map or no map, Frank is running full speed ahead.

Sometimes reality makes no sense.

It’s a rare day when parenting and election politics intersect so clearly. My friends we are in rare days. The governor’s race in Texas just waded uterus deep into the discussion over when life begins, when it’s ok to end it, and baby clothes.

Yeah that’s right, baby clothes. I could try and describe it to you but a picture in this case is worth well over a thousand words.

The face of absolute evil ladies and gentleman.

The face of absolute evil ladies and gentleman.














If you’re still a little unsure of what you’re looking at and why it’s important and at the same time evil and moronic, let me help.

^^^^ Smuggy McSmuggerpants there is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. She is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Texas. Governor Rick Perry is term limited so the seat is open. Thank god she does have a challenger, Republican Greg Abbott, a wheel chair bound paraplegic. He has a sizable lead on Ms Davis.

Wendy became infamous for staging an 11 hour filibuster in the Texas Senate in an attempt to block Texas Senate Bill 5. The bill would, among other things, limit the murdering of unborn babies to less than 20 weeks, and force doctors who perform abortions to actually be doctors and have admitting rights at the closest hospital. That last part was an attempt to stop situations like what happened to innocent babies at the hands of the Philadelphia murderer Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering over 20 babies 24 weeks or older by cutting their spinal cords in the neck in his Philadelphia abortion mill. Let that sink in, 24 weeks or older. My daughter was born at 25 weeks, 1lb 12oz, and survived.

Gosnell was killing live babies by any standard. Here’s the link but I caution you, it’s graphic and nightmarish. House of Horrors  So ghoulish was the trial, the assistant prosecutor cried openly when the jury found Gosnell guilty on all counts. Texas Bill 5 sought to prevent horror shows like Gosnell from happening in Texas. Wendy Davis took to the Senate floor in her now famous pink Nikes to block that bill, adamant that the women of Texas have the freedom to abort babies after 20 weeks in the womb. The main thrust of her argument, those fetuses can’t feel pain.

Right so because they might not feel pain, which is a load of crap anyway, the babies should be candidates for murder like any other person unable to feel pain. Uh….. Say Wendy…. your opponent in this here governor’s race, isn’t he unable to feel pain from the neck down? Is that how you are going to erase that 14pt lead he has on you? But lets leave that irony for another day. There’s a bigger irony filling the windshield at the moment.

I mean for starters, what would any of her constituents do with a onesie? Those are for babies that actually are, ya know, allowed to live. How could she expect to raise a generation of Wendy Davis Democrats when she wants the freedom to murder the next generation? Who approved that sale item on her page? Is some intern not paying attention? Has she been hacked? I asked Frank what he thought must have happened:

No clue bro.

No clue bro.

Thanks a ton Frank.

Yeah that’s it, her web site was hacked. Has to be. How else could she explain selling a onesie after she became famous for advocating the murder of unborn babies in the third trimester? Yeah folks, Wendy is ok with killing babies after 24 weeks. She would call it late term abortion. And she wants to sell you this onesie to commemorate the event

Anyone with a .1% brain function knows a baby who makes it to 24 weeks is alive. There is no argument there. Know why? There are neonatale intensive care units across the counrty full of living babies born at 24 weeks or later. In fact those NICUs proabably have several babies born weeks earlier than that; babies who will survive and live normal lives.

How do I know that? I spent 5 months in the NICU at the University of Tennessee and saw it for myself. Oh and one other reason, well maybe two:

"I got your late term abortion right here Wendy!" BOOM!

“I got your late term abortion right here Wendy!” BOOM!

Thank you Lord that Wendy Davis is not my State Senator!

Thank you Lord that Wendy Davis is not my State Senator!











Anne Marie Linardo 25 weeks, 1 pound 12 ounces. L to R: Flipping off Wendy Davis from her hospital room at what should have been 35 weeks in the womb and starting pre-school, or as she calls it spree school, this year at the ripe old age of two.

Wendy Davis onsies…Sometimes humanity just makes me cry.




The post that started it all: The Kroger Lady Strikes Back!

Editor’s Note: We’ve been picking up new followers fast and furious around here so it occurred to me a trip back to where it all began might be in order. A little, “In the beginning…” if you will. To that end I give you the post that launched a thousand posts from November 2011. We’ve come a long way since then. 

One issue that really needs to be cleared up is the name of the blog. Frank’s Place is named after my son Frank. He was the inspiration behind it all. My name is Francis. In Italian tradition the first male child is named after his grandfather, so Frank is named after my father. While all three of us bear the official name of Francis, I’m the only one who still goes by that name. I am named after no one. There are eight kids in my family and my parents just ran out of options.

