Tag Archives: parenting

{why i can’t have nice things} including (possibly) my kids’ fingers

31 Aug

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.

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Hi! This is my new electric pencil sharpener, a fun new back-to-school “gift” I recently bought for my kids. (manual sharpeners are sooo 1st grade.)

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She's a beauty, ain't she?

As you might see if you’ve got an eye for these sort of things, It’s an X-ACTO brand. It’s also missing the shaving receptacle cover (3 days into ownership–not bad). The other morning, I walked into the kitchen, froze, and then gasped with horror. There, there at the breakfast table was one of my older kids gently guiding my 3-year-old’s fingertip into the sharpening tube (or whatever the hell it’s called).

X-ACTLY where it should not be.

No fingers were lost/maimed in the making of this post, but I see a Group W Bench in one of these kids’ future.

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The author re-enacting the events of the breakfast incident.

Staycation: 2011

30 Aug

Every year, I am forced to take a “vacation” during the third week of August. Daycare is closed for the youngest that week and all summer programs for the older boys have finished. It’s an odd paradigm for working parents, this forced vacation, but a common one. I seldom plan a real, live “go away” vacation. Going anywhere with three kids aged 8 and under is neither appealing to me, nor feasible for many reasons–but that’s for another post. So, the third week of August is devoted to me and the kids and our week-long local adventures and distractions undertaken from basecamp (read: home). Here are some outtakes from the week taken from my field journal (read: scraps of paper and previous facebook posts).

Pyramid of cuteness and destruction.

Field report: Monday.

First day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Carmen found a fossil in the front yard, Paul broke my antique framed print of a girl and her dog that I’ve had since I was little, I made homemade stuffed crust pizza, and Anthony got caught in a mouse trap (the glue kind). Overall, a moderate success.

Homemade Pizza: Boom.

Field report: Tuesday.

Second day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Tired. Carmen caught a huge, angry snapping turtle (I commandeered the line, totally froze and had no idea what to do, and promptly (and kind of thankfully) lost it), Paul didn’t break anything, I lost one of the last four fly fishing flies that I had of my father’s, and when I asked Anthony what time it was on his Spiderman watch, he said “27.” When asked again, “banana.” Overall, a moderate success.

Seriously scary snapping turtle.

Field report: Wednesday.

Third day of “staycation” with all the boys. West Deer, PA. Disgruntled; losing good humor and motivation. Almost had fisticuffs with the crazy lady in the vet waiting room who repeatedly called Gunner fat. Stopped at Sheetz on the way home and the kids insisted on “accidentally” mispronouncing it “Shitz” the remainder of the day. Welcomed home the in-laws from their 3 week trip to Greece and hometown in Italy; got lots of swag. Not dead. Overall, a moderate success.

Field report: Thursday.

Four “Funday” passes to Kennywood: $80
Playing games until the boys each won a prize: $20
Potato Patch Fries and drinks: $25
The look on your kids faces when they’re feeding their soft pretzel to ducks in the Kennywood pond: a total goddamn waste of $3.75

Trying to hurt/maim Cowboy Joe

Field report: Friday.

Details are sparse. Only things in field journal: “Thinking about going to the rodeo tonight and sitting on aluminum bleachers with chance of thunderstorms. #badideajeans?” and “Lost: Very small frog. Reward: Anthony.”

Frog that was lost sometime Friday.

Field report: Saturday.

Sums Saturday afternoon up pretty nicely.

Kim Kardashian is having her $25M nups today. Here’s *my* day in a nutshell: 1. I’m drinking Miller Light for lunch, 2. my youngest just threw a hoe at me (not a prostitute), 3. a spider was building a web *in the bill of the hat I was wearing,* 4. I just took 2 Imodiums, 5. my kitchen floor looks like a scene from M*A*S*H (seriously, who needed 14 band-aids, I didn’t even see any blood or hear screaming).
And if you ask me if I’d like to trade places with Kim for the day: absofuckinglutely.

Medical waste? We’ll never really know.

