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Turning Back the Clock

Posted by Dutchman Tuesday, November 9, 2010 0 comments

My son Zach didn't take the bus to school today. Instead, for the first time, he drove himself there. He was instructed to take the back way, across Lapeer Road and past the Scripter ball fields. It is the safest way, with a speed limit of mostly 25 mph.

When Zach was seven and Tyler five, I became a single parent. Those first few years were tough. They weren't old enough to help around the house a lot. Taking care of them and working a full time job was hard. They had to go to day care at the elementary school before and after school. During the summer months, they had to go there all day. The cost of doing so during school was around $600 per month, and during summer it jumped to $1500. That takes a big bite out of your monthly budget.

Over the years, the costs have gone down. When they each moved up to 6th grade, the "latch key program" ended. They started riding the bus to and from school each day and let themselves into the house when they arrived home. They were there alone for about an hour or so until I arrived. Not paying so much for the day care meant an increase to our monthly income. I still paid for care during the summer months, but the amount decreased with each passing year, until finally, I no longer had to pay. They are also old enough to help around the house and even cook for themselves.

I have more expendable income and taking care of a home and two boys is easier. But, thinking about Zach's first solo drive today, made me wish he was 7 years old again.

A Peak at Autumn

Posted by Dutchman Sunday, October 10, 2010 0 comments

This weekend may be the peak of fall colors around Oxford. Temperatures are in the seventies with clear blue skies. Many trees have changed and leaves are falling everywhere. One good rain or wind storm and it will all be gone. Zach and I drove out to the Country Smokehouse for an outdoor grilled buffalo burger and Pinconning cheese. On the way back we drove some country roads. Something about the color of the trees in the below scene said “STOP”.

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Late Summer A.M.

Posted by Dutchman Sunday, September 5, 2010 0 comments

I went out for a drive on the back roads of Lapeer and Oakland Counties. We are near the end of summer and a cold front meant a morning temperature of 40 degrees. Enjoy!IMG_1381_edited-1
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Summer Preps

Posted by Dutchman Wednesday, August 4, 2010 0 comments

Tyler's baseball season has ended, but there is no rest for the weary. He's now in preparation for his freshman year in high school. Two weekends ago, he had tryouts for next springs baseball team. He made the team, along with a number of boys who played either Freshman or JV ball for the high school this spring. The new team has a pretty aggressive workout schedule for the remainder of the summer and fall. This includes Nike Sparq training to increase agility and speed. Hopefully this will translate to a spot on the high school team next spring. Meanwhile, he is attending "open gym" sessions for basketball on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays with a number of players from last years JV and Varsity teams. Thus, he is now in some sort of workout for 6 days each week.

On the academic side, Tyler is taking an advanced language arts class this year. A requirement is that he read "Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" this summer. He has some assignments due when he shows up for the class this fall. He is about half way through the book. I've been reading along with him. I think the alternate title of the book should be "Mythology: The Complete Cure for Insomnia" as it is guaranteed to put you to sleep in 1 minute or less. I'm not sure if the ancient Greeks really believed this stuff, or maybe these stories were actually just skits for their version of Saturday Night Live.

Zach is spending a lot of his summer traveling. He has gone up to the Tawas City area a few times with his friend. Right now they are up at Mackinac Island. He also traveled to Cleveland where he attended an Indians versus Washington Nationals game. His friend Luke's father is a coach for the Nationals, so Zach got to sit in the family section.

Zach is also prepping for his driver's test. He is getting to be a pretty accomplished parallel parking expert.

Last Game of the Season

Posted by Dutchman Sunday, July 4, 2010 0 comments

Last night, Friday, July 2nd was Tyler's last game of the season. He played shortstop next to his friend Shawn. Below are a some boys he sent to their dugout early...


They were unable to stop Tyler.

Spring is Done!

Posted by Dutchman Monday, June 28, 2010 0 comments

Tyler and I just returned from Omaha, Nebraska. We drove out on Wednesday the 23rd. Tyler's team, the Player's Edge Sluggers, had a game on Thursday and two on Friday. On Thursday morning, I checked the "Ticket Exchange" to see if we could upgrade our tickets to the College World Series Game 10. We were able to get 4 tickets just above 3rd base for the Oklahoma vs. South Carolina game. Two of Tyler's teammates went with us. The game went into extra innings and didn't end until the 12th, so we definitely got our moneys worth.

All the baseball facilities we played at were great. They had grass infields, press boxes, bleachers and great dugouts. We played in small towns around Omaha, namely, Nebraska City and Blair. I'm not sure how small towns like that can have such great ball parks compared to Michigan.

This week Tyler plays the final 3 games of his regular season. If they can win two of the three, they will probably get to go to the district tournament. After that, baseball will be over for another year.

