I am enjoying a surge in readership, which has led me to believe that an hour’s worth of writing cannot possibly justify twelve hours of obsessing over the site stats. I figured that I would be more at ease seeing that I was reaching a wider audience, but it turns out that I only fall deeper down the rabbit hole. Suddenly, what would have been inconceivable just a couple of weeks ago, has become commonplace, and as I breeze past milestone after milestone, it becomes not about the people whom I have just reached, but rather, how much further I can watch the numbers climb. I’d like to say that the game is over now, and that I’m back to writing as if no one else was listening, but somewhere there is a Site Stats page open which I am constantly refreshing. It’s really been fun, these past couple of days, reaching people all across the world, but now the time has come for me to sit back down and work on something different. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read what I have written, and I hope that you continue to come back on your future journeys through the interwebs.
Now back to real life and reality (for once, not mutually exclusive!). Today my new stove is coming (I’m assuming that means the entire oven, but you never know), and I’m excited that I will once again be able to cook with ease. We’ve been dealing with the limitations of cooking with only one functional burner, and it has forced me to a level of efficiency that feels entirely unwholesome and unnatural. I’m the type of cook who likes to time everything just right, and use up several pots and pans, as each recipe demands. With only one working burner, I’ve had to plan things out so that I can run it like a timeshare and, to my credit, it hasn’t been a complete disaster. But now I get to play with a full set for the time in months, and it disturbs me just how much I want to whip something up just so that I can be the first to break in each and every element. That probably speaks volumes about me, but I don’t care. I get to be lazy as a cook again!
Now if only parenting were easier. My son’s counselor thinks that it is great that I am reflecting on my past, using my prior points of view to come up with strategies on how to be a better parent. I keep trying to tell her that I’m not sure, exactly, what good it’s supposed to do, as no one figured out how to be an effective parent once I became the embodiment of rebellion. The only thing that I have going for me is that I am at least as stubborn as my precious child, and I’ve had decades more experience to guide me. I knew that teaching David to question everything would come back to bite me, but I never imagined that I’d see the gapped teeth marks (as he’s been losing baby teeth) so soon. I swear, the only things he’s really lacking are discipline and time. He’s got a raw intelligence that makes me nervous on my best days, and a matching lack of anything resembling even the barest hint of common sense. It looks like my mother is getting her revenge, after all. I think that when the time comes, I’ll send myself off to boarding school, and let him stay at home. Sometimes it’s just easier to move house than it is to face cleaning up your messes.
Shannon Buxton, a friend and mentor, said recently, in response to what I wrote about the Teen Center, “I stand by my belief that teens are not broken and therefore do not need to be fixed.” I know that this is true, but it takes an amazing amount of patience to guide them through their formative years, and I look forward to sending the Minkey up to spend a summer (or several) with his Auntie Shannon who has so graciously volunteered to not fix him. That was a bit tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but I do hope that I can have him spend a little time with her when he is older, as she is able to interact with kids as if they were actually people, and I think that sometimes parents get so caught up in trying to make sure that their kids don’t wind up serial killers that we forget that (eventually) our kids might have something they can teach us, if we’re only willing to stop and listen. That’s easier said than done, of course. There’s only so many times that I can listen to stories about a video game that I was watching my son play before I starting twitching uncontrollably.
I feel like my son and I will wind up like Sean Connery and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and not just because I am bald (and the first impression I ever did was of Mr. Connery), and David is afraid of snakes. Maybe it’s something that all fathers and sons go through which I missed out on because I didn’t get to know my dad. I just feel like by the time he grows into his own skin, and is capable of thought which isn’t directly influenced by raging hormones (or, as they are currently: sugar), it will be time for him to go out into the world, and I will find that I miss him more than I had thought possible. I think I’ll have to look back at this in a decade or so, and see if knowing what would happen made it any easier to live through. If his childhood is any indication, I do not think it will.
UPDATE: The new oven is here, but cannot be connected, as the wall outlet is for a dryer, apparently, and this new oven will not plug in correctly. Instead of replacing the outlet, the owner has told me that he’s just going to replace the power cord, thereby voiding the warranty. I don’t know. I’m not an owner, nor am I a licensed electrician, but I feel like it would just be easier to replace the outlet than perform surgery on a perfectly functional appliance. The downside to all of this is that we have been reduced to microwaving everything we wish to eat at temperature warmer than the room in which we’re sitting. Good thing Flor bought a couple more boxes of cereal yesterday!
