Friday, November 30, 2012

Treat Yourself: Top 5 Single Fathers' Gifts for Themselves

Let's face it. You work very hard to maintain a home, earn a living, insure your children are happy and healthy, and maintain a social life for your own mental health. That's no mean feat. So, at the risk of compromising the second among my list of Top 5 Financial Blunders Guys Make During Divorce, which is "Make an Extravagant Purchase," treat yourself, Old Man, with a holiday gift that is equal parts practical and frivolous, but is 100% something you'll use and enjoy. After all, who knows you better than you? If you have the time, the space, and the financial means, here are a few great ideas for self-given gifts:

1) Homna Beres Japan S-02 Fairway Wood - Take strokes off your score with this shallow back designed fairway wood that lowers gravity height, optimizes gravity angle, and gives a better grip to average golfers for better trajectories.

2) Precor EFX 5.37 Premium Series Elliptical Crosstrainer - Bring the fitness club experience home, with our top-of-the line premium EFX® 5.37. With more pre-programmed workouts, User IDs and features than our other models, the 5.37 offers you the most variety and workout tracking tools. The patented low-impact motion is smooth and natural, making your workouts more comfortable and enjoyable. Your heels remain in contact with foot pedals, reducing muscle and tendon stress.

3) VIZIO 65" 3D Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV - Winner of Popular Science's Best of What's New 2011, Theater 3D is advanced, flicker-free 3D that's better and brighter than conventional 3D. I can personally vouch for VIZIO quality. I bought a 50" VIZIO plasma television almost seven years ago and the picture quality is still razor-sharp.

4) Great American Eagle 8' Pool Table - Get your "Fast Eddie" Felson on with the The Eagle Series Pool Table by Great American, which combines a classic look with outstanding durability and has been made in America and made to last since 1990.

5) The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball - Okay, this is a little self-serving considering I wrote the book, but it's well worth the investment. Combining anecdotes, sports metaphors, baseball quotes, and "Single Father Golden Rules," The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball will not only help to make you a better parent, but will also help you find time to enjoy some of your other gifts!

Happy holidays, and check back regularly for more holiday shopping tips and other ideas!

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Favorite Father Daughter Quotes

The beautiful, precocious, intelligent young woman to whom I refer to as “The Second Beautiful Daughter” was born thirteen years ago this week.
 “There are two kinds of fathers in traditional households: the fathers of sons and the fathers of daughters. These two kinds of fathers sometimes co-exist in one and the same man. For instance, Daughters Father kisses his little girl goodnight, strokes her hair, hugs her warmly, then goes into the next room where he becomes Sons Father, who says in a hearty voice, perhaps with a light punch on the boys shoulder: Goodnight, Son, see ya in the morning.” –Letty Cottin Pogrebin

“A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer.” –Author Unknown

“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.” – Author Unknown

“The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, "Daddy, I need to ask you something," he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.” –Garrison Keillor

“A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.” –Author Unknown

“Any astronomer can predict with absolute accuracy just where every star in the universe will be at 11.30 tonight. He can make no such prediction about his teenage daughter.” –James T. Adams

“A daughter needs a loving, available, predictable father or father figure who can be counted on, whether divorced or at home. She needs his best paternal intentions, even if his efforts occasionally fall short. She needs his maturity and limit setting and sexual oppositeness, so that she can function with confidence in the wider world of adult love and work.” –Victoria Secunda

“Hopefully we were all daddy’s little girl. He was and hopefully still is wrapped around our little finger. Not to take advantage of more just for the comfort of knowing he is there.” –Violette DeSantis

“Dad, you must be crackin’ smoke.” –The Second Beautiful Daughter

Happy Birthday, Princess.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Single Dad's 6 Great Gift Ideas for Kids & Under $100

It's not just single fathers who want to find practical, educational, and fun gift ideas for his children. I think every parent wants to do that. However, unlike parents in in-tact families where a division of labor between a husband and wife can help insure thoughtful and economical gifts are purchased and appreciated, single dads may not have the time or the "band width" to identify those gifts.

Let "The Single Father's Guide" help. Here are five great gift ideas for children that will not only provide years of utility, but also will likely offer the recipient a chance to learn a skill and create interest in a hobby which may continue into adulthood.

1) Kindle WIFI 6" Display ($69.00) - Not only are there thousands of free book downloads, there are also some great, free learning games and puzzles, like "Every Word" and "Every Word Cross," which your children can play to improve their reasoning skills and vocabulary!

2) Canon PowerShot A2300 IS 16.0 MP Digital Camera ($99.00) - Light a spark for a love of photography with a wonderful "starter" camera from one of the most quality names in photography.

3) Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle ($99.00) - With all due respect to Ralphie in A Christmas Story, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid," a quality air rifle, with proper adult supervision, can provide a lifetime love of target shooting and hunting while creating a healthy respect for firearms.

4) Lifetime 1221 Pro Court Adjustable Basketball Hoop System ($89.96) - Shooting hoops in the driveway, the back porch, or the parking lot is an activity the whole family can enjoy. If you move from one house, apartment, or condominium to another, you can just pack up the Lifetime Pro Court Basketball Hoop and take it with you!

5) My First Lab Stargazer Telescope ($99.00) - You don't have to know the difference between Ursa Major and Orion's Belt to use a great starter telescope. Who knows? Your young astronomer may discover the next supernova or become a researcher at SETI, also known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

6) Kohl's Gift Card ($100.00) - If all else fails, grab a gift card to a great department store like Kohl's. Many retailers, including Kohl's, have grea.t "After the Holidays Sales," when your dollars can go even further!

Look, Dad, I've been there. Don't dawdle. The holidays will be here before you know it. The longer you wait, the more stress you'll create for yourself. Get going now, get this part of the season behind you, and move on to other things.

Check back regularly for more single father time saving and money saving holiday ideas.


To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks giving

Originally published in The Warwick Advertiser on November 18, 2011:

Thanks giving

As busy as our lives are with responsibilities of our job, family, finances, and countless other commitments, it’s easy to become distracted. Well, at least it is for me. As Thanksgiving approaches, however, it’s important to remember those things in our lives that are most precious. The community in which I live is foremost on my list.

Eight years ago this month, my employer, Suburban Propane relocated my wife, Lori, two daughters, and me from Saratoga Springs. We could have chosen any place in New Jersey, the southern New York State, or eastern Pennsylvania. Lori and I did our homework and chose Warwick. That fateful decision is one which we, and I, have never regretted.

Soon, it seemed, our lives began to follow a script from a bad made-for-television movie. Within weeks of moving into our new home and starting a new job, we learned that Lori was pregnant and would give birth to our third child the following summer. In December, Suburban announced the acquisition a competitor and a subsequent reorganization, and I was called to Suburban’s headquarters office in February and told that my job had been eliminated. As disappointing as the job loss was, it paled in comparison to the news Lori and I would hear a few weeks later: Lori had advanced-stage, occult, metastatic breast cancer.

I’ll save the suspense. Our son was born healthy in June. But, after fighting a courageous battle denoted by spectacular triumphs and devastating defeats, Lori succumbed to her illness on February 4, 2005. It was on that day I became the single father seven-year old and five-year old daughters and a seven-month old son.

Almost from the moment Lori was diagnosed, our neighbors in Warwick and Orange County stepped up, providing everything from emotional support to meals to help with the kids while I shuttled Lori to and from hospitals and doctors’ offices in Goshen, Manhattan, Wallkill, and Warwick. As I began a new chapter in my life as a single father, I obviously had a lot to learn. I couldn’t have expected the expression of support from the community of which my family had been a part for a very short time, but not every community is like ours is. Neighbors, many of whom had by then become friends, took more than a casual interest; checking that I and our children were doing all right.

Today, our children are 14, 11, and seven-years old, respectively. Each is beautiful, healthy, and extraordinarily well-adjusted given the circumstances. Even now, after I’ve right-sized by moving from a single-family home development to a charming old house in the Village of Warwick and professionally transitioned from a corporate manager to an author and entrepreneur, the mothers of my children’s friends continue to provide advice and serve as role-models to my teenage and “tweenage” daughters, while others generously offer practical support as I navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Although I can never list everyone whose help I have genuinely appreciated during the past eight years, I acknowledge people and organizations like Bob Newhard & Jean Murphy at Akin’s Drug Store, The Brian Ahearn Children’s Fund, St. Anthony’s Community Hospital, Francesca Barclay, Bonnie & Tom Hedderich, Horizon Family Medical Group, Phyllis Kaminsky, Nancy & Augie LaTorre, Lisa & Dr. Stash Landau, Kerry Lennon & Dominick Sammarone, Drs. Karen & Scott Loschiavo, Kim & Mike McGowan, Elizabeth Miller, Trish & Dan Miller, Mary Zugibe Raleigh, Buzz & Tina Robbins, Sharon & Bob Scott, Lee Squires & Mike Sussman, The Warwick Valley Central School District, in particular, Beverly Braxton, Janeen Mitchell, Mary Jane Reinhardt, and Roger Longfield, and both Frank Lowell and Frank Truatt at WTBQ Radio.

To you and to our extraordinary community during this Thanksgiving season, we made the right decision. I am thankful for you. You have made a profound impact my life, in the lives of my children, and in Lori’s life, too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Single Father’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

If the holidays are stressful for families that include both a mother and a father, then how much more stressful is the season for the single dad? Undoubtedly, the rhetorical question may be left to some debate. From my experience, however, I’d estimate it to be quite a bit further north of 100% more stressful.

Here’s the 411, my brothers.

Photo Credit:

If you haven’t already realized it, you still have to do all of the things you did when you were one-half of a married couple (or some permutation of domestic partnership). Unless you have a chauffeur or a teenager who drives, you have to take your daughter to basketball practice and shop for gifts. Depending on your own personal belief system, you may have either to light the Menorah or trim ol’ Tannenbaum and snow blow the driveway after the most recent winter storm. (Regardless of your religious affiliation, I’m afraid you’ll still have to clear the snow from your driveway.) And, yes, you will also have to attend, plan, and/or otherwise participate in family, your children’s classroom, and office parties while attempting to maintain, what may appear to be in vain, your sanity.
Good luck! See you in January!


Check out a few ideas which will help make the part of the year beginning on the fourth Thursday in November and ending sometime after the BCS Bowl Games as pleasant and rewarding as possible for you and those children you see at the breakfast table every morning. Like just about everything else, I’ve learned this stuff the hard way, so learn the break in the green from my putt.

1)     Put on your oxygen mask first: Okay, I know this is cliché and it also happens to be the first “Golden Rule” in The Single Father’s Guide to Life Cooking, and Baseball, but there’s a reason for that. You can’t be any help to anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Anytime things get crazy, just walk away and catch your breath. That might mean you’ll exercise. That might mean you go to a ball game with some of your buddies. That might mean having a date with your girlfriend. Whatever it means, slow down, take a step back, and, then, return refreshed and ready for the next challenge.

2)    Maintain your routines: Yes, even during your children’s school breaks when you and your kids don’t have to wake up for school or work, be consistent with bed times, wake up times, and meals. Sure, you can vary a little, maybe letting the kids stay up a little later to finish watching It’s A Wonderful Life or Eight Crazy Nights, but stability is important to maintain health. According to a Cambridge University study, “Children living in households with intensive, stable caretaking usually had moderate cortisol levels, low frequency of illness, and appropriate immune responses.[i]” Doesn’t it just make sense to reduce the chances that you or your children get sick during perhaps the busiest time of the year?

3)    Make a gift budget: If part of your family’s tradition is gift giving, (and frankly, whose isn’t?), then make a list of people for whom you’ll buy gifts, set a budget, and stick to it.

4)    Get the gift-buying out of the way early: As I’ve already quite clearly suggested, the holidays bring with them a lot of responsibility for the single dad. Doesn’t it make sense to remove from your plate as soon those things you can as soon as you can? Whether you patronize your local merchants, drive to the nearest Walmart Superstore, or order all your gifts from using SuperSaver Free Shipping, schedule a few hours or a day when it’s convenient for you and get it done! Then, focus on the next thing.

5)    When it comes to family/office/classroom parties, do what you can: “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go!” Well, that’s fine, but you might have gone to two grandmother’s houses on previous Thanksgivings or Christmases, but now your romantic interest wants you to spend the holiday at her house. Look, most people will understand that you, as a single father, can only do so much. For those who are so self-involved that they can’t understand your plight, well, that’s too bad for them. Prioritize and, if you are simply unable to do something someone else wants you to do, learn this important word: “No.”

Photo Credit:
6)    Eliminate the “Net Consumers of Resources” in your life: This one will help you 24/7/365, but there’s no time like the present to start. I’ve observed that there are two kinds of people in the world, Net Producers of Resources (NPR’s) and Net Consumers of Resources (NCR’s). In general, NPR’s are optimistic people who not only make the world a better place by their very existence, but they also regularly commit random acts of kindness and make others’ lives easier in the process. On the other hand, NCR’s are pessimists who literally suck the life, energy, and fun from every damned little thing. They consume your time and energy by their perpetually negative energy and complaints. Dude, get rid of them. You have enough to contend with your and your children’s needs, tree trimming, Menorah-lighting, movie-watching, snow-shoveling, gift-buying, and party-going without someone figuratively or literally bringing you down. Keep your NPR’s. Lose the NCR’s. You’ll be happier for it.

Check back at The Single Father’s Guide regularly during the holiday season for more parenting and holiday tips to make your life happier, healthier, and more fulfilling.

Seriously this time, good luck single dad.

[i] Family environment, stress, and health during childhood. Flinn, Mark V. Panter-Brick, Catherine (Ed); Worthman, Carol M. (Ed), (1999). Hormones, health, and behavior: A socio-ecological and lifespan perspective., (pp. 105-138). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press, ix, 290 pp.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WNYT Newschannel 13 Interview: Matthew S. Field & Single Fatherhood

In case you missed Dan Bazile's interview with me, "Matthew S. Field," on Saturday, November 10, 2012 on WNYT Newschannel 13 "Weekend Today," here's the link:

WNYT Newschannel 13 Weekend Today Interview with Matthew S. Field

Dan Bazile
As an aside, the entire staff including Dan, Tim Drawbridge, Ben Gorenstein, Cadence Aquaviva, Ryan, Sean, and everyone in the newroom and behind the cameras was terrific. A lot of the fun stuff in a television studio happens between the live shots. An interesting footnote, weekend anchor, Dan Bazile, had a role in 2011 film, The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon.

All tolled, it was a great interview and a lot of fun. Thanks Weekend Today!

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Step Up to the Plate, Dad. You're in Good Company.

Single fatherhood? Very likely, you did not plan to be here. Whether you said, “I do,” or “I do tonight,” you probably hadn’t considered the possibility that you wouldn’t have a partner to help raise your child or children. Divorced? Widower? A little surprise? Okay, perhaps a few single fathers actually planned to be a single father, and that’s cool, too.

“The number of men who list themselves as single fathers has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.[i]” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1.8 million single fathers in the United States in 2010. Of that number, approximately 46 percent were divorced, 30 percent were never married, 19 percent were separated, and 6 percent were widowers. Among those, about 154,000 were stay-at-home dads.[ii]

Regardless of the path, you’re in good company. Counted among the ranks of current and former single fathers are musician/activist Bob Geldof, baseball slugger Mark McGuire, actor Al Pacino, basketball star Dwyane Wade , actor Colin Farrell, international soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo , musician Lenny Kravitz, and, ahem, me.

You may know how to change your oil and flush the coolant in your car. Maybe you’re the best defense attorney in the city or a high-powered captain of industry. You might be able to fillet a trout or field dress a deer. You may even know the answer to the question, “Who played third base for the ’42 St. Louis Browns?” or recite the infield fly rule verbatim. Regardless of who you are, what you know, or the specifics of your situation, it’s time to add another dimension to your toolbox. It’s time to put up because someone, or maybe more than one someone, depends on you part of the time or all of the time. Let’s go, Dad. You need to step up to the plate.

-From The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball.

[i] Earl Kelly, “Single Dads Give, Learn Valuable Lessons,” Capital Gazette, June 19, 2011.
[ii] “Facts for Features,” U.S. Census Bureau,, April 20, 2011.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Multivitamins can reduce cancer risk and prolong your life?

This is one of those things that seems obvious. Anecdotally, if you eat a healthy and balanced diet which includes all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, low in saturated fat, and high in protein and fiber, well, you’re just going to feel healthier and live longer. Well, now there’s a little bit of science behind the common sense.

According to research, “.  .  .   a daily multivitamin can reduce the risk of cancer by at least eight percent in middle-aged and older men and appears to have no dangerous side-effects, according to the first large-scale, randomized study on the subject[i].”

While previous studies that relied on respondents to complete questionnaires about vitamin use yielded inconclusive results, The U.S. Physicians Health Study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health randomly assigned half the participants to take Pfizer’s Centrum Silver and the other half a placebo and monitored the participants during a ten year period. “The findings suggest that the biggest health benefit may come from a broad combination of dietary supplements[ii].”

Getting back to common sense, while the study suggests no real downside to taking a multivitamin, there’s really no down side to continuing (or starting) to eat a healthy and balanced diet at the same time. A few suggestions for a single father to create that diet include:

1)       Include at least one vegetable or fruit with every meal.

2)      If you don’t bring junk food home in your grocery bags, you and your children won’t eat it!

3)      Create a healthy snack bowl and a rule, “Anyone can take from the snack bowl any time!”

4)      Replace sugary drinks including soft drinks, fruit juices, and energy drinks with water or other no-sugar-added beverages.

5)      When you go out to eat, don’t order French fries.

For more ideas, in addition to taking a multivitamin and these five, simple healthy diet ideas, subscribe to The Single Father’s Guide Blog with your email address in the "FOLLOW BY EMAIL" section in the upper right corner of this page or get your own copy of The Single Father’s Guide to Life, Cooking,and Baseball!

[i]Daily multivitamin shown to help ward off cancer in men.” Deena Beasley. MedlinePlus. Wednesday, October 17, 2012.
[ii]   “Daily multivitamin shown to help ward off cancer in men.” Deena Beasley. MedlinePlus. Wednesday, October 17, 2012.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Single Father's Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist - Part III

So, single dad, you're prepared. You’ve kept a FEMA recommended emergency kit, including water, batteries, first aid supplies, and more, ready for any sudden natural disaster. In this case, however, you have a little bit of forewarning about an impending major storm, flood, or imminent catastrophic event. You also have a list of items, like “The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist,” to make you and your children perhaps safer and certainly more comfortable during and after the time the disaster occurs. The only problem is you have a limited amount of time to do the things you want to do and you need to do. Depending on your kids' ages, they may or may not be much help and, of course, it is just you, single dad. In the meantime, your children still need to eat. So do you.

One option, of course, is ordering out. Pizza, Chinese food, and burgers are all fun food, and, given the circumstances, not a bad thing once in a while. However, restaurants may be closed and it still takes some time to stop your shelf stocking, gutter cleaning, wood hauling, barbecue tank filling, and so forth to order and/or pick up food.

My solution? Single Dad’s Natural Disaster Venison Vegetable Stew. (It doesn’t have to be venison. It just so happens that I had half of a venison roast, courtesy of my friend Jon Mende, leftover in my refrigerator.) Take the literally fifteen minutes before you start to work on the The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist and make a pot of stew and you’ll have quick, tasty, and healthy lunches and dinners for, perhaps, a couple or three days!

Here’s the recipe:

Single Dad’s Natural Disaster Venison Vegetable Stew

                        1 leftover venison roast (or any meat you have), cubed

                        2 slices of bacon (because bacon makes everything taste better)

                        6 quarts of water

                        8 ounces of milk

                        4 potatoes, cubed with skin on

                        6 carrots, sliced          

                        2 onions, diced

                        2 cups of broccoli (or any green vegetable you have)

                        6 garlic cloves, crushed

                           2 tablespoons of whole wheat (or white) flour

                           2 tablespoons of salt

                           1 tablespoon of pepper

                           Anything else you want to add

Combine everything except milk, garlic cloves, and flour in a large covered pot. Turn heat on low and cover. In blender or food processor, combine milk, garlic cloves, and flour and blend until garlic cloves and flour is smooth. Add mixture to pot. Allow to simmer on low heat for a couple of hours. Season to taste and serve. Maintain the rest of the stew on low heat until it's all gone. Feeds a single father family of four prior to and during a natural disaster for two or three days!
Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

For those affected by Hurricane Sandy, the rest of what was called “Frankenstorm,” and other recent natural disasters, best wishes for a speedy return to normal. My thoughts are with the single fathers and everyone who suffered losses during the storm.

-Matthew S. Field

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist - Part II

In Part I of The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist, I included FEMA’s list of items that everyone should have ready in the case of sudden natural disaster. Preparation and planning for the unplanned event must be the foundation to keeping you and your family safe. However, if you have a little warning, there’s even more a guy can do to make “Ridin' the Storm Out” a little more palatable.

Assuming you’re not in an evacuation zone, The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist includes a few additional ideas to make sure the single dad is ready for the impending calamity:

1)       Stock your shelves: Grab plenty of non-perishable food items including water, canned goods, and staples in case flooding or other consequences of the disaster prevent you (or suppliers’ deliveries) from getting to the grocery store. If you have a generator to keep your refrigerator and freezer running, buy other stuff, too.

2)      Finish those relevant minor repairs and projects: If you haven’t already done it, clean or repair gutters, test your sump pump, and stow any patio furniture or other items that might be blown away, washed away, or otherwise damaged.

3)      Top-off your heating fuel: Unless you have natural gas, make sure that heating oil, kerosene, or propane tanks are filled so you don’t have to worry about heat, hot water, and cooking until your energy distributor’s trucks can get back on the road. If you happen live in a floodplain, your tank is also less likely to float away if it's full.

4)     Get your barbecue grill propane tank filled: In case electricity and other services are interrupted, you may have to shift into camping mode and cook your meals on the barbecue for a few days.
No Electricity? Go Camping.

5)      Fill your automobile tank and approved containers with gasoline: If power loss is protracted, local filling stations may be inoperable or may sell out of gasoline before transports can refill the underground storage tanks. In the meantime, you may still need to drive to work, to the doctor, or someplace else. If you have a gasoline generator, fill it, test it, and have at least a day’s gasoline on hand. For your safety, use only approved gasoline containers.

6)     Charge batteries in electronic devices: Although electronics like hand-held games can be an undesirable distraction from your childrens’ homework during the school week, they can be a welcome distraction for them and, indirectly, for you during unscheduled days away from school when there is no electricity and they can't go outside to play. Make sure the batteries in all your e-readers, gaming devices, and computers are 100%.

7)      Do your laundry: If electricity goes, then so does your washing machine and, if you have a well and an electric pump, so does your water. It’s always nice to have all of your and your kids’ clothes out of the hamper, clean, and back in drawers.

8)     Build a fire: If you have an alternate heat source, make sure it’s ready to go. Wood stove, pellet stove, or even a fire place: have it ready to go even if winter temperatures haven’t yet reached you. Temperature can change quickly.

Some of these tasks are universal; they apply to most if not all of us. Obviously, a single family home owner's list may differ slightly from that of a renter or a condo owner, but adjust and adapt the Checklist as necessary.

Getting all of this stuff done takes some time. Even though some impending disasters, like Frankenstorm, provide some warning, time is still not in ample supply. Tomorrow, in the Part III of The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist, I’ll include a little, but important, time saving tip to help insure you’re able to do everything you want to do before the cold wind starts to blow.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.