Catching up

Over Christmas Break, Lisa and I along with our friends Michele and Greg took the kids into he city to see  the Museum of Natural History, Rockefeller Center (to see the Tree), a short trip to Nintendo World, a stop in the Heartland Brewery and more. While in Nintendo World, I had heard that there was an actual Gameboy in there which had seen combat in the Gulf War. Sure enough, it was there:

I took that picture, but I found a video with some good video footage of the game boy up close. The kids had a nice time in the city. Here is a shot of them sitting in front of the tree:

We also spent some time in Bryant Park on the way back and checked out the outdoor village they have. They have a pretty large ice rink there, but we were short for time as the day was drawing to a close so no-one put skates on.

Sports still dominates our time. Wrestling started but Marco go a bit burned out so we pulled him cause he was getting pretty stressed out about it. Giovanni joined wrestling and is learning it all from scratch. Giovanni hopes to wrestle in one tournament at the end of the season so we hope he does that. Antonio and Marco are doing basketball, which they  love. Antonio is getting really good, regularly scoring each game. Marco has been  in the clinic since first grade and now that he’s in 3rd grade they are starting to play games. He loves basketball as well and is quite the dribbler.

Lisa and I got Giovanni guitar lessons for Christmas and he’s been at 4 lessons so far. The instructor is really great and Giovanni is learning the fourth string right now. He’s doing great and practicing all of the time for fun. When I was his age I took lessons at the same place, it’s been there that long. Only after the 2nd or 3rd lesson, the teacher saw I wasn’t practicing and called me out. I quit right after that.

So, good for Giovanni.

Yesterday, I installed a foosball table in the basement. We’ve played a ton of games and loving the table. My cousin literally gave it to me and we’re so grateful. It came with some extra pieces, which was a good thing since one of the foosmen was broken. Here is a shot of the table in action:


This fall has been full and busy. We’ve been busy with tackle football, chauffeuring kids to friends houses, whiskey fest, beer fest, a fall BBQ, Lisa doing all kinds of 5k runs, seeing a lot of friends, and ripping gigs and gigs of home video.

Football has taken the majority of our time. With two kids on two teams, we had 2 practices a week and 2 games a weekend. Our schedule more or less revolved around whether we had a game that day. Marco’s team had a very good record, 7-2 and made it into Tier 2 playoffs. Playoffs are divided into divisions based on your record and run through 2 rounds + a superbowl final. The top division, Tier 1, has the best 8 teams in it. Tier 2 has the second 8, etc. Marco’s team lost their first playoff game and his season is over. Today, Antonio plays in his Round 2 game. His team’s record as not as good, 3-5-1, and his team made it into Tier 4 playoffs. I feel they had a rough schedule and should have been in Tier 3. We’ll see if I’m right if they crush today’s team like they crushed Glen Cove 31-0 last week and they go on to win the Super Bowl.

Tailgating during the games has been a good time. Often there will be a string of home games so the parents will stay and watch other games and eat BBQ and have coffee or beer. Antonio and Marco always get together with a group of friends and play football off the sidelines while the other brother is playing. Most of the games have been on beautiful days, but the Sunday after our October winter storm was brutally cold and Marco had to stop playing because he complained he couldn’t move his fingers.

Our friends Tom and Gigi had a great BBQ in October, sporting a fantastic selection of beer and food. I brought over a 6-pack of Founders Red’s Rye and Tom had the Breakfast Stout for me to try (and love). A bunch of the kids and I went to the local schoolyard and played football for an hour to burn off the turkey deep fried in peanut oil. Desserts were out of this world.

I attended Whiskey Fest in New York with one of my friends and The Long Island Beer Festival in Nassau Coliseum with my cousin. Both events saw us having a very good time. Whiskey Fest had an amazing selection of whiskey and other spirits and top-grade food and canapés. Beer fest had hundreds of beers on tap by local, regional, and national brewers and bratwurst and pretzels. Beer fest is held every 6 months and I vow to get a larger crew together in the Spring. The more the merrier.

Lisa has been doing 5k runs almost every weekend this fall. One of the more interesting runs was the Merrell Down and Dirty run. You could better describe this run as an obstacle course with mud. It’s a 5k “mud” run where they have you jumping over walls, climbing ropes and surfaces, and swimming through an actual mud pit. She had a great time. This was on Marco’s Birthday and Marco had a football game so I wasn’t there to take any pictures. Damn!

I’ll save my adventures in recording and editing hours and hours of video related to football for another post. Needless to say, I’m running low on drive space again!

Batten down the hatches

Tomorrow, I leave for California with my family. Today, I battened down the hatches in preparation for hurricane Irene. The brilliant sunshine of the day was a bit ominous as the storm heads up the East coast. While the storm has just been downgraded, it still represents a bit of risk to my home since I won’t be here to address any issues should they come up. I took the day off to pack and it turns out that I was quite a bit busier than I expected.

Moving all possible projectiles into my garage was just the start. I emptied my pool a few inches and left the evacuation hose out. If the pool floods, I may be able to have someone turn on the pump to empty it a bit more. I secured my BBQ to our jungle gym. I might even secure the jungle gym to the trees in my backyard. I have a special pump that activates every 60 seconds and turns off after a few seconds if it detects no water. It wasn’t set up right so I set it up properly and ran the hose away from my house. If a tree falls on my house or we lose power then there is not much I can do. Flooding from the excessive rain is my main concern and with the pump set up, there is little more I can do.

The goods news is my mom is going to ride out the storm in my house while I’m away. Her house is more or less in the flood zone so it’s smart to be out of there so you don’t have to evacuate during the storm.

I wish all my NY friends luck this weekend.