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.