Oh, and we went to the North Washington Rodeo.  We bought tickets for $1 for chances to win a live steer, a live pig, a live colt, and a live miniature pony. “Sadly,” we did not win.

Parades and rodeos…forget it. I get all USA and misty eyed.

There is a town called Hooker, PA that you drive through to get to the rodeo. Never gets old for me.

Field report: Sunday.

We drove by a cemetery today and there were about 100 crows covering a section close to the road. It was a poignant sight to me, and  it cut a beautiful shape against the morning sky. Not macabe, just symbolic and there for the looking.

My one twin spoke up after taking in the sight, “You mean to tell me…all these birds, they’re allllll visiting dead people?”: head in the stars.

My other twin to his brother, “They are just. Eating. Worms. Duh.”: anvil of truth.

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Well I think they’re both right…it’s just in how you want to look at things, what you *want* to believe.  I was a stay-at-home mom for three years. It was wonderful, and lonely, and fun, and freeing, and maddening, and a little sad. After careful thought, I made a choice to go back to a wage-earning job. My recent staycation was the first week since then that I missed staying home. Parenting is hard, and you seldom know if you are doing the right thing. Don’t worry, if you are doing your best, your kids will love you either way.

Anthony totally tangled in fishing line; confused; filthy.

Your time with your children (in any capacity) will provide a lifetime of wonderful memories for them to cherish. They will remember so many mundane details and thank you someday : head in the stars.

As long as you love them, feed them, house them, clothe them, and provide—your kids will probably (for real) not remember much of the details that you pine over, but—you will have succeeded in getting them into adulthood as functional members of society: anvil of truth.

Just try to enjoy the ride. Most importantly, relax. Seriously. Take it easy on yourself. Everything will be OK. As long as all the frogs are accounted for at the end of the day, you will have succeeded.

Back to school. Paul is probably hiding the lost frog behind his back there…

Give a kid a fish and he can eat, teach a kid to fish: you have attained a state of zen yet to be described

23 May

I come from a family of avid fishers (Not of the weasel family. And “fisherpeople” just sounded like an extinct humanoid species found in a dried up lake bed in Montana, so I’m rolling with fishers, kay?). I grew up hearing great fishing stories from my dad about his fishing trips with my grandfather. And by fishing stories, I want to be clear that these stories had absolutely NOTHING to do with fish size, and most of the time were not even about the act of fishing itself.

The very awkward 1980’s looking author: very proud of her trout

They were some of the stories that helped me to delineate (at an early age) 1. what I think is funny 2. what is considered horribly wrong and 3. how sometimes horribly wrong things can be very funny. For example, a family favorite story was when my dad was fishing with my grandfather, and my dad’s line got snagged. Now when you’re 8-years-old and you think that your line is stuck in a bush/tree/unknown brush pile, it is normal for that kid to pull on that line AS HARD AS HE CAN to get it unstuck. The only problem was that my dad’s line was connected to my grandfather’s neck. Horrible: yes. Hilarious: yes. Sorry, it’s just how things evolved for me. But fishing is how my family has spent a lot of time together through many, many generations and years.

I’ve fished my whole life. One time, my friend Amy and I went to a little pond around our camp in Clarion County, PA where I used to fish as a kid. A sweet honey hole of a place, tucked into the back 40 of a farm. We drove for miles and miles and then started down the long dirt road to the pond. We passed the old farmhouse and furiously waved at the family that lived there who were out in the yard. Since I hadn’t really known them well from my childhood, I just figured since they waved back, they remembered me and everything was cool. We settled into their canoe, fished for the afternoon, caught some trout for dinner, and then headed back to the camp. When we came back to the camp we told my dad about our awesome day of fishing. My father broke the news to us: the people we knew who owned that farm hadn’t lived there for years. So since I’m sure they’re reading this, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the landowners that let those two crazily waving and friendly girls drive to their pond, jump into their canoe, and have a great day of fishing. Thanks again, that was awesome. Here’s a shot of Amy after that day.

