Archive for the ‘Grampa’ Category

Spring Sports 2012

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Family, Grampa, Sports

While Jake made his debut with the High School spring track team AND played with the North Reading’s own Black Hornets soccer team, Josh completed his first season in the New England Premiership league with the MPS Knights. Between them, we saw a lot of fun sports…

Seemed like the High School‘s winter track team just picked up a few more people and all of a sudden became the spring track team. Jake was right back in there running the 100 and 200 meter sprints, the 4×100 relay, and even giving the long and high jump events a try! Throughout the season, Jake lowered his PRs and had a lot of fun.  Except maybe on the jumping events – those may not be his gig.

Joshua and the MPS Knights had a great season. They had to compete in the play-in rounds to get to the State Cup tournament and finished just one win short. At 7-0-1, they won their division of the NEP but were knocked out in the first round of playoffs by a lesser team that outplayed them on that day. With a couple college showcase tournaments to round out the year, there was plenty of soccer played!

Jake and the North Reading Black Hornets finished 5-0-1 to win their division of the ECYSA but also didn’t fair well in the playoffs, being knocked off in the first round. They played in the DIT again this year, but were knocked off in the semi-finals there by the eventual champions.

Maybe the best part of the spring season was having so many family members watch the play! Though this was Grampa’s last season to watch, Gramsie and even Poppa made it out for a game or two!  Thanks for all the cheers!

Riposa in Pace Nonno

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Family, Grampa, Health

On Friday, June 29, 2012, Grampa Ralph Intorcio finished his rage against the dying of the light at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA. In the end, after 30+ years fighting his heart disease, two bypass surgeries, multiple catheterizations, and countless pokes, prods, and medications, he went gentle into the good night. We love you Grampa!  Rest well.

Out of Florida

Posted: March 23, 2012 in Family, Grampa, Home, Travel

Though he’d relocated to Massachusetts, at least seasonally, last year, John’s dad this spring sold off his house in Sarasota and was ready to make things permanent. So, in mid-March, John flew down on a Friday night to help Ralph get things squared away.

Saturday was spent on visits to the bank, calls to the utilities, identifying some of the overstocked items, and even a little time at the pool.

Sunday was Ralph’s farewell visit to St. Boniface where many of his friends wished him luck in his travels. On Sunday evening, Ralph’s little red Hyundai was picked up by the car carrier for its trip north.

On Monday morning, packers from the local moving office arrived and the fun really began. John had three standard questions he asked repeatedly:

  1. When did you last use that?
  2. What are you going to use that for?
  3. Why do you need 6 or 8 or 12 of those?

John’s favorite exchange… “Pop, why do you need two kitchen timers?”  Ralph’s reply: “Well, one doesn’t work!” Many compromises were made and in the end, the (three) machetes were packed along with the busted antique tape dispenser, and the power saws were left behind for the safety of all. There was a bit of damage along the way – it was a tough day for the ceiling fan…

Ralph treated John to a nice dinner that night at the outdoor sidewalk tables of Sam Snead’s. They enjoyed the gorgeous Florida weather even though Ralph felt a few pangs for the city he’d soon leave behind.

Tuesday began with breakfast at the Hob Nob Drive In – a place John had been driving by since Ralph moved to Sarasota and always said he was going to go to!

A little after 9:00 AM, the big rig arrived and the loading began. The movers were good sports as we kept adding things to the load and, about three hours later, the truck was loaded and headed north.

As the furniture rolled away, Ralph and John did a little final clean-up, took naps, and then headed to see Ralph’s niece, Virginia, and her husband Jack, who live just south of the city. They were treated to first class accommodations and a lovely dinner at Ophelia’s where they sat by the side of the Intracoastal Waterway and again enjoyed the gorgeous weather – despite a few sprinkles.

We even had a little celebration of Ralph’s upcoming birthday as he blew out the candle on his birthday salad!

Bright and early Wednesday morning, they were off to Sarasota Airport for the flight home. By the time they arrived at the Parker House, Ralph’s car had already been delivered and he quickly began to settle in!

We’re so glad to have Grampa close to us so we can keep him out of trouble! Well, maybe.

Holidays 2011/12

Posted: January 7, 2012 in Family, Grampa, Holiday

We celebrated the holidays with food and family this year!

Shawn’s Uncle Cleon and his wife Aunt Ellie arrived at our place the Thursday night before Christmas and that kicked of a spree of holiday celebration what would last all the way to January 4 (even though some of us had to be back at work on January 2).

