What’s it like to be a parent? (a.k.a. The Great Christmas Tree Shenanigans of 2019) 🎄


If you want to know what it’s like to be a parent, let me give you some insight.

Tonight we were putting up the Christmas tree. It is old & the top 3rd didn’t all completely light up last year. I did sort of attempt to fix the problem to no avail. Again this year with a replacement bulb to no avail.

Because the kids were excited, we continued to decorate. About 95% done, I remarked aloud (my mistake?) that we should get a new tree. So, everyone got out of their PJ’s into regular clothes and we ended up going to Home Depot. Excitement was off the charts.

At Home Depot, there were a bunch of great trees for all kinds of price ranges. All four of us finally settled on a tree that we liked. (It’s really cool… pre-lit, and can be all white or different colors!)

Looking for the tree on the shelf, of course they didn’t have one. Neither did any of the other local stores. We bought the floor model for a slight discount but the caveat was that there was no box.

The kids managed to bounce around the store with Christmas Spirit like Will Ferrell in Elf while sort of processing that this was the only tree if we wanted that tree.

Us purchasing the tree from the floor was apparently the most exciting thing we have ever done and we (well, half of us) danced to the checkout with 3 shopping carts in tow… the useless race car one because we can never not get it, and two regular orange carts, one with 2/3 of a tree and one with the remaining 1/3 & stand.

I had wanted to get a rubbermaid tote for it, but the ants in our pants had grown great in their numbers and were humming the chorus to “Ode to Joy.” We checked out and came home with the plan that we could continue the tree decoration process tomorrow.

So of course, once in the house, we promptly assembled & started to decorate the new tree while un-decorating the old tree. Oh the excitement was uncontainable!

Being that garbage collection was pushed back a day due to Thanksgiving, I wanted to put the old tree on the curb.

I told the kids to say goodbye to the old tree and Ian looked like I just told him we were going to skin and eat Butterscotch (our cat) after roasting her over an open flame. Once the crocodile tear rolled down his cheek, it set Molly into big sister sympathy tears mode.

We had talked before about getting a second tree for the dining room because it looks nice in that window from outside.

Guess who is going to try harder to fix that Christmas tree because he is a sucker for recently overjoyed and now crying children?

I’m glad they’re sensitive and sentimental, but wow.

Nostalgia…


So, I upped a bunch of old songs to SoundCloud.  Some aren’t bad.  Some are terrible.  (There’s some AiXeLsyD, some Gasoline Dion, & even some Ernie and the Berts for good measure.)  Feel free to enjoy and/or ignore.

AiXeLsyDI have had many many fun times writing songs & jamming with all of these cats over the years. We have recorded some good stuff, met interesting people, and played some absolutely wild parties & shows.  It’s awesome to have played at parks, in basements, on small stages, in garages, in countless dive bars, on big stages, in back yards, a sports bar, band battles, in cool rock bars, an Elks lodge, a dorm room, American Legions, skate parks, VFW’s, theaters, Fire Halls, and even live on the radio.  (Places I haven’t played yet… on a boat, under-water, on a moving flatbed, outside of the U.S., on TV – Ernie, can you get on booking that?)  Some people even dug our stuff.

Gasoline DionI’m glad to be able to continue to rock out with some old faces & some new faces.  I enjoy that I’m still playing shows, going to shows, rocking out with talented dudes, & continually meeting & being influenced by local musicians & those that are just passing through.  We get together to rock out & have a great time doing so …all while trying to be as goofy as possible.  I’m glad I fell into punk rock as there’s a sense of humor about it all.

Ernie and the BertsI enjoy the exchange of knowledge, whether it’s music trivia geekery, guitars & amps & how they work & how to play them, or just general rock n’ roll legends.  I enjoy being obsessed with goofy guitars yet able to appreciate a nice normal axe.  I enjoy making fun of bands that are doing absolutely terrible things, taking too long to set up, playing too long, or have terrible names.  I enjoy being the target of the same kinds of jeers.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day coming soon, I’d like to toast my fellow musicians whether I’ve been in a band with you, shared a stage with you, or just been to one of your shows and told you how much it rocked.

☘  Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking! ☘

If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.

Please, share with me some memories of the crazy paces you’ve played, the fun (or terrible) times you’ve had with your bands… whether you were in one with me or not.  Share some of the music too!

