Tag Archives: dailypost

This Dog Is Beat

One of the Psalms saieth something or other about how “at least the honest man can get a good night’s rest.” Well friends, I’m tired. I’m not sure that speaks much to my honesty or not but it’s been a long day. The dog (pictured above, my schizophrenic Jack Russell) and I are headed to slumber town. As I tell the kids, “Don’t forget your night prayers and for heavens’ sake, BRUSH YOUR TEETH!”

Where Was I?

Oh yes…

I think I was last writing about some existential crisis in my life or other. OK, you got me. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything on this page. Here’s the story in a nutshell for those who still follow…

In the past year I quit my job as a vice principal. Yes, it’s the same one I bitched about wanting for years. I did it because I wanted to teach my own kids and because COVID. I started another blog and a YouTube channel. Did that go anywhere? That’s a big fat NO but not for lack of trying. You see, just as things were heating up we had a death in the family. One of my brothers-in-law, a man who will forever be remembered by those who knew him for his extraordinary kindness, died three weeks ago after a long illness. Forgive me for taking some time off. Also, did I mention COVID? I think the last few times I posted on this page I was detailing how I had finally gotten in really good shape after years of struggling with my weight and lack of athleticism. COVID hurts. I think I had it at one point early on but who can say? But what I can say is that about a year ago I stopped doing anything physical and completely let my diet go to hell. I’m blaming COVID Try to stop me.

In a nutshell, I am now a homeschooling dad with a failing YouTube presence and a gut exceeding the size of the state of Montana. But as anyone who knows me can tell you, I do eventually get back up, get back on the proverbial horse, and strive to achieve some semblance of “not-suck” in my life.

A few days ago, following Thanksgiving and my 43rd birthday, I decided it was time to try something new. Or something old, who can really say? Back to writing? Perhaps. A renewed interest in my media presence? Possibly. Trying to shed 20 pounds of excess fat and get a few of my once-visible abs to pop again? BINGO!

Long time readers will remember a character I introduced years ago known simply as “the Trainer”. Trainer is a friend of mine who is the envy of every man half his age. He’s now 40 years-old and still in phenomenal shape. As he touts with the excitement and nervous embarrassment of a five year-old boy, “I have ab veins,” whatever they are (and don’t tell me you haven’t Googled that one.). He’ll hate me for writing this but it’s true and he should shut up and take the compliment. He is a very holy and very humble man who trains his body not for vanity’s sake but because it is a temple of the Holy Ghost. And boy is he good at it. He runs like a demon out of hell. He does all kinds of body weight exercises because he can. He’s inspiring. I am not him and have finally realized in the past few years that I never will be him. But I realized that I am me and with some determination I can be a pretty good me. Two years ago I started taking my fitness and health seriously and by one year ago I had gotten into the absolute best shape of my life. This was in part inspired by the Trainer. After years of hearing his words I finally understood them. He wanted me to forge my own path and discover the secrets of training for myself. I’m happy to say, that thanks to his inspiration, I essentially did just that. It’s never been a competition but if I had to compare I think I may have given him a run for his money (said with a wink). I was in my early 40’s and pretty well defined, conditioned, doing things I’d never dreamed of doing. And then I let it go. But it’s not as if I am an extremely insecure man who’s always doubted whether anyone actually loves me and you can all stop laughing now.

So who did I turn to when I wanted to get back in condition? You guessed it. Last week I reached out to the trainer the day after my birthday and asked him if he could write up a program for me to get back in relatively good condition. I was straight with him. I said I was really concerned mostly about good health and overall conditioning, not necessarily my physique, although I understood that if I followed any decent plan I would achieve that as well. And he showed up at my door the next night with a plan. Unfortunately that plan was heavy on the one thing that he knows I have hated doing since he first tried to train me years ago – running. Aside from the fact that I have to quit smoking, I just hate running. But I committed to it and I keep my commitments.

Last night I worked through Day 1 of his reconditioning plan. I died. This is my essence typing this post. It’s pretty on the other side and I thought that years or bitchy sneakiness about ALL my neighbors would have merited a more fiery afterlife. Tonight I texted him to let him know I was sticking with it, despite my recent death. Do you know that he texted back he was on his way to run it through with me? As in, no joke, he came over and did my workout with me! He is a good man and I appreciate his presence.

