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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Piano Lesson Money

 Is he musically inclined? We'll have to see. So far, he's showing some interest beyond driving his Matchbox cars and Thomas trains over the keys. The Bubs actually sat down with his cousin, Grace, and tickled the ivories. Or, should I say "plastics," since it was an organ.

This is not just any organ either. It is a Hammond Model T-582 and it belonged to the Bub's great grandma C. It now sits inside the Bub's uncle's home and blends into the background. It no longer sits in the living room at 1 Norfolk Drive, Toms River, NJ where it was the center of xmas singing every holiday season. The Bub's great grandfather played each year. He loved to sing too. Nobody plays it anymore. Now it has started the process of being passed along to various family member's homes. It started off at the Bub's aunt's home and now it resides at his uncle's. Who's next on the list? Good question. Ebay? Don't be silly - it's a family heirloom. It's priceless (but it looks like it could fetch anywhere between $100 to $300 on Craigslist). ;)

Maybe it will find a home in the Bub's house one day? Maybe he'll have a piano instead? Either will be a benefit since his mom and I are hopeful that he'll take lessons. His mom took lessons and can play, but it's been a while. I took a few lessons too, but there's a story attached (of course).

I was taking lessons in Highland Lakes, NJ as a kid. My mother used to drop me off nearby beach #7, where I would take lessons at my piano teacher's house. My teacher had a pretty nice piano in her living room. I remember her hosting a piano recital at her home one night. She invited all her students' families. I remember being nervous as I hung out with the other students in the family room listening to our fellow student play for all the parents (and the teacher). I remember all of us wincing each time one of us struck the wrong key. It was fun. However, all that ended the day that I was dropped off for a lesson and my teacher was not at her home.

My mother had already driven off, so I had to walk back to my house. Somewhere between my teacher's house and my house, I lost the $7 piano lesson money. My mom was angry. That mistake apparently ended my piano lessons. Sad, but true. I can still remember that walk home. I still think I can remember where I may have lost the cash. I doubt it's still there - 30 years later. Perhaps this $7 could have cost me a life as a concert pianist?  Doubtful.

The Bub's cousin, Grace, is musically talented. She plays a host of instruments and even showed the Bubs a few notes on the keyboard this day. Maybe we can ask Grace to give VJ lessons when he's older? Maybe he'll be a concert pianist? Maybe Grace will be a concert pianist?

Just in case, I'll be sure to electronically deposit any piano-lesson money DIRECTLY into Grace's account 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Trip and the Chair(s)

We rested a spell after lunch in Monterey, VA (on our way to Snowshoe Mountain, WV). We found a big old porch with a few rocking chairs to kick back on while the Bubs finished his ice cream cone. The porch belonged to the Highland Inn, established in 1904 (a.k.a. Hotel Monterey).

The Bubs enjoyed hanging out with his cousin, Gavin, during the trip. Gavin was quick with his iPhone, for playing the Youtube videos on demand, when the Bubs was not able to handle his time strapped in a car seat. We kept the driving distances under  4 to 5 hours each day and made multiple stops as well. No two-year old should have to endure such torture and no parent should have to endure the two-year-old's lack of endurance.

I remember my childhood in the car on many, many road trips with my mother. When our home dwindled down to just the two of us, she would take me on many trips with her. We took trips to far away friends homes and we went on many trips to my grandmother's home. We also drove to the meeting point where my parents exchanged me for weekend visits with the other. The passenger seat became my bed on many trips, as well as my dining room chair and my living room rocking chair. Driving long distances became part of my DNA.

When my wife asked me to if she could take over the driving (about 30 minutes before we stopped for lunch in Monterey), I resisted. However, there was really no debating the issue since we were driving through windy mountain roads and her pregnancy was making her car sick. She needed to take over the wheel as we navigated through the Shenandoah Mountains to keep her stomach at bay. She drove us to Monterey.

The hotel's porch was old, but solid. The rocking chairs didn't squeak either. I enjoyed watching the Bubs try out all the chairs on the porch. There must have been 5 or 6 rocking chairs, a chaise lounge and a few bench seats. The breeze felt nice. I noticed the Bubs finished his ice cream, because he was dipping his fingers into the decimated cone and into the melted ice cream remains. It was time to get back on the road and finish our last leg to Snowshoe Mountain.

To my surprise, my wife again took control of the driver's seat. I said nothing and sat down in the passenger seat - just like 30 years earlier.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Washing the Car

 I woke the Bubs up from his afternoon nap today. He was sleeping more than 2 hours already. If I let him, this kid will sleep for hours during the day. He's groggy and I fear his wrath, but I know he needs to wake up.

Some people aren't "morning people." Well, the Bubs is not an "afternoon person."

He rubbed his eyes. I quickly whisper "Ice pop Bubs. You want an ice pop? We'll go outside and wash the car." I wanted to get that first thought in his head to be something he likes to prevent a melt down.

I think I had him at "ice pop." He lethargically gets on all fours, hesitates in order to balance himself, and stands on his bed. He's still groggy. He reaches up for me to pick him up. We head downstairs.

I quickly throw on his sandals and grab an ice pop from the freezer. I snip the end off of a purple ice pop, because the Bubs said to me, "I want purble." (Yes, I know it's misspelled). I was pretty sure I cured his afternoon rage. However, when we got outside to the driveway he's not happy. He started crying.

The swing! The swing cures all ills. I put him on the swing for 15 minutes and he was as good as new!

Back out to the driveway. He grabbed a scrub brush and went right to work on the car. I was impressed with his work ethic. Scrub, scrub, scrub. I showed him how to clean the first wheel with my own brush. He watched.

I missed a patch of dirt. The Bubs spots it. He said, "Dirty Daddy." I replied, "I know Bubs. I'll get it. Here, why don't you use your brush on the wheel and not on the paint." The Bubs ignored what I asked him to do. He continues to use the brush on the car. He then tells me again that the wheel is dirty. I, again, acknowledge that I missed a patch of dirt and repeat my request to him, "I know Bubs. Why don't you use your brush on the wheel and not the car." Again, he ignores me and continues to brush the car.

I gave up asking and just let him brush the car. He wasn't putting too much muscle into it anyway. I felt like it was my turn to get on the swing.
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