- Deconstructing Dad Podcast
Remember long summer days and nights being a kid, always on the move, sweating from sun up till sun down and not even being tired from it all?
I have fond memories of growing up in West Michigan. Waking up at what felt like the but crack of dawn, but very well could have been mid afternoon for all I knew. In our youth, more so then now, summer didn’t really have a clock. I’d barely have the eye boogers scrapped from the corner of my eyes and I’d already be hopping on my bike and just going wherever the day took me. Actually there was a small group of us, and we would go everywhere on our bikes! We’d just run, and sweat and not be any wiser. Right? We were boys, running through the woods or playing football, building forts, finding trails to get lost in. I’d be gone every night until the street lights turned on. This was a world without cellphones. So until the sound of one of the neighborhood parents voices rang out like an adolescent homing beacon, traveling between the houses, down the streets, through the heavily wooded area’s… hell it could have bounced off the moon for all I know… but until we, or more importantly I, was summoned in for the night, I was on the move.
What is the point of all of this? I assure you that there is one.
I’m long winded.
Get used to it.
The point is, as a child I was always on the go. Always moving. But never tired.
Now, I’m always tired and barely ever on the move. Is it age? Is it just because I’m out of shape?
I’m clearly out of shape. I need to get on the treadmill or when the weather clears, get on a bike and get my ass moving again. But it just feels like work now. When I was a kid, it was fun. Biking was transportation. Now it’s just no fun, sweaty, work.
I hate work that makes me sweat. It’s gross. If I wanted wet clothes, I’d be a fisherman!
Now, half the struggle in getting to the gym is finding the mental motivation to just get myself to workout. I’m not sure if it’s because there is no group of friends to meet up with anymore as an activity, but there is no fun in sweating anymore. It’s just self imposed punishment with a soundtrack! For what? For my health? Yeah… that sounds fun.
The other half, after building up the motivation, is actually running for longer than 4 to 5 minutes. Around that time my brain is screaming at me to ABORT! My legs are wobbly like a new born baby deer, and I’m already sweating like a fat man at a cake eating contest with a delicious Habanero frosting.
Really selling the sexy, I’ll bet.
So here’s the cold hard truth. I’m back to feeling like crap. I’m also back to being sick of feeling like crap.
I get out of the shower and I barely recognize the man in the mirror. The mirror that conveniently stands directly across from the shower door. Gone are the days of the Ryan Reynolds chiseled abs and the toned body of a master yoga instructor! Okay, it was never like that. But fond memories through rose colored glasses and self induced body shaming has led me to believe it was…and it needs to be again.
For the first time in 20 years I started to run again. I was working out. I had a goal of losing 25 pounds or more by the summer of 2018 and actually taking my shirt off outside of the bathroom and in public without feeling like everyone is pointing and laughing. This was in the fall of 2017. But by Christmas, the weather was worthless. My drive time one way to work, and then home, had added an additional 30 minutes each way. Then like normal, I got busy doing other things, and all of a sudden it’s been 3 months since I’ve been to the gym. The weird thing is, I actually miss it.
For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to mentally motivate myself to pull off at the exit that leads to the Planet Fitness. In the backseat I’ve got a black Under Armor bag packed with workout clothes and running shoes just waiting to be carried in and used, but so far I’ve not been able to convince myself to veer off.
The good news is, I think I’m there. Mentally. But with working out comes dieting. No point in doing one with out the other. I do think today is the day though. Today is the day I pull off the highway and head back into the gym. I’m behind on my summer goal, but I’m sick of feeling like shit. I’m sick of looking like shit. Which unfortunately might be the blessing of the genes I was given… but I can at least workout to feel better, and it does feel better. There’s truth to the fact that you get a “High” from working out…or running. Yes my legs want to stop running after 5 minutes but I pushed through it before and I ended up working myself up to running a couple miles or more in just the second week. I started to feel that “runners high” and I can see why people get addicted to it!
Hey, I’m already addicted to energy drinks, maybe I can just become addicted to running instead? Truth be told I’d rather still be a kid and just run for the fun of it. But I just turned 40 years old this past October and I know I need to run for more than just the fun of it … Perhaps I just need to update my workout soundtrack. Care to recommend some good music?
So I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, do I want to continue this blog? How do I pick back up, or start off AGAIN when I barely got started in the first place. A metric fuck ton of shit has happened in the 2 or 3 years since I started this blog thing. Back then I was still content being married. I wasn’t happy with my job. I’m not sure I ever have been happy at any job, but thats a blog for another time. I was contemplating becoming a Stay-At-Home-Dad for a mili second. Hell, I always struggled working two jobs to even put enough food on the table at times… why not switch roles with my wife?
