Among the few things that I afford myself to indulge in on my birthdays is that I often feel like writing something, if for anything at all, the fact that it is my birthday.  Otherwise, I make little deal about it, I rarely talk about it, and almost nobody at work knows it’s my birthday, nor do I have any real intention to bring it up.

Usually, around this time of year, I have this ironic sense of dread of something bad somewhere in the world occurring, like a bombing, a fire, or some sort of massive loss of human life, that has so often times taken place around my birthday every single year.  But over the last few years, and especially this one, there seems to be a massive shooting that occurs somewhere in the United States on a weekly basis, to where all the shooting incidents that have happened within the past week alone seems to overshadow the notion that anything turrible happening is limited to just the radius of days surrounding my birthday.

Needless to say, expecting something turrible to happen around my birthday has kind of lost its meaning over the last few years, because turrible shit seems to happen all the time throughout this god-forsaken country.

Narrowing down the world to just my own little concentrated space, things are certainly brighter and more positive, in spite of the fact that I loathe my job, and feel a little bit trapped and held hostage by the fact that no matter how much I want out, they still hold the ultimate trump card solely because of the paternity time that I am entitled to, and plan on utilizing when my second child is born later in the summer.

But speaking of children, I can’t really complain.  My first daughter is still basically everything I could have ever wanted in my offspring, and it’s a daily joy to spend time with her and watch her grow, develop, learn and become increasingly mobile and intelligent on a regular basis.

Life as a father and a husband is about everything I could have imagined it to be, and sometimes I still bring myself to a point of disbelief when I’m spending time with mythical wife and my child to know that this is where I am in life, and as much as my sister gives me grief about it, having taken so long, I am here at least now, and I take a little bit of comfort in knowing that I’ll have both of my kids before the age of 40, and knowing that my life will be mostly complete in that regard, is a pleasant thought.

New Father Brogging, #039

27.5 inches.  That’s how high my daughter fell when she climbed out of her pack and play.

I’ve never felt as big of a failure as a parent than this incident, where barely 60 degrees behind me, my daughter managed to climb out of her pack and play and fall onto the kitchen floor, while I was preparing her dinner, chopping green beans.

Given how increasingly mobile she gets on a daily basis, I didn’t stop to consider that with walking would come climbing, and I’ve witnessed her trying to climb things already, so I don’t know why I didn’t even think that she wouldn’t do it in the pack and play, as she’s attempted everywhere else.

But instead, I was blissfully taking for granted that she would be safe in her pack and play, while I was preparing her dinner, and I naively positioned her to where she was not within my line of sight or even my periphery, so that she couldn’t reach and grab things on the counter or on the nearby shelf, not considering that I wouldn’t see her when she inevitably managed to get up and over the side railing of her enclosure.

The thud still resonates in my brain, and the delayed shock at turning and seeing her laying on her back on the floor, her own shock still just registering the fact that she bumped her head and the pain hadn’t kicked in yet.  I picked her up immediately, hoping this would be something that she would no-sell and impress me with pain tolerance that hopefully mirrored my own, but this was for naught, so much as she was really gearing up to let loose some shrieks of pain from having fallen 27.5 inches, roughly somewhere in the neighborhood of her own height.

Fortunately, save for an unsightly bruise, nothing seems to be that bad.  No signs of concussion, no signs of any breaks or serious injury, just a tender bruise for her, and a monumental amount of frustration, defeat and self-loathing for dad.

Obviously, with raising a child and growing up, scrapes, cuts and bruises are going to happen.  But we’ve gone a year without a tremendous number of those, which made me feel like I was probably doing something right, but all it took was a few minutes of taking my head out of the game, and taking safety for granted for all that equity to come crashing down, and me feeling like a horrible fucking parent for having let it happen.

New Father Brogging, #038

I realize it’s been a month since the last time I did any sort of new dad brogging.  A year past now, I guess it’s up for debate on whether or not I’m a new dad anymore, which begs the question on whether or not I should change the titles of these types of posts, which kind of derail my organization of posting, since the tag’s literally called “new dad,” but if I’m not a new dad anymore, then wtf should I do?

