The Birdhouse

This is not just an ordinary birdhouse. 

This was a birdhouse that was handmade by my paternal grandfather for me.

It is at least 43 years old.


slabs2While my grandfather was still alive he made a set of these birdhouses for his children and grandchildren.  He made them by hand from left over lumber “slabs”. 

(Slabs are the rounded sides, along with other parts of a log, not usable as lumber.)  

A few years ago, while cleaning his garage, my dad dug up the birdhouses my grandfather had made for my sister and myself.  My dad stored them away many years ago, safe-keeping them for us as adults.  When I was given mine, I decided to keep mine inside as a decorative item vs putting it outside in the elements. 

It sits in a prominent place above the cabinets in our kitchen.

My grandpa was the subject of a previous post here on The Life of a Father of Five titled Grandpa’s Tackle Box
There, you can read a little bit more about him.  

A couple of days ago the Mother of Five and I decided it was high time we conducted a “deep clean” of our kitchen.  One of the tasks we undertake when we “deep clean” the kitchen is the removal of all our “tchotchke” and “bric-a-brac” that decorates and adorns the tops of our kitchen cabinets.  We have several silk plants, a couple of decorative plates, some “country theme” figurines, and some antiques / family heirlooms.  One of the heirloom items that lives above our kitchen cabinets is my birdhouse.

When we pulled my birdhouse down from above the cabinet, I could not help but notice how “lackluster” it had become.  It was looking very dull, covered with dust and general kitchen “grime”, and had lost it’s radiance.  I was feeling disappointed with how my birdhouse was beginning to look, so I took a little bit of time from the “deep clean” to really bring my birdhouse “back to life”.  When I was finished I was shocked by the reminder of the beauty of my birdhouse – and the feeling of connection with my grandfather it gave me again. 

My grandfather (the one who built this birdhouse) passed away when I was very young (5 years old).  My memories of him are limited and any connection I have to him are deeply meaningful to me (again, I will reference back to “Grandpa’s Tackle Box” above.

This birdhouse tops my list. 

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Seven Days, Seven Photos.

My sister-in-law tagged me in social media to take part in the “Seven day, seven photo" challenge.  Normally, I do not partake in these – but it was a short challenge (only 7 days) and had minimal “requirements” – so I decided to partake.

The rules were simple.

Seven days.
Seven black and white photos of your life.
No humans.
No explanation.

I enjoyed it so much, and one of my friends (also a blogger) who also completed the challenge put the idea in my head that the culmination of the photos would make a great blog post.  I agreed.  So, I am posting the seven photos here too!
I will follow the same rules with only one modification.  I will post all seven simultaneously. 

Seven black and white photos of your life.
No humans.
No explanation.



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2017-10-19 05.33.53

2017-10-20 06.37.59


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FOF Observation #31

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.

Well, it’s been almost two and a half years since my last observation (and almost two months since my last post of any kind).  This observation is more of a “continuation” of Observation #22 – but it applies to a different one of my “brood”. 

Observation 22 was about #4 of 5Observation 31 is about #5 of 5 – well, more accurately, about her friends.

My daughter and her friends are the coolest!
Wanna know how how I know?

She had a sleepover a couple of nights ago and this is the pile of shoes I found in our entryway the morning!!


Days I wished would pass, but now I long for.

Lately, I have been inspired by friend and fellow Blogger “Backside of Forty” who has been “purging” clutter around his house.  We have been in our home for eighteen years now.  Eighteen years, and five kids.  We too suffer from a lot of “clutter” taking up space.

Unused AppliancesCase in point.  A “repairable” front load washer.  A number of years ago we bought a front load washer and dryer set.  Since then, we have discovered how much we DISLIKE a front load washers…   So when the time came to replace the “dampers” (like little shock absorbers) YET AGAIN, we replaced the set, and moved the front loader set aside to “repair and sell” at a later date.  They have been taking up space in our laundry room ever since.  Add to that a large upright freezer that we no longer use, and you have a laundry room stuffed with unused appliances.

Yesterday (with the MUCH NEEDED aid of #3 of 5 and #4 of 5) I removed the aforementioned appliances from the laundry room, and set them up in the garage for cleaning and (God willing) a future re-homing.      

When I removed the freezer – a large number of odd items appeared.  (A few lone socks, several pens, miscellaneous screws / nails / and assorted hardware items, and…  A small green object that has not been seen “loose” in our house in a very long time was also in the mix.) 


Yup.  That’s a DUPLO.

With five kids in this house – DUPLOS (then later – LEGOS) were a mainstay toy in our home.  They were almost always “present” in one form or another.  Either built sets, homebrew / handcrafted creations, piles of them left out to play with, or (as every single parent can attest to) the ever-present “errant” (or loose / lost) LEGO that will inevitably be stepped on in the dark! 

DUPLOS were intended for children ages 1 1/2 to 5 years old – where they (kids) typically transition off into the world of LEGOS.  Given that estimate – and the fact that #5 of 5 is now 13 years old – it’s fair for me to say that I don’t think I have seen an errant DUPLO around here for the better part of seven or eight years now.  Other than a set of Christmas LEGOS that we have – I don't think I have seen regular LEGOS out for two or three years now.

The thing about LEGOS though… They are sort of “ageless”.  I remember having TONS of fun putting LEGO sets together with my kiddos.  Heck even Dr. Laura Schlessinger (70 year old talk radio host) admits to building LEGO sets for fun!  I think I could sit down and start digging through the bin and start building with LEGOS again.

#5 of 5 playing with LEGOSSo, when I dug out the storage bin we have for our DUPLOS (to put the errant long lost green DUPLO back with it’s own kind), I had to remove the large storage bin of regular LEGOS to gain access. 

That’s when it happened.

#5 of 5 heard that unmistakable sound of LEGOS
and came a-runnin’. 

“Is that the LEGO bin?” she asked. 
“Yes.  Yes it is.” the Mother of Five replied. 
“Can I play with them?” #5 of 5 inquired. 

A few minutes later, I was whisked backed to days of old. 

Days that I couldn’t wait to move past (back then), but days I long for again (now).

Facebook killed the Blogger Star?

Just like how The Buggles proclaimed back in 1978 how “Video Killed the Radio Star” many (most?  all?) of the blogs I once followed with frequent (and enjoyable) content (and this includes The Life of a Father of Five) have fallen prey to the wildly popular and quite addictive call of the Facebook Siren.  Yup.  Facebook Killed the Blogger Star. 

siren3“Facebook Siren” - Dangerous creatures from Greek’ish Mythology who lured unsuspecting bloggers in with their enchanting content, quick and easy posting, and immediate feedback (with notifications) to shipwreck on the rocky coast of the internet.  Not a loud acoustic alarm used to alert people to emergencies (although I think a compelling argument could be made for the need of the latter).

I joined Facebook to keep up with friends and family.  I wanted to know about what they are up to.  What their kids / grandkids are up to.  I wanted to see what ever became of some of my old friends.  I wanted to interact (even if it is just a quick “like” or a short “good job”).  I wanted to connect and to reconnect.  Facebook allows me to keep up with, and even interact with folks I would not have normally been able to do so.  The connections I have made and have re-established through Facebook ARE important to me.  Yet, lately with the volatility of everything going on around the world, and the polarity that society has moved towards (racially, politically, religiously, fundamentally) – people have found the need to share their racial, political, religious and fundamental values (while (arguably) refusing to even acknowledge anyone else’s racial, political, religious and fundamental values) on Facebook.  So much so that I often hear (and can see) just how toxic Facebook has become. 

It saddens me.  When people mention to me how they can’t stand being on Facebook any more, and ask me how I can tolerate it – my answer(s) are pretty simple.  I only share things that I would like to know about from others.  I only engage in things that I would share.  And if I see something posted that I strongly agree or disagree with (or my opinion falls anywhere in-between) racially, politically, religiously, or fundamentally I scroll past it.  I seek out and find the next update of what your kid accomplished, or who’s become a new parent / grandparent, who is going through a rough time, or who adopted a new “fur friend”. 

A congratulatory “like”, a complement, a kind word, or a supportive sentiment is what I like to get, and like to give.   

I have STRIVED to make Facebook a POSTIVE thing in my life – and ya know what?  It has worked for me for the most part.  Oh, sure – it can be “addictive” and sucks up a lot of time.  It has also been the cause (and effect) of my lack of blogging (which I enjoy). 

Screenshot_2017-07-01-07-20-40I suppose an argument could be made that by ignoring all things racial, political, religious, and fundamental that I am burying my head in the sand.  I have also been personally accused of supporting “one side” of the spectrum by not supporting the “other side” (and that comes from both sides of whatever the argument de’jour happens to be).  Maybe my critics are right.  I don’t know.  If they are, ignorance is bliss, and bliss keeps me pretty happy.  It has worked for me so far – so I am sticking with it.  Go ahead and think less of me. 

