The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 3, 2014

LEVINE: Looking forward to '14

By Scott Levine
Herald Associate Editor

---- — With the new year upon us, many people are busy making their lists for what they will do differently in the next year.

I have some bad news for them.

Only 8 percent of those people will actually achieve those goals. That’s according to a study released about people who made resolutions about 2013.

But a new year is a good time to reflect on what we can do better. Whether it’s to eat better or be more productive at a job, making resolutions can be a good thing, as long as they’re attainable. So I figured I would scratch out a list of what I plan to do to make sure 2014 is as eventful as 2013.

No more being a prince: It’s not that I don’t enjoy being the prince to my daughter’s princess-of-the-moment character, but I’ve been at this gig for three years. It’s time I step up and get what I deserve — I should be king.

It’s (almost) every girl’s dream to be a princess. But when I was growing up, I didn’t know too many boys that wanted to be a prince. We wanted more. We wanted to be king.

When we raced up the largest snowbank on the playground, it wasn’t called Prince of the Mountain. It was called King of the Mountain.

Sure, being a king in the mind of my daughter’s role-playing adventure won’t be as treacherous as fighting off a bunch of grade-school children in sub-zero temperatures, but it will take plenty of work to keep up with my royal duties.

We may have to adjust some of the names of our characters. Instead of Prince Charming finding the glass slipper and then marrying Cinderella (which happens about a dozen times a day at my house), we may have to tweak the story a bit and say the king was looking for a new woman after the queen ran off with the king of Far, Far, Away.

In the grand scheme of things, that minor detail does little to alter the rags-to-riches story of Cinderella. Of course, this name change still hasn’t been approved by the princess herself, but at least I have until 2015 to plead my case.

Watch more sports: As my wife reads that subhead, she probably has a perplexed look on her face.

But follow me on this one.

I love sports. Since my daughter would rather watch Barbie’s Christmas special than watch grown men tackle each other, I have only one other option for a companion while watching sports…and that companion isn’t my wife.

My son will turn 1 this year and I’m assuming that’s a great time to get him more interested in sports. You can never start too early.

To make sure that he grows up to be a professional athlete in four different sports, I vow to watch more football, basketball, golf and baseball while he’s with me, just so he can be the greatest athlete of all time.

“Well if watching sports made a person such a great athlete, why are you 5-foot-8 with no skills whatsoever in any sport?” my wife may ask.

That’s a good question. I hear these things skip a generation every once in awhile, maybe that is why. Or maybe I just didn’t watch enough sports while growing up (I’m sure that generated another perplexed face).

I can’t worry about if watching sports on the couch with a cold drink and potato chips makes you a better athlete. I can only make sure that my son is well prepared for his future, so I have to believe watching even more sports in the coming year can be better for his and my health.

Your welcome in advance, son.

Sharing the home repair: I’m awful at handyman work.

I tried to replace a faucet a few weeks ago and by the end of my six hours of work, I broke several parts of the faucet and still hadn’t removed the original faucet.

A plumber came over the next day and removed and replaced two faucets in about an hour. There went my excuse that it was a one-in-a-million faucet that couldn’t be removed by anyone. Thanks a lot, plumber.

It still shocks my wife that my grandfather owned his own plumbing and heating business and that I don’t know anything about that sort of work. Some people know who the Heisman trophy winner was in 1993 and some people know how to rewire a home.

Who would have thought that telling people Charlie Ward won the Heisman wasn’t as valuable as knowing how to fix a toilet? At the age of 10, I could have sworn that knowing sports was as valuable as gold. How things can change.

In our household, it’s actually my wife who knows a lot more about home repair. She takes time to figure out things and while she doesn’t know how to do major repairs, she’s pretty handy when it comes to the everyday issues.

But with having to care for two children, she’s been handing over those duties to me lately, and I’ve realized how much I don’t know about home repair.

Wiring, plumbing and insulating take a sort of patience and skill that I just haven’t learned yet. So to make 2014 a year where my home stays upright, I’ve decided to share my tools and work with my wife on these repairs.

Of course that will mean that my 3-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son will have to care for themselves, but we’ll practice our best parenting skills and turn on the television to keep them busy. I hear that’s a great parenting technique.

If they venture away from the TV for a a minute or two, they would likely see more entertainment watching my wife and me work on home repair. We’re both terrible at taking orders, so it would be interesting who emerged as the leader of the project. I’m guessing my wife would win out after I would announce several different measurements for the same object.

We’ll see how far I get with my resolutions. Either way, I’m sure my family will have fun going along for the ride.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at