¿ɹoɟ ןnɟʞuɐɥʇ noʎ ǝɹɐ ʇɐɥʍ ‘os


Cover of "Cloak & Dagger"

Cover of Cloak & Dagger

OK, the last post was serious.  This one can be goofy …ridiculous even.  Help me out in the comments.

  • I’m thankful for my Dewey Decibel FlipOut because it hurts people’s heads.
  • I’m thankful that I can tell my wife to get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, and she laughs & knows I’m not sexist.  It’s even better when I do something like this in the grocery store in front of elderly people.
  • I’m thankful that I don’t live any closer to the ocean.
  • I’m thankful that people read this blog, and pretend to find it entertaining.
  • I’m thankful that I’ve never purchased a Clarks album.
  • I’m thankful that I’m old enough to be like “back in my day” to you younglings.
  • I’m thankful that Al Gore invented the internet.
  • I’m thankful that I got to see Guns N’ Roses live before they imploded, and the Ramones before they quit & died.
  • I’m glad that I can remember the cold war.  Russians were much more fun than terrorists.  Cloak & Dagger or The Experts anyone?
  • I’m thankful that posting photos of food on Facebook is a ridiculously friend polarizing action.
  • I’m thankful that Boston Market is funny.
  • I’m thankful that I’m not these people or McDonald’s.
  • I’m thankful for kitten calendars.
  • I’m thankful that I’m not the person who bags giblets at the turkey factory, then shoves them in the turkey’s nether-regions.  (My apologies to those who are that person.)
  • I’m thankful for your eventual comments.

Turner Dairy products at Giant Eagle stores?


Turner'sGiant Eagle

I’m sure you remember my last post about Turner’s with the pretty picture.  I decided to ask Giant Eagle why all of their stores don’t carry Turner’s products…

From: Eric Carroll [mailto:me@my.email.address]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 1:46 PM
Subject: Turner’s Dairy | Charie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk

Hello Friends at the Big Bird,

I’m writing to you today to request that all of your Giant Eagle and Market District Stores carry products from Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.  I know that some locations do already carry Turner’s products, because I’ve written to them trying to track down some of Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk… and they clued me in to the Giant Eagle in Brentwood.  I know that the Giant Eagle in Murrysville also carries Turner’s Iced Tea.

I’d love it if the Cochran Road, Bridgeville, and Parkway Center locations had Turner’s buttermilk, chip dip, and tea varieties readily available.  I’d add them to my order virtually every time we shop there… much like I do now with the tea when I find myself in Rite Aid on Banksville Road.

I also find it hard to believe that with the myriad of products and name brands available at the new Market District in Robinson… Turner’s is nowhere to be found!  Have you tried the chip dip?  It’s incredible.  It puts the Kraft and B L brands to shame.

You’ll find in the attached photo all of the Turner’s bounty that my wife & I picked up this weekend while just passing by the Brentwood Giant Eagle.  I can assure you, these products would be on every grocery order if available at the Giant Eagle locations where we typically do most of our shopping.  Not only these products, but the raspberry & lime tea… and just about everything that Turner’s offers!  (Sorry, I don’t do diet drinks.)

Thank you for taking the time to read my email, and I hope that you give Turner’s products serious consideration for inclusion in your fine establishments.

Sincerely,
-Eric
me@my.email.address

And, they responded…

From: “Frey, Brian” Brian.Frey@gianteagle.com
To: “me@my.email.address” me@my.email.address
Sent: Tue, February 2, 2010 10:39:21 AM
Subject: RE: Turner’s Dairy | Charie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk

Eric,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding Turner Dairy Farms and some of the items that you obviously like as detailed below.

I can understand your frustration related to these items that you feel passionately about not being readily available and convenient to purchase.  However, I must honestly inform you that we don’t have any upcoming plans to carry additional Turner Dairy Farms items at any of our corporately owned Giant Eagle and Market District locations.

We get contacted by customers on a daily/weekly basis requesting us to carry a variety of items from local dairies, and we just cannot support all of these local dairy item requests in our limited dairy cooler space in our stores.  To manage the limited space we have in stores, we try to partner with dairies and vendors that can provide us item programs that accommodate the needs of the majority of our customers.  If we were to carry a representative sample of all the local dairy items that we get contacted about, we would have to eliminate a large portion of our current item mix that a significantly larger customer base demands us to carry and also asks us daily/weekly to expand upon but we cannot as a result of the same limited space challenge.

