The Boss.

The Destroyer and I were having a bit of a discussion about things this morning when I had to stop the little dictator from trying to command his brother like some sort of power-laden General.

“Hey little man, that’s not right. You aren’t the boss around here.”
“Yes I am.”
“You’re the boss?”
“Yes.”
“What makes you the boss?
“I’m smart.”
“Smarter than mommy?”
“Yes.”
“Smarter than me?”
“Yep.”
“Okay. Test time. What’s ten plus ten?”
“Ten.”
“What color do you get if you mix red and blue?”
“Pink.”
“I see. And who was the President of the United States during the First World War?”
“You.”
“Uh huh. Well. Clearly, you are the brains of this operation.  If it pleases Your Majesty,  please don’t tell your big brother what to do.”
“Okay daddy.”

….and off he went, our little threenager.

World Leader

“Hey Bud, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?” I asked The Narrator. 

“A President.” (His first grade class is learning about presidents.)

“Of the United States?”

“Where else?” He asked, puzzled. “I don’t have a passport.”

Scaring Myself

Wednesday night. The radio has been eerily silent, and while I know that could all change in the blink of an eye, I also know this isn’t likely. 

The stereo in the tired old Charger I’m using as a cruiser tonight is playing classical music overlayed with a good dose of static.

Tonight is my “adjustment night” which means I came in at 11pm instead of the usual 7pm.  You see, when you work twelve hour shifts, there has to be an eight hour one thrown in there every two weeks to keep you at 80 hours,  so the bean-counters don’t cause a riot about constant overtime. 

So, every other Wednesday I work 11pm-7am…and I hate it. Not only is it a dead shift, but there’s something unnatural about coming INTO work just before midnight.

The upside though, is that it’s another night where I’m home for dinner and to put the boys to bed, so that is something at least.

So, it’s usually a slow shift. Tonight, I started looking around the internet on my phone, trying to find cynical or humerous pictures relating to night shift work that I could share on facebook.  Instead, I fell down a rabbit hole and spent an hour reading numerous articles and studies about how night shift workers, (me) especially cops, (damn. Still me) are susceptible to numerous health issues including type two diabetes (which already gallops through my genetics) and heart disease, on top of getting less rest than day shift counterparts. 

Add these factors to the matter of my being eight years older than your average rookie patrolman, and I’ve managed to become absolutely horrified. A lot pf these studies suggest keeping the overnight schedule even on your days off to get used to the sleep cycle and maximize rest.
However, that would pretty much mean I don’t get to see my kids aside from a few hours in the afternoon each day, and never get to do anything special with them. So that’s being ruled out.

So what do I do? What steps can I take to survive long enough to be old and crusty enough to work days? I already know I need to eat better, and I’ve started trying. But still. Scary.

Perhaps this is the biggest drawback of slow shifts. Too much time to think, over think, and worry.

For Valentine’s Day: Barf and Overtime

My wife and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Thirteen years together, and we’ve never done so much as a single card. I don’t look down at anyone who does decide to celebrate it with their significant others, it just isn’t our thing. My wife and I have been through a lot in the thirteen years we’ve been together, but the one thing that’s remained extremely strong, is our relationship with each other. In fact, it’s only grown stronger in the face of the challenges we’ve had to put up with.

This year really wasn’t any different. Except that The Narrator was exposed to Valentine’s Day themed things in school all week, so he expected the excitement of his school party to bleed into his home life. My wife, sensing this- went ahead and made pink pancakes for breakfast. We’d hoped that would be enough, but it wasn’t. He started wondering where the Valentine’s Day Cards were, so we scrambled about with some construction paper and markers to make the kid’s day.

Admittedly, mine was less ‘Valentines Day’ and more ‘Squidward’:

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(Two Spongebob references in as many posts? I don’t know if that’s awesome or sad.)

So, that was most of the day. We didn’t have a special dinner either, as I was out the door by 3:15. The guy that usually works the 5pm-5am shift took the night off so he could take his wife to dinner, so I got adjusted to cover his shift. After I got to work, I was informed that I needed to not only cover HIS shift, but also the last two hours of mine, so I’d be pulling a 14 hour shift. I plunged into it, and got a message from my wife a few hours into it.

Apparently, the barfing from the other night (see previous post) re-erupted in The Narrator, AND spread its way to The Destroyer as well.

So, effectively- on Valentine’s day I worked a 14 hour shift (with an hour’s drive tacked onto each end of it, totaling 16 hours) and my wife was stuck at home with two profusely vomiting children.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for St. Patrick’s Day.

The ‘Splashy’ Cough

Well, we survived yesterday. My wife made the 4am drive home with a barfing six year old, I made it through a five hour over time shift, most of which was outside in the coldest temperatures we’ve had all winter. 

I got home around eleven, and my exhausted wife and I went immediately to bed. We had the opportunity to sleep in the same bed at the same time for the first time in almost two weeks. We were blissfully asleep in mere moments. 

Around 4, I awoke to the sound of The Narrator coughing a little. It wasn’t a normal cough though. It had a ‘wet’ quality to it. A REALLY wet quality.  Like….splashing wet.

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Leaping from bed with an urgency I usually reserve for ambulance calls, I made it to his room to find him sitting up in bed, over a chunky puddle in the middle of his sheets, not quite done yet either.

My wife arrived on scene a moment later, and decontamination began on the poor kid.

A half an hour later, he is asleep right where I should be, with my wife next to him in a two-fold effort to get some more sleep herself, and comfort the kid as needed.

Me? Here I am. With an ancient movie on TV, some sort of large nocturnal rodent crawling around in the attic crawl space,  and you.

I’m awake, and in in one hour, on ambulance call. No rest for the weary-  or anyone, it feels like sometimes. 

Worst Night in a Long Time.

Its 4am right now. Im not at work, but I am awake, which is bad.
Worse, my wife called a little while ago. She and The Narrator were an hour away tonight for a sleep study to figure out what’s causing some of his sleep issues.
He was supposed to be there until 6am, but woke up vomiting,  and they’re on their way home, my wife driving,  with less than two hours of sleep.

Actually,  theyre KIND of on the way home. My wife’s sense of direction is not great, and she hates the GPS enough to have never bothered learning how to use it.

So I got another message from her wanting my help to get home. I told her to hit the ‘go home’ button on the GPS, but she rejected that since it wanted to send her on back roads instead of the highway,  and at 4am, she didnt want to do that. I talked her to an address I knew was near the highway access and hoped she’d figure it out from there.

Back to me, I haven’t slept a wink. My overnight schedule has seen to that, even if today is technically a day off. Not to mention Im worried about a lost wife and sick kid. To add to that, I was mandated for 5 hours of OT tomorrow (today) afternoon.  If I dont get a nap in, I could end up being awake for 33 hours before I get a chance to sleep again.

Oh…and my in-laws are coming to visit this weekend. No rest for the wicked I suppose.

Well, back to worrying, waiting, infomercials,  and call-girl commercials. 

Re-Introduction

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A long time ago, although in this very galaxy- I posted an introduction to our two boys. Quite some time has passed since that post, and for some strange reason, I have picked up a number of readers since, who may yet need to be acquainted with them. So, in an effort to quell any confusion, I am going to reintroduce the boys.

First is our six year old. Four when I started this, I dubbed him “The Narrator.” Loquacious to no end, he has a habit of not only thinking out loud, but actively ‘narrating’ everything he sees from time to time. TV shows are his favorite, and whenever something funny happens on screen, he immediately goes into replay mode, and will tell everyone around him what he just saw, even if we happened to be watching it WITH him. Amusing at first, this has begun to drive me up a wall, since when he does it, I am forced to hush him, then backtrack and tell him what he missed while he was talking. We usually end up missing anywhere between 1/3 and 7/8ths of any given show we’re watching because of unnecessary narration and backwards explanation. He’s also an avid reader, one of the top in his first grade class, and continues to make the weekly ‘challenge group’ for his spelling words. He does extremely well in school, and is clever beyond his years. We have a ton of fun together, even though sometimes he can drive me absolutely bonkers.

Then we have the three year old. Originally just over one year of age at the time I created this blog, I called him ‘Mini-Me’ because he looked just like a tiny little version of me. Well, he’s rapidly growing into his own personality and face, so he deserves a new nickname. Properly befitting his character, I shall henceforth be referring to him as “The Destroyer.”
He’s got an appalling habit of taking things apart, dismantling things, breaking things, and genuinely sewing discord wherever he goes. A dangerously precocious three, he’s got the nimbleness and slyness of a ferret, and thus needs constant supervision.
His favorite things to destroy are his brother’s LEGO creations. He’ll usually wait until The Narrator goes to school before he unleashes a destructive power that makes a typhoon look like a swirling bathtub drain. He’ll immediately render a “So-wee daddy!” in a tiny little voice that makes admonishing him difficult.
He’s also extremely creative and thoughtful in his destruction too. (That’s a nice way of saying it’s usually deliberate.) For example, the other day, we were watching the movie “Planes” – and the scene where one of the bad guys snaps off Dusty’s radio antenna really struck him. He immediately dumped out one of the play buckets, fished out the die-cast Dusty plane, and proceeded to snap off the radio antenna on the toy, so it could match dusty in the movie. Then, when the movie saw the antenna fixed, he brought me the toy and asked me to fix it.

Cute no?

So, there we are. The Narrator, and The Destroyer. Six and three years old, the center of my world, and the reasons for every one of my gray hairs. Stick around for tales of adventure and mayhem, such as this little exchange I had with The Destroyer today:

“Daddy? What’s a ‘Saltie?'”
“It’s a type of crocodile.”
“Oh. Daddy?”
“Yes?”
“Is a ‘Saltie’ a type of crocodile?”

Parenting is glamor, and I appreciate your riding along as I try to make the trip in one piece.

 

She Knows Me Too Well

My wife just got off the phone with The Narrator’s school nurse, who told her that his “left eye vision test didn’t come back so great.”

This isnt a surprise,  virtually every member of both her family and mine wear corrective lenses.

“His left eye huh?” I said. “So what if….” Then I started to laugh as a rediculous thought entered my mind.

My wife shook her head, and without requiring any explanation for my laughter said in an exasperated tone: “No, he isnt going to wear a monacle!”

12 years together, she’s practically a mind reader.

Greetings From 5am.

Good morning. I’m writing from a work terminal. The time is currently 5:17am. The other overnight guy, who is on a 5pm-5am shift, just left. The shift supervisor is in his office, doing….supervisory things. Probably. He may be asleep. I don’t know.

I’m clock-watching for another hour. The day-shift worker comes in at 6:30am. Technically I can’t leave until 7, but his arrival signals the end of my tour, and that’s enough to make me happy.

We’re still getting used to the new schedule here at work. I’m on the red-eye, 7pm-7am. 12 hours of “anything can happen.” Most of our action happens just before and around midnight. By 2am, things slow down a little. By 4am, everyone but your hardcore morons are asleep.
It won’t take long before my brain and body adapt to my new shift, but until it does, I’m surviving on a steady, copious stream of coffee, five-hour energy drinks, and Arizona’s green tea.

I’m trying to work out the chemical balance of sugar and caffeine which shall allow me to stay awake long enough to get home alive, but not so long as to keep me awake when I should be going to sleep.

A typical night (day? I can’t differentiate anymore) will see me get home around 8am. I’ll plop into bed as soon as humanly possible, and sleep anywhere from 4-6 hours. During those daytime-sleep hours my wife needs to attend to her daily routine, fill orders for her shop, and keep the kid(s) quiet.

As difficult as all that might seem, she’s not only pulling it off swimmingly, but is amazingly patient with the whole thing. She’s gone and bought blackout curtains for the bedroom, and a body pillow that we share. She’s encouraging me to KEEP the weird sleep schedule on my off days so that I can get used to everything. Unfortunately for us, that means us sleeping in the same bed at the same time is going to be pretty rare an occurrence. Hence the body pillow. When you’ve shared a bed with someone for 8 years, sleeping alone is very uncomfortable. So, we share the pillow. I told her it needed to smell like her for me to get any sleep, which might SOUND sweet at first, but when you consider that I told her to “Rub your scent glands on it” – I killed that completely.

Testament to her awesomeness though, she’s seeing the brighter side of all this, and continues to be supportive of me throughout all of this. Not to mention, she’s busting her adorable rear end at growing her etsy shop, and is succeeding. January proved to be her most profitable month, and February is on pace to be busy as well. I really don’t know how the lady does it.

So that’s where we are now. AD’s in the midst of some massive changes, none of which are bad, but all of which are pretty earth-shaking. As a result, the frequency and content of my posting has suffered, for that I apologize. I picked up a number of new readers in the last few months for some reason, and I hate to be the guy that shows his gratitude by ignoring those who would read my words.

The time is now 5:47am. Quitting time approaches. Slowly, but it approaches. I’ve got a small window to wrap up some paperwork, make another quick patrol around the place, and get the hell out of here. So, I think I’ll do exactly that. I have an update of substance planned for tomorrow. But for now….

May your coffee be hot and plentiful, and may the day be kind to you.

Goodnight.