Diary of a SAHD: Hurricane season, it’s always hurricane season.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

My problem is, unlike Frank, I can’t take my eyes off Anne Marie for a second. So when my sister Carol and I started messaging back and forth on Face Book “last morning” as Frank says, I took my eye off the ball. Turned out to be a wrecking ball.

So I’m gonna just get this out of the way right now.  Carol, my loving sister of 46 years, this was all your fault. There I said it.

Whew, that was tougher than I thought. Nothing at all like Celebrity Rehab.

OK on to recovery.

I live in the great city of Knoxville Tennessee, some 660 miles from the town of Mays Landing, just outside of Atlantic City, where me and my 7 brothers and sisters grew up. Only me and the Warden, my little sister Kathy, were born in that house. But we all grew up there. I’m the only one to leave. The rest stayed either in Mays Landing or the general area. Consequently, I don’t see them often; once a year, twice if I’m lucky. So when I get the chance to “talk” to one of my sibs, I think that’s how the hipsters say it, I try not to pass it up.

This is where the saying, no good intention goes unpunished comes from.


Underdeveloped? Yeah, I don't think so.

Underdeveloped? Yeah, I don’t think so.

In the 6 minutes we were Face Booking, (that’s a whole other discussion for another time), my not caught up to her peers yet, micro-premie of a daughter managed to:

-get the bag of fish from the pantry

-close the pantry door

-pull out a chair

-climb up while holding the bag

-open a previously unopened bag

-and spread the wealth up, down, and all around.

As Mrs Frank’s Place, who’s not particularly funny, would say, “You’re killin me Smalls.”

My wife also refers to Anne Marie as The Hurricane.

Here’s why.

Tropical Storm AM forms in my office.

Tropical Storm AM forms in my office.

At this point I’m not really worried. That’s not a big deal. I’m from South Jersey. I’ve lived through hurricanes, you’d think I would know better. They always start out small.

DVD’s and VHS tapes are the trailer parks of hurricane Anne Marie. Always the first to get it, always the most devestation by degree.







First the DVD’s, then the old VHS tapes, without much protection feel the initial brunt of what’s now a Cat 1 hurricane, officially named Anne Marie.

Picking up steam over the warm water by the bonus room.

Picking up steam over the warm water by the bonus room.

Eye of the storm.

Eye of the storm.












Where is FEMA when you need them?

Where is FEMA when you need them?

The back end of a hurricane is always the worst. The trailing edge can have winds double that of the leading edge of the storm. My pod casting equipment and some assorted survival items can attest.

I may be a little late for the next podcast Tony. Waiting for my relief supplies and federal money to roll in.






Then when it looked like the worst was over, the addicting sound indicating you have a new message on FaceBook signaled like a beacon through the chaos.

It was my sister Carol, 4th in the batting order, 2nd sister, messaging me to ask if I received this picture in my e-mail.

That's me. NJ 1970. I was more stylish then.

That’s me. NJ 1970. I was more stylish then.

In fact I had received it. We briefly discussed the level of my cuteness and Frank’s resemblance to me, or the other way around. Details are a bit fuzzy. Turns out being cute in 1970 doesn’t mean squat in 2013 when you have a 19 month old terrorizing the house, while the 4 year old sits idly by.

Finally, Anne Marie is upgraded to Cat 5 status and makes landfall in the living-room.

It’s not the same as a tornado or even a sharknado, which announce their presence with a freight train like sound.

No, this hurricane was silent but deadly, or SBD, a category up to this point reserved for gas attacks. Welcome to the new age.

The next shot may be hard to take. It’s not for the faint of heart. Be warned.


Little but fierce.

She eats lightning and craps thunder

Horrifying I know. Look away, L O O K  A W A Y!

She made short work of the living room. Debris from my office was found as far away as under the TV, so devastating was her power.

The picture left is testament to her force. She’s tossing a magazine holder from my office to and fro like a rag doll, some 30 feet from it’s original resting place. The magazines inside no longer there. Only God knows their fate.





Underdeveloped? Yeah, I don't think so.

Underdeveloped? Yeah, I don’t think so.

Then of course the final blow to the kitchen and a bag of rainbow colored fish crackers. Despite the warnings and all the obvious destruction, those little fish refused to evacuate the pantry, determined to stand their ground.


I’ll miss them.










Diary of a SAHD: Shoes, God help me, we need more shoes!

Pink shoes? Who dressed this kid, Stevie Wonder?

Pink shoes? Who dressed this kid, Stevie Wonder?

OK I get it now.

I finally understand.

It’s all good now.

So I’m dressing the kid for our normal Monday thru Thursday run to drop Frank at school. We’re right on the edge of either being exactly on time or a few minutes late. One dirty diaper, one wet burp, a minor spill and we’ll have blown our TOT, or Time Over Target hack. So precision folks, we’re talking precision here. Frank was ready. His sister was up next.

Frank’s school starts at 9am but the rule of thumb is be there by 9:15. After living so long in a world where being five minutes early is actually late, 9-9:15 is a huge window and we have never broken it. When Mrs Frank’s Place takes him… well that’s a blog for another time.

As I said I’m dressing the midget and I find this great shirt. Creme with very subtle red piping on the hem and sleeves. Nice. Need a good pair of pants. Nice red pants with a little frill on the buttock area practically jump out of the drawer at me. Awesome. Just have to make sure the reds are the same shade and magically they are. I say magically because they are not a matched set. This ain’t a closet full of germanimals my friends. You got to want it when you’re dressing Anne Marie.

Top it with a red bow. Now we’re cookin with gas, and it’s only Wednesday. Normally it takes me till Friday to get this in gear. Grab up her shoes and we should be out the door and might be a tick or maybe even a tock early to school.

