What to do when a rogue pen commits Hara-kiri in your fucking laundry.

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It was as if the Devil snuck in my house during the night and rubbed one out in my dryer.

 This happens to everyone at least once in their life.

For me, this wasn’t the first time. The first time happened when we were still living back in Ohio. My son was too young to start doing his laundry on his own so I was doing it for him. It was late and I wanted to throw a load of laundry in the dryer before I hit the sack. When I got up the next morning, I went into the basement to bring the load of laundry up so I wouldn’t forget about it as the day bore on.

As I was unloading the dryer, I started to see little blue splotches here and there on his clothes. “Godfuckingdamnit” I say (because that’s what I always say when shit goes wrong: true fact) as I start to check pockets. Lo! And Behold! In a pocket of his dungarees, I find the culprit: One of my pens that the little shit pocketed while I wasn’t looking. He was 5 or 6 at the time so not checking his pockets for pens was perfectly reasonable. I finish surveying the damage and the only thing that happened on the inside of the dryer was a big, blue Van Gogh-like smear, high on the rear wall of the dryer. The washer and dryer we bought used so one smear was inconsequential: the boy’s clothes took on most of the contents of the pen. I managed to save most of them except for one or two items.

Advance the tape to this past September.

This time, I’m doing my own laundry and it’s the same scenario: I wanted to throw my stuff in the dryer before I went to bed because the next day, the entire family was going to the eldest child’s gymnastic performance.

The next day rolls around and I need to get some fresh clothes on. Naturally all of my shit was in the dryer and when I went to get it, that’s when I saw the horror scene above.

One pen. One fucking pen slipped through my net. That’s what caused all of that shit.

Time was of the essence, so I found clothing items that weren’t sullied by my own ignorance and I hot-footed it to the google machine. After five minutes of link clicking, I found something that sounded like a feasible work-around.

My fixing of this grievous error was paramount. As we have relocated to a different state, we saw fit to purchase a washer and dryer that were brand new. New “house things”, like appliances, matter to my wife a great deal. The reasons as to why this is, are our own.

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YAY! SCIENCE!

After mixing an appropriate amount of Comet Cleanser and Resolve liquid stain remover, I got what you see on the right, here. Depending on how badly you fucked up your dryer, you need to play with the ratios of the product and the resulting consistencies: it’s got to be pasty but not so pasty that you need to get a putty knife to put the shit on.

So, after getting the right consistency it was time to go to the gymnastic performance. The kid did awesome and it wasn’t a horrible experience in the least bit. (I’ll probably be posting pictures and saying something about the merits of extracurriculars for children at a later date).

After family time was over and we did some additional messing about and getting lunch to celebrate said performance, it was time for me to come home and receive my comeuppance.

In all, I spent more time than I should have but I wanted to be sure that I got every little bit of ink out of there. I felt like a damn fool.

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This was mid-way through the cleaning process.

Basically it’s “wax on, wax off”. Rub your mixture on with an old rag and then rub it off with an additional, damp rag until you get the result that you are going for.

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This was the end result of going above and beyond: probably spent about 90 minutes total spit-shining this bitch.

Lessons Learned: 

  1. Stop doing shit right before bed.
  2. ALWAYS check your pockets. Even when you’re not up for laundry duty.
  3. GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND.
  4. If you fuck up, fix it. And then, go a little bit beyond. It’ll help you out later on in life. 

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My adventures in discipling my childrens. Part 2.

I think that at this point, I should note that I do not enjoy discipling my children.

It would be nice if we all lived in a world where everyone respected everyone else and we were all aware of how our actions affected the lives of those in our immediate environment.

Sadly, that is not the case at all. 

From the moment we escape our mother’s womb, like the trapped miner’s that we all are, our curiosity is what guides us. For good reason, too: it’s the only tool we have at our disposal that helps us learn.

FACT: babies drop things because they want to know if the thing in their immediate reach makes a sound. 

Ever have that happen to you? A baby is in the high chair and the little fucker knocks all of it’s toys on the floor. Then, like a good Samaritan, you pick the stuff up for it because you think it’s an accident. Then it turns it into a game that you get sucked into every 5 minutes? Good times. 