Amy very proud of her fish; also, dinner.

Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve made it one of my jobs to teach them about fishing. Not just about the sport (baiting, setting a hook, casting, and in most cases, releasing) but about the experience (keeping your gear organized, packing light, bringing snacks, leaving your fishing spot better than how you found it, sitting peacefully, and respecting the quietness of the outdoors). Now I have three kids between the ages of 3 and 8. I take them all with me every time I go, which is fairly often as I have a county park with three great lakes within 5 minutes of my house. This is something I do without my husband, he hasn’t the patience or the desire. It’s our time: me and my boys, and it is my favorite time.

Paulie in a state of zen, thinking about where his 4 opened root beers are.

What I’m learning is that taking a child fishing is really not about the child at all, it’s not even about fishing. If you take a kid fishing, you will not do one thing for yourself. and I mean that sincerely. You will completely give yourself over to something else, and most importantly somebody else.

Aside from all that squishy stuff, you’re going to create great memories and garner some funny stories of your own, for posterity’s sake. A few weeks ago I took the boys out to the lakes. It began raining torentially. My three-year old decided to run away from me, around the lake. Now, normally, this is not a big deal. But he has become FAST and I was after him in hot pursuit, and I was losing miserably. To add insult to injury, the men who were fishing across the lake began shouting “Run Mummy, RUN!!” ala Forrest Gump. Now that I look back, yep, that was both horrible and hilarious. So, to those guys who, again, are surely reading this blog, thanks for that. It didn’t strike me as funny when it was happening, and the joke was about 10 years too late, but, yeah, I’ll give you some funny points in hindsight. But guess what, I win. I’m a wicked-cool mummy who takes her boys fishing.

The one “who got away” ala Forrest Gump. Glo Bait is also great for a toddler’s lunch.

So, in short, let me prepare you for a day of fishing with your children:

  • Children change bait like James Brown changed outfits. This is approximately 30 times; you will be responsible for most of the hooking and unhooking.
  • They will be able to cast out after the first year, but expect lots of snags. Sometimes they will bring you rods/lines that are so enmeshed that you just have to cut all the lines and start over. You’re not Houdini; don’t try to be.
  • They will all of a sudden begin acting as if they have just ended a 40 day Master Cleanse and will demand copious amounts of food and beverages. Factor in about 25 minutes of just opening pop cans and chip bags.
  • When they get bored, they will entertain the possibility of catching a duck and ask accordingly. (Answer: no)
  • Don’t think that you will be able to cast your own rod out and fish. Your main job is to ensure that your youngest child does not a.)  jump into the lake or b.) throw his rod into the lake (too many times.)
  • Just remember that you are there, there is nothing else going on, and you are all together.

If you can take three kids fishing, you can seriously do anything. Really, you should try it, just make sure you have some good running shoes.

Carmie very proud of catching some type of kelp-like water vegetation.

A few words for my twins, on the cusp of their 8th birthday

3 May

To my oldest boys:

I know that you have learned these things (all these wonderful things in just this week alone–in addition to so many other facts and lessons!), but I would like to record them for posterity and for others, so that they may also be so enlightened.

1. Although generally well-received, high-fives are not always an appropriate greeting to people you see at a funeral.

2. After you shared with me, “the absolute worst, worst, worst word” a person can say (at your request, by whispering it into my ear and spelling it…), and after I asked you three additional times to spell it, yes, C-U-R-T is the absolute WORST word a person can say.

3. I’ve never seen your little eyes light up so much (and with such excitement and joy!) as after you asked me the question that you’ve asked me so many times before, sitting there so cute with your pencils and notebook, “What should I draw?” Before I could answer, “a farm,” or “a cabin on a lake,” or “a bunch of dogs playing poker,” your brother said, without looking up from his book, “Trace your penis.”

I love you more than you love BB guns. But not as much as you’re gonna love your new zip-line. Rock on!

(Note: I have not delineated which twin said what, who are we kidding, I can’t even keep those kids straight.)

