Nov 9, 2016

DST Baby!

Daylight Freakin' Savings Time. Another bi-annual tradition that just boggles the mind, interrupts the cicadian rhythm and, after the fall back, depresses the senses.
I do remember when DST was brought back in the 1970s due to the energy crisis. I was totally elated, as a kid, to be outside playing until almost 9PM in the sun, albeit a setting sun. Never could understand why the parents were calling us home at that time...after all, the sun was just setting!
I have wavered on the issue through the years, sometimes appreciating the extra daylight, sometimes cursing it (losing an hour's sleep comes to mind). Does it help farmers? According to a survey, farmers generally oppose daylight saving time. In Indiana, where part of the state observes DST and part does not, farmers have opposed a move to DST. Farmers, who must wake with the sun no matter what time their clock says, are greatly inconvenienced by having to change their schedule in order to sell their crops to people who observe daylight saving time.
Now-let's get the government involved.
Congress appears to have felt we were not having enough of a difficult time so in 2007 they passed a law starting Daylight Savings time 3 weeks earlier and ending it one week later. This cost US companies billions to reset automated equipment, put us further out of sync with Asia and Africa time-wise, inconvenienced most of the country, all in the name of unproven studies that claim we save energy. Does it save energy? The jury is still out on that. But it does screw up my sleep patterns.
According to Dr. Samuel Friedlander, assistant clinical professor of Sleep Medicine and Allergy Immunology at UH Cleveland Medical Center while it is great to have the extra hour of sleep, a few days later that can lead to worse sleep. as it can lead to insomnia or sleepiness
While I can't claim insomnia (my old ass can pretty much get to sleep with a melatonin or two), I do notice that my normal sleep patterns change after the fall back change.
Could this just be older age?

Nov 6, 2016

Tree Swing

"And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon.
Little Boy Blue and The Man in the Moon.
When you coming home dad I don't know when;
but we'll get together then son...we're gonna have a good time then".

These iconic, haunting words by the late great Harry Chapin come to mind often when I spend time with my granddaughter Fiona.
As my kids were growing up, I was, like most my age a busy, often absent father. Due to business and other concerns, I left the formation of my children's early growth processes to others. For example, when Michael needed to build a car for his cub scout group he was turned over to his granddad. When Ruth Elizabeth needed to be corrected for something that she had done wrong, mom and dad were out of town on business and it was left to the relative in charge. Now don't get me wrong. I was not a totally absent father. I spent as much time as possible with both of them and loved the time that I did get to spend. Vacations, holidays, family gatherings, I tried to be as much a part of all these events as I could. And I loved just spending time with them. We had great kids! Well mannered, intelligent and talented as all get out! It was never an issue asking someone to watch them as they were such a pleasure to be around. My point is - as parents, especially young parents, we often overlook the seemingly small things which shape our kids.
Until Ruth E passed away, when I looked at this bright, beautiful young lady hitting her mid-twenties, I thought just how much she took after he mother. She was becoming Laura 2.0. Proud, loud, sometimes brash and not afraid to state her needs. She would often complain to me about her mom's mannerisms and how much some of them annoyed her. I always laughed inside as I knew that if she really looked hard in the mirror, she would see that she was speaking about herself. And as Michael approaches age 40, I see various traits that I had as a younger man in him. The fact that they turned out so well tells me that our, and everyone else that had a part in their upbringing, did a pretty damn good job. Or-they may have turned out so well in spite of their experiences. Whatever it was, I am proud to be the dad of a couple of good ones!
All that being said, I think that I finally understand what is so great about being a grandparent:
Second chances.
This weekend we built a tree swing for Fiona. Now this is something that I would have done for Ruth E or Michael when they were this age. After all, I did put the Barbie Dream House together for Christmas for Ruth E and erected the sliding board/swing set for Michael when they were younger.  No-it's not about that. It was my attitude while building the tree swing. It had to be had to have the appearance of being a bit dangerous while at the same time being safer than a store-bought swing, and I had to spend time with her for each and every swing! None of the "build it and let her go and play on it while I do something else". No! I would push her, she would push me, and this went on most of the day. Sure the football game was on in the house but I didn't care. There would be another game next week, next month, next year. But my granddaughter would never be this age at this moment in time ever again. And with a new, "dangerous" swing that we had to break in, I would not miss this opportunity for anything in the world.
My friend Casey said it best: "Fiona will remember this day for the rest of her life!" And I am honored to be a part of that memory!
"When you coming home son I don't know when.

But we'll get together then dad.
You know we'll have a good time then".