Diary of a SAHD: Running with scissors

First attempt with a utensil. Sure why not.

First attempt with a utensil. Sure why not.

Unlike a lot of the titles I dream up for my posts, this one is right to the point. Scissors – Point, get it. Ha, I’m here all week folks, tip your servers and try the veal.

But seriously, a friend asked me today if Anne Marie was easier to deal with than Frank. I really had to think about that. After careful thought I’m thinking there might be a minuscule window where Anne Marie will be easier to deal with than Frank. I’m also guessing that window lies somewhere between when she potty trains and learns to dress herself, and the millisecond after she potty trains and learns to dress herself.

Mind you I’m not a scientist and I have not frequented any Holiday Inns lately, this is just pure gut instinct.

I get some foul looks when I say what I’m about to say. The looks coming from Mrs Frank’s Place, mother of Frank and Anne Marie of course. But I’m gonna say it anyway.

My four year old Frank is a smart kid. He can add and subtract without using his fingers or counting out loud. His old nemesis, the alphabet, is even starting to bow to his mental acuity. Having said that, Anne Marie is smarter than Frank by quite a bit. It’s starting to boarder on freakish.

You’ve seen the ladder she was building to jump the safety gate on the stairs. That was 5 months ago. That was a small step. Yesterday she took a giant leap. Here’s a refresher picture of the “Gate Box incident of 2013”.

Yeah no problem, I won't touch the gate. I'll jump over it.

Yeah no problem, I won’t touch the gate. I’ll jump over it.

Monday, 25 November, she realized she was tall enough to reach the kitchen cabinet drawers. Ten minutes later I realized it too.

I come around the corner into the kitchen to find my micro preemie jamming a pair of scissors like a crow bar between the refrigerator doors in an attempt to pry them open. She would have made it too if I was a few minutes later. The freezer door was about to give way. When I asked her what she was doing, two things happened. I got a look that basically said, “Really Stevie Wonder, what does it look like I’m doing?” And then realizing the scissors were her only chance to get the fridge open, she pulled them out from between the doors and attempted to flee. Thankfully she’s no where near as fast as her brother and I managed to grab her up after a few steps.

She had a strange look on her face. Sort of like this:

Don't underestimate my power!

Don’t underestimate my power!

I’m not sure if that look is saying, “In a few months I’ll be so fast you won’t be able to catch me,” or “In a few months I’ll be smarter than you and speed won’t matter.” I’ll get back to you on that.

I still have no idea what she was after, but I do know there was something specific in that fridge. She expends no effort unless she has a goal. That much I have figured out about her.

Not one to rest on her laurels, while we stopped in to see Pastor Dave at Frank’s school, she quietly wandered over to his guitar case and had it open in about 2 minutes. I was half wondering if she was going to throw down a riff or two or whatever a cool word for playing guitar is.

After we got home she showed me how she could turn on my iPhone and open the twitter app. Of course she learned that little skill from Frank.

And for the record, any one who got some weird garbled tweets from me today, it was Anne Marie’s fault and had nothing to do with me accidentally OD-ing on Sudafed. I mean it wasn’t a meth head amount of Sudafed, but it was enough. My sinuses have never been more free breathing.

Anyway, the conclusion is Anne Marie will be much harder because as my friend Chris would say, “She’s wicked smart.” Plus what she’s not figuring out on her own Frank is teaching her. Add to that I’m 3yrs slower and dumber.

That my friends is not a good combination.

Second child easier, not by a long shot.

Diary of a SAHD: Tis the season…for reruns and snot

Frank doing some editing for the show

Frank doing some editing for the show

No, no, no. There won’t be any posts to read about snot. Just my way of announcing the sickness has come to Frank’s Place again and the entire house is sick. To that end it might be a bit before I can post.

Until such time enjoy a few videos of a show Frank and I did when he was about 18 months old.

The Frank-n-Fran show never really caught on. The pilot was a little clumsy and the following two episodes never lived up to the hype. Here are a few reruns till the authors can get up and typing again.

Take a look and what the world was deprived of. Might be a second or two to load.

I mean it’s not Regis and Kathy Lee, but we had fun.


Hope to be back at it soon.

Diary of a SHAD: A traitor in our midst.

There is a myriad of reasons Mrs Frank’s Place is out of my league. Way out of my league. Too many to name here, but one area in particular comes to the forefront as the college basketball season starts to wind up.

She’s a huge sports fan. This is a great quality but can be a double edged sword at times.

On the plus side we get to watch a lot of sports. A lot of college sports. She’s also a huge fan of the Olympics. One Winter Games I had pneumonia and was laid up for a week. We watched Olympic Curling all day long for like 6 days.

