Savvy Stories chapter 3, Post Saturday October 12, 2013


Sleep? With a new baby I the house? Oh, you’ll sleep, but you won’t get 8 straight hours anymore for a while; and it turns out that 4 hours sleep plus 4 more hours sleep doesn’t equal 8, it equals two bad partials. Some of them aren’t even 4 hours, and depending on when the interruptions occur, you may be so close to your wake up time that it’s just not worth it to try to go back to sleep. Or you can’t, which is usually what happened to me.

Our kid had a slight reflux problem. That’s not uncommon in newborns, the doctor tells us; sometimes their esophagus muscle isn’t fully developed yet, and it can’t always close fully. Give your kid a bottle and lay her down, and you’ll be seeing all that formula again real soon. And that means turning on lights and waking up enough to clean up the mess.

Nobody wants that.

You’ll do it the first few times, and then you’ll be so sleep starved that you’ll learn to give the kid a bottle in the dark while still being 80% asleep. And when you can pull that off, returning to sleep after the feeding is a real possibility.

Screw that up with a projectile vomiting session and you are REALLY screwed.

Plus, you probably have to feed her again.

Oh, the horror…

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Savvy Stories chapter 3

If you are enjoying this Savvy Stories eBook, you can own it now through Amazon dot com for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble dot com for your Nook, and Smashwords dot com for your Apple ipad, Sony, or any other eReader!

Savvy Stories chapter 3, Post Friday October 11, 2013


Actually, I’m not that greedy. Almost, but not really. Allow me to explain.

When I was growing up, we visited my grandma and grandpa in Cincinnati on a regular basis. We also had regular holidays with my mom’s brothers’ families, and as a result, we were pretty close with my cousins even though they all lived an hour away. Mom saw to it that the effort was made to keep the family close. On Christmas Day, all of them came to our house and we opened presents and played all day. On New Year’s Eve, we went to my grandma’s house. Fourth of July was at my Uncle Gerald’s. Summer cookouts were held at my Uncle Lawrence’s. You get the idea.

Mom also was a shutterbug, so she was always taking pictures of any festivities. A few weeks later, when the pictures were developed, you’d get your stack of reprints in the mail.

This methodology allowed me to feel somewhat close to my nieces and nephew as they grew up. Being in college a thousand miles away in Florida, I still went home to Ohio for Christmas and stuff, but missed being there in person for a lot of the birthdays and first communions of the next generation. These days, social media has alleviated a lot of that for those who wish to make the commitment. I can stay in touch with relatives pretty easily, and my nieces and nephews are a constant supply of entertaining posts.

So at the time of Savvy’s arrival, social media and email had allowed many of my relatives to feel close to the situation, and to help let them stay that way, we wanted to have a shower there.

Computers are nice, but there’s nothing like actually seeing people in person.

The Ohio shower went off without a hitch, and we made out like bandits! We got a GREAT “pack n play” which used to called a play pen when I was a kid, but I’ll admit, I hadn’t stayed on top of the changes in baby terminology since my childhood. That thing was the type of gift that you assume you need and should probably get, but having people who have “been there and done that” pick out a really good one and give it to you, that makes all the difference.

That was just one of many great gifts we got at the Ohio shower. Great idea, whoever thought of it.

And while having a new baby on the way means you get a lot of gifts at baby showers, the arrival of the new baby means that very soon you won’t get a good night’s sleep for several months.

If you’re lucky, it will only be several months.

We WERE lucky, and it still damn near killed me.


Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Savvy Stories chapter 3

If you are enjoying this Savvy Stories eBook, you can own it now through Amazon dot com for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble dot com for your Nook, and Smashwords dot com for your Apple ipad, Sony, or any other eReader!

The GENIUS of Having Three Baby Showers – selected from Savvy Stories, chapter 3

We got the baptism part all squared away, and like good parents, we settled in for the task of parenting the new baby.

That means lots of new purchases of stuff you didn’t think of during the three (yes, three) baby showers we held.

Personally, I thought having three showers was a stroke of genius.

One baby shower would be for all the local relatives – Michele’s family, mostly, and her close friends – and we would hold that shower at our house. Big shindig, lots of people, lots of presents.

The second shower was for work people and a select few repeat relatives and friends, so as not to give away that this was a second shower. Since she had worked at the same place for most of her career, there were plenty of people there who would want to come to a shower. And we wanted them to come! But you know, you can’t cut loose in front of the work crowd these days the way you can in front of your family and close friends. So a second shower was arranged, and it would be a Michele’s mom’s house.

The third shower was more of a “so you don’t feel left out” kind of thing, to take place in my home town in Ohio. I had plenty of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins who wouldn’t be coming to Florida for the baby showers, but who I wanted to still be a part of the festivities. So we would fly up there and have a shower in what is now my brother’s house, the house I grew up in.

It was perfect. Three showers, three times the presents.



