Tagged: Home Alone

Home Alone: Back That Thang Up

To paraphrase Juvenile,

“If you a real fine Dad, you better back that thang up.”

Ok, I know you’re wondering where this is going and trust me, I have a good reason for invoking the godfather of New Orleans rap. I lost my phone two weeks.  We believe it was stolen off the deck by some groundhogs (I kid you not).  Those who know me know that this wasn’t the first time, nor is it likely the last that a phone of mine met an untimely death.  Unlike previous phones however, this one was special.

Wait, let me rephrase that, the information stored on this phone was special.  This phone had a camcorder that I had used to record Singing Biscuit’s first film production “King Chuck’s Last Stand”, and a few recordings of Turtle Biscuit doing everything from rolling over to engaging in a fierce battle with some leaves on the deck of our old apartment.

Unlike the photos and contacts which I had been doing a good job of syncing with my computer, there was no backup for these videos.  So not only did our little backyard critter take my ability to make calls, but s/he also took away an archive of some priceless moments.

Thus after finally conceding that the phone was lost and I would have to indeed get a new one, I knew that a new mantra was also needed to make sure that I learned the lesson of this setback.  Hence the advent of my Juvenile remix…
So all you Dads out there, as you’re snapping away with the camera or recording those digital shorts, do remember—

If you a real fine Dad, you better back that thang up….

Home Alone: A Newly Discovered Fear

After checking out the blog one of Snuggle Biscuit’s friends sent along the following message:

a great living open letter from a father to his daughter. She will get so much joy out of these words one day.

I never thought of this series of posts as an open letter until I read those comments.  Ironically, I thought more about my children reading my writing prior to having children than I do now that I am a parent.  In fact, I am almost afraid of the thought of my children reading my writing one day.  Not that I’ve written anything scandalous, or even plan to, but it seems that the more I write, the less self-aware I become as a writer.  Or rather, the more I write, the less I know who I am as a writer and it scares me to think what my children will uncover.  This fear is not unlike the one I have about other family members reading my work.

Time will tell how I handle this realization, and this fear.

But when the day comes for Turtle Biscuit to read these notes, I want to be sure she doesn’t have to go one post further without reading these five words: I love you my dear….




Home Alone: Murphy’s Law

Moving is a…well you know, and if all the usual post-move prerequisites such as unpacking and adjusting to a new location weren’t enough, Snuggle Biscuit and I have had to endure both the Green Hornet & the White Shadow (aka the family cars) breaking down simultaneously.  The Green Hornet was technically the first to go down and as the older of these two cars it wasn’t a complete surprise.  We thought the White Shadow would’ve been able to avoid the auto-repair bug that’s been going around, but we were mistaken.

Of course Turtle Biscuit is oblivious to all of this drama.  To her all this has meant is that she now gets more long walks with her dad and less time traveling backwards (she can now sit facing forward in her stroller).

As Charlie Sheen might say, Turtle Biscuit is winnnning!!

Home Alone: My Daughter Will Know How to Operate A Drill

As a kid growing up in New York City I was much better at inflicting damage in homes than repairing them.  My parents have lived in the same apartment building for almost 40 years and the same super has managed the building for most of those 40-years.  Therefore, like most NYC renters, whenever something popped up in the building, we called our super.  That our super had grown into such a close family friend that he was practically a relative, made it almost as if my mother was asking my father or my uncle to fix something whenever she called on Fernando.  And since I was more interested in memorizing the stats for the 85-86 Yankees or Mets than mastering any home repair skills, it quickly became apparent, that like my dad, I was pretty useless for anything beyond changing a light bulb. Over time I learned how to do more than change a light bulb, but not more–I mean let’s not get it twisted–no one’s ever confused me with Bob Villa.