Annnnnd stop. Hold everything. What in the hell… Those shoes have pink trim, for the love of… That looks like crap! How can that look like such crap? Completely destroyed that outfit. I’ll never be a design contestant on Project Runway, I’ll never get to kiss Hedi Kulm as she dismisses me with a sweet “Auf Wiedersehen.” By the way what a waste of a super model kiss on those fellas. I’m not sayin I’m just sayin. But even I know you can’t pair red pants with pink shoes!

She looks like she fell out of the reject bin at GoodWill.

And while we’re on this subject, how the hell does Good Will have a reject bin. I took a cable ready TV to those mutts a while back and they turned it down because it wasn’t a flat screen. Really? REALLY? Let that soak in for a minute. Does Knoxville have a higher grade of indigent or down on their luck types? Do we only get the good poor folk here? Well the next and last thing they get from me will be in a brown bag, smelly, and on fire, shot from the missile launcher of the Starship Frankerprise (our minivan). And the last thing they’ll hear is Captain Frank yelling, “Target in sight, load the Crapton Torpedos!”

OK I’m done. That little rant was a long time coming.

Well our time hack is blown now. I’m looking for shoes but I know they are not in there. Well bocci balls! We’re going with the pink shoes. What choice do I have?

My next thought was this kid needs more shoes. Two new thoughts quickly sprang from that.

First, I never thought that with Frank. He was much easier to dress. Second and probably most important, now I get it. Now all the shoes makes sense to me. With the male of the species it really isn’t a thing right? Just about anything we own will go with whatever non-descript shoes we’re wearing. I mean most of my old military uniforms go with the civilian shoes I own now.

So I get it now ladies, I get it and am in full agreement.

The one thing AM’s closet is missing is shoes. That is easily rectifiable.

To the Frankerprise Anne Marie! Lay in a course for The Mall.

In the event we do not return all search parties should begin looking for us in the Payless Nebula and work your way east from there.


Diary of a SAHD: Hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!

Pants are a little high, but yeah, that's me in 20 years.

Pants are a little high, but yeah, that’s me in 20 years. (illustration – iStockphoto.com)

I’m finding as I age there are just certain inevitabilities. Hair is graying. Various sagging is taking place. My vocabulary is slowly falling behind the current vernacular. Right there! See?! Did you see that?!!! Who the hell says vernacular anymore?

Anyway, as it turns out one of the more peculiar inevitabilities is my transformation into the “Hey you damn kids get off my lawn!” guy. Much like Annikan Skywalker, once I started down the path, forever has it dominated my destiny. I should have seen it coming; only retired dude on my street, more importantly the oldest dude on my street, there really was no way to avoid it.

On the first day of a new class at the NCO Academy I would tell my students, “Look around at your classmates. If you can’t find the jerkoff, then you’re it.” Well, I look around my street and I can’t find the “Hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!” guy. So…

It started so innocently.

In 2004, when we first moved in, some neighborhood kids were destroying our next door neighbors tree with croquet mallets. After I wrapped my diet coke addled brain around what in God’s name they were doing I went out on our deck and literally yelled over to them, “What in God’s name are you doing?” They looked up and then they ran.  They ran fast and they didn’t look back. They were hauling the mail back to wherever kids who disrespect other people’s property come from. Probably Newark NJ.

That was it.

My first step down the path.

Destiny meet inevitability.

Forward to summer of 2013.

Frank and I are in the backyard hitting golf balls. Through the trees we can hear what sounds like some kids trying to climb the fence to the neighborhood pool. We move in for a closer look. It’s a ten year old kid and what I thought was his two little sisters. He looks at me and says, “Hey do you have an electric drill?” No way this ends well.

“No I don’t have a drill.” Of course I do. I have an awesome electric drill and a cordless one too. But I’m not giving it to this kid.

While I start thinking about what a cool set of tools I have the kid turns to the other little kids and says, “How does a grown man not own an electric drill?”

I go all adult and say, “I’m sorry I couldn’t hear you. What did you just say?”

He goes all gangster; throws his arms out to his sides and juts his chest out proclaiming, “My parents built this pool!” The little girl next to him whispered, “No they didn’t.” I tried to say something and he did it again.

I finally said, “They built it eh. Good go get them I want to speak to them.”

Man, he went silent then turned nine shades of pale.

“I don’t know where they are.”

“Really you have no idea where your parents are. OK when and if you ever see them again you tell them I want to talk to them.”

“Uh, uh, uh, OK.” It must have dawned on this kid at some point that I had no idea who he was so really, unless he told his parents, there would be no way they would find out. His mood brightened a little and they all ran off.

Frank looks at me and says, “That’s an angry boy.” Yes Frank, yes he is. More than likely unless he either learns some manners or learns how to fight, someday he’ll be a toothless, angry boy.

A day later we’re watching some golf channel and someone knocks on the door. Frank runs to the door and yells, it’s a lady with a boy. I’m not trusting his analysis and it’s not registering. So I go to the door.

It was a lady and a kid. She asks me if I was in my backyard yesterday. Then it hits me. It’s the kid! It’s the smart-mouth kid! He actually told his parents?

Nope. Turns out the little girl was not his sister but a next door neighbor. She starts crying at dinner because she thought I was mad at her and tells her parents the whole deal. The girl’s parents call the smart-mouth’s parents and viola! Big shot is on my porch apologizing. I have to say I was impressed. Kid even looked me in the eye while speaking to me. That’s a sign of solid character. He just wrote a check his mouth couldn’t cash. And who hasn’t done that in their lifetime.

The little girl was collateral damage but such is life in the war for neighborhood supremacy. So if you’re keeping score at home, from that one exchange with the punk I was able to make 2 kids cry.

Not a bad days work for the “Hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!” guy.