Francis John and Francis Allen. Two Franks 80yrs apart.

Francis John and Francis Allen, Seaville NJ 2010. Two Franks – 81yrs apart.

Francis John Linardo - Philadelphia 1930

Francis John Linardo – Philadelphia 1930











As you can see from those two shots, my dad and my son are Franks through and through. In an effort to simplify things all three of us have different middle names: my father is Francis John, I am Francis Michael, and my son is Francis Allen. That way there would be no juniors, or IIs, IIIs, etc….

Well, that was only half as confusing as I thought it might be.


The Kroger Lady Strikes Back

November 2011 - Frank's Place goes public. Frank was 2 1/2.

November 2011 – Frank’s Place goes public. Frank was 2 1/2 yrs old with a great mop.

“You get to spend all day with daddy today?” It was an innocent question, especially since it was aimed at a 20-month-old boy who couldn’t and didn’t care to reply. A bagger at the local Kroger supermarket was just trying to be nice to Frank. My reply, “he spends every day with his daddy.” That might have been a little quick and a little biting in tone and attitude. It probably sounded worse to me in continual mental replay than it did to her at the moment. It was mixed with a little pride but mostly frustrated amusement. There was no reason for it, the frustration that is. Well, plenty of reasons just not any good ones. The lady at The Kroger, that’s how it’s said down here in Knoxville – The Kroger, had absolutely no idea who she was engaging or that her simple, polite question to an amazingly cute kid would spark an entire day of grinding wheels in my head.

A quick The Kroger aside here. The first contact I had with indigenous personnel at my new duty station in The South revolved around The Kroger and went like this. “What cha know?” Now imagine that with a heavy southern accent and you might understand why my first reply was, “I’m sorry?” He repeated it again and then again. The third time I looked at my sponsor, (the loser of the short straw drawing who helps you in-process when you get to a new base), with a look that screamed “c’mon bro you wanna help me out here, I can’t understand a thing coming out of that man’s mouth.” My sponsor just stared back at me. Then the other guy says, “you need to get yursef down to The Kroger and get cha one uh dem Southern to English translators.” No I am not making this up. I spell em as I hear em. Now I did recognize a word in that sentence. Okay two words; The Kroger.

I knew The Kroger, as I had to stop at one on my way into town for an emergency Diet Coke; awesome grocery store and gas station. Now I drive past a family owned grocery joint to shop The Kroger. Don’t judge me. My inquisitor didn’t think I understood his advice and leaned in enough to make the close–talker from Seinfeld jealous and reiterated, “you understand THE KROOOGER?”

Ah yes, the universal language of slow and loud. For those unaware, even the ancient language spoken by the first civilization at Sumer can be understood by anyone if said slowly and loudly enough. Another side note; the Senior Master Sergeant who asked me the question and recommended the KROOOGER became and remains a good friend and revealed to me later that my sponsor put him up to that. I told him it was OK. We in the northeast take that stuff in good fun, seeing as how we won the war and all. Back to The Kroger Lady.

When I replied that Frank got to spend everyday with his daddy I got a completely different look all together. It went from this must be his Tuesday to have his son, as if it was negotiated in a divorce settlement, to aww poor guy must have lost his job. The lost his job look was loud and clear and I intercepted with “I’m retired”. She attacked with a “he’s retired, he can’t be more than late 40’s” quizzical glare. I quickly parried with a look that said I’m in my early 40’s in case you were wondering. She dodged and out-flanked me with a few quick glances down to my ring finger. Well played The Kroger Lady, well played.

This happens more than you would think. When people hear I’m retired at such a young age and not working another paying job they think I’m wealthy. If they know I retired from the military the thought goes from wealthy to maybe I was wounded. In this case The Kroger Lady must have felt I was the wealthy type and was checking my availability by eyeballing my ring finger. Yeah, egotistical I know, don’t judge me. As much as I was enjoying the conversation, I left her to figure it all out. The Scandinavian Masters was on the Golf Channel so me and Frank had to get home. Frank loves him some European golf. Plus the ice cream was melting.

I was relaying this story to a friend and he said “man you should write this stuff down, write a book”. I said Ok. So I’m writing a book. I’m retired, what else do I have to do? So this whole exchange is really the impetus for the book or what may turn out to be just a series of blog entries.

The Kroger Lady has no idea what she started.


We hope you enjoyed the look back to where and how it all started. We’ll return to our regularly schedule broadcast this week with Frank’s march through the minefield of Kindergarten.