A BIG Move – Georgia on My Mind

Wed, 29 August 2012

I have come to another crossroads in life. After what has been a beautiful summer in Western New York spending time with family and friends, my wife and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make; the decision to move. On September 4, 2012 I begin a new job with a different company, in a place far, far away from home. McDonough Georgia, about 40 minutes south of Atlanta is the headquarters of Bennett International Group, a privately held trucking and international logistics provider. There, I will work as the Managing Director of Marketing, helping to continue the story of one of the most successful businesses in the Atlanta area. (more…)

Posted in: Atlanta, Home, Life, Rochester | 2 Comments »
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Daddy Does Home Alone

Wed, 18 January 2012

I’m getting a taste of the single life. For the longest time, Tricia has been the devoted wife while I take many a trip to Chicago or other cities on various business excursions. I have also been known to take my share of guys trips. So, I thought it was only right to encourage my lovely bride to take some time to herself for the first time in almost forever. She left for Florida bright and early Sunday morning. She’s hanging out with one of her close friends and clients, leaving me home alone to pretend what it’s like to be a single parent until Thursday night.

Let me just say, that I have a new appreciation for a great many things. Here are my top 10.

10. My Wife, the Maid. It’s not that I don’t clean up things around the house, I really do. It’s just that when you work with a partner on household stuff, it doesn’t seem nearly as repetitive. You don’t have to pick up the same exact kid mess 3 times. She usually picks it up twice and I’ll get it once.

9. Groceries. You know what? They don’t magically appear. Somebody around here actually goes to the store and buys them. Huh.

8. My Wife, the Bill Payer. These things just keep appearing in the mail. Not that I thought money magically disappeared from my account. Or, did it? hmmm…

7. Executive Chef and Meal Planner. This actually should be my #1. The fact that I married someone who has something on the table every night to delight me, is an absolute treasure. I will forever listen and participate when she says “What should we have for dinner?”. That is one of the more stressful questions, I now realize. Granted she has so much more practice than me that the answer comes more quickly. Still…what a pain!

6.  Chief Bottle Washer. Those darn dishes don’t clean themselves, despite the farcical idea of the “dishwasher”. Shame on whoever invented this “magic device that cleans your dishes”. You rinse every dish anyways – saving them in a special place for days. Then you have a massive pile to unload and put away.

5. Chief Laundry Officer Ditto. Except that my jokes about how I don’t know how to use the washing machine will probably never fly. I’m very good about putting my laundry away. I didn’t realize how much disipline there is in actually getting it to that point.

4. Taxi Driver. The kids and me have to be or want to be in 10 different places per day. Hello car, I really never knew where all your gas went. NOW, I know.

3. Spare Time. There is so very little of it for things like, oh I dunno…blogging, or working out or being a Cubmaster. Clearly running a house with 2 people is far more efficient if anyone has ambition to accomplish anything outside of keeping the home in one piece.

2. Work And… The fact that someone would run a household and have a job, and still have a smile is nothing less than remarkable.  I’ll be just fine, and I’m betting I could last a few weeks. I also know that running the house takes practice, and I’d find ways to be more efficient.  Still, though that kind of multi-tasking is not to be underestimated.

1. My Best Friend. It’s just strange. When you are so used to sharing the hustle and bustle, and talking about it at the end of the day, things can seem very quiet. I have the oddest thoughts. I think about the things that Tricia takes care of, as I go about taking care of them for a week. I think about what it would be like if she weren’t here. Yes, morbid. Of course I would adapt. People do it all the time. But, our life together is soooo much better as two. So much more efficient, so much more interesting. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Let me say, this experience is absolutely awesome. My kids were looking forward to the change in parenting from Tricia being the primary homemaker to me. I’ve done some things differently (like allowing them to do hot tub snow angels as an example), but I do find myself saying the same things that I often think my wife harps on too much. It’s as if all of the practice she has in her role has led her down a certain path. I could see myself there too. I’ve learned a lot this week. I could totally do this. You know what? I don’t really want to. I’ll be happy when she’s home, and I’ll have a different perspective on how great she is at her jobs.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Life, Travel | 1 Comment »
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My Eulogy for Wendy Vosper (Rzepkowski)

Mon, 17 October 2011

It’s been a few days now since I’ve returned from South Carolina to remember my Aunt Wendy who died of breast cancer on October 9, 2011 at the age of 46. When I went to her wake, my Dad asked if I would say a few words at her funeral because he simply could not speak about his sister through the grief. I considered it for a moment, then said “Of course”…knowing not at all what I would say at 1pm the next day. I woke up groggy from an emotional night. My wife and kids left me alone in the hotel long enough to scribble my thoughts. I broke down more than once trying to encapsulate my feelings in such a short period of time. Luckily I had a couple of blog posts to work from, and the obvious cajoling from Aunt Wendy’s spirit to guide me through. At the last minute before having to join the funeral procession, we printed the eulogy in the hotel business center. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 7 Comments »
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R.I.P. Aunt Wendy: I Miss You