I digress though, and until I can come up with a more seamless transition, it’s new dad brogs until then.

So a month ago, my daughter has figured out full-fledged crawling, and was going all over the place, exploring the parts of the house she could now access with her own mobility.

A lot has changed in the span of the last month, most notably the very quick transition from crawling into basically walking.  With each day, she’s gaining confidence on her feet, and has demonstrated the ability to carefully walk distances as great as 10-12 feet on her own with minimal or no stumbling.  She’s clearly showing a preference to get upright and walk from point A to point B, and only resorts to crawling when she wants to get somewhere fast.

But for all intents and purposes, one of those life’s milestones of watching baby’s first steps has occurred, and it was no less exciting than I would have thought it was, seeing the courage and discovery in my child’s face as she realized that she was upright and was able to sustain it while in movement.

That’s the biggest thing that happened over the last month.  Otherwise, it’s been a lot more of the same, with my child eating everything in sight, needing to babyproof and start cordoning off parts of the home since she can move about so efficiently, and of course more teething and sleep woes, since those are the constantly ever-changing factors in raising babies.

Also, since the jig is up about baby #2, I’ve spent a lot of time doing some housework, preparing nursery #2, and saying goodbye to my office as solely an office, but as the de facto guest room.  But when I say preparing, it’s mostly my second-least favorite activity in the world, painting; which has been dropped to second in favor of my new worst favorite activity in the world, which is now, hanging murals/wallpaper.

Thankfully with a second kid, that means it’s the last time I’ll have to do this stuff, and frankly I’ve literally will painted every paintable wall and trim in the house, and if anyone wants any changes in the future, I better be putting the home up for sale, or my wife or my daughters are more than welcome to explore the possibilities of doing it their fucking selves.

But otherwise, raising children is in a fairly good place right now.  I’m trying not to get too complacent with #1’s development, good eating and sleeping and general good habits, because I know things are going to go tits up once #2 arrives, and then we’ll be juggling two kids under two years; but it has been somewhat nice to have a predictable routine, where I know I’ll have a little bit of downtime in the evenings.  And with my extracurricular class wrapped up, and baby projects getting chipped away at, I’ve actually not had any clue to do with my evenings as of late.

There’s a ton of television and movies that I’d like to catch up on, but at the same time, I’ve just not wanted to dive into any rabbit holes, and abstained.  In fact, mythical wife and I have been retiring early over the last few days, and just heading up to the bedroom to wind down earlier, because getting just a little bit more sleep has been way more appealing than any new Marvel property, YouTube binges or any other wastes of time.

Ironic how just a little while ago I was burning out because I had zero free time to do anything, but now that I’m occasionally getting some free time, I have no idea what to do with it, and resulting in doing mostly nothing, unless you count sleeping as doing something.

I would like a small Batmobile to curate my lawn pls

You know what I’ve found out to be an extraordinarily harder task than I imagine it would be?

Finding a landscaper.

With baby #2 on the way, and my general limits already pressed past capacity on a regular basis, mythical wife and I decided that perhaps we’re long overdue to just hire landscapers to take care of cutting the grass and making it HOA/NIMBY Karen-proof at the very least.  I had done it for the vast majority of the time we’ve lived here, and it’s never been easy because I have a lot of grass I’m expected to cut, so we’ve decided to bite the bullet and just pay people to take care of the problems that we don’t want to deal with.

I would say that 75% of the homes in my neighborhood have landscapers, but getting any of them to come and service my property has proven to be as frustrating as one of those speedbike levels in Battletoads.  For the landscapers that have actual names, branding or contact information on their company’s vehicles, literally none of them ever return my phone calls or reply to my emails.  For landscapers that people have referred me to, it’s easy to speak to any one of them once, but again, getting any sort of follow-up is pulling teeth.  And then, there are all sorts of landscapers with no identifiable affiliation that are teams of efficient Hispanic men who show up, get the job done, and then gtfo before I can get shoes on and try and stop them to ask for service; those are the types of guys I’d want, but it’s like they’re a shiny Pokémon and hard to catch.

