A “word” on house guests.

 As I have made mention here previously, I’m not a native Southerner.

With that being said, my family and I had our first group of official houseguests this year. Sadly, one set right after the other.

The first set was my brother and his significant other. He came down first and palled around with me for a few days and then she came down on the following weekend. It was a good time.

The biggest takeaway from that first visit was that my family, as well as our home, isn’t set up to receive houseguests. Initially, my brother slept on an air mattress in the living room. Eventually, the fact that his schedule didn’t jive with that of my families’ necessitated in him getting a room. No biggie as I’m sure that he and his girl wanted to knock boots without the added pressure of perhaps traumatizing one of my children. Still a good time was had by all. 

The following week, my wife’s mother finally made good on her threat of driving down to visit us. 

It would have been fine if it weren’t for the fact that she waited until getting to Tenne-fucking-see to tell us that she brought her mother (that is, my wife’s grandmother, of whom she never, ever got along with) with her and that the two of them would be kicking my two girls out of their beds regardless of the fact that their visit coincided with the kids school days. 

Total dick move on the mother-in-law’s part. 

We all suffered it well, myself especially. My wife got off easy because she “had to work” 3 out of the 4 days that they were down here to visit.

(While it would be easy to say that my wife should have handled it, I would like to point out that I have absolved her from any wrong doings with respect to her involvement with her mother. My wife and I have had similar upbringings and I understand how hard it is to suffer a parent’s bullshit like that).

Suffice it to say, should her mother threaten us with a repeat visit like that, I will undoubtedly unleash a salvo of “OH FUCK NAW!” and blog about it here, subsequently. 

What dawned on me during my mother-in-law’s bullshit visit was the fact that I let the skinny little shit steal my joy at first.

Throughout the course of any given person’s life, they are only allowed a daily amount of joy. Said joy is taken, extinguished, pissed and/or shat on, and ultimately ruined. What’s often disregarded is the fact that to let someone do that to you, is a choice.

You choose to let the person ruin your day, or you choose to give them the proverbial finger. 

Go ahead: argue all you want. You know that I’m right.

After the aforementioned epiphany, I proceeded to fuck with my guests on a rather artistic level.

I never go in for being an obvious dick. I work up to it. Make them more than aware that I’m not serving them food, offhanded comments about how the girls didn’t sleep that well, the occasionally incendiary comment thrown at them letting them know that their welcome was worn out before they breached the state line, that type of stuff.

On their final full day, I had the wonderful idea to clean the entire garage. At this point it was completely fucked and I knew that it would eat up my entire day while the kids and the wife were away.

Not to be stingy with my joy, I pulled my wife into my web of fun. What follows is a text conversation I had with her throughout the course of that day.

************

Thought you’d like to know, CURRENTLY, “the guests” are on the back patio. The “skinny one” is doing a Leslie Sansome Walking Workout on a portable digital video disc player. The “fat one” is watching Leslie with rapt attention.

THE HORROR!

As I have been keeping my distance and maintaining minimal contact, I have noticed that the “skinny one” has migrated to the trampoline area. She’s not using the trampoline, merely using the edge of it to keep her digital video disc player off of the ground. I can only presume that there was a disagreement with the “large one”.

As I pretend not to watch, I can’t help but wonder if Security Forces will pick her up for vagrancy.
The “skinny one” has finished her “walk” and has made contact. I didn’t hear what she said as I had ear buds in.

I did however reply in Spanish. She seemed pleased.

wife:
I would check to see what she said unless you like surprises.

me:
This is true with the “fat one”, the “skinny one” seems quite benign.

wife:
You are awful!

me:
This is the highlight of your day: DONT DENY IT!

wife:
Yes it is.

me:
😎 glad I can be “too kewl fer skool” for ya!

IMG_3152

The “skinny one” seems confused as to the operation of the trampoline. Prior to her mounting it, she tried the “lick/sniff test” common to her people.

At this point, urination became a serious matter to my overall well being. Knowing full well where “the skinny one” was as she had now gone on to the tactile portion of her learning about something new (eg touching the previously mentioned foreign object and grunting her findings) common to her culture, I decided to throw caution to the wind and use one of the toilets inside.

Damn my cursed luck! The “fat one” was emerging from the toilet in the “commoners bathroom”. While it was rather thrilling for her to try and engage me in conversation (not breaking my stride for fear of pissing myself, she commented on the fact that I was lucky that I didn’t have to curl my hair. Out of fear I replied “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? MAH HUR IS NATURALLY STRAIGHT!) it is not something that I would like to repeat for the rest of my days.

**********

They left the following day. See?

THERE THEY GO!

THERE THEY GO!

Have a horrible house guest story you feel like sharing? Hit it in the comments at the top of this post!!!

