Advertisements

Tag Archives: Random

Loving Family Dynamic Postponed due to Inclement Weather

Sweet

Last night I was up until the early hours of the morning trapped in an anticipation fueled cycle of checking the weather app on my phone and stepping out onto the back porch to monitor the various forms of winter precipitation as they fell from the sky.

Is snow a body of water? Social media loves pictures of feet next to bodies of water.

Is snow a body of water? Social media loves pictures of feet next to bodies of water.

My days are numbered

My days are numbered

Even now in my thirties I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of a snow day.  I guess it should be prefaced that I am a born and raised Georgian and in Georgia, snow is magic.  When I was a kid, snow in Atlanta was like the universe just giving you an extra day.

A free day.  A magic 24 hour period inserted between, “Oh crap, I haven’t even started that book report yet” and “Please turn in your book reports.”  It meant your parents stayed home from work and played outside with you, it meant supplementing your not so winter wardrobe with bread bags on your feet and 3 pairs of socks because you had to wear tennis shoes in the snow, it meant hot chocolate and wet gloves hanging by the fire.  Snow days in Georgia are made of happy even when your mom makes you wear a pair of tube socks for gloves with sandwich baggies on top because why would you need to own ski gloves down south?  Snow days meant rummaging through the basement looking for anything that could be turned into a sled and playing until your hands were numb, your cheeks were red and you collapsed into the house one big freezing, soaking, pile of exhausted joy at the end of the day.

Weak

We’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin

Remember that time that our kids went to school?  I think it was called 2013 and it was neat.  I admit I went a bit overboard on the whole waxing poetic about the wonder of snow up there because the truth is, when a snow day overstays its welcome, the harsh reality sets in.  This is the part when you see what you are really made of, when the loving family dynamic gets put to the ultimate test.  Cabin Fever.

I admit using a pic from The Shining is a bit too obvious but some things are obvious because they are right.

I admit using a pic from The Shining is a bit too obvious but some things are obvious because they are right.

It starts out innocent enough; a board game, an extra snack, a glass of wine or beer a bit earlier in the day than usual, a sarcastic remark to your spouse, a snap at your kid for making a mess.  We don’t catch any of the warning signs because we don’t know how long we will be here.  Somewhere along the way the sanity rope feels like it is starting to fray a bit and the local weather man showing the snow in his area becomes some bizarre backdrop back drop to your family’s de-evolution.

In what feels like an instant you are turning a blind eye to your kid eating a bowl of “skittles cereal” and you are dreaming about that Amazon droid helicopter thing delivering a case of booze to your frozen snowy doorstep.  You become a bit numb to what your kids are up to as long as they keep it down and don’t get blood on anything as you settle into your own little wi-fi fueled haze.  Cycling through social media, weather apps, and random google searches, you are suddenly curious if the U.S. just invented  slopestyle  to pad our Olympic stats.  Eventually you start to wonder how long you have been sitting there.  When did I take a shower last?  Why are my children’s collective worldly possessions all in the living room?  Did I just eat this entire can of Pringles?  How long have I been wearing these pajama pants?  Is it still snowing?  No school again?  What day is it?  What year is it?  Netflix is the only one in this house that truly understands me.  How many lunches have we had today? Is there anything left my kids haven’t fought about?

Sound familiar?  You start organizing games like the nap game and the prize is whichever kid falls asleep first doesn’t get a spanking.  You gather the family around the table to work on a 1000 piece argument.  You start wondering if you should send the internet a Valentine’s day card.  You try to make the best of it by thinking of all of the great family memories the snow storm has provided but get interrupted because now that your kids have not played with every single toy that they have, they have resorted to taking breaks from fighting and crying to climb on stuff and jump off of furniture and you are pretty sure you need to find an ACE bandage so you can tie them up with it and MAKE IT STOP.

RIP Snowman, gunned down by the glorious thaw.

RIP Snowman, gunned down by the glorious thaw.

Being cooped up for days on end can push us right to that edge but somehow we hold on.  Sibling rivalry wears itself out and sleep gives us the short respite we so desperately need.  The thaw is coming and we just have to hang on and one day we will look back and only see the happy.  When you are in the moment though, cabin fever is completely weak.

