Category Archives: parenting

An Exciting Week


If we were having coffee…

This morning you would arrive to find me floating on cloud nine. The smile plastered on my face has been there all week!

So come on in and sit a spell. There’s a pot of fresh coffee waiting, and oh boy do I have something to tell you!

If we were having coffee…

OK, so I can’t hold my excitement any longer.  Both of our daughters shared terrific, life changing news this week.

The first exciting tidbit came from our third oldest. A sophomore now at a large university, she had applied for a work program at Disney through the college.

She bolted in the door screaming, jumping, and flailing about with a piece of paper in her hand.

“I’m going to Disney!” She bellowed over and over.

The air was electrified with excitement and even the dogs bounced around as if they knew what was going on.

Our little bookworm that has always worked so hard to keep her 4.0 GPA is now seeing the fruit of her efforts.

Her acceptance into the program has now been confirmed! As I understand it, career wise, it’s a huge opportunity for her future. Many of the students who enter the program wind up staying put and building their career right there in Orlando.

The squeals and hopping of Mama and both our girls filled the house. Combined with what my ears would have to call girlish babbling.

Consider it a cross between listening to the chipmunks, and the voice you always heard when Charlie Brown spoke on the phone with his teacher.

Occasionally a specific word could be heard clearly. Words like packing, nine months, resume, shoes, car.

So the gist of the situation when translated:

She has already started packing for nine months in Orlando, beginning in January, which will be a big shot in the arm to her resume. She’s driving her own car down. And finally, she has no idea which (or how many) pairs of shoes should go along for the ride.

While both my pride and excitement for her are flying high, I feel a pang of remorse and concern.

Bookworm will be the first to travel so far away, and nine months… Wow… I’m going to miss her.

Just to ease my own mind about her trip, I have already began to pack too. I am slowly starting to compile every tool I think might be necessary to repair a car on the side of the road. By the time she leaves, my Jeep will be loaded and ready just in case…

It’s not that her car won’t make it, it’s just the way I think. Chance favors the prepared mind you know!

If We Were Having Coffee…

I would have to apologize for my long windedness today. Oh, and in my excitement I forgot to offer up some fresh chocolate cake to go with our coffee! Just where are my manners anyway?!

Ok, so now on to daughter number two and her news…

Just a couple nights ago, my most dedicated ice fishing buddy, being our oldest daughter came in holding an envelope with her husband in tow. A strange look filled her face.

I milled about the kitchen finishing up dinner while Mama settled in after another late shift at work.

“So, I have something the two of you need to read, but you have to read it together.”

With that she opened the envelope and handed a single piece of folded paper to each of us.

It had been folded twice to fit inside the envelope. As my fingers flipped open the first fold, I eyed her husband seeking any sort of clue I could find on his face.

And then the shrieking began… Followed by girlish babbling…

Mama bounced up and down waving her arms as she collided with our daughter for a hug.

I had stalled too long and for a millisecond was behind the times with regards to the exciting news.

Then my eyes landed on the word Positive just after my brain recognized her doctor’s letterhead.

Yep, that’s right the Alan Clan is about to have another member!

If We Were Having Coffee…

I would finally settle enough to ask how life was in your world. This day finds you well and smiling I hope.

If We Were Having Coffee…

By now I’d be ready for a refill, how about you?

I’ve got a lot to do, but to be honest I don’t want to do any of it today. Even the weather seems to agree with me, its cloudy and wet with an occasional rumble of thunder.

Seems to be a good day to sketch out and plan the baby crib Little Mama ask me to build.

Thanks ever so much for stopping by and listening to me chatter!

And by the way should you stumble across an avid ice fisherman looking for a buddy to wander across frozen lakes, send them my way. The ice is no place for a pregnant woman, so my dear partner is benched for the coming season!

If We Were Having Coffee…

About now  I would be ready to head out the door and over to Part Time Monster’s Linky to see  some old friends, and find some new ones.  Care to tag along?


Don’t wait up!

gone fishing

Time for some Dad and Daughter time on the ice!


Well, have a nice day son

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First!.”

You have to love daughters. Warm and cuddly little girls that say the cutest things and know that daddy is wrapped around their little tiny finger.

But then they begin to grow… Mature… And discover… BOYS!

It must be instinct in a man not to like the very first (or several after that)  boy that seemingly shows up on the hand of a daughter.

That first time our oldest brought a boy home, every ounce of me began to plot his demise.

Before that young man spoke a word, my mind already settled on the weapon and his final resting place. All the while savoring the panic in his eyes.

It was a tough choice to smile and shake his hand. But the words nice to meet you simply would not come out.

I fired questions and glares at him from every direction as I paced. Circling him like a piece of wounded prey.

I fumed with smoke rolling out my ears while my daughter sighed and rolled her eyes.

His eyes darted about but always seemed to land on one specific spot. My old rifle that hangs on the wall in plain sight.

Oddly enough their courtship only lasted a few days.

For you younger men out there think about us over protective dads from our view point:

It is our job as a Dad to protect the girls from guys like we remember being in our late teen years.

I have fond and wonderful memories of those years, and I know full well the kind of guy I need to protect her from.

One wrong move and the mental scenario of your demise… Well, have a nice day son but I don’t advise you stop by again anytime soon!


Be the Change

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Be the Change.”

That’s a question that made me scratch my head a bit. I did not originally start my blog to change anything except my writing skills.

But over the past couple months, and a re-read of my own blog, I actually hope my blog has a bit of impact on the world, no matter how small.

Skimming through it, I realized that this tiny corner of the digital world actually does say something.

It has become a personal record of my family more than anything else.

– How I met Mama: It’s All About The Screws…

– Adventures into the great out doors with my kids: I won’t tell Mama about your flying ‘mobile Daddy

– My daughters wedding: Smiles Tears and Nerves

This day in age I see so many families that are just too busy for time well spent together.

It is my hope that this little blog might be stumbled upon by many, and maybe inspire even just one person on the importance of family.

Children need love and adventure. If they can’t find it at home, then they will find it elsewhere.

I for one would much rather give them what they need than leave them to satisfy their curiosity in an uncaring world.

“Your Treading On Thin Ice Mister”

broken ice

That saying was a staple in the house when I was a kid. It was my mom’s warning shot that I had approached the “about to be in big trouble” line.

So a couple years ago, when this pressure crack appeared not far from my ice shanty, I had to take a picture. Just for mom.

Oddly enough, I was ice fishing with my Dad at the time!

Happy New Year Everyone, and don’t tread on thin ice in 2015!

“I won’t tell Mama about your flying ‘mobile Daddy”


“PSST, Hey,” I whispered in the still dark room. My hand landed on a foot and I shook it gently, “I thought you wanted to go fishing.”

As though he were spring loaded, my son snapped into a sitting position, then leaped from the warm blankets as though he had been shot from a cannon.

My smile was a broad one as he nearly knocked me over to dash for the bathroom and the pile of clothes that waited to keep him warm on our cold adventure.

“The wind is out of the north, remember all your layers,” I advised in a whisper.

The last thing I wanted to do was disturb the still sleeping form of his brothers. One child at a time was my rule on the ice, unless Grandpa planned to join us.

There are far too many things that could go wrong with more than one at my side, besides one on one time is rare when there are five kids in the house.

It was my chance to bond, to discover those little things that makes each member of our clan different. They all see the world differently, and it was my job to find out just what each young pair of eyes soaked in.

Blackness still ruled the sky when my old truck finally rumbled into the boat launch. The youngster in the seat next to me bounced like a wind up toy whose spring had been wound a little too tight.

“Can I drive today, Daddy,” his voice squeaked.

It was a question I had been waiting to hear, and looking forward to.

“You’ll get a chance this afternoon Son,” I confirmed as I pulled into a parking spot near the ramp.

I left the truck run as usual while I stepped out to prep the equipment. I wanted to keep him warm till the last possible second. His tiny fingers, toes, and nose still soft and fragile would be the first to feel the bite of Old Man Winter.

The machine that would transport us across the frozen landscape finally roared to life. It’s deep throaty growl rumbled like a hungry panther.

The sound of that motor was the sound Little Man had been waiting for. He sprang from the truck with his gear bag dragging on the ice covered pavement behind him.

“Lets go Daddy,” he shouted as I  topped off his head with a heavy stocking hat.

“Patients, the old girl isn’t ready yet.”

While I closed up the truck he climbed into the drivers position of my old snowmobile. It’s an image that has been burned into my brain for eternity.

At six years old, his arms were just barely long enough to span the handlebars,  legs still too little to straddle the seat stuck out wide as he bounced up and down. His thumb lacked the strength to push in the throttle, so his voice took over the task.

“Vroom,” he shouted and leaned into a foreboding turn.

These are the days that do a dad’s heart good.

With a double check of everything, I dropped my helmet onto my head and picked up his.

“Hey,” I hollered to interrupt his fantasy race.

Like a mini- Marine the boy hopped up to stand tall and proud on the seat and accept his crown. He was the prince this day, alone with dad and ready to take on the world.

His head wobbled a bit from the added weight, but he settled into his position on the seat and held his arms out wide. When I climbed on, I felt his little hands clench tight to the sides of my coat, then his helmet pressed firmly into my back.

He was ready.

I eased the throttle and off we went down the ramp and onto the wide open expanse of ice that stretched into the darkness. Our path only lit by the yellowish bouncing light on front of the machine.

