The Storks are Nesting

I just turned 39 and I may have begun nesting. I suppose this typically happens before the child is born but maybe since having him I’ve become aware of what world I want him to be raised in. That world is one that is away from the humans. It has goats and green things and […]

Though We May Not Share Blood

Since his birth in 2010, I’ve wondered when we would start seeing our traits in him. Without the blood bond biological children share with their parents I’ve been anxious to see us in him in ways that must be distinctly learned.  Along those lines, I’ve also been anxious to uncover the surprises we will find […]

We Tried to Sell Our College

It’s been twenty years since I was a college student and I returned this past weekend as an alumni to preach the airline life. These guys on campus now are kids! Many born after I started college. Not only could I be their father… I could be the father to their older siblings. But, while […]

Eight Years Ago We Wed – Since Then, I Became an Adult

For years now (more than a decade of them) a friend and I have been playing the “who’s the first to become an adult game”. It started in college and was simply a game that would define the moment when you became a man. You entered adulthood when you bought frames for your posters or purchased a box spring for your mattress were common life changing events of the time.

It’s My Potty, You Can Cry If You Want To

“The rules are pretty simple… Tell me when you have to go potty and we will go potty. Got it?”
I say this at 8am feeling confident I’m gonna crank out potty training today. Boot camp style. Let’s do this.

I ask him again if he understands the rules.
“Yeah.” He says.
He says “yeah” to pretty much everything these days.

To Goa With Love

With the luxury of non revenue travel also comes the joy of spontaneous adventure. Our trip to India would begin with either a flight from Newark into Delhi or Mumbai. We had tentatively prepared an itinerary around Delhi being our entry point but when that flight was full and we were able to score the […]

My Feet Were Fish Food

I sat with my bare feet dangling into a tank training a few hundred recently imported Chinese flesh eating fish to not only welcome my feet but to think the crust buildup from walking the streets of Mumbai is down right delicious. The “Dr. Fish Foot Treatment” at The Bambooo House (three o’s) is temporarily […]

Everyday… it’s something new

All those stories about them learning something new everyday… are true. A few days ago we taught Judah to throw and chase a soccer ball. Now he is kicking it around like a pro. And looks much more natural at it than I ever did after five scoreless years playing soccer. In the 80′s, and […]

Six Pound Challenge – Failed!

In high school… I could eat! I was a growing boy. I was always hungry and never gained weight. I was invincible. Or so I thought. There was (maybe still is) a restaurant in Tampa that offered a six pound challenge. Ninetysix ounces of beef for the willing. Eat it all and the table eats for free. I rolled in there with my family like owned the place. I was so confident I even took a date! The whole family gathered around to watch… they ordered what they wanted because surely we’d all be eating for free.

Breakfast Flashcards

Breakfast today… oatmeal with wheat toast and a cup of milk mixed with some Sesame Street Beginner Words flashcards. For the record, I stacked the deck with the half he knows already… and yes, if you look quickly you will notice that I call Ernie, Bert. I’m still getting used to this.

Get Your Sticky Fingers Off My Tablet!

Spending money on myself has a whole new meaning now that there is a child in tow. When I buy myself a toy, I like to think that it will also have an educational use for him. Not always the case… as in Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3. When I bought the Kindle Fire […]

He is Chasing Planes Around Already

Judah has the aviation bug… already he has begun chasing planes around. I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. Specifically, it may have started when I was single digits sitting in my fathers office watching people fly RC airplanes in a field across the street. The obsession culminated during many summers at Space Camp not learning about poison ivy like most kids.
It’s a common question in the cockpit during a round of self loathing. “Are you going to encourage your kids to work for the airlines?”

My Days are now in Song

I’ve been home for too long and apparently have had too few conversations with adults. I’ve been off for a few weeks and have spent a majority of that time with a child who only utters a few simple things… more like breaths with some noises attached. He’s experimenting with passing air over his vocal […]

Tributes to my Grandfather Tom – updated

“Breakfast Bonus” “Tom McEwen, former Tribune sports editor and columnist, dies at 88″ TBO.com VIDEOS “Remembering Tom McEwen” “Eulogies at Tom McEwen Funeral” ARCTICLES June 11th, 2011 “Farewell, our friend” TBO.com “Sports luminaries, Tampa community turn out for Tom McEwen’s funeral” Tampabay.com “McEwen remembered for loyalty, friendship and laughter” TBO.com June 10th, 2011 “Tom McEwen […]

Is it okay to talk to the Roomba?

