Bones, bones, bones, bones. Yummy bones, bones, bones!


Hey, guys. It’s Ben. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
So much to tell you.
Let’s start with our new student. “Lissa” is officially with us now – and she’s added a whole new dynamic to our group. She and Bella have become “fast friends” and, I swear, it’s like the ladies have taken over. Having a new student has been wonderful and I can’t wait till we eventually have the 12 – or maybe 15 students our little school needs!
Then… there’s the addition to Chad and Raef’s house. Alex had insisted their home needed a couple more bedrooms and baths, and volunteered to provide materials “left over from the Koala Cove project.” Anyway, he did a bunch of sketches and got in touch with Nathan about the job. Nathan told him they have a big project starting December 1st, and said “Why don’t we just knock out this addition right now?” So, Alex talked with Jim and they got a building permit for a “minor residential remodel – with no inspections required.” Gotta love Jim and his contacts! Nathan and his crews descended on the house and, like magic, it’s almost done. They’re artists who can do it all – carpentry, electrical, plumbing… everything. The addition is beautiful – as Alex promised – and it’ll be wonderful for them… with Lissa and Matty each having a bedroom and bathroom of their own.
We’ve talked with the grandparents – and they’re not coming for Thanksgiving. They’ve all been watching the warnings from the CDC about Holiday gatherings and don’t want to risk bringing covid into our group. We’ll do a family “Zoom” on Thursday afternoon – and plan a real “get together” at Christmastime.
Now, Some really personal stuff you may (or may not) want to read. It’s o.k.- whether you want to read this… or just look at the boners above.
It’s like this: David, Dub and I are HUGE fans of Rachael Maddow and her show on MSNBC. Recently, she had been absent from the program because she had been isolating while her partner Susan Mikula was battling coronavirus. Rachael said, “Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks. And at one point we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her. That’s why I’ve been away. She said, about Susan: “She’s the center of my life. She’s the organizing principle of my life. My relationship with Susan is the only thing at the end of the day that I would kill or die for without any hesitation.”
Which brings me to a couple of weeks ago when I dropped David off at the St Lukes emergency room – thinking they’d just check his heart arrhythmia – and we’d be headed back home before long. The next thing I knew, he had been moved to the main St. Lukes Hospital on the Plaza and was in “intensive care.” They wouldn’t let me see him for two days and I was frantic. When they finally moved him out of “intensive care” to the cardio care ward, they finally let me see him. When I saw him, he looked AWFUL. He was hooked up to a heart monitor and had an IV in each arm. He was pale and groggy and looked terrible – although he (sort of) managed a smile when he saw me. Then, of course, they escorted me out of his room and I wandered around in the parking lot for a while and then went and sat in my car and just cried for a long time – because I didn’t know if he was gonna live. And, I totally get how Rachael was feeling about Susan. And I totally understand when she said Susan was the “center of her life.” Because that’s what David is to me. He’s my life, my love, my everything. He’s the smile I wake to in the morning and my strength when things get tough. He’s the one I spend my life with – and want to grow old with – and spend forever with.
So… today… we’re thankful. David is well and things are good. We went on a long walk this afternoon with Dub and “Buzz the wonder dog” and came home and took the turkey out of the oven and made dressing… and watched Jeopardy and gave thanks.
We hope this THANKSGIVING DAY is special for you. We wish you happiness, good health, and good cheer. We love you. Ben, David and the gang.

Butts. butts. butts. butts. Yummy butts. butts. butts!


Hey, guys. It’s Chad. And it’s time to bring you up-to-date on Alyssa’s adoption.
Raef and I (and our attorney) met with Ms. Evelyn and her attorney last Monday morning. It was an excellent meeting. Essentially, she said she was ready to go forward with the adoption if we were. We told her we were. She said as far as she’s concerned, the adoption will be final. She wasn’t asking for joint custody or mandatory visitations. She said she would “love to be involved in our family – in some small way – but only if Alyssa, Matty, Raef and I want her to be.” She said she hoped we might invite her to our house for a birthday party or Holiday sometime.
Her attorney told us that Ms. Evelyn had set up “irrevocable trusts” for both Alyssa and Matty “that will be sufficient to pay their education expenses through college… and provide money to get them started in life.” Raef and I were stunned – and simply said “Thank you.”
Evelyn asked us if we had discussed the adoption with Alyssa. We told her we had talked about it briefly but had told her it would all depend on the lawyers and the Court. Evelyn smiled and said “Then, I think you’d better ask her if she’d like to become part of your family.”
After the meeting, Raef and I stopped at Pandora Jewelers and bought a bracelet with four engraved charms. One each saying “Raef”, “Chad”, “Alyssa”, and “Matty”. Then, after school, the four of us got together at our house. Raef, Matty and I all got on one knee in front of Alyssa and Raef said “Alyssa, will you be my daughter?” She smiled and said “YES”! Then I said “Alyssa, will you be my daughter?” She squealed and said “YES”! Then Matty said “Alyssa, will you be my sister?” At that, a tear ran down her cheek and she said “Yes. Matty. I’ll be your sister.” It was a moment none of us will ever forget.
With our attorney at our side, we went before the Juvenile Court on Friday morning. The Judge reviewed the paperwork and asked Alyssa if she understood what adoption meant – and if she wanted to become a permanent part of our family. She said “Yes. Your honor. I want that very much.” The whole thing took about ten minutes and afterward we picked up food at “Sugar Leaf Bakery” and took it home for our first lunch together as a family.
We’ll get with David, Ben and the gang and plan a big celebration in the near future. Right now, we’re just grateful for our good fortune – and happy to be a family.
Love you guys. Chad, Raef, Matty and Alyssa.