Ahhh! What to do for the rest of the summer...

Fielder’s Choice

Posted by Dutchman Friday, May 21, 2010 0 comments

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Zach Gets Wheels

Posted by Dutchman Sunday, May 16, 2010 0 comments

A few weeks back, we purchased a car for Zach to drive, once he gets his license. It is a 2003 Chevy Malibu. Of course, the first thing he wants to do is replace the CD/Radio with one that will interface with his iPod. Forty years ago, I wanted to do the same thing, but the decision was either 8-track or cassette tape. Things change but stay the same.

 

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Outcome

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, April 29, 2010 0 comments

Tyler's best game of last weekend was the second one, Saturday afternoon. He went 3 for 3, with 2 doubles and a single, and an RBI. In the 4th inning, with the opposing team making a rally attempt, he was playing at shortstop. There were runners on 1st and 2nd bases with no outs. The batter slammed a line drive seemingly over Tyler's head, so both runners took off. However, Tyler managed to leap high enough to catch the ball, putting the batter out. When he hit the ground, he threw over to 2nd for a second out, followed by the second baseman's throw to first, for the third out. Triple Play!

His team won the two Saturday games, 14-2 and 8-6. On Sunday, it rained. Actually it poured, but just during the 3rd inning when Tyler was pitching. The ball was wet and slippery, and he couldn't keep the water from running from his hat down over his eyes. When it was the other team's turn to pitch, the rain stopped, the grounds crew raked and cleaned up home plate and the pitcher's mound, and they had no problems. That game was lost 9-4.

All in all, his team did well. Now they have 2 weeks to get ready for the next tournament and the opening of the regular season.

Opening Day

Posted by Dutchman Friday, April 23, 2010 0 comments

Each year there are certain days that we anticipate. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl Sunday, last day of school, first day of vacation. And for us, we anticipate the first game of Tyler's baseball season.

Tyler's team was formed back in September. They have been practicing indoors all winter. Outdoor practices started a few weeks back. Tomorrow is the first game of their season. Actually, the weather forecast is for rain, but barring that, they will be playing at 8:30a.m. in their first weekend tournament.

Like the other player's, Tyler is anxious. So are the parents. There is lots of talk about who will play what position, and what the batting lineup will be. Everyone wonders if the team will be good or bad. Tomorrow those questions start to get answered.

So, what's the big deal anyway? It's just a kid's game. Lots of people belittle parents for "reliving their youth through their children". Maybe some do. But for me, it's not really that. It is more about the shared experience with a child you have loved, reared, and helped to grow up to be what you think is a good person with character. That they might have a talent is a bonus. It is about empathy, the capability to share another being's emotions and feelings. It is a rare opportunity for our thoughts to go outside of ourselves. You are elated when they perform well. You feel their pain when they make mistakes or fail. You can read their thoughts in their expressions and body language. You feel pride when they react maturely to adversity. When the team wins there is joy, when they lose, you feel their frustration.

Tyler won't sleep well tonight. That is alright. He will live his dreams tomorrow. It is just kids playing a game. But, it is important. In the baseball movie "Field of Dreams", Doc "Moonlight" Graham said "You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening. Back then I thought, well, there'll be other days. I didn't realize that that was the only day."

That quote has meaning for the kids. And, it has meaning for their parents.

Odds and Ends

Posted by Dutchman Monday, April 12, 2010 1 comments

Before you come out to visit us based on the address listed in the April 1st article, you might want to take notice of the day on which that article was posted.

The weather has been pretty warm for late March and early April. Tyler has been at outside baseball practices for about 3 weeks. His team will have a scrimmage game next Saturday.


Zach has a car to drive now. We bought a 2003 Malibu from his grandfather. Zach will be able to test for his drivers license in late July.


Moving

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, April 1, 2010 1 comments

Well, the day has finally arrived. Zach, Tyler, and I have spent most of the week boxing up all or belongings, and we are ready for the move.

I've always wanted to live in an A-Frame chalet, and now we have one. It's on Lakeville Lake, just east of Oxford, and sits on a hill on the west side of the lake. It doesn't have a garage, but there is plenty of space in the walk out cellar, for canoe and bicycle storage. I'm going to run a cat-5 cable under ground down the the boat dock, where I'll attach a wireless router. That way we can sit on the dock and fish, while still working online with a laptop. Below are a couple pics of the outside and inside.




New address is 700 Gravel Ridge Rd, Leonard, MI.

March Thaw

Posted by Dutchman Sunday, March 7, 2010 0 comments

Perhaps winter’s back is broken in southeast Michigan. The snow is melting fast, and streams are starting to open up. Ice-out on the lakes is still a ways away.

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Construction of the Drahner Road bicycle bridge is nearing completion. It spans a marsh on the north side of the road, just east of Pontiac Street.