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How I started as a stay at home parent.

For all intents and purposes, I can be socially classified as a ‘stay at home parent’. Here’s how I started out.

I came into this position by way of getting fired from my job. At the time, this stung a little bit since I had three children and a wife to support. Ultimately, my dismissal wasn’t that much of an issue because:

  1.  I knew I was going to get fired. Management was completely turning over the store. Anyone who had a negative thing to say about how things were going got the axe. If things weren’t that simple, the people who spoke up the loudest were set up to fail. I was one of those people.
  2. The plan that the wife and I had from the beginning was for me to be a Stay-at-home parent as soon as she finished school and got a job. As you can see, this as merely an acceleration of our plan.

She was so great about me getting fired. She had already known about everything that was going on. I think that some part of her thought that it was just a matter of time as well.

As a Stay-at-Home Dad, I had it relatively easy at first. My wife was completing her last semester of nursing school which necessitated her being home full time as well. The “hardest” part of my day was keeping the younger two kids occupied long enough while Mommy found a quiet part of the apartment to hole up and study in.

Keeping the house from looking like a bomb just went off? Piece of cake. Our apartment was a bit on the small side plus there were two adults there for most of the day. Keeping the kids occupied and happy? No problem! I completely loved being there for them. The title “Daddy” became synonymous with playtime and all around merriment. [I think that this was in large part a reaction to the type of father that I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “dad bashing”. My father was a good man and I know he tried but for myself (being the youngest of four by nine years) it was too little too late. As a result, when I became a parent myself, I came to the conclusion that the only thing that I really needed to do in order to be a successful parent was the opposite of everything that my parents did.]

Two months into my new job, the wife and I eventually made the decision that we needed to move in with someone until we got “back on our feet”.

As a man, this was a tough thing for me to do. I don’t care if it sounds cliché. Men are conditioned to provide for their family. It wasn’t until the move that the feeling of being a failure began to sink in. On some levels, I still have this feeling. Being the breadwinner and getting fired from your job is a rough thing to go through. It may seem impossible but  “even if it is forced on you by a layoff or any other external circumstance it (being a Stay-at-Home Dad) can only work as long as you stay in touch with the feeling that you are doing something important” (Gill, p.50, 2001).

By July, we’ve completely moved into my sister’s house and my job gets even easier. Now, there’s even less ground to cover and there’s a third adult! I hit the jackpot.

Within weeks of moving in, the wife found a job and things were pretty good. The hardest part of my life at that time was trying to figure out what got capitalized in “stay at home dad”. 

We stayed at my sister’s through the middle of November. After Thanksgiving break, we moved into our first house.

Then the honeymoon came to an abrupt and hellish halt. After the last few boxes were unpacked, the wife and I constantly butted heads on every little thing. There was no middle ground.

If you are a Stay-at-Home Dad, don’t get scared: this is perfectly natural. “Expect dads to do things differently from moms… Men and Women are different… Their differences should be recognized and embraced” (Gill, p. 50, 2001). Personally, I would take a fight about the type of soap in the bathroom any day than complete indifference. If you’re fighting at least you know that the other person cares enough to put in that kind of effort.

Don’t like fighting? Then communicate. Communicate like you have never communicated before. Don’t confuse this with giving in on every little thing. If your wife has some sort of hair-brained scheme about anything or something is not getting done to her liking at all do her the courtesy of hearing her out.

Seriously, stop what you are doing and give her your undivided attention. It might not be that wacky of a plan after all. She may be right about your ability to clean something properly. Or she may have gone completely around the bend, regardless, hear her out. If she’s wrong, then logically and politely shoot her down. If things give the appearance of going nuclear, COMPROMISE.

Find that middle ground.

That way everybody wins.

** Since we’ve been ‘on our own’, I have been practicing what I have been preaching and things have been great. Things may not get done on a regular basis or they may not get done to someone else’s liking but everyone is getting the respect that they need.

Source Consulted

Gill, Libby. (2001). Stay-at-Home Dads: The Essential Guide to Creating the New Family. New York: Penguin Group.

Poopin’ 2.0

As I may have mentioned here before, I am an “Air Force Wife”. 

My wife occupies a position of prominence in the USAF while I occupy the home. That is not to say that I am a ‘laurel-rest-er’. If I didn’t stay at home, our children wouldn’t be as well-adjusted as they are and the house would be a pit of dirty dishes and full garbage bags. I digress.

Given the nature of my wife’s employment, she is sometimes required to go out of town for training. When those opportunities arise, my wife and I maintain contact through Snapchat. While I still don’t understand the point of Snapchat, I figured that it would be best if we used said service instead of texting back and forth. With texting (our primary method of contact when she is in town), that shit eats up a lot of space on your phone. Doubly so if you’re trying to stay in contact with your Boo because they’re out of town.