Advertisements

Crying Games

Sweet

Kissing Boo-boos 

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

This sticker sucks, where is the princess?

My kids can go from adorable and well-behaved to faking an injury in the speed of being told no.  Injuries have always been spotlight grabbers and kids are smart.  We go through band aids like paper towels because let’s be honest, band aids are just princess stickers that come with sympathy and attention.  Could there be anything better to have for a toddler.  So yeah, I recognize that when I hear, “I NEED A BAND AID” it rarely is warranted and often the location of said boo-boo can mysteriously relocate in the time it takes to get the wrapper off of the sticker band-aid.  That’s because keeping tabs on the locale of imaginary injuries can be a tough job.

There is a real benefit to those little bumps and bruises though, both real and imaginary ones.  It gives me a chance to kiss something and make it better.  Even though my lips have no magical healing abilities, as long as I am dad and they are little, kisses get to be better than medicine because they make everything feel better. There is definitely some magic in that.  When we grow up tears usually have so much stress fueling them that kisses and hugs seem to lose their luster. I try to remember how lucky I am to be able to provide the kind of comfort that a parent gives their child and though some level of that will always remain, this is the time that it is really special.  For example, go find an adult that is crying and start to tickle them and see what happens.  One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to make everything better in their eyes even on days that you can’t seem to get anything right in yours.  Seeing a tiny little smile begin to blossom out of a face puddle of tears is totally sweet.

 

Weak

There Will Be Tears 

I don't want crust on my sandwich!

I don’t want crust on my sandwich!

Speaking of face puddles, toddlers are crazy good at crying.  In their defense, if I was just beginning to learn and understand that I was a part of a whole big world instead of the whole big world being a part of me I may get a bit verklempt as well. I’m not suggesting that our little one isn’t still the boss of us in a lot of ways but she is starting to figure out that the whole baby thing where the world and everyone in it revolved around her was only temporary.  That is probably a tough pill to swallow and for the most part she is handling that kind of life changing realization rather gracefully but every now and then the reality slaps her cold in the face and she isn’t in the mood to deal with it.

She doesn’t know how to do a ton of stuff yet but for as far back as she can remember tears got results.  Granted back then she was crying because she needed a clean diaper and now the tears may be because butterflies won’t talk to her or her mean parents won’t let her mix Skittles with Cheerios and milk for breakfast.  When she was a baby the only reasons her cries weren’t tended to immediately was If they went unheard. Well, Captain Lung Capacity has no struggle with upping the volume  and if that doesn’t work, then the real exasperation begins to set in.  I’ve even had her suddenly stop mid sob to look up at me and say, “DADDY, I’M CRYING!”  Like anyone in our house or on our street didn’t hear her.  There should be a game show where parents of toddlers have to guess if the cries of a 2-year-old are the result of an appendage stuck in a piece of running farm machinery or if they got an orange Popsicle when they wanted a red one.

Toddler-hood is the gateway into a brave new world and I need to remind myself that it isn’t all roses and sunshine for them either.  I should also keep in mind that If I am going to call them a jerk under my breath I had better make sure it is way under my breath because the lady at the grocery store doesn’t understand but is happy to offer her parenting critique.  Like apparently suggesting that your kid  can use the tears streaming down her face to wash down the two more bites of carrots (that basically make up 79% of her entire lunch) you are begging her to eat is not good form.

I am lucky that these times are less and less frequent and love them no matter what causes the crying but when it is because they aren’t allowed to paint the TV, it is totally weak.


Relationship Status: Survived a Trip to IKEA

My wife and I recently celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I know to some that is a long time and to others we are still relatively new at this.  Here is the thing though, I think 12 calendar years is probably equivalent to at least 20-25 IKEA years.  What I mean  is that this 12 year accomplishment  deserves your applause because during that time we probably made at least 20 trips to IKEA.  IKEA is like the Swedish Wal-Mart where healthy loving relationships go to die.

