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Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Wife Doesn't Make Mistakes Like That ...

"MY WIFE DOESN'T MAKE MISTAKES LIKE THAT," said my Husband, "You must have her mixed up with someone else." This was my loving husband talking to our realtor in Maine of over a decade, Kathy. "Um, I don't know how to tell you this any more clearly, Anthony, but your wife definitely made a mistake," said Kathy. "She didn't book the beach house for the week of August 17 - 24th, she booked it for August 24th - 31st. Do you want me to email you a copy of the Lease?" Only after looking at the hard, cold document did my husband realize that yes, Mrs. Lo made a mistake. I have been telling everyone and planning to leave today, August 17th, for our Beach House rental in Kennebunkport, Maine. I always do book the second to last week in August. But when I spoke to the realtor way back in January, someone else had booked that week, so I took the last week in August. Somehow I didn't change it in the Calendar. Had my husband not called to see if the owners had set up Wifi yet, we would have gotten up this morning and driven 5 - 6 hours up to Kennebunkport, only to find some other family in the house. While it would have made for great cocktail conversation, we actually have plenty to talk about at cocktail parties, and I am really happy we didn't make that particular trek. The point of this week's Blog is that my husband is just so used to me running the household, the business, and Rowing Club, and our vacations, like Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Butterfly. No mistakes, the itinerary all set, the kayaks pre-rented, restaurant reservations at Disney 180 days ahead of time. One year, I even ordered our entire groceries for the week online and had them waiting for us in Maine. I love that Anthony was so confident in my planning abilities, that he actually thought the realtor couldn't read the Lease. What can I say, Mrs. Lo had a big BRAIN FART! Whoooopsy!! Thank goodness, our guardian angel guided my husband's hand to the phone to call the Realtor and we didn't drive up to a grand disappointment. In true LoBiondo fashion, Anthony and I decided to make Lemonade out of them lemons. We will squeeze all our appointments into the next three days, and we are getting a hotel in the next town over Thursday and Friday of this week, thereby extending our vacation by a few days. Instead of getting to our beach house mid to late afternoon on Saturday, we can get in there early, and get settled in. Renting a house, for those for do that sort of thing, is a fair amount of work, we cook and grill all week, and pretend we live there, we don't really hit the restaurants much. The house is not fancy, but it is across the street from the Beach. It is one mile from the Village of Kennebunkport, where all the book shops, restaurants, cafes, candy shops, and boutiques are located. We either walk or bike in, we don't use the car once we get there. And we also spend the week swimming, boogie boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing. Of course, I indulge my passion for photography as well. It's a magical week, the one we really look forward to all year long. Although we have to wait a little longer, we will also have a longer vacation. So is my husband's confidence in my planning abilities shaken? Not at all, he views it as a happy coincidence, finally allowing us to take the 10-day Maine vacation we have always dreamed of. Have a great rest of the weekend everyone, and remember to count your Blessings -- including Blessings in disguise! Mrs. Lo (photo of the view out of our front door in Maine -- cross this street and you're on the Beach)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Do What you Love, and You Will Never Work a Day in Your Life

DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND YOU WILL NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE, is what my Grandmother always said. Finally, Mrs. Lo is taking her own grandmother's advice. My first job out of law school was as a Mediator in Small Claims 

Court in the Bronx, 24 years ago. I have always done mediation but now I have made it the primary focus of my practice. It has been a rip-roaring success and I couldn't be happier. Basically, I sit in the conference room with two parties seeking to resolve their matter peacefully, without spending a lot of money and going through the unhappiness of Family Court and Supreme Court. The problem with divorce mediation is that non-lawyers tend to have a so-so success rate because well, they're not lawyers. More than a few divorce lawyers turn away from it because, well, you make a lot less money than you do going to court. However, what does that say? That the proces is much more economical. It's not for everybody, but it's for a lot more people than you would think. I'm in a position in life where I can do what I love, not what makes the most money, and that's a great place to be. My husband and I are even going to Buffalo the weekend of September 7 for the NYS Divorce Mediators Council Conference and I'm actually looking forward to it. I will still handle the uncontested and the contested divorce and family law cases but handling a few is preferable to doing that full-time. So now I jump out of bed Monday mornings, and Fridays are still fabulous but I'm actually not counting down to them anymore, because my workweek is pretty fabulous too. Remember to count your blessings, everyone, I know how lucky I am to be able to do what I love and I hope and pray the same for all of my readers  Mrs. Lo