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Savvy Stories Chapter 3: First Months Post Wednesday October 9, 2013

I knew there was a way to get my kid rebaptized (or something) into the Catholic Church. Maybe it would just cost more.

Turns out, when I sat down with our local parish priest, that they will do an “acceptance” of the other church’s baptism, so when all the other kids are getting thrown in the dunk tank at The Big Ceremony, we’ll be watching from the wings.

So my kid would be in, but I was bringing in a lot of people; we could’t NOT be part of the ceremony. I reached for my check book…

Well, it wasn’t quite that bad. As I was explaining to the parish priest what I’d done, how in the heat of the moment it seemed like any baptism was better than no baptism, and I guess he felt sorry for me (that guilt stuff works, you know). And the fact that the Church was booked for a few months out to schedule a baptism, I didn’t think it was safe to wait considering the circumstances. A week in the NICU will make you re-evaluate all sorts of things, I explained. So he said they’d do an acceptance ceremony along with the other scheduled baptisms on our scheduled date, and all would be right with the world. That gave some time for some more Ohio relatives to come down and attend, and the kid got to have two baptism type ceremonies.

It all worked out fine in the end. Dad some other relatives came in from out of town, the church had the big show, and we were even highlighted at the end because the priest had to explain why we were doing an acceptance ceremony, so we were a little featured segment.

See what a little cash will get ya? JUST KIDDING!

Oh, and Savvy threw up on Uncle Sal and the new couch because I fed her too fast, not from anything he actually did. Back then, she was spitting up a lot if we fed her too fast, something called reflux that we would learn more about later, and lose LOTS of sleep over in the months to come.

Lots and lots and LOTs of sleep…

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Savvy Stories chapter 3

If you are enjoying this Savvy Stories eBook, you can own it now through Amazon dot com for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble dot com for your Nook, and Smashwords dot com for your Apple ipad, Sony, or any other eReader!

Savvy Stories Chapter 3: First Months, Post Tuesday October 8, 2013

Oh, my kid got baptized all right, and it counts, but the Catholic Church doesn’t just do a redo for the crowd. My bad.

I was horrified. I had called over to our church to arrange the second baptism when I was unceremoniously informed that “we don’t do that.” I almost panicked, but since I was driving, I managed to stay on the road and try to clarify. The lady was being basically nice, but very firm. No deal.

My kid’s an Anglican? I’m not even sure what that is!

I called back and asked for an appointment with the big man. Usually, if your heart is in the right place, Catholics are pretty forgiving. I believe I read that somewhere in my 12 years of Catholic education.

This was not the first time The Church had given me trouble. Oh, I was a Doubting Thomas in school and had all kinds of questions the nuns couldn’t answer. “That’s why they call it Faith, Daniel,” they would say; but I’m not talking about that stuff. When Michele and I went to get married, holy cow what an ordeal. They made us go through a few weeks of classes and wanted her to convert before they would book the church for us. I don’t remember my brother going through all that when he married a Baptist.

So I wrote a scathing letter to the head of the diocese in St Pete, the biggest guy for our area. Being a veteran of catholic schools, I knew how to lay on the guilt, and I pretty much called him out. Other churches don’t try to humiliate their parishioners by making them jump through hoops or feel inferior, and this whole business of classes and conversions didn’t seem to have the catholic divorce rate any better than anybody else’s – that’s a touchy one, I know – and if I can’t get married they way I want to, in the church and faith I grew up in, rest assured I will still be getting married.

In the end, they saw the light. Or I did, by writing a bigger check for the use of the church. Either way, we got it done.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Savvy Stories Chapter 3!


If you are enjoying this Savvy Stories eBook, you can own it now through Amazon dot com for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble dot com for your Nook, and Smashwords dot com for your Apple ipad, Sony, or any other eReader!

Savvy Stories Chapter 3: First Months


Post Monday October 7, 2013

I promised myself that this wouldn’t be a tedious rerun of old Flintstone stories and other done-to-death sitcoms TV shows where the new dad is a bumbling stooge around the baby, and it won’t be.

I hope.

But the scatteredness of the following chapter reflects just how sleep deprived I really was at the time, so I left it that way. Don’t worry; it gets better.

My friend JoAnne, who’s known me since we were next door neighbors in Ohio as kids, wrote on Facebook, “Oh my…the silence is ominous….has it really been more than 24 hours since we’ve heard from Dan and Michelle here on FB??? Dare I say it?? PARENTHOOD HAS HIT!!!!!!”

Boy, did it.

I was never the type of person who needed a lot of sleep, a fact that irritated my wife, who would fall asleep if she stopped her forward motion. It just never seemed like sleep was important in life, even as a kid. I never napped in kindergarten when all the other kids did. I’d have an 8:30 bedtime and fight for 5 extra minutes because I was SURE something interesting was going on somewhere. Then, after losing the battle, I’d take a flashlight under the covers and read comic books til late. Later, as a teenager, I’d read books or listen to the Reds games on an AM radio stuffed under my pillow, and as a college guy, I’d just watch TV. Post-grad, if there was a party, or anything good on TV, I’d be up til 2 or 3 in the morning, no problem, and then off to work early the next day.

