Archive for the hit bull win steak Category

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.

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.

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

Your Choice

Posted in hit bull win steak on June 8, 2010 by samsondoggie

Things were great.  I remember driving through the neighborhood after a Saturday game.  It was about 11 am. The lawn was covered with grass clippings.  There were all kinds of balls in the backyard. It looked right. I turned around.  I waved at my neighbor, Don. As I was idling at the stop sign, Charles turned the corner in his red truck. “How are you liking things,” I said.

“The house is great,” he said. He was a bit circumspect, I thought. But I remember thinking, who really wants to talk with their landlord?

Well, now things aren’t so great. Now things are getting tough.  As I see it, there are three basic paths. One, he can stay in the house. I would add an alarm system and put in some lights. I’d probably do a bit more. I’ve been told that I should bring the driveway around to the back, so that the tenants can have their cars well off of the street.

Second, he can go anead and move his family out of the home. Then, its just a question of how much. I already have his deposit. He’s late with rent. What is the number? One landlord friend says three months. Another says 30 days, and return the deposit. I don’t know the number, but I’ll need to know it soon.

The the last path is court. I can get a judgement in small claims court against him. That is more of a penalty to him than it is a reward to me. The only Continue reading

Something to Talk About

Posted in hit bull win steak on June 5, 2010 by samsondoggie

I was visiting my mother-in-law at the Carillon Assisted Living facility, on the outskirts of Salisbury, when my tenant called. He had said that he would be calling, because “there’s something important that I need to talk with you about.”

He had mentioned a concern on Thursday. “There’s something, something important,” he said.  “We need to talk about it.”

I suspected that perhaps there was something wrong with the house. The living room has a window treatment that seems to be on the edge of breaking. Ahead of time, I was preparing for news that one of his young children had pulled it down. Maybe the dishwasher was on the fritz. The dishwasher conveyed.

– – –

Saturday afternoon, at around four, I was at the Carillon. The Carillion has a lot of rooms, but Rose is confined to one hallway. There is a keypad that secures the door. There’s a man standing behind the door. When you come in, he addresses you with a sincere plea.

“Tell me the code,” he says. “I want to see my wife. She’s on the other side, down there. Please tell me the code.”  It is an Alzheimer’s unit. Visitors can get in, but residents can’t get out.

The “Country Kitchen” is not really cozy, and it is not very country, either. The pads on the wooden chairs seem to stick to the green linoleum.  Although no one has a spouse, the tables are large, as if set for a family on a retreat. There is a stray piano in the corner, jammed up against a light and a walker.

Continue reading

New Dodo

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

Most times, the best idea that comes out of a staff meeting is the decision to end it. When Peter suggested that we do just that, I agreed.

“Give me your keys,” he said. “I’ve got to show my place to a potential tenant in a few minutes.”

Peter normally drives a truck, but today, perhaps because everyone is mad at BP or perhaps because it is bike to work week, or perhaps for some other reason, he rode in on his Trek.

“Sure,” I said, “but don’t put the pedal down too fast. Remember, you probably aren’t used to that kind of power.”

Before I knew it, Peter was down the hall and out the door. I sat down at my chair and tried to catch up on a few things. I could hear Cara laughing.  She was looking down on the parking lot from our window in the back.

“Peter,” she said, “that is the wrong car.”

Peter is sitting in a grey Volvo s60, trying to use my keys to turn on the ignition. Except, I don’t have an s60. I have an S40. Our tenant downstairs has the s60. I can imagine the trouble Peter was having with my key. It is stubby and it wouldn’t fit in a normal switch.

“Well,” Peter said, “then where is the car.”

That is when I remembered that I had walked. I tried a save: “Peter,” I said, “Did you lose my car,” but it was too late.

John says that I should get Dodo for that.

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