Saturday, January 29, 2011

The best nurse I could ask for...

This week marks the longest that I've ever been knocked on my ass by an illness. I was scheduled off of work last Saturday for a wedding, and then called in Monday and Tuesday because I was barely able to get out of bed. My wife took the liberty of calling me off for the rest of the week after hearing the words "walking pneumonia."
There's a shit-load of down sides to being sick: can't breath, the medicine is the only thing that you can taste (and the brightly colored "CHERRY FLAVORED!" moniker is a bold-faced fuckin' lie), and you can't find the energy to do even the most mundane of daily tasks. I'm pretty sure that I never even brushed my teeth that first day, and I know for a fact that I haven't shaved since right before the wedding.
But, I am finding, there are also up sides. I haven't spent this much uninterrupted time with Mattie James since the first few weeks of his life.
I've watched more superhero movies than I can count, and I've got almost every song in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" memorized again, but every showing was worth it, sitting there with him while he explained them to me scene by scene.
We've also managed to play with every toy in his room, clean it up, throw stuff out, and break in his brand new fire-truck bed.
So, yeah... There's a plus side to being sick. Not that I felt like getting up from my pile of snot-rags to do anything, but he took really good care of me. At least, he made sure that I didn't get too lazy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daddy in crisis...

Last night was my first night back to school for the semester. I've been going to college (again) for a full year now, but I was having a little bit of a breakdown making the quick change from work to school and realizing that I wasn't going to see my boys hardly at all until the weekend. And Kris goes back to his other dad then, so my only contact with him is going to be making sure that he gets up and bathed before school in the morning.
So, while sitting through my first "Intro to Physical Therapy" course, my mind refused to focus on what was going on. I was lamenting the fact that I'm going to be missing out on so much playtime with the boys, and not paying attention to the teacher at the bottom of the lecture hall that seemed to be doing his level best to scare us all away from ever being full-fledged therapists.
At the first break, I decided to go outside for a smoke (NASTY habit, but so utterly fantastic) and call home. Kris was pulled away from his video game to talk to me, but was gracious enough to give me almost two full minutes on the phone, far from the Black-Ops missions that he was running in Viet Nam.
Mattie took over the phone call, and that boy put his gift of making daddy want to cry to full use. "Daddy... You come home right now. You miss me. I play Batman game... Uncle Matthew... Spongebob... I love you!"
Yeah. Me and my gushy mood listened to that and then went back into class. I've never watched a clock so closely in my life.
The guy let us go right at nine o'clock. I made the trip from downtown to Brook Park in under fifteen minutes. Made it home safely, and he was up and waiting for me.
I don't think that I had ever realized what an emotional wreck my kids have turned me into until right then. Mattie and I sat together, rebuilding his train set (which normally just infuriates me: why he insists on mass-destruction for the town he has been given is beyond me), and then it was time for pajamas and bed. All Kris wanted was to know if he could have ice-cream, and then he took himself up to bed. I don't think that he knows he could have asked for just about anything right then and ended up having me just hand it over.
There's no real end to this story. Everyone just ended up happily tucked into bed for the night. Me and Pammie got a little bit of quiet time when she walked in from work, and then we went to bed too. I'm feeling a little bit better about the whole thing today, probably not going to have the big breakdown again any time soon...
But I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just some of the things I do...

There are many facets to being a father, and some of the most important of those things involve ZERO actual interaction with my children. Not the least of these of course is my job. Now, that picture there is one of the more extreme situations that I've found myself, but it still isn't the worst. That's me up on the roof, looking like a displaced longshore fisherman.
We've done all kinds of ridiculous things in our job, including having the customer rent a crane which we then had to figure out how to use to deliver their furniture. But those aren't the work stories that I'll be telling here. I'll be telling such gems as the time the little old lady living in the laundry pile scared the shit out of me. Or the time that the eight-year-old boy wearing nothing but a foam helmet decided to piss all over the infant that was sitting on the floor. Or how about the guy that had us bring a sofa into his family room/armory and then started handling his guns as he got more and more pissed off for reasons that I still don't know?
There has to be literally hundreds of these stories, and I'll bring them all up in time. I only do what I do for the sake of my kids, and I figured that I'd just use this as a primer for things to come.
Take care!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Video Game Debacle

My son, just three-and-a-half years old, is apparently following daddy's footsteps when it comes to loving his superheroes. How the hell he ended up settling on Batman is still beyond me, because I've always been a Marvel comics kind of guy.
For at least a year now (following the short-lived but equally powerful "I'm BUZZ LIGHTYEAR" phase), my son has answered almost exclusively to "Batman." He has several costumes, even more masks, and a number of capes that would've made Liberace squeal with delight.
So, we had an all Batman Christmas. I even found him a 1:18 scale model, die-cast replica of the Batmobile that Adam West used to drive.
Then came the release of the new "DC Universe Online" for the PS3. My son had seen the ads in the video game shop where we were buying gifts for his older brother, and asked every day for two weeks "Daddy? Is the Batman game out yet?"
We reserved it, because Daddy likes his superhero games, and my wife and I both knew that it would make his little day. The day that it finally hit the stores, my wife went out, picked it up (and the strategy guide: spend a little more to make Junior happy), and dropped it off with him at the babysitter's to wait for me to get out of work.
He clutched those things to his chest for the three hours that he was there. So damned excited.
I picked him up, got home, and insisted that we get a little cleaning done, bath time and jammies for the both of us, and then we'd play. It was seven o'clock by the time that I hijacked my twelve-year-old's PS3 and popped the game in.
I had never used the PS3 before, and had no idea how long it took to upload a new game. Mattie waited patiently through the first half-hour, watching the little green "loading" bar as it crawled toward the finish line. When it finally did, it immediately started another one, and this one promised to take at least as long as the first.
Needless to say, he was pissed. But he sat, and I turned on an episode of Adam West and Burt Ward prancing around and he coped. While he coped, I read the instruction booklet so that we'd be all set to play.
And that's when I saw that I would need to enter my credit card number to cover the monthly fee for the game.
I'm eighty dollars vested in this bitch, and there's going to be a monthly fee to play it? Well... what's the fee? OH... it doesn't say. I actually had to go to the computer, type it all into google, and read that I was looking at $14.99 a month to get this thing going. $180.00 or so a year.
FUCK THAT. It said that we got thirty days free, so I figure I'll make his day tonight, but then we're done. I'm fuming at this point, he's badgering me to get it going, and he's almost ready to pass out because it's eight-thirty now.
We switched back and the game was finishing that session of loading. Fine. Let's get this over with.
Nope. It started another one. And by my math, it wasn't going to be done until after one in the morning.
I thought that he would start crying. You know... Just bawling in that way that only people under the age of five seem capable of, where their mouth opens to a completely inhuman degree... but he didn't.
Instead, when I told him that we would have to wait until tomorrow, he gritted his teeth together and said "Daddy... You're pissing me off."
I was immediately shocked into laughter. He didn't approve, but it had been a long aggravating night, and I needed it. I tricked him into thinking an old game that we had was the one he was looking for, and we returned that steaming hunk of crap the next day. We must not have been the first, because they didn't even ask any questions.
Just one of the many lunacies that a parent puts up with for the love of their kids...

A father's love...

A father's love must be unconditional... right? That's the only reason that dads would possibly put up with everything that goes on.  Nothing else could ever explain how it is that a boy ever lives to be a teenager, because without that unconditional love... I think he'd be dead a dozen times over by now.
Nothing else can explain how I find it in me to kiss my three three-year-old son at the end of the day, tuck him in and tell him that I love him, even after he has done his very best to go throughout the house leaving a wake of destruction that rivals three-foot flood waters.
Nothing but unconditional love for my children and the prospect of giving them a better life can explain why it is perfectly acceptable to work forty hours a week, go to school for thirty, and maintain what amounts to a long distance relationship with my wife, who I lay down next to every night.
I've been a dad for a long time now, and I've often wanted a place to put down all of the stories that just sounded way too bizarre to be true. So now I'm here, and I'm looking forward to stretching the old writing muscles a bit by relating them one at a time.  The really sad part is that I know I've forgotten more of them than I remember, but I'm going to do my damnedest to get them all down.
Take care of yourself, and I'll see you soon!