…just 15 Minutes: “Play Ball!” Style

Finally, a couple of back-to-back warm and rain-free days allowed me and the boys to get out and throw the baseball around. Now we’ve gone out a few times already this year, but now it’s finally beginning to feel like baseball season.

For nearly 10 years, I played in the typical softball league and then I even decided to see if I still “had it” and play hardball. It was good to face real pitching and play with guys who took the game seriously (too seriously sometimes). Then I broke my hand and was forced to spend the next six months in a cast and a sling. I could not play with my kids the entire summer besides running and I officially retired like Barry Sanders. My wife doubted my retirement like Juanita Jordan, but I’m yet to step on the field again. Why, because I now have my own team to play with. A team that needs me more than any other. Not being able to be a Five-Tool Dad (run, throw, catch, hit, and teach), was too much for me and something I never want to experience again.

I am so impressed with the progress my six and twelve-year old sons have made. The elder has played baseball for six years, but the sport seems to be taking on more meaning for him, especially as he reads through a biography on Willie Mays. Recently, he drew me a picture of us playing ball together and labeled the ball park as the Polo Grounds. Now, there aren’t many kids today who even know who Willie Mays is, let alone what the Polo Grounds represent!

My six-year old, aka Big Homie, is showing the quick hands of an infielder and can throw with a little sizzle as well. This is a 180-degree turn from the boy that was scared of the ball just a year ago and threw like Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. 

That’s one of the greatest parts of being a CornerstoneDad. Being there and assisting our children doing things that let us know they are “growing up”. Sure, mom keeps the teeth, hair from the first cut, and remembers the first step. But dad remembers that first game, keeps that first glove and that first model car.

Right now, I really don’t need “the fellas” to play ball with or other people to do something I enjoy. I can do it with my own boys (and my girls as I was out cruising with my 5 year old daughter the night before) as they can now throw hard and play hard. They are even able to heckle me when I make an error out in the field. Wow, these boys are learning fast. Dad does tend to crank-up his sweet-o-meter quite a bit when the ball comes his way, so the criticism is well deserved I guess.

I’ve also learned that I don’t have to spend all day outside playing with the kids, but if I can continue with starting with just 15 minutes of playing catch, throwing the ball around, or even giving occasional instruction if necessary, the payoff is immediate and appreciated. Just remember CornerstoneDad, 15 minutes is where you start. (See: https://cornerstonedad.com/2010/11/21/just-15-minutes/)

Whenever we leave the park, my 12 year old is always quick to say, “Thank you for taking us dad.” I often respond, “Thank you for going.”

Little does he know, I am the one who is far more appreciative as I have a more finite idea of time than he does.  Sons, I thank you, and will do all I can to remain on the field of play as long as I can with you.

How about you CornerstoneDad? What is the spring activity you remember learning/playing with your dad? Are you still able to play with them today?  What do you enjoy playing with your children this time of year? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Tips On How to Wash Your Car for CornerstoneDads and CornerstoneKids

The weather in my area finally hit a temperature where a person would feel guilty if they were not outside doing something. Many people take this time to actually clean and wash their car as they are good about getting the dirt and salt off during the winter, but a car may run around quite dirty during spring as after all, “Why wash the car since it’s going to rain anyway?”

Now for my family, the kids know the deal. When I go to the coin car wash, wax the van (hey, the minivan needs love too!), or even clay bar the van, they jump out and ask if they can help. Those little hands help indeed, as it often cuts my time in half and when they have done it often enough, they get pretty good at their assigned responsibilities. “Big Homie, knock out the wheels…Boney, get around the edges of the door…”. Ahhh…it’s good to have eager labor.

The boys in my family continue the tradition started by my father: you always need to drive a clean car. We will even wash a rental car. Not because we are trying to make it look like our own, but because we do not want to be seen in a dirty ride! This is yet another lesson that I’m passing on to my children. It teaches them good stewardship of the things they have in their possession, even if they have to give it back to someone else.

I must say, the ultimate is when we wash and clean the car, and jump in to cruise on a Friday or Saturday night. Oh, that’s quality family-time right there!

This article posted by Consumer Reports offers some tips on how to take care of that investment (or two) that’s sitting in your driveway.

Do’s and don’ts of washing your car

FAQs on the do-it-yourself car wash

For many vehicle owners, the weekend act of washing a car by hand is a therapeutic act as beneficial for the person’s state of mind as to the vehicle’s appearance. That’s good, because frequent washing is also the best way to maintain a new-car finish. But as simple as washing your car may seem, there are some things to watch for so that you don’t accidentally scratch or degrade the finish. Here are some basic car-washing tips.

When should I wash the car?

Don’t… wait for a layer of crud to accumulate before washing. Dead bugs, bird droppings, and chemicals from the atmosphere all leach acids that can strip away wax and eventually eat into your car’s paint. If left too long, they can cause damage that requires sanding and repainting the area to correct.

Do… wash off dead bugs, bird droppings, and tree-sap mist as soon as possible. Other than this, a weekly car wash will keep the finish in its best shape. In addition, if you live in an area that suffers from acid rain, rinse your vehicle off after a period of rainy weather. Otherwise, acidic chemicals in the rainwater will be left on the surface after the droplets have evaporated, leaving a mark that can permanently mar the paint.

What kind of products should I use?

Don’t… use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and may strip off the protective wax.

Do… use a dedicated car-wash product, which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint. Apply the suds with a large, soft natural sponge or a lamb’s-wool mitt. See our car wax report for tips and advice on all types of waxes.

Grease, rubber, and road-tar deposits picked up from the road often accumulate around the wheel wells and along the lower edge of the body. These can be stubborn to remove and may require a stronger product, such as a bug-and-tar remover. Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth to remove these deposits, as they can quickly blacken your sponge.

Use a separate sponge to clean the wheels and tires, which may be coated with sand, brake dust, and other debris that could mar the car’s finish. Mild soap and water may work here; if not, a dedicated wheel cleaner may be required. Be sure the cleaner is compatible with the type of finish (paint, clear-coat, chrome, etc.) used on the wheels. A strong formula intended for mag wheels, for instance, can damage the clear coat that’s used on the wheels that come on today’s cars. To be on the safe side, choose a cleaner that’s labeled as safe for use on all wheels.

Are there any general guidelines I should follow when washing a car?

Don’t… wash your car when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked in direct sunlight for awhile. Heat speeds the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.

Don’t move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other body panels. And don’t continue using a sponge that’s dropped on the ground without thoroughly rinsing it out. The sponge can pick up dirt particles that can scratch the paint.

Do… rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching. Once you begin, concentrate on one section at a time, washing and rinsing each area completely before moving on to the next one. This ensures that you have plenty of time to rinse before the soap dries. Start at the top, and then work your way around the car.

Work the car-wash solution into a lather with plenty of suds that provide lots of lubrication on the paint surface. And rinse the sponge often. Using a separate bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water.

When rinsing, use a hose without a nozzle and let the water flow over the car from top to bottom. This creates a sheeting action that helps minimize pooling of water.

How should I dry the car when I’m done?

Don’t… let the car air dry, and don’t expect a drive around the block to do an effective job. Either will leave watermarks, which in areas with hard water are the minerals left after evaporation. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.

Do… use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels. If you choose towels, you may need several. It’s best to blot the water up instead of dragging the towel or chamois over the paint. The drying process can be speeded up by using a soft squeegee to remove most of the water on the body, but be sure the rubber is pliable and that it doesn’t pick up bits of dirt that can cause scratches.

Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2005/dos-and-donts-of-washing-your-car-1205/overview/index.htm

 

Video of how to wash your car:

Source: Youtube

D-Wade, Who Did You Call A Hero?

Today I just so happened to catch a story on Dwyane Wade on ESPN’s E60 program. It seemed like a feel-good story about how Wade’s mother, who was addicted to drugs much of Wade’s life, has now made a recovery and re-established her relationship with her son. ESPN reported that Wade grew up in Chicago, protected and reared by his older sister, while his mother used and sold drugs from the family dwelling. After doing various stints in prison, Wade’s mom later got off drugs, became a minister, and was even called a “hero” by her son Dwyane.

Usually in stories like this, I often ask, “Now where was the father?” Sadly, it’s more of a rhetorical question, as I often know the answer. However, in this case, dad was around according to ESPN and Wade. “D-Wade’s” dad was interviewed in the story and had wanted his son to live with him early on as he knew of the things going on in his “baby-mama’s” household. Wade Sr. and Jolinda had divorced when Wade Jr. was a boy. As the boy was becoming a man, Wade Sr.’s son came to live with him with the agreement of his mother Jolinda.

Now, all I know about the life of these three people is what they and ESPN shared in this short piece. But I was left asking, “Should’ve his dad been his hero? Why was the story not about his father, who was now remarried with a family of his own, and how he brought his son home and raised him into a man despite the things he saw his mother do in front of his very eyes?” It seems that the only time the word “hero” should have been used in this story would have been to refer to his dad, not his mother.

This is to not take away from the progress that his mother Jolinda has made in her life. But all too often, even when men do the “right thing”, it really is “no thing” to our society. I dare say, that if D-Wade’s father would have been a drug addict until his college career, the outcome of this story would have been very different. We’ve all heard it before…the “that man was nothing but a sperm donor who didn’t step-up to the plate” or “he didn’t make me the man I am today, my mother was both the mom and dad in my house”. At last report, Shaquille O’Neal’s father was the one addicted to drugs and prison when he was a child, and the two still do not have a relationship to this day.

 

So until I hear otherwise, I want to give a shout of honor to Dwyane Wade Sr., because somebody needs to give him some credit. Not because his son went on to dribble a basketball well and make shots with the sweet-o-meter cranked to high. But because he stepped in to raise a son who would later be a father, a father that would later fight for his own two children in a bitter divorce custody dispute. (See: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/news/story?id=6212517&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines)

Sometimes fathers can teach you much more than how to play sports, but how to be a CornerstoneDad. Sometimes they teach you how to fight for your kids, instead of how to just fight in the street.

Here’s to hoping to hear more about Dwyane Wade Sr. from Dwyane Wade Jr. and the rest of the media.

Perhaps the story below should have been called, The Good Dad: