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Summer At Home

Its been six months since I decided to stay home with my kids and attend graduate school at night. It was a tremendous shift for me personally and for the family. There have been plenty of hard times, but mostly it has been fantastic. And one of the best things that I've ever done.   Spring semester and the early part of summer were filled with the routine activities of child rearing and college. There were lunches and carpool lines, swim practices and grocery shopping, study ...

Displaced with a toddler in tow

In early May, I came home from work to what appeared to be a rain storm swirling in our living room. An inch of water flooded the length of our first floor. Water dripped from the ceiling and poured like a waterfall from a light fixture that hung above the kitchen island. The tank of an upstairs toilet had cracked spontaneously. As the tank kept trying to refill itself, water leaked through the crack and ran across two upstairs bedrooms down to the first floor. The restoration company we ...

Secret Service Daddy

We bought our house in 1994, about 7 months after we got married.  It was built in 1955 and had, for the most part, been updated since. After we moved in, my grandmother gave us $1,000 to help with home improvements.  My mom strongly suggested we immediately invest in a home alarm system, because she thinks that most criminals are aggressively targeting our family at all times. I pondered my options – toilets that would flush or alarm; air conditioner that would pump out cool air ...

Where is Uncle Hayes?

For those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning, you will recall that Lisa's brother, Uncle Hayes, was a major part of our life the first few years after she died.  He was instrumental in healing our family as well as in helping to logistically keep things going. Over the past year or two, folks have asked me where Uncle Hayes has gone.  He is still in Raleigh and actually has a number of plates spinning.  Below is an interview with Hayes from Raleigh Philosophical ...

Where did all the sandspurs go?

This coming Saturday is a busy day for the Hams. At around 4 AM, I drop DJ off at the Raleigh-Durham airport.  She’s going to Durbin, South Africa, with her aunt.  A once in a lifetime experience that she will experience... at age 19. At 9, I pick Michelle up from Camp Kanata, an overnight camp where she will have spent the week with one of her best friends.  She was stoked when I dropped her off last Sunday. At 3, I drop Stephanie off for four weeks at Camp Seafarer on the ...

Watch Where You Step

Last Sunday I was headed toward a church service in town for an afternoon funeral.  A long time Y volunteer and former member of my church had passed away.  She was a good woman. I had to park several blocks away and was finishing up a phone call as I neared the sanctuary. I noticed a couple behind me, so I stepped onto the grass in front of the handsome, wooden double doors that led into the service. I sort of paced a bit as the conversation was serious.  At 2:55, I hung ...

Empire Strikes Back

Our family plays a great game on vacation.  We learned it a year or two ago from friends when at our August jaunt to Capon Springs.  It’s called Empire. We played at the beach last week.  The beautiful thing about the game is that it can be played by my 5-year-old niece and by Lisa’s 70 something-year-old uncle who suffers from Parkinson’s. It takes no equipment, simply 8 or 10 or however many people. Each player chooses the name of a famous person and secretly shares it ...

California, Here I Come!

If it wasn’t going to break in half due to a massive earthquake, I would move to San Diego.  I just spent three days there for a meeting and man, is it a cool place! I first noticed the difference at the airport.  I take people watching very seriously when in public places.  And the people I watched in California were all beautiful!  The women AND the men!  I saw very few who were overweight.  Folks were walking around the airport with skateboards in tow and muscles bulging. I ...

The Dj’s Calling My Name

I remember several dances in high school - Elizabeth Hall was my girlfriend.  Like other couples at that odd stage of life, I put my hands cautiously on her hips.  Her arms were draped around my neck.  We weren't like Sam and Diandra, they were clearly more comfortable with each other than we were.  I don't think the Keywanett dance was the first time he'd cozied up to her. In college, I took social dance as a PE elective.  There were more girls than guys in the class which was a ...

Humble Thyself

Humility is one of the toughest things to learn and its even harder to teach. On Tuesday night, my oldest and several of her friends got a healthy dose of humility at their swim meet. They were swimming their races and doing well. Beautiful strokes, fast times. As they finished their races and got out of the water one of the coaches was yelling out their names and calling them over to speak with her. This is a girl that we have known for several years and I trust. So, when she called ...