That changed when we brought our newborn daughter home from the hospital.

Everyone had warned me to save up my sleep prior to the delivery day, but you really can’t do that, and if you’re me, it’s an impossible thought anyway. Even when she was in the NICU, I was doing fine. But once we got her home, it only took a few days for the sleep deprivation gods to attack.

And those guys play for keeps.

We got our daughter baptized relatively quickly, in a home ceremony with family and friends, which was a lot of people’s first glimpse of the little celebrity. I was no longer Dan, I was merely “Savvy’s Dad,” an honor it took a while for me to realize I’d received. Not the honor part; that was readily apparent. The receiving part – that took a while. Turns out, if you post enough interesting stuff about your daughter on social media, she becomes a celebrity and you are just her chauffer. But we’ll get to that.

We had heard from the hospital that we could do a baptism with one of their chaplains at any time, and while we were living in the NICU, we discussed it. Being Catholic, I was definitely going to get my daughter baptized, but I also knew that in an emergency, I could do it myself and it would be all legit with the Church. Our parish’s regular Baptism schedule would get Savvy’s Baptism done in about 3 months, so as an insurance policy, we called one of the hospital chaplains. They arranged for a baptism at our house right after my daughter came home. After all, it was her immortal soul we were talking about; why take chances? Then, after the smoke cleared, we’d hold an official Church baptism ceremony over at our Lady of the Rosary, a few miles from our house.

That was my plan.

So the hospital chaplain, an Anglican priest, schedules to come over to the house. I don’t know what difference having an Anglical priest do a baptism makes; I can do it myself, so why can’t he? And he was the guy on call that day at the hospital, so it seemed kosher. Michele’s mother’s birthday is April 1st, which was just after we had gotten home from the hospital, so in honor of grandma’s role in lifting Savvy’s spirits (and ours), we had the baptism on Judy’s birthday.

We invited about 40 or so family and friends, and held the festivities on our courtyard next to the fountain, on a beautiful Spring day. It went off without a hitch. Unless you consider when she puked all over Uncle Sal and our new couch, or the fact that the Catholic Church doesn’t do a formal baptism after you already do one, and frowns upon having to redo an Anglican priest’s handiwork.


Yep, we messed the kid’s baptism.

Actually, I messed it up all by myself.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of Savvy Stories Chapter 3!


If you are enjoying this Savvy Stories eBook, you can own it now through Amazon dot com for your Kindle, Barnes & Noble dot com for your Nook, and Smashwords dot com for your Apple ipad, Sony, or any other eReader!

bad eclairs

I made eclairs!

 I don’t know why, but I have been wanting to make eclairs from scratch for months now. So I did. I think I saw part of a cooking show that made it look easy to make eclairs. It’s not. But I tried it anyway.

 And you know what I found out?

 They weren’t great. The crust was a little too crunchy, and the filling was too sweet… and not as vanilla-y or fluffy as I wanted; the chocolate icing on top was a little too hard…

 But that’s not what I found out.

 What I found out was, even “bad” eclairs are pretty darned good!

Disney Princess

At what age does meeting a Disney princess stop being a big deal for a little girl?

 Last year, when my daughter was 2 1/2 she met Cinderella on a Disney cruise. It blew her mind! The storybook princess, her favorite, brought to life and talking to her – you could see it was an amazing experience for my little girl.

 I have niece who’s 8, and while I’m sure it’s still fin to meet the princesses, I know she wouldn’t react like like my daughter did anymore. I don’t see that kind of excitement for a Disney princess in her.

 What age does it stop?

Phone calls

Every time the phone rings, my daughter says, “That’s Mommy! I will get it!”

 The home phone makes a unique ring noise when it’s Mommy, so I know it’s not her. My daughter hasn’t figured that out yet.

 “That’s Mommy!”  “No, it isn’t.”  “It is.”  “It isn’t, trust me.”  “It is.”  “No, it’s not.”  “It is.”  “No, it’s not.”

 That would go on for 20 minutes if the phone would ring that long, but after 6 or 8 rings, the answering machine takes over – if my daughter hasn’t climbed onto a chair and grabbed the phone first.

 Many a telemarketer has had a nice chat with her.

 “Mommy?”  “Is this Mommy?”  “You’re not Mommy!”  “where’s my Mommy!!!???”

 It’s fun for me…

The Lincoln Navigator

I drive a black Lincoln Navigator. If you have one, and ever see another one in traffic, pull up right behind it and follow it for a few miles.

Other cars start to get out of your way. They don’t think the President is in town, but they are pretty sure they don’t want any part of whatever happens if they block in what looks like a motorcade. If you both turn on your bright headlights, you can even run red lights. Nobody blinks.

I’ve seen uniformed soldiers in the mall parking lot snap to attention when two black Navigators drove by.

It’s awesome.

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