Seems a lot was about to change. 3 years ago I went from working 2 jobs, 7 days a week to getting J-O-B upgrade. Shout out to Neighbor Cole (He’s an actual neighbor) for helping me to get a job with him doing security at a nuclear power plant. My (previous) second, part-time job, had me doing security for a couple of low income (See:Crack/Crazy) buildings, where in hindsight, I should have been armed way more than I am now. So I traded in my flashlight and sarcastic quips for steering away the drunken homeless for better pay and longer nights watching Netflix.
A few months after that I separated from my wife of 13 years. “Separated” having a very strange definition. We’ve spent the last 2 years in this sort of limbo of separation, which inevitably resulted in the long drawn out process of divorce. After one failed attempt, the second, should be finalized mid-April. Having 5 kids with her and figuring out how to manage that new lifestyle and all the pain that comes along with it, helped to keep me out of the blogging game for a bit longer than I wanted… but I’m back!
I’ll be honest, I was urged to just jump back in. Throw some posts up. But that’s just not how my brain works. I felt I needed to say something. Give myself a launching off point. It needed to make sense to me. Shout out to Dougie though, who has been nothing but an amazing friend, and sound board over the last couple of years. (Sorry I didn’t listen to you bro… but now that this is out of the way)
So why Blog? I already podcast. Multiple show’s in fact. Well, I want to find my voice. I want to become a better writer too. It’s also extremely therapeutic, much like Podcasting is for me… and as I’m no longer paying to lay on the proverbial couch, and vent my frustrations, and share my insecurities… I figure what better place to do it, than in a public forum! World, you’re welcome… or is it, I’m sorry?
So what are some of the things I’m dealing with… or might I blog about? The good, the bad, and the ugly of course.
My oldest daughter is just a few months from 18. An actual adult. There’s plenty to mine from there as a father.
One of my daughters has been dealing with some sexual assault issues at school. While I feel it’s not really my place to share her story… it is a difficult thing to deal with as a father. I’ve always said, there’s no instruction manual or guide book to this parenting thing, though sometimes I wish there were. Especially for this topic!
I have an adopted child that I personally struggle with in how to bring that up to her. I’ve read that it’s best that a child grows up knowing and learning about being adopted. It’s not such a shock to them finding out as a teenager. When most teens already don’t feel like they belong in the world, I can’t imagine having that dark cloud of confusion to add to the daily struggles of a not too distant teen life. I have this constant mental conflict on how to let her know that she is nothing except my daughter. Perhaps it’s just best I take this one to the grave?
I’m still going through a divorce, as previously mentioned. Which let me tell you what… I ‘m not sure why I didn’t do this years ago. It’s maybe some of the most fun I’ve had in years! If you’ve ever wanted to become someone’s bitter enemy, split all of your shit, and binge and purge the rest of your belongings, which let me tell you, you’ve not lived till you’ve had to actually become aware of all the shit you’ve acquired over the years. The “Shit” hides in boxes or in plain sight on shelves, it’s even buried deep in closets (there’s a joke in there somewhere) that maybe hasn’t seen the light of day for years… yeah, that’s the stuff that’s particularly fun going through together… with your new and improved bitter enemy! Ok… it’s not bitter. But sometimes it’s easier, and I’ll grant you, uglier, to be angry, when dealing with your ex-spouse.
Okay, It’s not that bad. But drama sells folks. Did I mention we’ve got T-shirts for sale? …It’d be cool if I did! #GoTeamGinger!
Ohhhhh and then there is this whole “Dating thing”. Ugh. The stories I could tell. Enlightening, Embarrassing, Entertaining. Yeah, I’ll throw myself on the fire for you, dear reader, but not today.
Coming soon “2 Years in my mind… and my bed” -A less than self-help novel.
Well here is the first of the new mental dumps, in what will be many in the coming weeks. Come back won’t you?
I’ve mentioned Podcasting a bit in my blogs. If there is one thing in this world that I could happily make a living at…it would be Podcasting. I am in absolute love with it. It’s Fun. It’s engaging. It’s theraputic. It’s entertaining.
It’s something that I feel that I’m fairly good at. I’m not great…but I’m always getting better.
Recently my partner in podcasting crime, Grant (A.K.A. “The Kilted One” or “TK1” for short) and I, recorded an episode of the show “7 Days a Geek” where we just had a conversation. We threw the regular formula for the show out the window…and just talked. We shared stories about Family both funny and serious. Stories about our friendship…again both funny and serious and even talked about Marriage and ex-girlfriends. It was sort of a call back to our roots.
This Audio clip is a 5 minute story about Grant running out gas in the middle of the desert while he was in his early 20’s. I had tried getting him to talk about an ex-girlfriend lovingly referred to as “Crackhead Heather”. While he wasn’t willing to talk details, we did discuss a moment in time where he was sure that bad things were going to happen to him.
One of the things I wish I had more time for with my podcasts are writing and creating “Audio Dramas” or “Audio Comedies” if you will. I like adding sound effects and music and such. I didn’t have time to go all out on this…but adding a few effects adds to the story I think.
You can find more episodes of 7 Days a Geek on iTunes and/or Stitcher.
15 years ago I was an early twenty-something with not much direction in life, just hours from becoming a Dad. I was excited and nervous. I had no idea what I was in for…but I was ready for anything. I didn’t have all the answers then, and even now, I still don’t.
I can remember the birth of my daughter like it was just a few moments ago.
Wifey, then my girlfriend, was a month from 19 years old. Just days after Graduating high school. She’d been in labor for over 25 hours. Multiple epidurals had been done. Still, she wasn’t a fan of the contractions she was experiencing. Hell, she wasn’t a fan of me narrating the whole thing for her either. I didn’t know any better. The night before, the doctor had showed me how to read the little machine. I was fixated on it. Every time one started to happen I would share this news with her…like it was surprise or something I was actually cluing her in on.
“Honey, here comes one.” …”Ok, it’s dying down now.” I’d say while looking at the machine. Then I’d look over at her. Her hair a razzled mess. Clammy. Parched and a bit worn out to say the least, she’d say “Will you stop telling me when they’re happening,?”
“But the doctor told me…”
She cut me off. “It’s not helping.”
Looking back now, it’s funny. I was in way over my head. I’d never even been around a birth before. Now I’m stuck in the middle of one. I had no idea the pain she was experiencing. I mean…I’d seen plenty a movie before. Lots of screaming, sweating and more screaming. Usually the mother would grab the doctor, or father, or nurse at some point and threaten them with in an inch of their life for drugs. But that was just the movies…right?
Speaking of movies. I took the liberty of renting one for us the night we went into the hospital. What an idiot! Like we were going out for a quite night of relaxation at some quaint little hotel. I’m sure the nurses thought we were crazy. Me kicked back in my chair (that laid back into a very uncomfortable toddler sized bed), I held my wife’s hand as she sat up in her bed, cables and leads coming off of her and out of her, machines beeping and printing all the while Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd graced the screen.
That was Monday night. Now it’s early Wednesday morning. Probably around 5am. A nurse had come in to check to see where she was dilated. If she hadn’t progressed over night they were just going to do a C-Section.
I woke up to the nurse saying “Oh, she’s ready. I can feel a head.”
I jumped out of my chair, half forgetting where the hell I even was. Tapped down my hair that felt like it was attempting to jump from head. Adjusted my glasses and approached the bed as calmly as I could. Shelley, was actually sleeping. Well, she was awake now.
Here we go I thought, while swallowing a lump back down to my stomach.
The nurse called for the Doctor as she started prepping the bed. She told me to grab and hold one side of her leg and hold it up. I was going to have to help until the Doctor arrived.
“He’s going to be here, right?” I questioned. I remember my dad telling me stories of when I was born. He talked about how he had to catch me I came so fast. I was out before the Doctor even came to the room…and now this strange circle of life event was happening to me?!?
Shelley’s mother hovered over my shoulder. She couldn’t watch… but kept peaking.
I believe it was about 20 minutes or so from the time the Nurse came in, till the time Alexus was born. Doctor Pete had arrived in the nick of time. He came with a slew of students and nurses who were there to learn and the others, obviously there to help.
“What a porker!” my now Mother-in-law shouted out, As Lexy’s head popped out. It was much bigger than I had imagined it would be. Wow! Then followed the shoulders, belly, legs and feet. All 20 inches came sliding out. I could barely see through the damn waterworks. I had tears in my eyes as big as horse turds! To this day it’s still incomprehensible, the rush of emotions I felt. Excitement is the lowest word on the “Feelings Meter”, if there were such a thing.
The nurses quickly wrapped her up and swept her away, taking her over to a warming station where they clean her up, measure her and do all the things they do. I followed them, snapping picture after picture of every second of this new adventure. Back then digital cameras weren’t yet prevalent. So I had a 35mm camera with roll of 36 exposures. I’m certain I was swapping the roll out for another before they even had her weighed.
And now, here we are today, She’s no longer 21 inches tall. Still shorter than me, but she keeps threatening that it’s going to change. Hell, she’s practically a woman. I can have conversations with her about books, friends, life and just like my Dad and I, we talk a lot about movies. She’s funny. She makes me laugh, and she get’s my jokes! Which in this house…sadly, someone has too!
Like I said, I still don’t have all the answers. There are times where I feel like I fail as a parent, but looking at her and watching her grow into her own person. I feel like maybe I’ve done more good than bad. I’m extremely proud of the person she’s grown into. She’s just one of five reasons why I’m very happy to be a Dad.
Happy Birthday Alexus!
A couple of weeks back now, Jayla came home from school and said to my wife and I, “I think I found Archie!”
Now this was a bit of a surprising revelation considering that Archie, our 10 year old Persian cat, (filled with more hate than your average Westboro Baptist card carrying member) has been missing for roughly 7 to 8 months now.
My wife, not a huge cat lover, was in love with this cat. I can’t say the feeling was mutual. On a good day, if there was no other animal in the house, and if you didn’t stir him awake, or even go into the same room as him, he may not swat at your feet, or look at you with discontent. That was rare. But he was our kitty and we loved him, and Wifey wanted him back. Jayla was soon sent on a mission.
Come to find out, the neighbors a street over had found him and were looking to take him to the Human Society. So we had to act fast. Jayla took off down the street to bring Archie home. Less than 30 minutes later, she reappeared with an orange cat in her hands. She got the orange part right. In fact, that’s about all she got right. For starters, this cat was happy to be held. It purred in her arms.
There was one distinguishing feature about this cat, other than temperament, that made us realize that this wasn’t Archie.
As Wifey walked around the corner, entering the kitchen, about to leave for work, she took one look at “Archie” and said, “Ummmm…That’s not Archie. That’s not even Persian!” To which our 9 year old persisted for the next 5 minutes that it was!
My wife, not wanting to take in another stray, and hopeful yet that Archie would return from whatever trek it was that took him from home in the first place, left with orders that the cat be returned. I figured, this was a battle best left for another day. So I explained to Jayla that this nice, purring, happy to be held kitty had a home somewhere and we couldn’t just keep him.
Jayla was a bit upset. She asked that I give her a ride back down to the neighbors house where she got him from. So I did.
Upon arriving to the neighbors house, we see 3 or 4 boys running around the yard playing baseball. Jayla, now visibly upset, jumps out of the car, drops the cat, and says “Here’s your stupid cat back!” and jumps back inside the vehicle to an open jawed Dad. Slamming the door then crossing her arms.
“Jayla, you can’t just throw the cat down like that.” I say as I look into the yard where the boys have all gathered around a set of bushes attempting to coax the cat out.
She begins to cry and explains that she’s upset because she wanted to give that cat a home…even though it wasn’t Archie. We talked for a little bit and by the time dinner was had…she’d forgotten all about the cat.
Fast Forward 5 or so hours. Roughly 10:30pm. I’m in the basement. In the area that I affectionately refer to as, “Monkey Poo Studios”. It’s where I do all of my writing, podcasting and dreaming of a better, happier, creative ginger!
“Dad, what’s that noise?” I hear from the top of the stairs. It’s Haeleigh and she’s walking from room to room trying to figure out where and what this strange noise is. I run upstairs to investigate with her. I don’t hear anything. She insists there is some weird whinnying noise.
I step outside and immediately hear it. I’m in the back yard, sounds like it’s coming from the front. I run around the corner, and there, at the entrance to our driveway is the cat that isn’t Archie. Rolling around, purring and making some noise that I can only describe as Pride. This cat was excited to have found us. By now, my oldest two daughters, who were still awake, were standing beside me. “What’s it doing?” “Why’s it back” “Dad, can we keep it” and more questions came at me faster than I could answer.
I decided while laying next to it on the sidewalk (I’m a cat lover) and petting the cute little guy, that I’d bring it in for the night. We’d feed it and at least attempt to find a home for it.
An hour or so later. After he’s been held, fed and had investigated the house a little bit. I go to bed. Probably not a good idea!