Balls. balls. balls. balls. Yummy balls. balls. balls.

Ben and I were sleeping in this morning — until we were awakened by Dub jumping on our bed yelling “Dad. We Won. Dad. Wake Up. We won!: and he was shoving his i-pad in my face until I finally realized we were watching network news and learning that…YES… Joe and Kamala had won… and our National nightmare was over. Then, Dub said, “Here… hold this.” and he put his I-pad in my hands while he crawled in between Ben and me… and we watched his I-Pad while he put one arm around each of our necks. It was one of those family moments neither Ben nor I could possibly ever forget. GOD BLESS AMERICA 🙂

Hey. It’s Ben. It’s been several days since I met with Ms. Evelyn (Alyssa’s sort-of but not really grandmother) – and things are finally settling down. When I got home after talking with her, David and I talked for a long time and decided we needed to get all our friends together. So, of course, our first call was to Keon and he said “What we need is a cookout and a dip in the hot tub.” We agreed on a Friday evening get-together and called to clear it with the other guys. Cal said “I talked with my Mum and Scott and they said they’d love having the kids for a sleepover Friday night,” so we won’t have to worry about them.”
Yesterday afternoon, when Denise and Scott came to pick up the kids, she said “Ben. We need a word in private.” So we went into my office. She said “Cal told me you were upset because Ms. Evelyn hired private investigators to look into your backgrounds.” I said “Yes. It’s so damned intrusive. I mean, where does she get off looking into our personal lives?” Denise opened her brief case… pulled out three folders… and handed them to me. She said “These are reports from private investigators I hired while we were still living in Australia. They’re on you and David and your friends. I didn’t think it was unreasonable to check into your backgrounds and find out about you before we picked up and moved clear across the World. I’m sorry. If I’d know it would upset you, I’d have given these to you months ago.” I said “So, what did you find out about us?” She said “You can read them for yourself… but in a nutshell, I learned that you and David are two nice gay men who adopted a terrific son named Dub and established a wonderful home – surrounded by amazing friends. I learned that you’re a dedicated and respected educator who loves kids and teaching. I learned you’re the kind of people Scott and I want to spend our lives around.” I said “Thank you,” – then put the files aside… and decided maybe Ms. Evelyn hadn’t been as out-of-line as I’d originally thought.
So anyway, Denise and Scott took the kids over to their place and the guys started arriving and the party began. David wasn’t allowed to do any cooking, and everyone else got busy with the food they’d brought. We had tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and carne asada with pitchers of margaritas to wash it all down. After the long, comfortable dinner, we all grabbed our drinks and pipes and headed to the hot tub.
It was a long discussion in “the tub”, so I’ll just give you a summary. We decided:
1. Alyssa is a wonderful little girl who needs a good home and fits in with our group perfectly.
2. She would be welcomed into any of our homes, but Chad and Raef really, really want to adopt her. Chad said “I’m closer to Alyssa than the rest of you. I’ve worked with her every day at school and we’ve become close.” Raef said “I’ve wanted a little girl as long as I can remember. As much as I love Matty – and I DO love him – he’s a boy, and Ive just always wanted a daughter.” Chad said “Matty thinks Alyssa is great and we’re sure they’ll be good siblings.”
3. Alex said “The only problem I see is your house is too small for four people. It only has two bedrooms and one bath and you’ll need more space if you’re gonna adopt. As it happens, we have plenty of materials left over at Koala Cove to add a couple of bedrooms and baths to your house. They’ve already been charged to the villas project, so they wouldn’t cost you anything. I can get Nathan and one of his crews over to your house and we can start the addition within a couple of weeks. And I promise it won’t look like it’s built with ‘left over stuff’. We’ve got some really nice materials over there and we can make your home a real showplace.”
4. Chad and Raef said they’d insist on a “clean break” between Alyssa and Evelyn. They said they’ll want to use OUR attorneys to handle the adoption and that they want Evelyn limited to one two-hour visitation per month.
5. Chad and Raef made it clear they neither need nor want Evelyn’s money. Cal, however, suggested that maybe Evelyn could continue to pay Alyssa’s school tuition if she chooses to to that. We all thought that sounded reasonable.
So – bottom line – I called Evelyn and set up a meeting with Chad, Raef and our attorney plus her and her attorney next Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. We know Chad and Raef will handle it well… and we know our attorneys won’t put up with any crap.
So, that’s the way it is. Look. We’re just a bunch of guys trying to do what’s best. We hope we’re getting this right, but we don’t really know that. We’re hoping you guys will remember us in your thoughts and prayers.
We’ll keep you posted.