Eventually the kid(s) get older but that curiosity is still there. It’s just evolved into a version boundary extension and seeing what they can get away with. This is the time of their life when their identity really starts to take shape.

More often than not, the kid will show an interest in things that you, as a parent, can completely get behind (e.g sports, music, being romantically interested in stuff, etc.). Sometimes, they’ll do a lot of stupid shit that makes you, as a parent, really wonder if they do share your genetics. And on occasion, they’ll do something so astoundingly dumb, that you, as a parent, will feel like a failure.

If you are reading this and you don’t have kids, or maybe you are on the fencepost, please know that it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s just part of the ride that you bought the ticket for. 

Last week, I posted a document that I drew up for my eldest because she got her ass grounded this past summer. I made a point of spelling everything out for her because she had gotten grounded before and the groundings never really went anywhere: no conclusion was reached, she didn’t really seem to care about the effect of what she did, did to those around her, closure was nowhere to be found. It was just a waste of time for everyone.

Also, I welcomed the opportunity because I wanted to write up something where I got to use the word “redacted” and have footnotes. 

In sum, the grounding worked to an extent. There’s been hiccups since the actual grounding, but nothing monumental.

She understands how her behavior affects everyone else. She understands that when things build up like they did, she needs to do something positive about it. That’s why the grounding was as structured as it was and why it included all of the holistic things and educational things that it did. In the grand scheme of things, I was trying to arm her with weapons that she could use when she felt life start to close in around her.

Grounding your child is a tightrope all parents have to walk. If there is one thing that I would like to impart it’s this: keeping your balance is easy. Just make sure you leave as much of your own opinions out of the grounding as possible. The grounding is about your child and what’s been informing their behavior. Not why the kid won’t fit into the box that you made for them inside of your head. 

My adventures in disciplining my childrens. Part 1.

It’s bound to happen eventually: your kid(s) is going to do something stupid and you, as the responsible adult, are going to have to deal with it. 

We, as a society, are past the days of beatings. That’s right: the only tool left at your disposal is ‘the grounding’. 

One day, I had had enough of my eldest child’s shit. (She’s 11, a cheerleader, and self-identifies as a pre-teen. I can’t help but pucker at the thought of that previous sentence).  

What follows is the result of said shit. 

In the following days, I will post what the results from this particular grounding as well as what I have concluded from grounding my child.

**********

Grounding of [REDACTED]: July 28, 2014

 

[REDACTED], on this day, you have been grounded, not for a specific reason, but for scores of reasons, including but not limited to: arguing over petty things, talking back, bullying, being bossy, being selfish, showboating[1], not listening, being rude, fishing for compliments[2], not acting your age[3], being ungrateful, etc.

SECTION 1.

 

In the days of the dinosaur, children were grounded for one specific reason. Example: a child did something wrong and was punished for it (generally speaking, things were taken away, privileges revoked… Basically, the parent decided the punishment that fit the crime). As your grounding is a little more complex in nature, you will be un-grounded when you have eliminated all traces of the items mentioned in the previous paragraph. If it takes forever, then that is on you.

SECTION 2. 

 

On a daily basis, you will be expected to:

  1. Write in a journal. Daily. YOU WILL NOT: draw in this journal, color in this journal, or do something stupid with it[4]. In the beginning, you will address each point in paragraph one as your journal entries (ex. One daily journal entry will address being rude. You will write down everything that comes to your mind about that; why you are rude, why people are rude, what the end result of someone being rude is, so on and so forth).  After you have addressed all points, you will still be expected to free write in your journal. Daily. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  2. Meditate. Daily. For no less than 15 mintues a day. You will sit comfortably in your room, with your eyes closed, door open and you will breathe deeply. You will listen to the sound of your breath and you will focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, that’s ok: just bring your focus back to your breathing. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  3. Keep your room, and your person[5] clean and organized. You will no longer spend hours upon hours cleaning your room because “you didn’t feel like” putting things away nor will you skip on personal hygiene because you “were in a rush”.  Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  4. Practice the things that you need to practice for cheer tech. This includes, but is not limited to: warming up properly, and working on your cheer tech moves. Upon completion of said warm up and cheer tech moves, you will then complete two rounds of “7 minutes fitter” and one round of “Simply Yoga” (all ready downloaded!).  A word about “Simply Yoga”, for the first week, it will be allowed that you only complete the 20 minutes segment. After the first week, you will be expected to vary your yoga routine (ex. A day of 40 minutes, a day of 20, a day of 60 minutes, etc). If you cannot perform a specific pose modify it in a way that will allow you to until you can complete said pose. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 

YOU WILL NOT ALLOW THE COMPLETION OF THESE FOUR TASKS TO INTERFERE WITH THE DAILY OPERATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD. THIS CAN BE DEFINED AS A PARENT ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING AROUND THE HOUSE AND YOU SAYING THAT YOU HAVEN’T COMPLETED ANY OF THE PREVIOUS FOUR POINTS AS A MEANS TO GET OUT OF WHATEVER THE PARENT ASKED YOU TO DO. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in.

SECTION 3. 

 

Upon daily completion of the previous four points, you will be allowed to:

  1. Create art.
  2. Read for pleasure.
  3. Use your tablet for informative measures[6]
  4. Fraternize with [REDACTED] and [REDACTED].
  5. Listen to music that you wouldn’t normally listen to. [7]
  6. Sit outside.
  7. Watch documentaries (not reality television. Ex: River Monsters) on Netflix. YOU WILL NOT DOCUMENTARY HOP (ex: start one documentary and then get bored with it, moving on to another one, etc).
  8. Read before bedtime.
  9. (Twice a week) Skype with the [REDACTED] for 30 minutes.  YOUR GROUNDING IS ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. The limit of twice a week is set in hopes that you will actually converse with the members of said family and not resort to “WAH. PANCAKES”.
  10. Play your DS.

YOU DO HAVE TO ASK TO DO THESE THINGS.

IN SUMMARY.

While you may feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders now, rest assured, there are plenty of children in the world who have it a whole lot worse than you ever did, or ever will, for that matter.

The time has been taken to put this grounding in writing to eliminate any doubt of what can and cannot be done as well as to fully address the problem(s) at hand.

This grounding will not be reversed overnight. Nor will it be reversed in a week.  The daily completion of points 1 through 4 (in SECTION 2) will aid you in your journey.  As stated in SECTION1, it’s on you now. You have to do the work.

 


[1] Defined as: “HEY LOOK AT ME! AREN’T I GREAT ISN’T THIS THING THAT I CAN DO WONDERFUL??!??”

[2] Defined as: “I did (this thing): WASN’T THAT NICE OF ME?”

[3] Defined as: “WAH! PANCAKES!”

[4] Defined as: damaging the journal in any way, or writing in larger than normal handwriting in an attempt to go finish the journal quickly.

[5] Defined as: not trying to grow a beard in your armpits, nor having “Michael Jackson” legs.

[6] Defined as: looking stuff up for the expansion of your mind, listening to podcasts (provided that they are appropriate in nature), etc.

[7] Defined as: everything that you wouldn’t hear on 96.5

The Story of Daniel J. Burgers.

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There is no other meal staple that encapsulates being a husband, a father, a man, more succinctly than the hamburger. I’d even go so far as to say that you could tell a lot about a man given the state of his burger making skills.

Jump in the Way Back machine with me, Sherman, as we go back to the first time that I got a wild hair up my ass to make burgers for my family. 

It was nearly 2 years ago. I was in a rut as far as making dinner was concerned and I was rather bothered by it.

You see, cooking for me at that time was my meditation. The kids were still young (and if I am not mistaken, this was the year that they were home-schooled. More on that later.)

When it was time to make dinner the tone of the entire day for me changed for me when I got into the kitchen. The kids knew not to fucking bother me when I was cooking and they also knew not to act like damn fools because if I had to stop what I was doing, it was guaranteed that I’d go ghetto on their little asses.

(For the record, I still hold them to those standards to this day.)

At the time, my wife was against ground beef and meat based dinners (which was and is, perfectly valid) but I needed to do something. I needed to branch out. So I decide that I’m going to make burgers.

Yes, that’s right: I was 3 years into being a stay at home parent before I fucked with ground beef. 

Fuck everything that you have ever heard about ground beef. Seriously, just forget it. In terms of versatility, ground beef in unparalleled. Hamburgers, lasagna, pasta dishes, meat balls, chili, tacos… You can do a lot with this shit.

Burger night rolls around and the recipe that I consulted told me that you can basically put anything in your burgers (beans, veg, cheese, fruit, etc) and still have it taste good as long as the seasoning you use doesn’t fuck everything up.

(Seriously, take it as gospel.)

Regardless, I decided a chopped up onion (it just felt right) and conservative seasoning was the way to go. The end result was a pretty decent burger for my first time out.

Cut to a few days later. It was lunch time and I didn’t have any buns so I decide to make a “burrito burger” out of the left over burgers. Everything came out good, so I decided to Instagram that shit (because at the time, it wasn’t that obnoxious to do so).

It took my sister to point out to me that our father used to do the same thing.

At this point he had been dead for about 10 years.

Boom. Not only did my burgers have a name, they brought back vague memories came back to me of when I was a small boy and it was Dad’s turn to cook (this was 30+ years ago).

Next up: I'll take you through making burgers on your own. It's easier than you think.

Next up: I’ll take you through making burgers on your own. It’s easier than you think.

Have pleasant food-related (or perhaps, induced) memories? Don’t be shy, share them in the comments section at the top of this post!

On the need for silliness in a serious world. (NSFW).

As a parent, stay at home parent, working parent, or general denizen of the earth, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of taking everything way too seriously. I battle with this daily.

My home is located in a social desert (e.g. there’s nothing but urban sprawl, shopping malls, and people I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with) and I live in a part of the Continental United States where the sun is a crushing ball of hate 7 months out of the year. As a result of those factors I am alone 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I don’t go outside all that much. I’m not complaining, those are just the facts.

When it’s just you and your thoughts, it doesn’t take much for the trap to be sprung and all of a sudden you’re on that slippery slope that is above the chasm of seriousness. One misstep and you’re thinking about all of the shit that you’ve been trying to ignore that other people have perpetrated. This has been my daily battle for the past 2 years.

As such, I always try to amuse myself. 

Prior to my acceptance of being the parent who stays at home I was a member of the retail workforce. One of the jobs that I occupied was that of a field representative of a now defunct company who provided outsourced maintenance to Home Depots.

One day I had a business meeting. Upon the conclusion of said meeting, I was walking my then boss (and his lackey) out to their automobiles. It was a nice spring day and for some reason, the area had seen a spike in the bee population. Seriously, the little fuckers were everywhere.

As we were exiting the building, I was concluding my plan for success and out of the corner of my eye, I spied a bee buzzing it’s way towards my left arm. Without hesitating, I left out a deafening “HYAH!!!”, karate chopped the little fucker, and concluded my spiel.

When I had finished talking, my boss immediately inquired:

Getting kids to do things: putting away clothes

Any parent, let alone a stay-at-home Dad, needs to be a good communicator. You need to know what to say and when to say it.

Let me set the stage for you: 3 years ago one of the things that I have struggled with up until a couple of months ago, was getting my oldest daughter (who was 7 going on 40 at the time) to put away her clothes properly. This had been something that was a sore point for both me and my wife since we started having our daughter put away her clothes. (She was 5 when we started this agonizing process.)

Both together and on our own, my wife and I had taken the time to point out what article of clothing should be put away ‘where’ and what should be hung up on a hanger as opposed to what we were ok with being folded and put away in a drawer.

Our daughter speaks English. She’s not blind. There’s nothing holding her back from doing all of the normal, physical things that 7-year-old children do. She just chose not to put away her clothes the right way most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s been able to do it right the first time every so often but for the most part, she would do everything in her power to do it the wrong way. I would find dresses balled up behind her desk, underwear stashed underneath the bathroom sink… My personal favorites were the multiple times when she would cram everything that needed to be folded into one bin.

We’ve taken stuff away. We’ve threatened with grounding. We’ve made her do it over and over and over again. Then we thought we were doing something wrong. So we (my wife and I) and reevaluated our daughters clothing arrangements and made it ‘idiot proof’. Nothing was working. We had gotten to the point where we thought what might be considered effective, might not be appropriate.

It was after the last ‘idiot-proofing’ (what you see in the following picture) that my wife and I had our last straw. It was more of the same thing. Clothes stashed, knickers hidden, dresses barely on the hanger in the first place.