On Friday, we picked up the Grampa to join the fun and we all got to watch Joshua’s first varsity wrestling match. He’s behind a couple of seniors in his weight class so he gets infrequent shots at the varsity lineup but he’s always eager!  His varsity career began with a decisive first period pin that impressed the relatives and even earned him a photo in the local newspaper!

On Christmas eve, we added Gramsie to the mix to fill out our flock. After the afternoon service at our church, we settled in for some serious celebration with our traditional Feast of Seven Fishes which this year went to eight:  shrimp cocktail, fried calamari, bacallà, and a ciopinno with mussels, clams, crab, salmon, and polpo.

After dinner, our friends Heather and Thor joined us for desert and Limoncello. There’s was much fun and laughter and Marie even got a brand new Sponge Bob Flashlight!

Christmas day began with the traditional pajama-clad opening of presents. Our plan to “dial it back a bit” this year seemed to have gone off track someplace as the piles of presents seemed as big as always!  Jake and Josh performed notably well this year in choosing gifts that were extremely well targeted to their recipients – Santa hats off to them!

Grampa loved his new shoehorns…

Jake loved his new Beats

And Josh rocked Shawn Thornton!

After the presents and a brunch or two, we settled down to a John Madden-inspired Christmas Turducken feast! We’d never tried one before but thought it was time. Now we’ve done it – next year, maybe a goose!

We kept the holidays rolling with a house blessing at Grampa’s Place on Monday. Rev. Scottie from the Church of the Good Shepherd hosted and did a bang-up job. She led, the relatives, along with a few neighbors and friends, throughout the house, blessing each room as we went. A blessing of the gardens and a final blessing for the house as a whole took us to refreshments and socializing.  (Too bad the camera stayed out in the car!) Good stuff!

Later that evening we were off to Riccardo’s in the North End for a a birthday celebration for Cleon and Grampa (whose birthday isn’t really until the end of March). We enjoyed a nice dinner out and strolling through the historic North End!

On Wednesday, we took Grampa to watch Jake run in one more indoor track meet.  This is Jake’s first year running any sort of formal track but he’s getting the hang of it. He competes mostly in the 300m dash and it’s quite fun to cheer him on! Go Jake!

Thursday we were off to another wrestling match where we’d get to see Josh score another pin!

Thursday night we were off to The Shoe with a bunch of local friends: Lori, Ed, Maureen, Bob, Heather and Thor. We enjoyed more food and laughter.

On the morning of New year’s Eve we shipped Grampa back to Florida.  He’ll enjoy the warm winter down there and then make a more complete move to North Reading in the spring when he’ll bring his furniture and his own car up. We can’t wait ’til he gets back!

It was then off to yet another Wrestling meet. This time, we got to see Josh execute two decisive wins – one against a Peabody opponent ad the other against a wrestler from Wakefield. Josh sure looks strong out there!

John and Shawn would later head out for a nice seafood dinner at Finz in Salem. with their friends Heather and Thor. We had a great time celebrating the New Year a little early and were home and well settled in our respective couches long before the ball came down!

We’d spend the rest of the break taking down decorations and resting up for re-immersion. It was back to work on Monday for Shawn and John while the boys had until Wednesday before they’d return to school. All and all, it was a relaxing and fun-filled break and we’d due it again in a second!  Happy New Year!

Young@Heart Again!

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Grampa

In 1984, Grampa joined a fledgling group of elder singers from the Northampton area that was known as the Young@Heart Chorus.

Over the next 20 years or so that he performed with them, they appeared many times at the Academy of Music in Northampton and traveled all over the world including Belgium, Norway, Australia, and the Netherlands. He often appeared as Carmen Miranda joined by his friend Warren Clark who imitated Sophie Tucker! Later, Grampa’s staple would be Carol Channing and the chorus would go on to have their own feature film!

For the Young@Heart’s 2011 banquet at Look Park’s Garden House, Grampa was invited to make a surprise appearance as Carol. So, John took a half day off from work to be his escort and they drove out for the evening. Carol made a grand entrance, and sang his/her signature song, Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend to a standing ovation!

It was great fun.  He really is forever Young@ Heart!

Arrivo del Nonno

Posted: May 17, 2011 in Family, Grampa

Tuesday, the 10th of May, marked the “Arrivo del Nonno” – the arrival of the grandfather at his new home on Parker Drive. John had a customer visiting from California so Shawn picked Grampa up at the airport and brought him home for dinner. When John got home later that evening, he presented his Pop with a set of keys for his new home and car and drove him down the street to start the assimilation. With its remodeling nearing completion, a bunch of bargain furniture in place, and us just up the street to offer support, Grampa quickly began to settle in.

