Monthly Archives: September 2010

When Will It End?

Less than three months ago we were betrayed by our daycare provider, who shouted (in front of the other daycare kids) that my son was awful. If you want to catch up, here’s the post but needless to say it was a terrible time and we needed to find Will a daycare provider stat.

The good news was we found someone right away. The bad news? She turned out to be an ultra-religious, gay-bashing bigot who taught my kid religion and prayer without my consent. But even though she wasn’t ideal, I figured at the very least I was taking my son to a state certified in-home daycare that would provide him with at least the basic level of care.

Turns out I was wrong.

Three days ago he came home and after an hour, said he had to pee. When we took down his pants to go to the potty his underwear had huge skid marks on them. And his ass was caked with shit. It was hard and dry and gave him a rash. She claimed he hadn’t been like that when we picked him up and I couldn’t prove otherwise. I just asked her to be extra vigilant. My wife, who is much smarter than I am, had a bad feeling the next day. So she called me and told me she was no longer comfortable with Will in this lady’s care. She literally picked up and left work in the middle of the day to get him and pull him out of there immediately.

Turns out MJ’s instincts are solid.

When she arrived at daycare Will was eating lunch. And sitting in his own feces. She slapped a check on the table for the rest of the week, told her this was Will’s last day and never looked back. When they got home Will’s ass was once again caked in crap. But this time we couldn’t get it off with wipes. We had to put him in the bath and soak it off of him. She had done it again, leaving him to sit in his own filth.

Let’s just say I told this woman off in fine fashion. Belittling an entire group of people (many of which are my gay friends and family members) in front of my son normally would’ve been the last straw. But times are tough and I stuck with her mainly because I didn’t think we could afford to go somewhere else. But when she’s leaving my kid to stew in his own shit all day? No way. Not to mention he’s completely regressed when it comes to potty training because she just allowed him to piss and shit himself all day. Now he no longer tells us when he has to go. In my opinion, she physically harmed my son. She’s lucky I didn’t burn her fucking house down.

So where does that leave us? Good question.

We’ve secured a spot at a local preschool. It’s fantastic there. It’s more of a classroom setting with a dozen or so teachers who are extremely professional. They have nothing but great reviews. I’m thrilled Will snagged the last spot. But unfortunately, the best equals the most expensive. Which means this school is going to cost an ADDITIONAL $400 a month. Yup. It’s crazy. Will’s monthly daycare bill is now on par with our mortgage payment.

I have no idea how we’re going to afford it. Neither does MJ. But at this point it doesn’t matter because this is what Will needs. And I’ve learned you can’t skimp when it comes to who takes care of your kids. So even though I’m freaked out about paying an extra $400 a month, I consider it the price of peace of mind. And in that respect, it’s worth every penny.

But you’d never know Will is going to be attending his third daycare in three months. He’s happy, healthy (minus the crazy rash on his ass thanks to Demon Daycare Lady) and making me laugh every single day. For example:

  • I jokingly called him a punk yesterday. His retort was “Not a punk Dada. I’m a brat.” Can’t argue with you there.
  • Earlier today I asked him if he had to pee. He told he didn’t. About 30 seconds later he pooped in his pants. I asked him why he lied to me and why he didn’t tell me he had to go when I asked him. You know what the little bastard said? “You asked pee Dada. Not poop.” Technically he’s right. Shame on me for not being specific.
  • He’s a Harry Potter fanatic. He says “Dumbledore,” “Quidditch” and “Harry Potter flies.” Not to mention he likes to grab makeshift wands, point it at me and shout “Avada Kedavra.” Should I be concerned that my son has already learned the Killing Curse and is trying to use it on me?

So bottom line is we have our hands full here. But that’s OK. That’s what parenting is all about. Somehow we’ll make it work. If my son doesn’t ice me with a magical spell first.

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Breaking Bad: What Would You Do for Your Family?

breakingbadAt the moment, I’m obsessed with the TV show Breaking Bad.

In a nutshell, it’s about a regular guy named Walter White who finds himself in an extraordinary situation.  He’s 50 with a wife and 16-year-old son who has cerebral palsy, and his 40-year-old wife is pregnant. He’s a brilliant chemist who did groundbreaking research years ago, but was screwed over by his partners. Now he’s living in New Mexico and working as the most overqualified high school chemistry teacher on the planet. And because teachers make dick, he also works a second job at a car wash where he suffers daily indignities.

But everything changes when Walt finds out he has terminal lung cancer. Already behind in bills and now facing the proposition of chemo and other expensive medical treatments not covered by insurance, Walt is petrified not about dying, but of leaving his family in a pile of debt.