Sorry I could not give you better news here.  There are a lot of items that I am personally fond of that I have decided to not carry as well due to our limited space and need to satisfy the largest amount of our customers.  In the meantime, some of our independently owned and operated stores such as Brentwood are allowed to carry the Turners Dairy Farms items as you note below.  We allow those owners to have some flexibility in their item mix, and some stores have elected to carry Turners items based on customer demand or geographic proximity to the dairy.

Sincerely,
Brian Frey

Category Buyer
Giant Eagle, Inc.
101 Kappa Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
412.963.2592
Fax: 412.968.1706
E-mail: brian.frey@gianteagle.com

D’oh!  Well, it doesn’t hurt to try, does it?  Apparently Giant Eagle has no intentions of widely carrying Turner’s products, but at least they’re honest about it.  It’s just annoying that I can’t do all of my grocery shopping in one store (or even at one chain), especially with the vicious circle of fuelperks and foodperks and whatever other kind of perks they come up with next.

Interestingly enough, I just sent an email to all those with whom I’ve shared communication with in the past at Giant Eagle, but the “To” address was cut out of the original inline reply… so I have no idea which one actually got through.

I’m assuming they’d have to have an onslaught of messages in order to even consider carrying the Turner’s products.  If you’re so inclined, you can…

Not that many of you are that adamant about the Turner’s brand… but if you are, or you know someone who is… please feel free to direct them here.

Turner’s | Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk


Turner’s is awesome… whether you’re talking about the Iced Tea, the Tea-Bird, the Buttermilk, all the other products, or the customer service.  I just thought I’d share while again trying out the post-via-email feature on WordPress.  Apologies, you’ll have to read from the bottom up for it to make sense…


From: Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@TurnerDairy.net>
To: Eric Carroll <me@my.email.address>
Sent: Mon, February 1, 2010 11:38:57 AM
Subject: RE: Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk?

Eric-

Thank you for the email and picture!  Looks like a nice variety of products.  I am glad to know that your trip to Brentwood GE was a success this past weekend and I hope that it continues to provide you with a viable option for procuring our higher standard products (and especially our Charlie’s Buttermilk).  If you enjoy baking, try the Charlie’s Buttermilk in everything from waffles to mashed potatoes to biscuits.  Thank you also for passing along your comments to Giant Eagle corporate.

We truly value your dedicated support of our products.  Have a great week!

Nicholas Yon

Marketing Director

Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.

From Local Farms to Local Families!

Nicholas@turnerdairy.net

412-372-2211


From: Eric Carroll [mailto:me@my.email.address]
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 10:39 AM
To: Nicholas Yon
Subject: Re: Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk?

Hello Nicholas,

I just wanted to thank you for telling me about the Giant Eagle in Brentwood .  We stopped a few weeks ago when in the area to no avail… the milk shelves were quite bare… must have been re-stocking time.  This past Saturday evening though, we hit the mother-load.  I grabbed two little jugs of Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk and (as you can see in the attached photo) a bunch of other Turner’s products!

The Buttermilk is awesome… it’s just like the stuff we used to pick up when I was really little at an old local dairy farm that is long since gone (Sinan’s in Murrysville/Export PA).

I intend to pass the photo along to several local Giant Eagles to urge them to also carry your products.  They’re obviously great sellers, and all the stuff in the photo could regularly be their sale if they’d only have the stuff in stock!

Have a good week!
-Eric

.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI


From: Nicholas Yon <Nicholas@TurnerDairy.net>
To: Eric Carroll <me@my.email.address>
Sent: Mon, December 28, 2009 10:27:44 AM
Subject: RE: Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk?

Eric-

Thank you for the email, kind words, and years of dedication.  The Turner family, our employees, and our local family dairy farms truly appreciate your patronage of our products all these years.  Plus iced tea stickers on a guitar case is “uber-cool.”

Listed below is the closest location to you that currently carries our Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk with real butter flakes.  This is an independent Giant Eagle location, thus they are able to offer Turner’s higher standard dairy products.

I’ve also attached a “product request” form that can be filled out and turned into the store manager or sent to any local Giant Eagle or Kuhn’s.  I would also encourage you to email the company directly via their website.

We currently produce three varieties of buttermilk:

– Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk – a whole buttermilk with real butter flakes

– Light Buttermilk – a 1% light buttermilk

– Baking Buttermilk – light buttermilk formulated for baking

Thank you again for the email and question.  Have a great New Year!