Pop with azaeleas

By the first weekend, he’d begun to make some friends at the senior center, only gotten lost a few times, and had started to rebuild a stone wall in the back yard! We made a few trips to Home Depot and Walmart for various necessities and started to make the little house look like a home!

On the following Tuesday, we helped Grampa host a housewarming and potluck supper to celebrate his arrival and allow him to meet a few of the neighbors! It was a grand success! We had a great crowd of neighbors and friends!

There was more than enough food and fun. We had chowder, chicken wings, pasta entrees, desserts, beer, wine, and a lot of laughs!

And a lot of people got to know each other! Some of the previously acquainted got to know each other even better!

Even Grampa’s niece Virgina sent flowers to help warm the house!

All in all, it seemed pretty successful and Grampa seemed quite pleased! It’s great to have him nearby!  We love you Grampa!

The Blue Beauty

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Cars, Family, Grampa

We’ve got some additional car needs coming up. Ralph will be here for the summer while his car stays in Florida. And this fall, if he progresses on schedule, Josh will get his driver’s license. And just maybe, he could then help with some of the endless schlepping that he and his brother seem to require!

So.. John did some reading on up on cheap cars that might be good for a teen learning to drive. He narrowed things down to a handful of models and went looking on Craig’s List. Before long, he found the Blue Beauty!

She’s a 2001 Nissan Sentra with only of 50,000 miles on her. Yah, she’s got a dent in the hood and a scratch or two. But she’s also got good tires, a cassette player, and rides like a dream!

She’s home now. Inspection imminent. And then we’ll put her to use!

Christmas 2010

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Family, Grampa, Holiday

Just like last year, we were blessed to again have a houseful of family guests for the holidays this year – and we made the best of it!

On the Tuesday before Christmas, John drove from work to Logan to pick up his dad arriving on his direct flight up from Sarasota! He arrived safely and on time and we got him settled into the house and bundled up for the New England weather! (We’re secretly working to re-acclimate him!)

On Wednesday, Shawn’s uncle Cleon and his wife Ellie arrived from New York! After their long drive from Rochester, they were tired but ready to party! They settled in to relax for the evening while John went to watch Josh wrestle and win with a first period pin in his JV match raising his record to 2-1!

By Friday, Christmas Eve, we’d added Shawn’s mom Marie to the mix and the house was at capacity! We snuck out in the afternoon to put up lights on the equipment installing the septic tank down at the guest house and then, after attending the early church service, we once again did the seven fishes feast for Christmas Eve. John cheated a little bit this year by serving a ciopino that included many of the fish: haddock, crab, shrimp, octopus, muscles, and clams. It was preceded by fried calamari as an appetizer and served alongside baccalà, just like Ralph’s mom used to make! Making fewer dishes, but just as many seafood varieties, proved to be a lot less stressful in the kitchen and just might catch on for future years!

As we leaned back from the table to contemplate our full bellies, we were honored to have our palls Thor and Heather join us for dessert and drinks! We lingered at the table until the lemoncello was produced and the party really kicked in!! Before long, Santa appeared to distribute his gifts and fill the stockings and we stumbled off to our respective beds while visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

Christmas morning meant hours of present opening as we took turns around the living room. Excessive treasures were revealed all around and there were many ooos and ahs. John spent a few more hours integrating the new XBox into the home theater system and helping the boys set up and configure it. They then spent the rest of the day crashing cars and playing hockey! We carved the roast beast for our Christmas meal and had another fantastic family dinner!

Sunday was church for Ralph, Josh, and John, while the ladies went looking for post-Christmas bargains. The arrival of the season’s first blizzard moved our plans for a birthday dinner from Boston’s North End to North Reading’s Southwest Corner. Still, the little Italian place was just as good! We had the place to ourselves by the end of our meal and were well treated by our snow-hardy hosts! The snow was perfect for the holiday season and the lights shone gorgeously through it as we made our way slowly and safely home!

As the storm lingered into Monday leaving a measured 14-18″ of snow in our town, Cleon and Ellie made the wise decision to stay with us for another day! We spent the morning shoveling and snow blowing and waiting for the snow to end. Shawn tried out her new Crockpot (very successful) and bread maker (not so much) on dinner and we capped it with a Boston Creme Pie for the birthday boys! Later, Josh had some friends over to watch the Bruins win and cap off the day.

Tuesday morning was a dose of reality as Cleon and Ellie hit the road for home and John headed back into work. It ended with us all needing an off night as Shawn, Josh, and jake were all coming down with colds and the dawg needed a snuggle. So, we ate leftovers and hung out on the couch.