While my wife was ripping apart our daughters closet again, I calmly and severely reminded our child of the last room that she occupied. Prior to living where we are now, our daughter had to share a room with her younger brother (he’s 4 now) and her younger sister (she’s 2 now). It was a small room, taken up mainly by a bunk bed and crib that she, our eldest daughter, was in charge of keeping neat and tidy. It was something that she was able to do with great ease as the 3 of them only had a handful of personal belongings in it.

I told her quite plainly that it would be the same situation. Only now, it would be the 3 of them all in one room, with 3 separate beds, and all of their possessions. And she would be in charge of cleaning all of it. Regardless of ‘who’ made ‘what’ mess.

She understood me quite clearly and has long been aware of the fact that I never bluff. Her closet along with her room has never been a problem since.

I never claimed to have all of the answers. But I have some ideas on where you can get them.

Everyone needs a little help now and again. The loose idea with this part of my site is that it’s going to be a rolling list of links that people can click to because there will be some things in the future that I am a bit out of my depth on.

New as of Wednesday,  December 16th 2015

MISCELLANEOUS

MUSIC

  • I don’t like handing money over to iTunes to get some new music going. Does anyone, really? Through ways that escape me, I have found Listen to Youtube. Be careful where you click: this is an ad heavy site. It’s not completely obnoxious, you just have to “read” before you click. Wanna have a go with me about “pirating”? Fill out the contact form, fucker: I’ll show you what “swabbing the deck” really means. (Edited: I’d also like to point out that normally, I would get new audio stuffs from the local library. My current library stinks. As in, I can’t get new audio stuffs. They don’t have the funding. Seriously. So, there’s that).
  • BEHOLD! The Rollins Archive. Henry Rollins’ radio show from the very beginning. For free. Download it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Fugazi created a comprehensive web site of all of their shows. Even if you don’t know who they are, you need to check this out. Also, the music can be bought on the cheap

PODCASTS

As a stay at home dad with three kids in school and a deep-seated phobia of having to deal with people on a regular basis, I have discovered the pot of veritable wonder that is podcasts. The first link is the home page for the podcast, the link underneath that is a specific podcast that everyone ought to listen to.

RECIPES AND FOOD

MOTIVATION!

Look no further than Henry Rollins. 

I first saw Henry in an ad for Macs in one of my sister’s Rolling Stone Magazines. I was super young, definitely pre-teen. If I’m not mistaken, shortly after that ad, he ended up having a column in Rolling Stone for a short period of time.

I have been a fan ever since.

Since I have come to be a certain age, a lot of what he has talked about has held a certain resonance with me. Just… Just check him out.

If that’s not your bag, try some Neil Gaiman on for size. 

In Which, I Talk About My Adventures in Body Hair Grooming.

Shortly after our world had stepped over the threshold into the 2000’s, man-scaping became a ‘thing’. Men, once hairy of forearm, were spotted out in public working on their farmer’s tan. Father’s once ashamed to sit on their front porch on a hot day, without a shirt, could now do so and know what a stiff breeze felt like on their stubbly back. Eventually, the Internet to spoke up and created a new word for these men who folliculy manipulated their appearance (amongst other things). And lo! metro-sexuals were born.

For those who don’t know what that is, the term metrosexual is a now antiquated term used to identify a grown male who takes care of their appearance in the same way that women zealously use beauty products and age defying cleansers. This male, the metrosexual, sexually prefers women, contrary to the implication of their description.

Men began publicly identifying as ‘metro’ when Bravo put Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on the air. Essentially, this was a reality show that took 5 gay men (of some renown) and tasked them with some hapless chump who couldn’t dress himself and lived like a college kid in a dorm room.

Yes, I watched the show regularly for the first couple of seasons. Don’t judge: it was 43 minutes of catty gay men ripping on a man child. What’s not to like about that?

At the height of the metro sexual phenomenon, my older brother and I were regular drinking companions.

On one particular excursion, I had met him at his apartment in Brooklyn, Ohio. For some impossibly stupid reason, my brother needed to change his shirt. He did it really fast, like the fat kid in gym class. But it wasn’t fast enough for me to notice that something was ‘off’.

His torso, from his pierogi shaped chesticles down to his (at the time) 3rd trimester food baby belly was completely nude. No hair. Smooth & shiny.

I didn’t question him at the time (probably because it was his turn to buy) but I did have an immediate thought. Either he’s on estrogen pills or something fucked up is going on here!

  • My father was a hairy man. He wasn’t Robin Williams hairy but he had enough for people to make sweater jokes should he doff his top. As such, my oldest brother (not the drinking buddy) was also hairy. Point of fact: I remember seeing a picture of Oldest Brother from the 1980’s in which he was wearing a sleeveless shirt. The hair on his shoulder/upper arm area was the same length as his moustache. Further, I was (and am) hairy. It only stands to reason that all males from the same parents would be just as hairy as the father, no? My confusion was palpable.

I questioned my brother about the incident recently and this is what he had to say.

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Sidebar!

Yes, I probably did call him a faggot. No, I don’t recall given that this was over 10 years ago. In the event that there might be someone somewhere reading this with bunched panties, I’d like to point out a few things that you may or may not be aware of.

The relationship between brothers, good brothers who keep in touch and have your back when you need it, should be the epitome of tough love. Case in point, if one brother is doing something vaguely effeminate, it is the duty of the other brother to call him out on such behavior. Doubly so, if the reasoning for the effeminate behavior was unsound. Hence, my word choice.

Do I use this word regularly? Nope. Have I in the past? Yep. But not in a harmful way.

My understanding and use of the word fag, as well as gay, or retarded has been in terms to describe something as dumb, boring, or useless. Do I still use those words in the same way? Not really. I have kids who understand the comic value in swearing and name calling. As a result, I have to watch my mouth.

End of Sidebar!

After my brother’s admission and his reasoning (that being, it made him feel less ape-like) I decided to give it a try. Sadly, I thought at the very least a lack of body hair might help my chances with the ladies as I had just come out of a horrible relationship at the time and I was remarkably lonely.

That’s right: the advent of man-scaping officially brought men into the circle of hell that the advertising & cosmetic industries had been holding women hostage in for years. “Do this thing with that product and the mate you want will love you forever”. Such a sad, and fucked up world we live in sometimes, no? I digress…

The first time I did it was on a wintry Sunday night in the laundry room of my mother’s basement. No, not exactly prudent timing on my part as far as the seasonality goes. And yes, I was still living at home at the time. Why? You might be asking… Because it was a lot cheaper than living in some shithole apartment.

There were a few remarkable things I noticed upon completion.

  1. Since I had never done it before, I decided that everything must go from the head down. So I took a pair of clippers and went to town. The drop in temperature from start to finish was bananas! (In the future, I made the strategic choice to doff my fur coat during the height of summer. It makes existing when the temperature is 90+ degrees much more bearable).
  2. Muscles. I had muscles. I had never noticed them given all of the personal foliage.
  3. Genital shaving is a fine art. Additionally, there is no greater pain than shaving your junk and knicking it because you were having a hard time clear-cutting the forest, as it were. And yes, the first time I knicked myself was the first time I was teary-eyed and trying not to land on the laundry room floor.

The next day, everything was amazing. My skin was new. Wearing clothes, watching the muscles in my forearm work, even taking a shower was a new experience. I was convinced that no woman would find me attractive as hairy as I was and I became fanatical about man-scaping for the next 10 years.

My fanaticism reached the point where I would actually take shaving cream and razor to a given area after it had been buzzed with the clippers. I was in pretty deep and it was inescapable. About a year later, advertising company’s were capitalizing on this new trend. Special clippers and lotions were made just for man-scaping.

The bitch of all that nonsense was that I had found someone who loved me for me within a year. Unfortunately, it didn’t dawn on me until almost 7 years into our relationship that I could be doing all sorts of other things with the time I spent shaving myself.

Nowadays, the only shaving I do is my face and my swimsuit area. On occasion, other areas will be groomed but only by my wife’s hand. She enjoys it and it keeps her calm.

I’m sure there are weirder forms of meditation out there.

Getting Your Kid to Shed Their Training Wheels.

That’s not a metaphor. I’m being literal.

