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 »

Thousand Islands Mini-Vacation

Wed, 30 July 2008

For our 10th anniversary weekend we headed off to Chippewa Bay in the 1000 Islands for a couple days of fun with our friends Marc and Janet and their kids, Mia and Lucas. On Sunday morning we hooked up our boat and left the house at 9:45. We took a really nice drive east on 104 through all of the eastern Lake Ontario fishing towns like Sodus, Pulaski, Oswego, and Mexico. We arrived at around 12:30pm at the public boat launch. There, we left our boat trailer locked up and drove the boat over to the cabin which was less than half a mile away.

Jesse’s Island
The cabin is at the end of a steep road to the water’s edge. On the land where we stayed was the owner’s cabin, and a guest cabin that the 8 of us stayed in. The cabin is on Jesse’s Island, which I would suppose is one of the 1,793 islands that make up the area.

Mia and Anna on Jesse’s Island
Mia and Anna on Jesse’s Island

Here Fishy Fishy
The 2 boats at the dock
I brought the Fish Fry, but the best “yacht” in the place was the pontoon boat
We took the boat out fishing while Marc’s family went on the 24 foot pontoon boat they had rented. We spent a good amount of time out on the water drift fishing with worms. We got tons of small perch. As we peered over to the fishin’ barge we saw Janet hook a nice 3.3 pound walleye, and a small Northern Pike. We knew who we were fishing with the rest of the trip for sure. The pontoon boat worked out much better to get the whole crowd of us to have fishing fun together.

Anna pets a Northern Pike
Anna pets the nice Northern pike lovingly.

Island Hopping
Perhaps the best part of going to the 1000 Islands is island hopping. There was a nice state park right by where we fished every day, so it gave us a chance to explore. The island had a few tent sites and a beautiful picnic shelter. Someday, it might be fun to camp there.
Cedar Island State Park
We parked the boat on shore and poked around the island.

Mason and Anna Go Down the Tubes
On Monday afternoon the weather was kind of crummy and we had been fishing all morning. Rather than sit inside, I thought we could try a water activity. Heck, we were going to get wet anyway. I had purchased an inexpensive tube and tow rope from Dick’s to bring with us on the off chance that I might entice one of the kids to hop in the water and get dragged around by the boat. Sure enough, Anna was game for the adventure, but Mason wasn’t feeling well.

We took out the pontoon boat, hooked up the tube, and I hopped in for a trial run. Anna saw me getting dragged around having a good time, but was a little concerned when I flipped off the tube after doing some tricks. Nonetheless, she hopped into the tube giving me explicit instructions not to go fast or do tricks to flip us off. Well, I had Marc start off really slow. After a while we sped up a bit more, and Anna was having a blast! We talked the whole time together about how much fun we were having. Then I had Marc goose the throttle a bit more so we could get the tube on plane and get my legs out of the water. That’s when Anna had enough. She started to scream like she does on a kiddie coaster, “This is a nightmare!, This is a nightmare!”. I just thought that was priceless. So, we slowed down and congratulated Anna on her first tube ride. (The pictures are still on Marc’s camera). It was awesome!

Mia and Lucas both had their first turn on the tube as well (with Marc and Janet riding along). They both had a blast in their first experiences too. We went in after the first round of tubing to pick up Mason and Tricia. Luckily Mason was feeling better and he wanted to give tubing a whirl. Tricia was the first to take him out. She had the boat up to full speed, and had Mason outside of the wakes! He loved it. Then it was my turn to go out with the boy. I got even more aggressive with it at full speed, and he just never wanted to quit. Nothing beats the smiles that the whole crew had on their faces.

Mason and Tricia Tubing
Tricia takes Mason on his first tube ride

Kris and Mason tubing together
Kris and Mason go outside of the wakes

Tourist Fun
We also had a chance to check out a few spots in the tourist mecca of Alexandria Bay. My favorite, of course is the 1000 Islands Bait Store, the ultimate fishing shop. My kids really liked our scavenger hunt at Mazeland. Mazeland is a labyrinth of bushes that you try to find your way through. You go through it looking for letters that make up the word of the day. If you get the word of the day right, the kids get a prize, and the adults were entered into a drawing for one too. Mason enjoyed the life sized chess board in downtown Alex Bay. When we got back from the trip all he wanted to do was learn to play chess. That is one of his new favorite things.

