Monday, October 31, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse

Happy Halloween. We are now a month in to having 3 children in the house. The boy child is now a month old and is doing swell. However, physically (potentially mentally) I think the wife and I and completely are entering a vegetative state. While I believe there is scientific evidence that there is no memory associated to pain (just too tired to look said evidence up), I hold firm to the fact that there is also no memory associated with being so tired you can't talk without the aid of caffeine.

Well 3 out of 4 isn't bad

While I am stumbling around my house bumping into walls I do however get the occasional brilliant thought coming through my head. Like today I thought, "How can something that weighs 12lbs, completely shut down a 200lb man?" It's mind boggling... and makes my head hurt. Now I if I get any other wonderful ideas or thoughts, I'll be sure to share. Until then, sleep well. I am completely jealous of you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Staying at home

Recently I read a blog from my buddy Abesh's wife talking about working after motherhood. It's a very honest and highly recommended bit of reading, but it made me think about my own path to validating that I should always work full time.

When my wife and I got married, she already had a 5 year old, who was (and is) awesome. He was absolutely the sort of kid you'd send over to someone's house if you were trying to convince them that having kids was a good idea. It was especially cool because his biological is a great dad, so we had him exactly half the time, which meant we could still, you know, go out and do things. Due to the ease of hanging with Michael and the part-time nature of that, being a stay-at-home dad still seemed like a possibility.

Shortly after getting married we had another child, [Note: But not that short -- the really magical magic happened after the honeymoon. Lucas was born almost exactly 1 month before our first anniversary. Stop judging me.] and everything changed. I mean, this kid was here every stinking day; I was like "When is his dad gonna pick him up from daycare?" Then I was like "You idiot, you are his dad." Then I was like "You need some damned sleep, man." I realized at this point that staying at home might have some drawbacks.

Then, when Lucas was about 6 months old, he got sick. Not deathly ill, just that sort of sick where they are too sick to go to daycare because they might give it back to the kid who gave it to them at daycare, but not sick enough to hang out all comatose on the couch all day while you work or nap or whatever. I had the schedule flexibility at work to stay with him the whole time, so he and I were home alone with each other for 3 days. I don't actually remember anything that happened during those three days, but we literally wouldn't talk to each other for 6 weeks after that. You may think you could never stay that angry at your own baby for that long, but trust me, it's much easier when he is even angrier at you. It was about this point that I knew being a full-time stay-at-home parent wasn't in the cards for me.

I am thoroughly convinced that the key to a happy child is happy parents (perhaps not drug-induced happy, but happy). What path is right for you isn't going to be right for everyone, and that is OK. What isn't OK is judging other parents for their decisions. At least not until you have some kids and have what I like to refer to as "grown up problems," then judge away, but know that those parents don't give a crap what you or anybody else thinks. [Note: I'm sure those without kids just read that last sentence and thought "Wait, I have grown up problems," and those with kids are just nodding and smiling. Because you don't.]

And whatever you do, don't be like this advice-seeker, who is obviously still a child.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Man Quirks

We are all human. Each of us wonderfully imperfect in our own way. With these imperfections comes little quirks that make us each unique (and annoying in some situations). I am here today to share a deep dark quirk of mine that very loosely relates to some marital frustrations on my wife's part. I will say before I go on here that 1) the "marital frustration" is very light-hearted and joked about in our house, and 2) will not cause me to get in trouble when I discuss.

So cutting straight to the point, I tier my underpants. What does that mean you ask? Well very simply put I rank my underpants and sort them accordingly wearing the lowest tiered underpants first and most frequent. Here are how the tiers break down. Oh and as a point of clarification, once you move down in a tier there is no way to move back up.

Tier 1: This group mostly consists of Size XL underpants that I have had lying around since I was about 70 lbs larger. These loin cloths serve as a basic barrier between my goodies and my pants. There is nothing special about them.

Tier 2: These beauties are just coming out of thier prime. They were once at a Tier 3 level and are in the beginning of the twilight of their career. They are used mostly for work and some special occasions depending on how many Tier 3's are in the rotation & clean. This is a very dicouraging day for me when they have to be moved down a rung.

Tier 3: This is why underpants are made. The big show. Much like socks, there is nothing like a brand new pair of underpants being put on. They have never wrapped themselves around anyone before (I hope) and they feel like fuzzy sunshine. Depending on the quality and the frequency of use, underpants typically last the longest in this tier. this is their time to shine on the weekends and for special events.

So, was that TMI? Probably. But the point is that we all have silly quirks that we think waaay too much about. At least these haven't made it into my rotation.

Now, please tell me I am not the only one with a goofy quirk....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bachelor Party Preview

Following a summer which included a fraternity anniversary tour, I'm heading to a bachelor party this weekend in Nashville. While this is technically a two day expedition, I'll only be heading down for Saturday night. What can I say? Between blowing all of my reserve allowance at the fraterversary and having a youth sports commitment on Friday night I'll be driving my own happy butt to Tennessee on Saturday morning.

To help psyche myself up, I thought I'd fondly recall some of my favorite bachelor party memories for you all here.

Actually that's a terrible idea (and that isn't even taking the statute of limitations implications into account). Instead I'll just list 10 stupid things I promise not to do this weekend.

  1. Drive to the bars. My car will stay under lock and key at the hotel from the moment I arrive.
  2. Drink Jagermeister. Unless of course it is dropped into a glass of Red Bull.
  3. Dance.
  4. Go all night without making up an absolutely audacious lie to at least one complete stranger for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
  5. Sleep in a hotel room containing fewer than 4 other dudes.
  6. Fantasize that I'm going to spend less than 30 minutes Sunday morning throwing up. 
  7. Pretend for even one minute that I'm in a bachelor party movie.
  8. Say "What happens in Nashville stays in Nashville, brah."
  9. Eat a Panera Bread breakfast sandwich on my way home.
  10. Keep anything from my wife (although she is sworn to secrecy).
And to think that some of you were worried about me.
Wearing this t-shirt is also on my to-don't list.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Playoff Beards

Professional athletes have known for decades what most of us have only recently come to realize: extra facial hair gives us extra power. Everyone can keep their face as smooth as a baby's butt during the regular season, but when the time calls for it and you have to dig deep, you can't waste your energy on things like proper grooming.

Recently I found myself in such a dilemma. Or, more accurately, I put myself in such a dilemma. You see, this summer I skipped a regular haircut and thus skipped a beard-trimming (for any number of reasons, I usually trim my beard when I get a haircut). Once the hair on my face started getting a little longer than usual, I came to enjoy the added machismo of my beard and the extra power it gave me.

Drink in all that power.

Out of convenience I claimed that I was growing this beard as a playoff beard of sorts for the next release of some software I use (and, for the record, love). And that software went into full support.  And then it went into general availability. And then I went to a party to celebrate its release. And I couldn't really come up with any more software related excuses.

Plus my wife got tired of me looking like.. well, like that. Never one to miss an opportunity to be an idiot, I had to have some fun trimming it back to its normal levels and kept a photo journal.

My sister called this the reverse mullet.

Sometimes I like to participate in Civil War re-enactments.

If your daughter ever brings a face like this home, you owe her an apology.

Back to normal-ish.

Why not shave it all the way? Because while my wife may not like the Grizzly Adams look, she'd leave me if I ever went clean-shaven again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Cost of Happiness

A few months ago I changed jobs. As an IT contractor this happens kind of frequently so I have learned. Contracts last anywhere from 6 months and up. It kind of sucks as typically firms don't have great insurance, you are thrust into new environments and have to establish relationships pretty quickly, and you have to learn new systems. So about 6 months in, you might just be getting your feet under you and you need to move along.