Tools? We don't need no stinking tools!

Tools? We don’t need no stinking tools!

I guess one of the good things about IKEA is that the golf pencil and little paper tape measure are free, especially since the marriage counseling is going to be so expensive. I mean, if they would let you take a plate of those delicious horse meat meatballs into the showroom I would go there by myself on a Saturday just to watch couples melt down in public.  I am pretty sure that any husband can agree that the 4 words that can strike fear into even the bravest of souls when spoken in an IKEA are “what do you think?’  WHAT DO I THINK?? EJECT, EJECT, SAVE YOURSELVES I’M DEAD ALREADY.  What I think is that after 20 seconds in that place we are all drunk on sleek design and functionality and that intoxication will soon wear off when we realize no number of multi-tool organizational shelving units will make the inside of our house look like the showroom there.  Of course that isn’t what I said.  What I said was, I think it is great, I think everything in here is great.  I think if we get this dining room desk /storage unit with hidden drawers and special built-in lights that take light bulbs that cannot be purchased anywhere else on the planet it will probably solve most of our problems.  Que meltdown.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario's secret warp zone to world 8-1.

At IKEA this is like finding Super Mario’s secret warp zone to world 8-1.

Those Swedes think of everything though, because it is hard to look all pissed when you are storming off pushing a cart with 4 swivel wheels and you have to Tokyo drift around the corner to avoid knocking over a display of 4000 glass tea light holders.  The also know that any little argument can easily fade away when you turn the corner and both marvel at the 200 square foot living space.  Suddenly you want to trade your big house in the suburbs for a broom closet because how cool is all of this stuff?

I need to be honest though, while it is possible that IKEA can present some unique relationship challenges, they do have some cool stuff; no Viking helmets but cool stuff none the less.  We have some of their cool stuff in our house and most of the time the joy of new furniture is enough to quell the in store disputes and bring everyone back to a happy place before the put together meltdown occurs.

I think we all know about the put together meltdown.  I am a pretty handy guy I fix stuff and know my way around a tool box but that really doesn’t matter when it comes to Swedish engineering.  There is no piece of IKEA furniture in our house that wasn’t halfway assembled then taken apart and reassembled because I had something upside down or backwards or inside out. You would think that the only  problem with that would be the increased amount of time to complete the build and the addition of a few 4 letter words to your kid’s vocabulary but the real problem is this:

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Once she learned the new curse words it was time to let her take over.

Furniture from IKEA is not designed to be taken apart and put back together.  With the re-screwing or allen wrenching or whatever you call it of each bolt with that multi-tool the structural integrity is compromised.  So basically after a 6 pack of beer, 2 cut knuckles, a kid wondering what that word meant and a bucket of tears (mine not there’s) you wind up with a bedside table that is capable of holding an alarm clock and a pencil and anything heavier than that causes the legs to wobble.

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I think that this can be applied to relationships for sure.  Arguing in IKEA can be pretty weak but getting home and lounging on your new futon/file cabinet/spice rack is totally sweet.


Let’s See What Every Public Restroom in Our Town Looks Like

Sweet

Big Girl Panties 

You're basically a horrible parent if you don't buy your kid's an ipotty, I mean how did anyone live before these were invented?

You’re basically a horrible parent if you don’t buy your kid’s an ipotty, I mean how did anyone live before these were invented?

I say the phrase “big girl panties” far more than I am comfortable with but my modicum of machismo is a small sacrifice in this rite of passage known as potty training.  We’ve traded in Minnie Mouse pull ups for Hello Kitty underwear and so far so good.

I shudder at the risk of writing some mundane blog post that reads like so many all too graphic status updates we have endured on Facebook about the trials and tribulations of dumping the diaper.  I refuse to chronicle the occasional set-back and focus on the fact that we are no longer forking over hard-earned cash for it to get peed on.

I think that we, as parents, are usually so happy to be passed the diaper changing stage that it doesn’t dawn on us for a while that it really is the conclusion of the baby stage.  There is no stopping them from growing up so we may as well appreciate that their maturation can provide a bit of a break for us as well.  As a dad of daughters I could live without the daily 3 minute decision process of is she in more of a My Little Pony mood or a Tinker Bell mood to gird her fanny with but getting your kid potty trained is totally sweet.