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mrs. Lo's First Football Injury

MRS. LO's FIRST FOOTBALL INJURY - For two years, Big Coach has been saying, "I broke every finger in both hands, so many times, if you want your kid to be a surgeon, you better forget about football." Football is not a Sport for Life, he always said, but Rowing is. As is Swimming. That is true. What is not true: Mrs. Lo did not actually get injured. Christian may have broken a finger, he may not, he may have just jammed it and it's swollen. He's getting checked out right now. But remember, this is MRS. LO'S Saturday Morning Blog, so this is about my experience with a possible injury to a child who has never been injured despite playing sport for 10 years. This is about my initiation into this new sport he has chosen. I should add, this is club football, and he hasn't even had a scrimmage yet, just a lot of practices. We called Bourne last night, who is studying to be an Athletic Trainer, and he said to ice and buddy tape it. Then I told him what Big Coach said about breaking all his fingers. "Yeah, that happens, Mrs. Lo, I broke every finger in my hand too." Then I remembered what his Bourne's Dad said, about his son having played through the States game with a dislocated thumb. I worked out with my personal trainer, David Diggle, at Planet Fitness this morning. Diggle was a Defensive End for VC, then UConn. Can you believe the coincidence, I asked him! Both Big Coach and Bourne broke all of their fingers! Diggle just looked at me. "Yeah, Mrs. Lo, I broke all my fingers, most of my toes and ripped the ligaments in this finger, it still doesn't bend all the way. It's kind of part of the game." Part of the game? Maybe an unfortunate, unintended consequence to playing the game but you don't mean it's an integral part of the game. "Oh yeah, I do mean that," said Diggle. I also had a feeling, they were all holding back on telling me everything. Like when you hear someone's trying to start a family and the last thing you want to do is tell them what childbirth is REALLY like, because there's an unwritten "code" about that kind of thing. Bourne and Diggle both said, broken, not broken, you suit up, and whether you practice or not depends on the situation. "It's not like he's getting ready for States," they both said. But you don't understand my son. Every crew meet, he's getting ready for States. Every crew practice, he wants to win the races they set up. Every football practice, he wants to be the first up the Hill. I am on my way to take Michael to swim lessons, to tune up his butterfly so he can be ready for the Swim Team. A sport for Life, Big Coach would say. And I am waiting to hear about Christian's finger. Broken or not broken, he just wants to get back out there. Whether he sticks with this sport, goes back to crew, or takes up Handball, Anthony and I will be here to support him. I'm learning about this sport every day. And I'm willing to put my most precious resources, my boys, into the two most dangerous sports, football and Crew. Michael is now a full fledged member of the Newburgh Rowing Club, and Christian will be back for Spring Season. In a sense, it goes against the grain of what it means to be a mother, the desire to protect and cocoon your child. But as my dear friend, who is now a College Football Mom said, "Julie, let them train him up to play the right way. Otherwise, he will go out to the park and play without pads, with kids who know what they're doing, and that's how he will really get hurt." So, actually, football is a Sport for Life in the sense that there will always be that pickup game, that backyard touch football game, and that Thanksgiving Day game when he has kids of his own. God Bless all the Football Moms and Grandmoms, I have a new and enduring respect for you all! Have a great day everyone and remember to Count Your Blessings -- TWICE!  Mrs. Lo (No. 56 Bourne and Christian doing drills)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Great Divide: Raising Daughters v. Raising Sons

THE GREAT DIVIDE: BEIBER FEVER AND FOOTBALL SEASON - this week Mrs. Lo's dear friend, who has all daughters, no sons, popped into LoBiondoFork with what was clearly exciting news. "Guess what??" she said, shaking a piece of paper at me. No clue. "You won something?" I asked. "Even better! The girls and I are going to be Buh-Leebers!!!" I stared at her blankly and immediately began to employ the skills I read about for people who suffer from face blindness. I began to try to "read" as much as I could from her tone of voice. Enthusiasm. Now, the trick was for me to muster some semblance of enthusiasm. "Oh my gosh, that's great! Just remind me again, what is a Buh-Leeber?" Now she looked at me blankly. "Julie, I got tickets online for me and the girls to go to see JUSTIN BEIEBER live in concert, we're going to have BEIBER FEVER." Stick a fork in my eye, is what I wanted to say. "That is sooooo great," is what I actually said. "I didn't realize he was still popular." I could hear the epic fail buzzer going off in her head. She looked at my computer screen, "What are you doing, crew stuff?" she asked. Actually, I told her, I am reading the football rules for Christian's football league, his season just started. Another blank stare. Oh wait, I said, I have to kick this up a notch. He did pretty good at football camp and might even play Tight End, I said. "Is that good?" said my friend. And there it was. The Great Divide. Never to be crossed, always to be walked around. She lived in Girl World and I lived in Boy World and that was the end of that. No amount of face blindness skills could change that fact. Of course, being the really good friends that we have been for over a decade, we talked and laughed about it, and moved on to talk about our shared common interests, interior decorating and Shopping (yes, "Shopping" with a capital S denotes clothes, shoes and makeup, whereas the lower case "s" denotes dreaded chores like groceries and cleaning supplies.) I don't envy my friend at all. I view her in heroic terms, I see her as taking one for the team. I really would rather stick a fork in my eye than go to a Justin Beiber concert, or almost anyplace with screaming teens. But wait, aren't they all screaming at a crew meet or a football game. Well, yes, but that's different. Listen, I said there's a lot of pressure on boys nowadays NOT to play football. No parent easily signs their kid up for a sport where getting hurt is part of the game, it's just a matter of how badly and how quickly he heals. But having grown up in Boy World, thanks to Uncle Michael, and lived in it now for 13 years, I understand one thing my dear friend does not: Football for boys is in their DNA. Those who have a burning desire to play cannot and will not be stopped. My kid is tall for his age but he is puny by Newburgh football standards. He is fast but there will always be faster kids. He will get hurt if he plays this sport. I do not like it, but I accept it. But as another of my dear friends, the ultimate football mom, whose son is going off to play football for a D-1 School on a full scholarship soon, said to me last night. "Julie, if a boy wants to play football, there's no stopping him. A dream is a dream. And you know, a kid can get hurt anywhere. You could stop him from playing and he could get hurt in the bathroom." Wise words. We could stop him, we paid for him, he needs our signatures and he needs us to drive him. But he would resent us and would resent his missed chance for the rest of his life. And that we couldn't live with. I tried to explain all of this to my dear friend with all daughters, as we were sitting in my home office having coffee. She really was horrified at the whole injury thing. She looked at me squarely and said, "So I guess the whole Justin Beiber concert thing isn't looking so bad after all now," and we both had a good laugh. Divide Conquered. Oh, and how will this affect the Newburgh Rowing Club? Christian will be back when the football season is over. And Little Michael fell in love with rowing during Newburgh Rowing Summer Camp. Hence, I just signed him up as the newest member of the Newburgh Rowing Club! Remember to not only count your blessings, but follow your dreams, and let your kids follow their dreams too, where possible. Have a great Saturday, everyone! Mrs. Lo (photo of No. 56 Nick Bourne, Man of Steel, giving Christian a few tips on the football field).