Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vacation? Really

Much to my surprise, people want to hear more about my vacation. Of course, the problem is - as with many things - the more time has separated me from my alleged vacation the less I remember. I think, but I'll try.

For instance, I mentioned the ride to finally get to the resort and indoor water park. The fun really started when we got there. Well, fun if you were a kid anyway. Whomever coined the term "family vacation" obviously never had a family. Thus the title of my last vacation post. Why would I say such a thing? Because I HAVE a family and trust me, it was no vacation for me. It was probably less so for my wife. The kids? They thought it was great - but for mom and dad it was "welcome to the Zannini Family Traveling Road Show."

Putting aside the hurting on the family budget that our two days in the fake, indoor Florida sun cost us - let's think of what it cost us in effort. Like, say planning. It's safe to say that two days away with four kids takes about the same amount of primary and contingency planning as one of the Apollo moon missions. Maybe more. After all, NASA only had to worry about three adults and on Apollo they had bathroom facilities built right into the space suits. Not the case for the family in the trusty family van. But boy would that have been nice.

As parents, we all know the drill, the thrill and the dread of the words coming from our little precious treasures "I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!" Of course, it's usually said immediately after we've gone past the last exit for 10 miles on a stretch of road where not only is there no rest stop, but the sides of the road either go up 50 feet of blasted rock facing on one side or down 50 feet on the other. The question is - what do you do?

Me - I pray. I think even if I didn't have a religious bent to me anyway, this is a place I would still pray. I'm praying for a lot of things, like for example, the wisdom to understand WHY we just let the kid drink the one liter juice bottle we had packed for her. Or maybe I'm wondering - why didn't we have her go to the bathroom * before * we left the house? I'm also praying that when we got the van we were smart enough to have gotten the seats Scotch guarded. I'm praying for the capacity to become a real life McGyver, and trying to figure out how to build a porta-potty from the baby's portable high chair and the cup-holders from the front of the stroller. Most of all I'm praying that every state trooper for the next 10 miles either falls asleep or has just had someone in a bright red sports car go by them at 100 miles an hour - that way no one will notice the gray Grand Caravan going by at 90 because the kid is now saying "Daddddddyyyy! I hap to go bad!"

Yeah, right. Vacation.

Vista SP1 Delay won't hurt Enterprise - DUH

And why is that you might ask? CAUSE NOBODY HAS IT INSTALLED. Don't just believe my rant - read it for yourself.

Computer World article

Don't Consume before Bed Time - Nightmares May Ensue

Yikes. It just keeps getting scarier.


Will we be a "sweet land of liberty" much longer?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's no fluke.

So, Friday we went on a whale watch. This was the picture that was on the white-board in the kitchen when I got down stairs for breakfast. Thus, welcome to an 11 year old's (my eldest Halle's) rendering of a whale watch - and what the whales are doing (yes, that is a disco ball they've hung off the bottom of the boat).

The only bummer is that you don't see part of the picture that was erased by my 4 year old Chloe that showed other whales saying "Let's paaaaarrrrttteeeeeeeee". Unreal that Halle girl. Pictures from the whale watch to come...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"I met Nick Pedro, I met Nick Pedro"

So, Shanna and the girls went to Wal-Mart the other night to do some grocery shopping (yah, I know it still sounds odd to me too - but it's a Super Wal-Mart so it has groceries) as a quick hit before we got into our busy weekend. While she was shopping Halle (miss "I have to know everything that's going on") spotted Nick Pedro in the store and ran back and told the wife. So, being the rabid American Idol fan that she is - and wanting to mortify her daughters, she stalked him until he was in an aisle that she needed to go down for something. Then, nonchalant and all introduces herself (in this semi-manic) fashion to Nick Pedro, shakes his hand, told him she voted for him all night (not much of an exaggeration) the last night he sang. While this was going on, the girls (smartly) stayed back because they didn't want to really be associated with her. They waved and said hi though. Ah, what celebrity does to normal seemingly level headed people. What a trip - my wife Shanna - Nick Pedro groupie...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why I Podcast

People wonder why I take the time to sit behind a mic and do a podcast. They wonder what can make it worth the time I spend away from my family, or I loose in sleep. Well, read the following email (name withheld) and you'll understand WHY I podcast. It's not just me being silly - it's me doing for others what God has done for me.

Phillip, thank you so much for the opportunity to collaborate with you on the Martin Luther Pod cast. I hope i don't get too mushy here but back when I emailed and called you I wasn't holding out much hope for my future as a writer and only sat and listened to pod casts while eating and feeling sorry for myself listening to other people's writing's. Now, thanks in part to you giving me this opportunity, I have been given another chance at my dream and full credit goes to you for putting my name out there in the literary world. You did my script justice and I loved the sound effects, they were perfect! If you want me to collaborate with you on any other biographies please let me know and I will be happy to do them. I cannot wait to hear the next episode of Martin Luther and I am definitely looking forward to Pocahontas and especially Tutankhamen.
Thanks again, God Bless and keep pod casting,

So, any chance I might have to impact someone this way, I'm willing to take a few hours out of my life. The cool thing is, it isn't the first person that has done something because of the podcasts, there are actually two people that started their own podcasts after listening to the show as well. There are others that have sent in recommendations and when I've responded and done one of the proposed subjects have written to let me know how that impacted them - to let me know how it made them feel a part of something bigger - that made them more aware of their capacity to contribute. Really - what else can I ask for? My whole purpose in life is to see people become what God has made them to be. To see them reach out and touch what is possible in God and in their lives. The reason why I podcast isn't just to entertain, it's to reach people. I just pray like the Apostle Paul did - that I may speak boldly that the name of the Lord may be known and lifted up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

There is no such thing as a Vacation with Four Children - Unless You've Left them with the In-Laws

Well hello all (the three of you that read this blog I imagine). I've returned from "vacation" with the family. And, as the title of the post indicates I think the word vacation is a misnomer at best.

Now, for purposes of full disclosure, the vacation got off to a bad start. Unfortunately we needed to change our plans at the last minute to attend a funeral for my wife's step-brother's wife who just recently passed away due to cancer. And yes, it was not fun, and yes, we'll miss Susan. I will for certain, she was one of my favorite in-laws. But believe it or not, that wasn't the worst part of it. It was the travel.

We live south of Boston (about 40 miles give or take). The funeral was south-west of Hartford, CT. The vacation spot is in Danvers, MA - right on the border (literally) of NH. So, 2 1/2 hours of driving to the funeral, the funeral, grave site, collation afterwards - then 2 - 2 1/2 hours of driving to the resort (with the indoor water park - which was the reason we were going).

You know what it sounded like...

- Dad, how long is two hours?
- Dad, has it been an hour yet?
- Dad, are we out of Massachusetts yet?
- Dad, are we in CT yet?
- Dad, I'm thirsty.
- Dad, can you put on Jonathan Park (a series of audios that the kids are listening too for home schooling that's all science related and very well done...)
- Dad, can you put on Jonathan Park?
- Dad, can you put on Jonathan Park?
- Can we listen to Jonathan Park yet?

That was in the first 20 minutes. And that was the *good* part!

More to come (maybe provided I've sufficiently recovered) later.