Weak

I need to go  

Seeing this is totally clutch.

Seeing this is totally clutch.

Here is the deal, 74% of the time you hear a child utter the phrase, ‘I need to go to the bathroom” what it really means is, “I want to see the bathroom.”  I won’t discredit my sentiments from above that your child being potty trained is a good thing but ugh, can we go one place in public without visiting the loo?  Since that is obviously not an option could we please limit our public wanderings to places that have a family restroom?  I don’t mind navigating the potential minefield of taking my daughter into the men’s room but I think we can all agree that the family restroom is pretty clutch.

We have been to the restroom in every store, restaurant, post office (haha, it isn’t 1987, we don’t go to the post office), park, doctor’s office, and gas station in at least a 8 mile radius of our home.  I don’t shy away from taking my girls to the restroom out in public but it ain’t all roses and sunshine people.  Here is just a sampling of some of the thoughts that have gone through my head while fake potty dancing our way to use the water closet:

  • Please don’t ask about the urinals, please don’t ask about the urinals.
  • Oh good, an automatic paper towel dispenser, guess we are coming back here 14 times in the next hour.
  • Good thing we don’t need a special license plate to use the handicapped stall.
  • LOOK AWAY!!!
  • Sure, I will hold you above the sink so you can get soap and wash your hands and splash water because it is important to form a healthy habit even though we both know you just sat there with your hands clasped while I did all of the dirty work.
  • Honey, unless you are ready for her to start watching rated R movies, it looks like its your turn and let’s hope the lady’s room is more G rated.
  • It’s a good thing this kid can’t read (this is mostly on a road trip emergency stop at a highway gas station)
  • I think I put that paper seat cover thing on backwards.
  • NOPE, too many dudes in here = too many potential questions.
  • I already know that this is a false alarm but this is not the type of thing you risk.

So, we visit them all and hope for the best.  At some point they will surely realize that none of them are really that special but I think I know what their angle is. It is the nemesis of parent’s taking their kid’s to the bathroom and the crown jewel of children’s restroom adventures.  The water fountain.  Man I hate public water fountains.  Just as you finish the whole restroom experience and think you are free, you exit the door and your child’s eyes light up with the desire for cool, bacteria laced, free, public refreshment.  Not only does that water fountain present one last obstacle / opportunity for you to be a meanie head, they remember that water fountain and you can bet your life the next time you visit the location, they will want to visit. No one wants their child to be in diapers forever but that doesn’t mean that taking your kid into a public restroom isn’t completely weak.


72 Band-Aids and Plenty of Apple Juice

 

Father Knows Best was an old TV show that I am old enough to know of but not really know about. It seemed fitting, this picture is from the Interwebs and belongs to the show. I guess.

Father Knows Best was an old TV show that I am old enough to know of but not really know about. It seemed fitting, this picture is from the Interwebs and belongs to the show. I guess.

*Stands up, clears throat* Hi, my name s Simon. I am a 35-year-old father of two and sometimes I would rather play Xbox than Polly Pocket or watch a show about pawn shops instead of giving them baths. *All together now* “HI SIMON” 

Horrible huh? I mean moms on Facebook are re-purposing tiny mason jars into sippy cups and spending 6 hours making rainbow cup cakes for their kid with two last name’s preschool class. Dads are coaching multiple sports teams and all work for companies that are happy to give them half the day off to go to their first grader’s Christmas party to stand around like overgrown wall flowers and watch their kids eat said cupcake. Babies are learning sign language and how to read and the other day I met a 5-year-old that knew what quinoa was.

The over-achieving appears to be at its zenith and it seems that all of the parents around me went to orientation or got the syllabus ahead of time and have a way better clue as to what they are doing.  I mean I hate to break it to you but some mornings I wake up and it takes me a few minutes to remember I’m not 15 and I am in charge of TWO HUMAN BEINGS.

