Dad’s Taxi: No longer Needed

This week, the day that I dreaded finally came true. The days of Dad’s taxi came to an end.. No.. I’m not shutting down this blog!

My 17 year old daughter got her provisional driver’s license and now she is totally mobile with her own car.. A hand me down.. from my father. .. to her sister.. to her.. A 2003 Honda Civic with very very low miles..

Of course.. in my last attempt at maintaining some control I had to take some final steps to ensure her safety has she hit the perilous travails on the roads of Central New Jersey.

  • I signed a contract with my 17 year old.. on what hours she can drive using her provisional license (6AM – 11PM).. Nothing outside those hours
  • Only she can drive the car.. The car is NOT to be used by her BFF’s.
  • She needs to tell mom/dad whenever she goes out as to her destination and must text/call us that she has arrived at her destination.
  • She is responsible for ensuring car is in working order.. If any major maintenance is to be done, Mom/Dad will take care of it.
  • She’s fully insured (Courtesy of Dear Dad).
  • Drive defensively.. There is a reason why NJ has one of the highest insurance rates. If you live in NJ, you know what I mean by this.
  • No Texting and driving! Phone is to be turned off whenever she gets in the car if she is the driver.

She even started taking the care to High School!

So Dad’s Taxi is now officially out of business.. Unless of course my girls want me to drive them around when they are home!

 

 

Spring is almost here!

Hope springs eternal in the spring, and for Dad’s Taxi, this spring is the start of new path of life

After a very cold winter, I think winter is just around the corner for us in Central NJ. This has been one of the coldest winter’s I’ve seen in a long time.. Not much snow, but the cold has been brutal. I personally look forward to the Spring as a time of rebirth and a time of new beginnings.

I’ll be ready to share with the world the story of my rebirth over the next few months.. as I’ve been keeping quite a few things I’ve been going through over the past year to myself. I’m finally at a point in my life where Dad’s Taxi is ready to say,  my taxi of life is finally on the right path and making positive progress .

Spring time is a time for new beginnings, why not start here??

Tonight (March 8th) is the start of Daylight Savings Time and as we all say “Spring forward, Fall Back”, I’m finally ready to spring forward not just by one hour, but to truly begin the next part of my life this Spring.

Winter of our Discontent – Enough Already

The ongoing boredom of the winter of 2014 in Central NJ

Panoramo of the Quiet of the Snow

I have not experienced this kind of winter in NJ for years.. With El Nino where each winter was mild for the past few years, this year is wetter and colder than I’ve ever seen. The winter of 2014 in Central NJ has been one storm after another dumping snow and ice and when its not snowing, it’s frigid.

I noticed that this year the weather channel named each storm. Today we are in the middle of Storm Pax. Not sure what that means, but I guess we are on the letter “P” with storms.

I don’t really mind the snow, as long as I have my monster snow thrower to clear the snow, but gosh enough is enough. The kids in NJ are really having fun, as they have now had 4 or 5 snow days.. Of course I look forward to the 4:30 AM call from the Middletown, NJ Board of education to tell me that there is no school today due to ANOTHER Snow Storm!

I have to admit that this town is so wonderful with communications by telephone blasts, email’s and text messages. This township is also amazing with snow plowing.. Even before the snow finishes, the main roads are cleared!

I was just talking to my daughter and she tells me that dad’s taxi is slacking off and not posting enough. Well, things are going on in Dad’s life that really cannot be shared here (for now)….

Whenever it snows, I sit in my semi “man cave” in the back of my house and work.. Yep that’s me, sitting and watching my neighbor’s horses frolicking in the back. This is how boring my life has become.

Horses lounging Horses out for a walk in the Snow

What dad really needs is a vacation.. A vacation where he can just let loose and chill. Now the question arises, is where do I go?

Since my daughter told me I need to write about more interesting things, I’m going to have to reflect and write about interesting things.

For now, I’m going to watch as much Curling as possible at the Olympics in Sochi. I’ve gotten obsessed at watching the men and women slide the rock down and sweep to get points. I still don’t get the scoring system, but the intensity is worth the wait.. BTW, I found out that Curling has become the latest “must see” sport in the schools. One Child even had her phone confiscated because she was watching Curling in math class! I got a chuckle out of that.

At least it’ll be an interesting spring (when it arrives in the next 35 days!).

Hey, pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training next week, so as a NY Mets fan, the annual rite of hope for my metsies starts anew.

Dad’s life is changing and he’s headed for a hard reset of his life. More on this later in postings when the time is right.  For now, Dad has to just get over this endless winter!

 

Dad’s 2013 working Staycation – Or No Vacation for you!

2013, the year that Dad’s Taxi takes a solo staycation and loves it!

staycationFor those who have been following me for a while you all know much of what I write about is tongue-in-cheek humor.. Well today’s post is from the bottom of my heart.. I’m on a self imposed working  staycation – No Vacation for me!. With due respect to the Soup Nazi from the classic Seinfeld episode!

For those who are wondering what a “Staycation” is here’s the 411 on that. When you are on staycation, you don’t go anywhere when you are on vacation, you stay at home. In my case, it’s a one person staycation. My wife and kids go away and dad stays back on his own volitoin!

My wife and one child is on their California Adventure with their cousins and Aunts and my other “almost legal” child is in Europe seeing the world. At first I thought I’d really be like a fish out of water, but in reality, it’s been kind of nice to have the house to myself and just chillax (that’s another play on words (chill + Relax). See Dad’s pretty cool that way, and he knows the lingo..

One child return tomorrow night (Dad’s taxi will be doing the duties to pick her up of course), so part of my staycation is over, in reality all of it is over!  This child is worse than having the other two (My wife and younger rock star daughter) at home. She’ll come home and run around the house and tell me what a slob I am (which I will not deny) and pick up things and clean the house like a “sharknado”.. Where I’ll be the one being eaten up.

I spent the last few days just listening to the silence that surrounds me and I kind of liked it. I caught up my recorded television programs on my DVR,

Staycation Day 1
Staycation Day 1 (Photo credit: Nostepinne)

played Softball, went to the movies, played tennis and of course went to work..so I can pay for the vacations that my wife and kids are on that I’m not on!

Now don’t feel sorry for me. I chose to stay home. I could have gone to California with my wife, my daughter, my sister-in-laws, their respective kids, but I chose not to. It was my decision. I just didn’t want deal with the chaos that this would have caused. Since, I’m pretty opinionated (Duh!) and would have been the cause of much of the conflict that I know would have happened if I had gone on the party trip!

So where am I going this year? I’m going to India! I just decided that this week. Can you guess who is going with me? Nobody! Just the 3 of us (me, myself, and I) are going. The goal of this trip is not get any bacterial infections (like I did last time), and to really just get back in touch with myself. I’m sure you say, how’s that possible?  It is if you really want to gain closure on a few things and plan for the future.

Perhaps the heat wave that finally broke last night has caught up to me, but to take a solo vacation is good for the soul. It allows the individual to be introspective and really absorb his surroundings with zero distractions. What do you think?

Now my biggest problem is when to go on my real vacation.. I will have to be before end-of-year… Of course I’ll blog on my vacation and my legions of followers (ok there are not legions, maybe 2 or 3), can follow along on my India adventure of 2013!

Hope everyone is having a great Summer 2013 and feel free to share with me your ideas of the best staycation you have had!

Oh I almost forgot the best part of my self-imposed staycation, I was able to just lounge around the house and the pool (on my floating lounge floatie) and listen to the silence! That’s what you call inner peace!

 

 

Hiatus and Start of Summer rambling

Well it’s the beginning of Summer 2013 and the heat is on. I’ve been so busy with work and other “stuff” (that I cannot discuss here), my blogging has been limited.

In between the rain that we are getting in Middletown, NJ over the past few weeks, I’ve found time to play lots of Tennis.

Yesterday my little rock start graduated from Middle School and I was just amazed at the pagentry and presentation that is called Middle School Graduation.. I remember in the ancient days (1970’s), we went from Middle School (What we in NY called Junior High School) to High School, we had nothing like this. We were just directed by our 9th grade (yes Junior HS in NY was 7 – 8  – 9) that go to your High School next year.. Kind of lame to tell you the truth, but that’s how it was in the ancient days (or as my kids tell me constantly “That was then, this is now!’)

I have to admit it is really great that today’s children get this sense of accomplishment and truly deserve to be recognized for their achievements. So many of today’s kids maintain such high grades through out their education its remakable. Even with all the distractions of Social Media (Facebook, Text Messaging, Instagram, Twitter, and so much more I just can’t even summarize here), they achieve a focused drive to succeed.

At my daughter’s graduation, out of a class of 200, 27 kids got the President’s award for academic achievement for their 3 years in Middle School (6 – 7 – 8). That means they maintained a B+ average through their 3 years!

