Posted in hit bull win steak on November 11, 2010 by samsondoggie


  • Is playing Jingle Bell Rock.
  • Now has a 100 yuan note and a 1000 rupee note.
  • Now has 2 one pound coins and one 20 forint coin.
  • Has helped to introduce the Cheese Touch to Watts Elementary. “It is sort of like the cooties,” he says. “Except that you make this (holds up two fingers in a ‘V’ sign) instead of this (holds up two fingers in a ‘greater than’ sign).
  • Says that there are four ways to describe it, but only three are polite: passing gas, whiff pop, and toot.
  • Is going to read a short report on the Wright Brothers at school tomorrow.
  • Hit a home run in kickball on Tuesday.


  • Is riding her bike up hill
  • Wants you to let her show you her cursive letters.
  • Wants to make sure that we go to Space Mountain this weekend.
  • Is more than 40 inches tall.
  • Wants to start piano next week.
  • Says her favorite instrument is her voice.

Peaches and Screams

Posted in that's a tasty beverage with tags , , on October 11, 2010 by samsondoggie

The story currently goes like this:

I was 10, and back then, there was no interstate-40 to take you to the beach. So instead, people went down 70 and then over on 52 and down on 10. They were two-lane roads and everyone went 60, 65, just going through to get to wherever they were really going. Except we would sometimes stop at those roadside stands. Usually for peaches, or else for tomatoes. I love those stands off the road, in the country. I can just imagine it, the way that the peach juice would trickle out of my mouth. And my dad always said that peach juice tastes better when you are eating them in a car.

We were at one of those road-side stands and we were going to get some peaches to eat when we got to Carolina Beach. We would have eaten some right away, of course, but then we would save some for breakfast on the porch. There were ten of us in the station wagon.We got out of the car but then everyone was just standing around. I didn’t understand why we weren’t crossing.

I don’t know, maybe it was just the chaos of the moment. I swear that I looked to my left, and then to my right, and then back to the left. Except that I guess I didn’t look to see over Tapi’s shoulder. Because, you know, he was so much taller than me. Especially at that age, I was such a shrimp. Susie and dSusie, both so short. That’s what we were. Continue reading

First Day of School

Posted in hit bull win steak on August 25, 2010 by samsondoggie

Rosie and John started school this morning. They’re both going to be at the same school, George Watts Montessori Magnet Elementary. I like that it is just one block from our home. We can walk there in the mornings. We walked there this morning. We were accompanied by others. There are five other households with kids at Watts on our block, and several more in the adjacent block.

I held Rosie’s hand as walked up the street. It was raining a bit. The air was damp and cool. It felt like summer was over. I hated that feeling as a kid. Even if I was excited about getting back to school, which I usually was, it still felt like an irreversible loss. Summer was over, virtually forever.

Summer: S'Mores

Summer: Racing

Summer: Check out my new pocket knife

Rosie didn’t say much. Mostly, she seemed hesitant. We could see her classroom when we sat outside waiting for the doors to open. I held her up so that she could see, but instead, she just put her arms around me in a tight hug.

Last night, Rosie woke up in the middle of the night. “Daddy,” she said, “none of my friends are in my class.”

“But you are going to make a lot of friends, I promise.” It is true. She has a lot of friends at this school, but none of them are in Ms. Watson’s class with her. In fact, there are only two other girls in first grade in the class. There are supposed to be more girls in the kindergarten class.

Last night, John reached out to Mr. Dodyk, his teacher from E.K. Powe.  Mr. Dodyk moved to Florida. He fell in love and followed her down to Alachua County where he is now teaching in an elementary school. Mr. Dodyk was a great teacher. He mastered the art of getting through to John. John sent him an email last night. His message:

Tomorrow is my first day of school. I feel Continue reading

What Happened This Week

Posted in hit bull win steak on August 7, 2010 by samsondoggie

John wants to see the best in me. “Dad,” he says, “the only reason you can’t play that song [on the piano] is because you’re just seeing it now. You haven’t practiced it. Otherwise, you would play it a lot better than me.” Sure, John. I don’t want to dispel his ideal vision of my musical skill, but John has already surpassed me. He plays fast, and his finger jump up and down the keyboard doing chord progressions. His body rocks with the music. He figures out songs in his head: which keys are minor, how the time should go, all of it. I hope that I have pushed him off into a habit that will give him a lifetime of pleasure. Isn’t that the best that a parent can do? I remember when I was about that age that it was important for me to believe that my dad was a figure of excellence. I remember telling myself how great it was that he had attended Wharton. A key word is “attended.” Six years later, my mind had taken a different tack. “What do you want,” I said, “blind obedience?”

I was proud of Rosie today. We were at Rockwood PArk, which is a small piece of land that sits between two creeks in between two older Durham neighborhoods. They’ve made a figure eight walking path through the grounds, so it is a good place to ride bikes. Rosie brought her bike.  “My stupid bike,” she says. She doesn’t like it because I left the training wheels up higher than normal. I’m hoping to force her to use her balance. That means that the bike is wobbly, though. She doesn’t want to ride it. My first thought is that this is a way in which our children are so different. A friend of hers found a small 4-t size shirt in Rockwood Park.  “I want to take it home,” said her friend. “Noo!!!,” said Rosie. She couldn’t have been more serious about it.

This is a sad poem.