Krolczyk family at Cedar Island
The Krolczyk clan in their favorite part of the world

Thanks to Marc, Janet and the kids for sharing their yearly family vacation with us. It was a lot of fun.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Fishing, Life, Travel | No Comments »

We Got High and Went Fishing

Wed, 02 July 2008

Last weekend we hopped in the car and made the trek to Watkins Glen for some “kamping” with friends at the Watkins Glen KOA. First, let me say that K is the best letter of the alphabet, so the fact that everything at KOA starts with K (a not so-clever use of metaplasmus) makes it even better. In fact we stayed in Kamping Kottages which is about as luxurious as camping gets. I highly recommend them.

Of the many amenities right there in the KOA is a Jumping Pillow. Unfortunately I went on with little Anna first and 3 jumps into the fun she landed wrong on the pillow and twisted her knee. She was hobbled the rest of the weekend after that one, so we learned a lesson there. Anyway, Tricia, me and all of the kids on the trip had a grand old time getting high. Check it out:

Tricia gets airborne on the Jumping Pillow
Tricia goes airborne on the Jumping Pillow

Kris Gets High on the Jumping Pillow
Kris gets high on the Jumping Pillow

Crayfish are a Hit
There was a big gully behind our cabins with a creek running through it. The boys always wanted to go down into the creek to find crayfish. So, after spending lots of time getting muddy and collecting some of the mini-lobsters, Marc got the bright idea to throw them into the fishing pond as bait. Lo and behold that was the ticket. So the secret is now out. KOA fishing pond + crayfish = big bass.

Lucas with Bass
Lucas Krolczyk puckering up to one of the big bass he and his dad, Marc caught

Not to be outdone, Anna and I hit the pond hard with the Barbie pole and some fresh night crawlers. We both practiced lots of patience and came up with a few nice sunfish for our efforts.
Anna and Daddy Fishing
Anna and Daddy wait patiently for a fish to bite.

Lots of Exercise
Tricia wrote about how much exercise she got on the trip, so we weren’t just lazing around, for sure. We had a wonderful time with all of our friends this weekend. Thanks for the memories!

Camping with friends at KOA
The Kamping Krew.
Back Row (From Left):Lucas Krolczyk, Kris Rzepkowski, Mason Rzepkowski, Anna Rzepkowski, Mike Gregoire, Bonnie Gregoire
Front Row (From Left):Janet Krolczyk, Mia Krolczyk, Tricia Rzepkowski, Marc Krolczyk, Oscar Gregoire

Posted in: Family and Friends, Life, Travel | No Comments »

10 New Things I Learned on Our Family Bahamas Vacation Part 3

Thu, 03 April 2008

There were a few other new things I learned in the Bahamas beside what I’ve covered in parts 1 and 2. I’ll start with the ultimate undersea experience.

6. Seriously Could U Bring enough Air (SCUBA)
Dad decided he would surprise Mike and me with early birthday presents. Available at the resort was a PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. This was an intro course where we watched a video and took some pool instruction before going on a real dive with an instructor. The first day we got the video program out of the way which, for me was like watching an in-flight airline safety video. I figure when I really need the information they’ll probably remind me how to put the mask around my head in the event of cabin depressurization, so let’s not sweat all of the details. We then went to get our gear and head to the pool.

Scuba involves a few things that are strange to the uninitiated. Perhaps the most perplexing to me were the BC (Boyancy Compensator) and the Regulator. The BC is a vest that holds the air tank to your back and inflates/deflates to ascend and descend in the water. The regulator is the set of tubes hooked to the tank that you breathe from, the back-up breather, and the air gauge that tells you how much air is left. Of course you must also fiddle with fins, a mask, a wet suit, a weight belt, and the all-important air tank to complete the ensemble. We got instructed on how to put it all together and then we hopped into the pool.

Scuba Dive Preparations
Kris, Mike and Dick get schooled on their Scuba gear

Once in the pool we had to learn all of the worst case scenarios first. What happens if your mask fills with water. How do you signal that you are out of air? What if your regulator falls out? How do you prevent your ears and lungs from imploding? You know…the truly enjoyable parts of Scuba that make you hop up and say “Hooray, I’m so glad that man figured out how to fake being a fish without evolving some gills.” We learned a few hand signals and it was time for my first taste of underwater breathing. What a rush!

We got going at 11:30am on day two by getting all of our gear and heading out to the excursion boat that would take us to the ocean reef. Our instructor told us we would be down for about 45 minutes. The air was cold that day with a 20 MPH wind whipping and some pretty good waves, but the water was warm. I was worried about remembering all that we had learned the day before and getting cold before our dive was over. Mike, on the other hand had his marriage to worry about. The cold weather made his fingers shrink and his wedding band loosened up. Rather than leave some booty at the the bottom of the ocean he decided to clip it to the boat. The good news was that if he encountered a mermaid she wouldn’t be scared away by the symbol of matrimony. hmmmm….

Mike’s wedding ring on the dive boat
Mike’s wedding ring stayed aboard the boat

Despite our jitters we managed a smile in anticipation of warm water and a great reef view.

Kris and Dad on the dive boat
Kris and Dad ready to dive

The next thing we learned was how to jump off of the boat and into the water. Once we had all taken the plunge it was time to head down. As each of us went down, we equalized our ears. Mike had a little trouble getting equalized, and Dad seemed to be floating off to China after letting go of the rope. I felt pretty good as I went down, but all I wanted to do was stick close by the instructor. When we finally got comfortable, one of the instructors snapped this shot of us.

Scuba underwater picture Kris, Dad, and Mike
Kris, Dad and Mike make their first ocean Scuba dive

The dive itself was spectacular. It didn’t take long for us to feel at ease in 10-15 feet of water. The reef was breath taking with all sorts of plant and marine life. I took a few shots with the disposable underwater camera, but it can’t do the experience justice.

Underwater reef

45 minutes went by in a heartbeat. When we got back on the boat we were all tired and happy. A few days later Dad and I were each battling a water-plugged ear which was a small price to pay for a great new experience.

7. Workouts in boat shoes are not advisable
Let’s get this out of the way first. Tricia did not pack my sneakers. There I said it. Therefore it is undeniable truth that it was her fault I had no suitable athletic footwear on vacation. So, after I let it be known how annoyed I was that I had no sneakers to work out in, I decided that I would pick from my remaining footwear to hit the gym. We were on vacation so technically I didn’t need to work out. However, my body was protesting my buffet addiction and was aching to burn off just a bit of it.

The choice I made was this lovely pair of loafers.
Boat Shoes

Even worse was the only socks I packed that would go above my ankle and protect my foot were black. I’m positive that I got dirty looks when I entered the gym because I looked like this guy I met on vacation a few years ago.

Lego Land Tourist
Kris with hid future self Legoland 2004

So I ran my usual 3 miles in the loafers and black socks on 3 separate occasions. I developed a large blister and a well deserved complex about what a Tool I looked like.

8. It does rain in the Bahamas
Here was the view from our airplane as we approached Freeport on March 22.

Bahamas Rain

In the month of March Freeport is supposed to get a total of 1.57″ of rain. We had that much rain in the first 4 hours of our stay. By the time Monday night rolled around we at least doubled that rainfall estimate. The best part was that it beat the 25 degrees and snow we had left behind in Rochester. The rain really didn’t damper our fun, and by Friday we had enjoyed 3 perfect Caribbean days of sun and beach fun.

9. Non-umbrella drinks are not welcome here
It is common knowledge that you don’t go to the islands to drink dirty martinis. For me, the new experience was the volume of variants to be had. Here’s some of what I sampled:

  • Sex on the Beach
  • Rum Runner
  • Bahama Mama
  • Poison Ivy
  • Green Monster
  • Pina Colada
  • Strawberry Daiquiri
  • and my personal favorite…Dirty Water

Even more fun was ordering all of the above “Virgin” for the kids. One of the highlights of the trip they recite to every adult who asks is “We had lots of cool drinks like Sex on the Beach”. D’Oh! Why can’t they remember ‘Bahama Mama’?

10. I figured out how to use my Canon camera’s stitch function.
It works reasonably well. The photo below was composited from 8 stitch pics on the beach in front of the hotel. I had to do some blending between the photos to make one continuous scene, but it is still pretty cool. Click and Enjoy.

Bahamas Panorama

There you have it. A synopsis of our Bahamas Family vacation through the lens of 10 new things that I learned. Thanks again to my parents for inviting us on the trip and to Lindsey, Mike and Lily for some great memories. I can’t wait til we come up with our next vacation. The tour guide within me is ready for another round.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Life, Travel | 3 Comments »

10 New Things I Learned on Our Family Bahamas Vacation Part 2

Wed, 02 April 2008

Yesterday I posted Part 1 of the 10 New Things I Learned On Our Family Bahamas Vacation where I talked about Trapezery and Biking X 2. So let’s continue the fun with what I learned about my kids.

3. Our Kids Love to Be on Stage (at least in theory)
I didn’t know what to expect heading into an all-inclusive resort with a Kids’ Club. I thought that I would feel guilty for even thinking of leaving them off with some stranger while we went to the beach. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The first day we took the kids to the Club they met Denise, the most fun 20-something from Mexico that anyone could meet. The kids immediately fell in love with her, and BEGGED to go to the Kids’ Club every day; especially the rainy ones. There was always something to do, and they met lots of other kids their age to hang out with. Every night before the live entertainment there was a mini disco where Mason and Anna got up on stage with Denise to dance silly songs. We thought it was great for Anna who has developed a little stage fright in anticipation of her dance recital later this year.

We had also reviewed the entertainment schedule at the beginning of the week to see what shows to attend. At the top of Mason and Anna’s list were Pirates of the Caribbean and Lion King. So, imagine our surprise when Mason came out of Kid’s Club one day saying that he was going to be Baby Simba. We thought for sure he was imagining a little too vividly. Sure enough by the day of the show, Mason had befriended Gustavo, the resident choreographer and had also volunteered Anna for a part too. This made Anna very excited as she had been jealous the previous days for all of Mason’s squawking about being the star of the show.

Needless to say we were thrilled for our kids to get this unexpected opportunity which made the trip for them. After a week now we are still creating mini-performances of the show in our basement, and the kids are glued to the Lion King DVD. Enjoy the show! Make sure you watch the last minute. They just crack me up.

Mason and Anna perform in the Lion King at Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach March 25, 2008

4. Teenage Girls are Born at 4 Years Old
Anyone who has parented a fiery little girl out there I’m sure already knows this to be true. I really don’t need to give this much more of an intro, other than to stop laughing long enough to click the play button again.

5. Snorkel First in the Pool
Hee Hee. I got a good Daddy lesson after I heard for so many days that Mason wanted to snorkel. Tricia went to Target before the trip and got each of the little ones a snorkel, mask and flippers. Mason couldn’t contain himself any longer when the sun finally came out. He had to snorkel. I’m not sure what came over me, as I thought that the swimming lessons at the Y had properly prepared the boy for deep sea snorkeling.

So, we had fun putting on all the equipment. Sticking a snorkel in his little mouth was a very unfamiliar experience for him. He learned to walk backward with the flippers and how to spit in his mask to keep it from fogging up (he loved that of course). Then I took him out into the shallow water and had him lay on my hands. Immediately he took a big gulp of saltwater that leaked into his snorkel and came up coughing. That was the end of that lesson, and I thought, snorkeling for the rest of his life. This picture gives a glimpse of the brief ocean adventure.

Mason’s first Ocean Snorkel Experience
Mason’s First Ocean Snorkel Experience

Afterward I got to thinking. There’s a 1.5′ deep kiddie pool with no salt water and a shallow bottom, why not go over there and learn? So I convinced Mason to give it a whirl one more time. I made sure that the snorkel was actually sealed to his mouth. and that the mask was tight enough not to leak around his face. Then I gave him the Ultimate Challenge. I threw a bottle opener on the bottom across the pool. I told him to go find the bottle opener. Sure enough, that got him to put his face in the watter and use his snorkel to breathe. The rest of the trip he couldn’t wait to keep playing snorkel in the kiddie pool. Maybe next time around we’ll try the ocean again.

I’m still headed toward 10 new things. In my next post I’ll tell you about my experience breathing underwater for the first time too. My dad and Mike and I learned to SCUBA. Plus other oddities that only happen on Rzepkowski vacations. In the meantime keep looking at the Bahamas pictures.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Life, Travel | No Comments »

10 New Things I Learned On Our Family Bahamas Vacation

Tue, 01 April 2008

I spent last week with my wife and kids, my parents, and my sister’s family in the Bahamas. We stayed at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach near Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. The trip had been in the works for over a year, with Mom and Dad choosing this all-inclusive resort for some good family R&R.

It took me over a day to unplug my brain from work, eased by all the food and drink I could handle. Once I vegged out just a bit it was time for activities. When my brain is free to explore other interests I learn lots of new things. So, here are 10 new things I learned while in the Bahamas

1. Trapeze Tricks
Yep. The flying circus act. Who knows why a resort decides to install a trapeze as an amenity? Perhaps it ranks right after the cucumber facial exfoliation wrinkle reducing treatments and before heated toilet paper. Whatever the case may be, we had a 30′ high apparatus not far from the back porch of our first-floor beach front rooms. We were fixated on watching the pros do it, and joked with Anna that she should try it. We checked the schedule which included kid sessions in the morning and adult sessions in the afternoon. Mike, inexplicably volunteered to take the challenge. I was perfectly happy to chicken out, but I’m just too competitive. So, after he came out alive I decided to do it. Dad is even more competitive than me, so he took to the sky to prevent any ‘skirt’ jokes. Even Mason gave it a try late in the week, because all of his camp buddies got into it.

This was one of those experiences that I was happy to have done once, and just as happy to never do again.

The ladies were glued all week to the high-flying theatrics. Ultimately, they could not let the other smiling guests have all the fun. So Tricia, Mom, Lindsey, and even little Anna built up enough courage to give it a shot. Tricia lived out her tom-boy, tree climbing, monkey swinging childhood. Mom conquered the very same event that her sister as an adult had promised to do at Circus World, but chickened out. Yeah Mom! You beat Aunt Darrell on that one :) Lindsey’s experience was similar to mine. We were never ones to do the monkey bars, no less swing upside down. Hers was a conquest probably not to be repeated. And Anna…well, she finally got to do what she was begging to do.

2. How to Ride a Tandem Bike
On Thursday, only our second fully sunny day of the trip, Dad came up with the idea to leave the resort property and bike to Port Lucaya where there was some souvenir shopping. When we went to the security desk to check out the bikes I joked with Tricia that we should take out the only tandem bike on the rack. I really wasn’t serious. She spoke right up though and said, “That sounds good”. So, she climbed on the back and we started off toward Port Lucaya with my Dad.

The bike took a lot of getting used to. The two sets of pedals are chained together, and of course her handle bars did no steering at all. When I wanted to slow down she kept pedaling. When she wanted to see something ahead, all she could see was the red t-shirt on my back. After a while though we developed a system. I said “Coast” every time I wanted her feet off the pedals and this let the bike glide. If we were stopped and needed to get started easily, she acted as the “rear engine” getting us underway. The teamwork made the whole experience really fun, and actually far less effort for both of us (just ask my dad). If we ever get a chance to tandem ride again, I’m sure we will.

Kris and Tricia on a double bike
Kris and Tricia on a double bike in Port Lucaya

I promise, there really are 8 other new things I learned. I’ll talk about them in my next post. In the meantime enjoy my pictures of the trip, or check out Tricia’s vacation recap.

Posted in: Family and Friends, Holidays, Leisure Time, Life, Marketing Strategy, Travel | 3 Comments »

Sanity Diego

Wed, 25 February 2004

We took a week-long vacation to San Diego for some much needed decompression after the stress of leaving my job. Here’s a few things we did:

-Got up at 3:45 AM and took a limo to that airport. (Tricia was very excited).
-Dealt with a Mason explosion of the worst kind on the plane to Phoenix. The rookie parents didn’t pack extra kid clothes in carry-on so the world’s best flight attendant rescued our bags from the plane’s cargo hold to get us some clothes.
-Stepped into 65 degree and sunny weather, rented our car and headed straight for the beach.
-Mason loved the ocean and the sand. So much so he HAD to roll around in it.
-Anna had her first bikini experience.

Legoland is an amazing amusement park with some of the most incredible lego sculptures and little kid rides.
-The San Diego Zoo is enormous with the highlights being a toss up between the Pandas and the Polar bears (yeah, in San Diego)
Sea World is equally amazing with its dolphins and whales.
-The trolley tour is a great way to get to all the touristy stuff in a hurry.
Gringos has some HUGE margaritas, and yummy food.

Check out our pictures.

Posted in: Life, Travel | No Comments »



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from kaboodle

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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