When I bought my apartment in NY a few years back one of the things that I looked forward to was attending to some home repairs.  A trip to Lowe’s to buy a washer/dryer quickly stripped me of these aspirations.  As the salesman began running through various warranty options, I looked at the price tag for the machines once again and realized that this machine cost almost ten times as I spend on laundry a year, plus I’d be burdened with power and maintenance costs.  Saying goodbye to that washer/dryer I vowed to keep it simple, or as a friend would later tell me “always remember fewer moving parts means fewer chances for things to break”.  Thus my biggest handyman breakthrough as a first time home owner was essentially, I rather not be all that handy.

Three years later, now residing in the suburbs and having to factor in that my decisions don’t just impact me, I am having to make a critical shift and upping my home repair skills.  One way of putting this transition is that  I’ve morphed into my family’s Fernando.  In less than three weeks of our new house, I’ve done more repair work than I’ve done in the previous 30 years of apartment living.  Among other things,  I’ve installed new power cords on a washing machine and dryer, unclogged drains, and fixed some delinquent kitchen cabinet hooks.

These were just the starter tasks to get my bearings around the house and local hardware stores.  There about 3-dozen other items awaiting my attention on the “honey-do” list.  Completing each job has brought a sense of reward, and it’s delightful to have a tangible accomplishment to turn to at the end of a day.  Whereas before, I’d be delighted by having written a page, read a book, or revised a syllabus, now I’m overjoyed after fixing Turtle Biscuit’s swing or a successful trip to home depot.

Speaking of Turtle Biscuit, she’s been a great companion as Dad has embarked on these home repair adventures.  I am looking forward to enlisting her help in future projects as she gets older.  And whereas before I was always quick to declare that my child will speak multiple languages, I am now similar elated by the fact that my daughter will know how to operate a drill (and then some).


Home Alone: Children Really Don’t Like Toys?

One of the things that was repeated time and again in our pre-natal classes was not to layer a baby’s sleep area with toys.  Expert after expert warned Snuggle Biscuit and I that harmless looking teddy-bears can suffocate an infant because of the child’s inability to push the bear off once it restricts their breathing.  Following this rule was a no-brainer, after all, the child will have plenty of time to play with her toys when she’s not in the crib.

As I soon learned there’s a funny twist to this toy story, infants don’t care for toys all that much, or rather, they could care less about them.  When Snuggle Biscuit returns home from work Turtle Biscuit’s eyes light up.  If she sees her bottle while I’m warming it up, she’s raring to get a go at it.  Sit her in her chair and she’ll amuse herself staring at her hands for a good 10minutes (that’s like hours in adult years).  But if you plop a teddy bear or any kind of toy in front of her, she’ll look right past it.

All of this went against what I thought was a truism for all children and of all ages: THEY LOVE TOYS.  Sure, you don’t hand a one-year old an X-box and expect them to beat the computer at Madden.  But I was confident that by the time she was a month or so Turtle Biscuit would get a kick out of a teddy bear.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this new information.  And it wasn’t until I overheard an interaction between Teen Biscuit and Singing Biscuit that I was able to unlock the mystery of infants and their distaste for toys.  Singing Biscuit had just discarded his Happy Meal toy almost as fast as he opened it.  When asked why by his older brother he couldn’t give an answer, and like older brothers often do, Teen Biscuit provided him with an answer: “because you don’t know how to play with it.”  Well for once the teenager was right and after he took a minute to show Singing Biscuit how to play with the toy, Singing Biscuit’s interest was suddenly piqued.

When I thought back on that incident what I realized is that early on in life children don’t like toys as much as they do the interactions surrounding them.  Think about it, when children play with toys their either also playing with their friends or others their age.  Toys are also a vehicle through which they can occupy an alternative and often more equal universe with adults.  Toys are associated with fun, imagination and often camaraderie. The happy child is not the one whose room is filled to the brim with all kinds of gadgets and trinkets, but rather the one whose been fortunate enough to share and play with the few they have with the ones they love.

Turtle Biscuit is still no more interested in Sophie the Giraffe than she is in NPR.  What I have learned and will remember though, is that the way that I introduce her to that toy and others is that it will have profound effects on who she becomes as a person.  And as I am finding out little by little everyday, on me as well.