What inspired me to BLOG today was one of those “Facebook” memes.  The one where you log in to a website, and the site scours your FB posts, and comes up with an infographic of the words you use most on Facebook.  Normally, these are also status updates I scroll past – but this morning I succumbed to my personal curiosity and requested one be created for me. 

THIS was the result.

I started to post about it on FB, when all of a sudden it occured to me that this would make a really nice post here on The Life of a Father of Five! 

With a few minor exceptions, virtually everything in the infographic is positive – and relates to family, friends, hometowns, kids activities, and things that bring joy into my life.

THIS is still why I still enjoy Facebook. 

THIS is why I don’t care that there are folks who accuse me of being ignorant, oblivious, or accuse me of being “part of the problem” for not engaging in all the negativity.

It feels pretty good!


It Was a Beautiful Evening

It was a beautiful evening.  I had just finished two extended overtime shifts, and the Mother of Five was going to be attending one of #4 of 5’s out of town softball games.    

Since I had about an hour or so to spare (which is pretty unusual) I emailed my parents and asked them if they were going to be home that evening.  I mentioned that it had been a while since I had been over to see them and wanted to just stop by and shoot the breeze for a bit.  They replied that they were going to be home.

So, I stopped by. 

There was no plan, no agenda, and no script.
I simply enjoyed a cold beer, a cigar, and the company of my parents on their deck.
It was delightful! 
Best leisure hour I have had in a while!  

Thanks mom and dad!

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What Will the Future Hold?

I’m not a big “resolution maker”.

Despite this little factoid, for the past few years I have attempted to make a small personal resolution to spend a little bit of time and attempt to blog at least once a month. Looking over the statistics from past three years I do believe a shifty enough high price attorney could almost argue that I have kept my “resolution”.

The truth of the matter is I “used to” enjoy blogging. Well, perhaps that statement came out the wrong way – I think I still like blogging, but if I am to be completely honest - I’m not sure if I still do because it is a struggle to find the time to blog more than half a dozen times a year.

I often ask myself why I struggle at this if I enjoy it so much. I can come up with several reasons. One of the reasons that keeps reoccurring has to do with the theme of the blog. “Life as a father of five”. Let’s just look at the five for a moment here. #1 of 5 is 28 years old. TWENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD!! (When and how did that happen??) #2 of 5 is 21 years old, and #3 of 5 is 20 years old. These three have crossed over the threshold, and is (in at least one case) well into their “adult” years. (Yes, the word “adult” is in quotation marks. I’ll leave that sitting there, and let you decipher the symbolism and implication behind that all on your own! Bwa ha ha ha!!)    #4 of 5 and #5 of 5 are still “dependents” (at least for the purposes of tax preparation), being 16 and 12 years old, respectively. Over the ten(+) years of “life as a father of five”, there is so very little that has not already been addressed, or that either I, the Mother of Five, or one of the miscellaneous five kids do not want publicly discussed. Coming up with new content, or content that I find motivational is challenging.

I’m not sure what this all means. I miss blogging as a creative outlet. Goodness knows, when it comes to the “creativity” genes – my very talented, artistic, and musical gifted sister was the lucky recipient. Still, I crave a creative outlet. I probably should not give up on blogging. I have enjoyed it, and often times found it quite therapeutic. I have made numerous friends. There is a bunch of family history here (much of which puts a smile upon my face).

Currently, there is no means to forecast what the future holds for me either. My life as a father (of five), and Father of Five (the “dot com”) are both still a work in progress. There will (undoubtedly) be more stories to share, more thoughts to expound, and more updates to share as “The Father of Five” – but given the parameters I have painted myself into, I find the ease at which I have been able to “create” is becoming ever more elusive.

I will continue upon my “resolution quest” to keep breathing bits of life into the Father of Five. Updates will (in all likelihood) be sporadic, but hopefully enough to keep me interested (aka “once a month”?). In the meantime I will also be contemplating a “secondary” (or, maybe it would be better to consider it “primary”) blog… Something less about fatherhood and my family (specifically) and, broaden my horizons a little. Something that I can “identify” with (much like the “FOF” persona has been for me over the past 10 years) - and (as a bonus) something that I could incorporate with FOF.

I’m in no rush though… I have (at least) a year to think about it again before I have to worry about pondering new year resolutions all over again.

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