Welcome back to the fifth and final installment in the After Dark: A Blast From The Past series. Chapter One dealt with the beginnings of my blog on Myspace until around the time that I began to (biologically) be a dad. Chapter Two focused on the news of Flor’s pregnancy (through the end of ’06), and my coming to terms with my own Dad. Chapter Three finished out my son’s gestation and welcomed him into the world. Chapter Four was mostly me whinging on about the fact that I had no idea what it was that I was doing as a father. Each of those chapters focused on just a couple of months or so, and that was alright, as there was a whole lot going on. But for this final installment, we’re going to be covering a lot of ground. This chapter is dealing with events from October, 2007 until the end of my old blog in April of 2009. But before you become discouraged, and bookmark this page to read when you’ve got a free week or two, just know that I wasn’t writing a whole lot back then, and that I only chose a few posts to share with you. Let’s get started…
Life within the Cave of Batmart
October 17th, 2007
So it’s time to give an update on the monkey. I’m sorry if any of you are uninterested or already bored with baby stories, but too bad. It’s either that or work stories, and no one, myself included, feels like hearing those.
Today’s subject is poop. I realize that he is on a liquid diet (one rather unlike those of his irish ancestors), but nothing is quite so daunting as facing a diaper full of a multicolored stew. It’s especially appalling if it’s taken me a while to decipher his grunts and cries, and he’s managed to spread the goo all about himself, his clothes, and everything near him. He is a poop artist and the world is his canvas.
We have been developing a rudimentary form of communication. He cries, and I begin to question him as to why. For example:
David: (Pathetic moaning) Me: What’s wrong sweetheart? David: (Face scrunched up, pathetic moaning upgrades to soft wail) Me: Are you hungry? David: (Hits my eye with his razor sharp claw, continues to moan) Me: David, please don’t hit daddy in the- David: (Puts his fist in my mouth, and stares at me, whimpering) Me: (After removing his hand, with only minimal cuts along my gums) Mucho pee pee? Mucho pee pee? David (Apparently understanding the first time, rolls onto his side and places his butt near my face. Wailing continues) Me: What is that? Old cheese? Oh god… did you? David: (Stops for a moment, tears welling in his eyes) Me: Mucho poo poo? Eres un poposo? Are you my little poop monster? David: (Smiles, punches me in the head, grabs my hair and pulls)
It was a Poo Stain. And colorful. It must have been like a quart of it. And of course, the second I start undoing the diaper, he rams his feet directly toward the primordial ooze, like a deity unsatisfied with his creation. So I grab his legs with one hand, and try to mop up the… okay, I’m running out of colorful metaphors… shit.
The whole ordeal takes just a few minutes, but leaves an irrevocable scar. On me. So gross. I mean, I know that his diet is directly influencing the nature of the… grossness, but, I mean, after thousands of years of human evolution, would it be too much to ask that maybe it come out in sort of pellets… I mean, not like Milk Duds, that might hurt him, but maybe like a warm Tootsie Roll. Something easy.
And another thing: Why is it that he can’t multitask? I mean, I’ll toss a couple pee rags out, and he’s fine. But when I change his poo pants, he waits until he’s cleaned, baby wiped, and powdered and then goes nuts with number one. I mean, what the hell is the deal there? He feels uncomfortable soiling himself while he is himself, already soiled?
Okay, enough of the nappies. I have one more anecdote to share.
So, I’ve been calling him “Monkey” since before he was born. Initially Flor was livid with me, insisting that he was a beautiful baby (and before she’d even seen him, no less). And then he was born, albeit without a tail, and indeed, aside from boobs, he was the most beautiful thing I’d seen. And then I noticed all the hair on his upper back. And lower back. And the back of his ears. And his eyebrows, while still defining themselves, are already threatening to become one.
No son of mine will bear the name of unibrow.
So one day, I was bored, and he was distracted by something shiny and/or noisy. I grabbed him gently by the ears and pulled them forward. Lo and behold I found a balding chimpanzee staring back at me.
I love him. I just wish he’d smell a little less like a broken fridge during a summer heat wave.
I think I was handling the adjustment quite well, thank you very much. At least I could find the humor at the bottom of a dirty diaper. That’s something, anyway. The next post was one of those “Tag” things that we did to all our friends that seems to have not fully made the transition over to Facebook. I’m only going to include some of them, as I find them amusing.
The Random Tag Blogger Strikes Again
October 25th, 2007
1) I hope to be living in Mexico next year and writing my books.
2) My first adult relationship was with a woman 19 years my senior.
Her 1st husband was 19 years her senior.
3) I am more or less happily married (without the married part), but I’m kind of terrified that I’ll wind up a widower and in 11 years time, dating someone half my age.
4) My first encounter with someone very special to me, and very important in shaping the nature of the man I was to become, involved him telling me to pick him up and spin him around.
5) I own both seasons of Thundercats on DVD (all 4 sets). I can now justify this by virtue of being a father.
6) This is my 100th blog post.
7) Sometimes I miss my friends so very much. Both friends from long ago, and friends I’ve just recently slipped through my fingers.
8) I was a father twice. But one of my children I was fated never to meet, as his mother ended both the pregancy and the relationship. (Both happened within weeks of meeting the man she would leave me for).
Side note: She was my employee when we got together, and when she transferred to another restaurant, she left me for her employee.
Addendum: When that location closed, I was forced to absorb their employees into mine, and so her new boyfriend became my line cook. I hate people.
9) Some day I would love to be able to fly out everyone special from every time in my life to meet my wife and son. I still suffer from the Bi-Polar Bears, but any of you who have known me would be able to see that I am, at least on some instinctual level, actually happy now. What a trip.
[Fed] and I were once considering sending out junk mail with the following important notice:
YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY WON A GOAT!
See? I can do lighthearted! Also, wow. I thought that I’d be living in Mexico by 2008…. And speaking of things that I just cannot let go:
101 Best Ways to Romanticize The Past
November 6th, 2007
Okay, so we are on Blog Number 101. I would like to thank everybody who reads this (all 5 of you) and for doing so often. Just a few numbers:
Out of 100 blogs, I received 82 comments, 41 Kudos, and 2666 views. I almost feel special.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a ridiculous number of views per post. Maybe it’s just because I’m only up to 700 with this one, and the writing is far more consistent and generally better, but I’m a little jealous of my numbers on MySpace, not that they were good for anything. Also, I want Kudos!
Things I Hate
January 15th, 2008
A Two-Party Political System
Christians who feel persecuted (Try being eaten by lions, then complain to me!), and who are, in fact, the most judgemental, hypocritcal, abhorrent wastes of life, seeking out ways in which we could make the world a better place, and destroying them (See also: Soulless corporations).
People who think that invading Iraq and building a border fence are good moves.
People who still find Reefer Madness to be educational (but not in the obvious, “Goverment Gone Wild” way).
People who say Bill Clinton ruined this country and George Bush is fixing it.
People who use the word “synergy” and mean it.
People who cannot accept that artists need a wife and a mistress.
My dad, for being an asshole and not even responding by post after I mailed him a letter announcing the birth of his grandson, and trying to reassure him I was not after any of the thousands of dollars in back child support that he never paid.
Not being able to put DVD library onto iTunes and my iPod.
Having to work 11 straight days, even if two of them were only meetings and, combined, lasted less than 4 hours- I had to put on pants: Not a day off.
Not having numbered these so I could tell if this is an appreciably large collection of gripes or merely minor bitchfest.
Customers who think by yelling at me or my employees, I will somehow change my mind (also related, people who bang on the door after close and demand to be granted entrance. Fuck you! We have had these hours for 2 1/2 years. Quit trying to be the last customer before close, because I can almost guarantee you that you won’t be).
Thinking up more things to be angry at.
… And yes, I did speak to my mother today, why?
Now, back to the Minkey!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 14th, 2008
So last night my son stabbed me in the eye with a Valentine’s Day card. I went to the ER today (apparently this did not qualify for the $20 Urgent Care visit), and was told I had a Corneal Abrasion. I think I said something like that last night. Missed today at work because the pain is unreal. I still can’t really see. Still love the minkey, though, but please, please please NO CARDS! He’s cut off until he develops motor control.
Now he just leaves them laying around everywhere. Best to just avoid them, honestly.
The next post skips ahead a bit until September of ’08. I’d left my job at McDonald’s a few months earlier and… well, let Young Batmart explain:
Back From The Dead
September 17th, 2008
So it’s been forever since I’ve written anything. Lots of stuff going on. Kind of.