Sometime around 1 or 2 am, Wifey wakes me up. To say that she’s not happy would be the understatement of the year. She probably wasn’t too happy to learn that the cat was in the house. I felt I could explain my way out of that. But that was just the tip of the ice berg. It seems that sometime between me going to bed, and her getting home from work, The cat not Archie, got a bit worked up and heavily sprayed the house down with his particular brand of man jam.
This was not good. The cat had to go. Hell, I was sure I had to as go well.
Fortunately for me…that wasn’t the case.
That was 3 or 4 weeks ago. The cat found his way in the garage that night. Seems he finds his way in the garage every night now. It’s summer time. He’s definitely an outside cat, so the kids have been feeding him and keeping him out there till we make a decision on what to do. Either find him a new home…or fix him and keep him.
He’s a happy little guy, but fortunately he hasn’t been as “happy” (again) as he was the night we found him.
So I’m just sitting at my desk, prepping some upcoming blog entries when all of a sudden it happens! The possibility of death happens. First it starts as a whisper… Something is behind my wall. Then. Nothing.
If a real earthquake could be considered the equivalent of the body having irritable bowel syndrome then the earthquake I just survived was basically the Earth trying to slide by a tiny “Silent” fart…but a bit of a squeeker came out instead. Embarrassing!
You know those farts. The kind that’s brewing and you just happen to find yourself in a public space, with nowhere to escape, but you’re confident that you can get away with it…then SQEEEEEEEEEEK! …and heads turn! Yeah, that’s what happened here. Earth, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Look, I’m not complaining. I live in Michigan, I have to suffer through terrible snow storms and the occasional visit from those windy funnel portals that wisp you off to far away lands. It’s nice to not have to worry about earthquakes too. But apparently every so often the earth just has to let one go.
So like I said, I’m sitting at my desk. Deep in thought, when all of a sudden, the lamp next to me starts to wiggle a little bit…causing the light to flicker. Then its moving good enough to where it starts to bounce and rattle between my desk and the wall. Giving off that somewhat Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment kind of vibe. At the same time, it sounds like club full of people came into my house and started to dance in the livingroom…only they left the DJ in the car. All dance, no music!
This lasted for about 15 seconds…maybe. Long enough for me to think a fleet of dump trucks must be driving past my house. So I got up from my desk, and made my way up the stairs. Barely a noise as I come above ground. The sounds of a lawn mower eating grass in the distance fills my ears. A couple of tweets back and forth from the birds discussing what I can only imagine to be “who got the bigger worm” and that’s about it. A bit eerie in that just moments ago I was sure to be visited by a Tremor. Oddly enough I was, but I’m speaking more to the 80’s Kevin Bacon flick with those nasty worm type creatures!
Anyway, I make my way down the hallway to the girls room. Alexus and Haeleigh practically live on their beds. Cell phones in hand, one living the social media life while the other is glued to binge watching Netflix like it’s her life force. I peek my head in and say “Did you guys hear that noise?” and Alexus without missing a beat says” Haeleigh’s up there shaking the whole bed again!” but the look on Haeleigh’s face says “Girl your crazy, the bed was moving…but not because of me!” I ask them if maybe a fleet of trucks had drove past the house, and they both look at me like I’m crazy.
“Maybe we had an earthquake?” I question.
Literally within nano seconds of me saying that, Haeleigh looks at her phone and her screen lights up with “Did we just have an earthquake” and “Holy Cow, I think we just had an Earthquake” and much more basic repetitive statements that the tweens would write across their social media platforms.
So of course these days, if you want trusted news…and if you want it fast. Don’t go to CNN. Go to twitter. So I shout out “To The Batcave” and go running back down to my desk. (A.K.A. Monkey Poo Studios for you newcomers) With the girls in tow, I hop on twitter and search “Earthquake” and there are already thousands of tweets from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and even Wisconsin where random people are all questioning whether they too just experienced an earthquake. Most of them reading something like “Can Michigan even have earthquakes…because I think I just felt one”.
It took another half an hour for the local news websites to start confirming that we did in fact have one. 4.2 is what it ended up measuring. Of course the destruction left behind doesn’t even compare to the devastation that some have experienced. We’ll pick up our lawn chairs and keep marching on. Though I have a feeling this isn’t the last time I’ll hear about this “Earthquake”.
The Next Day I wake up to this..