Giant Eagle (they carry the plastic quart size)

Brentwood Towne Center

600 Towne Square Way

Pittsburgh, PA   15227

Nicholas Yon

Marketing Director

Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.

From Local Farms to Local Families!


From: Eric Carroll [mailto:me@my.email.address]
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 1:03 AM
To: customer service
Subject: Charlie’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk?

Hello Friends,

I’m a huge fan of Turner’s iced tea… I even wrote a letter years ago that warranted a free T-shirt and a few little jug labels.  I grew up in Murrysville PA not far form a little mom n’ pop store called Thomas’ that sold your milks, teas, and other products & got me hoooked.  I still have the Tea labels on my guitar case, and my wife cringes when I wear my bright orange and slightly tattered Tea-shirt.

Now I live in Pittsburgh, and I go out of my way to get Turner’s, as they don’t sell it at the Giant Eagle where we do our grocery shopping, or at the Kuhn’s that’s right by our house.  We have to go to Rite Aid to get the tea, and we usually pick up Turner’s dip & some chips while we’re there.

I know of a small number of other places around that carry the tea…  I think the BP station, and a beer distributor here are loyal Turner’s sellers… but I hear you have a new product that I’d love to get my hands on…  Buttermilk with the flecks?  I can’t find this type of buttermilk anywhere… I’ve been looking for it for … well, it has to be over a year now.  I heard a dairy up north makes it… but I haven’t been able to find any in local stores.

My mom told me that she had discovered it at Wal-Mart in Delmont, and belives that the aforementioned Thomas’ sells it… but I rarely find myself out that way these days… especially not to do any grocery shopping.

Are you able to tell me which (if any) stores in my area have been carrying this new flecked buttermilk?  I’m currently in Dormont… zip code 15216.

Also wondering… do you have any sort of form letter that I could send to Giant Eagle and/or Kuhn’s to request that they carry your tea in addition to or instead of some of the other local flavorless tea brands?

Thank you for your time, can’t wait to hear from you!

Thirsty!
-Eric

P.S. – What’s the difference between the baking buttermilk & the other varieties?

Fan Mail?


From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination
Date: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM
Subject: Re: W(aL)D [Fan Mail?]
To: Tommy Horner tommyboy489

Dear Mr. Horner (a.k.a. The Moon),

I have it on good authority that you are indeed made of green cheese… and that you are most definitely not the moon. I will reserve any comments on your equatorial radius and lack of testicles. While I am indeed old, science progresses at a rate where age may be rendered irrelevant in the near future… thus ensuring more time for me to complete my total World (and Lunar) Domination.

If you keep up this behavior, you will most certainly not be allowed on the moon.

Although, I’m guessing from my blog stats that you have been one of the people exploring my old W(aL)D files. Too bad the beginnings were wiped out in one of the great PittsburghBeat.com crashes. For this studious devotion, your feeble attempts at threatening me will be forgiven. Perhaps one day, you can work up to a position of merit in the W(aL)D army.

Perhaps I need to ramp up the efforts to my World (and Lunar) Domination campaign? Maybe I will need to enlist some generals once again to help in the effort.

I also appreciate your taking the time to write to me, and encourage you to comment on the blogs that you find amusing. There’s no need to login. Just pop in our name, email address, and a URL if so inclined. Use Gravatar or a WordPress account if you want your photo to show up.

Your future Emperor of the Earth (and Moon),
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
W(aL)D

On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM, Tommy Horner tommyboy489 wrote:

The Moon
238,855 Miles away, and rising in the East
Earth, Milky Way Galaxy 27743

Dear Mr. AiXeLsyD,

I, For one, am highly offended by your eventual plans to dominate both myself, and the Earth. First of all, may I remind you that my Equatorial radius alone is 1,738.14 km. Roughly 0.273 Earths. Dominating me is out of the question, for I am bigger than you and wars on the Moon are settled by spirited rounds of Roshambo, South Park style (The Moon receives comcast cable). I have no balls, therefore defeating me is virtually impossible. I also often refer to myself in the third person, which makes the Moon awesome by default. In Conclusion, give up your silly dreams. You are too old for a human, and in your attempt I shall crush you!

Sincerely,

The Moon (Ya Dig?!?)