The new roof is still great. The sunflowers are showing some possibility. Another one of my tomato plants has died. The wax beans are showing some life.

No go for Felichea. Next up, Sharnetta.

I’m reading bedtime stories to Rosie tonight.  In the story, the New Zoo, the McGrew Zoo, is a zoo like none other. Even though this is her second Seuss, Rosie is not slipping off into sleep. “I am scared about school,” says Rosie. “It is not going to be the same. I am going to miss having lunch and playing with you [Susie] for three hours.” Rosie is going to George Watts Montessori Magnet in just two weeks. For the first four days, she’ll leave at nine and be home by noon. After that, though, she’s going to be gone until 3:15. This is the end of something, and the beginning of something new. I know that I am going to miss her. We’ve had lunch together for at least two or three days a week for five years. We can pack her some ham and cheese and fruit.I know what she is saying, though. I’m glad that she wanted to tell me about it. I hope she keeps choosing to tell me when she is scared by something.

What Happened This Week

Posted in literally happened on August 1, 2010 by samsondoggie

John lost a tooth. John asked the tooth fairy for a silver dollar. The tooth fairy responded in a letter, “Dear John: a paper dollar will have to do. Perhaps next time.”

Tierra dropped out. Her voucher was reduced from three beds, then to two, and ultimately to one. You have to love the Durham Housing Authority. Enter Felithea, Will and Hannah.

I should have just parked and went to church, but then Clik and Clak opened up the line for one more caller, and it was Christo Jackson.  I am pretty certain that it was that Christo, with that voice. I imagine he was wearing that blue sport coat and folding those gold-rimmed reading glasses into his thick-thumbed hands. “I have an ’86 VW Golf,” he said, “and it will only start if I tap on the fuel pump with a hammer.” Gee, Christo, why not get a new car, then? Why not pick up an almost brand new ’93 Accord?

I still can’t sleep. In the last five days, I have probably slept for about 25 hours. Yet, I can’t fall asleep. During the day, I can’t stay awake.

Susie and I had two dates. On Wednesday, we went to the Federal for sandwiches and a beer. On Saturday, we went to a birthday party held at a friend’s house down the street.

Melinda left. Melinda went back to Platte Cove to be with her family. Her dad, Joel, has a broken arm. Melinda may be sent to Australia in the near future. It is hard to know for sure. She could remain in New York, or she could even go to England or to Pennsylvania.

We fixed the roof. James put on the last round of asphalt himself. I wanted metal. We got metal. We put metal roofing above our kitchen, and above the front porch. The metal didn’t work. John saw it, and he said, “Gee, that is a funny color.” Well said. When burgundy on the brochure is orange on the roof, it is time to think Continue reading

The Naked Canadian Guys

Posted in Shouldn't have happened with tags , , on July 5, 2010 by samsondoggie

What is it about the 4th of July that brings out odd behavior among middle aged white guys?

We were watching the second to last episode of Mad Men – where Peter attempts to black mail Don Draper (is this only the first time?). Our television is in the den, and in lieu of a real adult couch, we use a futon. We’re splayed out, when all of the sudden, the motion sensor light comes on. Samson goes nuts. Susie jumps. It is a fat naked white guy, running across our back yard, along the cement court, and then up the stairs to our driveway.

I’m outside right away. Samson is too, and he’s in pursuit. I’m out early enough to get a good look. He’s one of those young fat guys, with shiny skin unblemished by odd spots, funny bumps, or too much hair. Still gross, of course. He seems to have something in his hands. Maybe he had to take his clothes off outside. He’s well beyond the steps by now. Samson is barking at the edge of the perimeter of his electric fence. He’s pissed, but he’s not going to take a shock for this guy. That is when I see the flags.

The next naked guy is running down my alley, wearing some kind of shiny hat. He has a large German flag – maybe six feet by four feet  – strung to a long pole. There is another guy, also in the buff, right behind Continue reading

Without a Trace

Posted in hit bull win steak on June 29, 2010 by samsondoggie

My rental property has a lot to tell me. It is almost a month since my first tenant moved out. I remember telling him that “you were the tenant that I was waiting for.” That was a mistake. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He turned out to be the tenant that I needed to meet in person. I am pretty certain, by now, that he didn’t leave my home because he didn’t feel safe. I think he was just looking for a place to stay for a month, before he moved on. Even now, I can see signs that something was odd about that family. For one, it seems like they hardly used the home at all. The new stove is still new. It was never used. Same with the new cabinets in the kitchen. There are still little piles of sawdust in the back of the shelves. He told me that he wasn’t using the dishwasher. “I don’t want to waste water,” he said. “Besides, I want to teach my kids to take responsibility to clean up after themselves.”My mailbox is piling up with his bills. The City of Durham has a water bill for him, and so does the gas company.

Today I called the gas company to get them to turn the power back on. “My tenant left after 35 days,” I said. “Without a trace.”

The operator was deadpan. “Same for us. Without a trace.”

– – – –

James could not believe that it took two months to find a tenant. “Adam,” James says, “you just don’t know how to rent a house. Do I have to do it for you?”James can’t believe that I interviewed almost fifty people before I found a tenant.  “You don’t need to ask a lot of questions, Adam. Just get that government money.”   James has two rental houses, and both are rented to Section 8 tenants. “I make them let me inspect three times a year, and if there’s a problem Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: