Saturday, May 26, 2018

Building the Bridge of Life

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Nico and Christopher goofing around in the backyard at home. (April 1, 2018)



May 26, 2018

It seems as if building bridges is the one structure I need to continually construct while I raise my boys, to be men in life.

“Dad, I can’t do it,” I’m told by one of my boys.

“Yes, you can. Focus on the task. Zero in on the goal. And attack the problem until you get your desired results.”

The reason I compare raising my boys to building bridges is because I know I’ll always have to extend my hand as if it were a span extending from the mainland towards them as a pillar of strength, trust and understanding during their time in need.

Bridges with spans are huge and are built sturdy. When I think of bridges the Golden Gate Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, or the Tower Bridge over the River Thames comes to mind. They have lasted decades and some lasted a century. The pillars and expansion of a bridge launch outward over some gorge, or river, and ocean as it expands outward until one end meets a truss arch that was prebuilt to give it a stable footing. Then, once it’s safely attached to the truss the next span can begin again. And so the process begins a new, until the next truss, and so on. My bridge can never stop reaching towards an end. Because my life spans decades and it’s fluid and dynamic. I need my bridge to last more then my lifetime. It must last my kids lifetime and then their kids, kids.

As their father I’m entrusted to insure that the bridge I’m continually constructing is held together with a sound foundation. I try to be as stable as I can but even as the architect of my boys’ early life, I’m susceptible to my insecurities and self doubt. I know how big of an impact I can have on Nico and Christopher. I don’t want to blow it. I’m not constructing a bridge over the River Kwai only to have Alec Guinness come blow it up!

These massive structures of a spanning bridge is held up by strong cables that expand in-between giant trusses and are held up by thick cables that add much needed stability. Intertwined in what seems to be a single thick metal strain. But actually upon closer inspection you’ll see hundreds of cable strains that are interlaced, which are forming a massive suspension line. Without due care the newly created expansion line will break. Inspections and maintenance are critical. That is why I always adjust where I’m failing them.

Those moments of inward self-reflection are important because I have to prepare for the times when I’m broken. I may doubt myself as a parent on how I approached their problems and I have to be prepared to rebuild my span when these questions of parenting arise.  

Did I “lose it” and yell at them because my patience ran out?
Did I ignore their questions while responding to a text?
Did I ignore the bigger picture and chalk up their failure as “just a child thing?”
How do I expand when it comes to solving their temper tantrums, fears, fright, and despair?

Set backs in my family could cause fraying on the expansion cables which could cause outer spans of trust to break thus, breaking our bonds that are held together by trust or destroying the lessons that we have learned. Damn, parenting is hard.

If this fraying is still occurring after I adjusted my confidence building this could be an indication of a larger issue that looming and more than likely I'm failing to recognize it. Why do we overlook the things we think are trivial?  Ignoring the little things could quickly become a huge structural headache and without care and nurturing this large bridge I’m constructing will collapse like London Bridge.

Having the mindset of raising my boys’ as an architect of a bridge will be a huge benefit in the long run, for us all. And I will know that this bridge is complete while I’m sitting back and watching their life prosper with the confidence that I have extended towards them. A bridge built on trust, listening and understanding. This will ensure that The Bridge of Life will last for generations.




Captain Imperfecto checking out the Bat Mobile from Bat Man 1989. Starring Michael Keaton at the SmithsonianAmerican History Museum. (May 13, 2018.) 


© copyright 2017 Captain Imperfecto, LLC. All rights reserved.






Monday, April 30, 2018

Conversations

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Nico (left) and Christopher celebrating Nico's 10th birthday party while ice skating. (February 24, 2018)



April 30, 2018


This table at the coffee house is my favorite place to sit in the whole cafe. This seat gives me the perfect unobstructed view of everyone while I sit here sipping my favorite cup of joe and secretly judging people. Hey, don't judge me for saying that! All I'm saying is that along with my perfect view I may, once and a while, over hear the conversations of other people. These conversations allow me to relate because it demonstrates that we all have the same problems, hopes and dreams. 

What I mostly love this spot is that I have the perfect advantage point to witness the conflict that all of us have in our life. It is the perfect mixture of cream, sugar and chaos. All around me people talk about life, love and politics.

The conversations are as mixed as a caramel macchiato. I do my best to sort it all out in order to isolate the best conversation. At times I wish I could pour the conversations out straight like a fresh pot of black coffee.


Coffee, like conversations, come in all forms. Hot, cold, frozen, espresso, cappuccino, dark, and hazel. Damn, the things they can do with a coffee bean. Life has the same variety. Love, hate, hope, prayer, work. Just to name a few.  Scientist can manipulate a coffee bean like a hydroponics lab! I wish life could be as simple as regular or decaf. When I was a kid I watched my dad put ice cubes in his coffee to cool it down.As a child I didn’t know what was grosser: The coffee or the ice in the coffee. I wish life was that simple now that I'm all grown up.

Conversations float around in this place like the whip cream bouncing around the inside of the plastic dome lid of my frappuccino. 

I am tired of all this coffee talk. This conversation is boring. So let us move on from this subject and turn to more pressing issues. I think we should  make the world a better place and agree through our next conversation is that the Boston Cream is a pretty damn good donut or maybe better then the plain, glazed, jelly, powerderd or…..



Captain Imperfecto enjoying the Miami Dolphins draft party. (April 26, 2018)


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Friday, March 23, 2018

Grieving for My Brother, A guest post

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March 23, 2018

A good friend and mentor lost his brother to cancer this past Monday. He wrote this on Facebook. I loved it and requested if I could share it. He obliged, thanks Randy. - Chris 


I stopped posting and doing much of anything on Facebook about a year ago. Facebook had become too much to deal with. Before I left I had posted several profiles that I called my "Good Person" posts. They were short essays on people who I admired and who had positive influences on my life. Today I return, temporarily, to write about someone I have long admired, and in whom I have always been proud. I hope I can do justice to him and his memory.

My brother, Ed, was a man to admire. Although, while we were growing up I often wondered if he would mature enough to be a man. I should have never worried. We spent our childhood in Adrian, Michigan. Living in a place where, on a summer day, you could leave the house in the morning, stop by for lunch at noon and not be seen again until dinnertime. No worries about evil doers or calamities. A setting only missing band concerts in a park and cold lemonade from a wooden stand manned by 9 year olds. And sometimes we had that too. Ed was my "kid" brother. As we grew to adulthood we shared an apartment, laughed and fought, and rested in the constant knowledge that we would always be there for each other.

Ed left Michigan after high school and never looked back. He attended college in New York and soon after convinced the love of his life, his precious Jill, to marry him. We ended up living over a thousand miles from our home town, but only a little less than 200 miles apart. Ed drifted for a short while for a job/career, but soon, with help from Jill, realized he needed to be the man he was destined to be. He took a job as an electrician's apprentice and eventually earned first his journeymen's certificate and then his Master electrician license. He headed Construction crews building everything from water plants to restaurants. He was very good at what he did and eventually became a county electrical inspector and plans reviewer. He was widely known for his amazing knowledge of electrical codes and construction.

Meanwhile Jill and daughter Alicia had the love and care of a husband and father who took great pride in his family. Houses were bought and sold. Churches were joined and served. Friends were made and cherished. Ed was a friend to so many and a help to all who asked.

In December of 2017 Ed and Jill hosted a re-dedication of their love. Friends and family gathered from all over the country to be witness to the continuing love. A beautiful ceremony was followed by a feast fit for a king and then a dance that Ed shared with his bride every night.

Ed took me aside that day and told me the secret he had learned. The trouble swallowing and the pain that he was experiencing....was esophageal cancer. My "kid" brother was strong and was a fighter, and he intended to win this fight. When I saw him next he had lost a terrible amount of weight and was weakened by the disease. His voice was a whisper and he tired easily. I was scared, but he was calm. He was fighting. The cancer had metastasized to many parts of his body. But Ed was fighting. On last Tuesday Ed was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and embolisms in his lungs. He was too weak to stand and although he was sharp, and fighting, I was so very, very afraid. I promised to return on Saturday with my family. We came, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. Ed was too weak to speak but a precious few words at a time. I was afraid, but Ed was calm. Ed left us on Monday morning. He fought the good fight and earned his eternal rest.

I miss my brother so dearly. I think now of the wasted opportunities to see him. Opportunities I no longer can use. As I stood at his bedside I told my brother words that I hoped were comfort to him. I let Ed know that I was proud of him and that he had shown me the way to be a man. I told him that he was loved far more than he could imagine. And then I saw my brother for the final time. The day he died the world lost some light. It's a darker and colder place. A better place because he was here. A sadder place because he no longer is. You, my brother, were such a good person.

To my friends and family, love each other, find peace in your hearts, and never miss the chance to tell those who are important to you that you love them.





Celebrating Nico's birthday at the ice skating rink. February 24, 2018. Doing what Randy wants. Celebrating life, even in death. Thanks again, Randy.





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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'll Go First

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Nico, Christopher and Captain being goofy on the couch. February 27, 2018.


February 27, 2018



I’ll go first, to show you that it’s okay to let go.

I'll go first, so you won't be scared.

I’ll go first, to make sure things are all right on the other side. Then someday, a long time from now, I’ll guide your way.

I’ll go first, and when you feel that gentle breeze upon your face, it is to remind you that I remembered all the I love you's, you have told me throughout my life.

I’ll go first, my soul was surrounded in the butterflies that you marveled at when you wished that I was there.

I’ll go first, soaring on the wings of the bird that came up to you out of nowhere while you wondered if I was there with you.

I’ll go first, and when you contemplate the meaning of life as you gaze out into the sea you’ll see the beauty of what life can be and know that I was there to comfort you so you can find peace.

I’ll go first, and be the thoughts in your mind while you’re walking on that mountain trail and comforting you as you cry.

I’ll go first, to remind you how fragile life is and interject your thoughts of how you should live your life to its fullest. 

I’ll go first, so that you may learn what grief is like and once you have healed you can share your experience with those who need to understand loss the most.  

I’ll go first, but I will not be gone forever. I will see you again, someday. 




Captain Imperfecto, writing. February 24, 2018.


© copyright 2018 Captain Imperfecto, LLC. All rights reserved.

**Dedicated in memory of the children and adults who died at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Please be kind to one and other.



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Ass

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Nico and Christopher at the South Florida Fair. January 14, 2018




January 31, 2018

From my early age I couldn't refer to the man who would be my step dad by his real name. His name was the name not to be spoken in front my my father. According to my dad the man who took my mother away from him would be forever known as, The Ass. I just found out that The Ass, has died.I hadn’t seen him in many years but it doesn't affect how I remember his life.

You see when I was very young my mom left my dad for The Ass. I suppose there was a lot of animosity brewing over the years between my parents but I was 2 years old when their break up occurred so it might as well have been another lifetime for me.

The Ass was the opposite of my dad. My father is a workaholic. He still works two jobs this very day. I talk with him and see him but my time spent with him is like being on my very own time clock.

“Hi, dad,” punching in. “Bye, dad,” punching out.

The Ass on the other hand was athletic. He played football very well. Played golf exceptionally well (no mistake he looked just like Arnold Palmer, he sure played like him.) And he enjoyed the outdoors. During my childhood with him and my early 20’s The Ass showed me how to play sports, fish, snorkel, ski, golf and camp.

I remember when he held the back part of my bicycle seat as if it were a football and he ran like a star running back of an American football team who just cleared the defensive line and was headed into the open field. His pounding feet struck the asphalt as he ran along side of me and pushed me along. The soles of his white Reebok sneakers rotated as quickly as my feet could peddle and the black tires of my bike smoothly sailed off as he let go. I was finally able to ride a bike without my training wheels.

The Ass got me, all of my brothers really, a job at the Inverrary Golf Course. The original home of, Jackie Gleason’s Honda Classic. We worked together, talked together and enjoyed our lunch together. We spent months perfecting my golf club grip. I had fun working there.

I was around when my mother talked to him on the phone when he was by his father’s bedside watching him die. My mom listened to the Preacher give last rites. I heard them cry. I was too young and dumb to understand his father's death but I will never forget the car ride up to Titusville to help him pack his mom’s belongings who passed away years later.

He told me the stories of growing up across from the rocket launch pads in the heyday of NASA when spaceflight was in its infancy. He boasted how he watched all the Apollo rockets make their way into space. “Hell, I didn’t even know they were having a launch one night until the rocket was lit and it shook me off the toilet seat.”

But it was his statement on our way home from his mom's house that would have a profound affect on me for the rest of my life.

“It’s a weird feeling, Chris. When both your parents are dead. When my parents were alive, no matter what happened in my life, I could always go home. And not necessarily live with them. Just go home and talk to them. Figure things out. But now all that is gone. I feel like an orphan.”

I moved on past his derogatory name, The Ass. On that day we were having Thanksgiving dinner. I asked my dad to come in and he said, "if you mom will have me, I will." All of us had Thanksgiving dinner. My dad's animosity went away. 

But now that Edward has died I feel sad I did not have the closure with him so I could thank him for the things I learned about him and from him. Share with him the memories, like helping my study my spelling words. Explaining to me what having a Green Thumb meant by showing me how to cut the grass. or building my moms greenhouse. How to fish from the beach, jetties and piers. How he learned how to crab in the Chesapeake Bay and passed on the lessons of cooking and eating blue crabs.

About 6 months ago I searched for Edward, Ed, Ned, Eddie. But I could not find him. We found out about his death when his son found my sister on Facebook.

Life brings people together for one reason or another. Of course they come and go and we pay no mind to the ones who left because we are all so caught up in our own lives to realize that time is fleeting and with every new day there’s a chance tomorrow will never come. My experience is the perfect example on how us human beings take the miracle of life for granted.


I thought I would have time to find Edward and tell him everything that I just wrote. But that moment is gone.  I must now deal with the regret of not telling him thanks for being, a dad. I assumed life would always give me the time for that. But this is not to be. Edward, thanks for being a dad to me. I hope that rocket ship took you to your parents so you can feel at home again.



Captain Imperfecto and Christopher at the fair he's like 6'8" in this photo!
January 14, 2018.

#Ass #Death #Love #parents




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