Sunday, February 14, 2021

2020 - What a dumpster fire…

I once started blogging because I felt like it was something I could consistently update and give my kids a chance to read once they became older. Well, here I am, with a handful of blog posts because I lacked the motivation and they can now read (sigh).  It seems the only time I feel compelled to write is during the annual Hallmark holiday of Valentine's Day.  It gives me a chance to sit back and reflect on how amazing my better-half is and the two wonderful kids we are raising together. Given, one of them is a bit of a hellion, but that’s perhaps a blog post for another day (most likely not, but we can hope). 

Boe - Talk about this rollercoaster we’ve been on together for well over 14 years now. We’ve had our ups and downs, but one thing that’s never changed is that we are always there for one another.  I joke that we are a power couple, but I’m only half kidding and half serious. We never look at an obstacle as something to stop us, but something to simply challenge us and overcome.  When I have my doubts you are the first one to pull me out of the rut and say, “we’ll figure it out, we always do”.  Something that not a lot of people know, if anyone is what Boe had inscribed on the inside of my wedding ring. It reads, “Like I said, we hungry.”  What was once a joke now beholds a whole new meaning. Together we can achieve just about anything we want, because we have the hunger for it.  Thanks for everything you do. There’s no one else I’d rather live this crazy life with than you.  I love you babe! 

Teagan – There isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t cease to amaze me.  Your huge heart, always looking at the silver lining, and being positive has helped to make me a better husband to mommy, and a better dad to you and your sister.  When I’m stuck at a crossroads, I think to myself, “What would Teagan do?”  Even with the challenges of remote learning over the past year, I’m absolutely blown away at how much you have excelled including just the other night when you showed us how to calculate area using the method your teacher showed you.  I hope you never lose your motivation to try new things (well, except for food) as that will take you places in life and present the opportunity to have experiences that others may never have the courage for.  Thanks for always being genuine.  I love you my peanut!

Hadley – All of us certainly need a little karma and spice in our lives.  That’s for sure!  It’s good to see that even with the challenges of the past year that you’ve come out of your bubble a bit.  A good example is when you taught us all how to dance to the Git Up song.  I smile and think of you every time I hear it!  For someone that used to be very shy and quiet, you are slowly learning that it’s OK to speak your mind (minus demanding dinner – DOH!).  Your strong willpower and focused attitude will certainly clear a path and allow you to be who you want to be without worrying about the perception of your peers.  Mommy and daddy will always support you and help keep your chin up.  You help to remind me to practice patience and make focused decisions without being influenced by my emotions.  While you are a spitfire, your difference of opinion continues to show me that I always need to hear both sides of the story before making any kind of rash decisions.  Thanks for always marching to the beat of your own drum and showing us that it’s OK to be one-of-a-kind.  I love you my lovebug!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Adventures in Home Ownership - Paralyzed By Perfection

Since becoming a homeowner, I’ve come to realize why mom always made sure we turned everything off before we went outside to play; to cut back on the amount of money flying out of her wallet to pay the utility bills.

I think every home buyer has “a must have” and “a nice to have” list when searching for a home.  For us, it was a quiet neighborhood, preferably on a dead end, a garage, and a potential photography studio space.  That’s what Sarah and I found when we moved into our wonderful home in Bellingham, MA.  We absolutely love it here.

That said, there are always compromises when searching for that perfect home.  For us, our home had oil and septic.  Two things we really didn’t want, but the home met the rest of our criteria.  This past winter, while not a cold one, made us realize that oil is really not efficient, and tends to be expensive depending on the current demand for home heating oil.  Once winter was over, we decided that we need to find a more suitable way to heat our home efficiently while drastically reducing our utility bills; every home owners dream, right?

Luckily for us, my dad knows all the right trades people on top of being a plumber.  We discussed options, and laid out the plan.  At first, after doing a bit of research (weighing propane against oil), we were going to swap our current electric water heater (15 years old) with a “hybrid” water heater, and live with oil and the rest of our appliances as is, or until they need to be replaced.  A solid plan, or so I thought... 

During this time, I had put a stop on our automatic home oil delivery with every intention of switching to propane.  I had put in a call to Medway Oil and explained the situation, and was preparing to have us added back to their auto delivery schedule, when the nice receptionist quickly said, “Are you sure?  You should really talk to Jeffrey (the owner) first, I think that’d be best before making that decision.  He’s very knowledgeable when it comes to fuels for your home.”  Later that day, Jeffrey had called me and told me I was crazy for not switching to propane, and even crazier that I’m not jumping at the chance to make the change with my father being a plumber.  After some back and forth, I was back to my original plan; switching to propane we go.

For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me incredibly well, I’m an engineer.  I tend to over design and read into everything I’m about to invest in.  This “research” I do goes for everything, from my truck, to my house, to the golf gear I buy.  Needless to say, I threw my dad for a loop when I had decided to not go with his typical Navien solution.  Instead, I had designed a completely separate solution, complete with tankless water filtration (to cut back on scale).  I’ll be the first to tell you that my dad loathes having to do any work at my house; not because it’s a difficult house to work on (it’s actually relatively open and easy to swap just about anything), but because I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to anything.  I’ve been told, and I’ve witnessed it myself that my perfection can sometimes paralyze me, but it’s who I am.  It doesn’t mean I’m perfect with everything I do, it just means that I have a certain way I like things to look, or be installed, or utilized.  Needless to say, because of my customized design, we went without hot water or heat for (5) days.  Luckily the days weren’t that cool, and family close by allowed us to utilize their shower in the interim (Thanks Jay and Monika). 

Now that my post is a bit Tarantino’ed for you, I can share on the solution I ended up designing (with the help from my dad’s friend George).  We ended up installing a State ProLine XE Combi Boiler (propane) with a Watts OneFlow Anti-Scale System for Tankless Water Heaters.  The boiler does both heat and hot water.  The heating side (water) is fed into a heating coil into our First Co High Efficiency Air Handler.  For cooling, we went with a Goodman 13 SEER air condenser.  On top of this, we’ve also swapped our stove from electric to propane.

I share this simply because we’ve already seen a drastic reduction in our electricity bill, and thought others may want to learn a bit about how hydronic heating works, along with a possible solution.  I’ve come to learn there really isn’t a whole lot out there on the Interwebz on hydronic forced air heating since it’s a relatively new method for heating homes.  While I’m sure others have an opinion on how they choose to heat their home, this is my preferred method.  Not to mention the 95% AFUE my new tankless boiler is capable of.  By the way, now that my brain is on information overload for tankless solutions, please feel free to reach out to me and pick my brain.  I’m happy to provide any insight along with things I’ve learned during this process.  I may not have all the answers, but I know where and who to ask to get you the appropriate answer.

I know I typically don’t write long blog posts, but after all the long hours, the coordination, prepping and planning I have a list of people and businesses I want to thank for this efficiency change to our home (anyone will tell you and share this is no small feat by any means).

My Dad (CCH Plumbing and Heating) - Thanks for bearing with me for this design, working out the kinks, and the long hours.  Sarah, the kids, and I are beyond lucky to have you in our lives.

My Brother (Sean Horman) - Thanks for all the hours and time you put in to help with the install.  Again, not your’s and dad’s typical tankless install, so thanks for trucking through the design and helping me to figure out the best implementation plan.  It’s good to have another engineer in the family!

Medway Oil (Jeffrey Mushnick and his team) - Thank you for sharing your knowledge, guidance, and insight.  The Medway Oil team was an absolute pleasure to work with from removing the old propane tank, prepping for the new tanks, and the install.  After my experience, Medway Oil now has a lifelong customer!

Glen Stoddard (from Hunter William Carpentry) - Thanks for lending a hand, repairing the siding, and building the foundation for my upgrade.  The work you do is amazing, and we’ll continue to lean on you for projects to come.  You are my first recommendation when anyone asks for carpentry work!

George Cook (Cook Services HVAC) - Thanks for the insight and knowledge to HVAC systems, your recommendations, and the installation.  I can’t appreciate my dad enough for recommending someone of your talent, skill, and attention to detail.

Jose Echaniz - Thanks for lending a hand to make sure everything was wired for power appropriately, and tailoring the wiring to meet our desired needs.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

I love you.

