Archives for February 2014

You Seem A Decent Fellow. I Hate To Kill You

moonlight quote

Have you ever woken up in a mood so foul even you don’t want to be around you. It happened to me twice this week and both times it was exacerbated by my not understanding why I was so damn irritated.

I literally stared at myself in the mirror and asked why I wasn’t smiling.  So I did what old curmudgeonly bloggers do and I went back a year and read some old posts. When I stumbled across No One Wants Rotten Miracles my mood lightened somewhat because I gained more insight into what was making me want to punch a clown in the mouth.

Yeah, I know you want to know why I would go after a sweet  and innocent clown. I don’t suffer from Coulrophobia and though some people think it is cool to beat up mimes I am not one of them. Besides what could I do to someone who is trapped inside an invisible box.

A Fearful Society- Rearing Children in a Scary World

Two days ago I watched a mother at Target guard the men’s room door. I didn’t see her son go in but I guessed he was around ten or so because somewhere around that age boys have no interest in being forced by mom to use the ladies room.

After I paid for my purchases I walked past the mom at the door to answer a call of nature and shook my head. Shook it because the look she gave me made it clear she wasn’t comfortable with her son being in the restroom with a strange man.

Shook it and thought about how many times I have listened to parents talk about how unsafe the world is and how they wished they could wrap their kids up in bubble wrap.

Part of me understands the fear of the unknown. Part of me understands the anxiety that comes from being a parent but I always fight that.

It is not just because statistics say that crime is down. Not just because the population continues to grow and that proves that more people survive than die.

But because I don’t believe in teaching children to fear the world and fear people. My job as a father is to provide them with the skills to function and become a productive member of society.

I can’t be there to protect them from every possible danger, real and or imagined. So I have to give them the tools to take care of themselves.

Most of the time they figure it out, whatever it may be.

Ask me what I fear and I’ll tell you I fear the bullies more than the stranger/danger. I worry more about mean girls and their impact. I worry more about my kids making some of the same silly decisions I made when I was younger.

Doesn’t mean I never think about bad people but the bad decisions are really more troublesome. One day these kids may have a drink and get behind the wheel or be passengers of someone who has been drinking, that is what I worry about.

One day someone will break their hearts and I will ache for them because I know heartbreak but I can’t fix that, only they can work through those moments.

They  have to figure it out.

Opportunity Knocks?

Ask me to share with you a couple of movie clips that sum up my life and I’ll give you these:

And

It is important to me that you understand the relationship between me and those clips. I opened this post with a quote about how we don’t always recognize the most important moments in our lives.

The few regrets that linger are big and they are tied into my disappointment in and with myself. I blew it a few times, everyone does but I am not everyone.

I haven’t always been good at forgiving myself for those moments.

But the clip from Rudy is my reminder to me that I recognize the importance of being alert and last year is proof I have and I did. The moment came and I took it.

That second clip is me saying I hit the home run. I swung the bat and did the impossible but what is critical is to not see that as my swan song.

I am too damn young to say it was my finest moment because I am not willing to say the best is all behind me. That is impossible, got too much ahead and too many opportunities.

It is just one of a series of moments in time. I’ll have more, especially if I don’t punch any clowns in the mouth. You get arrested and imprisoned for that kind of stuff and those aren’t the kind of bars you can mime your way out of.

Do You Ever Think About Life Changing Experiences?

departing LAX

Editor’s note: The post below first ran here. Last night I found out that my dad’s kidneys have mutinied and he’ll either need a transplant or dialysis. It is not a death sentence, but it is not good and it reminded me of my dad’s heart attack. The old man ended up on life support, thankfully he didn’t die.

That time of my life was a big part of the impetus that turned me into a blogger. The experience changed me and I am not who I was, that is not supposed to be good or bad, just a comment about what is.

His health news is what prompted this post. It is also a reminder to myself to push harder to make the changes in my life that have to be made. Our time here is too short to waste.

Five Minutes

I find people to be…fascinating. They are endlessly amusing creatures who like to think that the things that they do are based upon logic and reason, yet they aren’t. They rarely do anything that isn’t arbitrary in nature. We don’t like to admit these things. We don’t like stare at our own foibles or accept our own mortality.

It is late afternoon and I am seated on an American Airlines airplane waiting to fly back to Los Angeles. The seat belt sign is on and the flight attendants are preparing for takeoff.

My toe is tapping and my knuckles are turning white from gripping the seat. For a moment I wonder if I can crush the armrest with nothing but my fingertips. I am trying hard to think about anything and everything other than my father.

He lies unconscious in a hospital bed some 30 miles away from the airport. He is being kept alive by machines and medication. The flight home will take almost six hours and it is possible that he will die while I am in the air.

A short time earlier I sat next to his bed and spoke softly to him. In the midst of the beeps, clicks, clacks and whirling noises made by the machines that keep him alive I told him about his grandson and reminded him that his daughter-in-law is pregnant

Asked him to wake up for me, begged him to open his eyes and acknowledge me. Asked him not to die because I needed him. Told him that I want him to celebrate my 35th birthday with me and squeezed his hand, but he didn’t squeeze it back.

The captain makes a few announcements but I can barely focus. I don’t know what to do. I am not panicking because dad wouldn’t panic and so I won’t. But he is unconscious and I can’t do anything to help save his life- not from 3,000 miles away.

I close my eyes and think of my son. He is almost 3.5 and I can’t believe that there is a chance that my father will die before they really get to know each other. I can’t believe that he might not get to meet the baby who is yet to come.

Dad is a huge presence in my life and always has been. I feel guilty leaving him. I feel guilty leaving mom there. I hadn’t realized until this moment that he was/is human.

But I can’t stay. I am a father and I learned from my dad that I have to take care of my family. My grandparents don’t know how serious this is. I didn’t tell them that I wasn’t sure if he would survive long enough for me to fly out and now I have to do it all over again.

I remember telling dad and grandpa about my uncle dying. I remember the pain in my father’s eyes and how I made grandpa cry. I told him that his youngest son was dead. Am I going to be forced to tell him about his oldest too.

The plane pulls away from the gate and begins to taxi towards the runway. For a moment I consider jumping out of my seat and demanding that they let me go. I am sitting close to and emergency exit. I calculate the distance between the door and my seat, figure that I can get there fast enough to open it and jump.

It is crazy and I know it. But my father might die. There is a voice telling me that I am betraying him by not being by his side.

He wouldn’t have left me. That is not how our family works. I am the only son. I know him differently than my sisters. My grandfather wouldn’t leave me either. I can see him crying, can hear grandma say no. The moment haunts me. It is one of a few that stick with me.

The engines roar and as the plane gains speed I am pressed back into my seat. Now all I can do is wait and make silent promises to the future.

What Is A Father’s Responsibility?

Crisis

Tonight I take you back to a post from August 7, 2004:

I am still responsible for three 90 year-old grandparents and two households, not to mention an infant, a 3.5 year-old, wife, mortgage, the war in Iraq and the capture of OBL. Ok, that is an exaggeration too, perhaps I am more prone to hyperbole than I thought. Baby is crying, time to run.

If you have been around since the beginning you may have read the words above before. You might have read Life Is Challenging and seen these:

It was April 30th and I caught an early morning flight to New Jersey. I got on a plane not knowing if my father would still be living when I arrived and the knowledge of all of the responsibilities left behind.

You might remember the weight I felt and how I was worried not just about losing my father but having to tell my grandfather that his oldest son had died. It was exceptionally hard telling him about my uncle’s death and the thought of having to do it about my father was crushing. I felt like the Angel of Death but I got lucky and all I had to tell my grandfather was that dad had beaten the odds and was coming home.

What Is A Father’s Responsibility?

My father’s health issues didn’t end there. Even though he made this miraculous recovery the weight of watching his own father deteriorate and slip away was too much and he let himself go.

I have been thinking about this quite a bit. Been looking in the mirror at myself and thinking about my responsibilities to myself and to my family.

Been thinking about it because dad’s kidneys are failing and unless there is some sort of miracle dialysis or a transplant are in the future.

Been thinking about it because what happens to him should be a wake up call and warning to me. I wrote about it in Do What You Were Born To Do.

Was brutally honest about my own shortcomings there. Talked about how I punished myself and shared my concerns for my father’s health and wondered if I should be pushing him to do more to take care of himself.

I didn’t because I didn’t think it would help. I believed he would have to figure it out and decide it was too important to let go. Saw him make an effort several times but he never sustained it.

And I didn’t push because I was so caught up in my own mess that I had little to give. Was hard enough to keep pushing for the kids but I did it because they deserved it.

Still part of me feels a bit guilty because I wonder if I could have made things better. Wonder if I could have given him the kick in the ass that would have woken him up.

Where Is Your Focus?

Flip through the pages here and you’ll find lots of letters to my children and lots of talk about lots of different things. You might find some goofy headlines like Cheaper Than A $5 Whore With Less Risk of Infection or Jesus Hates Tim Tebow & 17 Other Reasons Why Your Blog is a Failure and wonder what is going on with me but I am cool with that.

Because as you go through you’ll come across things like The Most Important Things In Life,  Your Blog Bores Me and He Didn’t Die  you’ll see that I learned an awful lot from life.

I learned how to identify and distinguish between what I want and what I need. I learned to take time to slow down and enjoy the journey and forgive myself for not being able to win every battle or overcome every challenge.

And in the process I think I have become a better father. I think my children have benefited from it all and that has always been a goal.

When I think about what I owe my children I look at what my parents have given me and think about my own father as a role model. In most ways dad has been outstanding but he has fallen short in taking care of himself and that is one thing I can’t do to my children.

It is part of why I told them that I need a minimum of 20 minutes every day to exercise because I owe them a father who is healthy and one who shows them the important of regular exercise.

And now if you come closer I’ll tell you I am really worried about my dad. I am not just a father, I am a son too.

Bloggers Are “Still” Narcissists

Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/eyebiz

Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/eyebiz

I am not sorry to say I hold a grudge. Ok, that is not entirely true, I want to say I am enlightened enough to say I am sorry I hold a grudge but that isn’t true.

I am not and I do.

There is a simple explanation for why, who and what grinds away at the gears inside my head. Most of the time I don’t think about these people because thought is more than they deserve and I won’t give them space inside my head rent free.

But every now and then something happens and they gain a moment of daylight and daylight is what generated this moment. Word got back to me about things that were said recently.

Bloggers Are Narcissists

If you want to know more about why Bloggers Are Narcissists you are welcome to click that link and read the post. Go on now, we will wait for you.

There should never be a time when we celebrate when we can say a daughter is a bigger bitch than their mother. That is not just tragic but a travesty of parenting, a fundamental breakdown.

I can’t blame the child for being born into a family where the father is a dolt and the mother is under the misguided impression that her husband’s bank account has any relationship to her IQ.

Unfortunately they surround themselves with like minded individuals who believe that money grants them intelligence and insight they do not have and wisdom they may never obtain.

Sadly all that cash hasn’t been used to purchase any compassion or recognition to distinguish between what is given and what is earned.

Did I mention there is no love lost between them and I? Or that I could sum much of it up by sharing a ‘graph from the old post.

It would give me a good excuse to tell you about how I told one of the husbands that I am not intimidated by a “lick it around the edges girl” and her husband “ride me Sheldon.” But as you can see I don’t need an excuse to work that into the story nor do I need to fabricate a reason to tell you that he told me that some people are fucked and others are fuckers. If I did I would have to relate the entire tale of my snottiness including the part where I told him that I don’t engage in pissing contests with men who don’t wear an extra large condom.

Middle School Monstrosities & Content Marketing

Many people have asked me to tell them what kind of blogger I am. I am not bound by one niche. You’ll find plenty of dad blogger material here as well as posts about the business side of marketing/writing and social media.

You’ll also find fiction.

Sometimes I wish these stories about other parents and children were fiction because I  wish my children didn’t have to put up with some of the crap that people fling.

The stories above were tied into parents I encountered through school and soccer, mostly for my daughter. I am unfiltered most of the time but I was cautious in my approach because I didn’t want my daughter to be punished for my tongue. I didn’t want her to miss out on parties and such.

I did the same for my son.

Been thinking about him quite a bit because he is smack in the middle of middle school and much of the drama and nonsense that comes with that time of life has hit.

Last night he told me he is concerned about losing his friend to girls. Apparently some of them are hooking up and instead of hanging out with the boys they are spending time with girls.

Of course these relationships last about ten minutes so the problem isn’t much of a problem. But I get it, I understand and I didn’t tell him that it is going to get worse.

Some time in the future some of the guys will have serious relationships and they’ll leave their friends for the girls. It is a normal/natural thing, part of growing up.

And tied into it all are the comments/questions and stories about how some of the friends are changing and growing apart. We have had a bunch of discussions about that and how it happens.

Better Than Me

You know what I really want to see happen for my kids? I want them to have more, do more and be more than I am. It wouldn’t hurt me a bit to see them be better than me.

Isn’t that what we want for our children?

But I am going to try hard to set the bar higher and higher. Going to do my best to make it hard but always remind them it is obtainable.

Are You Internet Famous