Need a Place to Hide.

The Narrator’s school is hosting his Halloween parade today. Parents were encouraged to go to school around 1pm and get the kids ready for it.

With only one car today, my wife was left to this role. I am stuck at work until 3. The worst part is that she will also have to lug Mini-Me around with her while she does school-things with The Narrator, which includes getting him into his cumbersome costume. Mini-Me is usually napping right now.

To recap, two kids, one with costume needs, the other isn’t napping and incidentally has a small cold.

I am nowhere to be found.

I texted her a few minutes ago “Hope everything is going okay.”
Her reply was simply…. “Not Great”

….my subsequent inquiries have gone unanswered.

If anyone comes across what appears to be a fresh-dug grave this Halloween night, start digging. It isn’t a prank. It’s me, and I may need your help.

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Hazards of Parenting

This evening was a flurry of activity. I came home from work and immediately loaded the family in the car. We made the half-hour trip to the grocery store. Mini-Me and I went in to work on the groceries, and my wife took The Narrator around to get some last-minute odds and ends for Halloween. We split up so we could accomplish everything and still get me home for my 6PM shift with the ambulance.

About the time they came back to the grocery store and we loaded the car, we realized that nobody had had anything to eat. Facing a mountain of work to do when we got home, we opted for some fast food. Both boys chowed down in the back seat while we drove home.

When we got back to the house, we took the kids inside and I proceeded to unload the car. As I was emptying out the plethora of coats, sweatshirts, shoes, socks, and other accoutrements that had accumulated in the back seat, I noticed that Mini-Me had dropped a few fries into his seat at some point. “Score.” I think, and absentmindedly ate them with one hand as I cleaned with the other.

When I got back in the house, my wife was putting away the groceries. I picked up Mini-Me and noticed something horrifying.

He’d peed through his diaper in the car and the bottom of his pants were wet.

….Let that sink in for a second.

Halloween.

These last few days has probably been the longest I’ve gone without an update since I started the blog. I’m writing now for a few reasons. First, because I know how this stuff works. If you don’t take the time to update here and again, the whole project can fall by the wayside, and I’ve had a lot of fun here, so I don’t care to see that happen. The second reason is that I actually have people that read this for some reason or another, and I feel like if they take the time to look in on me, I at least owe them something.

Lastly, because I actually have some content to share, and I’m going to give a sneak peak into my next post, which will be the outlining of a project I’ve been working on- The Narrator’s Halloween costume.

Before I do that though, some thoughts on Halloween itself. If you’ve spent any time following me, you’ll know that one of my hobbies is picking through old cemeteries, looking for history, mystery, and stories. Every cemetery has a tale that begs to be told to anyone who will listen. It should come as no surprise then, that someone who spends him time picking through places like that enjoys Halloween so much.

One of the women I work with though, spent a good amount of time the other day telling me how much she hates Halloween because it is “Such an evil holiday.” She doesn’t care for how kids are dressed as devils and witches and such.

I told her that technically it isn’t a holiday, and that there are plenty of kids who dress as kittens, angels, and ladybugs. I also switched into my old Social Studies teacher mode and told her that Halloween stems originally from festivals celebrating harvests. These rebuttals were dismissed, and I dropped the whole matter because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. She’d made up her mind, and while I very much think she is wrong, I didn’t care to disrespect her by being a dick about it. I like Halloween. Always did. Even as a kid, and it went beyond my desire for sugar. The concept that one night of the year could be ‘spookier’ than the others intrigued me, and played directly to my budding interest in the macabre.

When my high school class visited Salem Ma. after reading “The Crucible” They damn near had to drag me out of the old village cemetery and museums to get me back on the bus.

At any rate, my enjoyment for Halloween has evolved a bit now that I have kids of my own. The Narrator is getting old enough to have some serious fun with it, and he gets into his costume ideas 110%, so we have some fun.

Last year, he wanted to be a robot. Rather than stick him in an aluminum-foil covered box, Daddy had a brainwave, and we made a sandwich board with computer components glued to it…complete with blinking christmas lights and a working computer fan wired to a battery pack. He loved it, and that counted.