Wednesday was pizza party night. We rolled out dough and made some traditional pies for the family! We declared it a family movie night wand watched The Town to practice our local accents. Even the pets had a mellow night.Good stuff!

On Thursday, our friends Bob and Maureen were able to join us for a casual dinner. Shawn put more of her kitchen toys to the test and served great meal that included the most perfect rice! It was great to have our friends visit!!

Friday night was New Year’s Eve. Josh slept over at a buddy’s house and Grampa and Jake decided on a mellow evening at home. Shawn and John headed for Thor and Heather’s place ready to party!

We were joined by Thor’s two brothers and one of their girlfriends. We had a fun evening hearing stories of Thor’s childhood and the trouble he and his brothers got into! Still, we were home to watch the ball come down with Jake!

Saturday was a recovery day but we did take Grampa up to New Hampshire to watch the Blues in Green in the playoffs of their indoor league. Josh and Jake both played well and the guys finished in third place out of the eight teams in their division! Not bad!

Come Sunday, it was time to pack the Grampa and ship him back to Florida so he could warm up!

It was awesome to have Grampa and all of our family visit us over the holidays! Nothing like a full house!

We hope you all had a happy and blessed holiday too and offer you our best wishes for 2011! Happy New Year!

T-Day, 2010

Posted: November 28, 2010 in Family, Grampa, Holiday

We were pretty excited for the Thanksgiving break this year. Grampa would be visiting from Florida and it would be our first opportunity to share a number of things with him. His arrival was eagerly anticipated by us all.

Grampa arrived Saturday afternoon before Thanksgiving. Before he’d even had a chance to open his suitcase, we whisked him off to New Hampshire to watch Josh and Jake play soccer with the Blues.

The following day started out pretty mellow. The high point of the day was to be giving Pop a tour of his future home.  We were thrilled that he seemed to like the place and is getting excited about moving up in the spring!  But the day also resulted in a surprise birthday party for John’s upcoming 50th birthday and Pop fit right in with the guests!

We spent the next few days just getting ready for the big holiday. There was much debate on menu, cooking strategy, etc.

But, eventually, we managed to set the table and present a feast for our little bunch!

After dinner, a few friends showed up for dessert. One of them didn’t bother to put his shoes on. Another stayed until 3:30 AM.  We had a LOT of fun!

Friday meant power doorbusting for Shawn and her mom while John slept late but rallied for the traditional day-after-thanksgiving installation of the outdoor Christmas lights!

We spent another day or two eating turkey leftovers together before we had to ship Grampa back to Florida. We’ll miss you Grampa – we love you much!

We finished the holiday intermission with some more soccer and some more family time. It was a great Thanksgiving. We hope that you and yours felt as blessed as we did and enjoyed your holiday too!

The Guest House

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Family, Grampa, Home

We bought a new house! Well… More like another house. More like… We annexed another property! Yah! A guest house!

We’ve been looking for a bit for a place that might provide a nearby home for one or more of our aging relatives. John’s Pop is considering a move closer to family and we are hoping he’ll be our first tenant! We were looking for a place that would be suitable for a “chronologically enhanced” occupant (master bedroom and full bath on first floor, small enough to care for, etc.) while still being affordable, relatively nearby, and having some potential as a resale down the road.

When a little ranch just down the street came on on the market, we knew we had to go see it. It seemed to fit the bill, most everything on one floor, just a couple of steps in, reasonable condition, affordable price, and, most importantly, six houses away!

The nearly 60 year-old house is a little tired, needs some updates, and has a septic system that needs replacement but, it also has new siding, a new roof, a new boiler, and good structure. The proximity, the neighborhood that we love, and the generally good overall condition of the place were enough for us to make an offer!

When the offer was accepted, it started to hit us that we would be becoming “slumlords” or “real estate barons” or something. It also hit us that we would be doing some work and paying some additional bills!

It was right about here that John was notified his job at Motorola was being terminated. That certainly added to the excitement and we considered backing out. Instead, we signed the P&S contingent on a home equity loan approval. What’s life without risk?

We were then just left with convincing the bank that we were good for the loan. Sure enough, they approved an increase on our home equity line that would allow us to make the purchase. We signed for the loan on John’s official last day of employment.

We’ll have some work to do. We have to put in a new septic, remodel the bathroom, sand the floors, change the outlets… But, we have high hopes for both keeping some of those we love a little closer to us for a while and being able to recover our investment down the line!!

We closed on the house today.  Here we go!!

(And hey, our agent, Rita, and our attorney, Andy, made this all really easy for us – we’d heartily recommend them both!!)