I quit my job at McDonald’s almost 5 months ago, leaving due to a nasty case of ethics. The new owners at of our restaurant had, in the first week alone, fired all but one of our senior citizen lobby attendants, dismissed a developmentally handicapped lobby attendant / prep person, and let the Store Manager go as well.
They then began to terrorize remaining employees and managers (aside from myself), under the theory, we’d rather fire you, but if you quit, we’re not liable for unemployment. This is a disturbingly ubiquitous trend, which does not seem to have abated over these past six and a half years. I only stayed around for the time I did in a futile attempt to try and shield my people from this harassment. But as that didn’t work, and they cut my pay, began charging me for my health insurance, and insisting on transferring me to another location, I said enough was enough and left. No point in staying if I couldn’t do anything to help, and was getting screwed over in the process.
I figured it would be okay, as Flor, Minkey and I would be leaving for Mexico in a couple months, so I didn’t worry about finding a new job, figuring I could finally spend some time with my son. When we found out that we wouldn’t be getting the money Flor’s brother owed us, I began to worry a bit. But we already had tickets to go to Seattle to visit my family in mid June for the Minkey’s 1st Birthday, so I didn’t see a huge point in getting a job, only to start and then be gone for a week.
So we got back, and I slowly began trying to get jobs that I was interested in. They were less interested in me. I wan’t worried. Something would come through. Maybe the money from the brother in law would arrive.
Not so much.
August came, and I updated my resume on Monster, and immediately began receiving calls for phone interviews. For restaurant management jobs. That wanted me to have a car. In the Bay Area. What the hell?
And so we come to September. A little more desperate now. No one calling about my resume on Monster. My best shot is now a sports bar opening in a couple weeks. But to pass the time, I’m housecleaning. For those of you who didn’t know me 8-10 years ago, I used to do that. I vowed “Never Again.” The beauty of that is that now we need to pay for daycare again, and after factoring that in, I’m only bringing in like $10/day.
Also, in Monkey News:
So David can walk now. I left him on the floor in the bedroom and walked out into the backyard. He was about 30 seconds behind me, and when he emerged into the great outdoors, he had a neon green duffle bag around his neck, wearing it like a WWF championship belt (with neck strap) and holding an empty cranberry juice bottle in one hand, its cap in the other. He’s managed to dislodge a sock, and so it was like this that he came into view. I immediately ran inside and grabbed my camera and began taking photos of him that I will use to humiliate him when he’s getting ready to try to breed. It wasn’t until that he fell forward a bit that I noticed something.
Whether it was his carefree smile, or two rosy cheeks staring back at me, I realized that he was missing a key piece of clothing. I ran back inside, retracing his probable steps (and looking under furniture) until I came back to the bedroom, the exact spot where I’d left him. There it was, his diaper, laying on the floor next to the bed, looking as it had when I’d last seen it on him, save for the right side strap, which appeared battered and frayed and otherwise mangled, barely hanging on to the back of the diaper.
You should have heard the screams of protest when I firmly attached it back on him. Maybe he didn’t like the Duct Tape.
For those of you wondering, yes, I did find employment later that year. I went to work at Blondie’s Pizza in Berkeley. I then stayed at that job for nearly six years, until I felt that it was time to move on. And whereas my old blog sort of fell off after I quit my job, this new blog was born from the ashes of my most recent employment.
There are just a couple more snippets to go, mainly introducing things that I am still dealing with today.
Sometimes Life Is Not Enough
February 19th, 2009
Sorry I haven’t written anything here for hella. I kinda got hooked on the Twitter a little bit. Have been enjoying my new job at Blondie’s Pizza.
Oh- getting married on March 13th in a civil ceremony in Oakland, with a nice little gathering at my place on the 15th. Anyone living in the area or willing to pay for their own travel accommodations and lodging is welcome to attend. We are registered at iTunes.
There was no gathering. Fed and his brother were the only two people not related to either Flor or myself that made the effort to attend. Of course, one of the people who did attend our wedding was our beautiful daughter. She seemed thrilled.
And that brings us to our final post. Will you miss A Blast From The Past as much as I will? Actually, to be honest, I’m a little relieved not to have to keep reading through all of the old blogs. You guys are seriously getting the best. Out of 121 posts, I’ve only shared 43, and most of those have been edited to make me look at least somewhat sane. Oh, and then there’s the bonus stuff, I guess. Still, that’s only around a third of what I wrote. And I went through it all, just for you guys.