Tue, 11 October 2011

On Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 3am, Wendy Sue Vosper lost her battle with Breast Cancer. Since the moment I found out about her situation almost 4 years ago I wished this would never come to pass. Her whole family did the little things to keep her spirits up, and we all awaited her every update on her condition on Carepages.com. In the end, the cancer spread to every place it didn’t belong, and put out the flame on a beautiful person. She was an inspiration long before cancer. (more…)

Posted in: Deaths, Faith, Family and Friends, Life | 5 Comments »
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Hurry Up iPhone5, My Patience Has Ended

Tue, 04 October 2011

Listen up Apple. I’m eagerly awaiting your announcement today of the next iPhone that I WILL buy. BUT…I’m putting you on notice. If you ever, EVER, make me resort to a tethered extra battery again to keep my next iPhone functioning for a year, I will quit you and go to Android. Plain and simple. It was bad enough when your iOS update caused my perfectly functioning iPhone 3G to suddenly become slower to render than running AOL via dial-up circa 1996. Then, you had the audacity to ask for $100 for me to replace my 3G with another one just to get a functioning battery while you release 2 better phones to the market. This boy isn’t going to put a drop into an old phone when you go obsoleting it every 6 months. So, I went the alternative route. I bought a Philips backup battery to limp the phone along until the iPhone5. You know, the phone that you always update in June. Except this year, you decided to wait until October. That’s a full 4 more months of aggravation as I tore through more charger cables than I care to admit with my phone and my “phone-pon” (my friends thought it always looked like I had a tampon coming out of my pocket) wearing holes in my pocket.

Kris's Apple iPhone 3G with tethered extra battery

So the glorious launch day has arrived, Apple. All I have to say to you is that this thing better have a decent battery in it (preferably replaceable), and you better think twice before forcing some shiny new iOS onto it before the end of my 2 year contract. Thanks for your time.

Posted in: Computers/Video, Life, Sucks | 4 Comments »
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Scoop It, Dump It, Pick Out the Goodies

Fri, 18 February 2011

Our February Pack meeting was our first “Skit Night” during my tenure as Cubmaster of Pack 107. So many of our scouts LOVE to perform skits at campfires, and Scout camps. I also know that the scouts love to see the scout leaders get goofy and do a skit of their own. So, I rallied my leaders together to learn and perform the ‘If I Were not a Scout Leader’ song. Some of my leaders are shy and others outspoken, but when it all came together, we all had a blast embarrasing ourselves. Parents reported mass outbreaks of kids singing “Give Bessie Give, Daddy’s Gotta live!” after the meeting.

Have a look…

Posted in: Kids, Life, Rochester, Sports and Hobbies | No Comments »
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Valentines 2011 : Daddy-Daughter Date

Thu, 17 February 2011

Sunday, Anna and I went on our annual Daddy-Daughter date for Valentine’s Day. She looks forward to the event all year long. Looking back on it, so do I. There’s not many times during the year when she and I are able to hang out by ourselves. Usually it’s Mason and me.

To begin with, Anna prepared all week by drawing a map of our activities. The elaborate plot was ‘just like last year’ with an addition. We found that the new Kohl’s in Victor has all kind of girlie clothes so that HAD to be our first stop. Indicated on the map are $ signs where I’m supposed to spend money. We would drive to Kohl’s then go to Eastview mall where we would walk to Build-a-Bear, Claire’s, Justice, dine at Friendly’s, then end our time shopping at Anthropologie, where I usually read her love poetry from one of the cool books they have there.

Valentine's Day map of activities
Anna’s detailed activity map

The morning of our date, Anna needed to make sure that I was properly outfitted for the event. She loves to see her dad wear pink. She claims that it’s my favorite color. She found the only pink shirt and sweater I have in my closet (things that my wife had bought for me to ‘prove I could wear pink’ and still be a man). The finishing touch though, was my first ‘pedi’. Anna was tired of seeing my toenails that have been blackened from a couple of bad skiing landings. So, she got out the purple and pink nail polish and voila!

Anna gives daddy his first pedicure
Anna gives daddy his first pedicure

Our dates are all about shopping, because that is something I just won’t do most of the rest of the year. It’s also a great excuse for Anna to get some new fashion. There’s nothing she likes more than fashion. Our date started off great. We spent almost 2 hours in Kohl’s trying on everything in sight.

Trying on clothes
Trying on fashion at Kohl’s. This was NOT one of the 10 dresses that she also tried on

It’s fun to watch what she gravitates towards. Dresses…sparkly dressy dresses. Yet, after all of that effort, we didn’t buy a thing!

To the mall we went. My highlight of our dates is going to Claire’s. That is the place where dad’s should never go. If you do, it is a requirement that you attempt to embarrass your daughter. Anna is already onto my antics, and she plays right along…
Anna and Daddy at Claire's
Anna and Daddy at Claire’s being very…intellectual

Our time was winding down before we had to rush off to a TYKEs show. We had time for our annual Friendly’s lunch. I tried to warn Anna that Friendly’s had moved out of where it used to be, and was now Friendly’s Express. This made Anna very upset. When she calmed down I finally got to the bottom of her angst. She wanted to be able to sit down for our meal and have me draw a picture of her on a napkin – just like last year. Because Friendly’s is now in the food court, she thought we wouldn’t be able to do that. Luckily, the new Friendly’s is AWESOME! It is a different concept. You order your food at a counter, take a number and go sit at a table where the staff will bring your good old favorites right to your table. The best part is that they still give you crayons, and you can still draw pictures of your daughter while you wait.

Anna Rzepkowski Friendlys Sketch 2011
Anna through the eyes of her dad. Friendly’s Express Eastview Mall 2011

After our Friendly’s it was a mad dash back to Claire’s to buy some make-up that ‘mommy probably wouldn’t me to buy’. Hey, you’re with Dad, cha-ching… We left the mall for our show, but when we got to the show. I had a daughter in tears. She had somehow dropped the fuzzy scarf I bought her on Valentine’s Day last year in the mall parking lot. “It was so special to me”, she said in a ball of despair. After the show we just had to go back to the mall to find it. And back we went. I drove there knowing that I would likely have to buy a replacement scarf to make this day right again. I drove to where we had parked before, and lo and behold there it was! A good samaritan had draped Anna’s scarf over a car at the end of the row. Thank God for great people. Anna was thrilled.

Anna was also thrilled that the line at Build-a-Bear was not wrapping out the door of the place. She picked out a fuzzy pink bear. We rubbed the hearts, and brought ‘Nina’ to life. There’s nothing like Build-a-Bear to make a little girl happy.

Anna at Build-a-Bear
Anna and Daddy putting some love into “Nina”

Our Daddy-Daughter date was filled with shopping and drama. We went to Anthropology for poetry, and TJ Maxx for a pretty skirt and a dress (much cheaper there ya know…) We had a great time together. It might take me til next year to recover. I had better start drawing my map now :-)

Posted in: Holidays, Kids, Life | 3 Comments »
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A Powerpoint for Father’s Day

Mon, 21 June 2010

For Father’s Day this year, Mason surprised me with a Powerpoint presentation that he made all by himself. Apparently he sat at our home computer and hand-crafted this masterpiece with skills he learned in his second grade computer lab. It was very cool on so many levels. I like that not all the time he spends in front of the computer is spent learning how to find Bakugan online. I also like that he’s clearly got an interest in marketing if he willfully made a Powerpoint deck on his own time. Another lesson learned…If I ever hear anyone say that they don’t know how to use Powerpoint, I now have living proof that even a second grader can do it.

Enjoy the presentation below. He also animated many of the screens which would only show in the Powerpoint file.

Posted in: Holidays, Kids, Life | 1 Comment »
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A Campering We Go

Wed, 09 June 2010

In November 2009 we bought a 2006 Forest River Shamrock 21RS from Camping World. Although it is only June 9th, we’ve been pretending it’s Summer since mid April by using our new-to-us camper. So far this year, we’ve been to Fair Haven State Park,  Cedar Point State Park, and a quick little weekender to Webster Park Family Campground. Up to this point, we are having fun and still learning how to do this nutty sport. It’s nutty for the fact that you pay a lot of money to buy a rolling hotel room, where after you use it you have to make the bed and…get this…empty the toilet.  You have no choice once you buy an RV to become an “enthusiast” – meaning you really have to get into the details of how to set up your truck, and “mod” your camper so that it is comfortable, safe, and easy to operate.

It is so worth it though. Our kids absolutely LOVE going camping. They get to hang out with their friends and enjoy freedom that they don’t have any place else. While they are off wearing themselves out at the playground, or riding circles around the campground on their bikes, the adults get to sit down and talk, drink, nap…whatever. I guess you could say that we get to enjoy freedoms that we don’t have any place else too. Plus when all that sweet alone time is over, you get the joy of going to some really enjoyable places as a family, hanging out at the campfire and “blowing the stink off” as we like to say. I’m really looking forward to more campering in 2010.

buying-camper
The day we bought our Shamrock 21RS from Camping World

cedar-point-camper
All setup at Cedar Point State Park. We tow our camper with a 2001 Dodge Durango

kris-meditation1
Enjoying a zen moment with Tricia and Anna

Posted in: Camping, Life | No Comments »
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How to Make Ketchup – Lefty’s Way

Thu, 24 September 2009

The first weekend of September after Labor Day is a perfect time to make ketchup. That’s when my grandpa used to make it too. The tomatoes are ripe and the Farmer’s Markets have them cheap. So, it was the last time I made this recipe back in 1998, the year I got married. Tricia and I went to Dunkirk, NY to help grandpa make his ketchup, and to get those ‘damn pears’ off the tree in the backyard. I took copious notes that day on how to make ketchup Lefty’s Way. It’s a good thing I did because his short-hand recipe didn’t capture all of the details.

Grandpa passed away last year, 10 years after I made my last batch with him. I rescued his ketchup-making equipment from his basement then, and it sat idle until last weekend. The following is a video of our first ketchup odyssey on our own. Enjoy…

Posted in: Family and Friends, Leisure Time, Life | No Comments »
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This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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