One day he does a ride-along with his brother-in-law, a DEA agent. While the cops are busting a meth lab, Walt sees one of his fuck-up former students escaping. But instead of telling the police, Walt blackmails this kid Jesse go into going into business together. With Walt’s chemistry background he’s able to cook up the purest methamphetamine around. And eventually the most unlikely of drug kingpins is born.

But as you might imagine, balancing life as the Southwest’s top crystal meth dealer with that of husband and father is challenging to say the least. And indeed, much of the show centers around that dichotomy. But the crux of the whole thing, the main question at the center of everything, is simple.

What are you willing to do to provide for your family?

As any regular reader of these pages knows, that is a question near and dear to my heart recently. But moreover, it’s something I think a lot of dads (and moms too) are struggling with. As the economy continues to sink while foreclosures and bankruptcies spike, many families are in dire straits. So what do you do?

As fathers, we’re programmed to provide at all costs. Or at least that’s how it was with me. So if your family is in trouble, I always thought we should spring into action. If you’re not working then get a job. If you’re working full-time, get a second job. Or a third one if necessary. Work 90 hours a week if you have to. Whatever it takes and whatever you have to do to ensure your family’s well being, you do it. Because you’re a man and that’s what men do.

That’s what Walt did. He even resorted to illegal means to make it happen. He made millions and millions of dollars and made sure that his family would never want for anything. Mortgage payments, medical bills and college tuition for two kids. He flat out provided.

But he also lost his family in the process. He was working so much and for so long he grew estranged from them. Eventually he came to a crossroads where he could either stop making all that money and go back to life as he once knew it, or continue on his path. He chose to keep bringing in the dough, even though he knew his wife wouldn’t take him back because of it. Even though he knew it would harm his relationship with his son and newborn daughter. For Walt, providing for his family was paramount. And he did it even though his family didn’t love him anymore, because “that’s what men do.”

I won’t lie, a part of me really respects Walt. What I wouldn’t give to plop down a duffel bag full of money on the kitchen table and tell my MJ “don’t worry about anything anymore because I’ve got this.” To feel like a “real man.” While I wouldn’t do anything illegal to earn money, I could get a second or third job in addition to the newspaper and my freelance gigs. I could work 90 hours a week like a dog to pay off our bills for a few years. It makes sense.

Except for a few things.

Time spent at these hypothetical jobs is time I don’t get to spend with my wife and child. I work 40+ hours a week as it is. My wife’s hours are even worse. Will is already in daycare full-time. Any further absence on my part or MJ’s would mean either increased time at daycare or with other babysitters. And I have to tell you, I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.

Will amazes me every single day. His progress at this age is so rapid and intriguing, I literally shake my head every day in wonder and amusement. He sings songs, he talks in complete sentences. He’s grasping jokes and humor. I worked Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and as a result I barely saw him at all. And I miss him something fierce. I just can’t imagine that feeling of missing him on an ongoing basis.

Providing for one’s family is a good and noble thing. Kids need food, clothes and shelter. And it takes money to do that. But there are more ways to provide than simply earning a paycheck. Will needs two parents who are there as much as possible.

I have great memories of my father, but most of them are from when I was pre-teen and older. And that’s because he was building a business from scratch. My memories from early childhood are almost exclusively of my mother. I’m not bitter or angry about that. I understand why it was that way. And because of my dad’s hard work we moved into a nice house, had decent cars and my brother and I could play sports. I’m incredibly appreciative.

But at the same time, my dad has told me one of his biggest regrets is not being around as much when we were young. And I think that’s why he’s constantly foaming at the mouth to get Will, because he’s making up for lost time. And doing a helluva job I might add.

The point is I don’t think I’m willing to work 90 hours a week if it means missing out on Will’s childhood. That probably means I’m not a real man to a lot of people. Hell, I have a hard time swallowing it myself to an extent. But do these people realize that part of being a real man is spending time with your kids? Being there for them. Guiding them and helping them at every turn. All the money in the world isn’t going to help when you find yourself a stranger to your own kids.

Just ask Walt.

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Autumnal Orgy


Fall is by far my favorite season.

First of all, autumn brings what I call “Fat Guy Weather.” The infernal summer heat finally subsides which means the sweat underneath my man boobs finally disappears. Not to mention I get to break out my fine collection of sweaters. And because we’re in New England, it means you get that weird phenomenon where you need a jacket in the morning, air conditioning during the middle of the day and long sleeves again at night. I swear if I could have the temps in the low 60s on a year-round basis I’d be a very happy guy.

September also brings back football. As a diehard New England Patriots fan who has been faithfully attending home games via my dad’s season tickets since the age of 6, this brings me much joy. A crisp September/October day, putting on my Brady jersey, walking the 1/2 mile from our super secret parking spot to the stadium, being with my dad and his best friend Rick, watching a team I’ve loved all my life? There’s not much better. And since all the guys in my family are in the same fantasy league, we shoot each other texts and taunting phone calls all day to boot. Basically it is maleness in its most basic form. Good times.

But fall is more than just football and the weather.

As the leaves turn colors, I invariably make a trip out to western Massachusetts. The Berkshires. The sparsely populated portion of Massachusetts where I attended college for four years. Crammed in the upper left hand corner of the state between New York and Vermont.

To get there you should drive on the Mohawk Trail, which is a 63-mile stretch of road filled with unsurpassed beauty. Mountains, valleys, bridges, rivers. And if you go at the right time, the foliage is nothing short of heart-stopping. Every time I drive on that road it’s like someone shoots a dose of adrenaline and nostalgia into my soul. I can’t help but think of driving to school every September. Driving back to my good friends after a summer away. Back to my tiny, but wonderful college that I truly loved. Back to the Mound, our favorite bar. The newspaper office where I ran everything.  But most important, it reminds me of a time in my life that was full of promise. A time when absolutely anything was possible. When classes, friends and parties were all I needed to worry about.

Not to mention the apple cider at The Apple Barn in Vermont.

And my last reason for loving the fall? Well that’s easy. I’m sure most of you have heard of Cape Cod, and I’ll bet a good portion of you have vacationed here. Some of you may have even come from out of town this summer. And while I love each and every one of you dear readers, I’d like to take this opportunity to say GET THE FUCK OFF MY PENINSULA!

Seriously, the lack of tourists is one of the best things about the fall. No more Friday and Sunday traffic jams at the bridges. And you bastards are EVERYWHERE. And since you’re on vacation, you drive like you don’t have a care in the world. Stopping suddenly to look at the bridges, turning left into every antique shop you come across and let’s not even get into your driving behavior when it comes to rotaries. Sweet Jesus people, it’s a traffic circle. The cars already in the rotary have the right of way. That’s it. Drive accordingly. What’s so friggin hard about that?? Yet some of you (and I’m looking your way here Jersey drivers) feel the need to panic and just stop in the middle of everything.

Ugh.

I guess it’s a little weird that I like fall so much. It is a season of decay, after all. Everything is slowly dying or hibernating in preparation for a cold, bleak winter. I guess it’s the optimist in me, poking his head out to tell me there’s still a lot of beauty in things even though they’re past their peak. That the descent into winter and a bleak frozen season doesn’t have to be filled with dread if you can just manage to enjoy the ride.

Happy Autumn.

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Crashing Down

Right now — right at 7:24 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2010 — I don’t want to have another child. To be totally honest, I don’t even want the one I have.

Will has been extra infuriating lately. But worse than that, his onslaught of awful behavior has coincided with the complete departure of my patience. Any parent will tell you that’s not a good combination. In fact, I sit here today — my day off — just minutes removed from an episode that has me seriously considering running away.

I woke Will up to get him dressed for daycare, but he was having none of it. He threw a particularly nasty hissy fit. I tried to distract him, redirect him and deflect the negative behavior to something positive. All the Parenting 101 bullshit. Just made it worse. So then I just decided to grit my teeth and get through it. Besides, he’d be gone soon and I could finally sleep in for a little while.

That’s when he kicked me in the face.

Make no mistake, it wasn’t an accident. He had been kicking before and we have a firm no hitting/kicking rule. But as I reached down to try and get his undies on, he looked me square in the eye and screamed “NO DADA!” and then caught me with his heel.

In our house, after you’ve been repeatedly warned, that earns you a bare ass spanking, which he received.

Then he asked to get dressed on our bed. Thinking a compromise would make things easier, I granted him the wish. But he continued to be difficult and not let me get him dressed, all the while screaming and shrieking like a mental patient. I left him on the bed for a minute to go into his room to get his Buzz Lightyear underwear, thinking maybe he’d be more willing to get dressed if it was his favorite character. But when I came back in the room, I lost my mind.

Will was standing on the bed naked. And when I looked down at our pillows, I realized he had pissed all over them. I’m not kidding. He actually stood up, took aim and pissed all over our pillows and our bed. And, it being his morning evacuation, he peed a ton.