Being a parent is a tough job. I would venture to guess that not all of us “Adults” really have it figured out. We go about it, learning as we go. Hoping to hell we’re doing it right. Or at the very least, the best we can. We give out sage advice based on our years of wisdom. Some of it not so sage. Some of it having nothing to do with wisdom. Sometimes you may not even have the words, and sometimes, sometimes you’ve just gotta mess with your kids!
There isn’t much in this world that brings me greater joy than pulling a prank on my kids. If I can find a public arena to make a fool out of myself for the greater good of their embarrassment…I will do it in a heartbeat! I do this for two reasons. 1.) I like have a good time. 2.) Life can be a serious ass kicker…so you just have to live on the lighter side. I literally grew up a red headed step child. Pasty white skin, freckles, glasses, the whole nine. So I always worried about what everyone thought of me. Was I doing the right thing…would people talk about me behind my back, etc…etc… I’m sure everyone can relate to that, but as I got older, I cared less. My oldest daughter Alexus has a lot of those same feelings I had growing up. Thankfully she got her Mom’s good looks! While understanding how she feels sometimes, I try to do my part to make sure it’s not so scary. I can’t promise that I always succeed…but it’s always fun!
Recently Alexus went to Florida with her best friend over spring break, she had been vocal about some of her fears, such as how she was going to make the trip with no WiFi (I canceled all of our cell phones months ago, so she lived for a WiFi signal) and she was also worried about alligators getting her on the day that she was to visit the everglades. Teens have it so rough don’t they? But in all of her preparation in how to work around these things…she didn’t see this one coming. I have to admit, neither did I.
This is actual evidence, PROOF if you will, of the conversation as it happened.
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(Now I don’t want to paint a better picture by telling you that I was actually sitting on the porcelain bus driving the cleveland browns to the super bowl while this was all happening…so I won’t. But I will say, that if, in theory, Sh*t went down, I was in no better place.)
Full Disclosure: Alexus was most likely a little scared, but she’s also pretty damn witty when it comes to a conversation. I’d like to think she inherited that from me. Having grown up on movies like Twister and Wizard of Oz to name a few, she knows the consequences of walking into a storm…of a conversation with her Daddy!
Also, the joy I felt by quickly googling “Into the Storm” for a quick pic of tornadoes causing mass destruction to send to her was probably more Dark Side than not…but her response of wanting to block me was priceless. Oh, I love being a Dad.
Look, we’re all humans. There are things we all do as humans that…well… we must do. Now, do we have to talk about them? No. But if I lived my life by that code…life wouldn’t be as exciting. So, lucky for you, I’m a sharer! A story-telling gift giver! A modern day…ok, enough hyperbole.
No point in burying the lead here. I poop and I pee (And so do you.)
I don’t poop every day mind you, but I’d like to think that I’m regular enough that I don’t have to pay attention to the commercials on TV. You know the yogurt commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis? Long gone are the days of being stalked by a William Shatner face mask wearing murderer with a penchant for midnight walks through suburbia. Nope, now she’s being haunted by issues of irregularity. The horror!
I too have issues with being stalked, and with irregularity. Irregularity in the form of…this SH*t just isn’t normal!
I have a two year old son. He goes by many a nickname, but his birth certificate says Carter, so it’s probably best you get to know him by that name. Carter likes to follow Daddy around the house. This is normal. While Carter is my first son, He’s my fifth child, so being followed around the house is nothing new to me. What’s new to me are his demands to come and visit me while I’m in the bathroom mid grunt, push and Ka-ploosh!
Now, for whatever reason, the basement bathroom’s door handle doesn’t lock anymore. Convenient right? It’s been years since this has been a big deal. You see over the years of being a father of all girls, I’ve developed a bit of a phobia. Perhaps that’s way too strong of a word, but there is great fear instilled in me. I’m the kind of guy that walks into the bathroom and has to lock the door and double check it like I’m Jack Nicholson in “As Good as it Gets”. I’m a bit O.C.D. about the whole thing. I don’t know how other houses run..I only know how my house runs… and my house has a bunch of free roaming daughters. Doors usually open first…questions get asked last. There have been many times in my career as a parent where I’ve not wanted to answer questions asked from doors being opened on occasions that they shouldn’t have been. Bedroom doors to be exact. Of course usually those questions end up being more off of audible sounds like, “What is all that moaning?” and my wife’s go to response of, “Oh, Daddy’s having a nightmare.” but luckily we’ve avoided the more cringe inducing visual questions. Ahem…moving on.