Hug Me, I’m Goddamn Cuddly!
April 13th, 2009
Tell me if you can figure this out.
She’s 19, lives at home, takes care of her infant brother by using my computer and watching my cable on my tv all goddamn day, eats all the food in the house, quadrupling our grocery budget, has a mother who buys her clothes, prepaid cards so she can call her friends in Mexico (when she’s not using Windows Messenger (which is never)), drinks MY BEER, makes it impossible for me to enjoy my days off, as I can no longer roam about the house without pants, isn’t working, isn’t going to school (in the interests of full disclosure, she’ll be starting an ESL class tomorrow, but that’s it!), refuses to leave the house, is afraid of making friends, even though she can easily overcome the language barrier with a frighteningly large proportion of the populace, as there are plenty of latinos here, and a large chunk of gringos speaking bad Spanish.
And here it comes…
When I was her age, I was busting my ass cleaning houses, helping take care of a kid over half my age (which was one of the only satisfying things to come out of those years). I had to watch the woman I love succumb to drug addiction, and lose everything. Again and agan. I was watching the worst in humanity that doesn’t involve murder. All of this culminated in a nervous breakdown.
And she’s stressed out.
We are getting along much better now. I think that motherhood has mellowed my daughter just a little.
So that’s it! A Blast From The Past has come to an end!
Thank you for spending your Thursdays with me, and I’ll see you all again real soon!
My mother and aunt came to visit shortly after my son was born in 2007. I knew that I would be unable to get out of work to meet them, so I had to send instructions on how to get to me. Of course, now that we’re in 2015, this is a little outdated, as the AirBART has been replaced, and the prices have increased. All commentary remains valid, however.
If you are not where I say you are, then you have FUBAR’d the situation and are on your own.
July 2nd, 2007
There are AirBART stops outside of both Terminal One and Two. It costs $3.00/person. Exact Change! (What did he mean, ‘Exact Change?’) Take it to the One Place It Goes (unless you get on at Terminal One, at which point, take it to the Other Place It Goes- The Oakland Coliseum/ Oakland Airport Station).
When you get there, disembark the AirBART (which is, in case you do not remember, actually a bus), and thank the driver. They love this. Especially if you decide to personalize your gratitude in epic poetry. With everyone else behind you waiting to get off. Seriously.
Enter the Bart Station and approach a vending machine. Place $4.20 in the machine and select the option on the right side of the screen indicating that you wish to purchase multiple tickets. Which you do. You want two (2) $2.10 tickets. I would say that you could simply purchase them separately, but you don’t want to anger people by appearing that you don’t know what you are doing, and taking forever while not doing it. Remember: This is Oakland. And you both are VERY WHITE.
Once you each have your properly priced fare ($2.10) ticket, approach the entrance gates. They look like turnstiles without anything that turns (and, to be honest, not so much with the style). Place your ticket in the slot at the front of the gate (before doing this, please make sure that there is a green arrow signifying that it is being used for entrance and not exit. Again, the WHITE/OUT OF TOWNER THING. The mechanism in the gate will appear to eat your ticket. Do not be alarmed. It will appear momentarily at on the top of the gate. Take it from its new resting place, move through the gate, and off to the side, out of the flow of foot traffic, and put it somewhere safe where you will remember it (A word of caution- you may want to keep it away from anything magnetized, and that black strip along the side may be affected).
Now you may choose to take an escalator or stairs. It really doesn’t matter which you choose. Neither is correct. But if you take the escalator, please keep your luggage in front of you, and ensure that it does not exceed the width of your body. Be aware of which side of the escalator is the passing lane. Please do not aggravate the hoodlums (You may want to lean mostly over the railing to allow those in an extreme hurry to pass you without the indignity of social nicety).
Now you are on the elevated platform. Hooray! There are screens on both sides of the platform that announce which trains are arriving, and when, along with mindless drivel that no one actually pays attention to, except to comment, “I don’t care! When’s my (expletive deleted) train (expletive deleted) coming. (expletive deleted)!” You are looking for the Richmond Line. No, you are not actually going to Richmond, despite what the woman might try to tell you later this week. Richmond is evil. We do not go to Richmond. But there is time for horror stories later. Right now we need to get you to Berkeley.
Okay. Have you identified which side of the platform your train will be loading from? No? Keep looking. Let me know when you find it…