Hot Fun In The Summertime

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OK..I know I am ahead of myself a little bit.  It feels like summer.  Warm air, thunderstorms, baseball and the return of the migrating college student.  It is the return of the college student that annually turns us to anticipation of how much our home life will change over the next few months.   Excuse me if the migration to our home is different than yours.  I have discussed this with enough parents I doubt it.

The migration patterns of a college student are forced on them by the institutions that take so much of our money to provide training that will enable them to survive in society.  The training only goes so far.  The migrating college student often seems to not realize the differences in the world outside academia.  The strange part is unless forced behavior patterns are introduced they will not recognize that outside their institutions the world does not include sleep until noon, proceeded by many hours of reality TV, and finally mass socialization events starting at 11pm.  For these reasons, the annual summer migration pattern where these cocoons of academia no longer provide protection of this lifestyle, create a level of stress on the homes where the migration occurs.

Starting today, we expect the return of our first college student.  Both of our students already have made their presence felt by convincing their brother to come to school over the weekend and provide use of his truck to bring to our home most personal possessions and furnishings.  Of course, with no thought of where these items would be deposited, the brother and I spent Sunday afternoon carrying things to storage and upstairs to bedrooms in preparation for the migration.  Why do we have to handle the migration and all of its baggage also?  The migration is like taking a business trip, where when you reach your hotel you find your favorite big screen TV, chair, couch and reading materials.  Not to mention a full wardrobe of clothing that most likely has hardly been touched (but was needed just in case)!

For months we have enjoyed a lifestyle that includes sleeping through the night at what most of us consider normal hours.  Beginning tonight, I can almost hear the TV’s blaring through our home at 1am, waking me up to the sound of Jersey Shore reruns.  Not to mention that I am accustomed to getting out of bed and not worrying about the bodies deposited on couches throughout the home.   Did I mention the food consumption and lack of parking?  Or finding myself blocked into our driveway by multiple vehicles when trying to leave to go to the office?

My wife and children consider my attitude about this migration a sign of my senility.  They may be right.  I am increasingly a creature of habit.  Just like nature, the migration affects my habits and it causes conflict.  The good news?  Jobs!  Yes, get the student employed quickly in a job where they work eight hours and are tired by late evening!  This seems to make a huge difference in the adaptation of the student to it’s new environment.  If they can’t find one, create one for them!  You are not running college housing and the migration needs to include a rapid adaptation program to the lifestyle of the remainder of the home.  Unless you also have high school students who will be out of school in a month.   At that point all you can do is plan vacations and disrupt the patterns.

True, we love having our kids back home.  It is the adaptation process that is a true test of our patience and now a part of our recognition of summer.  I think I now understand the real reason people  purchase summer homes!


Happy Spring!

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Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

John Denver


Do you feel any different this morning?  The Spring Equinox occurred at 1:14 EDT this morning!  This date means two things.  Daylight and darkness will be approximately an equal 12 hours.  Most importantly, winter is over!!!

I know, most of us have been blessed with a winter that makes us re-think whether we really need to move to warmer climates December through February.  If you are like me, you are worried about the payback.  Does the weather really average itself out over time?

Longer days mean more sunshine.  More sunshine for many of us just means we feel better.  Is it the sunshine or the ability to be outdoors that makes us happy?  Or both?

There is actually some science to back all of these good feelings up.  In a University of Rochester study, 90 percent of subjects got a boost in energy and had their outlook brightened by spending time outdoors around trees, grass, and living creatures.  90%!

So getting outside and breathing fresh air does make you happy!   Walking outside, and not on a treadmill, gives your heart and your mental facilities a charge!  I find the chance to walk and see many different things well worth it for both my heart and mind.

Plus, with the official arrival of Spring, that means each day for the next three months will be longer than the night!  Lets all get happy!

Oh..I have to add this comment because I actually have friends in the Southern Hemisphere of the world.  To those friends…never mind.   Sorry…this does not apply to you.  Can you set it aside and come back to it in September?

Happy Spring!!  (to most of my friends who reside in the Northern Hemisphere!)

Little darling
It’s been a long, cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun,
and I say
It’s all right   The Beatles

Thank You!

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I enjoy coaching youth basketball and baseball.  Our basketball season ended suddenly (only the champs win their last game) last week.  I couldn’t shift gears fast enough at the end of the game to say what was most important.  I tried to encourage the kids, and that was important also.  But, this group of kids had worked and played particularly hard and they deserved to be told “thanks”.

I ended up sending an email later to the parents and the kids wrapping up the season and sharing the two words that kept going through my mind.  “Thank You!”  It may seem a little odd that I wanted to say thanks to all of them so badly (since I was the unpaid volunteer!) but lets face it.  We were all giving to each other in the relationships and the gift I was given was a lot of hard effort and commitment from players and parents.  What more could you ask for?  “Thank you” seems very appropriate.

