Sometimes it is people

Let me begin with an understatement. Things are a little screwy in our country right now. Actually, there a little screwy in the world as a whole right now.

I think I’m probably not alone when I say I’m torn up when it comes to interacting with my fellow humans. We are social creatures and even the most reclusive of us need some interaction, even if it’s through social media. But for much of the past year, I find that being interactive and informed is giving my mental health a constant kick to the crotch. Seriously, just sitting down to write this has taken a few days of personal pep talks.

With all due respect to those of you with religious convictions, I am not a person who has ever gotten much comfort from an almighty anything. If it helps you, that’s cool. I agree there are things in the world that are hard to explain. But I’m someone who needs to put his faith in other things. Sometimes science, sometimes karma, sometimes nature. Sometimes it’s just Occam’s razor.

Sometimes it is people.

This is the one I struggle with the most. People, as a whole, are really hard to put faith in. An individual person is a little easier, but it’s also riskier. It hurts more if the individual fails you than the group.

So why do it? Why put any faith at all in people? We are prone to being greedy. We are easily scared and tend to react negatively to fear. It seems we are increasingly unlikely to listen to each other. So why do I even try to bother with people at all?

Because every now and then, I’m reminded that people are potential. People are capable of just as much good as bad. People are change, which is a crazy thought in itself since we can be so resistant to changing anything. Yet we continue to change, for the better or the worse, and we’ll continue to do so. Things will become amazing. Things will become terrible. This is due to the choices we make as people. And in the big scheme of the multiverse none of it matters. How crazy is that? Space and time continue while so many of our societies have fallen apart. But people continue to be here. We continue to move and make noise and try to make ourselves have significance. We continue to put on pants. Why is there any significance to pants?!? People made it so! Holy fuck!

It’s hard to remember this, but people give me hope. Not all the time. We like to pay attention to bad things. Frankly, negative is usually louder. For someone like myself, it doesn’t take a lot to send me into a swan dive towards depression. But a few times a week, I get a little reminder. Maybe it’s something my family does. Maybe a stranger is just unexpectedly kind. Maybe it’s just a really good cup of coffee or an amazing song I haven’t heard in a while. All these things involve people making a moment happen. Sure, I need to get away from other people to recharge my energy. That doesn’t mean I want a Twilight Zone, last man on Earth scenario. I want people to exist in my world. Even if it means I have to deal with the scary ones.

So sometimes, I have to put my faith in people. I think it’s worth it.  If I’m wrong, I guess there is always good old-fashioned voodoo.

 

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More Dad Haikus

MYSTERIES

There must be answers.

Yet, daughter, I can’t explain

why you won’t eat lunch.

 

BATH

The screams of pure rage.

You thrash as if set aflame.

It’s only shampoo.

 

CAT

The toddler hugs you.

Feline eyes call out to me,

“What fresh hell is this?”

 

SILENCE

The talking has stopped.

Perhaps the kids are asleep.

No. They plot my doom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Vacation: What I learned

We recently got back from a trip to Florida. The purpose was to give my dad a sort of birthday present (he turns 70 this month) of having all 4 of the grandchildren on a trip together. So my wife and I went with the girls and Pam, my sister, went with our niece & nephew. My brother-in-law was unable to make it due to work. The third sibling, my brother, was also not there but he likely didn’t want to go. So we had a total of 5 adults with my parents, sister, Lisa and myself. The 4 kids are between the ages of 3 and 7. So obviously, they had the advantage over the adults.

Did we have fun? Sure, there was fun. The kids seemed to enjoy playing together, though there was a large amount of whining. I’m also sure I speak for many when I say putting extended family together for a long time is not without stress. But this whole thing was a learning experience, so I will now share the knowledge that has been bestowed upon my squishy brain matter.

FLYING WITH KIDS IS A PAIN- We had a 2 hour delay for our flight to Florida. This pretty much killed the excitement of 5-year-old Phoebe, who now panicked that the trip was ruined. By the time we got on the plane and took off, she hadn’t fully recovered. Zoe, the cranky pants toddler, was tired but did not manage to fall asleep until about 20 minutes before landing. However, we also had a yappy dog on the plane that barked the whole time. The flight home was very early and Phoebe spent most of it being difficult. Zoe was pretty good, only fussing once which was cancelled by the presence of apple juice. This was the opposite of what we expected, having thought Phoebe would be excited by the plane and entertained and Zoe would get cranky. So maybe next time, which may very well be in a few years, we’ll just drive.

LET THE GRANDPARENTS TAKE THE KIDS- If my mom or dad wanted to go somewhere with the kids, they pretty much got it. Lisa and I were able to get a few moments of quiet and even got to go out after the kids went to bed. Once just the two of us and once with Pam, who by that point needed the break as well. Plus, we all got to take a nap at least once! How awesome is that? How sad is it that I get excited about naps?