I think I’ve finally gotten someone now, but it’s only been one cut so far, and this guy services one of my neighbors, so the jury’s still out on his affordability, but I have to say that I never would’ve thought it would be such a colossal pain in the ass to get a landscaper, and I hope I don’t have to deal with this again any time soon.

Anyway, because theFacebook is scary and clearly listening in on conversations and/or my general rants about the frustrations of landscaping, I started getting targeted ads for this robotic mower made by Husqvarna, that looks like a miniature Batmobile.  Now there’s a rich guy’s house outside my subdivision, where I’ve driven past, and seen a little robotic mower doing its job at the edge of his property; it looked like a little lawn version of a Roomba.

It also felt a little Black Mirror-ish to me that the idea of robotic mowers exist now in the first place, because it’s one part the pinnacle of human laziness, that robots that cut grass have emerged in the real world, but also to go back to that Black Mirror thought, one step closer to having machines dominate us like Maximum Overdrive

Regardless, something that looks like a Roomba doesn’t seem as insidious or intimidating if they were to go rogue and try to kill humanity, I feel like I could probably stomp on it like a goomba from Super Mario Bros. if one tried to revolt against its makers and snuff out the rebellion.

But one that looks like Husqvarna’s Batmobile?  This little motherfucker looks like it might have some machine guns that will emerge from some hidden compartments and end my life if it chose to.  It basically looks like it was already sprayed with that shit from Transformers that turned a Nokia into a killer robot, except that the Batmobile is just laying dormant in standby mode and not yet ready to kill everything in sight.  It looks like it’s ready to team up with the robot dogs from that one episode of Black Mirror to go on hunting sprees for remaining human life.

All the same, if it didn’t cost $4,000, I think I’d want one.  The idea that this little murder mower would run constantly in order to keep the lawn short always versus landscapers coming weekly/bi-weekly is appealing in that I’d have to interact with nobody ever, and on a long enough timeline, it would probably pay itself off fairly efficiently.  But a $4,000 tab is a tough pill to swallow, when there are several other things that I’d probably want to do with my property to where that would be better spent in a lump sum.

But it would be great at deterring assholes who let their dogs shit on my property, if something that looked like the Batmobile were patrolling my yard, to menacingly threaten people and their pets away.

Thoughts on Wrestlemania Week

It occurred to me that in spite of how much I like sports like baseball, college football and basketball, or any other sport that I tend to get into for various spurts of time, when the day was over, and I really had to pick one thing to really stay interested in giving my very limited time these days, what wins out in the end is professional wrestling, the so-called fake sport.

I mean it’s really no surprise, considering my interest in wrestling precedes every single sports interest I’ve ever had in my life, so I’m literally falling back all the way to my childhood interest when there’s an overabundance of options to be interested in.

Anyway, so this past week was for lack of a better term, Wrestlemania Week.  Both NXT and the main roster broke up TakeOver and Wrestlemania into two-night affairs apiece, and to be perfectly honest, I really liked it in this format, and kind of hope it remains as such in the future, and not just a pandemic thing.  I enjoyed the fact that every single evening was a 2-3 hour event, and unlike ‘Manias in the past, wasn’t an exhausting five hour show to where I’m dog tired by the time the Brock Lesnar match at the end is over.  I literally had time to slap on a paint of coat in my second daughter’s nursery after night 1 of TakeOver went off the air before going to bed.

By breaking up the shows over multiple nights, I could build anticipation for matches on each of the nights, and I didn’t feel tired or burned out from watching any one show too long, and it actually helped me remain engaged and entertained.

However, before I get into the meat of this post and talk about my favorite matches of the week, I have to say that I was one part happy to see a raucous live sellout crowd at Raymond James for Wrestlemania, because fans really are one of the things that have been truly missing throughout the last year, and I know AEW and NXT have been running small crowds regularly, but seeing a packed house, made it feel like for the first time, something back to normal.

But on the other hand, the other part of me was absolutely mortified at the fact that there were 25,000 people sold out two nights straight in Tampa Bay, and just days prior in Dallas, were about 40,000 people packed into a ballpark for the Texas Rangers’ home opener.  The mere thought of these kinds of gatherings when coronavirus is very much still a thing makes my skin crawl at the sheer ignorance and selfishness being exhibited by all the people going to these things, and turning these gatherings into what will probably become super-spreader events.

I know people miss and desire the feeling of normalcy by going to major events like home openers and Wrestlemanias, but I’ll be damned if I go to anything expected to be packed houses, for at least, the rest of my life, if not another two years, without feeling scurred and/or paranoid the whole time.

But that’s just me.  Save for the awkward scariness of seeing tens of thousands of fans gathering in a venue again for the first time in over a year, Wrestlemania week was full of some fantastic work; and these were my favorites.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Wrestlemania Week”

Professional crossroads

I am somewhat at a professional crossroads currently, and I don’t particularly know how to approach it.  Actually, I do know how to approach it, it’s just unfortunately I’m realizing that so few out there seem to be able to understand much less comprehend the choices that I’m willing to make in order to change my career path, which leads me to wonder if I’m really that unorthodox in my approach, or if the world around me is too inside the box thinking.

Basically, I am a graphic designer with 20 years of experience in graphic design.  But I’ve grown unhappy with the direction of my general career, and am seeking to pivot my career, preferably into user experience.  However, in spite of the course that I have recently completed where I think I did a pretty good job based on feedback and reception, I have zero years of experience in UX.

In my mind, the most logical thing to do is to try to get in on the ground level of wherever would hire me as in a UX role, and prove my worth and work my way up, and re-build a career in a different discipline.  Frankly, this would be the normal course path of trying to switch to any job outside of what I’ve been doing over the last 20 years, regardless of if it were UX or going into construction or working at a restaurant.

However, there are large camps of people out there whom I speak with that basically make me feel like I’m crazy to be willing to walk away from a managerial position and going into an entry-level position, regardless of the difference in growth potential as well as just career potential in general.  And it’s these conversations that make me feel kind of sad but mostly frustrated and disappointed at the things that I hear, and gives me more reluctance than I should logically feel about the choices that I’m willing to make.

I tell people often that I’ve left a job that paid well and had a great commute, simply because I was miserable at it.  The company hierarchy sucked, and people were playing professional games, and job titles dictated on whether you were right or wrong.  I left the company and went to where I’m currently at, in spite of lower pay and a shitty commute, because I was pursuing sanity and happiness, and I have zero regrets on making that move.

I’m kind of in the same boat all over again, but the difference is that I’m currently in a managerial role, and I’ve been speaking with more people, on account of the delicate circumstances in which I’m working in, and as a result, running into more resistance and questions rather than support and empathy for the simple fact that I’m miserable with my current job, and am wanting to make a change.

When the day is over, I’m going to do whatever I want to do, but my concerns are that the roles and places I apply to in the future, the people that make the hiring decisions, will also be hung up on the narrative that I’m a manager wanting to walk away from management to go into something entry level and then assume some bullshit conclusion and pass on me.

Frankly, I have a hard time understanding what is so hard to comprehend about sometimes needing to go backward in order to move ahead in careers and life in general, and it’s because so many square pegs like this exist in the world that really makes me feel like traversing these professional crossroads is going to be way more difficult than it really should be.

Vaccines, bailouts and irony

The sun has just barely set, but I’m already in bed, waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in, so I can hopefully conk myself out to sleep for at least 9-10 hours.  I have spent the entire day with a fever that has ranged anywhere from 99.8F to 101.4F, depending on the work of all the acetaminophen I’ve been taking throughout the day to try and bring it down, because as much as I would’ve loved to have stayed in bed and just ridden out this ailment, I’m also a dad now, and I thought about these commercials from the past and completely understand how dads don’t get sick days, and I still had to make sure my child was taken care of first and foremost.

