Bath Time

The morning started off innocently enough. I had just finished breakfast and was hanging out in my Lightning McQueen car; honking the horn and playing some tunes. Then one of the Giants approached me. It roared at me in their strange language; I have been trying to learn this primitive speech because the Giants are obviously simple people who do not understand my advanced speech. I heard a word I have heard before, “bath”. The other giant; the soft, good smelling one who provides me sustenance, had talked to me of a bath before. I remembered swimming peacefully in a small body of foamy water while that giant sat with me and removed the dirt and dried food from my body. It was a pleasant experience and I looked forward to the relaxing ritual. But apparently bath has different meanings to each of these giants.

I was stripped naked quite forcefully, and carried to the water. A giant waterfall was crashing into the small lake where I had spent many peaceful evenings, churning up a thick foam that smelled faintly of cherries. I was unceremoniously dropped into some sort of torture chair that had been placed next to the waterfall. The water rose alarmingly quickly, and even though I struggled and cried for help the giant simply held me there. Miraculously, the waterfall was cut off before I was completely submerged. I tried to calm myself and think of a way to escape.

The giant seemed pleased with itself, smiling and babbling to me like an idiot. It dropped a few things in the water, I think as an attempt to bribe me into silence. The yellow one that squeaked did interest me for awhile. I believe the giant called it a “duckie”.

There seemed to be no immediate danger so I busied myself with the duckie; but still keeping a wary eye on the giant and looking for an opportunity to escape.

And then the torture started.

The giant kneeled down beside me, grabbed a square cloth that it squirted a liquid into (most likely some sort of acid or poison), and attempted to suffocate me. I screamed and thrashed wildly, hoping to break free from its grasp, but the giant would not relent. After the attempt to smother me failed, the giant began to use the cloth to cover me in the strange, slimy foam. My torso, arms, and legs were all attacked. No amount of struggling or crying could get me free.

Resigning myself to my imminent doom, I gave up my struggle and sat there sobbing while I waited for the giant to finish me off. However, it looked like my pleas must have reached somewhere deep inside the giant where a small portion of its heart remained untouched by cruelty and death. For at the moment I had given up all hope, the giant began to wipe the foul liquid from my body. And when that was finished; it lifted me from the water and wrapped me in a soft, warm blanket. The giant carried me from its torture chamber, applied a sweet smelling oil to my body, and dressed me in clean clothes.

Now that I am free once more; I’m forced to admit that I feel refreshed after this whole ordeal. But I still do not trust this giant. I feel I must retaliate; so I will soil myself in a dramatic fashion and scream until it is forced to clean me.

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Tenacity

Our house is 100 years old, and had been owned by one family until we bought it. It’s not the most kid-friendly house. The living room has a five foot opening into the foyer, and pocket doors into the dining room (Only one door can be opened and closed right now because of the carpet). Both very beautiful, solid oak.

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Very pretty, not very baby proof.

When we started looking for baby gates, we wanted something that wouldn’t damage the wood. Well, we thought we found the perfect solution. Two three panel, free standing, sliding gates. They seemed sturdy, and strong enough that Wesley wouldn’t be able to move them; at least not for awhile. Ha! The kid is a natural Houdini. And the gates; not as resilient as we hoped. It didn’t take long before the constant opening and closing, plus the baby’s constant shaking, caused the gates to start to fall apart. And he quickly realized he was strong enough to push them away from the opening and escape from the living room.

So we’ve had to improvise.

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If it's heavy, it's blocking the gates.

I’m pretty sure it’s only a matter of time until he figures something out; like the fact that he’s about big enough to climb up and over.

We’ve ordered something different; one of those portable enclosures. Hopefully that will work until he’s old enough that we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

As annoying as this whole ordeal has been; I do love watching him as he tries to figure out how to get out of the living room. He gets so angry when he can’t figure it out. But when he does figure it out; he barks out a triumphant laugh, looks around to make sure everyone sees him, and takes off.

As difficult as it is to get anything done with our current set up, the constant climbing over furniture to get from room to room and never being entirely sure he’s where he’s supposed to be, I think he’s learning some good lessons. He wants to be free, to explore every inch of the house and discover new things. As angry as he gets when he can’t get out; he never stops trying. I hope he never loses his desire to explore or his determination; and I hope I remember to never do anything to stifle them.

Job Applications Shouldn’t Be So Scary

There’s a job application sitting on my kitchen counter. It’s been there for a few days now. It’s a job I wanted to apply for a while ago, but at the time it wasn’t the best choice for my family. It’s a small, local business that is very involved in the community. Great opportunity to advance and learn skills that will be helpful in and out of work. It would most likely give me more free time to spend with my entire family, instead of just being home during the day with the baby. It’s a job I’ve actually fantasized about having. Other than being able to be a full time SAHD; it’s pretty much perfect in almost every way.

The job I have now is not perfect, but it’s been a blessing. I make more money than I expected I would be after only a year. My manager has been great at working with my schedule so we don’t have to find child care for the baby. I don’t hate the work. But I’m rarely home with my whole family, and hardly see my wife other than to say good morning or goodnight.

Seems like a nobrainer, right? So why is it that when I even think about it I get scared? I mean, real anxiety just looking at the application.

My adult life was anything but consistent. Moving from place to place and job to job (the rare times I actually had one); never being quite sure where I would end up next. But now; I’m married to an amazing woman who works very hard to provide for our family, I have two great step-kids, I have rebuilt a relationship with my daughter, and I’ve got a wonderful baby boy. We have a house, two cars that get us where we need to go, and a cat. Finally, at 33 years old, I have the stability that will let me take risks and find out what I truly want to do with my life.

But I’m afraid, terrified really.

Thinking about it rationally, it seems easy. I fill out the app, turn it in. If I don’t get the job, that’s that, I stay where I am for now. If I get the job, it’s a great opportunity I should be grateful for. Too bad I don’t always see things that way. If I don’t get the job, it will be more than just a disappointment. I’ll question what I’m good enough for. I’ll get frustrated with the job I’m at now. So getting the job would be awesome, right? But what if I find out I’m not good at it? What if the hours aren’t any better, or the money isn’t enough? What if this? What if that?

For so long I’ve been so focused on just getting by day to day I don’t really know what it means to make long term plans. We got married, bought a house, had a baby; those plans were scary, but easy to make. I was sure of the things I wanted. But when it comes to planning, or making changes, for long-term goals that I don’t exactly know the outcome for; I get incredible nervous and anxious. I don’t like not knowing how things will turn out and I end up getting stuck on situations when I know I could be doing more.

But I’m tired of being stuck. I’m tired of that nagging feeling constantly in the back of my mind that I’m supposed to be doing more; that’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I’m going to take more chances. Even something as small as filling out an application can have big consequences, and I’m ready to face the unknown.

How Did I Get So Lucky?

I need to take a moment to express my appreciation and gratitude for the most amazing woman I have ever met.

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Photo by Jim Gabbard

I mean, just look at her! What a fox! My wife is one of the funniest, smartest, strongest, most loving, creative, and beautiful people I have ever met. Completely beautiful inside and out. She is an amazing master cosmetologist, an incredible artist, a great cook, and a patient, loving, and supportive mother and wife.

When we first met, I wasn’t in the best place. I knew immediately that she was special and I wanted to get to know her; but I was convinced that I needed to keep my distance until I was a “better person” or in a “better place” (still not exactly sure what I meant by that). But, thankfully, she wasn’t buying it. Somehow, she saw through my flaws and bad habits and saw something in me she loved and wouldn’t listen to my excuses.

And now, we’ve been married two and a half years, and tomorrow will be celebrating our son’s first birthday. Throughout our entire relationship she has supported and encouraged me; always seeing personal strength and talent in me that I have either forgotten or never known was there. She always sees the best person I can be and pushes me to get there without changing me.

I could go on, but it would take me days to tell you everything she is and everything she has done for our family. She’s my best friend, my biggest supporter, my strength, my heart, my everything. I don’t know if I’ll every be able to fully show her how much she means to me; but I plan on spending the rest of my life trying.

First Birthdays

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Not a whole lot of time to work on writing today. That guy up there is gonna be one on Saturday and we are spending the day making sure we have everything we need for the party.

Why is this so stressful? And expensive? He is a year old. He won’t remember any of this. Why not just get him some cake and have some family come over? Nope, it has got to be a big production!

Oh well, it’ll be a good time. Plus, my wife is an awesome baker and she’s making cake And pie!

Here we go again!

Last week I had a night when I didn’t sleep well. I woke up 4 or 5 times in about a 6 1/2 hour period. The first time I woke up I had this feeling that something was missing; that I needed to do something important. This had happened occasionally before but I would just assume it was a dream I couldn’t remember and fall back asleep. This time, the feeling stuck with me the rest of the night and the next few days.

I love my life. I’ve been incredibly blessed with an amazing wife, awesome kids, and a job I (mostly) enjoy that let’s me have a flexible schedule so we don’t have to worry about childcare. But my daily routine has become too, well, routine. I feel like I’m missing something, that I should be doing something beyond daily chores and making sure the baby isn’t falling to his death or eating garbage. I have a list of projects I want to work on but never seem to find the time or motivation.

So I’m going to start here. I discovered the “daddy blog” community a few months ago and have enjoyed learning about the community and all the awesome people involved. I’ve wanted to get back into writing again and I think I could have something to offer here. Maybe some advice or inspiration another dad is looking for, or even just a laugh or smile at my not-so-perfect attempts at parenting, husbanding, fitness, or whatever else shows up on here.

So stick around, check out what I have to offer; and if you enjoy it, please share it with your friends. I’m looking forward to starting some new relationships through this thing and hopefully learning a few things too.

It’s Really Quite Simple

I started writing this about a month ago. I have written, edited, erased, and started over a few times. I figured that, if after all this time and all the rewrites, it is still on my mind I should probably get it out. So here it is.

It is not about gender equality, or marriage equality, or rape culture, or racism, or gun control, or war, or poverty, or religion, or political parties, or anything else that seems to be wrong with the world today. They are all important issues yes. But they will not be solved with programs or rallies or websites or protests because these things are not the issue. They are the effect; not the cause.

The cause is deeper, and we are all a part of it; no matter what side of what argument you are on. We are all part of the problem; but that means we can all be part of the cure and it is really quite simple.

Love and humility.

It does not matter who you are. It does not matter what side of which argument you are on. Regardless of whether you have been discriminated against, mocked, or abused in any way; if you cannot love those who disagree with you then you will never be part of the solution. If you cannot set aside your pride long enough to sit down with someone who disagrees with you, no matter what they have done to you, and have a civil conversation about your views; you will never see an end to your struggle.

I am not saying there is no need for change. This world is obviously broken and we must do everything we can to fix it. But if we do not focus on the cause; on loving everyone no matter who they are, and having the humility to just stop for a moment and listen, then we will not fix anything.

You’ll Always be My Girl

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Sometimes, as I think about you getting older, I get a little nervous. I wonder if you will still want to come see me, if you’ll resent me for everything I missed when you were younger. Maybe you will decide I’m not that God of a dad and you don’t want anything to do with me anymore.

And then we have times like last Saturday night. I make you get up and “dance” with me while I jump around like an idiot and your act embarrassed but don’t make me stop. You sit next to me and put your head on my shoulder and sway to the music with me. You key me kiss the top of your head and don’t pull away even though people are watching.

I know you will have your normal teenage rebellion moments; maybe even tell me I’m stupid or I don’t love you, or even that you hate me. But we will also both geek out over the newest SciFi/fantasy book or movie, and laugh at the funny t shirts we find online.

So sometimes I don’t like the thought of you growing up; but I know you will always be my girl.

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Family Weekend

I have to be honest; I had some serious plans for this blog post. It was gonna be all about the importance of family and I was gonna take notes and jot down insights while I spent the weekend at the lake with my family and then come back home and blow your mind with my wisdom.

But instead, I sat on the deck and watched the big kids fish and play in the water and the little kids splash on the shore and play in the sand. I sat on the boat and read. I had good conversation with my parents. I watched my baby get his toes buried in sand and feel lake water on his feet for the first time. I ate a lot of good food and drank some good beer.

And when it was time to come home; I realized this post is simpler than I thought it would be. Whether your family is family by blood or by life experiences; they are the people that matter most. Do what you can to always remember that and you’ll always have a place to go where you can be safe and happy.

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