{why i can’t have nice things} inventory edition: the dangerous item repository

23 Mar

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.

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My Uncle Bill was an intrepid traveler, and (still is) a brilliant photographer. A true prodigal son, I don’t remember his absenses from my Grandma Rizzo’s house, but rather his quiet homecomings. He carried a satchel with him everywhere he went, prior to this being the norm of many men today. He recently told me that every so often, he would dump out the contents of his bag and take a photo of whatever was in there. Everything. He said this photo was almost more telling than a journal entry or any story of where he had been. I thought this was a brilliant idea. I’ve decided to use Uncle Bill’s time capture methodology in different ways. I think you should try it, too. It could be with your purse, your diaper bag, your junk drawer, your backpack, or anything that becomes a collection point for stuff. Today, I would like to use this methodology for: The Dangerous Item Repository.

On a fairly regular basis, we have to confiscate things from our kids. Most times, these items are (relatively) benign and relegated to the top of the refrigerator or on top of our mantle. A completed Star Wars Lego winged vehicle? Sure put that on top of the fridge for safe keeping. Alexei Kovalev bobble head dolls? Yeah, better put those on the mantle before the 3-year-old rips poor Kovy’s head off. (Note: Let’s just come right out and say it: a bobble head is basically just taunting us to decapitate it.) But then, there are things taken from our children that just can’t be hidden in plain sight.

Out of fear.

This is when we utilize the Dangerous Item Repository: the top of an old  locker in our garage, right off of the kitchen.

With spring around the corner, and the hope of cleaning our garage, I’ve been thinking about these messes that accumulate. So it is with those words, that I present to you today’s {why i can’t have nice things}: things taken and hidden from my beautiful children (due to the nefarious use of items by said children):

1. A child’s golf club

2. A paint roller with dried up paint on it

3. A cap gun with caps (enclosed in Ziploc bag)

4. A lighter

5. A hose attachment

6. Enamel paint jars

7. A 3-lb weight

8. A large, prickly stick

9. A lead pipe

10. A ball-peen hammer

Now, if I could just figure out where I hid that mallet…

{why i can’t have nice things} industrial masking tape

6 Mar

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.

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I had a really great history professor one semester in college. He taught History of the American Revolution and he was so great, that he actually wore blazers with large, deliberate patches sewn over his elbows. And he was gloriously disheveled. This professor was a huge proponent of questioning history. Or rather, instead of reading an historian’s record of events, he advocated deliberating the significance of historical events using first person accounts and primary source materials. For example, instead of reading a recent narrative about how American Colonists were all riled up by British tyranny, he made us read The Stamp Act. This methodology really changed my way of thinking. Not just about history, but life in general. Namely, there are two sides to every story–and then, the truth.

Most recently, I believe using this primary source methodology would benefit anyone reading about parenting and childcare. Listen, parenting is difficult and completely lawless at times–no one’s going to tell you otherwise. But that’s like saying that the endocrine system is complicated. No shit. I’m not here to tell you how hard parenting is. I’m not going to tell you that it’s difficult. I’m not going to try to compare discipline to the pancreas. Or teaching proper aim into the toilet to the thyroid. I’m just going to give you pictures and first person accounts and you can form your own opinions.

Case in point: the “it’s too quiet what are they doing wrong?” scenario. There is an eerie quiet that overcomes a home some evenings, when a parent’s mind wanders and believes that a child has either a. escaped or b. is doing something very, very bad. I will tell you, the quiet is almost always due to the latter. Alright, one time Baby Anthony did escape–from his own 3rd birthday party, no less–but we found him very shortly after the jailbreak, safe and sound down by the swing set at around 9:00 p.m. in the pitch black night. Who ever thinks the BIRTHDAY BOY will run away from his party? Apparently, not us.