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Camera Practice

Posted by Dutchman Saturday, February 20, 2010 1 comments

Today I finally got out with my birthday present to myself. It is a Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR. I headed out on some of the muddy thawing dirt roads northeast of Oxford. I was careful to keep an alert eye, as this area is the haunt of the infamous Dirt Road Bicycle Commuter. Running into him could be a problem, as you’d have to put up with the taunts of “where’s your bike?”, “what are you doing in that car?”, etc.
I shot a few photos to get used to the camera controls. It was sunny and about 33 degrees F. The time was just before noon, so there was a lot of glare, and the snow was blinding.

The first two photos are of the old grain elevator in Leonard. The last is the National School (circa 1880). Double click to see the full size photos.

Sup?

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, February 18, 2010 1 comments

Sorry for the title. I live with two teenage boys, so we don't speak English much any more.

Haven't had much time to post lately. With the addition of pitching workouts, Tyler is up to 4 baseball practices per week, along with 2 basketball games, 3 basketball practices, skiing, bowling, and homework. Zach hangs out with his two neighborhood friends and I see him long enough to respond to "what's for dinner", "I need money for...", and "My school lunch account is at 0".

Yesterday we made reservations to stay in Omaha in June. Tyler is attending a baseball tournament there in conjunction with the College World Series. I guess that will be this year's vacation. Meanwhile, the Dirt Road Bicycle Commuter is taunting me because he's going to Colorado this summer.

Shucks!

How Much Will We Get?

Posted by Dutchman Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2 comments

I was envious of the D.C. area last week. We need snow here. This is the time of winter where not having snow makes things rather boring. But, now it looks like we will get some. The question is, "how much"? Just to the south, around Detroit, they say 6-10 inches. Here the prediction is for more like 4-6. I think the weather man should continue to be wrong, and we should get about 12. Maybe then work will be closed on Wednesday and I can finally enjoy winter.

Cheep!

Posted by Dutchman Friday, January 22, 2010 1 comments

Why is it that whenever a battery runs low in a smoke detector, it always happens in the middle of the night? You wake to that incessant "CHEEP". It is not really all that loud, but apparently is at just the right frequency that your ears spark your brain into action. Then you have to make the decision on whether to get up, retrieve the step ladder from the garage and disconnect the detector until you get a battery, or try to go back to sleep. You always opt for the latter. CHEEP! It doesn't work. You have to get up.

Last night, I outlasted it. I remember a few intermittent chirps, but then apparently the dying nine volt managed to procure a final bit of power. When my alarm went off, it occurred to me that the computer thermostat allowed the temperature to go down during the night. When it started the cycle to warm the house for the morning, the battery probably returned to enough life to avoid the chirping. That only means that my task for this afternoon includes changing it.

I need some nine volt batteries that are CHEAP!


January...

Posted by Dutchman Friday, January 15, 2010 2 comments

For about the last 3 months, things have been relatively quiet and slow. It's January however, and things start to heat up in the Bachelor household.


Tyler has been attending his weekly baseball lesson, but now things start to ramp up. His baseball team is back to weekly practices and he also made the 8th grade basketball team. That means practices every day until 4:30 and games twice a week. Our weeks will be more and more busy until May, when our peak of activity occurs.
Goodbye home cooked meals. Hello more stops at the gas station to fill the tank. So long "moments peace and quiet".


Homework

Posted by Dutchman Thursday, January 7, 2010 0 comments

When I was in high school, there was always some kid in class (especially math class) that asked the question "Why do we need to learn this?" Now that I'm a parent, I know the true answer. You need to know it so that when you grow up, you can help YOUR children with THEIR homework. Mostly there isn't another reason.

I've warned my sons, Zach and Tyler, that they really need to pay attention in school, and work hard to understand. As they get older, they are going to start running into more and more difficult things that I as a parent won't remember. So, when they come and ask for help with homework, there will come a day when I won't be able to help them.

Last night, Tyler, an eighth grader, asked if I would help him with his algebra. I told him that I would if I remember how. He showed me his worksheet. It was equations having to do with slopes and y intercepts. I told him "I don't think I can help you as I don't remember that stuff". He replied "It's ok; I can teach it to you".

"WHAT? If you can teach it to me, why do you need my help?!"

Anyway, I spent a while relearning that perpendicular lines have negative inverse slopes. Once we got that far, I was able to show him that if line A and line B are parallel, and line C is perpendicular to line A, then line C has to be perpendicular to line B.

Then I watched Maria Carey give her drunken "thank you" speech at the People's Choice Awards, and fell asleep.


About Me

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I'm a middle aged divorced father living with my two sons. We like to canoe, bicycle, fish, camp, play baseball, and spend money when we want and where we want, without permission from anybody. HA!

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