BE BETTER AT PLANNING OUTINGS- Somehow we ended up going to the Naples Zoo on one of the hottest days of the week. Needless to say, everyone was cranky about halfway into the time there. Also, the animals as a whole were smarter than us and mostly laid around in whatever shade was present. Good for you, striped hyena and honey badger. Bad for the tourists, us included. Zoe also clarified that every big cat she saw apparently goes “meow, meow”. I’m sure the 3-year-old has conducted scientific research so pass this on to the tigers and leopards. No roaring for you. It’s “meow, meow” or nothing. So sayeth the toddler.

We’ve taken short little weekend trips with the kids in the past, but this was our first big family trip. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for vacations with Phoebe and Zoe. People keep asking us if we’ll do a Disney trip with them, which I think is possible but certainly not until they are old enough to remember it better. This is the question about the trip we just took. Will they remember much of it? A little, I think, but it will probably be more along the lines of how they had fun with their grandparents and cousins. So I think vacations like trips to Disney World and things like that can wait until Lisa and I don’t have to change diapers at the airport.

 

 

That “F” word

Welcome back, folks. It has been over a month. I was going to try to make a return in small steps, but screw it. I’m pissed and I have a little ranting to do.

All right, people. I’m not the best person to do this but I’m giving it a shot. Here it goes. Being a feminist isn’t a bad thing. I’m ashamed to say it took me some time to admit this, but I’m more pissed that there are still people who don’t understand that it’s not something bad. It’s about people getting equal treatment regardless of gender, not man-hating! This isn’t to say that there aren’t women who treat men like dirt. There are and those women are assholes. THEY ARE NOT FEMINISTS. They are simply assholes. Vaginal assholes, if you must, but assholes and nothing more.

Now I’m trying to be better about being an active ally. So if I catch people being assholes (and it’s mostly “bros”) to women, I make a point to call it out. The response tends to be that I’m either trying to get laid or a social justice warrior or white knight. Fine. I’ve been called plenty of names that were much worse and I’ll survive. But it’s not okay that this is an issue. It’s not okay that my friends get cat-called or my wife has men telling here she should smile more when she’s at work. It certainly is fucking ok to make death threats when a woman doesn’t want to listen to your lame pick up lines.

Why is this pissing me off so much right now? For one, there is no reason anyone should be treated so poorly or have to be scared so much. All lot of people want to pretend these problems women have aren’t real. I never thought it was as bad as it is, until social media came along. The scum really seems to come out now. Also, when women get stereotyped it hurts men too. Why is the most common way for guys to insult another man something in the vibe of “Stop acting like a girl” and such? Why do fathers taking care of their kids get compared to babysitting as opposed to just being a parent?

What is particularly important to me is I have two daughters who are going to grow up someday. I do not want them dealing with this shit. There is a lot of scary crap going on in the world and this is a big part of the problem. Feminism is something that can help, but it’s been dragged through Hell by a lot of gross talking heads over the years. People are afraid of it. They don’t need to be.

This probably wasn’t the best subject for my first post after a hiatus. But anger is a motivator and I’d rather be constructive with it if I can. I promise I will talk about silly kid things and nerdy stuff again soon. But like many people, I’m tired and angry about a lot of things. This is a big one. And we need to start owning it and not ignoring.

Maybe time for a break

This is a short rant. It probably won’t be that amusing. Sorry, but I’m not in the mood.

My productivity on this blog has been suffering. I started with a weekly post. Then it was bi-weekly. Now I’m lucky if I can get two posts in a month. I think part of the issue is other things have been eating up my time. The kids, work, and just being plain tired. Nothing special and certainly no different from plenty of other people.

Really, I think the main reason is that I’m getting tired of assholes. I am encountering them way too much. They are non-stop at work. I go online to have fun or be creative and people just get nastier and more vicious every day. Frankly, half the time I keep thinking of just shutting down entirely. But then I figure this is just depression talking and that maybe isn’t the best idea. Still, I am tapped out and am going into survival mode.

So I think I’m taking a break from posting. Maybe just a few weeks. Possibly longer. I need to get my head together. There is no point in writing when I don’t want to say anything to anyone. This is not a place I want to be in, so I will be taking care of it. For those who are regular readers, I’m sorry. Hope to be back soon.

 

More years to come

My eldest daughter, Phoebe, will turn 5 in less than a week. In July, her sister Zoe will turn 3. I’m of mixed feelings about this whole growing up thing my kids are doing. It’s also really weird to think that it has been about 5 years since I’ve become someone’s parent.

How did that happen? Well, of course I know how it happened. I was there. Also, I’ve been to the zoo.

It’s just bizarre to me. I have these two little girls that call me “daddy” who I love more than I thought possible. There are also days they make me want to dig a hole in the yard and hide for the rest of my life. My wife and I constantly talk about which one is going to give us more trouble in the years ahead. They are both so different, yet both so stubborn! And they are both so cute and they make me laugh and smile. I look at them and get so scared thinking about the horrible shit they may go through. I constantly worry about how the world will treat them because they are girls, and how they will treat them when they are women. When it comes to them, I question almost everything I do for fear that I will screw them up. That being said, I think all parents screw up at some point. So chances are I probably have and will do so again, no matter how hard I try.

Phoebe is a talker and silly. She wants to say hello to everyone and is easily distracted. Zoe is sweet and sensitive. She gets so excited by animals and has a little temper.