When I changed a few months ago the firm I was with had been bought out by a larger firm and the benefits went downhill. So with a pregnant wife, I was forced to look for new employment. I ended up with a new firm at a new place of employment. It worked out wonderfully. I got more money and killer benefits.


Well, as this contract is winding down to the 6 month mark I looked to evaluate my current situation. Where was I professionally? Was I happy with my current job? Were they happy with me? After some self-evaluation I realized I was not being optimized to my fullest potential. Now I don't want this to sound bad on my current employer as I have definitely contributed equally (if not more) to the overall feeling of funkiness of this job. As I was evaluated I came to the realization that I wasn't ready to leave my previous employer. Luckily I had kept some good contacts there and there was a need for me to come back in a better role than what I was in before. However, there's a caveat. I can't go back with my current firm & current firm's insurance. Also the money isn't as nice as it is here.


So that begs so many questions as the bread winner in the house:

1)       How much are you willing to give up for your happiness?

2)      Am I being selfish by putting my own needs in front of my family?

3)      Is money really the key to happiness? If not, is a good insurance policy?

4)      Damn, am I going to be a contractor the rest of my life? And what kind of pressure does that put on me & my family?

5)      Am I blowing this out of proportion and should I just be happy I am employable?


So starting next week I will be starting another new job back at the place I started as a contractor. There is some comfort knowing I am going into the situation with established relationships and a knowledge of their systems, but what happens in another 6 months – year? Well, here goes the gamble anyway, and wish me a successful stay and many many contract renewals.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Ollie Blog

You may have noticed recently a lot of new posts my wittier, more literary sound partner on this blog.* Well after 11 days of more or less sleepless nights and days filled of questioning my sanity, I think it is time to officially blog about my new kid.

Amazing that 9lbs of little dude can knock out a 200lb guy
We had John Oliver (Ollie) back on 9/29 as planned. It was a hideously gory delivery (as most are) with very minor complications. My wife and I didn't find out what we were having with any of our kids and the same was true here. So we were pretty content knowing we would be surprised with our 3rd girl. As the delivery was occurring things started moving pretty quickly. So, I didn't notice anything but a crying blob that had just been delivered. Then all of a sudden my wife says something I will never forget "Ooooh It's a Boy!" My head immediately popped up and went in for a closer look. Sure enough my kid had an extra leg. My jaw hit the floor and I haven't stopped smiling. I still don't know if it has hit home yet that we have someone else in the house the can (will be able to) pee standing up, but I am .

As you can recall from most of my blogs about my kids, I had been blessed with 2 lovely, mildly emotionally unstable girls. Up until now girls have been relatively harmless. Not very physical (although my second is getting there), a few breakdowns a week, and not too terribly pouty. The majority of the fights and crying spells they get into revolve around fashion decisions they are faced with during the day. Girls while not necessarily easy are at least predictable.

Now we have Mr. Dude and I am stumped. I am fired up to have someone to play catch with in 6 or 7 years, but until then, I have no idea what to expect other than balls, dirt, and cars. So, expect some posts in the near future or some dialogue between my blog partner and I on what I am supposed to do with he breaks his arm jumping off of the couch.

*Oh and I apologize in advance of you ridiculing this post and its lack of hilarity and tact. I am severely sleep deprived and it is only by luck and the desire of you to click on the google ads that are keeping me awake through posting this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Devil You Know

My wife and I (Wait a minute, did I just start a post with the words "My wife" after including "The Devil" in the title. Yes, yes I did.) have practically the same job. Sure her work clothes are much smaller than mine and I have covered parking at my office, but other than that our experiences from day to day are pretty similar. Not only do we work both work in the same function, IT (that's "information technology" for those of you who probably have no business reading a blog on the "world wide web"), but we both work in the same discipline, BI (that's "business intelligence" for those of you who probably also work in IT and still have no idea what it is that we do). And, even though we work for different companies, we both work primarily on software sold by the same vendor.