Tonight I found that I didn’t cough up a lung. It was still hard as hell but anything worth doing is. I wonder if he gets that part of why I want to do this – especially now that he’s involved – is to impress him. I really want to show him that I admire his dedication so much that I want to do well for his sake – so he can look and say, “I did this to this corpse of a man. I turned him into something resembling me.” That’s not a bad thing. And I hope he sees my admiration and affinity for him for what they are. He is dedicated. He is strong. He is in good condition and that didn’t happen by accident. And I hope to be that too.

In 9 weeks I’m supposed to be able to complete a “Murph Challenge” which is a one mile run followed by 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another mile run. This guy thinks I can do it. Until last night I hadn’t run in four years and haven’t done a single pull up in at least a year. The push ups and squats were fine. It was humiliating to demonstrate these facts to him tonight but I showed him I wouldn’t give up. I’m grateful he thinks I can do it even if he did chastise me for having difficulty with the 1/4 mile sprint. Look I already died last night so it couldn’t possibly happen again, right?

Tomorrow it’s on for three sets of the same. I hope and pray it really does get easier. If not I’ll be completing this Murph from another realm.

Bottom line: I love this guy. He’s always been willing to lend his own time and experience trying to get the unseemly of this world like me to be more seemly. Prayers for increased lung capacity are always appreciated.

Would You Do Me a Favor?

Remember that new blog I mentioned last week? Well, it’s up and running! It’s still in its infancy but I would sure appreciate all the support I can get. So, if you’ve enjoyed reading my posts over here, could you kindly link over to the new one and subscribe? It’s would mean the world to me. Thanks!

It can be found here: Teaching With Tim

Something BIG is Coming…

Miss me?

I kind of did as well. I just checked and it seems that my last entry on this blog was posted March 1st, 2020. That’s “pre-COVID” if you hadn’t figured it out. I guess, like a lot of people, I was just focused on other things for the past few months. It’s the height of irony for someone who loves to document life. Think about it. The most bizarre year of any of our lifetimes comes along and I can’t bring myself to write a solitary word about any of it.

I believe in the silence, we sometimes find answers to the big questions in life.

These past five months have been a blessing for me. They have been filled with many wonderful memories – memories that, for now, will remain untold on these pages and bound up only in the collective mind of my family. You all know by now that this blog has been a way to document the life of my family as my kids have been growing up. Don’t worry, they’re not quite grown yet. There are many more stories to record and to share.

But I think these times God gives us – times like a national lockdown – force us to confront the question of what is most important in our lives. For me it has always been God. It MUST be God. He is at the center of all that I hope to do and be – “my first beginning and last end,” to quote the daily missal. To love is to sacrifice, to give oneself to God, whole and entire. We do this in giving ourselves to our spouses, our children, the Church, society. I have always harbored a desire to be loved. It is a desire with which I have struggled in many ways. And yet I know that it is far greater to love. I hope that my love for my wife and kids has shown through in the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve committed to this space over the years. But to love them means to sacrifice myself for them. Now I am preparing to embark, for them, on what is perhaps my greatest task in life fully realized. Let me tell you.

Christ, the Great Teacher. “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” (stained glass, Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic church, Newark, NJ)

Two things in particular have happened in the past few months to spur this realization. First, there were the hours and days and weeks spent with the kids. My wife works from home in a cozy office off the back of the house. We try not to disturb her during the work day. But yours truly is a school administrator/teacher. We got shut down. Just like every other parent in America I found myself suddenly teaching my own kids. My situation was a bit different. For starters, I had always wanted to teach my kids in a formal setting. It’s why I went to work at the school were I did – so the kids would be with me and one day I would have them in class. I know, I’m that dad. Although they say they think that’s a “cool” idea now, I’m not sure how they’d feel in high school. And I have even reached “Master Dad Joke” level within the International Society of Dad Humorists so I was just waiting to lay puns and set snares with an intellectual bent that would make anyone’s head explode. Yet here we were, unexpectedly getting that chance; while I was simultaneously teaching other kids online and helping to run a K-12 school.

Three months. We did this for three months. We got creative and got plenty of exercise walking around the neighborhood or riding our bikes. We laughed. We cried. We struggled. But it was sooooo worth it.