This year….he decided he wanted to be a train. Thomas the Train of course.

So, as a teaser, I give you the first picture I took of the project:

This was several steps into the process of course, but I wasn’t sure how the whole thing was going to work out, so I didn’t bother to record the process. Documenting failure is never fun. So here is where the picture taking process started, and where it stopped looking like a cardboard box with holes cut into it, and actually began to look like a locomotive.

I’ll have the whole thing done tonight, hopefully tomorrow’s post will be the whole tale. Stop back in then, and see how a man with no creative abilities whatsoever managed to build a train out of spraypaint, a Samsung box, and some duct tape.

Now, NOT Having Social Media is Bad?

http://dearkidlovemom.com and GI search for image.

As I was training for my new career, I was repeatedly told that social media accounts were bad news. Things from your past had a habit of biting you in the ass, information you didn’t want shared could be disseminated…all that sort of thing.

I didn’t believe it until it happened to me- exactly as they said it would. When a prospective employer told me “Well, we really don’t like <something>” Not only that, but having pictures of my personal life and kids could be a future problem…so I pulled the plug on all of it. Facebook, twitter….gonezos.

That was back in March. I’ve been happy as a clam too. I don’t miss it. One less thing to distract me from what I need to be doing, fewer chances for my big mouth to extend to my fingertips, It has been wonderful. As an added bonus, I’ve not been slammed with dumbass game requests every seventeen minutes.

I have no plans on going back to it. I am genuinely happier without it. No more facebook drama, no more dirty laundry being aired, dumping that nonsense was the best idea I ever had- even if doing so has NOT led me straight to full-time employment.

….

Then something happened.

A friend of mine, who works at a college (where I’d desperately like to end up myself) sent me an email the other day. “Hey, you may want to reopen your facebook account, will explain later.” My first thought was “Oh crap, who died?”

It turns out, he was in some seminar or another with a representative who does high-level security work, and they were told that people who do NOT have these social media presences are often red-flagged as people who have something to hide.

You’re fucking kidding me right? I spend over a half a year in blissful happiness, behaving myself online, and not getting embroiled in bull shit at every turn, now I’m being told that it is possible that I’ve lost out on OTHER jobs because I DON’T have that presence?

Its like a child being scolded for trying to sneak cookies before dinner. The next day, the child is scolded because he ISN’T sneaking cookies, so it must be that he’s sneaking crackers without our knowing it.

I cannot believe how I can possibly meet defeat at every turn like this. Lose out work because of social media presence. Lose out on work because I don’t have social media presence.

What in the hell am I supposed to do now? Reopen a facebook account? I legitimately don’t WANT to. I don’t care about it anymore. I’m happy without it, as I said. But I’m NOT happy about not working. So do I need to make a brand new account, add just enough friends and enough activity that it doesn’t look like a sham account? Why do I want THAT stress? I don’t really care to be walking the fine line between “Not enough” and “Too much” as far as social media is concerned. I have enough going on that precariously managing social media to stay strictly within the acceptable boundaries for my prospective employers it just a headache. Not only this, but my phone will be desperate to be of assistance and try to synchronize all of that nonsense, no matter how much I tell it not to.

“Sync accounts?”
“No phone, do not sync accounts. I don’t want you to do that.”
“You don’t mean that. I’ll sync accounts.”
“Seriously, don’t do that.”
“All of your friends will be added to your contacts list and it will take an hour to find one contact.”
“Dammit phone. No. I’m serious.”
“Accounts synched. Have fun trying to figure out which one of Sam’s eight contact entries you want to send a text to.”

So what would you do? I am 100% genuine when I tell you that I don’t want to reopen that flippin’ account. Or start a new one. Or have anything to do with it. At all. But now it looks like I must, or I’m skulking around and not worth being hired.

There are some days when you just can’t get enough coffee for the world to make any sense.

Pick This Battle?

Okay…I need some assistance here.

On occasion, usually around birthdays, my wife will bake a cake or cupcakes. Once in a while from scratch, usually from the mix- this is irrelevant because she is also generous with the frosting of said baked goods, so we don’t much care about the source of the initial product.

However, after the initial consumption of the first few cupcakes or slices of cake, she then will put said baked goods immediately into the refrigerator.

This seems strange to me, and a little bit irritating, as the wonderful cake gets cold, and the frosting becomes hard and nearly tasteless.

Am I weird for wanting to leave something like this out so it doesn’t get cold and hard? Or is my wife’s assessment that it will keep better in the fridge correct? Do I need to sacrifice tasty for ‘not ruined?’

Should I just google this and be done with it? I did, and the results were mixed, so you’re my final say in the matter.

Do you refrigerate baked goods? Why or why not? Am I being ridiculous? Why or why not?

Was I really this strapped for an entry this morning that I settled on putting cake in the refrigerator?

Only I know the answer to that.

The Little One is Two – A Parental Reflection

Fair warning- this post got away from me a bit. It snakes and turns and changes direction multiple times, but I liked where it ended up, and couldn’t see any other way to get there than the one I took. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Mini-Me had a birthday yesterday.

We did not have, and are not planning on having a birthday party for him which is a point of contention with his grandparents, especially the ones who are looking for an excuse to come visit.

The reason we aren’t hosting anything this year, is simply time. The work week is no time for a birthday party, especially with The Narrator in school, and my living, breathing work schedule which often sees me pulling double duties between IT and PD, and the nighttime question marks that are the ambulance shifts.

This weekend is also out. Why? Because it is the first and only few days this month where I do not have ANY work scheduled. None of the three jobs require my services for a change, and I plan on spending as much of that time as possible with my family, and I’d rather not have to worry about hosting anything or the logistics and expense of planning a party. Especially since Mini-Me doesn’t really give a damn. He’s two. He doesn’t care.

So, yesterday we had a quiet little celebration. My wife made cupcakes, we took the boys out pumpkin picking after work, had pizza, and he got his present from us.

For a two year old, I can’t imagine anything more than that as being necessary, and would just provide an opportunity for a pissing contest for family members.

All of that aside though, I cannot believe that the baby is two years old.

We have decided against having any more children, so yesterday marked the end of our having very little ones around. Now, he’s been walking, talking, and making us happy and annoyed for some time now, but when they hit two, it seems to me to be the end of a developmental era. Babies no more.

To be perfectly honest, I’ll miss having a baby. The Narrator’s growing independence and self-sufficiency is staggering, and his little brother will not be far behind him.

I know that there is a lot of parenting left to do for the both of them, but I really, really enjoyed having a baby around. Yes, the work was intense, the nights brutal, and the pee, poop, vomit, and other, unidentified messes…but there was something about having a tiny little creature around that completely depended on us that was comforting, along with being completely terrifying, and I’ll miss both sensations.

The other thing is that I am having difficulties remembering what life was like without children. Honestly. There are very few instances of the past that readily come to mind that don’t involve the kids- either good or bad- in some way. It is almost like whatever there was before, doesn’t matter now, and my brain is shifting to take full focus on life with the boys.

It really and truly seems to me like we all have the capacity to live two different lives. As soon as we have children, the first life ends. The day you stop living for yourself and realizing that what you do has tremendous bearing on the life or lives of others, there is no possible way you can continue that first life, and to try….

Well, to try, I think creates more problems than solutions.

Neither life is ‘better’ than the other, they’re just totally different, although for me…I’d choose this life over the old one, any time.

Yeah, I don’t get to go out to bars with friends as much any more. True, I haven’t had the time to climb a high peak in almost two years now. Yep, I picked a rental car the other day that would have more room in the back for car seats over the one that looked cooler and was probably faster.

But I’m also treated to tiny little grins of happiness when I come home from work. I get held tightly when someone is afraid or sick or sleepy. I have an excuse to play with lego again. And the laughter. Ear-splitting shrieks of laughter over anything at all. I can’t say that I ever had a night in a bar where the noise was more to my liking than that.

No, I’m not perfect at being a dad. I screw up badly on a regular basis. But in all honesty, no matter how hard it gets or how poorly I perform the duties as father-man….I cannot imagine going back to the way it was. I don’t want to. I like it here.

And if I’m trading in my bar days with dingy glasses filled with expensive beer for afternoons in a pumpkin patch chasing a two-year old as he gleefully rolls every damn pumpkin he sees into the aisle, or sitting at the kitchen table with a five year old as he does his math homework….

Yeah. I’m totally cool with all of that.

In Case I Lose One

If you managed to catch the last post, I mentioned sitting at a body shop. I was run off the road in the new car last week and managed to do $3K worth of damage to to a vehicle I hadn’t made the first payment on yet.

I left the car to the technicians and was given a rental. The lady from the rental company was very nice, and I drove away with a brand new 2015 Passat, less than 4,000 miles on it. The keyring she handed me had four keys on it. Two ignition keys, and two glove box keys. I didn’t think about it, and planned to hand a set off to my wife so she had a key for the duration of our borrowing of the Passat.

When I got home though, there was a problem. All four keys were strung together on a ring made of metal cable, and crimped on with a metal sleeve.

You can’t remove any of the keys from the ring.

Why then….is there an entire second set?

Why? Seriously….Why?

More importantly than my figuring out the reason behind this lunacy, is wondering exactly how much the man who did this must have hated his job to not bother saying something like “Hey, uh…boss, this doesn’t make sense.”

I refuse to believe that it was incompetence behind this, since NOBODY is thick enough to have done it on purpose and think its a good idea.

“Hey, Sam, you know how people are always losing their keys? Well, I tied the spare to the first one, so they always know where to find it in case the first one goes missing.”

“Ralph you’re a genius!”

No- this is implausible. It simply to have been someone who is paid just enough to do a job, but not enough to care about it.

“Sam, how many key sets did you tie together today?”
“Thirty-eight. Ralph, did you ever consider that maybe we shouldn’t be putting all the keys on one ring?”
“Nah. The boss said “Put the keys on a ring.” So that’s what we’ll do until he tells us to stop.”

This idiotic key-ring is giving me great insight to the mind of someone who hates their job so much as to make any of my workplace complaints seem absolutely silly.

That Weekend Didn’t Count. Do Over.

It is 8 am. I am marking the termination of a three day weekend by waiting in a body shop for an insurance estimate. On my way home from work Friday, I was run off the road and into a guardrail by someone drifting over the center line of the road. Theres a beautiful scrape down the side of the car that I havent even made the first payment on yet.

The weekend itself didnt exist. I worked all through it, including 17 hours straight on Sunday.

My only consolation is the schedule SNAFU that has me not working the day job today. So I am technically off until 3pm, when I go back on the road.

…if drinking waiting room coffee at a body shop counts as ‘off’ that is.

If You See Me Today- Don’t Shoot….

For I am not ACTUALLY a zombie. Glazed eyes, disheveled appearance, and shuffling gait notwithstanding, I am not a threat.

We survived yesterday’s lunacy of working all three of my jobs on last minute notice, but it took its toll.

My drive and patience are shot, and I am absolutely not a ‘people person’ today. I’ve already been grumpy with one caller to the help-desk who wanted me to come all the way across the building and look to see if there was a green check-mark on her printer, because she was ‘too frustrated to look.’

There also might be a pile of cables next to me that were cut from their equipment rather than properly uncoiled and removed…I neither admit nor regret nothing.

I honestly came a second away from pitching a notoriously troublesome laptop against the wall too.

Not everything is terrible, don’t get me wrong. I’m not oblivious to the  beautiful weather, sunshine, and what is left of the fall colors. Nor am I ignoring that I plan on spending the day tomorrow with the family- free of interruptions, work, or obligations beyond doing whatever the hell we want to do.

Today is just a rebuilding day.

So even though I might look like a “Walking Dead” extra, I’m actually in recovery mode, and am not likely to bite anyone today.

That isn’t to say I won’t bite anyone at all- I’m just not going to go out of my way to do it.