My kids are getting older. I am getting older. Nothing is going to stop this and, unless something horrible occurs, I am in for many more years of this stuff. I will be tired and grumpy. I will be heartbroken. I will be proud and amused and terrified. And in the future, I will almost certainly embarrass some teenagers.

Cool.

Being quiet

Let me be blunt. I’m writing this because I need to see it.

There has been a drop off in posts over the last few months. To those who have been consistent readers, I apologize. The reality is I have been finding it very difficult to gather my thoughts lately. Sure I can keep posting random thoughts while drinking coffee, which I enjoy doing, but my goal with this blog was to have a little more substance and include some more specific life observations. But frankly, my mind has been beating me over the head with a sack of symbolic doorknobs for a while. So I have been quiet.

It’s no secret that I deal with clinical depression. Recently, it has been winning. My weeks have had more crap days than good ones. And the part that pisses me off the most? The fact that there really isn’t a thing I can point to that has caused it. Is work stressful? Yes, but my job deals with the general public so that’s expected. Financial struggles? Yes, but this is also not new.  Neither is being worn out from lack of sleep or frustrated that my wife and I don’t get enough time together with the girls. These are all things I deal with in my everyday life so why should they have suddenly become harder to handle? So I have tried to be quiet. I go to therapy. I go to work. I take care of my kids. I behave like a goddamn adult.

There have been more days than I want where I’ve felt like falling apart. There have been days when I’ve felt like I’m failing my wife and kids. I’ve had way too many days where things are more or less going fine and I’ve still wanted to just hide pray for everything to just stop.

As of today, my doctor and therapist agreed to increase my medication. My first increase in three years. I guess that’s pretty good. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that medication doesn’t fix everything. It’s job is to help my brain get to a level where I can handle things like a regular human. I still have to make things happen. I still have to take a breath and remind myself that I will continue. To do that, certain parts of my brain need to stay quiet. That’s where medication helps. That’s where therapy helps. And this is why, every so often, I need to write posts like this. I need to see it. I also need to share it because I hope that maybe, by not being quiet, I’m helping someone else. Maybe someone who is having a hard time needs to be reminded that it’s not simple, that depression doesn’t always make sense and that is okay. Keep trying, keep fighting. There are going to be days when depression kicks your ass. It will continue to feel like depression is winning. But it doesn’t really win if you keep going.

And like I said, I needed to see this. I need to acknowledge when things are bad. Being quiet does nothing.

Before the coffee kicks in — the headache edition

I realize it’s been a long time since I last posted. I attribute this to a number of things. Some of this has to do with life deciding that other things needed to take priority. So I’m realizing this as my head seems to be in the grips of a sinus headache. Stupid weather can’t decide if it’s still winter or not, so my head is punishing me for it. Perhaps more coffee will help along with Tylenol. Time to ramble.

Why does the cat stare at the tub faucet like she’s worshiping a pagan god?

Depression has been kicking my ass. I may need to talk about adjusting my medication. Not thrilled about it.

Bailey’s Chocolatini creamer is superior to Bailey’s Mudslide creamer.

My children have turned into walking goo factories. So many runny noses.

I miss having a lot of time to do nothing.

Do ducks have their own Navy?

I am so completely fed up with the 2016 election. It has brought out new forms of ugly.

Can we collectively stop pretending our shit doesn’t stink? Is that even a possibility?

It’s interesting to hear the different names and voices Phoebe gives to toys.

Speaking of my favorite preschooler, she is currently demanding my attention. This is making it increasingly difficult to type. So I’m ending this hear. Sorry for the briefness. My will is not my own. Also, the coffee doesn’t seem to be helping. Time to go be daddy.

 

 

Strange talent

People develop as they grow. I’m not just talking about puberty and aging and all the weird biological stuff. People develop abilities, skills, and talents. Some stuff you learn through formal lessons and practice. Other things come naturally to some without much in the way of training. Then there are the things you suddenly become good at without even realizing it. I have become very well acquainted with the third scenario.

Perhaps this makes me some form of a Renaissance man, but one who was part of a very weak Renaissance. I will take this time to share some of these talents with you. Let me again state that these are not things I trained to do from any desire to better myself. These either came about through attempts at self-amusement or by accident. Basically, they just kind of happened over time.

Talent #1- I have found that I can detect smelly poops from another room. Be it diaper, litter box, or someone having a bad reaction to cheese I shall detect it.

Talent #2- If a popular song exists, I will turn it into a song about my cat. Possibly a song about my kids or whatever I’m currently doing. But more than likely the cat.

Talent #3- I have the ability to serve as a human sofa and jungle gym for the previously mentioned cat and children.

Talent #4- As I age, my changing appearance has informed me that I’ve developed a strange metamorphic ability. I appear to be turning into some form of hobbit wizard.

Talent #5- After years of dealing with the general public, I now have the talent to control my urge hit all stupid people with a rolled up magazine and say “Bad human” to them. This has kept me employed.

How about you folks? What strange talents have you developed? Are they a source of pride or a dark secret that you fear will make all shun you? Either way, feel free to share!