Don’t worry though, the whole grown up secret is safe with me. While I may not fool other parents, my kids think I’ve got all the answers just like we thought about our parents when we were kids. One day I will be able to hand down this tradition of the human condition to my daughters and the cycle will continue.

“Wow Simon, that was quite the little rant, you must hate being a parent.”

Nope. Being a parent is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me and guess what? It’s my favorite. I love my kids with all of my heart and I even think that sometimes I am a pretty good dad, maybe even most of the time.

I also know that it isn’t always easy and when you add being a parent to being a spouse, being a sibling, being an employee, being a son or daughter, and being an adult, sometimes you can forget what it feels like to be you.

The good news is, I think there is room to be all those things, be good at them, and still be you. I also think that if you can remember who you were when you were 15 and not be afraid to let it shine through in your other roles, it will make you better at them and the days more fun along the way.

I’m not going to lose who I am in an effort to be the best parent I can be. I’m going to share who I am with my kids and figure things out one day at a time. It may not always wind up looking like a photo on Pinterest but as long as I can keep them healthy, happy, learning, and laughing I think we will figure this thing out.

I hope to share some light-hearted stories and observations from a dad’s point of view of what it can be like raising the generation that doesn’t know what the roll down window gesture means and can’t drive to the grocery store without wanting to watch a movie.

I love them with all I’ve got even when they make me miss video games. As long as we have a fun-loving disposition, plenty of juice, and extra band-aids I think we will do just fine even when we do eat the occasional gluten and still aren’t positive that quinoa isn’t a city in Canada.


Minimal Effort

Sweet and Weak

Knock Knock

I have read a lot of blogs lately discussing things being slower during the summer.  Less to write about, busier schedule, taking a break etc.  I am not sure if all of those apply to my but I have definitely been posting less often lately.  I have still been writing, just with a lot fewer words and a lot less effort.  Mostly what I have been writing are jokes or punch lines that still need some detail added to them to get the full effect.  Last week Sweet Mother dedicated the week to jokes on her blog.  She posts everyday and is kind of blogging all-star so I have no qualms about shamelessly stealing her idea.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

I am working through a real blog post in my head and will write that soon but in the meantime, here is a handful of what my brain has leaked out over the last few days.  I am removing the usual wholesome filter that I write with and just posting these as is.  (My apologies in advance)

My written vocabulary would be better but my spelling is so bad I usually just choose a synanym, sinonim? synonyme? I usually just choose another word.

Just handed out a bunch of “Life is Good” shirts to the homeless. I like my philanthropy with a twist of irony.

Yesterday, I accidentally searched for something on yahoo. It was like putting on an old sweater and realizing it was ugly and doesn’t fit anymore. 

“Don’t worry guys, everything’s going to be OK, she’s dropping a stick and a leaf in here.” -said no lightning bug in a jar ever.

All I’m saying is, if they want the jumbotron to be family friendly, they shouldn’t have put the Kiss Cam on me while I had a funnel cake. 

Argentina’s bikinis and USA’s turtlenecks in beach volleyball may be shedding some light on the anti-America sentiment I have heard about. 

Based on how flawlessly I just put the baby in her crib and snuck out of the room, my ninja uniform is probably in the mail. 

I Called McDonald’s to see if they had a lost and found today. How would you describe dignity? 

My daughter just climbed up on the coffee table and tore her diaper off. Does this mean we have to change her name to Cinnamon?

Hand sanitizer dries fast but not near fast enough when you spill a big drop on your crotch right before walking into a meeting. 

Hey people really good at Excel, what is that one formula that populates the past 3 weeks of work I didn’t do into these cells? 

I don’t know if he was a Sommelier but the clerk at the 7-11 suggested pairing this Boone’s Farm with my loneliness and ineptitude.

I don’t litter unless there are inmates picking up trash on the side of the road. Then I just toss out a bottle as I drive by and yell “missed a spot”

I generally think Golden Coral is gross but if they ever add toaster strudels to the buffet, I will probably go ahead and have my mail forwarded there. 

I just mixed two different Axe body sprays and grew an Ed Hardy T-shirt and a faux hawk. 