Of course you can’t have a graduation without a celebration! We had a mini-celebration with BFF’s and their parents at a local Houlihan!

I tell you, being jaded the way I normally am, seeing the joy on the faces of the parents and the graduates, it bought made me feel really wonderful. I guess as I age, my jaded outlook is mellowing as is my Taxi of Life..

As I sit here and ponder, I see our future bright with these kids that will experience so much change with both technology and with opportunity. Many will struggle, succeed and some may fail. The one thing that the stuck in my mind and I hope many of the kids that were sitting in the sweltering gymnasium  realize is that their next step is “a clean slate”. A slate that is so important in their life that every grade they get will carry them into College and their future.

See I told you that I’d be rambling, and that my jaded outlook is fading…

If you are a parent, what you see as challanges that our kids will face tomorrow as they mature into adulthood? I’d like to get your feedback!

Let’s see what things happen today..

New Year Musings

If you can’t achieve your new year’s resolutions, are you destined to repeat them? Perhaps..

Every year, I think to myself, what can be some of my New Year’s resolutions that I know that I will (not) keep? So this year, I decided to write some resolutions that I will not be able to attain in 2012, but will try to..

  • Lose weight. The more the better. Every year I say, I’m going to lose 10 to 15 pounds and this year I went the reverse direction and gained.  Not Good.  I guess the “See Food” diet just doesn’t work. Either, I change this pattern in 2012, or, I’ll be facing more medical bills and ailments than I did this year..
  • Be Debt Free: This year, financially was better than 2010, but I’m no closer to being debt free than I was last year.. It’s not like I spend more recklessley this year on credit cards, but chasing the moving target gets harder and harder. I’ve tried different stragegies to reduce debt, but it’s like I keep floating in the same pool of debt..  In 2012, I gotta think of a strategy that will really make a dent in my credit card balances, or I’ll be writing about it AGAIN next year at this time. Gotta figure out how to use less plastic and/or pay off what you buy… Both are good ideas in theory..

 

  • Have 6 month cushion of Money – Yeah right.. Refer to “Be Debt Free”. Only difference now is that my household income has gotten a spike upwards, but that doesn’t mean, my savings to debt ratio has gotten better.. Sad but true. I guess the motto “the more you make, the more you spend” applies here”.
  • Reduce my Medical Bills by taking care of my health.. Refer to bullet 1.. “Lose Weight”. It seems if I can’t do this, my medical bills will continue to go up every year..
  • Make my other passion BharatBeat successful: In 2011, my partner and I made some progress by setting up a dedicated page on Facebook .. but getting people “LIKE” us continues to be a challenge. In 2012, our goal is to finally step out of our comfort zone and go all out… maybe people will “LIKE” us then?? We shall see
  • Make strides in my Day Job – Actually 2011 was pretty good here for me… Enjoy my job, have a challenging position.. yet the rise to a higher pay scale continues to elude.. Yes, I know.. “Work hard and you shall succeed”..

Even with my cynical outlook, I do realize that what I have far exceeds my expectations of where I thought I would be as I hit the half century mark as well as well as 2011 draws to a close.. Now the question is what 2012 resolutions should I write that are actually attainable goals?

 

Gas Money

Dad’s taxi is

Updated on 02/13/12: I figured that I’d go back to this topic since we had another implosion on this issue at my home today. Of course the conversation ended the same way as always.. Everybody stomping off in their respective spaces and being furious.

What is the right balance? Should a Dad just bite the bullet and accept the fact that his almost 20-year-old just doesn’t get it?

Maybe I am wrong. I should just accept the fact that until the “circle of life” comes around and bites someone in the a*%, they just will not get it. Getting a part-time job for a few hours a week is pretty un-reasonable (As working at McDonalds, is a step down in the social status).  Yes even as I sit here in front of my computer screen, I realize that me being a staunch supporter of the work ethic and responsibility is truly unreasonable.

For now, I’ll just continue to provide full and absolute maintenance and caring of the car and P will continue to use it to her benefit.. of course until it breaks down and Dad has to get it fixed.

When I sit back, I think I am being pretty logical to expect today’s x/y generation child to behave in this manner  Things just are given without actually earning it.

The words still reverberate in my mind when she was 13 and I first bought my “New Car”: “Dad, thanks for buying the car. Of course you know,  this car will be mine when I turn 18”. Hmm. I should have seen things for what they were at that time. Almost a sense of deja vu, but into the future. I even offered my “other car” my Oddessy but no way, that care was way “uncool” for a teenager to drive. Gosh, when I was growing up, if my dad would have offered me his Dodge Dart for Free, I’d have done the happy song.  But as the kids say today: “That was then, this is now. We just cannot be seen in an un-cool car Dad!”.

Oh well, tomorrow the brakes, then soon after the tires… After all Dad’s Taxi (My old Highlander” is no longer my tax)i, but something that I watch coming in and out of the driveway.

Am I being unreasonable? Let me know what you think..

 

*****Original post is below.

Last night I had an extensive and animated conversation with my older daughter about gas money. Specifically whose responsibility is it to pay for Gas for the car SHE drives to and from college and to drive her BFF’s around in. Needless to say.. Dad was the bad cop because he insisted on that his daughter pay for gas since he paid all the other expenses related to the car..

What do you think? If Dad pays for everything (maintenance, insurance, registration) isn’t it fair to ask the her of the car to pay for Gas? Especially when the driver does have a job which can pay for gas? Yes she doesn’t make a lot of money.. but as I remember, when I was growing up (in the ancient 70’s), I financed my car including all maintenance! Yes that 1972 Plymouth Duster should could eat up gas!

Of course many people can say “That was then, this is now Dad”, but as part of a parents responsibility is to teach their children fiscal responsibility and being able to properly determine which are fixed expenses (gas, utilities, RENT) and which are discretionary (Gifts and entertainment).

Don’t get me wrong.. my daughter is a great kid, but when it comes to money..the buck stops there. Literally!

See when she was unemployed, I paid all the expenses for my car which she uses. Now that she has some income coming in, I felt it’s time we had some equality with expense sharing.. Again, Dad is the bad cop for even asking for this!

What do you think? Am I being unreasonable? I won’t ask this question in my household in near future as my daughter now has gotten her gas funding from her… Mom..

Parenting – What’s your style?

Today, I’m going to write about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Parenting.

What is your parenting Style

There are many  schools of thought in on parenting. Below is the two that I struggle with on a day by day basis.

  1. The Authoritarian Parent (“Micro Parenting“) – In the business world, we’ll equate this to “micro-managing” a child. In real life, this is the overbearing parent that is constantly molding, probing, prodding, and making the child in a possible self-image.
  2. The Permissive Parent (“Hands Off Parenting – In the business world, you can refer this to “no management direction at all”. In real life, this is a parent who just stays back and let’s the child make his/or her  decisions of mistakes.

How do you establish the right balance between the two?

Now I don’t consider myself to be the best parent in the world, but I have always tried to guide my kids to “do the right thing” and “be an all-rounder”.  In my house we have two kids that are not only 7 years apart but worlds apart in their DNA makeup and their outlook and perspectives.

  • The younger one, is a go-getter, extremely sensitive and wants to succeed at any cost and does whatever is necessary to reach her still evolving goals, and she’s not even a teenager yet. This is the child that is harder to manage, because she’s all over the place and always challenging the Status Quo. In my house this is my “American Idol Child”. She even blogs!
    • This child is a non-stop communicator and will not stop discussing till she gets her point across. This is more like me I guess. Of course my friends may think otherwise.
  • My older one is a teenager in college and she’s on the opposite spectrum with DNA. She’s easy-going and really just wants to “go with the flow”. This child doesn’t have much of an outward desire to excel in anything much, but just wants to “be”. I could spend hours and hours talking to her for a stretch, but the channels of communication are uni-directional. From me to her.
    • In my mind’s eye, this is a passive child who doesn’t directly interact with her environment, but treads water ever so slowly that there is not much year of year differences.
    • At times she shows flashes of brilliance and may even be misunderstood to be a “selfish, self-centered child” for only being a go-getter for things she wants for herself.

How does a parent cultivate these two unique personalities and DNA composition? what is the right balance of parenting style match the child?

For my younger one, I must always raise the bar and challenge her to excel, whereas the older one, I need to constantly push her to find something that will interest/challenge her.

For my older one, I must always push her to establish “any” goal to work to. Otherwise, I’m not sure that she will ever set a goal which will interest/challenge her.

It’s as tough balance for any parent to follow. At least I struggle to balance the needs of each of these kids.

Here are some of the things I have to catch myself from not doing to maintain an equal footing as a parent:

  • Compare the achievements of one to the other
  • Use the classic line – “Why can’t you be like your sister, she doesn’t need any push in the right direction”.
  • Punishing the one that is yet to establish or even vocalize an “attainable goal”. Of course for me this one is too easy. Just take away my child’s body attachment to social media (her blackberry, or her Mac)!
  • Praising one over the other (in front of each other), because this obviously gives the older one a “complex”. What kind of complex  you can figure that one out.
  • Using the daily/weekly/monthly parent lectures, where the child will in minutes shut down and roll his/her eyes

There are many more bad “helicopter parenting” strategies that I can write about but I think you get the idea..

Now what are successful techniques that all of us a highly paid parents do use?:

  • Rewarding positive behavior and success
  • Being friends first and then parents. Even the first part is hard to do!
  • Drawing the lines and boundaries  for acceptable behavior and enforcing these boundaries
  • Being clear, concise, honest and direct in what you expect from you child. For me, I always tell my kids this is directly associated with “doing the right thing” for any situation that the world throws at you.
  • Constant Coaching and Communication – As a parent, the lines between the two of these things have always been blurred, as my coaching style can easily be perceived as “sarcastic encouragement”.
  • Being involved with your child’s daily life, without being intrusive. Allow your child to experience success and failures in their relationships and activities as they grow up?
    • I today’s Facebook age, how can you be your child’s friend without being overstepping the boundaries of being your child’s friend?
    • For every failure there is always to successes!
  • Trust but Verify: Now this is the hardest one for me. I trust my kids to do the right thing, but I how do I verify that the right thing has truly been done?

I could go on and ramble more and more, but as a parent what strategies work for you? As a dad who is constantly trying to balance his actions with some sense of positive reinforcement, I’d like to hear from you if you have any ideas..

Dad…

Post A Day

Dad’s Taxi has joined a Post A Day

Dad’s Taxi is joining the community of The DailyPost on WordPress.
If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes. If you like/dislike or agree/disagree with anything I say, do leave me a comment. I try to respond to every comment. All comments are moderated!

Signed,

Dad’s Taxi

No Justice for Caylee Anthony – Justice is Blind

Is Casey Anthony’s acquittal on Murder Charges an example of an OJ trial without the fame?

As a parent and as an American, I was appalled yesterday at the justice that wasn’t dished out in the Casey Anthony trial. To see a mother walk away free after killing her 2 year old daughter is without doubt (and as the jurors had “reasonable doubt“) is truly an amazing act of cowardice that can be acted on by any jury in any state, but of course this travesty of justice occurred in Florida.

I guess when they say that “justice is blind”, in this case, justice was deaf too to the inconsistencies of the story that was presented by the defense and which the prosecutors could not refute “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Yes, the “burden of proof” lies with the prosecutors, but come on people, would you see this same verdict if the mother was a minority and could not hire a good lawyer that could convolute the trial with lies and just imaginary avenues of logic (see  Yahoo News).

So Casey Anthony, lied, lied and lied, but for that her time in court,  she will get time served (for her 3 years of incarceration) and walk out of prison within a day or two.  Tell me how many many similar cases of extreme child abuse occur in NYC to the poor and the minority children by their caregivers and parents and  and how caregivers will have the opportunity to have their trial televised literally every day,  to garner the “show” that this trial turned out to be. Personally, I was not riveted to the screen nor the papers when it came to this trial. I just casually observed the progression of this trial as an parent of two girls who was just appalled at the direction that these proceedings went and the end result.

The lack-of-evidence syndrome that is easily played out in today’s courts for the defendants that can show that they have the know how and the resources to play the card of “reasonable doubt” just gets under my skin.

Let’s take this scenario: You have a poor, destitute “person of color” mother who kills her 2 year old, hides her in her car, lies about how her child died, lies about where she worked, and on an on..do yo uthink this woman will get away with Murder??

Extracted from Yahoo News!

She lied about being employed at Universal Studios. She lied about leaving Caylee with a baby-sitter, then again when she recounted to investigators that she had told two imaginary people that Caylee was missing. She also lied about receiving a phone call from Caylee the day before she was reported missing.

I almost forget… With this fame, Casey once freed will make the talk show circuit and gain more fame and wealth with her silly “smirk”. Casey will of course proclaim her  innocence and tell the world how she was molested as a child, and how this caused irreparable damage on her poor fragile psyche.. oh please!

I can hardly wait for the book and the movie to come out! Oh wait.. I think that’s been done already!