As I stand here making dinner, and listening to one of my many playlists playing throughout the house, I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have three of the most wonderful people in my life.  I’ve come to realize my music playlists all consists of songs that make me think of you three. Including but not limited to Mirrors by Justin Timberlake.  What can I say, the he sings from the heart and is now a reoccurring artist on my playlist.

Boe - What can I say, you’re simply the best!  Without you continually being my cheerleader, pushing me, making me realize I can reach my goals if I just push a little harder, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Or rather, where we are today. I hope others are as lucky as I am to have someone like you in their lives.  You constantly remind me that we are an unstoppable team, a power couple, and amazing parents.  You constantly remind me how proud you are of me, and tell me there’s very little I can't achieve.  Thanks for being my partner in crime, and my best friend. I love you.

Teagan - When you came into the world, I was overthrown with emotions, including the realization
that I have a child who will depend on me, look up to me, and snuggle me. You’re attitude of being courageous, passionate, and motivated has made me a better person.  Without a doubt there are times when I need to make a challenging decision, and in my mind I continuously ask myself, “What would Teagan do?”.  You continuously amaze me with your smarts, wit, and always wanting to try new things.  I never thought I would have an 8 year old who loves to golf, ice skate, and snowboard.  Thanks for being you and making me a better person and dad without even trying.  I love you.

Magoo - You are the spicy child I needed in my life to teach me patience, and perhaps a little taste of karma for the hellion I was growing up.  You continuously amaze me when you put your shyness aside and push forward to try something new and daring.  While you are only 5 right now, you certainly act much older unexpectedly.  Watching you do homework at night and seeing your face light up when you get the right answers is the smile I need at the end of long day.  The extra “See you in the morning” when I put you to bed leaves me with a smile as I walk away from your room.  You are certainly strong willed, but I’m sure it will pay dividends as you get older.  Thanks for always being honest, polite, and the little bit of spice I need in my life.  I love you.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

“Don't limit your challenges; challenge your limits.” - Jerry Dunn

You know, never in my life did I expect to love golf, let alone pick up a golf club other than a putter for mini-golf. To be honest, I really enjoy playing golf with my dad and having that time together. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect one of my offspring to want to play golf or even try it.

As I’ve mentioned before, Teagan tried golf about 2-years ago. She kept asking me when I was going to take her golfing, and at first I thought it was just a fad because she wanted to ride in a golf cart. Here we are, 2-years later, with a kid who genuinely loves the sport.

Last Sunday, Teagan had golf practice and the weather was miserable. It was in the mid 30’s, and the wind was blowing as if there was a hurricane approaching. About 20 minutes in, Teagan turned to me and said, “Dad my hands are freezing.” First of all, my fault, I should’ve brought some better gloves for her. I said to her, “T, we can get going if you want, it’s no fun to play in this cold.” Without skipping a beat, Teagan said, “Nah, I’ll stick it out. I think I can last a little longer.” So on we went. I carried Teagan’s bag for her so she could keep warming up her hands between her shots. She finished her golf practice with her team, cold hands and all. All she asked for at the end of practice was to “crank the heat in the truck on the way home.”

Anytime I encounter a situation where I’d rather take the easy road out, I immediately think of Teagan and what she’d do. One of the most amazing gifts since being a dad is to have a kid that not only gives you motivation, but genuinely has a passion and see their love for it. It’s a great feeling to have a heart filled with warmth and gratitude.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Kids Just Wanna Have Fun

If I was only allowed two words to describe Teagan, it would be passionate and motivated.

I was lucky enough to have been gifted a round of golf (full 18 holes), but it contained a Cinderella clause. That said, since the kids didn’t have school today, Teagan and I decided to take it upon ourselves this afternoon to play a round (of 18). To add some color to this post, Teagan was introduced to golfing last year, playing several rounds of 9 at a local country club. We’ve slowly started to increase our rounds to 12, 13, and 14 holes, but never 18. Every time we had the opportunity to play, the weather was nothing short of gorgeous.