Last night, my husband and I were hypnotized by the evening quiet. A brief, beautiful, perfect moment of…nothing. No yelping. No hitting. No wrestling. No hollering. Nothing. And then…I tensed up. What were they doing? Oh sure, there have been textbook family nights when the quiet was actually because of a game played without biting of a participant or a partner Lego project (Sciullo & Sciullo Engineers, Inc) completed without a punch. Rare, but it has happened. One time, the twins worked together to build a Lego vessel model they designed to be used to remediate the oil spill in the Gulf. But, last night, I didn’t even hear the brrrrshh of sorting through a Lego bin. Nope, what broke the eerie quiet was the harsh, screaming sound of tape being ripped from it’s roll by the footful. And screams. And giggles. And various beating sounds.

Today’s {why i can’t have nice things} is brought to you by industrial masking tape. Oh sure, it can be used to trim out paint work, but why use it for good when it can be used for…taping your hands like boxers do and beating each other about the face.

Perhaps there will be a college course on the Sciullo boys someday, just print out this blog for some source material. Also, they asked me if I would tie them together like conjoined twins to see how those type of twins “fight.”

Help.

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{why i can’t have nice things} inaugural post

18 Feb

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). Some photos – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

**A twisted step-cousin twice-removed of www.soulemama.com‘s {this moment}.

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Recently, I have been professing my love for Amanda Soule to anyone who will listen. She is an expert and (seemingly) effortless blogger, wife, book author, back yard ice rink maker, crafter, baker, mother, photographer, pregnant person, decorator, knitter…seriously, she is all these things. For real. She is the perfect fusion of the very best parts of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Martha Stewart, Louise Dickinson Rich, and St. Ann. While I can honestly say that I’ve never wanted to be someone other than me…if I absolutely had to choose someone with whom to trade lives, I mean absolutely had to choose, it would be with Amanda Soule (or a member of the Go-Go’s circa 1982; tossup).

Of course, I don’t know Mrs. Soule–holdup, who are we kidding? In my mind I think of her as…Amanda–but I’ve been thinking about Amanda a lot lately. Sometimes late at night my mind starts racing and I think I am failing at something (or everything). Like parenting, or organizing my dog’s vaccine records, or folding fitted sheets, or how’s my Netflix queue?, or should we try to read something other than Walter the Farting Dog before bedtime?…and I’m like, “Boy, I bet Amanda Soule has this stuff down.” In the last few weeks I’ve made some broad and sweeping assumptions and a few wild ass suppositions about my new hero. I’d like to share them with you:

  • I don’t think Amanda Soule raises her voice a lot. (Only when shouting for her family to come in from making an igloo in the back woods to enjoy some healthy beef barley soup paired with rustic sourdough bread fresh from the brick hearth.)
  • I bet that she eats a LOT of leafy greens and hardly *ever* eats Swedish fishies. Well, unless celebrating Sveriges nationaldag and within the confines of a candy smörgåsbord laid upon a vintage robin’s egg blue side table. Peppered with lots of penny candy.(Hello? Can you say Charleston Chew?)
  • I would imagine that she has decoupaged something in the last four days. And she has also probably actively included her (very well-behaved) children in this activity, donning their oilcloth art smocks that were hanging from assigned hooks in the crackle-painted art cubbie.
  • I am certain that all of her kids’ belongings are labeled with cute little hand-embroidered tags. And everything smells like fresh-picked cotton.
  • I think she can make her own soap. It is branded with her initials. And when you use it on your face, you hear that sound that’s played when someone smiles in a toothpaste commercial.
  • I imagine that if I ever visited Amanda for a weekend, there would be a little package wrapped in plain brown paper waiting for me on my front doorstep when I got home. Inside that package would be the following: a.) hand-written recipes of all the meals we shared together at the large family dining table made of wide-planked barn-wood salvaged from her family’s homestead in the Berkshires b.) four (4) dozen Moravian ginger cookies c.) a tasteful little chapbook of some photos of our weekend held in by archive quality photo corners d.) a crocheted coffee cup cozy with a stylized deer antler motif stitched into it and e.) the rest of my Valium prescription that I had accidentally forgotten on the night table of her guest room.

Now, as much as I admire Amanda Soule and wish that I could be more like her, the simple truth is: I am not Amanda Soule. Try as I might, I just don’t think I am crafty enough, nice enough or–well–*good* enough. Now, maybe this is crazy talk. Maybe I have been hoodwinked by her photos, taken with the most astute aperture settings that would make a photo of a dog humping a throw pillow look charming. And maybe, just maybe, I’m just wearing the wrong boots to feed my chickens. Certainly a candy apple red pair of wellies might put a little jaunt in my step and bring out the healthy pink glow in my cheeks. And seriously, if I planned all my meals in a journal covered in vintage apron fabric tied with a ric rac bow, I might be off to a better start.

But again, no, I am not Amanda Soule. I am, oftentimes and more than I would like to be, the *exact opposite* of who I think Amanda Soule might be. I am disheveled, unorganized, not pregnant, have a penchant for wearing camouflage clothing, improbably overcome with tasks that never seem to be completed, unskilled at using the manual setting of my camera to soften the pictures of my kids picking their noses, and–let’s put it on the table–pretty loud.

However, I still turn to her for inspiration. Every week at http://www.soulemama.com Amanda Soule uploads a photo entitled {this moment}. As she explains it, {this moment} is “A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.” She beckons her readers to try to capture their own moment and to share that moment. How lovely!

I tried to do this, I really did. But what ended up happening, was that I was trying too hard. Out of 100 moments I captured, maybe one was “simple, special, or extraordinary” but it was very rarely my favorite moment of the week, and was usually precluded from posting due to, oh just as an example, capturing a child drop-kicking his brother while wearing a helmet and three-times-too-big gardening gloves in some sort of unintentional nod to hobo fighting. More often than not, my would-be moments were out of focus, borderline offensive, touting potentially dangerous activities, inordinately physical in nature, and sometimes downright tactless.

Remember, there are very valid reasons that I (kind of affectionately and jokingly just so I don’t cry) refer to my three young sons as dingoes.

However, these are MY moments. I think that Amanda would approve of me simply trying to capture a piece of my life…and that I am. While I’m sure we are very different, we both share a love of our family and a desire to create a better space for them. So in that spirit, I bring you my weekly post titled {why i can’t have nice things}:

“A weekly, or as close as I can get to weekly, ritual (who am I kidding that I think I can do this every week). A single photo – with or without tons of explanation – capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. A moment that makes me remember why exactly it is that I can’t have nice things (but someday will).”

So for the inaugural post, I bring you, the homemade mallet we had to confiscate from one of our 7-year-old twins this week. My husband and I have absolutely no idea where it came from, it is most obviously hand-hewn, and one kid was using it to (attempt to) hit another kid with. Look for next week’s {why i can’t have nice things}, there might just be an anvil headlining in it.

I heart you Amanda Soule, but I still do struggle believing that you are real.

 

 

Best. Kids. Timeout bench. Ever.

1 Feb

Here it is: I didn’t feel any sense of nostalgia when I heard we would be losing the Civic Arena. In fact, I was almost giddy that Pittsburgh was trying to (gasp) plan a 28-acre city space that could be useful and beneficial for downtown growth. The Igloo. Gone. Sacrificed for the greater good of our city. Offered up to the Gods of public sport. Home to our beloved Eskimos?

All was well and good with my historical conscience. I was amenable to the idea, heck, I wanted it to be demolished–now. That is…until I made the long trek down Mario Lemieux Place to the Consol Energy Center for open Penguins practice in September of 2010.

The Consol. The savior of Pittsburgh hockey. The house that Mario built. I took all my boys down and parked on the road that led around the arena. There was a fence that was erected around the perimeter now, and we walked the long path to the Consol, past the old arena ticket windows, right by the steps leading down from the parking lots, and under the steel trestle. All four of us in a row, walking slowly, goofing off, and looking at all the vinyl signs in the windows with larger than life action shots of last season’s players. I reminisced:

  • Going to my first Pens game with my Dad. I was just 11 years old  and my Mom had won hockey tickets at a church bingo. They were taped to an autographed hockey stick. The autograph was by a new guy on the team, a few years older than me: number 66. It was crush at first sight.
  • The 80’s and 90’s, hockey hair, Le Magnifique. Watching game after game with Tim, Justin, and Jon. Going to games with Robertson. Two Stanley Cups.
  • In the late 90’s and during my tenure at Mellon, the Penguins were practically GIVING tickets away to employees of their corporate sponsor. Those years were filled with hockey for my husband and me, even through the team went through some pretty uneventful seasons. That is, until that game in late December of 2000 where Mario unexpectedly came back to play. We thought it would be just another game when we bought the tickets, but I can still see his jersey number banner being lowered down from the ceiling.
  • In 2010, just last year, I went to my first playoff game and I witnessed a Sidney Crosby hat trick: a goal, an assist…and a save.

The Consol was nice. It was clean. It was sanitary. It was open. It was quiet. It was…beige. I missed the narrow halls of the arena, the public parade of fans in an unintentional moving mosh mob. I missed the din of the crowd; somehow noise was lost in the new place. I missed feeling close to the ice, on top of the players. I missed the dirty walls, the fluorescent lighting.

I missed…the old place.

How did I handle my new conundrum? How did I allay my Pittsburgh (Catholic) guilt and make things right? The Consol is what the team needed and why they stayed. What could I do to make the transition easier?

By buying a piece of the old Civic Arena, of course.

I would like to welcome the newest addition to the Sciullo household to you. This, this ladies and gentlemen, is Tag#CA6765.

The Civic Arena memorabilia auction was the perfect way for us to say so long. Now, I could keep a piece of my beloved Igloo and move on. I tried to buy a turnstile, but was outbid. I thought about buying a ticket window, but that would turn into a Kohler commercial: “design a house around this (ticket window).” I let that one go. My friends bought an enormous sign of the section where they sat on their first date together. Everything was for the taking. The toilet from Lemieux’s luxury suite was even listed, but later taken down. But the bench: it was mine.

Just remember, when you’re pining over the Civic Arena, the characters and props in this tragedy are still there. The players, the fans, the people in the beer line (that ALL look familiar), the excellent mullets that still abound, the kids going to their fist game, the jersey-ed masses, the nachos and beer, **the cotton candy guy. They are still there, just as they were in a stainless steel dome against a gray and dirty background. Only now, that stainless steel dome has been replaced by a shiny glass and brick building and that background is now beige and very, very clean.

If I couldn’t have Mario’s toilet, by God, I’d have something else that his ass had sat on: a 13 foot team bench. Come on over and have a seat if you’re ever getting nostalgic.


**Updated June, 2011: Sadly, Cotton Candy Guy, Kenny Geidel, 64, passed away in May, 2011.

Wakan Tanka

27 Jan

The dumbest thing I’ve ever said: “Sure, we can make a teepee today!”
Only to be followed by the most surreal thing I’ve ever said: “But we’re gonna need rope. Where did I hide it when I confiscated it from you guys when you tried to walk the baby?”

Please note the following:

  • When you make a teepee, you can’t have TOO many poles. I mean, it’s just something I learned on my journey and I wanted to share with everyone. If you collect 10 long sticks for construction, go back and collect 5 more.
  • Do not discourage your kids from decorating the inside of the teepee with skeletal remains (of unknown origin) found on your back property. It really steps the decor up and screams “native.”
  • Superman sheet as teepee panel, while perhaps not historically accurate, looks pretty cool.
  • Do not be discouraged when *you* are playing in the teepee more than your kids. Remember, they asked you to build it, but they totally didn’t expect you to really do it. So, you’re kind of on your own on that one.
  • When your children subsequently tear down the teepee because the 10-year-old neighbor girl claimed to have a superior design and reinforcement idea, don’t fret. This is only the first of many times where your boys will rip your warm, beating heart right out of your chest and pounce on it because of a girl’s influence.
    Get into it.

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