Another thing happened recently. This one affected me more than the kids. Two weeks ago one of my older brothers committed suicide. He had a wife of 27 years and two grown kids. I will never understand why he did such a thing. Please pray for his soul and for his family. Something shook me about this. Did the lockdown mess with him? He was one of the most social creatures I’ve ever known? There’s no sense trying to find an answer, though. It is over. It is final. Pray for him. When I say something shook me, I mean that the fragility of life came to the fore of my own life once again. We’ve lost so many over the years. We cannot go forward as though all is doom and gloom. Yet at the same time we have to use these moments to focus on what is truly important, just like we might see good in the lockdown if we understand that we got more time together as a family. Don’t get me wrong. I think the lockdowns were useless and politically motivated and you can call me a nut but the curve was flattened a long time ago. Nonetheless, it gave me time and his death gave me pause to reflect.

I have one solemn charge in life and that is to get my wife and kids to heaven. I need to teach them their faith and about the world around them. I need to pray with them every day, go to mass with them every day like my dad taught me. I need to give them everything I have. And I’m the one to do it. Just look at me! Every moment of my life prepared me for this. And right now you’re asking what I’m talking about…

Wait for it…

After fifteen years in education as a teacher and administrator, after more than a decade of documentary blogging, after years of working in broadcast media, having served varied school communities, television networks, and a brief stint driving live lab mice to the airport; I am leaving it all behind. Starting in a few weeks, I will be the principal of my home. Since I was only ever vice principal, I guess I just gave myself a promotion. My two kids will be getting up with me every morning to do what is most important – praise God and live out our family life together – while I teach them the “Three R’s” and try to keep them away from Mommy’s office. I’m excited beyond belief. I know I can do this. I hope they’ll be cooperative when the going gets tough. And you my dear readers, both of you, already know that there’s no way I’m starting this new chapter in my life without chronicling all the gory details. Look for a new blog to start soon (either right here or under a new domain). And if you have any friends (like the million or so Americans who are also crazy enough to try this same stunt) who want to follow and read along, send them my way. The adventures of a now-former vice principal who quits his job to be a homeschooling dad might just be anybody’s cup of tea in these insane times.

The Other Flight: Planespotting AA’s Heritage Fleet

In my last post I mentioned catching a glimpse of an American Airlines plane that had been painted in the livery of Allegheny Airlines. Thanks to a little research I can tell you more about this interesting situation.

Allegheny had at one point changed its name to US Air (later USAirways) which eventually merged with American to form the world’s largest airline. Other “heritage” planes in American’s fleet include planes painted in the liveries of TWA, Piedmont, PSA, America West, Air Cal, and Reno Air. Seven distinct planes. Seven. Out of tens of thousands of aircraft in the world there are just seven that fall into this category.

I mentioned being an aviation buff. I have also written about my time working as a medical courier and the many trips I would take every day through the sometimes mysterious world of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It was on one such courier drive about two years ago that I first encountered these heritage planes. While cruising the service road past Terminal C one afternoon, a mere stone’s throw from dozens of aircraft, I crested a slight hill and was met with the sight of the TWA/American – a B737 with the iconic red “TWA” painted on the tail. I went home and quickly looked up what this could mean and that’s when I first learned that there were others. So seeing the Allegheny/American A319 today at Reagan National Airport was a treat for me indeed. I feel as though I need to spot the other five now.

But back to my research from earlier today. Enlarging the picture on my laptop I plugged the tail number into flightaware.com and up popped our Allegheny. It showed that it had just touched down in Boston inbound from Charlotte-Douglas. Going back to that flight’s inbound segment I found this…

For the record, my own flight – on Southwest – took off moments later.

For the guy who just has to know everything about how the world around him works – especially when airports and airplanes are concerned – this was like uncovering a gold mine, except without the gold. As a kid I used to look up and wonder where each plane was going, what kind of people were on them, and where they came from. Today I spotted a plane from my youth and, through the magic of modern world, was able to find out where it was flying. I suppose I can live without knowing much more about the folks on board.

I Just Need to Write Something

I entered the year with high hopes of getting back to the hobby I love – writing.  Well, God saw fit to stick me on a plane with a laptop and not much else to do.  So here we are.

I am returning from a convention in the nation’s capital. I had tons of fun. I met many people that (at least) I consider famous – mostly YouTube celebs but some other true, famous folks. The reason I want to write is because my son wants me to write. Remember how I told you that I had been reading old posts to him? Well, after several months of this I’m almost running out of posts! So he admonished me to write more. Coming right up, son.

A nice treat for an aviation buff like me… American Airlines has painted several of their planes in the liveries of airlines they’ve acquired or merged with over the years. This one is an old Allegheny jet on the tarmac at DCA.

But the question is, as the title says, what do I write about?

I could write about coronavirus.

Wow, great going Harvey.  Stoke the panic.  In reality, I do not know what this is all about.  I am sure that when I read my grandchildren these posts years from now; we will scratch our heads and say, “What’s coronavirus, Grandpappy?”  I have determined they will call me ‘grandpappy’ because it sounds fun.  I will say that my flight is half-full which is odd for a Saturday afternoon direct flight.  Nothing more to write about on this Wuhan one.

I could write about how much I love and miss my kids.

The past few days I’ve been away I have enjoyed visiting with the good friends I’ve missed seeing in this part of the country.  I’ve loved hearing talks by people I admire.  I’ve really been thrilled by the availability of the speakers in the hotel lobby and their down-to-earth-ness.  But nothing to me will ever come close to being with my kids.  They’re growing up too fast.  Every minute passes too quickly.  And three days away from them is an eternity.  I’m really looking forward to walking in the door and shouting “Daddy’s home!” and being greeted by silence because they’re fixated on anything else.  Perhaps they missed me too?

I could write about the kid kicking the back of my seat.

Nope.  I’m sure my children did the same once upon a time and it’s a hardship I will lovingly endure.

I could write about this…  I’m watching live TV in-flight.  This service carries the New York local stations and I’m watching my old favorite, WNBC.  When I was a kid, the production value, the talent, just everything about this local station drew me in and made me want to be a news anchor.  We know how that turned out.  But the weird thing is that in the few years I’ve been gone from the New York area things have changed.  The studio is smaller, the music isn’t as driving, and the male anchors… I almost can’t bring myself to say it… they have no ties.  This is disturbing to me on so many levels.  A man presenting the news on television should always have a tie neatly tied around his neck.  I can’t say any more about this; but I will.  It is truly sad.  I do not want casual.  I want you to let me know you care about me.  And it wasn’t just the main anchor.  It was the sports and weather guy too.  Shout out to Al Roker and Len Berman who used to fill these roles waaaaay back in the day.  And you KNOW that my favorite broadcasters ever – Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons – would never let this happen.  Perhaps it’s an appeal to millennials?  No, that’s not right.  Not everyone born between certain years lacks intelligence.  Although…  Two nights ago I stood outside a public house in Washington as a young woman approached me to borrow a cigarette.  My lighter had been absconded at a security checkpoint so I offered her a small book of matches.  She actually said to me “Um, I don’t… I just don’t know how to use those; or even what they are…”  Matches, sister, matches.  Close cover, strike.  It’s not that complicated.

I think they’re trying to land the plane now so I kind of have to go.  Shame I never came up with a topic or four about which to write.

Nails and Gins

My mom is in town for a visit and to attend the upcoming wedding of my sister-in-law.

So I took her to get her nails done before the wedding. There’s a reason men shouldn’t be in these places. Mom picked out a color and then said “Maybe I’ll get one nail done up in something special,” while pointing to something with glitter. “Like a coke nail?” I asked with some incredulity. The woman has seen her share of Law & Order so I thought maybe it was a thing. “We call that an ‘accent nail’,” said the woman behind the counter.

Lots of colors.

You learn something new every day. Next it’s off to the hair place. Perhaps we’ll find some gin along the way.

Speaking of gin… In late November a big, beautiful, upscale liquor store opened nearby. Since I am a big, beautiful, upscale drunk this was a natural fit and made me very happy. Those of you who’ve ever known me know that I have a penchant for gin. Recently a friend shared an article with me that declared that those who drink gin and tonic are psychopaths. It didn’t say we were “likely to be” psychopaths. No, this hurtful group of words masquerading as a scientific journal said straight up that I’m a psycho. Sure, drinking gin has been likened to drinking a bottle of Chanel No. 5 and the British did attribute the collapse of their country’s middle class to gin a few hundred years ago. Where was I going with this? Oh yes, the liquor store…

Lots of gin.

I’ve made a resolution not to buy the same bottle twice until I’ve tried all the gins I haven’t tried. This place has a whole aisle devoted to my favorite spirit so it might take a while. Then again, I’m a psychopath so maybe not. Recently I tried Aviation which was nice but had notes of something I’m not quite sure of. In other words, it wasn’t great. Last night I picked up a bottle of Oregon Spirit. This made me think of the Oregon Trail. If I get dysentery and die from drinking this I will be quite peeved.

That’s all.