So despite the nagging fever that’s been wreaking havoc through my body throughout the day and made me feel like I was hit by a bus when I got out of bed at 6:20 am, I still completed a fairly routine day of parenting, although I did call in sick to work, because there was no way on earth I was going to be able to do both on a day like today.  I didn’t do any sit-ups, I didn’t do any push-ups and I most certainly didn’t go for any runs or do anything physical that would have exacerbated the shit feeling I was feeling all throughout the day, although mythical wife and I still made the best of an impromptu day off by going to the exciting land of Costco for random things, but most importantly $1.50 hot dogs and $9 pizza.

The thing is, I’m not sick because I caught coronavirus or anything, quite the opposite.  I’m laid out because of the vaccine, since I just got Moderna.  Frankly, most everyone I know who had gotten Moderna seems to have been laid out just the same in some capacity, and my own mom described pretty much everything I went through, so I kind of had an inkling that I was in for some hurting myself.  And much like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I remember waking up around 5-6 times throughout the night, feeling off, and knowing pretty right away that I was probably going to feel it when I got out of bed, and when it came time to do so, it felt like concrete blocks on my feet when I stood up to start my day.

Regardless though, I am now vaccinated, and it’s kind of surreal to know we’ve finally made it to this point in history, where the long-awaited vaccine that seemed like a myth and fairy tale throughout 2020 is here, and people all across the globe are getting it, hoping to sooner rather than later, put an end to coronavirus.

Here’s the thing though; I’ve had this kind of love-hate feeling with the idea of a vaccine, because as I’ve stated before in the past, as terrible as a thing as coronavirus has been, killing millions throughout the world, there were a couple of critical inadvertent blessings that came out of it, mostly namely the fact that because of it and all the stay-at-home measures, I had a tremendous amount more time to spend with my newborn baby and getting to really be a dad throughout the year.

But with people getting vaccinated, and the pandemic gradually coming under control, that means my time at home will eventually come to an end when I’ll eventually be needed to go back into the office.  Aside from the forfeiture of time spent with my children, this also creates a whole new slew of challenges, like daycare and the financial and logistical matters that creates.  Frankly, I don’t ever want to go back into the office, and my job and team have proven how we can absolutely still get shit done while working from home.

As much as I want to be able to go to restaurants and dine out again, I’d rather forfeit eating out than having to go back into the office.

Another train of thought I’d been having a lot lately is how I’m relieved that the vaccines are here, and I’ve gotten it, but at the same time, I have this negative thought in my head that I don’t like the fact that there are a bunch of selfish assholes out there who are eligible all the same to get vaccinated and therefore reduce their risks of getting coronavirus.

I’m talking about the non-believers, the anti-maskers, and all people who went around throughout 2020 as if there was nothing wrong, and flaunted their defiance of logical standards citing their freedom and rights.  I dislike the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of these shitheads out there that are all eligible and probably will get vaccinated the same as those of the world that adhered to safety standards, followed the rules, and showed a modicum of giving a shit about their fellow human beings.

The vaccine is a reward and a blessing for those people, but for the selfish pricks that didn’t help the world straighten itself out, it’s a fucking bailout.  I know there’s no way to disambiguate, but I really wish it were possible to weed out the people who followed the rules and genuinely want the vaccine, to give it to all of them first, and then let the rest of the degenerates eat themselves over the later rounds of vaccinations.

In one fucked up way, it’s almost as if I wished the pandemic would continue so I would have more time to stay at home with my daughter and my future second, and there’s more time for the anti-maskers to be exposed and potentially get punished for their greedy defiance.  There are so many out there that don’t deserve a vaccine that are eligible for it, and the idea of the world getting back to a semblance of normalcy where all these shitheads can resume blending back in disturbs me.  At least in the middle of a pandemic, it’s become pretty easy to spot the shithead, when they’re out in public with no masks on.

Despite the fact that I’ve gotten vaccinated, I’ll still be wearing masks out, because frankly it’s not the end of the world, and save for the beating I took because of the vaccine, I like the idea that I haven’t gotten sick all throughout the last calendar year, and would like to keep it that way.

Frankly, I don’t think we’ll ever hit a point in the world where masks aren’t ever a good idea, but as long as there are selfish shitheads out there, it’ll never not be up for debate, because we won’t be in a position where unanimous compliance will ever come to fruition.