I like how at IKEA the paper ruler and golf pencil are free. Especially since the marriage counseling will be so expensive. 

I realized I’m just not cut out for Facebook after saying Happy Birthday Karen to that girl named Sharon for the 3rd year in a row. 

I think it’s neat that people my parent’s age suggest talking to the pharmacist like the Internet doesn’t even exist.

I was feeling used but after therapy it is more like certified pre-owned.

This morning, the only soap in the shower was apricot melon body scrub. I think I just synced cycles with the wife. 

Jokes can be hit or miss so if these were completely weak, I will try to do better, if you thought they were sweet, thanks for not un-following my blog.


If Only It Could Be Bottled Up

Sweet

Turbo 

If you don’t recognize this from Spaceballs, I am questioning the entire foundation of our relationship.

Ever have a day that you feel like you hit your own personal turbo boost?  Your reflexes are faster, your attention is more focused, your productivity can’t be stopped?  Like that 10 minutes after your first cup of coffee when everything shifts into perfect focus only lasting for 12 hours?

Monday I returned back to the office after a week of vacation.  Sweet glorious sunburned nose and umbrella drink vacation.  I walked into my office and through the dark I saw that little flashing red light blinking from my phone.  It was welcoming me back with the notification that I had eleventy billion messages.

If I were Stallone in the movie “Over the Top” this would have been the part where I turned my mesh trucker hat backwards and got down to business. I was a sight to behold.  Luckily no one really saw it because that is the kind of productivity that can set expectations way too high.  I plowed through phone calls and emails scheduling meetings and solving problems.  I didn’t get up to pee, I didn’t eat lunch. For a solid 9 hours I was a machine.  I not only got my personal wheels of commerce moving again, I gave the squeaky points a shot of oil and got them running better than they were before.

I knew it wasn’t going to be fun, but I knew I had to do it and when the day came to a close I was pleased with the fruits of my labor.  I think we all have days like that where we get into a groove and can’t be stopped.  The satisfaction from a day like that sometimes makes me question why I don’t do it every day, but then I remember how much I love the internet and wasting time and how I never shy away from setting a bar too low in order to make my leaps over it more astounding.

If we could, we would put that kind of day in a bottle so we could use it whenever we needed to.  Some people do it every day and I commend them, but for me it doesn’t come around quite as often.  That was my Monday and it was totally sweet.

 

Weak

Coasting 

If Monday was a high-octane turbo adventure, Tuesday was cruising down a hill with your foot off the gas.  Perhaps I wore myself out or misplaced my mojo but Tuesday started something like this:  Made it to the gym first thing in the morning.  Broke a sweat untangling my earbuds.  Hit the showers.  Bought a $6 smoothie.  Buckle up world, I am on fire.

I hope I am not the only one that has these kind of days on occasion.  Where there just seems to be a light haze over everything and even going through the motions seems to require more effort than you are willing to part with.  You get the work done that has to be done but those little nuggets of productivity in the day seem to fizzle fast.  You read some blogs or stuff on the internet, look at boat trader for what seems like forever, catch up on some words with friends turns and before you know it, it is already 9:15.  What?  How can it only be 9:15?  I feel like I have already wasted the entire day.

If you were born with a special gift and talent for coasting like I was, you don’t have to dig too deep to maintain your low effort prowess for the rest of the day.  As new tasks arise, you calmly push them aside because you are still full from the big bowl of lazy you had for breakfast.  Eventually the day begins to come to a close and you smile at your accomplishment of basically keeping a seat warm and laughing at some potentially questionable internet humor.

The end of a day like that gives you a whole different feeling.  I would tell you what it is but I was way too lazy to remember it.  It is something like a very relaxed dusting of remorse sprinkled over empty. I take solace in the fact that the coast days are not the norm and the high level assessment of my work ethic and productivity is pretty solid.  That being said, I think we all have those days that just seem to drift by with little or no contribution from ourselves.  Everyone likes to be a smidge lazy, but when you realize you coasted the whole time it is pretty weak.


%d bloggers like this: