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Monday, January 31, 2011

Parenting is a part time job apparently

I was talking with a fellow parent in one of my pottery classes and we were discussing how much time we spend with our kids each day. She is currently on sabbatical from her job and was realizing just how much time work takes away from that time together with your family.


When I sat down and figured out our schedule, and how much time we actually spend with the kids, it saddened me deeply. We are up at 6:30 and we all eat breakfast together. Tod and Eli are out the door at 7:45 or so and Anna and I hang out and wait for her bus that usually comes around 8:05.

Time together: 90 minutes

Eli is picked up after his nap at daycare around 4, and Anna gets home on the bus around 4:15. We will usually do something special, a trip to the library, a trip to the park, or we’ll just relax in the attic, depending on our mood. Dinner is at 6, and the kids are usually in bed by 7 or 7:30.

Time together: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Week day total: around 5 hours.

We suck.

Not sure what the remedy is at this point, aside from quitting our jobs and homeschooling our kids. As mentioned, this really bothered me, but in our modern times, I guess this is what we have to do. Make every moment count I guess and love em when you can.
Even if they are driving you nuts.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let's get physical: 2011 resolution edition

With my winter schedule being what it is (AWESOME!) I decided to join the local Y to get back in shape for 2011. I usually do the St. Bernard workout plan as my post holiday workout, but with the recent single digit temps, going out for a walk is not a good thing. I can usually drop weight pretty quick when I am focused and have a plan. I talk to my pottery students about muscle memory and how it relates to remembering how to position yourself on the wheel for throwing. The same is true for lifting and exercise. The last time I was seriously involved in a workout regime was the winter before Eli came (two years ago) and I was less than 250 pounds. I was also on my way to completing the 100 push up challenge. But yeah, having a new little one in the house made working out difficult, if not impossible. Yes, I am blaming Eli. It’s all his fault.


So with my new determination, I made an appointment with Michelle, a personal trainer at the Y and she kicked my ass and then handed it to me on a plate. Yes, there is muscle memory, and it sucks, as my muscles are reminding me how long I have avoided them two days after our meeting/consultation. Ouch. I am eating Motrin like M&Ms and have soaked in the hot tub for a few hours to try and relax my aching arms. I used to have a membership at the Y, but when I started at JCC 11 years ago, I let it go as I started working out at the college. But then, I could never escape work, I didn’t like working out and talking shop with administrators, so I let that slide and did my lifting at home with our Bowflex in the basement.

Michelle and I went over 15 Cybex machines, focusing on firming up and trimming down over the next month. I am not going to work with her each time, as the initial consult was enough to get me going. It’s also not cheap, at $35 a pop, but it’s worth it to have her guidance to get me started. We’re going to meet up again in March to see where I am progress-wise. It’s funny how after 11 years, my body remembered most of the machine and slid right back into the routine. What I wasn’t ready for was the reminder that 11 years have passed and I am not as young as I used to be.

So, in the interest of accountability, I am letting you all know that I am in this for the win and hope to get the whole family involved in getting healthy and in shape for 2011. Anna and Eli have the kid’s Wii Fit and love it. I hope to get Tod an appointment with Michelle so she can help him find his groove. The Y offers free childcare which is awesome and a great motivator for us. Anna saw the room the other day and can’t wait to check it out. It’s nice to have this option available, we are lucky.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2011.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The sick: We haz it.

Updates for the week, ‘cause I got nothing else.


We hit the ground running last weekend as our buds Rob and Mike came up with their nephew Harper. They were supposed to come Friday night, and Anna had been stoked about it ALL WEEK. Due to a work issue, they didn’t get her until Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, we had a category 10 meltdown and had to mollify the child with a trip to Jungle Java. But, once the boys got here, the long play date began. We went sledding, we froze, we drank, we had hot chocolate, we played Wii, we yelled, we drank, we fought, we had a near dismemberment with the snow blower, we drank, we went back to Jungle Java… all the markings of a great weekend.



However, once the boys left, we noticed that Eli wasn’t doing too well, it appears he had strep throat. Usually he is a bundle of energy, not so much on Sunday and Monday. I had a dental appointment on Monday; and I am now one step closer to getting my tooth put in next month. However, the surgeon had to do a lot of cutting and drilling in my jaw to get to the implant. Apparently, I grow bone mass very well. I thank all the dead people whose bones now reside in my jaw. My jaw has ached since Monday, and I am crabby. To make matters worse, I can’t eat chips or nuts. Dammit.

Tod and the kids had a snow day on Tuesday, due to the ice, and they went to the doctor to confirm Eli’s sickuation, and indeed it was strep. Thankfully, their doctor is our doctor, so he gave us all scripts for antibiotics knowing that we would all probably get it. This is the bonus of having a family doc verses a pediatrician and your own physician. One stop health!

So, we are all on the mend now, and we actually have a free weekend coming up. I don’t know how that happened, but we’re going to take advantage of it. We have been on full alert since the holidays, which I am certain does not help with healing. More later, much to discuss, but this is all I can muster now. The coffee isn’t doing it this morning.

Be well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Playing favorites

We now have over 100 followers! Woo hoo! Thank you for your support and for sharing this blog with your friends and family these past two years.
I am meeting with a potential publisher here in Jackson this week and we’re going to talk about a potential book inspired by this blog. You might notice on the side bar the most popular stories from the blog, but I want to know what YOUR favorite entry was. Please check the archive and see which story or stories stand out and please leave a comment for me. This will help our discussion as we talk about the book.
Thanks!
Tom

Saturday, January 15, 2011

911 ISN'T a joke dammit

The other day, the first day of winter semester 2011 to be exact, I got a call from Tod saying that Anna was sick and that I needed to go get her since it was a non-teaching day for me. The school nurse said she had a fever and a headache. I quickly did what I needed to do and left the college to go and retrieve the sick one and brought her home. Her desire to play and have fun on her new day off was short lived, as I put a moratorium on the Wii, the computer, and any other special toy. I told her she could watch educational TV, read, or draw. That was it. I know, call Protective Services.


She wasn’t happy and didn’t seem sick at all. She was occupied reading, so I got busy making food for the week in the kitchen. At some point during this time, Anna called 911, but didn’t hang up the phone that she hid from me in the living room. This, unfortunately, has happened before and we got a call back from the 911 dispatcher asking if there was an issue. Yes, there was an issue. It was a very naughty 5 year old. I apologized and we had a talk with Anna. But since she didn’t hang up this time, the dispatcher couldn’t call back to check on us after her call. I am busy working in the kitchen when the doorbell rings. Yukon is barking his head off, and Anna comes in and says to me, “Papa, there’s a policeman at our door” so I go and see what’s up. He tells me that there was a hang up 911 call. I notice out of the corner of my eye that Anna is actively looking for a place to hide on the first floor. I call her name and she screams and runs away. The policeman, who thankfully wasn’t busy that afternoon, took a few minutes to give her a verbal smack down. She wouldn’t look him in the eye, and as I held her for the lecture, I noticed that she wet herself. The officer did his best bad cop imitation for our impromptu “Scared Straight” lecture. As I showed him to the door Anna was crying, realizing that she majorly messed up. I sent her to her room and she spent the rest of the afternoon in time out.

One of my former students is a 911 dispatcher, so I talked to her later that day on Facebook after I calmed down. Shannon said that these calls happen all the time and that her kids have actually done it. They would rather be safe than sorry, so they would rather have a child playing on the phone and not need an officer than to ignore the hang up and have something really bad going on. Shannon said that the calls aren’t really a big deal and that they hear some great stories when we call back and get a parent. Caution though, don’t ever say that you are going to beat the kid in joking, as YOU will get a visit from an officer. She said that she made the mistake of telling her 14 year old that she was going to kill him for playing on the phone. She got a visit from an officer for that, it was deemed a domestic issue. Nice.

The good news is Anna has been on her best behavior this week. We are working on a reward system for her behavior and she is responding very positively to its inception. Apparently this test of our city’s response system was on her junior bucket list and now she is content. We are mentally checking off the traditional milestones that kids go through (thankfully the haircutting is done), hopefully we won’t actually need to call 911 for the next one.

So kiddies, what have we learned today? Even though Flava Flav says 911 is a joke, it isn’t.

Word.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Steps in the right direction for Gay Parents

Being the world travelers that we are, one of the first things we did after Anna was born was get her a passport. Granted, she has never left the US, but we felt it necessary for her to have one. What’s the use in having a passport if you don’t use it you ask? Well, we had family living abroad at the time, and there was talk of taking her to the UK if they were still there when she was older. Anna is bi-coastal and is a great traveler, whether it’s the Big Apple or the Castro, she did great on both trips. The application was pretty straightforward. We actually ended up making an appointment at the post office seeing our situation isn’t exactly in the norm. The person at the post office doing the intake didn’t flinch as she looked at the birth certificate, court orders and other documents that make up our family. Anna actually had her passport returned in less than a month. When we were going to the UK in 2006, we had to pull our connections with our Senator to get ours expedited and in our hands prior to our departure. They arrived less than 24 hours before we were scheduled to fly out. Talk about stressful.


But now word comes from the State Department that they are no longer going to have Mother and Father on passports. This is great news for us non-Mother/Father type families in the world, Straight or Gay. It will now be parent one and parent two.

Let’s face it; families aren’t the typical Ward and June Cleavers anymore. We’re grandparents raising kids, we’re single Moms and single Dads, we’re evolving, and I applaud the State Department for realizing that it isn’t always Mom and Dad. Perhaps if the YMCA here in Jackson would recognize “households” instead of IRS defined families, they might get more members and I wouldn’t have to go through the humiliation of proving that I am married to Tod in order to get our family membership approved.

A link to the article is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010706741.html

Friday, January 7, 2011

FML: YMCA style.

One of our goals for 2011 was to get healthy and start working out. We looked into the YMCA here in town as they have a great facility and programs for kids all week and weekend. For me as a single person, it’s about $39 a month. For me as a single parent, it would be about $52 a month and would allow for the kids, but Tod would have to pay the $39 a month to join us. They have a family membership which by their site’s definition is two married adults and dependents as defined by the IRS. Well, we are married, and the IRS recognizes us in California and several other states. Seeing as the Y is an international organization, I would have thought that we would be allowed. If we didn’t have the family membership, our monthly fees would be about $100 a month, and substantially more than the family rate for sure.


I signed up as a family, and listed Tod as my spouse and his gender as M on the form. I even put our last names down, which, by law are the same. The woman processing my membership kept referring to my wife and I corrected her stating that it was actually my husband and that we were legally married. I didn’t get into specifics, because in my mind, marriage is marriage, but she pressed me and I said that we were part of the 18,000 who actually got married and our marriages are supported by the state and recognized by the IRS. She then asked to see our tax returns and I told her that we didn’t file, but are considered married in California. She went and talked to someone and they said we had to show proof of our marriage, preferably tax forms. I told her that we didn’t have those, but did have a license. She went back and talked to that unknown person and they seemed to think it was okay then.

Fuck my life. I am trying to get healthy, trying to get my kids involved in some fun programs, but we are being asked to prove that we are a family and married. Their mission statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy Spirit, Mind and Body for all seems to run afoul of that by this afternoon’s events. I am debating what to do, as this is offensive on a whole host of levels.

What are your thoughts readers? What would you do in this situation?

Good Advice

As winter semester begins, it has suddenly become VERY busy here. Hopefully it will calm down a bit in the next few days.
Until then, some wise words from a wise family member:

I read your blog today and a few of the previous posts.  They caused me to think about what I have learned in the past few years:  You can trust Christ; but you can't trust Christians.  You can love Christ, but it is difficult to love many Christians.

Word.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blogroll update

I have had some time over the past two days to do some poking around the internetz and have found some great blogs to share with you. I always tell my students that I never have favorites (I lie) but I have to confess that my new favorite blog is Mommywithapenis. It’s a must read.


The rest are just as funny/readable, so please do… and tell them that I sent ya.

And don’t worry, they are archived in the blogs I follow sidebar if you lose this link.

http://thosetwodaddies.blogspot.com/

http://mysimplelife-m.blogspot.com/

http://mommywithapenis.blogspot.com/

http://daddytimestwo.blogspot.com/

http://2afrodads.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mizz'N My Kidz! update. Not for the faint of heart

(Eli's biological parents, taken from Facebook, altered to hide their identity)
It’s that time again folks… time for an update from Eli’s biological Mom (on here as “A” to keep the story straight, his biological Dad is “L”). As recorded before, she has no privacy settings on her Facebook page, so all her rants and updates are fair game. Why do I do this? For one, it’s a record for us and eventually for Eli. It will be hard for him to accept and understand that he was taken away from these two when he was so very young, but having this account may help him understand why a little better. And two, for those haters out there that think that Gays shouldn’t be parents, we offer up this healthy dose of insanity as proof otherwise. This are direct cut and pastes from her page, no edits, except for my comments have been made.


Let the updates begin…

BOUTS TO GO TO THE DOCTORS! FEEL LIKE SHYT! GOT UP PUKING THIS MORNING! UGH! IS THERE ANY SUCH THING AS A GOOD MAN? CUZ ALL THE ONES I KNO IS ALL THE SAME!

Will There Ever Be A Man That Loves Me For Me?!? Ha, I Doubt It! Why Must Men Be Stupid And Play Games?!? L(Eli’s biological Dad) Is Gone, I Love Him But We Wont Be Together Ever Again, Ill Write Him And Be Here For Him But Thats About It! UGH...I Hate Men!

Broke A PPO Order His Mom Had On Him, he’s in jail

So L Is In Jail! Juss Fucking Lovely! Ugh...I Hate Men! He Will Do 90 Days Then Be Free Again! Well I Cant Go See Him! But I Will Write Him! ILY Babe ♥!

Mind you, she’s pregnant again… this update didn’t sit well with me. The child is Eli’s full sibling.

MISSIN HIM LIKE KRAZII! IMHAVING WITHDRAWS FROM HIM! WHY CANT HE JUSS BE REAL WIT ME? DYED MY HAIR BLONDE AND GOT A FEW NEW TATS! I LOVE YOUH L. BEEN HAVING CRAMPS AND A LIL BLEEDING THRU OUT THE DAY! TOTALLY SCARED!

A reaction to her post from a friend generated this comment:


I DONT REALLY KARE! I KEEP DELETING YOUR STATUS CUZ IM GROWN AND IMMA DO WHAT I WANNA DO! YOUR JUSS LIKE SHIRLEY GOTTA TALK SHIT ABOUT EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING!

BORED! FINISHING UP SOME CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! I DONT NEED L IN MY LIFE HE JUSS KEEPS BRINGING ME DOWN AN IM TRYNNA MOVE UP! I LOVE HIM AND ALWAYS WILL BUT IM TIRED OF HIM TRYNNA BE A PIMP WHEN GOD KNOWS HE AINT SHIT LIKE THAT!

This was a revelation for us. We are a Maury Show waiting to happen:

Wow...Come To Find Out Has 3 Kids On The Way! How Ironic Is That! And He Still Loves J, B And A Whole Lot Of Other Chicks! Does He Even Kno What Love Is?!? Apperantly Not!! So He Can Go Be With One Of Them, Oh Wait, Thats Rite He's With A Rite Now, Cuz She Got Money! Men Are Dicks!!

Ugh Cant sleep! This Shit Sux! I Know He's Been Wit A For The Last 2 Days! Im Not Stupid! Life Sux! Dont Even Wanna Be Alive! Who Wants To Get Drunk?!? I DO I Do! Hmmm Not A Bad Idea!!

So Done...Is There Any Such Thing As A Good Man?!? I Doubt It! Single And Gonna Love It! I Dont Need A Man In My Life All They Are, Are TROUBLE!!! Think'N Bout *HIM* Tho! Even Tho I Dont Need Him Either

This gem was found under a burning picture of L with the tag Gone and Gone.


(from someone else’s screen name):

First off this is L! If u got my last message then u would know that i do care bout u but aparently sence u got a pic of me on fire n ur lettin me burn then BITCH I DONT GIVE A FUCK if u want it to burn ur whole world will come tumblin down n dont have ur bitch baby daddy get out n run his cock suckers cuz me n h will stomp him AGAIN!

From A in response to this: Youh Dont Give A Fucc About AnyBodys Feelings But Your Own! Youh Lied About Everything! Youh Try So Hard To Be SomeOne Your NOT! Youh Try So Hard To Be The Perfect Husband To A Yet Youh Beat Her Ass! Youh Constantly Talk Shit About J, But The Truth Is Your Not Any Better Then He Is! Yor Both The Same! Read The Reply Message On Myspace!!!

A moment of clarity from A: Bored! Need domething to do! been sick and in bed all day! god im never getting pregnant again! Have youh ever sat bacc and looked at your life and actually think about how many people have been there? if not i highly recommend it! and the outcome will surprise youh too see how many people arent there anymore!

Hmmmmmm, how many of them are there because the law had to get involved?


I wonder.

Finally Made Up My Mind! Im Leaving State On The 1st Of January! Going Away For Good! And Never Looking Back!

She is still here, and still pregnant. If she has the baby here in Michigan, it will end up as a ward of the State due to her record.

Another one bites the dust

We were able to secure a babysitter for New Year’s Eve and instead of hosting our usual in home bash, we decided to go out with some friends and see what Jackson had to offer. We had dinner/pizza at a friend’s house and then off to a great house party in town for a bit with our friend’s van packed to the gills with revelers and our booze. We should have stayed at the house party, but instead went to Jackson’s new LGBT (with the emphasis on T, mind you) bar, Club Detour, to ring in the New Year. We have had some fun nights there; however, New Year’s was not to be one of those nights. In protest of Michigan’s smoking ban, the owners of the bar decided to NOT enforce the ban and allowed folks to light up in the bar that evening. Since the ban took effect in May, I have actually enjoyed going out and not needing to use my rescue inhaler so I can breathe at the bar. Had I known they were going to do this, I would have brought it. Instead, we spent most of the evening trying to secure a cab ride home and actually stood outside in the rain instead of in the smoke in the bar. I was sitting on the couch watching a movie the next day, and Tod said that he could hear me breathing across the room. Yes, the smoke has that kind of impact on me, even a day later.


I sent a message to the bar’s manager and he told me that the owners decided to allow it for the holiday. He then told me that Jackson might soon be without a Gay bar again very soon as the owners were considering closing shop. Apparently they did decide to close up as the bar’s Facebook page has “out of business” as its status. So, am I sad? Yes, we need all the business we can here in the Suck (Jackson) and we need a place for the LGBT folks in the area to hang out as well. Over the time I have been in Jackson, there have been a few bars that catered to us; most have gone out of business. I am not sure what the problem is with this area. We are the epicenter of an area that covers over 160 square miles without a Gay bar. It seems to me that with the right business plan and attitude, a bar could do great. Until then, add this to the ever increasing reasons of why Jackson is the Suck.


You can find Club Detour’s page on Facebook. Not sure how long it will be there, but log on if you want to send your condolences.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Icarly (almost) killed Eli

I have gone on record on this blog, and elsewhere, declaring my love of iCarly on Nickelodeon. The show is really funny and has some of the most clever and well-developed characters of any adult, primetime sitcom. However, things got ugly the other night, as a very excited and overly tired Anna almost took out Eli’s eye after watching a particularly silly episode entitled “I fix a pop star.”


To sum up: Carly and the gang are recruited to help engineer a comeback for the self-absorbed, no talent, former child star Ginger Fox. If you just heard “It’s Britney, bitch” in your head after reading that description, you would be right (and Gay). I don’t know who the actress is who plays her, but she’s spot on. Carly, Sam, and Freddie do their best to get her through a rehearsal, but things go horribly wrong. The song she sings starts out with the lyrics “Hello. Is everybody watching” and slips into delightful pop drivel from there. Anna will sometime sing that first line over and over as she dances or when she has the Muno mic from Yo Gabba Gabba in her hand. The song is annoying, but it’s meant to be to fit the show’s character.

At one point during the rehearsal, Ginger gets upset and whips a fork at Freddie, which ends up being lodged in his shoulder. Yes, this is a kid’s show. Well, needless to say, I was laughing at the silliness of that and Anna saw my delight so she began to sing “HELLO. IS EVERYBODY WATCHING” and then flung a fork at Eli, grazing his head, nearly missing his eye. After I gained my composure after witnessing this, we discussed how everything she sees on TV isn’t real, nor is it to be copied.

A stern talking to and a time out were in order. However, upon returning from the timeout, another fork was flung and it was off to bed. Needless to say, we will NOT be watching Icarly with cutlery around again in the near future. If you want to see the character sing the song in question, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCxpGufJ5Jk or better yet, set your DVR to record the show. Happy New Year everyone, here’s to a drama free 2011!