She also saved me a little embarrassment when I met the dude who ran the sports at the University of Tennessee. When we ended up in the same church group with the athletic director from the University of Tennessee, she pointed him out. I said, that dude? He said his name is Mike. She says yeah and he runs the Athletic Department at UT, he’s a big deal. I had no clue. I grew up on pro sports, being 45 minutes from Phila. He was just a regular dude to me. Still is.

As always I would regale my friends at the base with stories on Monday mornings and when I repeated this one a few were quite impressed. Although they were more than slightly embarrassed for me that I had no idea who or what an athletic director was. They were slightly bowled over that Mrs Franks Place had to explain the importance of it all to me. I’m all like, dude she’s a huge sports fan. ESPN plays in our house more than anything. We were once late for a Christmas Party so we could see the Heisman Trophy presentation the year Carson Palmer from USC won it. Their mouths hit the floor. When I said I was retiring to raise Frank, (and later his sister AM), she achieved goddess like status in their eyes.

But all that comes with a price.

She’s a Kentucky fan. As in University of Kentucky, class of 95, homecoming queen in 94. When I met her in 2000 living in Knoxville, Volunteer country, she would be pretty reserved during football, and a maniac during basketball season. When Kentucky routinely whupped Tennessee in basketball she would call all her friends in Knoxville to bust their chops. When we went to games I had to keep my head on a swivel as she would degrade and demean Tennessee fans in her all blue and white get up.

We went to the Kansas – Tennessee game in Knoxville in 2010. Kansas was ranked #1 in the country and Tennessee saw half it’s starting roster go to the slammer after being arrested for drugs/driving/alcohol stuff a few days prior to that game. With a band of misfits and walk-on players UT upset by God #1 Kansas. She wore blue and cheered for Kansas the whole time.

The last game we went to together. Made the CBS telecast too.  Tennessee crushed UK. It was awesome.

The last game we went to together. Made the CBS telecast too. Tennessee crushed UK. It was awesome.

We no longer go to games together.

She takes all the fun out of it. I’m no longer young enough nor do I have the desire to fight every hayseed who bleeds UT Orange, because my wife yells out “UT sucks” while we walk back to our car.

The picture left is us at our last game together. UT beat Kentucky by 30. In the picture you can see Tracy is worried about the score. I’m clearly calculating the hotdog to fan ratio and thinking I should make a run to the concession stand before the buns go empty.

I can live with the UK stuff for the most part. But it’s starting to rub off on my kids. And now I have a problem with it.

We have essentially swapped gender roles. Regardless of how much you hear about stay at home dads being on the rise, we’re still a minuscule part of the population. Not even 1% if I remember correctly. So I get that we’ve swapped and I’m cool with it. I’m the most secure dude I know, and this was my choice. And I have swapped with a person who could easily fill the traditional man’s role as it pertains to sports. I mean, she runs like a wounded duck but she can dissect football, hockey, basketball, curling, you name it.

She doesn’t pick winners based on mascots or helmet design. When we entered pool for the NCAA BBall championship, I won, but she came in second. It was a huge group and the winners take was over four digits. In other words there were a lot of people in this thing and she beat them all except me.

But still, introducing the kids to sports is my job. Or so I thought. It’s one role I wanted to keep. But the force is strong with Mrs Frank’s Place and she hates Tennessee sports with a white hot passion.

Et Tu Grammy?

Et Tu Grammy?

Because of that, Frank learned to chant C-A-T-S cats, cats, cats (as in Kentucky Wildcats) when he was two. Whenever any of my students would give us Tennessee apparel for our new arrival, Frank in this case, she would hide it. When I did manage to get him in an Orange and White onsie, her mom took him upstairs to change his diaper and he came down wearing UK Blue.

Here’s Grammy indoctrinating the boy at Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky.




We’ve even tried compromise:


188523_4782989174659_1713387405_n 311220_4782980774449_172109976_nDidn’t work because at the end of the day the boy still chants C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats.

I try to explain to her that I’ll have to teach him how to fight as he goes to a Volunteer dominated school in his blue a white Kentucky garb.

I even used the old, “why are you ruining this for me, this is a sacred thing between a boy and his father.” She’s unfazed. I get crickets out of her.

Well I’ve come to the realization that Frank is a lost cause. I’ll never be able to enjoy going to games with him because he’ll shout all manner of obscenities his mother taught him at anyone wearing UT Orange. Being a fan of UK means hating UT. I can’t enjoy sports like that.

So she can have Frank.

Literally born and bread a Vol for Life.

Literally born and bread a Vol for Life.

But this one is mine.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center is the only reason we have Anne Marie.

Without the people at the UT NICU Anne Marie would not have made it.

So Orange and White it is. Guess what I’m stuffing her stocking with this Christmas.

The sweet irony; even though she won’t need to, Anne Marie already knows how to fight.