Monday, March 30, 2009

Meaningful Monday - Spoiled

I'm starting to have this fear. It's been haunting me for a while but I've always been able to justify it by convincing myself that she just doesn't know any better. 

However, that justification is wearing very thin and there are more and more tell-tale signs that she knows exactly what she is doing. 

Could she be a spoiled brat?

We haven't done much in the way of true punishment or discipline because we've always read and heard that the baby doesn't understand it and can easily take it as "negative love". While I understand that she's only just a year old, I look into her eyes and see this often time devious little munchkin. 

How do I know? Because... she's devious like I'm devious. 

Sometimes I just want to scream!

What good does that do? None. But even if it did, would it really effect her? "Niamonster! No!" and she just slyly looks at me and continues about to the bad thing she was doing? 

Or when she doesn't get her way... oh lord help me... It's not just the big things either... I'm talking about little things like not wanting to go into her car seat or not wanting to sit when she wants to stand. Examples like this lead to all out scream fests. 

Which is odd. 

It's odd because I have a really cute baby, and really cute babies are supposed to be cute. Not little spawns of evil!

So when do you start?

When is "ignoring it" starting to be detrimental to her well being? When should reprimands and spankings make their way into her life? (flame war on spankings anyone?)

If you are a parent of an older child, I need your help!
1. When they were Niamonster's age were they snotty?
2. When did you start discipline?


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fatherhood Friday 6

Friday is here already? Crap...

As far as posts this week go, it's dang tough to top Wednesday's post. But here goes trying. 



First and foremost, to all you guys out there who thought they could handle a child - Fappy Hatherhood Friday. Yup, it's been that kind of week. 

So many topics I want to cover, but which one to choose? Funny kidisms?.. no... deep intellectual feelings?... no... Porn? ... always a good default - but no.

How about... 

Guys Night Out
(I was going to put this at the end, but I figured it's better placed here. A lot of this post is filled with satire and sarcasm mixed with some truth. I'm really not as big of a dick as it seems... really... I'm not... really...)

I'm pretty stoked about today since I will be partaking in a guys night out. My mother is going out of town for some retreat for women who are christian and who spend the whole weekend doing crazy old lady things. It really is a mystery what goes on there almost to the point of "cult" level. 

With my mother out of the house, my father is going to be home alone and thought, hey - why not live up good life with his 3 boys. 

Be Kind. Please Rewind.

My mother has been going to this little retreat for a really long time. Long enough that I remember when all 3 boys lived at home. I'm the youngest of the 3 with the eldest jumping in at around 6 years older then me. 

This weekend was really special to all of us because when mom left, it was the guys weekend. This was a time when my dad relaxed the rules of the house a little... when we could drink a few beers with him (I being about 12 then... naughty naughty), when we could run around in our undies, scratch, burp, fart, and watch however much TV we wanted. It wasn't as if my father just "let" us do this... most of the time he instigated it.


We bonded a lot during these times too. Man talks about girls and sports. Stories from my dad's childhood that let us know he was just like us when he was growing up. 

It made my dad real. It made me realize that no matter what I did, or what I've gone through, I could go to my dad and he'd understand. 

Back to the Future

Upon hearing of our get together tonight, I started a little pondering about this "man night" or "man weekend". Why it was special, even more so then it used to be with all 3 of us being married, I having a child, and my eldest brother having one on the way. 

It is totally and completely different then any "girls night out". Girls usually go out and dress up cute and attract random guys to make themselves feel good. Or they go over to their friend's house and talk about their husbands and the way they think they're so good in bed and how many times she had to fake this or that and how he never cleans and doesn't help enough with the baby... blah blah blah. (this is obviously an exaggeration station, but to prove a point)

With guys it's different. Our night is about relaxing!

RELAXING? Your ass sits and watches ESPN all night. Your whole life is about relaxing!

Fathers... take a moment and think about the biggest motivation behind all things you do around the house. It's not self image. It's not because you were raised that way. It's sure as hell isn't cause your wife told you to. 

The biggest motivating factor:
IS TO GET LAID

Don't deny it. It's all about accumulating "get some" credits. Clean up the kitchen? *clink* *clink* hear those credits drop in the pot. "Hunny, you go relax, I'll take care of the baby" *clink* *clink*... on your way to getting some later. Mop the floor? *clink* Take out the trash? *clink*. 

But don't forget that the bad things you do withdraw money out of that account. 

And that's a lot of Stress!

Constantly having to worry about whether or not your actions are depositing or withdrawing "get some" credits causes the knots on our back to get a little tighter. 

THIS is why "guys night" is relaxing! It's the time where for a split increment of time in our lives we don't have to worry about whether or not our actions are one day going to be used for our good (if the mood is right, she's feeling ok, the moon is 20 degrees North, and a giraffe in Africa farted twice today) or whether they'll be used in some argument 3 years from now as ammunition. 

It's about bonding with guys who know where you're at, dropping all masks, ignoring all tendencies to constantly "please" someone, to worry about just us and the dudes we're with. 


What is guys night to you?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 6 - Self Tanning

Normally I'm pretty skitzo when it comes to posting on Wednesday. But today, readers, I will astound and amaze you with...

A Consistent Topic
(*gasp*)

Today's story revolves around my daughter and her delightful experimentation with self tanning solution. You know, the summer months are just around the corner and it's really tough for a girl these days to have to be in public with that beautiful winter sheen (and by "sheen" I mean blindingly pale). So who am I to judge a girl who wants to have a nice bronze tone for the first days of spring?

Oh. 

That's right. I'm her dad. Oh yeah... and my daughter is 11 months old. 

Obviously I'm not about to let my 11 month old have actual bronzing solution, so like her father, she went and improvised. I'm not going to lie - I'm proud as heck. I would have chosen something a little less chunky, but hey - for an 11 month old... not too bad. 

BEHOLD!
Makeshift tanning solution!

For those of you who know Gerber's Vegetable beef, you know this crap stains... and stains good! Clothes, baby skin, adult skin, the cat, the dog, the floor... you name it. Instant orange is the destiny of all things who befall this solution of so called "edible" paste.

She was very sneaky about application. This consisted of strategically placed games of "peek-a-boo" in which the "boo" would come at the precise moment my spoon was travelling on its merry way to her mouth. This resulted in her hands smacking into the spoon which allowed her to prepare herself for the next "peek" stage. The "peek" stage was always precision timed for when I was reloading the aforementioned spoon, thus, applying the wonderful bronzing solution to her delicate skin. 

As you can see below, she made sure to repeat this process several times for maximum and even coverage.

After the first application. Still needs a little more rubbing to smooth out the texture.

It takes a minute to realize that is NOT her natural skin tone. If you look right by her eyes you'll see her natural tone is far more pink.

Look at the glow! That shine! She's alive with energy and clearly is visiting this silly state from such awesome, sunshiney states like California or Florida. She's cool, she's hip, her dad let's her do whatever she wants!


As much as I love my daughter's independence and her wonderful ability to make adult decisions on her own, this clearly was not going to fly the rest of the night. You see... there is this lady that lives with us who doesn't understand what it's like to be pale. Her heritage keeps her skin tone at a nice "sand" in the winter, and a dark bronze in the summer. I guess that's what happens when African American heritage smashes together with Native American and Sicilian. (and about 14 other ethnicities). 

Well, because this lady, who I guess we can just call "Isabella" for now, doesn't empathize with us whitey-whites, she decided that the bronze was coming off. 

You can imagine Niamonster's face when she realized that she might lose her natural looking tan. Oh... wait... you don't have to imagine - I took a picture of it!

"Oh crap oh crap of crap"!

All that hard work. All those hours of planning and preparation. Learning "peek-a-boo", practicing fine motor skills, growing hair... all these things led up to this wonderful day and now this heartless wench called "mom" is going to ruin it all. 

This could only be fought one way. 

Screaming.

If she was any older I'm pretty sure there would have been of Isabella's blood in these pictures.

Angry Baby, is clearly angry. Someday when she's older she'll use this against us. (or maybe I'll use it against her... and show her BOYFRIEND!)

DO YOU SEE THE PAIN!? I'M WHITE AGAIN! I'M PALE WISCONSIN WHITE!

Oh. The fun.



So I thought the fun for the night was over... clearly I was wrong. 

Niamonster has her favorite stuffed toy which was given to her as a gift by her grandmother who adores her more then anyone could ever imagine. This stuffed toy's name is Eebee. Perhaps you've heard of him... her... it... whatever. It's a "baby-like" toy that has it's own DVDs and acts like a baby and learns and plays all in the name of education.

Well if there was ever any doubt that Niamonster is my blood... it is 100% gone. This kid is the pure spawn of me and I realized this as Isabella was finishing up Niamonster's bath. 

I looked down into her crib and... what the... are his... 

Oh. Yeah. They are.

11 months old and already pulling down boys pants. Jesus.
Looks like I'll be attempting to have the "birds and bees" talk with her tomorrow. 

I thought I would have had more time.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Meaningful Monday 6


I hate being sick. 

Hate it.

I got sick this weekend and it was no fun. 

Story Time.

Friday was well spent with the wife and the child. Enjoying each others company with laughter, bed times, and chocolate ice cream (which lately seems to be a new routine). Saturday morning was band practice and I was in an especially good mood. We've been working on some fun tracks and gearing up for our first show. 

Saturday afternoon I picked my eldest brother up (the one with holes in his tumtum), and he was going to hang out with us until the evening when we were all going to head over to our middle-brother's house for his wife's birthday. 

Then came 4pm. Like a SCUD missile with laser guided precision some crazy sickness hovering 10m above me exploded and took me out. While Isabella and I were walking through Target and picking up a gift I could feel the infestation crawling through me and making me weaker second by second. 

I wasn't about to bail on my sister-in-law's birthday so I just thought I'd tough it out. Dumb idea.

By the time we left I was shivering as my wife was saying, "Wow, it sure was hot in there." Now if there is one clear indication that I'm actually sick is when I am shivering and my wife is warm. I'm the kind of guy where you could easily cook an egg on me I'm so warm. I love cold environments and my wife HATES cuddling up to me if she is anything but freezing her ass off. 

Down for the count.

So we get home, take my temperature, and surprise surprise, it's 101.5. I'm still shivering. I sleep like crap, and I'm out all Sunday. 

Which makes me feel really bad inside. 

With Isabella being a stay at home mom, I know that on the weekends I can give her a little break from the normal. I love being with my little girl on weekends and having lots of daddy - daughter time while mom can go out and do whatever she wants to. 

However, when I'm laid up in bed with a fever, I can't do that. I don't want to be all up in Niamonster's business because the last thing we need is a sick baby. And I can't give Isabella the much needed break she deserves from working so hard during the week. 

I get yelled at a lot.

Because of this, I say "I'm sorry" a lot when I'm really sick. Partly because I'm delirious, but mostly because I really am. Taking care of one child is bad enough, but when I'm sick I'm a total wuss. Isabella gets REALLY mad at me every time I say I'm sorry. "Shut Up!"

Stupid Sickness.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Fatherhood Friday 5

It's all good in the hood of the father this Friday.

Shut your mouth... just... shut it.

How annoying is it when people look at your little rug rat and exclaim, "Oh she looks just like her mother." or "You can definitely tell where she gets her good looks."

Look. I know it's just people feeling the need to say something cliche that doesn't take much thought and that fills the void of silence, but it really is old... and lame.

I'd prefer silence, thank you.

Why DO people have such problems with silence? You are currently throwing my produce and dairy across a grid of strategically placed lasers which emit a gentle beep every time you succeed, as if you need a pat on the back every time you get that bar code in just the right place. You are NOT a close relative or friend and frankly I don't care if my daughter looks like your nieces' uncle's brother's daughter. 


... but this post isn't about people who annoy me.

It's about my daughter acting like me. 

One of me is bad enough.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm sort of a freak. A nerd. A dork. I mean, look at the titles above each of my sections... that kind of stuff gives me a little techie-stiffy. I'm also a control freak and I usually don't go down without a fight. 

I really like to play coy and turn up the cuteness when I might be in trouble. I love being the center of attention but I HATE asking for it. 

I could keep going on and on about all the quirky and often times annoying things about me. 

All my life I thought I was unique.

Then came this little 20lb package of pooping, crying, laughing, almost walking, just about a year old, miniature human. All these things which I thought were me have turned into "us". My daughter is a total nerd. She loves any computer or technological device. She's analytical to the point of it making your head hurt. She's sassy and coy and plays devil's advocate. There's a part of me that wants to yell, "Hey! That's who I am. You can't steal that". As if she took the top hat out of the monopoly game set before I had a chance to claim that I wanted it. 

Yeah. I make sense... don't I.

Take your mental blender. Add one part pride, one part empathy, and one part creeped out. That's the recipe I have when I look at my daughter. I'm sorry, Niamonster... I know what it's like to be me and while I think it's fun... you're in for one hell of a ride. 

Creeeeeepy.


What magical traits have you thought were unique which are now shared by your miniature version of yourself?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wacky Wednesday 5


The funny thing about drinking is that I can't do it so well anymore. Gone are the days of starting your night at midnight, drinking heavily until 2, then going to an after party and drinking till 5, then going home and crashing through the morning classes until waking up at noon.

Since becoming a dad, I've noticed that the night ENDS at midnight and that there is the constant looming thought of, "If Niamonster wakes up at her normal time, I'm screwed"

See... kids don't give a crap about your hangover. They don't care that every loud noise makes you want to swiftly jam a 3 pronged fork into each ear. Maybe the blood will act like earplugs. They don't care that your bowels are in overdrive and at any minute you may need to release the drunken goodness of the night before. (Yeah, it's gross, but we've all been there.) Especially if the meal that was had with the boozin' was Mexican.... which is funny because Mexican food always sounds way better then any other kind when there is alcohol in the mix.

So as a dad I drink less, I go out less often, and I can't remember the last time I was drunk. 

Kids - the new AA.



Dreams can be funny. Isabella just had a dream that she was making out with me, and then 2 minutes later it wasn't me and someone saw her making out with some random dude who was ugly. Then that someone told everyone and no one wanted to be her friend anymore. She woke up perturbed. 

I said, "Hunny, close your eyes." She did, and I kissed her. Then I said, "Open them... See? Still me!"

Silly dreams. 

Swinger dreams seem to be the latest dream craze for a lot of my friends. Not sure how to take that. 



A group of friends from work usually do trivia at a bar on Tuesday nights. Yesterday also happened to be St. Patty's day. We try to make up silly team names for ourselves each time we go. Yesterday we decided to hop in the wayback machine and mix with some Irish fun. 

Our team name? "Ireland is great... for me to poop on!"

Oh yeah. We are the shining example of maturity.



You can't help but laugh at the fact that now that I'm a parent, all of the stuff I do, all the things I say and the thoughts I have... my parents had the same ones when I was a child. 

Weird that as a kid, your parents are the shining examples. Now, you realize that they were just as lost and confused as you are now. 

Funny...



Sorry this is late. I like to get posts out at 8am... but I was obviously out last night and didn't prepare one. 

This is me, accepting the slap on my wrist.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fear - It's all in your head.

What scares you? What are the things that make you panic? Spiders? Snakes? Chickens? Little poopy diapers?

I've been thinking about fear lately and what makes people afraid.

"Why were you thinking about that?"

There have been a few things going on in my life lately that have made me sit and ponder this "fear" topic. 

First, I've been trying to get more involved with the company my father works for. He works for a company that offers help, aid, care, and housing to people who are developmentally challenged. This ranges from group meetings all the way to 24 hour care. This brought my mind to fear because I think about the general demeanor of most people when they are near people who are developmentally challenged... they're scared pissless. They don't know how to act, where to look, what to say. 

The other event that happened was actually yesterday. I got a call from my beautiful (and pregnant) sister-in-law (break: why the hell is the "-in-law" always hyphenated? waste.of.time.)... and she sheepishly tells me that my eldest brother is in the hospital awaiting surgery. Now the word "sheepishly" carries a lot of weight here because if you knew my sister-in-law, "sheepish" would be the last thing you would think. She is the most badass, free thinking, independent little ball of 5'2" you've ever met. So to have her sheepishly talking to me meant that she was very affected by this.

I was too. Upon seeing my brother laying in the bed at the hospital, I knew he had his "strong mask" on. The look that says, "Hey, guys, this is just another day. 30 minutes. In and out. I'll be fine!". But I have this connection with my brother and deep down I knew there was a little fear. Fear of anesthesia. Fear of surgery. 

"Good Examples. What's your point?"

I came to the conclusion today that fear is genuinely caused by the unknown and by the things we don't understand. Take into consideration the general populous' fear of people with developmental disabilities. I'm comfortable in their presence (and I hope I in theirs), but that's because it's a part of my family's life. The average bear (no, not Homer to Wayland kind of bear) doesn't have much interaction in those situations so it's naturally scary. 

Or take for instance a person who unfortunately has to be put under the knife more then once or twice in their life. They're probably a lot more laid back about anesthesia and going under then what my brother was. 

I want to be fearless

I don't want Niamonster to fear many things. I want her to be alright with the unknown and then go out and learn about it, and become familiar with it. I'm not saying I want her to injure herself so that she can go to the hospital a lot, but I want her to know what things are so that she has little reason to be scared of them. 

I think about a few times that I was scared but after learning about it lost that fear. (Hrm... should we go ordered or unordered today....) UNORDERED!

  • The night Niamonster was born, as much as the classes try to get you ready, the big day is still scary. However, after about 20 minutes of spending time with the nurse my fear was down to simple excitement. She walked us through every little step as it would happen or was happening. There was never a doubt in our mind about what was going on. 
  • When I was 18 I had my tonsils taken out. It was the first time that I was going to be put under. When they wheeled me into the surgical suite, I was really scared... especially about not having control of my body. But the anesthesiologist came over, told exactly what was going to happen and even said, "The cocktail I'm going to give you will make you not puke when you wake up. That's a good thing. However, it's going to hurt like hell when it goes in. But by the time you care enough to say anything, you'll be out." He didn't lie.
(god i love lists)

Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that we should learn.

It is my goal to never turn away a question Niamonster has. I want to answer them all... even if she's just asking them to be annoying. If I can't answer them then we'll go to someone or somewhere that we can. I believe that the more she knows and understands, the less she'll have any chance to be scared.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Fatherhood Friday 4


BEHOLD! WE ARE FATHERS AND WE ARE AWESOME!

Not too sure where that came from.




Today's Topic:
Sushi

I love me some sushi. And it's dangerous stuff too because you think to yourself, "Self, it's just a few little rolls, that's never going to fill you up." And you eat, and eat, and eat. Isabella and I have to watch ourselves because if we're not careful we'll easily run up a huge bill with trying all sorts of new kinds of ways to have seafood sit on rice.

...but it's so good.

I fully plan on introducing my daughter to sushi when she is old enough. I bet she'll love it just as much as her mom and dad do. I fully plan to go out to nice restaurants and gorge on sushi once a year, and then for the rest of the times go the cheap route and have mommy make the rolls or the rice beds. If you don't know how to make your own rolls or rice beds then I strongly encourage you to learn. You end up saving lots of money.

oh. suppose I should tie in the daddy thing somehow.

Seriously though, I think sushi is a great analogy for fatherhood. (does anyone else smell a list coming? I DO!)
  • It's not for everyone.
    And it doesn't have to be. You can't judge a person if they don't want kids, just like you shouldn't judge if they don't want sushi.
  • It has tons of variety.
    Think of all the different moods and demeanors a child has. They have so many millions and yet they're still learning more to boot. It's like a new menu of child every time they wake up in the morning. New menu, new prices, new style. Never gets old.
  • Price drastically increases with quality
    I'm not looking for a flame war about the difference in quality between a 2 month old and a 2 year old. But let's take a moment and be honest with each other - a 2 month old is a eating, pooping, sleeping machina. A 2 year old has personality and verbal skills and can interact. But as they get older, they get more expensive.
  • It fills you up.
    There is certainly no doubt that a child makes your life complete, fills you to brim with lots of things. Things like love, and slobber, and constipated poops, and ear bleeding screams.

... oh god... the ear bleeding screams.

Ready?
Top 3 Favorite Sushi/Roll/Sashimi Orders!
Go!

  1. Unagi (Eel)
  2. Ikiri (Salmon Roe)
  3. Hon Maguro (Blue Fin Tuna)


What are yours?



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

A little known fact about me: I have celiac disease. And not that "internet diagnosed" crap either. The real, medically diagnosed disease by people who know what it is and how to diagnose it. (Can you tell I'm sick of people who diagnose themselves because WebMD and Wikipedia told them so?)

So my wife and I were having a discussion about how the Catholic faith says that for the "host" to be considered Jesus, it has to have gluten in it (apparently Jesus needed a binding agent to keep him together, go figure...).

I started cracking jokes about how Jesus was actually a real bitch about his dinner and forced everyone to eat it, even if they had a gluten intolerance. "Simon Peter, did you just spit me out?! Put me back in your mouth this instant! Take and eat now!"

She looks at me and says, "Well that would certainly offer a compelling explanation for why Judas betrayed him."



So have you ever had a gift exchange where you ended up getting a gift that was worth way more then the gift you got that person?

It's such an embarrassing feeling, like you've completely cheated your way into having a much cooler present.

Take that feeling times a billion and you wonder if our new chief of state was feeling that as he handed off the plastic helicopters to our greatest ally as his daughters were getting fitted for their new hand sewn dresses. "Oh, and I know you're not into cinema that much, but here are 25 DVDs that you'll never watch."

Whoopsydoo!

Poor Prime Minister Brown, we just keep giving him crappy gift after crappy gift.

What I find funny is that this was barely, if at all mentioned in US news. Looks like our friends over in England thought this gaff was plenty newsworthy




Finally, I leave you with Episode One of Niamonster plotting to kill her mother.


video

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses

I've just realized that almost all of my Monday posts have been about certain areas within fatherhood that I struggle with or deal with on a daily basis. 

Today, I'm going to mix things up a bit and write about something that I don't do enough of - that I believe as humans, none of us do enough of. 

Stop. Look at what you've got. You've got the world.

There was an event that happened in my life which make me appreciate the little things in life a little more then your average bear. I won't go into detail but it involved a break-in, a loaded revolver, and the said loaded revolver hovering 6in from my chest. (I'll blog about it some other day.)

This event also made me a little more emotional. Guys are supposed to be hard-assed, logical, feeling-suppressed beings, right? Guns, booze, football, chicks, YEAH! RAR!

Not me. I'm a wuss.

I watch Extreme Home Makeover with my wife and I cry like a little girl. (Then again, anyone who wouldn't get emotional over that show has to be soul-less.) 

Then I Had a Child.

And WHOA. MAN. Thought I was emotional then? It's far worse now. Now you tie in all the daddy emotions and it's about a billion times what it used to be. 

Being a Daddy is Such a Blur.

Who out there remembers vividly the first three months of your child's life? I sure as heck don't. I look back and remember things but that memory is fuzzy (For instance, this picture. I really don't vividly remember her being that size). It wasn't that I didn't pay attention, it's just that, as a dad, you are suddenly placed into this position where the entire wellbeing of your child's life falls completely on your shoulders, and this responsibility comes with no road map so you're lost and you sure as hell aren't asking for directions. Wrap that up into the fact that your views, opinions, and goals in life just got tossed into a rock tumbler and you're in quite the dilly-doo.

Bring It Full Circle.

Although I've had events in my life that have made me realize the importence of slowing down, I still find myself watching it all whiz by me. 

I took a moment the other day and damn near brought myself to tears. I stopped and thought about my life without my daughter. Knowing what I know now, knowing what I have now, knowing all the emotions tied up into her... what would it be like?


Empty. 


The little two teeth that make her giant smile glimmering as I walk into the door from work. The excitement as I come back down the stairs for the seventeenth time while she's in the kitchen (Really? You aren't bored with this?). Her morning yelps for "dah dah dah" and her nuzzling into my chest as I hold my sleepy-baby. Her belly laugh that sounds like a choking hyenna. All these things make my life full. 

Not any amount of money, not any sort of job, not any possesions... nothing could replace that feeling. 

Take a moment. 

Doesn't have to be now (though it is a good time)... but if you are lucky enough to have a child or two or six...

...stop...

Knowing what you know now... what would your life be like if they never existed?


Appreciate those things more the life itself.



Friday, March 6, 2009

Fatherhood Friday

Welcome to Friday of the Fatherhood variety.

I hate work. I hate work because it takes me away from Niamonster. I hate work because she knows I leave every morning and she hates it. I hate work because it's a whole 9-10 hours that I'm not apart of her life. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my job - I find great personal enjoyment in sitting in front of my dual eye-blistering 26" monitors with a computer that could quad-process the panties off of a Mormon in .12ms, and writing code that is complex and requires a depth of knowledge that most people don't even want to have in the computer world. 

But since Niamonster was born, it somehow isn't about me anymore. So that fact that I'm getting enjoyment out of work at, as what I view, the expense of the raising of my child is something that I've had to think a lot about. 

It just feels that when I say that I'm the "provider" of the family, it feels like a cop-out. Money is such a "blah" sort of thing because when I die I don't get to take it with me - - - so why is it such a focus of a family?


I've been playing a little in my hypothetical head lately. What if I were to just pack up my family, sell almost all of my possessions, hop in my car, and head west? Complete beatnik/hippy style. I know my family has lots of love and common sense so that we really wouldn't need a huge source of income. It's a total "damn the man" feeling, but is it so bad?

Have I become the person that is so wrapped up in material things and status that I've fallen into the stereotype of "provider" who's sole purpose is to go out and make money for his daughter and family?

So here lies the conundrum in my head: How do I balance the "provider", the "protector" and the "lover" into a nice little package called a "great dad"? 

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one. Since I've started introducing myself to other dads who blog, I've noticed that this is a common internal thought within a lot of fathers. 

What "balance" internal wars have you had?

What is your "damn the man" dream?


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

Multiple people have made fun of me for the number of blogs I currently maintain. Jokes usually fall in between the "you need more friends" to "you are a nerd", and even to the point of, "you're not allowed to make any more posts until you hang out with normal people". What makes this rich is that 60% of those people have since then started their own personal blogs. 

Talk about the pot calling the kettle chartreuse.



My wife is sitting next to me in bed right now. She just leaned to the side, dropped a big stinky fart with a giant shit eating grin and said, "Look hunny, I'm contributing to your post."

Yes, dear. Yes you are.



You ever stay at work so long that you start to get silly beyond belief? Working in the wonderful world of web application development, you can't just deploy your application at anytime you want. You have to do it when the least amount of people are hitting the site. This is so that just in case you muck something up, the fewest number of people are effected. 

Monday was a big deployment day. The day started as any other, with polite office style conversations and happy thoughts. By the end of the night we were singing 80's music, playing guitar hero like idiots, and laughing about the stupidest stuff. 

Deployment -> success.


Niamonster figured out she can crawl side ways today. She put her spoon on the middle of the floor tonight and was circling around it repetitively like she was tied to a pole by a string. I'm surprised she didn't make herself hurl. 

That would have been awesome to cleanup. 



Finally, I like to buy random things on ebay here and there. Mostly computer parts that allow me to stay close enough to the "latest" tech crap without destroying my bank account. Usually items I receive from auctions are in a box or some other sort of obvious packaging. 

Yesterday I received a package that was completely wrapped in Sunday's coupons and clear packing tape. 

It was the awesomest package ever.




(Sub-finally. I just laughed that Blogspot tried to spell correct "awesomest" with "Awesome St." Someday I want to live there or at least drive on it.)


Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Monday (dah dahhh dah dah dah dah)

Oh the joys of Monday! Let me list them here.

...

Okay! Great list!

Why DOES Monday always take the crap end of the stick? Sure, it's the end of the weekend, but it's also the beginning of a week. I think Monday should talk to its union reps and get more recognition as a decent day. 

Today's Topic: Money (and saving it)
As a dad, I have no money. Ok that's a lie, I have LESS money then I want. It probably has something to do with the little Niamonster running around and pooping in all of it. Then there is the daycare or the lack of income from a stay at home spouse and baby sitting expenses. 

If having a kid were a business opportunity the world would die off very quickly because no one in their right mind would invest. 

But holy crap, here we are investing our time, our lives, and our money into the little monsters that we love more then life itself. And holy crap, we're happy!

Worry Wart

But if you're anything like me, it doesn't stop you from worrying about your financial well being. If anything, it makes you worry about it more. Think back to the days when you made a stupid overly expensive purchase and then had to live off ramen for the next week. That was ok back then. Make a stupid purchase now and your child suffers... and that's just not allowed.

Save more. Spend less.

It's no joke that our economy blows hard chunks right now. I don't care whether it was the previous president blowing tons of money overseas or whether it's the current president spending 2 trillion in 30 days, I only care about the now... and the now sucks.

So, as a parent, what do you do? Isabella and I have come up with some money saving ideas, and surprisingly enough they mostly revolve around educating and informing yourself, and common freaking sense. (yes. freaking. not the regular kind.)

I love lists.
  1. Keep track of all of your bills.
    - Use Excel or Open Office Calc (it's free.  http://www.openoffice.org ) and write up a list of your bills that you have to pay each month. Then for each month create a new spread sheet with the same bills and their updated costs. This gives you a good idea of where your money goes each month.
    - When you pay off bills, change the text to Italics. 
    - If you want to get real fancy, write up some equations to calculate total money spent on bills and subtract it from your monthly income.
    - In a different column, write up your "budgeted items" Food, gas, etc. and subtract that from your total income as well.
    - Finally, in yet another column, list your "one time expenses". Date night, destist office, that toy at Best Buy you had to have. Obviously subtract that from your income column too.
    -Find a centralized location where you can save this file. Whether on your favorite web host or on a personal server, make this file available to every decision maker in your family.
  2. Check your bank account balance daily.
    - If you aren't online banking yet, you need to get into the 2009s. I don't want to hear about online security and how everyone is sniffing your paketz and haxing your systmz. I work in the business and if someone if fast enough, smart enough, and wise enough to crack the encryption surrounding your bank account, the I doubt they'd be wasting their time going after YOUR account. (Unless you are a multi-millionaire which in that case you're probably worried more about Obama taking your money then a hacker. bah-zing!)
    - The point of this is to make sure you know where all of your money is going and that there is no authorized or unauthorized person spending your money stupidly. 
    - Make sure both you and your spouse of equal access and visibility to the account and that you are both checking it daily. You BOTH need to be informed. (if applicable)
  3. Clip Coupons
    - Buy the Sunday paper. (it's $1.00 a paper here)
    - Clip the coupons.
    - Use the coupons.
    - Save money! 
    (Could saving money get any easier then clipping up paper?)
  4. Buy Smart Bulk
    - "Smart Bulk" meaning use your silly head! Don't buy bologna in bulk, it'll probably go bad before you can eat it all. Then you aren't saving money, you're wasting. However, if you are paper towel whores (as our family is), then it is WAY cheaper to buy a bazillion pack from Sams Club then it is to buy them individually. Plus it wont rot!
  5. Don't! Eat! Out!
    - (No, not that. Keep going on that... she likes it.) I'm talking about going out to eat at restaurants. Yes, they are convenient. Yes, they do your dishes. Yes, it's nice to get waited on. But it is as expensive as two donkey nuts. (not even sure how much that would cost, actually)
    - Food + Drink + Tip = You're broke.
    - Special occasions excluded (date night, anniversary, etc.)
  6. Less meat. More Filler.
    - Instead of 1 portion of meat, a veg, and some starch for each person, try a half portion of meat with some extra starch. It fills more and costs less. 

These are just a few things that Isabella and I do to make sure we stay on top of our finances so that we have plenty of money to Niamonster. She's our cash-hoover now and that's what we gladly live for. 

What little things do you do to save money?