Tag Archives: Kumon

Dear Santa, I want an iPad for my 40th birthday

Dear Santa,

I know I haven’t written to you in eons, but please don’t hold that against me.

I would like a 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi and 3G in Black for my 40th birthday.

I recognize that you usually don’t do birthdays, unless they fall on Christmas, of course.

But I think you can make an exception.

With four kids, a sagging economy and bills to pay, gifting myself a shiny new gadget is not the most responsible thing I could be doing with my money.

That’s where you come in.

I want it.

For years, I’ve assumed that parents, not you, were the real jolly giants placing presents under the tree.

My belief in you was shattered one year when my Uncle hung a Santa suit (still on the hanger) from his collar, and proceeded to ‘Ho-ho-ho’ in the thickest Nigerian accent.

The disappointment of my siblings, cousins and I, was palpable.

But as I approach 40, I’ve come to see the error of my ways (discounting your very existence).

And, well…I’m desperate.

You see, I’ve been very good this year.

I’m on the front line with the 4 kids, and that includes the 9 week old. Think smelly diapers, vomit, sleep deprivation.

I coach my son’s soccer team. Organized confusion.

I take the kids to Kumon twice a week. Can you say: Chinese water-torture?

I had the procedure. This alone should justify you getting me one! Hello?

I could go on, but you’re Santa. You’ve got the whole ‘naughty and nice’ list.

One of my friends, Ewan who publishes the Mobile Industry Review, put a call out for someone in the States to buy him an iPad and ship it to him in the UK.

A day later Gif Gfroerer from i2SMS did just that. Gif was reimbursed – he’s not all generous like you.

The point is that Ewan made a wish, and the Universe granted it.

Santa, I don’t know if you’ve got skills like that, but my birthday isn’t until April 21st. So you’ve got time.

I’m counting on you. (Picture me doe-eyed, blinking, looking up at you.)


Stephen (who-hopes-you’re-real-but-knows-you’re-not-and-prays-that-someone-within-the-sound-of-this-blog-post-is-reading-moved-and-paid-enough-to-hook-a-bruh-up) Chukumba

PS If you need to talk to the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny to pool your funds, by all means do.


Filed under Smack talking

It’s Friday night and I should be partying like a rock star. But I’m blogging.

I got all dandified for my night out in NY last night.

But it’s 12:56 a.m. Saturday, and I’m sitting on this computer.

Something is not right here.

Let’s run it back, shall we?

I threw on my new Gap corduroy blazer I got on sale for $34.99, with a vest (fast becoming my signature) and Brooks Brothers silk chocolate tie, atop a white French cuff shirt. I completed my look with a pair of Levis and a pair of brown suede Kenneth Cole loafers.

Note: My brother strongly recommends Levis for their cut, comfort and timeless fashion. He was so enamored with them he gave me the very pair I’m wearing.

Stephen is stylin'! Ain't I!

Accessorized with silver cuff links from Harlem Thread, a distressed silver buckle black leather belt and my Movado, I was quite the dandy.

Tight. Aren't they.

I wore my hair up, to complete the look of a curiously handsome, and well dressed cosmopolitan man about town.

Ladies, simmer down now.

Plans were to liaise with friends on the lower East side, attend a Magazine launch in Chelsea, and link with some Hollywood types from LA to wind out the evening.

I put in QT with the kids, and felt I had earned my hall pass. That’s right! I said it! I EARNED my night out.

With a preggo in the house, I can’t just be stepping out, I’ve got to put in my time, to wit:

I got up at 7:00 am, got the kids dressed. Asha and Chima generally dress themselves, so I really only had to get Banana (that’s Duran) dressed. But I’ll take credit for all three. Someone had to tell them to get dressed. Hello?

7:00 – 7:20 made breakfast and packed lunches

7:20-7:35 fed breakfast and took out garbage

7:35-7:45 got dressed and retrieved Banana from having hair done

7:45-7:55 got kids in car

7:55-8:35 drop offs and D&D run for preggo’s daily decaf-caffeine fix

8:35-9:00 shower and shave, call William Sonoma in the Short Hills mall to confirm that Zoku is in stock (it’s not)

9:00-9:30 Google and call various WS within 25 mile radius to find Zoku-stocked store (locate one in Paramus)

9:30-9:50 drive preggo with shopping list (where’d she get a shopping list?) in tow to Garden State Mall (exit 161 Garden State Parkway) in which aforementioned WS in located

9:50-12:00 acquire Zoku, Coach 2010 planner refill, Hello Kitty pen, Green Tea Frappuccino, and filet-0-fish meal

12:00-12:20 return to Montclair

12:20-1:25 click click clack on my MacBook, make a few calls and Skype chat

1:25-1:35 retrieve kids from bus stop (half day, ordinarily they would have been home at 3:00)

1:35-2:20 set the kids up with snacks, Kumon and homework

2:20-2:35 pick up Banana from Montclair Pre-K and bring her home

2:35-3:15 review assignments and get kids ready for weekly Kumon lesson

3:15-3:30 pile kids in car from 5 minute ride to Kumon

3:30-4:35 Kumon with the kids (Banana and I sit in car. Me click click clack. Her making Jim Henson with her bunnies)

4:35-5:45 Detour to Wendy’s for impromptu surprise dinner (Kumon instructor’s report was full of praise)

5:45-6:15 Back home, switch kids into pjs, lay out sleeping bags laid in living-room-converted-to-indoor-campground and set plasma to On-Demand Hotel for Dogs.

6:15-6:55 order Chinese for preggo, dressed and wait…and wait…and wait (Me: Helllo. Where is my food? Them: Very busy. Coming. He be there soon)

6:55-7:10 feed preggo, check on kids

As I said, I EARNED my night out.