The rising sun found us a couple miles off shore tucked in, safe and warm, in the portable shanty we had drug behind us.

As expected, the midday sun slowed the fishing to a point that couldn’t hold the youngsters attention, and his time to drive was at hand.

With just as much energy and enthusiasm as he had that morning, he sat on the growling beast just waiting for my arms to reach around his and push the throttle.

Back and forth we zoomed, not too fast, but quick enough to keep his adrenaline pumping. As we coasted to a stop, my arms fell away and he jumped off, waving his hands in a victory dance as though he had just won the Indy 500.

“Can we go home now,” he asked as his tired body rushed to catch his helmeted head that tipped to the side.

“You got it champ,” I agreed.

Packed and ready to roll, a sense that something was wrong pricked at the back of my brain. With years of playing on frozen lakes under my belt I knew better than to discount the feeling.

I kept myself alert, eyes scanning every which way as I pointed the sled back towards the truck.

It wasn’t until we reached the half mile mark from the launch that I found what my senses had warned of.

For me alone, it wasn’t such a big thing. I had came across this issue a few times before, and was prepared for it. All except for the unpredictable reaction from the little one clutched to my back.

Worry crept into my head and I tried to fight it off. This was going to require my complete concentration, and I had to trust my son to do exactly as I told him. That is a mighty tall order for a six year old who wouldn’t understand the risk involved.

I let the sled roll to a stop, and pinched my elbows tight to my sides, catching his little hands in a grip he could not escape from. His head left its perch on my back and I was sure he could see our dilemma.

I shut down the motor and yelled “Don’t move.”

I stood next to the front of the sled and stared at the thirty feet of open water that separated us from the launch.

“Can you ‘mobile swim Daddy,” I heard from behind me.

I turned as my thoughts reeled over what was about to happen. I was time for a serious talk with my boy.

“No Son it can’t. And neither can we, not in that water.” I searched his face for a reaction.

In that instant I saw it in his eyes, it was a look of faith. Daddy’s always have the answer, and just as long as Daddy was there all would be good. That eased my fears some.

Our helmets hung from the handlebars as I looked deep into those faithful brown eyes. “I need you to listen to me, Okay?”

His little head nodded up and down.

“I need you to sit really still and don’t move. Can you do that?”

A little arm shot up to give me a salute and met his nodding head in perfect time to flip the hat over his eyes.

“Why is there water here Daddy,” came his innocent question.

“The wind has moved the ice, remember our talk about pressure cracks?”

“The wet lines?”

“Yeah, the wet lines.” I confirmed, “This is just a really big wet line.”

“How do we cross it?” His mind was starting to work on a problem far bigger than he realized.

“I’ll show you, but you need to sit tight Okay?”

I rose from my crouch and began to prepare. I had done this before, but alone. Not with the most precious cargo in the world at my side.

I could see my fingers tremble with nerves. Something uncommon for me, yet fully justified this day.

I freed the shanty and gear from the back of the sled and dug out a fifty foot length of rope I kept handy for emergencies.

One end I tied to the gear sled and held the rest of the coil in my hand.

“Stay Put,” I warned as I walked toward the waters edge.

With a mighty heave I flung the rope and watched it unfurl in the air. It’s circles became a wavy line that landed as I had hoped. A good ten feet of rope lay on the ice across the water.

“Time to ride,” I said and handed him his helmet.

“But… our stuff!” he exclaimed.

“Relax, it’s going home with us.” I told him just before I brought the old girl to life again.

Once I felt his hands and head we were off. I had to find a place to cross. The minutes drug on as I followed the pressure crack down the shoreline. It seemed there were many of us fisherman who face the same problem.

Finally I found what I sought, and turned the machine out farther away from shore. One more talk was in order, and my nerves were now on end.

I lined up the sled along my chosen path  and shut it down. Off with the helmets for a our final talk.

“Time to go home champ, your driving.”

“Uh… I don’t want to Daddy.”

This time his voice was filled with fear. A very palatable fear.

“We’ve got this, but you need to be in front of me,” I really didn’t want to finish my sentence, “If something goes wrong I want you in my arms, not behind me.”

I have always believed in talking to our kids like they were little mature people, and that day proved the worth of my choice.

“Okay Daddy,” he said as his eyes welled up with tears.

“Put your hands here, and don’t let go for anything,” I instructed.

Gloved fists wrapped around just where I had pointed and I slid his helmet back on, this time triple checking the clasp under his chin.

My last instruction came just before the turn of the key, “We have to go fast, hold on tight.”

I couldn’t take the stalling any longer. The sun already had dipped below the tree tops, and this event was not something I wanted to do in the dark- even alone.

We both wiggled our bodies tightly together as I mashed the throttle wide open. The path before us became a blur of white with an occasional flash of color as we blasted past more than one fisherman on foot.

Suddenly open water appeared next to a pile of shredded ice that had been pushed up above the flat surface as the ice worked back and forth in the wind over the past few days.

I could feel his tiny body press backwards into me as he locked his arms. No doubt he now understood what was about to happen.

I tightened my grip on the bars with my thumb still fully extended on the throttle. With a hard lurch the skis hit the pile of ice to direct Little Man’s eyes to the sky.

In the span of about three seconds, you could hear the motor over rev as our momentum launched us up where only the seagulls wander, then down with a hard impact into the ice on the other side of the water.

My brain flashed through a check list in milliseconds.

-Ice; solid.

– Little Man; still clinging between me and the machine with his head up.

– Sled; still moving and steerable.

-Me; still in one piece, but possibly with soiled shorts.

I eased back on the throttle but didn’t stop until the rope of our abandoned gear lay within reach.

When we stopped, I learned just what had happened inside my little man.

“Let’s do it again,” came the muffled shout from inside his helmet.

Wide, wild eyes could be seen through the shield and his cheeks spoke of a big grin hidden from view.

“Not today, time to go home,” I was more than a little thankful everything had gone so well.

My only concern from that point on- Mama’s gonna kill me!

Finally with the truck warmed and loaded we climbed into the cab. Only one thought needed to be spoken.

“Did you have fun today doing man-stuff?”

“Oh yeah,” Little Man grinned.

“And what’s the rule of doing man stuff,” I asked.

His answer proved to be a bit more adult than I expected…

I won’t tell Mama about your flying ‘mobile Daddy,” he said and offered his fist up for a manly bump.

Is The Pen Mightier Than The Hammer?


I’m not one for resolutions, I find they are a good way to blow my own self esteem. Goals for the coming year however- that’s the way to go.

And among those goals are some definite repeats from last year. Heck some have been on my goal list for several years.

But this year I have a new one. The number one goal-

Complete and publish my first fiction novel. It’s the next step from my 2014 goal of becoming a writer. Whether or not my writing sucks has yet to be determined, but I am a writer (of some kind).

So 2015 I will be a novelist. That should blow the minds of my kids!

Maybe it is time for me to fully explain what I am doing here.

I’m just your average Joe. A working man who found decent money in the realm of construction. Geometry and fractions ruled my brain, and my weather beaten body abused by both mother nature and the need to feed the family.

In the back of my mind I always wanted to write. To be able to put pen to paper and stream words together in a vivid tale that gave life to  some crazy event or story that would leave folks clamoring for more.

I suppose it is a dream many of us here share.

Then the kids began to grow up and explore life outside the small protective world Mama and I offer. Long story short, I felt the need to prove to the kids that anything is possible when you put your mind to it- after telling them that for years.

So, 2014 became a year of chasing my dream. Starting with research, then into actually doing. I must say I have surprised them while at the same time giving them something to think about.

I have this blog, and nearly one hundred followers (A great big Thank You to each and every one of you!) and my first book- Desperation Floats.

It is short, only about 10,000 words and 39 (ish) pages. But for me it is the greatest accomplishment to date except for my family.

It symbolizes the reality of a dream I have carried since my teenage years. And is one most of the world thought was beyond my grasp.

Other things that make it so special I have technology to thank for. See, I had been told many times things like- “On your budget, you’ll never make it.” or “We prefer someone with REAL writing experience, get back to us when you have at least a published article.”

In this day in age, absolutely everything (except the editing) I have done right here from my home office.

The words are mine along with the actual events the story is about. Thanks to GIMP– (and one frustrating, hair pulling learning curve!), the cover of my book is solely mine as well.

A picture taken from my smart phone, dressed with a title and my name, then resized appropriately is what you see.

The publishing and marketing of Desperation Floats brought about another month of aggravating and stress induced learning. Every little detail (many of which I still have not perfected) combined to blow my mind and question just what I am doing.

What have I come away with? A slam dunk right in the face of every dream poo-pooer out there who said I would fail.

Am I a well known author? Nope, I may only be that cloudy sediment that settled to the bottom of a barrel of the finest wine, but I at least I made it into the barrel.

I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, but my biggest goal of 2014 has been reached. Onward and upward we go, no regrets and no slowing down to look back.

I have taught myself and the kids- Don’t let money (or lack of) stall your dreams. For a creative mind, there are ways of reaching that star you always thought you couldn’t pull from the sky.

Matter of fact as I mill about on the bottom of this barrel, I meet other folks who have found ways to reach their goals. One of which found a route I had not seen before last week.

He is a fellow blogger here named Oscar Hokeah.  And he is one I will keep an eye on, and support his progress as he reaches for the stars. You can find out more about him and his Indigogo campaign here.

And so I go off into 2015 with one great big question.

Is The Pen Mightier Than The Hammer?