New Adventures For NCDads?

The End For NCDads and new beginnings.IMG_0673

After 5 years, we have decided that I am no longer NCDad.  Thank you all for your support.  It has been so much fun but our adventure in NC is over, we are headed back to Florida to be closer to family and on to more exciting things.  Now we will be part of the elite few that have a reason to visit Greenville, NC (G-Vegas).

Top 10 things we will miss about Greenville, NC

10.  Our house, we have a great house here in Greenville, very roomy inside and out. We have to greatly reduce to move to Florida but we should be doing that anyway.  We thought we had a great deal of things moving here 5 years ago.  Now we are seasoned parents and have more toys than we know what to do with when all the kids want is their iPad.  Spoiled brats!

9.  Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church and Pre-school. We are not Methodist but the pre-school and church has been so welcoming to us.  We’ve met many great people and my wife and kids have attended church services there.  In the pre-school all 3 kids had the same first year pre-school teacher who was amazing as were all the teachers and staff who have done a great job preparing my kids for school, life and Chuck E. Cheese.

8.  The Cheers effect. Anywhere you go in Greenville, you’re bound to run into someone you know.  That can be good and bad.  Now we’re heading back to the beach where we can blend in as a nameless, faceless, weird beach family.

7.  Visiting Florida as a tourist. I’ve learned so much from my Wisconsinite In-laws.  Not until I left Florida, did I come back to visit and rent a moped.  I enhanced that authentic tourist experience by getting pulled over on it for running a red light.  Good times.  Maybe I’ll continue to embrace these things I never did in 30 years of living there, by parasailing, or maybe driving slow in the left lane.

6.  Play Date. This was a gem that I have posted about in the past.  It is a drop-off child care center that has an amazing and caring staff.  The rates were reasonable and the kids love going there.

5.  Wasabi 88. This is a great sushi restaurant that is a must when visiting Greenville.  Like Greenville, when we get to Florida, there are sushi restaurants every 5 feet, but I can imagine, it will take us a little while to find a suitable replacement as Wasabi 88 was better than any sushi we had in Florida.

4.  School. AJ’s Elementary School here in Winterville, NC is a newer school and through Kindergarten and  First Grade, our expectations of an Elementary School in the struggling NC Public school system, were surpassed.

3.  Traffic. Everyone in town likes to complain about traffic, but there are really only 3 major roads here.  The problem is that all are so afraid to be pulled over, that here in Greenville when it comes to speed limit signs, 40 is the new 20.  Fortunately everything in Greenville is only 10 minutes away.

2.  Weather. Right now, there’s a heat advisory, at a high of 96’ today I cannot take the kids outside to play.  However, we will miss the Fall and Winter here as we are cold weather people but we’re heading to year round heat anyway!  Can’t wait to get back to blasting the A/C on New Year’s Day again! Hmm.

1.  Friends. Once I moved here, I really hadn’t thought of how important this was.  While my wife and I were new parents, adjusting to a new job, new life; new role for me, we had made a great network of friends here.  We are so thankful for that and despite the distance; we have made friends for life.

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Traveling has been such a big part of our lives the past 5 years and it’s wonderfully exhausting.

Here’s an example of travelling with AJ:  while taking him into go potty at a gas station somewhere between NC and FL, I walk him in and a rather large over-tattooed, sketchy looking trucker held the door for us.  AJ and I go in and I say thank you to the man.  AJ turns around and yells to him “Say you’re welcome!”

Travelling with Andy:  I recall returning from a trip and taking AJ to school.  Andy was home with me and I took him grocery shopping.  Andy was maybe two years old and was so exhausted from our trip to Florida.  He was not totally verbal yet and kept gesturing to my hand.  Having not known what he was doing, he finally grabbed my hand as he sat in the grocery cart.  He then laid his head in my hand and fell asleep.  Awesome.  I miss that Andy sometimes.  When he was a baby, he was so quiet;  I really feel for those people who leave their kids in hot cars as I feel I’m an attentive father but that some days that could easily have happened because he was such a quiet baby.  Scary stuff.