How often though do we forget to really recognize those people who give so much to us?  In the moment at the end of the game it did not register with me.  It was only with a day of reflection that I realized how important it was to share my gratitude.   In business and life, it seems the chase is where the energy is spent.  When the end is accomplished, whether it is the end of a sports season, or the client who agrees to a contract, thank you is a very important part of our language.

Even more importantly, when we are successful do we recognize all the people that helped make for the success?  Not only do we need to thank the players and client, but also the parents and staff that made the experience a positive one for all involved.

In many service businesses there is a certain expectation as to the quality of service received, and people often do not feel it necessary to add a thank you for a good deed.   I know it should not work this way, but if you are one of these people, notice that the customers who show appreciation seem to get a little bit higher level of service.  This is easy to explain.  We all like to be around people who are kind and gracious…and level headed!

Do I think we should all walk around saying “thank you” just to make the world a nicer place?  Absolutely not.  “Thank you” is an expression of gratitude that needs to be sincere.  A “thank you” for the sake of thank you is not sincere, and should be meaningless.  I personally want to be able to recognize when thanks are due and immediately let the person know of my gratitude.

Even if it is just minutes after the final buzzer.

The Difference Between Boys and Men

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In February,  I had two daughters turn 21.  Last year, my other daughter turned 18.   All three are in various stages of their dating lives.  I realize I might have a little bit of influence, but mostly at this point it is up to the girls to make decisions about their lives that turn out to be good ones.  That statement is a mouthful because how many of us as adults have always made good decisions?  I think as an adult we have some ability to at least acknowledge the bad decisions and dissect where they went wrong.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to always recognize a bad decision before you make one?

When it comes to my daughters and their relationships, I came across this over the weekend.  The writer is unknown.  It is wisdom that I think comes across well in the written word instead of the dad lecture.  Maybe you will find value in this no matter if you are a Dad, Mom, or a Daughter.

When you start to have a relationship with a boy, you want him to act like a man.  If you are in a relationship with a man, you don’t want him to act like a boy.  What is the difference?

A boy will flatter you.  A man will compliment you.

A boy will spend money on you.  A man will invest in you.

A boy will view you as property.  A man will view you properly.

A boy will lust after you.   A man will love you.

A boy is someone  who believes he’s God’s gift to women.   A man  remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

I want my girls to look for and recognize the difference in a boy and a man.  I also want to teach my sons to be a man.   I realize that involves a lot more than being a good sportsman, or not being a slob.  Sometimes with boys we forget the important things when it involves girls.  Maybe this will help.

Attack of the Conehead!

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Our puppy Buddy came home yesterday with a cone on his head and without his manhood.  Now, most of you will know what I am talking about and realize that this is just a normal rite of passage for male puppies.  I have had three male dogs and all of them have made the trip to the vet that caused each “he” to become an “it”.

It is the cone that has my attention.   Plastic cones are used with dogs to keep them from licking their wounds if you know what I mean.  There is an old joke about that with men but it is not appropriate to recite here..just leave it to be said that Buddy is very unhappy not being able to inspect his private areas.  I thought about adding a picture to this post but decided it was more pitiful than fun and I might just get somebody who finds the picture cruel.   So, I stuck with what keeps coming to mind..the Coneheads from SNL.  Basically, the cone is a piece of plastic connected in a circle around the dog’s neck and extending to a wider opening just beyond the dog’s nose.  Not really like the Coneheads of the 1980’s but the word just seems appropriate.

Anyway, something about this cone on his head has made it so Buddy can’t get through doorways without banging the cone and almost ripping it off his neck.   Buddy seems just fine and is moving through doorways with no loss of speed.  Suddenly, his cone clips the wall and he does a quick stop and looks around like “what the heck?”

I thought he would have trouble eating but I forgot, he is a dog!   They can figure out how to eat the smallest crumb that finds its way all the way under the couch.  A cone presents little problem.  What does he care about the mess he makes?  If he could talk I’m sure he would say “thats what you guys get for giving me this ridiculous cone and not letting me lick myself and feel better?”

So, this morning Buddy really let me have it.  Not sure why I am the target of his frustration because my wife Jennifer took him and picked him up from the manhood doctor.  I can’t be associated with this whole act.  I guess he just knows Jennifer will sleep through anything.  Buddy jumped up on our bed..right on me, and swung the cone straight across my face.  Then a second time to just make sure I understood how upset he is.   Who needs an alarm clock when they can be knocked silly by a dog wearing a plastic cone?  The perfect start of my day!   Now I am certain somehow Buddy is blaming me.  Everybody else around here can do no wrong so it must be the grumpy old guy’s fault.

Soon life will return to normal around here again.   The cone will be removed and Buddy will be free to roam around the cabin, if you know what I mean.   As a person who has owned a dog for a long time, I know the cone will return one day.   When it does, I will make sure to remember the awakening I experienced this morning and discuss with Buddy it is only fair he share the cone with him Mom next time.