Anyway, there lies my fear. I don’t want to be in the bathroom, pants down and mid stream when all of a sudden the door bursts open and one of the kids gets a glimpse of their maker! Not the one in the clouds mind you..no…the one that resides in Dad’s pants! No! I can’t tell you how many times the door handle has started to jiggle during a nice relieving session of urination, only to be awakened by panic!
Immediately there is this internal race against time, to cut off the free flowing stream, shake it, and tuck it back in behind the now, “Shroud of Urine”! This is no way for a grown man to live. I do not want my penis to be the first penis they see. Actually, lets upgrade that feeling to, I do not want my Penis to EVER be a penis they see!
So being the only man in the house, I took it upon myself to repurpose the bathroom in the basement as “Dad’s Private Throne Room”, so to speak. Now to be fair, it’s not like anyone wants to attend Daddy’s Bathroom Antics, but kids are kids and they just kind of go where the door takes them. I would just rather prevent any future scarring, for any of us! Which brings me to now.
Just the other day I was sitting on said throne, doing what it is that we humans do. When all of a sudden Carter finds himself on the other side of my bathroom door. Recently, within the last few months he’s become pretty proficient in opening up the doors in the house. Now, not that it’s a big deal, but if there’s a time for privacy in someones life, Father of Five or not, it’s when he’s using the bathroom. Actually this goes for all of humanity! I’d say there’s a time for privacy for both “Using the Bathroom”, and “Having Sex”, but there’s a whole industry built around that second one so what do I really know?
I digress. I’m currently trying to teach Carter that he can’t just walk in on Daddy, when he’s using the bathroom. But talking to a 2 year old sometimes is like trying to teach a brick wall to do back flips…it just isn’t happening! So I’ve now turned into the ginger equivalent of MacGyver trying to come up with quick and easy methods of keeping him out while I use the bathroom. (Fixing the door knob is obviously an option that has occurred to me while writing this) I even found some old wiring long enough that I made a hoop out of one end, and fastened it to the handle, then stretching the wire across the bathroom next to the other door leading to the laundry room as a make shift lock! Sure that keeps him out…but the murderous whaling that goes on, on the other side of the door now when I don’t let him in is ridiculous. But alas, I’ve finally kept my peace…or at least I thought I had.
This may come off as a little strange. At least it feels strange. It’s probably normal. Well, as normal as anything else in life isn’t normal…but is. Anyway, Wifey and I are trying to potty-train Carter. This is new to the both of us. Now, we’ve had 4 girls up until him so she handled most of it. They would see her sit down and pee, and we would sit them down to go pee. We’re doing the same for Carter too, but the other day I’m standing in my bathroom with my back to the closed door going to the bathroom when I hear the door handle jiggle. Before I could do anything, in walks Carter. I know, you’re just as surprised as I am. While I try to do the shimmy to the left to keep him behind me, then the shimmy to the right to continue to block the view, another voice sounds off from behind me. It’s Wifey, and she says “You might as well let him see what you’re doing, it’s the only way he’s going to learn!”
So is this normal? Heck if I know. I will tell you that it leaves me with the feeling of having to register myself on some kind watchlist. You know the one’s that shamefully keep you safe distances from Parks, Schools and Chuck E. Cheese’s. It’s all weird to me, but in the interest of soon saving money on diapers, I get it. Let the kid learn to use the bathroom…but let’s keep it within the bounds of “Daddy’s Bathroom Etiquette”!
I can be a #SAHD? (Stay At Home Dad for the uninitiated)
A few months back, Wifey and I were having a discussion about life. You know the one about “Finding Happiness” and/or “How do we pay all these bills without creatively selling any of our orifices on craigslist” kind of talk? You know you’ve had them!
During this discussion a strange occurrence happened. You see, Wifey has pretty much been a stay at home Mom since the birth of our first daughter, Alexus. Not that she’s incapable of holding a job, but in the beginning, I made enough money for her to stay home so she was the one raising our kid…not someone else. Now, flash forward 15 years later and I’m basically still making the same amount of money, which is why I’m now working 2 jobs and she’s kinda sick of being home. Wifey (some call her Shelley) currently has a part time job…but she wants a J.O.B., or should I say a career? So she says to me sarcastically, “I’ll find a full time job and maybe you can stay home with Carter.” to which I just blew off. Then I got to thinking. This could actually work!
Now, I know some people are old school and think “You’re the man, you should be working, not your wife”! At first thought that too. But here’s the thing. I’ve been struggling lately, more internally than anything else, with watching my kids lives flash before my eyes. For no other reason, than a burning in our stomachs for food and shelter, I’ve been working 2 jobs, 7 days a week for almost 5 years now. I’m burnt out. I’m burnt out on the job, the people, the idea of just being a number to your employer that’s easily replaceable. Most importantly I’m burned out at not being around the family. There are days and weeks in the past few years that blend together, I wake up and I feel like I’ve time traveled.
I wasn’t even given the luxury of making it cool, like riding shotgun in a pimped out DeLorean, while the missile packing Libyans chased Marty and me down in the Twin Pines Mall Parking lot. Noooo…this was more like Looper. No explanation, just Poof! I’m old Bruce Willis staring down at a much younger version of me. Though in reality, I’m staring at much older versions of my kids. GREAT SCOTT, where the hell has all of the time gone?
Lately, I find myself just watching my 2 ½ year old son, Carter. This would be our 5th kid for those taking score at home. (Yes, I”m Catholic, though far from practicing. It has nothing to do with religion…unless you count my wife’s nether regions a religion…then I pray to that bad beaver every night!) Too much? Ok, moving on.
Where was I? Oh yes, My kid. Sorry, I still get caught up in in my wife’s… Shit! I”m doing it again! You know, I always attempt to start off serious. I really do!
So I’m watching Carter, who’s laying on the living room floor surrounded by toys, and I’m thinking…”this is it, you’re the last one dude.” Due to surgical enhancements, and my Wife’s gynecologists magician like fingers, we’re not able to have kids anymore. So pretty soon, Carter, along with his 4 sisters will be grown up and out of the house, visiting for Sunday dinners, holidays and any time they can convince us to watch the “Grand Kids”. (Kids if you’re reading this, We’ll take them any time we can!) So I’ve kind of just been itching to enjoy these fleeting moments a bit more. Screw the job. Screw the money. I just want to be a dad. I want to be a Better Dad, one that is around.
So a few days later…you know after the talk I mentioned at the top of this page, I go to Wifey and say, “Are you serious about you getting a full-time job, and me staying home?” She looks at me and says, ‘Yeah, I guess so. Why?” to which I more than excitedly reply with, “Because I would like that.”
Now, over those days and nights leading up to the second part of the conversation, and we’ve had more since. I had thought about all the cool things I could do with Carter, if indeed, I end up staying home with him. Thoughts of having breakfast with him every morning filled me with childlike glee. The idea that I could go with him to his room, and lay on the floor and play with him and all his toy’s for longer than 15 minutes, without having to divert a crisis between his sisters wasn’t too bad a thought either. Being able to just sit and enjoy him, or any of the kids without worrying about how much time I have before I have to be to work, or how much time before they have to go to school. It all comes down to time…and I want more of it!
Then I pondered, I can blog about it too! I’m always trying to wrap some type of creativity into what I do. Also, I thought that a blog could keep me accountable. Make sure that I’m not going to fall into some crutch of just sitting down and watching TV. I do like my TV shows. I knew the term “Stay At Home Dad”,or SAHD for short, but that’s about as far as it went. So I did some research and thought, hell yes this is a group I’d happily belong too.
So in short, the blog was born. I fear that I’m far from the days of actually quitting both of my jobs and being a Stay At Home Dad, but I’m working on it. This blog is only a portion of what I’m doing. I may work a sh*t ton. Probably more than I should…but to add to it, I’m also a full-time podcaster and part-time comic book writer. I’m hoping all of this stuff can take center stage soon and gone will be the days of just being a replaceable number inside a file folder in the Human Resource cabinet.
So this is the first in a long line of blogs about me as a father, a worker and an all around creative person. My goal is to meld all of this together and build a much happier person and family through all of this. I’m sure you’ll quickly discover that my house is much like a sitcom. Something crazy is always happening…and now I’ve got just the place to share it all!
Welcome to Deconstructing Dad!
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In this episode AG and Dan are joined by friend of the show and fellow podcaster Courtney Calkins from the Quadcast Podcast. You’ll remember him from episode 3. This week we discuss Happiness.
What makes you happy? Follow us on Twitter @DeconstructDad and like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deconstructingdadblog/
So in this episode we discuss a the study of happiness, and what makes us happy. What you can do to find happiness and ways to maintain happiness. Add variety into your life. Change things up. Exercise, meditate, enjoy your friends and family more. Do selfless acts. Surround yourself with positive people, do what makes you happy. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Listen in for advice from 3 Dads working everyday to find their happy place both personally and as parents.
So, what’s on your mind?