7:10-8:30 drive to NY (ordinarily takes 20 minutes)

When I finally broke on through to the other side of the Hudson, I had missed my first rendezvous. The friends on the Lower East Side? Also running late.

Make more phone calls in the lobby of their apartment building…and wait…and wait…

He arrives. It’s 9:12. We shoot the breeze. Jay Z and Frank Sinatra at MSG are in hi-def on a 42″ LCD on Fuse. Next thing I know, it’s 11:44. Concert was banging (Jay Z is quite the showman), but I’ve totally forgotten about the launch party.

I call my man, and of course, it goes straight to voicemail (because he’s in the function, you see, and probably can’t hear his phone). Did I say that the function went from 9:00-1:00? When he finally calls back, it’s 12:11.

The launch party is clearly not in my future, and I convince myself I’m not really trying to hang out. Gracefully bow out from the Hollywood types, and head back home.

Hit a little traffic on 280 coming back to Jersey, and here I sit.

It’s now 2:45. I’ve been writing and editing.

I’m having an ephipany.

Love the kids. Taking care of them is a pleasure. It’s still work, but fun work.

Probably accomplished more NOT liaising with folks tonight than if I had.

Answered emails. Sent texts. Made calls. Worked on site with my developer. Closed a deal. Scheduled a few meetings.

Got a lot done today.

I like working from home.

It’s 3:23. Just had to tell someone.


Filed under Uncategorized

Just Call Me Super Dad: Operation Silent Home(work)

Last week my wife took our three chidren down to Philly to hang out with her sister, and let our children play with their cousins. She left Monday and we agreed that she’d return on Wednesday (maybe Thursday).

Although I’ve often fantasized about what a quite home would be like, I never dared to think that my dream would actually come true.  Three whole days of utter peace and quite.  Even though I still had to go to work, and couldn’t fully bask in the glow of a quiet house, I was going to enjoy it nonetheless.

But there was a caveat. Isn’t there always?

The caveat came in the form of a list, and threatened to turn ‘Operation Silent Home’ into ‘Operation Silent Homework!’

Attached to the refrigerator, via magnetic souvenier lighthouse/thermometer, was the LIST, which I found when I arrived home from work Monday evening.

There were seven items on the list. Who does she think she’s kidding with this?

1.  Paint Chima’s room and re-arrange the kids rooms. After this, should there be more?  NO!

2.  Water the garden.  Take the hose from the garden and attach the sprinkler. Like I don’t know how to water a f*cking garden!!

3.  Contact Kumon and let them know the kids won’t be attending this week. Duh!

4.  Contact YMCA and let them know that the kids won’t be attending this week. Considering number 3, double duh!

5.  Pay Rolda. The check is on the fridge. I ain’t paying nobody nuthin’!

6.  Something I can remember. But I’m sure I completed.

7. Something else I can’t remember. But I’m sure I didn’t complete.

I decided to tackle what I figured would be the most time-consuming and challenging item on the agenda – painting and re-arranging the kid’s rooms.

You must understand that my wife has been talking about this for almost three years (since our second daughter arrived on the scene). It’s placement on the list made it abundantly clear that she fully expected me to make some progress, as payment for the one she was taking for the team.

The goal was to give my son his own room and have my two daughters share another. This involved switching my son out of the room he currently shared with his older sister, into the room currently occupied by our youngest daughter.

But I couldn’t start painting until I: moved the sleeper sofa out of the baby’s room; took down the shelves from the wall and plastered the holes; removed the girly wall lamp from the wall and plastered the holes; disassembled the crib and removed it from the room; removed the dresser/changing table; fixed the closet (the door of which never closed correctly); removed the carpet; and primed the room.

That was day one. I think I collapsed around 1:30 am.

On Tuesday I returned home like a man on a mission. Although Chanel said they might return Thursday, I knew that three days in a house with 10 kids (oh, her sister has 7) would test her last nerve, and it was more likely that my brood would be returning the day after. So there was no time to dilly dally.

I threw on a tam (to keep paint off the dreds) and dingy tank tee and some holey shorts and set to work. Wait…where are the rollers?  Where’s the pan?  Paint brushes? I my haste, I failed to assess whether t I had the requisite supplies for the task. Damn! Damn! Damn! Hope the hardware store is still open.

Fly around the corner – it’s closed. Damn! Damn! Damn! Wait! Maybe Brian (Saltzman – my neighbor down the block) has some stuff.  Sure enough, Brian came through in the clutch. He stared at me dreamily when I told him about the quiet child and wife-free house down the block, and waved wistfully as I pedaled my bike back down the block to resume my mission. No time to talk Brian, there’s work to be done.

I painted like a mad man for the next four hours, pausing occasionally to admire my work, snap a flick or two, before resuming. By 3:30 am, the room was fully painted. Sure there was green paint running over the molding in places and on the floor, but it was nothing a little turpentine can’t fix.

Wednesday came, and I confirmed that the wife and kids were returning that day. After work I was literally like a man in fast forward.

Remove the door from the girls’ room; put the sleeper sofa in girls room; replace the door to the girls’ room; disassemble the bed in the nanny suite; reassemble the bed in the girls’ room; disassemble Chima’s bed in the girls’ room; reassemble Chima’s bed in his room; move Chima’s dresser from the girls’ room; put Chima’s dresser in his room; switch Chima and Duran’s clothes into their respective closets; switch the curtains; assemble the dollhouse in the girls room, etc., etc.

When they pulled into the driveway, I was putting the sheets on Duran’s bed. I had accomplished the most important item on the bucket list in the nick of time.

The kids were ecstatic and the wifey, genuinely impressed.

I was Super Dad for a day, but Operation Silent Home was a complete wash.

I’ll take Super Dad any day.

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Filed under Parenting