When it comes to teaching a kid to ride their bike, I have found that the only thing that will help you (and your child) is having a healthy understanding of your child’s personality (Are they an adventuresome hooligan? Or are they someone you’ll eventually have to kick out of your house when they hit they’re late 20’s?), consistency (NO! YOU AND JUNIOR CANNOT TAKE A DAY OFF FROM LEARNING HOW TO RIDE!), repetition (See previous parenthetical) AND ONE, METRIC FUCK-TON OF PATIENCE.

Preamble.

When it comes to determining your approach to getting your kid road-ready, you need to be a bit choosy about the method that you adopt.

Some people will tell you to take away one of their training wheels (like how I learned) so they can work on finding their center of balance. The only foreseeable problem with this is that you run the risk of your kid milking the fuck out of jettisoning the last training wheel. I have vague recollections of doing this when I was this age and I sure as shit remember my son pulling this on me as well.

Other people will tell you to fuck all that. They’ll tell you to take the kid (and the bike…) for a drive to the nearest hill. Then they’ll tell you to pitch both training wheels, give the kid a speech about learning to ‘nut-up’, and then assemble kid on top of bike and pitch them screeching down the hill. Here’s the problem with this method: Most kids aren’t dumb enough to fall for this. They also have large and long memory banks. In the event that they do take the bait, they will kill you in your sleep when they are 16 because of the time you told them to ‘nut-up’ right before they got a compound fracture because you were being an asshole. 

Then there are those of you out there who like tools and gimmicks like ‘coasting bikes’ (No shit: I have seen infomercials selling a training bike that  doesn’t have any pedals. It’s basically a scooter minus the ‘standing bit’. Seriously, why waste the money when you can just take the pedals of off your Tater-Tots trike??? )  or those bikes ‘half-bikes’ that attach to the parent’s bike (I’m assuming the purpose of those is so the kid can get an idea of what bike riding is?).

What My Kids Put Me Through When I Taught Them How to Ride.

I don’t believe that there is a ‘right’ or ‘correct’ way to teach your kid how to ride their bike.

When the eldest was learning how to ride, I was working all of the time so I missed out on that. With the youngest (and smartest of the three) I barely had to do anything. There wasn’t any one training wheel stuff or removing her pedals so she can learn how to coast. All I had to do was go out there with her and give her a shove every so often until she got the hang of it. The middle child, he was such a glorious pain in the ass about learning how to ride his bike. 

For the record, my son’s personality has always been that of a little old man. To wit, he knows what he likes as well as doesn’t like, and he fucking hates change. (I’m the same way to a degree).

I took off one training wheel, I removed the pedals and taught him how to coast, I put the pedals back on (but not the training wheels) and I spent a lot of time walking around our neighbor hunched over from being ordered (by my progeny) to not let go of his handlebars while we did our lap around the block.

Eventually I won this battle. The day came when he acknowledged that he didn’t need me as much when it came to riding his bike. In order to ensure this concession, I told him (in so many words) that if we were to leave the house on foot, he had to ride his bike.

What the ‘Learning How to Ride a Bike’ Resources Are Lacking.

The most important thing you can teach your kid about riding their bike is how to fall off of it and not get hurt. 

Some, if not all bike riding resources available to parents seem to skimp on the fact that your Tater Tot will fall down and go boom when they are first starting out. While that’s not helpful at all, it’s also not surprising. Kid’s don’t like getting hurt anymore than their asshole parents do. 

What worked the best for me when I was teaching the boy how to ride was figuring out which foot was his dominate foot and then lowering his seat all the way down. If their seat is as low as it can go, then you are basically minimizing their chances of injury (a selling point in the event that your kid is being a bit of a pussy about the whole thing…) and if you know what foot is the dominate foot, then you also know which foot they are more likely to use in order to avoid doing a face plant.

In Conclusion.

Don’t be one of those assholes who makes a fuss every time your Tot falls down and gets hurt. Yes, you should show some concern. But it shouldn’t go any further than that.

In the event that you are one of those parents who fusses every time your kid gets hurt: Nice going asshole! You’re setting a bad example!

The only thing that a kid gets from a parent who fusses every time said kid falls down and goes boom is the idea that physical pain is something to be feared and in some instances it can be used to get attention from the parent. No, kids don’t articulate it exactly like that, but it’s the truth.

People get hurt. Old, young, poor health, good health: the sooner you teach your kid that, the sooner they’ll accept it and make it a part of their life.

In the end, what will work for both you and your soon to be bike rider is consistency, repetition, AND A FUCKTON OF PATIENCE. The more patience the both of you have, the easier it will be. 

A quick-ish word about “depression” being a son of a bitch.

Before I say anything further, it should be noted that I have absolutely no medical credentials. I have no certifications. I have also not been treated for depression. I am a man who has experience with depression.

As such, the purpose of this post is to address the topic of depression in the event that there is someone out there, male or female, working parent or stay at home parent (like myself) who is “down in the dumps” as the vernacular goes.

A little about me.

In terms of my genetic make up and heritage, there’s absolutely nothing remarkable about me. I’m a white male, of Irish descent. While I don’t like to bandy about cliches or stereotypes, what they say about Irish men being emotionally retarded is fucking true.

We don’t like our feelings. We don’t like talking about our feelings. We certainly think that there should be a medical procedure to remove the little buggers so we can live the rest of our lives in drunken ignorance.

I am no exception to any of the above.

I don’t like talking about myself PERIOD. I never have. As I am usually loathe to deal with anything feeling related, it can be safely assumed that I have never given it much thought. In general, I have always preferred to listen to other people talk about themselves. What’s at work there, is the fact that most people, LOVE TALKING ABOUT THEMSELVES.

Perhaps I’m a coward. Perhaps it’s a level of self consciousness that I’m not willing to deal with. Maybe it has something to do with some childhood trauma that has been buried deep within my dome. I just don’t know.

From ages 12 to 35, there have been numerous points in my life where I have been depressed. This isn’t the “boo hoo I can’t get laid” type of depression (even though some of it was). This is the “being a lone peach in a can full of syrup, fully realized” type of depression. Everything is awful. Every movement feels like trying to walk through waist deep water.

For the record, this has lessened substantially within the past 12 years.

What I am getting at.

As a parent, depression is a relatively easy trap to set for yourself.

Kids are fucking expensive. They’re not “gifts”. They are people. People cost money. Kids need money in order to grow. That right there is fuel enough to make any parent, new or seasoned, feel like they are in a race that they can’t win.

As a parent who stays at home (especially if you are a dad), it’s even easier to feel the wastes of depression seep in. YOUR JOB DOESN’T END. You don’t get that moment to look forward to when you realize that your workday is almost over and you get to go home. You are all ready there. Nothing ever stays clean and simple things like your asshole kids turning off the fucking bathroom light upon exit amounts to you asking them to build a goddamn rocket.

What’s worse is the fact that all of the parents around you are either bad at parenting or they are just assholes. Effectively you are on your own.

“In the event of fire”.

It’s ok to fall down every once in a while. What you have to keep in mind is that you can’t be the person your kids need if you can’t pick yourself up off the ground. Being depressed is ok. Letting it control your life and inform your behavior in your immediate environment is not ok.

If you need help, ask your significant other. Don’t have one? Think of the one person that has been close to you all of your life and ask them. That’s what they are there for.

If you are like me (emotionally stunted) and you don’t want to due to whatever cockamamie excuse you’ve cooked up, you still need to do something about it.

 This is where the Tumblr comes in handy. Don’t fuck around with the internet. That’s just asking for trouble. On tumblr I see a lot of posts about depression and what to do when you’re in it. A lot of them seem like they are on the level. As far as I know, you don’t need a tumblr account to use tumblr. Why not give it a look? 

What I do.

 My general rule when it comes to dealing with anything negative is that I am allowed 20 minutes to feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I can manage and get my shit together in the time allowed. Sometimes, not so much. The important thing is to recognize the behavior (hopefully before it starts) and take action. Usually this amount to me:

  1. Letting my wife know what my fucking problem is.
  2. Writing a telephone-book-sized journal entry about what my fucking problem is.
  3. Resort to OTC’s like Sam-E or St. John’s Wort.
  4. Work out and managing my food intake with Swiss precision.

In Sum.

Whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, it is temporary. While it may seem like “it’s easier said, than done”, it is the truth. What you need to do, is to have the courage to admit that something is wrong. But what you need to realize and accept is that you need to take that step a bit further and correct ‘the wrong’ that is making you suffer.

In the event that you want someone to chat with (that is relatively objective) I can be contacted here