R.I.P. Kevin and Bob – The Derda Fish. A Father’s Journey Into Pets

Oh we barely knew ye but the amount of joy you brought to our boys could never be measured. You were an inspiration to all of us in the Derda family even though your time with us was short… in fact you guys didn’t even make it 24hours.

Wait, can I get some kind of refund here?

Kevin and Bob - The Derda Fish

Everyone knows that goldfish from a church festival never last more than a few days and I expected that out of Kevin but Bob, WTF dude?

Monday night when I get home from work the fishies were swimming, the kids were singing, rainbows and unicorns were everywhere. Ahhh the life of an awesome dad.

Wait, what’s that horrendous screeching?

My kids are wailing “OMFG WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR FISH?!?!” “WHY GOD? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” from the living room. (OK maybe that was a little dramatic on my end but still.)

The kids got their first lesson on death, pets and expectations you should set when you win a fish at a game that is $1 for 7 ping pong balls. What I didn’t expect was that a trained professional at a pet store would lead us down the path of eternal sleep.

Shortly after we promised the boys their friends would have a proper burial in the “porcelain chute to Heaven” (thank God they don’t think EVERYTHING we flush goes up) we headed to Petsmart in Bethel Park to see what we could do. I’m not comfortable going into stores where I have to deal with salespeople on topics I don’t know about but the staff was absolutely amazing and patient while the 2 grieving wiener kids ran around trying to convince me to buy a shark.

Yes, a shark.  Didn’t happen.

Since we’ve never owned fish the young lady spent time explaining that you couldn’t “Just pour tap water and dump them in. They can handle it.” like the previous store did, she talked to me about testing the water, what types of treatment we need and which fish are compatible together. Apparently they have gangs like the Jets and the Sharks.

At the end of the night we walked out with 2 new Tetras, a better understanding of fish/water ratio and what to look for. If you’re keeping score at home, the $1.00 spent to win the original fish ended up costing us $57 to date.

Once the little guys grow you can stop over and say hello to our new family members, Speedy and Bob the Fast Fish.


Weekend in Erie – Part 2 – Polka, festival and new family

St James Festival - Pizza time

St James Festival - Pony RideIt started with the family going to a polka mass at my old parish, which my mom is still an active member in. I go there maybe once a year because mom likes when we’re all together but she also like to sit up front which is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s cool though because I end up seeing parents of friends and people who still pinch my cheeks and tell me they knew me as a baby. My dad was the head of ushers, my mom was in the choir and my brother and I were both altar boys. Everyone was involved in the parish.

The parish festival was in its final day and part of that tradition is a turkey dinner. Turkey in August? Yeah you might think that’s crazy but the meal is good. REALLY good! We walk around so the kids can play games, dad can play Bingo and while the size of the festival has diminished over the years it really is a stellar place to go. That was until we got to The Fish Pond.

I worked the festival in various roles from grade school until I left for college. You can ask any alumni since the early days and they’ll tell you the same, the fish will die by the time you get them home. I never knew anything about fish. I don’t care about fish. Damn the fis… oh hey son, you want to win a fish? Sure go for it!

$1 for 7 balls so I figured I was safe. Apparently Teaspoon has the beer pong skills of his old man and nailed it. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the feat so I have 1 kid with a fish and 1 without. Know what that means? We’re going to the fish store.

After packing up and saying goodbye to my mom we went to a local pet store to now buy a fish for Cheeseburger and a fish tank. $40 later we leave and head back to Pittsburgh with our new family members.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kevin and Bob.

Kevin and Bob - The Derda Fish

Here are pics from the rest of the day.

Did you miss out on part 1 of our weekend adventure in Erie? Check out Swimming in greatness!

Weekend in Erie – Part 1 – Swimming in greatness

Teaspoon on the Beach

Growing up in Erie it was always easy to spot the tourists at Presque Isle, they were the only people swimming in the lake. I guess this could be said for any native in a tourist hot spot but going back now with a family I have a new appreciation for the beach.

Feet in the water at Presque IsleLast Saturday I took the family on a quick weekend trip to Erie. If you’re in Pittsburgh the journey up I-79 really is fast. You can be there in 2.5 hours and the drive flies by as you watch the Steel City skyline turn into beautiful country driving, errr just with an interstate running through it.

When I lived in Erie the place to be was Beach 6. This was the home of sand volleyball tournaments, best concession stand on the peninsula and where the good looking people hang out. If you’re a teenager or single person, this is your reality TV show. Married dude in his 30’s with 2 kids, ummm yeeeaaaahhh we scooted down to Beach 7/Water Works a.k.a. the “family beach”.

If you’re a family traveling up there, here is why you’ll love this spot.

  1. Affordable large cabins for rent if you’re having a gathering. We’re talking 50-100 people.
  2. Picnic tables if you want to pack your lunch and hang out plus grills are available.
  3. Excellent fishing spots for the kids.
  4. Playground if they’re done with the swimming/sand thing.
  5. Bike Rental station and hub of anything “touristy” you want to do.
  6. The beach area is rarely crowded, spacious area to set up a tent or umbrella and then lay out in the sun
  7. Plenty of lifeguards on hand for additional peace of mind.
  8. Incredible sunset with Canada off in the distance

This trip was unique for us as the water in the bay was higher than normal and the winds whipping around causing waves close to 4 feet high. The parent in me was “OMFG MY KIDS WILL BE CARRIED OUT TO SEA!” but once I got in the water with them I turned into “WOOOOOOOOO THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME! GET ME A BOOGIE BOARD!”. Both of my kids laughed harder than they ever have as they would either ride the waves or get sucked down shore as the waves crashed.  4 hours later we head to my mom’s for dinner and to hang out.

Sunday would turn out to be a slightly awkward day and you can read about that next…



And that’s when the kid said…

Teaspoon Penguin

Teaspoon PenguinTeaspoon was playing on his tablet this morning when he looked up and said:

Daddy, do you miss Pop Pops (my dad who passed in 06)? Was he awesome because I imagine that when he was born God sent him down in a basket and umbrella to his mommy because all they had were a horse and buggy.

Dude, you have no idea how awesome he really was and I can only hope that someday you and your brother can say the same about your old man. Well, except that God sent me down in a Delorian.


The Republican Debate of WTF


Trump Debate


That was my reaction last night after the Fox News feed ended. It’s too soon for me to care what the answers are and it wouldn’t matter which party was on last night; that was a riot to watch. Yeah yeah running for president is a serious matter and the future of our country is at hand.


We’re so early into this race that last night was like the first week of American Idol. This is when it’s a freakshow, Trump is the puppeteer and I love it. Here’s why.

It’s disruptive. I know he won’t win and you know he won’t win but guess what, he’s saying what’s on his mind and the norm of canned replies is gone. He fought back! Reporters rarely challenge these guys to anything above a softball question and here comes Mr. Trump – smoking a cigar lit from a $10,000 bill, chugging a bottle of Cristal and flipping the bird while explosives go off behind him. Let him run his course and the sideshow will die down but you know what, he has you talking about him and you’re going “Hell yeah!” or you’re “Screw you!”.  You’re paying attention now to who is running and MAYBE you’ll take a serious look at the candidates.

Here is what I had an issue with last night. The execution of the broadcast.

GOP Debate

Why is it 2015 and the only way to watch a debate is on Fox News if you subscribe to cable? As a cord cutter I found this incredibly annoying and had to borrow someone’s cable password so I could log into a feed that didn’t work for the first hour and then Chromecast a browser screen to my TV. Facebook was a sponsor, but of what exactly? OK they showed a few videos from users but why wasn’t there a page dedicated to the debate and the video provided for free from there? I swallowed my pride and downloaded the FoxNews Android app and that gave no option to broadcast to a TV. Fox News own Roku app, you know the app which is ON THE TV, doesn’t allow live streaming. Make your jokes about Fox all you want but if you’re carrying an event like this, show it to the people!

Facebook logos where EVERYWHERE too. You couldn’t miss them. There were zero mentions of hashtags. It was just GAAAHHH!

Now if there was something set up last night and I missed it, eh it happens, but I was all over just looking to get my fix of crazies.

When the next round of debates come up I hope the committees are more on the ball.