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”… and then the Roomba drives by and asks me how things are going. We talk for a bit and then he’s off to the races. We’re Roomba sitting for the weekend. A friend is out of town and we are taking it for a test […]

Learning to use a straw

And drink without using his hands! We made the progression from bottle to sippy cup and now on to straws and then to lidless vessles of staining beverages. Judah seems to like using his teeth as fingers as he realizes he has a third hand.

Pacita Jugo Ladd… “Nana”

My Nana was many things to me over the years. She was a grandmother and a babysitter. She was a mentor and an advisor. She was a resource for travel tips and great grandmother to our son. Through it all, and especially as I grew mature enough to realize it, she was a friend. Our conversations, though split by a fifty year spread, were always casual but meaningful. She would offer me suggestions on how to live my life and how to raise Judah and do so as a peer… never with an air of authority. She kept that spicy Filipino side suppressed until necessary to quickly end a conversation. And believe me, should could pull out the big guns if need be!

I plan on being my son’s Don Draper

I also plan to splice in some retro commercials from Youtube into our viewing routine to manipulate his ‘wants’ and convince him hand me downs and toys from Ebay are the must have holiday gifts. One year he’s gonna go crazy for Furby’s while the next he won’t be able to live without Castle GreySkull.
You can by a 1985 Teddy Ruxpin (with 2 cassettes!) for 15 dollars on Ebay.

A tale of two snowmen

Our neighborhood in Baltimore is situated between several colleges and universities and therefor we have many student renters living on our block. It gives me the chance to often think back and realize what a horrible tenet I must have been – back in the day. When we ran out of oil for the furnace we would burn garbage in the fireplace and all sleep in the living room.
During the snow storm last week several snowmen sprung up after the weather cleared. The boys to our right are athletes (I had to spell check athlete) while the boys to our left have a drum kit that they practice on early in the morning.
When looking at the snowmen, I’m certain you can guess whom belongs to whom.

$#*! my son’s caterpillar doesn’t say

Several times between now and the era of the stage 2 Huggie overnight diapers I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of sleep deprivation to awake in the land of disproportionate proportions with over sized talking caterpillars, four keyed colorful pianos and airplanes whose propellers spin with a psychedelic glow not too far off from the St. Elmo’s fire that buzz around the blades of a turboprop before a lightening strike

Catholic School made me a Sinner

I put in twelve years of Catholic school… I was released on my on recognizance but served parole under the watchful eyes of a Baptist College. You could say I was “institutionalized” and feared life on the outside. Twelve years of a regulated wardrobe can have a lasting effect if they occur between five and […]

If you watch enough daytime TV… you will get cramps

In the morning we sit on the porch in our jammies and eat breakfast while the morning commuters honk at each other. Eight hours later we eat a snack outside and watch them return. Typically, we take a couple walks a day with one of the dogs and make sure the neighborhood is in check. We watch a little TV… “Two hours a day maximum, either educational or football. So as you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer things.”

This aircraft is not airworthy

On most major airports there is an old burnt up airplane laying around that the fire department uses as a simulator for fire rescue training. Luckily, most are out of sight of the nervous flyers. All they can see is the plume of smoke rising from the field on the other end of the airport […]

Baby makes days hazy

Since Judah’s been with us… we’ve been a little spacey. People had said this would happen… but I doubted them. I run a pretty organized ship, both inside and out of the cockpit. Few things are left to chance and procedures are followed to ensure the desired outcome. This morning, I forgot the second to […]

Mornings in a Hotel: “Where am I? What Time is it?”

A friend once told me that everyday he wakes up in a hotel it feels like waking up with a hangover. “I’m not sure where I am or how I got here but at least I have my pants on.”

Add in the fact that we stay in a variety of hotels with countless floor plans, alarm clock models and coffee makers and sometimes you’d think you were at a bachelor party the night before.
Throw in a 4:30am wake up call and that bachelor served nothing but “Mind Eraser” shots followed by Jagermeister to chase is all down with.

How Indiana Jones Has Made Me a Better Father

When the baby falls asleep in my arms, I recreate this old scene in reverse as I do my best to place him in the crib and extract my arms without him rising. I learned from Indy… one swift movement. His eyes are closed and his body is limp in my arms and I get him as close to the mattress as I can. I yank my arms out from both sides so that he slides in without changing position. Often, it ends up like Dr. Peter Venkman’s attempt in Ghostbusters to pull the tablecloth out from under the dishes and we start over back in the rocking chair.