Today’s afternoon weather was far from ideal conditions to play golf, and let alone 18 holes; it was misty, slightly cool, and everything was wet, including the bottoms of our pants. Once we reached the end of 9, I turned to Teagan and asked, “Do you want to just head home lovebug? I know this weather stinks, and your feet are getting wet.” Teagan turns to me, smiles, and says, “No way, this is awesome, and I don’t want to leave. Don’t the golfers on TV play in this weather?” To which I replied, “They certainly do.” Teagan then says, “We’ve never played 18, and I want to do it, rain and all!” Nonetheless, we golfed our butts off, had a lot of fun, and watched Teagan improve with every shot, to the point her shots easily increased from 10 yards to 40-45 yards by the time we finished.

#KidsKnowHowToHaveFun #GripItAndRipIt #KidsThatGolf

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice.

Here's the deal; I used to hate golfing with a passion.  Didn't even consider the thought of it within my realm of interests.  But then again, we all have that one friend.  You know, the one that gives you the, "aw come on, it will be fun.  Trust me."  That's how it started.

In June last year (2015 for those of you keeping score), I was driving home from work and stuck with the rest of the poor rush hour souls. 

For me, rush hour is typically my least most productive time during the day.  I'm usually stuck in a daydream contemplating ways to buy a helicopter, all while realizing if I was rich enough to buy a helicopter I wouldn't have to work (you can see how this begins to snowball). 

Mid-daydream my phone rings; it's my friend Andrea.

Let me "Tarantino" things a bit to add some clarity to this story. Prior to this phone call (3 years or so) I met Andrea at a vendor event in Boston.  Andrea continued to stay in touch since that time looking for ways to have a chance at gaining some business from my employer.

Andrea out of the gate asks, "Hey, do you golf?"  To which I reply, "Nope, and don't plan to.  Why?"  Andrea goes on to share with me that her co-workers are big golf enthusiasts and would love to go out sometime.  I was persistent in saying I'm not interested but would entertain the business conversation and left it at that.

Fast forward to the beginning of July, same thing. Driving home, phone rings, its Andrea.  Again asking if I want to go golfing.  I said to Andrea, "Look, I'll make you a deal, if my dad can come, I'll attempt to play."

For those of you who didn't know, my dad loves to golf. Before Andrea, he was hounding me to try golfing, to which he gave up after he learned that I had no interest whatsoever.  My dad is also one of the most hard working people I know (right next to my mom). He always worked his butt off so us kids could have everything we needed.  He has always been my role model for his work ethic.  That said, his work ethic can be summed up using a simple quote:

"You can't have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic." - Stephen C. Hogan

With my parents always going above and beyond for us kids, I try to do what I can today to repay the favor; hence the attempt to score an all-inclusive round of golf with my dad at a fantastic local country club.

Needless to say, Andrea gave me the green light for my dad to join us.

Moving onto a gorgeous Monday morning at the beginning of August, my dad loaded up the necessary golf gear (because I obviously didn't have any) into his truck and off we went.  Little did I know we were playing in an actual golf tournament.  Luckily for me, it was a scramble format (best ball).  To sum up my very first time even remotely swinging a golf club, I had a dozen golf balls to start and a positive attitude.  At the end of the round, I had a single golf ball left, hit at least one tree per hole, and was satisfied with my first golfing experience. 

Even with my mediocre day on the course, the best part was just being able to spend quality time with my dad.  We didn't always have the best relationship while I was growing up (we would sometimes butt heads), but he was/is always there for us kids regardless of the circumstance.

Being an adult, it's that subtle realization I have from time to time that my parents won't be around forever.  That's why I do my best to spend that quality time with my parents, wife, and kids.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.  So thanks to Andrea, golfing gives my dad and I that quality time together; all while slicing balls, and reciting lines from CaddyShack and Happy Gilmore.

