One last trip.


As I locked up and left her house for what would be the last time, I did not expect to feel the way that I did. I looked back at it’s emptiness and I was sad.

Today my brother and I have the closing on her house. After today, we’d no longer be responsible for the house. The sense of relief I was expecting, knowing this would be my final trip through the house was missing. Today, the house would be transferred to another owner and someone else would start another chapter in this humble house.  As I performed one final walkthrough, I was surprised how much more pronounced the echoes were today; in my last few visits I must have missed it. I’m sure that these sounds had always been there; today with it’s emptiness, the knowing that these four walls had previously contained so much life, now seemed dead.

Each step I took, each creak was not muffled, but instead each sound had a sharp point on it , almost an exclamation point. The echoes today did not seem organic; made of wood and clay and lumbering slowly, but instead they seemed forged of steel and stone and darted around quickly with a greater intensity than I recalled.

I’m sure the place was like this on moving day nearly 4 years ago, but my Mom saw something in it that she’d make hers. She always had a true instinct of seeing the long term, seeing the forest through the trees much better than I ever could.

During her brief time in the house, she made the house hers, with her own unique sense of tasteful minimalistic styling. She used to joke about the house having a feng shui to it, but I think she had nailed it. Each item had to have a reason for being there, even if it’s sole purpose was to make her happy and comfortable in what would be her last years, there was not a sense of clutter when you were in it. In her early days in this house, there was a design sense to it. In her last months, it was purely for comfort and convenience, and it had to be kept clean.  It was always clean.

Thinking back, I thought I’d be more relieved not having to make that half hour trip to her house. But I’m not. I’m going to miss the trip, I’m going to miss the trip’s simplicity. The early morning stops for breakfast sandwiches on our way down, making sure we got an apple cinnamon bagel. Or maybe we were just going to go to the diner for breakfast, the five of us, or on rare or special occasion, the nine of us.

Pull into the driveway. Open the garage door and enter. Open the laundry room, and there is waiting for you; that smell. It’s like an old friend.

Oh, that smell. I can’t count how many times I’ve completed those steps and experienced that smell.

What was that smell? It was not a bad one, just a distinct scent. The scent was almost cedar like, but not quite. I have no idea what it was, maybe a cleaning product maybe it was dryer sheets? Maybe it was something from her dog?

I will never, ever, forget that smell.

What I wouldn’t give to have a reason to make that trip again, to have my Mom waiting on the other side of the laundry room door, waiting for that fresh apple cinnamon bagel.


Do I really have to drive there?

My Wednesday commute included 7:00a traffic approaching the GWB on my way to White Plains, NY.
I so did not to want to drive there, I don’t know what it is about North Jersey traffic that I detest so much, but I think I’d rather driver twice as far south or west then drive north during rush hour.

I hate it so much!!


Just when you think your day is bad.

I was listening to This American Life on a my commute back from Long Island to Southern New Jersey today.  In this podcast, I listened to a mother tell a heart wrenching story about her struggles with her eldest son’s behavior toward her and his younger siblings.  So the next time you think your day is bad, read or listen to this family’s struggle in trying to keep a family together and provide unconditional love to their eldest son.

The family’s blog.

Audio podcast of This American Life.




My me time

It’s after 8:30 in the morning, and I sit at my kitchen table, winter sun shining in through the windows, I am the only one awake in my house right now.

My wife was awake a little earlier, but has chosen to try and go back to sleep after her morning pee when she asked me to turn the volume on the podcast I was listening to in bed down a little.  Before coming downstairs myself, I checked on my kids, my oldest had another night where she had almost completely wrestled her covers nearly off of her bed.  When I checked, her lower back and feet were exposed to the chilly morning air.  It’s a crisp 11 degrees outside this morning and the house is proportionally chilly.  I straightened out the covers and recovered her back up. Immediately after doing so, she went from the fetal position she most likely spent the last few hours in trying to keep warm, to a full on stretching out underneath her comforter and blanket.  I received no visual or audile clues from her that she was ready to waken.  Next, I checked on my son, who was bundled up in his bed  and appeared to be very content, after I quietly asked if he was still asleep he gave me a slight nod , telling me he wasn’t ready to leave the warmth of his bed just yet.  After I softly told him that I’d see him down stairs a little later, he flashed the sign for I love you.

I’m sitting here, looking at the steam coming off my cup of coffee while I feel the suns rays warming my face.   The sound of the furnace blowing warm air is below me in the basement while I feel the warmth it’s providing on my lower legs.  In another hour, the house will be fully awake and we will come up with an adventure for the four of us to have today. Image

This my me time.

My comfort zone.

Today, I’ve basked in my comfort zone.  Both of my kids are sick, and both my wife and I are not feeling great.  My daughter has a sinus infection that has found it’s way to into her eyes.  She’s a trooper and has not let her lingering cough from the last two weeks get her spirits down.  My son, who’s dealing with a sore throat and a mild fever today and is simply not himself.  They both did visit the doctor yesterday, however, his strep test came back negative.  Their explanation; his molars are coming in.  After seeing him today, I don’t buy this explanation, but not sure what else can be done at this point.  Poor kid.

We’ve stayed at home yesterday and today, minus the Dr. visits yesterday morning.  We all slept late today and we had breakfast around noon today, a simple one of sausage and croissants.

My daughter sits on the couch next to me, with her headphones on, she’s playing games on Disney’s website and I occasionally hear her talking to herself or the game.  My son, is resting up in my bed watching TV in our bedroom.  He’s bundled up under the covers and we’re waiting for the next time we give him some Tylenol to help relieve him of his head and throat pain and reduce his fever.

I did some Christmas shopping today on Amazon today.  I got gifts for my wife, both of my kids, and for my Mom.  I think today’s purchase was the most items I’ve purchased in a single sitting, though not the most expensive.  I’ve vowed to my wife, that I was going to try and do all of my shopping online this year, avoiding stores as much as possible and the anxiety that goes along with seeing empty shelves.  There’s still more that I want to get, but I think I’ll wait until my wife gets paid next week.

I’ve been sitting on the couch this afternoon watching the Eagles game, where they seem to be on their way to another win under Nick Foles leadership.  There’s less about 6 minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles are up by 10 over the Cardinals.  I have the game on mute and I’m listening to my favorites playlist on iTunes.  My wife is at the grocery store right now.

Right now, despite everyone not feeling 100%, I thought this was a good weekend.  I was off on Thursday and Friday for the holiday, add in Saturday and Sunday and the 4 days off was just enough to recharge my batteries.  The weather has been typical Delaware Valley fall weather, cool and cloudy.  I’m not sure the sun had come out at all over the last few days.  Despite not seeing much of the sun over the last few days, my energy level is up.  I’m in a very good mood right now, and have everything I need.

I do not want today to end, despite everyone not feeling well, I only wish they’d start to feel better.