Oftentimes, we even have the same leftovers for lunch. Freaky deaky, I know.

Every time I share this with someone, they immediately fall into one of two camps: that would be unfathomably awesome, or that would suck things that are really sucky. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Unfathomably awesome

  • I can say things like "I'm on call" and  "Sorry, my meeting ran long" and she immediately understands that she'll need to pick up all of the kids and take care of them until I show up 3 hours later smelling like bourbon.
  • She makes fat bank. More than me actually. I'm progressive like that.
  • When we need to talk about work, we save a heck of a lot of time providing context with one another. To put it another way, we both really, really get Dilbert cartoons.
  • She forgives me my boondoggles. I've been doing a lot more traveling lately, and she's awesome at dealing with it. In fact, the house and kids are much calmer and more collected when I come back. Which makes me think I should leave a lot more often.
  • We can literally call each other in the middle of the day, ask a deeply technical question, get a deeply technical answer that we trust, and end the convo with an "I love you". Which is nice.

Suckety suck suck suck

  • She can say things to me like "I'm on call" and  "Sorry, my meeting ran long" and I immediately understand that I'll  need to pick up all of the kids and take care of them until she shows up 3 hours later smelling like tequila.
  • I recently realized that I don't ever really talk about my job at home. I think its because by the time she's unloaded her day, I've already been talking about work for an hour, and I don't really want any more office talk.
  • She also occasionally has big projects happen, which effectively leaves me as an ineffective single parent. She's actually in Miami right now wrapping up a project that left me a total bad a$$. PLEASE DON'T COME ROB MY HOUSE NOW THAT YOU KNOW THE HEAD BREADWINNER IS OUT OF TOWN!

Somewhere in the middle
Looking back, this really isn't much of a competition. Having a ton of common ground with my wife is hugely important to me and more than makes up for not flapping my gums about work and being forced to spend some extra time with my kids.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Boys are not girls

My buddy and co-blogger John recently had his first boy after a couple of girls (or as I like to call it, the "Reverse Oswald"). Since the only advice I ever got after having my first and only girl was "be sure to wipe front to back" I thought I might impart to him a little wisdom to help him raise the rougher-around-the-edges sex.
  • Boys love to be naked. This doesn't really stop until they are old enough that it's awkward just how ashamed of their own bodies they are.
  • He will, at some point, get a scar on his face. I recommend getting in front of it and cracking him on the eyebrow with one of your old fraternity paddles. Go ahead and let your daughters take a shot at him, too. Really relieves the pressure once the first one is out of the way.
  • He's gonna be a momma's boy. Deal with it early. Hopefully he'll think you are a lot cooler around age 3.
  • Baby boys' balls look weird. Don't worry about it.
  • You will screw him up somehow. Knowing that going in should hopefully make it easier.
  • Boys fight.
  • If you have hardwood floors in your bathroom, swap it out for tile. They have to learn to pee standing up, and that involves a lot of puddles that will be soaked up by porous hardwood.
  • A nice laminate would be fine, too. Seriously, your bathroom will always smell like pee.
  • Your boy will, at some point, carry a purse around the house. He'll want his toenails painted. He'll occupy himself with My Little Pony toys. Let him. What you consider a worst case scenario isn't really all that bad, and if it goes that way, HIS worst case scenario is probably having a homophobic a-hole for a father.
  • Don't be surprised when he doesn't like the stuff you do. You'll eventually learn to love the stuff he's into. Trust me.
  • If you want him to play sports, make your girls play sports, then tell him not to. Spite will get you further than encouragement.
  • Make him respect his mother, no matter what. If he doesn't eventually thank you for this, you didn't do it right.
Just remember, every kid will be different, and adding the gender variable will only make it more interesting. You may as well enjoy it while you can, because you have a son for 18 years, and a daughter for life.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. And all in only 4 faces.