Few weeks later, I found myself searching for a used set of golf clubs on Craigslist.  After a few days of searching I thought I found the perfect "catch all" set of clubs. A very kind gentleman was offering an entire set of clubs for a few hundred bucks. Best part was he had several sets to choose from since he collected and repaired golf clubs as a hobby.  But, what did I know?  I just picked out what "looked" to be a decent hand-picked set (bag, driver, 3W, irons, and a putter).  After a few times out with my dad and trying to learn more about golf in general, I started researching the clubs I had (here's where you'll chuckle). Come to find out, I had a ladies driver, a regular 3W, senior irons, and an undesired putter.  I was a bit aggravated that my clubs were all over the place (flex wise) which wasn't helping me to develop my swing correctly.  Not that my swing was / is anything to write home about, but this predicament certainly wasn't playing to my advantage.  I ended up calling the gentleman that sold me the clubs, and explained that I'd like to return them due to the fact there was no consistency (flex wise) across the entire set. He understood and happily refunded my money.

Being a typical guy, I then proceeded to research club brands, specs, reviews, opinions, and prices.  For anyone that knows me, they'll tell you that I'm a bit over the top when it comes to buying just about anything.  More so when the price is a bit on the more expensive side.  I typically blame my OCD buying experiences on my engineering brain / mindset.  Shortly after performing my extensive research, I may or may not have made a "disgruntled-used-club-buying-experience" impulse buy of a brand new set of clubs.  At one point during this impulse buy process, I literally felt like Al Czervik from CaddyShack when he's in the ProShop buying just about one of everything.  With that said, I now own a very respectable set of clubs, complete with obnoxious golf apparel (be sure to check out Loudmouth Golf, and Royal & Awesome).

Golfing by it's self is quite the addictive sport, even before adding in the social drinking aspect of it.  For those that don't golf and read this post, I'm sure you are saying, "Addictive, without the cold beer, how so?"  It's simple really; it's got that whole love / hate thing going on for it.  It's like the ultimate car wreck of relationships.  There are days you get off the course and swear up and down that you are selling your clubs. Only to find yourself back on the course a few days later playing one of your best rounds while scratching your head trying to figure out why you sucked so bad the round before.

I'm now a lifetime golfer.  I look for any opportunity to "hit the links" with family, friends, co-workers, etc.  Even though my golf obsession does tend to drive my wife crazy from time to time, she makes every effort to tolerate it, all while keeping the peace in our household.  It's that whole, you've got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little.  That's the story of that's the glory of love.

Until next time, reach out to those closest to you and let them know you care about them.  It could change their day.

I'm doing my best to make this the final name change for my blog.  I'm pretty happy with it's new title (for obvious reasons).  Come on, my golf obsessions isn't that bad.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Patience Is A Virtue

Hello to all my readers, or maybe lack thereof… I apologize for not posting monthly as I was originally, but Sarah and I have been really busy with both kiddos on top of moving into a home! Booya! I promise that I will try to get back into the swing of posting at least once a month. So, without further ado, here you are…

You know, I would have never thought that being a parent would make me a better person. Ten plus years ago I was the most impatient person you'd ever meet. So much so that I didn't have the most fantastic interpersonal skills, however, mom always blamed it on the fact that I had an engineering mindset and people like that typically don't like interacting with others. However, being where I am today I can argue that point until the other person is blue in the face. Why? Because of life's experiences from being a parent.

There are times that Teagan is the sweetest kid you will ever meet. There are also times when she is a hellion, and as my friend Ron puts it, "I don't negotiate with terrorists." I have come to learn that I need to be patient and speak to Teagan on her level. While speaking to her on her level I need to explain to her where she is in the wrong and give her choices that she can choose. Most of the time, the two “different” choices have the same outcome, but as far as she knows, she is getting the opportunity to choose. Of course, I’m sure all parents feel the need to just freak out and yell time to time, however, that choice typically results in your child crying harder and louder which is a result that neither of you want to listen to or deal with.

From my experiences with Teagan, and now Hadley (even though Hadley typically cries because she is hungry, wet, or just wants to be held), I have come to learn that when I am in a difficult situation to take a step back, take a deep breath, and assess the situation and deal with it in a calm manner and tone. From my learnings, the outcome and results are much more positive and productive. I stick to this process regardless of the situation whether I am at home or at work. Everyone wants results and everyone wants to be productive. Sometimes those results consist of a compromise. And sometimes, those results are not what you expected because the other person may have had a better idea or direction to go in.

So, the moral of this post is to keep an open mind, keep your guard at ease, and work with one another regardless of the situation. The outcome and results can sometimes be very eye opening.