That is not to say that she is my only contact on Snapchat. Various people from my days on Facebook have added me, and I, them. Sometimes ‘snap’ back and forth.

One day, after the kids had been jettisoned at their respective schools, I decide to check my snaps and one of said Facebook peoples snapped me back.

They wanted to know what I was doing.

I was finishing my morning constitutional. The person contacting me was a fellow male. So I seized the opportunity to compose a tasteful snap of myself sitting on the throne.

Suffice it to say that the fellow male appreciated my candor. I don’t remember what all we talked about but he ended up schooling me on Poopin’ 2.0

The video is a bit on the long side but the science and the logic are there. Since my initial viewing, I have adopted the method and I must say, my constitutionals are wonderful!

Go ahead, give it a look-see!

I gave my wife wood for Mother’s Day.

Yes, I know Mother’s day has come and gone. No need to be a pedant about it. 

Regardless, I would be remiss if I did not walk you through the ‘punishment’ that I put myself through because of it. 

Mother’s day (along with Father’s day) has always been hit or miss with my wife and I. It’s not that we don’t care about either of those days. It’s also not because we think the other doesn’t deserve a day to call their own. 

Speaking for myself, I think that it’s because we didn’t have a good idea of what those days were really about when we were growing up. This was the direct result of both of us coming from ‘broken homes’. Kind of hard to know what Mother’s day or Father’s day was all about if mom was talking shit about dad or vice versa.

The hit and miss of these days for us has resulted in poor planning and a light touch of misery throughout the day. 
This is not to say that all of them have been miserable. They just haven’t been as great as I thought they should have been

I am a fan of turning negatives into positives. This year, my wife was going to be out of town for Mother’s Day so I decided to capitalize on that and make her something that she wanted: patio furniture

As luck would have it, I had the materials I needed right under my nose. 

  
That’s right: I got the bright idea to repurpose old furniture into new furniture. 


Enter the parts of our sofa
that our kids fucked up. There are two parts. For some reason, the corner piece didn’t get a picture snapped of it. Sorry about that. 

“How hard could it be, right? All you have to do is de-upholster it and see what you’re working with. I ought to be done with this well before she gets home”, I thought. Famous. Last. Words. 

Here’s what the skeleton of the couch looked like. 

   

 

Obviously this was the easy part. See all that white, cotton-y, shit? That’s what was left over from the upholstery. All of what you’re looking at is held in by staples. So many. Fahking staplessssss. 

People who build furniture for a living (presumably in a factory environment) are not shy with the staples. For reals: it took me the better part of a day and a half just to remove all of them. And there were still some I didn’t catch until the very end. 

  
After the clusterfuck with the staples, it was time for me to remove everything else that would interrupts one’s ass from hitting the floor. Above, you see what that looks like. I knew right away that this piece would be a ‘seat’. All I needed to do was to shorten the width of it. 

  
Like so! Basically, I cut the motherfucker in half and left a chunk out of the middle of the original design.  To measure, I used a yoga mat since my wife was out of town and essentially none-the-wiser. The corner piece was a bit of a sticking point for the repurposing basically because it was so goddamn awkward looking. 

  
As you can see above, I made up my mind and turned that odd-ass couch piece into an extension of the original ‘seat’ idea I was struck with. 

My reasoning was simple: Don’t want to lounge, turn that motherfucker sideways and you got a table. 

To finish out the construction of the ‘seat’ piece I used wood from the original sofa corner piece. This posed a bit of a problem as there wouldn’t be enough wood to finish out the ‘extention/table’. However, it was a problem easily fixed by an old pallet. 

  

Ta fucking Da!
I couldn’t stop here, though. As previously mentioned, I live in Florida (aka the ball-sac of the east coast). If I were to put these two pieces outside, as is, the sun would go “OOOOOOHHHH HOW CUTE” and then crush all of my hard work with all of it’s burning hate. 

  

Enter the sander.
Why sand? Because when you’re working with wood that is going to be living outdoors, you need to protect that shit with the weather seal of your choice. My choice was the Thompson’s Water Seal that you can spray on. ($6 dollars a can at Home Depot if I’m not mistaken.)

How much to sand off though? This wood wasn’t meant to be ‘exposed’. It was meant to support cloth and cotton, and all other sorts of nonsense. Yes, that’s right, I fucking guessed. 

  
The top half of this photo is unsanded. I reasoned that as long as there was a slight, noticeable difference in color and texture of my wood, then it would be ready for the sealant. 

  
So far so good. Luckily, when my wife came back to town and I showed her what I had been up to, she was really psyched. 

In short I invested 3 weeks (because I was operating without a plan and it was hot as fuck when I set about this project) and $60 (That is for the sealant, a box of screws, and the cushions. The cushions were the most expensive part!). 

What I learned was that making shit is really, really satisfying. Also I concluded that the meaning behind a given holiday doesn’t matter. If you’re happy and the people that you love are happy, then it’s all goood. 

How To Clean The Damn Bedroom.

In which, I continue my video series for establishing a baseline of cleanliness in my home. 

Today’s video features the bedroom my wife and I share. For the record, should you feel the need to question the standard of living in which my family and I enjoy (e.g. the cleanliness of our home) I cordially invite you to go fuck yourself. Judging other people isn’t nice. It’s ok to have a messy home as long as it doesn’t look like you’re auditioning for Hoarders.

A quick note about the cockroach. His name was Joe, Joe the Cockroach. He was a single father of a multitude. And I murdered him by spraying my home with indoor bug killer. At the time this video was made, he had been dead for sometime. He was dead well before my wife put the glass over him. She probably didn’t know that. I wasn’t about to tell her either. Yes, I am a 12 year-old.

Sometimes in relationships stalemates are reached. When we first moved into our current home I noticed and informed my wife about the bug problem. My initial course of action was going to be to inform the rental company so that they can get off their asses and fix the problem. My wife insisted that we handle the problem ourselves because she took issue with the possibility of getting certain insecticides over our belongings.

It was a battle I wasn’t willing to fight so we handled the problem ourselves. To date, it has been a fruitless battle.  When you have your nightcap tonight, be sure to pour out a little bit for JC.

You can not be around the same bunch of a-holes 24/7.

Since I have become the parent who stays at home for the children, there has been something impressed upon me over and over again: you can not be around the same bunch of assholes 24/7.

Doubly so if it’s the holidays.

Triple-ly so if it’s your family.

In case you haven’t read anything else here, or you just can’t remember, this holiday for my family and I was different than all of the others (not because I had the kids do the X-Mas shopping) but because it was the first holiday that we were on our own (e.g We have no relations that live in Florida).

As per usual, my wife elected to be on call this past holiday (she’s a nurse FYI) because the likelihood of her having to go into to work is pretty fucking slim. It’s her way of sneaking a little bit of a break into her stress-addled career.

That being said, everything lined up to where there was no need for me to leave the house at all.

The kids were out of school for two weeks.

The girls (who have gymnastics) were off for two weeks because the people who take our money apparently get tired out from doing just that.

(The wife, in total worked all of 8 hours over those two weeks).

Nice little family togetherness time, right?

Fuck. No.

Don’t get me wrong, there were nice moments here and there (the kids opening their presents, me and the missus getting out of the house on a couple of dates…) but they were completely dwarfed by the fact that we were all getting at each other’s throats.

A couple of asides: we don’t live in a “social desert” (e.g there’s no one for our kids to hang out with). There’s plenty of kids the same age as our children. Kids palling around with other like-minded kids gets old after a while if it’s the only thing at your disposal.

What our current area can be described as is a “cultural desert” (e.g. their are no museums, no “Little Italy’s”, etc.). Where we live there’s nothing but Urban Sprawl. If you want cultural, you have to drive at least 30 minutes in any direction or else plan extensively.

Additionally, when you are in an “on-call” situation (regardless of the field you are employed in), you’re basically chained to wherever you live because you have to be at work within a certain time frame.

Suffice it to say, these past holidays were rough.

Two days before everyone went back to their usual routine of work and school, I hearkened back to my days of home-schooling (more on that later) the children: I got out of the house, on my own, as much as possible. Bike rides, visiting family, going to one of a kind book stores, you name it, I tried to fucking do it.

Over the two holiday weeks, I did little things (like working out and playing video games) in an effort to take my mind off the fact that I wanted to sneak into my children’s room at night, give them each a reverse mohawk with a set of rusty nail clippers, and then fart on their heads upon exit.

It wasn’t enough.

I suppose I didn’t get out of the house partially out of guilt: I knew that I could be doing more as far as being a part of my family and I knew that if I left my wife at home with the children, things could sour for everyone rather quickly. Additionally, my wife couldn’t go anywhere that would take her more than 20 minutes away from the house.

Should you ever find yourself in that situation, I cordially invite you to give that noise the finger.

If you need to get out of the house, get out of the fucking house. If there’s something at stake, like the sake of your bond between your significant other (or your mental health), just make sure that you communicate your need to be an individual out in the world on his or her own in a way that doesn’t make said significant other feel like shit.

It is that simple. 

 

Have a horror story you’d like to share? Wanna give me my what-fors? Let’s hear it in the comments at the top of this post!