I can’t describe the level or intensity of rage that filled my body at that precise moment. But it was nothing compared to what happened next, as he proceeded to punch me square in the nose when I got close to him and asked him why he did it.

In the span of 3 minutes he had purposefully hit me twice in the face, and urinated on the place we put our heads down to sleep. And right then, I hated him. Loathed him. Wanted nothing to do with him. Longed to run far away to a place I wasn’t his father and didn’t have to put up with his shit.

And here’s the kicker.

It’s not like I can just put everything in the wash. Our washing machine died on Sunday. And it’s not as if I can run out and buy a washing machine, because we have no money. In fact, we have less than no money. We’re at a point now where we’d love to declare bankruptcy. The only problem is we can’t afford it. Do you not just love the irony there? Seriously. I don’t have the money to be bankrupt! Because of course it makes sense that financially destitute people need to come up with a few thousand dollars just to tell everyone else they can’t pay their bills. That sounds like sound reasoning to me. How about you???

I mean, I thought I had the money. I have thousands in my 401k. But fuck me for not reading the fine print. Because I already have a loan out against my retirement funds and I just assumed I could take out another one in case of an emergency. Since, you know, it’s my fucking money. But that’d make too much sense. Instead, they tell me I can only have one personal loan out at a time. But I can do a hardship loan, they say. Great. I definitely fit the bill with that, right? Wrong. I can only take out money for a hardship if I’m in the eviction/foreclosure process, if I’m trying to pay for college tuition or if someone dies and I need money for a funeral. Nevermind the fact that foreclosure will be imminent down the road if some of these bills don’t get paid, the rule is if I’m not in the foreclosure process now I’m shit out of luck. And once again, the system shits on anyone who looks down the road and tries to proactively stave off trouble.

I work as much overtime as I can. MJ works her ass off too. Yet here I sit in a condo that owns me. Surrounded by bills I can’t pay. Taunted by the allure of a way out that I can’t afford, even though my own money is sitting just out of reach in an account I can’t access. My kid is punching me in the face. My sheets and pillows are drenched in piss, reeking on the floor because my washing machine is broken and I can’t afford a new one.

And now I realize that losing Alexandra was a blessing in disguise. I can’t even provide for the kid I have now. Hell, I haven’t even been able to spend enough time with my dog lately. Bringing a baby into this unholy hell that is our life may have been considered cruel and unusual punishment.

Do I sound a little dark today? A little unbalanced? Do I have that teetering on the edge of a chaotic abyss thing going for me? Sure. I’ll buy that.

I’m not the man, husband or father I should be. I can’t provide for my family. I’ve borrowed god only knows how much from the generous people in my life, and absolutely refuse to ask for more. The gastrointestinal pain that sent me to the ER last year is back in force, which coincidentally is the last time I was this stressed out and leads me to believe I probably have some sort of ulcer. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been because since I can’t smoke or drink my problems away, I’ve decided to eat them. And I’m not nearly over the loss of my unborn daughter, but absolutely refuse to see or talk to anyone in the professional realm about that because admitting that I see a counselor absolutely would push me over the edge.

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve written it and deleted several times over the past month or so, opting instead for some funny anecdote about daily life. It’s the first time in my blogging career that I haven’t been honest with you for fear of how it makes me look. But as I’m sitting in my house that I’m upside down on, reeking of piss from sheets I can’t wash due to a broken washer I can’t afford to replace, I don’t really see any reason to continue putting on heirs.

And if you leave a comment, don’t tell me where I can find a cheap washer or any of that crap. No offense, but I’m excellent at ferreting out deals on the Internet. I don’t need help there. And don’t tell me you’re thinking of us or say “if there’s anything you need…” Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweet and I appreciate it but I’m not writing this to garner pity. If you want to comment, tell me you’ve been there before and come through it. Or tell me if you didn’t, and life chewed you up and spit you out. Either way just be real. Be honest.

Because right now honesty is about the only thing I do still have.

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Hurricane Madness

Anyone who has ever been through a hurricane knows that it’s craziness for days leading up to the big event.

Hurricane Earl currently has Cape Cod in its crosshairs and the impending pandemonium of this peninsula’s populace is perturbing indeed. Not to mention the barometric pressure is causing severe alliteration as well. People mob gas stations and supermarkets, buying up all the water and non-perishable food items as if they’re headed into a bunker for the next two years. Some stay at their oceanfront homes and tempt fate. Others board up their windows and flee for higher ground. A small percentage of lunatics actually enters the churning sea to surf.

And some of us, well…some of us really go nuts.

Happy Hurricane everyone.

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