Travelling with Jamie:  This is a fairly recent story and is by far my favorite.  Jamie’s seat next to him in the minivan is normally vacant.  This is during a trip to Marbles Museum in Raleigh, NC.  We went with some friends that have a little boy Sam, 7 years old, an only child.  Sam is not used to the rowdiness, noise, rambunctiousness, comradery and annoyingness that go along with brotherhood.  If he is, it is only because he is now used to my kids. So during this hour and a half trip, Sam was sitting quietly watching whatever movie was playing.  Every time Jamie would speak, it would be in the average 3-year old manner.  He would yell, point out whatever caught his eye and project that at Sam.  Once Jamie realized he was getting on Sam’s nerves, he kept at it.  Jamie was in heaven.  Sam was not.  What Sam didn’t realize was that Jamie was so happy to just have someone sitting next to him.  Jamie began to talk about breakfast.  Sam replies that he ate breakfast and wanted Jamie to stop so he could watch the movie.  In classic baby brother fashion, Jamie exclaims in the most demonic voice I’ve heard “You can never eat breakfast!”  Sam is now livid, wants to prove him wrong and discusses with his father who says, Sam, “he’s 3, and we know you’ve eaten breakfast today.”  Jamie says again, “You never eat breakfast!!”  Sam’s Dad again says “he’s 3 and not making sense.”  We are laughing hysterically when we hear Jamie’s response…. “YOU CAN NEVER MAKE SENSE!!!!”

 

Writing this blog has been so much fun.  I felt pressure to produce but only from myself.  I certainly didn’t have readers begging for more.  I started out writing a few times a week and the first few years went pretty well.  I found that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to read and research.  That served me well until I was reading so many blogs, that I realized there were many more motivated writers out there.  They had motivations such as money, fame, employment.  I always touted my blog as an avenue to share stories and pictures with family and friends out-of-state.  Now it serves as an online chronicle of our 5 year journey in North Carolina.

Early on in my writing, I was having a tough time adjusting to my new role; my new life.  I recall writing about people who influenced my posts.  I remember adding full names of friends that were important to me.  I stand by that, I love those people.  The following day I noticed I had more hits than usual which was kind of exciting, something like 200+ views (that was a high number for me).  It turns out, because I had these full names in my post, the hits were from googling these names.  They were potential employers, friends, stalkers maybe?  That post was a good example of when I would get down on myself for what I wrote.

Another instance was 2 years ago writing a top 10 list on how things have changed since my 20 year high school reunion.  I was unable to attend due to the distance, but I was excited to read Facebook updates and hear of people who I definitely hadn’t seen in 20 years. Through Facebook, I was able to reconnect with some former classmates, and I am thankful for that.  So what I did was I met a friend at a bar and sat at said bar and wrote my post, from my phone.  I got friends’ and the bartender’s take on what was written and in an altered state, I posted and shared.  Now I haven’t gone back to read it since, but I know that with something so important to me, I probably should have had my editor-in-chief review it first, my wife.  I don’t think it was that bad, I just felt that from a bar stool on my phone, may not have been the best place to write and I think that what I wrote was more from my current point of view at said bar than how I should have been reflecting on high school days and friends.  That point of view being a dingy bar, non-HD TV showing local news above a PBR, Natural Light and Bud Light taps above a cooler that had a crack in the glass.

I have had many successful posts, by my own judgment of course.  One that I was most proud of I have read recently, it was right after Jamie (my youngest) was born.  It was our scary experience of having Jamie born and put in the NICU.  That was a scary time but the blog was a much-needed distraction, it allowed me to chronicle our experience.  I recall my sister telling me that soon enough, this will all be a distant memory.  While it was hard to see little Jamie in that glass box, she was right.  Now he’s a completely happy and healthy 3-year old and a great addition that completed our family.

So, this is my last post.  Our family is moving back to Florida to be closer to family.  While it’s a nightmare to move, it’s also hard to say goodbye to friends.  Fortunately, we’re moving to a great place to visit.

I wouldn’t call my blog a success only because there are hundreds of thousands of blogs that are researched, written, visited and shared daily and I cannot remember when my last post was.  It has however been a great deal of fun and I found that I do still enjoy writing but don’t like my self-imposed deadlines.

Thank you so much to all who have read this today and in the past.  I am so grateful to my wife Kerry, my editor-in-chief, for encouraging me to start it and for keeping me from posting (most of my) stupid ideas.  Thanks to my Sister-in-Law Heather for tech support and to my friend Garett in North Carolina as my graphic designer.  Thanks also to my 3 sons for giving me endless material.

This has been so much fun and a great experience to be an NCDad.  I would continue as FLDad but as the kids age, so do I.  Recently I turned 40 so I’m no longer the young man I once was.  Plus, FLDad may not be as interesting, if you google Florida Man, you may find much more riveting material.  I plan on living there, but do not plan on becoming “Florida Man.”

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