A kick in the balls at the buzzer

If you’ve never seen one of these before, no this is not a pregnancy test.  God forbid, no.  Mythical wife and I used those fancy tests that could actually run Doom on them.  Two kids was the plan and mission accomplished.

No, this is a rapid COVID-19 test, and the two lines that are shown indicate a positive, yes you have coronavirus within your system.

For all the caution, masking, distancing, isolating  and other measures mythical wife and I have done over the last 22 months, it still made it into our home.

To clarify, this is not my test, although considering someone in my household is registering a positive, it’s safe to say that we’re all exposed.  I, or anyone else in my house can’t really go get confirmed, because everyone in my area has gone bonkers and any testing sites are all slam packed not to mention it’s New Years fucking Eve.

I’m quite upset over the likely circumstances that brought this unfortunate development to light, but what’s done is done and raging about it will accomplish nothing at all.  But the result is still the same, and for the next week, maybe two, my household is going to be wonky, my wife and kids and myself will have to play spatial chess as we try to minimize together time so that those with symptoms avoid those without.

It upsets me that the world went from intelligent avoidance to eventual acceptance that everyone was inevitably going to contract coronavirus at some point, and in the case my home, it wasn’t anyone here that went out of their way to get themselves exposed.  We’ve been doing our part to minimize exposure and stay safe, but unfortunately we can’t monitor the world outside our doors and the activities that the people outside our doors are doing.

I’m just upset on varying levels and degrees right now.  There’s never any good time for anyone to get sick, but happening right on a holiday makes things a little bit harder and more inconvenient.  There is no consolation in me being negative or asymptomatic, when my wife and one of my kids are ill and addled.

My daughter registered a fever of 103F. Ordinarily, that’s a need to go to urgent care, but clinics and facilities all over are so overrun, that they do an assessment to see who’s at the greatest risk of death to determine on whether or not they should go or.  Seeing as how my daughter is acting fairly normal in spite of the temperatures, we’ve been recommended to “stick with what you’re doing – at home” instead of going to urgent care—that’s where the fuck we’re at in this state of the world right now.

Life is already fucking difficult enough as it is, but to throw coronavirus on top of it, and I’m just feeling defeated and owned and all sorts of dejected.  Things will seemingly never get easier, and all I can really feel like is the endless need to endure and be patient, instead of thrive and enjoying life more than I am.

It’s funny, because as I was finishing out my last post and ending it with how the book on 2021 was closing with that post, it was almost like tempting fate that something should occur with the one day we had left.  And much like the title of this post is called, it really does feel like a kick in the balls, right at the buzzer.

Happy fucking new year, everyone.

A 2021 year-end post

Looking back at all my old posts on a near-daily basis through the On This Day plug-in I use, I realize that I’ve written a whole lot of year-end posts throughout the years, which makes me feel somewhat obligated to write one for this year as well.  Initially, my thought was “fuck, ain’t nobody got time for this shit,” but then I stopped to actually think about the year 2021 as a whole, and realized that making one, really shouldn’t be that difficult.

Seeing as how in my double dad duty life, I’m typically always in search of the path of least resistance, “shouldn’t be that difficult,” pleases me.

Although plenty of things happened both in my own little bubble, as well as the rest of the world, for me, the year really can be summed up pretty succinctly as a tale of two halves.  The first half of the year was spent preparing for the birth of #2, where my job made me miserable and was sucking the life out of me.  And then literally halfway through the year, #2 arrived, embarking on the second half of the year where my job still made me miserable, but it was compounded by the ever-living difficulty of parenting two under two with insufficient help.

All while the coronavirus pandemic that plagued most of 2020, still raged on throughout the entire 2021, regardless of how stupid, arrogant and ignorant the rest of the world seemed to become because we’re all a bunch of selfish fucks who can’t understand the importance of quarantine and distancing, and have to be out in public events and crowded restaurants.  Vaccinations came into fruition, and smart people got them, but it didn’t make everyone suddenly invincible, as much as it dulled the fatality capabilities of coronavirus.  But that was good enough for everyone, and I stopped pondering which was worse between the unvaccinated and the vaccinated who thought they were bulletproof.

On that description alone, it sounds like 2021 may have sucked, and I’d be the first to admit that I did have a tremendous amount of time with dark clouds over me and inside my head.  But none of it has any bearing for the love I have for my children, no matter how hard they’ve made my life in this current juncture, and no matter how much I bitch and write pissy brog posts, they are still my happiness and the greatest things to have happened to my life along with mythical wife.

This isn’t to say that the year was entirely a wash.  It’s just pretty easy to sum up in very broad strokes, that make it sound negative.  Aside from the birth of my second child, she brought baby luck into play, and despite thinking I wouldn’t ever see it in my lifetime, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series.  I mean if that isn’t the very embodiment of baby luck, I don’t know what was, the Braves had 88 wins and had no business making the playoffs, but they did, got hot, and rode the momentum all the way to the Commissioner’s Trophy.

I also got the NXT UK Tag Team replica blet, that I’ve been waiting to come into existence for three years.  That pleased me greatly and was a good way to wind down the year.

Oh, and the new job I secured with the year winding down.  A substantial raise, elevated job title, and for the inevitable future where I have to report back into an office, a shorter commute.  Plus, it gave me the long-awaited departure from my toxic current boss, and I can’t wait to get the fuck away from her.  That shit is really fantastic news too.

But because I’m a nerd that takes general notes on the happenings that interest me, the following things also occurred in 2021:

  • Baked potato worshippers basically tried to throw a coup and invade the Capitol in Washington DC in defiance of the failed 2020 election
  • I took a UX course to try and pivot my career path
  • Got vaccinated, had it kick my ass. Got a booster later in the year, which kicked my ass again
  • Tried the Dr. Now diet from My 600 Lb. Life of eating 1,200 calories a day; I lasted a week before throwing in the towel, but still lost 3.1 lbs.
  • The housing market in America went completely bonkers, and I capitalized on it by refinancing on my house to help ourselves financially
  • Alabama won its 52nd National Championship
  • Tom Brady won his 43rd Super Bowl; but first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • The Milwaukee Bucks, yes Milwaukee Bucks, won the NBA Finals
  • My upstairs HVAC died in the middle of summer and had to be replaced, causing a very uncomfortable week in August
  • And finally, speaking of deaths, notable passings in my world included: Hank Aaron, Larry King, Screech from Saved by the Bell, Jessica Walter, New Jack, Norm Macdonald, John Madden, Betty White, and most tragically, Sonny Chiba. 

But let’s not end this post talking about deaths.  As droll and depressing some of the tone of this post might’ve read, there is absolutely no reason for me to not be optimistic about 2022.  I have a new job that pays better and gets me away from the toxic situation that shit all over my 2021, and as my girls grow and develop, life should become a little simpler, and pave the way for me to get bits of my own life back, gradually, little by little.

Those things alone carry great weight, and as long as those things can progress positively, not even the dismal state of the world’s handling of coronavirus can drag me down.  And with that, I close the brog book on 2021, and hope for nothing but the best going into year 22 of fairly consistent brogging.

2 Under 2: The time has finally come (#077)

If there was ever a particular parenting milestone that I wasn’t really looking forward to, I’d guess that I would be joined by millions of parents out in the world who also dread the inevitable time for potty training.  Obviously, the end goal is of the greatest achievement, being the liberation of needing to change diapers, but the vast majority of parents probably don’t have a second baby already in tow that will need to remain in diapers for the better part of the next 15-16 months regardless.

All the same, the time has come in which mythical wife and I have embarked on the beginning stages of potty training #1.  We’re taking the approach of trying to train in stages, with the first stage being cordoning our child off into a segment of the house where we can monitor and observe behavior and seek out patterns, as well as have a safe surface that will get peed on, a whole lot.

Two days in and my daughter has accomplished to get some urine into the bowl of her training potty, as well as drop a few turds into the bowl, but it’s going about as well as I’d imagined it would: more failure than success, tons of paper towels being used, and me wondering just when in my life things will ever begin to feel simple again.  Mythical wife reminded me that we’re parents now, which is to say, that probably never.

This isn’t to say that I’m miserable doing it, but I’d be lying that it isn’t exhausting work in a variety of ways.  It’s physically demanding because I’m constantly in a squat but can’t sit, because I have to be able to spring up at a moment’s notice to usher my kid to the trainer when she inevitably breaks the seal and begins gushing like a hose periodically, and I’m often bent and crouched, and considering I haven’t worked out in nearly two years, I’m physically getting wrecked.

It’s also yet another emotional milestone in which I’m realizing just how fast my first child really is growing, leading me to be all Soun Tendo emotional dad when I stop and think about it.  Honestly, I’ve been changing diapers for so long now that it’s just kind of like second nature to me, and it’s not something that’s ever really bothered me, so I’m kind of in this mindset that I’d rather stick to the simplicity of diapers versus the hard fucking work of potty training, regardless of the inevitable win that the latter really is in comparison.

But my first little girl is growing up, and it’s potty training today, and then teaching her to drive a stick shift tomorrow, with trying to teach financial responsibility all the time in between.  However, until then, there’s going to be a whole lot of toddler excrement in the coming days. FML

A long awaited two weeks notice

As much as I’d been waiting to do this and I had fantasized about it over the last year and change, I still found myself pretty anxious to have the talk with the boss of mine that I had grown to not particularly like over the last three years.  This is the longest stop I’ve ever had in my career, at just under six years, so no matter all the good that will come from moving on, there’s still the sheer, change, of everything that brought on a little bit of nerves.

And when the day was over, the conversation really was just about everything that I had predicted it would be.  Regardless of how important I feel that I am to my team, and all of the contributions and things that I do for the team and my reports, I knew that my boss would no-sell me giving my notice like Hercules vs. Sid, because I’ve felt that she’s been trying to get me to quit for the better part of the last two years, and me leaving, in spite of the workflow issues it may cause, would still be satisfactory for her, so that she could backfill my position with a spineless puppet. 

Which is pretty much what happened, not surprising to me at all.  But we also had a fairly civil conversation about how I didn’t really want to leave the company, and how I tried to make a move when there was a reorganization and an influx of open positions to move into, and when things didn’t work out in my favor, I realized that I had to leave.

Most importantly though, regardless of the greener pastures I may be headed to, what is the hardest part about ultimately leaving is the people.  As cliché as it sounds, I really did meet a lot of really good people, and I love all of my reports that I’ve had throughout the years, and leaving them, won’t ever not feel like I’m leaving them a little bit high and dry.

It’s funny, one of the things I said to my boss was that I was grateful for the guidance she gave me throughout the years.  As pleasant as it might sound, it probably isn’t for the reasons that she thinks they might be, because through her guidance, I really learned or affirmed a lot of the traits of leadership that I didn’t want to put onto my own subordinates.

And out of respect for my team, I pulled them aside separately to tell them the news personally, because I love and respect them, and I didn’t want them finding out soullessly from my boss.  How I was always one of them, and will always be one of them, graphic designers, regardless of what my title was, and that it was always important to be their advocates and defenders of bullets and shrapnel, and to protect them when I could.  Because without their contributions, the company wouldn’t have advertising, and how that they’re more important than all sorts of meaningless titles that are perceived to be above them.

Perhaps they were fluffing my ego or just being nice, but the general response from them was definitely mostly sad.  Two reached out independently to tell me that my departure will make it much easier for them to look elsewhere, and two others that I emailed in lieu of their absences, didn’t respond immediately, uncharacteristically of them, making me wonder if I’ve given them a little bit of a shock.

All the same, regardless of how sad I might be to be leaving the place where I’ve spent more time than anywhere else, when the day is over, good people and company loyalty don’t pay the bills, and child care if fucking ridiculous.  It was still a very easy choice to accept the new position that I was offered, and I’m sure as my start date gets closer I will become more excited about the new journey my career will be headed in.

But until then, it’ll be a tumultuous two weeks of tying up loose ends, trying to figure out all my financials from the old job, while my new equipment and orientation of the new one starts to queue up.  It’s going to be very important for me to get mentally prepared for the new job, because I definitely know what a muddy mindset can do to a job if you’re not mentally ready for it.

Spider-Man: No Way Home thoughts

It goes without saying that there are going to be spoilers galore here.  Short of saying it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it a lot, it’s going to be difficult to really talk about the film without there being any spoilers.

So, it was a fun movie, and I did enjoy it a lot.  This was the first film that I saw in a movie theater in over two years, and I couldn’t have picked a better film to go out and feel like a human being, albeit masked one, for an evening again.

Continue reading “Spider-Man: No Way Home thoughts”

#23: If it had come out sooner, it probably wouldn’t be #23

Nearly three years after it debuted on television, it was finally released as a replica, and I managed to wait it out until it was nearly $120 off its retail cost to snag it at a price point that I could digest: an NXT UK Tag Team Championship replica blet.

I can finally put this chapter of my collection to rest finally, and go back to pondering on whether or not I’ll ever consider getting moar blets for my ridiculous collection.

The funny thing is that had the UK Tag blet come out sooner, there would probably have been a good chance that I wouldn’t be up to 23 replicas in my collection.  It’s because it was never available, that the itch for new blets was never sated over the last three years, and how I ended up with probably 4-5 more blets than I probably would have considered getting.

Seriously, I wasn’t really that interested in the NXT UK blet, but I ended up getting it anyway, because it was on a ridiculous Brack Friday sale price, and I bit on the sale price fallacy.  Plus, I had gotten really into the NXT UK scene, and wanted to have any blet to represent the brand in my collection.

Same goes for the WWE US Championship, the only reason I ended up buying it was that it was on a Wrestlemania sale price, and I wanted to spoil myself to a little retail therapy to soften the reality check that fatherhood was proving to be.

The NWA and WCW Television blets are prime examples of just wanting new blets for the sake of having new blets to add to the collection, and I probably never would’ve ever searched for them ever if my collection were in a state of satisfaction, but I gave them the old college tries and eventually tracked them down and plunked down for them.

And frankly, the Ring of Honor World Championship, I probably never would’ve made it a unicorn blet in the first place had I had gotten an NXT UK Tag replica to sate the itch earlier.  But once I found out that official replicas of it existed, I knew that I had to have one and some Pakistani knockoff would not suffice.

Lest it not go unmentioned, #22 was also recently acquired, being a white strap WWE Intercontinental championship, which has the dubious distinction of being the first time I’ve basically bought the same blet twice, seeing as how I already had a black strap WWF Intercontinental championship.  The plates are nearly identical in both, and for lack of better term, the only real difference is the strap color.  But it was yet another sale price fallacy, and seeing it nearly 45% off made it very easy to pull the trigger.

Which brings us to the long-awaited UK Tag blet that I’ve wanted for three years.  Now that I have it, in a previous life I would say that my collection is complete, but as I’d already mentioned before, with the gaudy John Cena US Spinner back on the market, I’m only a waiting game away from having #24.  But once that one is acquired, I actually really can say that I don’t know what I’d want afterward, however I won’t say that my collection is complete this time.  There’s always a blet, or an idea for a blet, to make it happen again, where I plunk down hundreds of dollars for these useless toys, no matter how cool I can make them look, all hanging from my wall.

But as it stands, my wall is pretty much full, and nothing short of a massive reconfiguration (a second row) is going to give me the room for expansion that I need to go beyond 23 blets.  Never say never, though.

2 Under 2: A very different story this time (#076)

As I wind down my second paternity leave, I feel pretty much not much from the dread of returning to work, and a lot of anxiety at the uncertainty of what life is going to be like in the coming weeks.  I went into this paternity leave feeling burned out and exasperated from the combination of a job that I’d soured on plus the rigors of parenting two under two.  I conclude my paternity leave feeling burned out and exasperated, except this time there is no work to blame for the overflow of stress and in fact, I’m going back to it.

I had hoped that taking the working part out of the equation would alleviate a lot of pressures of daily life of parenting, but things just didn’t really work out that way, much to my disappointment.  A vast combination of parenting factors, such as sleep issues with #2 that are wildly inconsistent and persistent, #1 entering a very precarious stage in her life where basically everything is a hair trigger to a crying meltdown, the fact that I have basically little to no help on a regular basis, and have spent an inordinate amount of hours doing double duty on both kids at the same time.

Most every day over the last twelve weeks has had at least one instance where I get upset or exasperated, and by now I’m often feeling so over parenting and as I’ve said numerous times, just want a single day where I can not have to be a parent so that I can appropriately recharge, but know it’ll never happen because my circumstances are precarious and difficult for anyone to really handle plus I don’t trust anyone to do all the ungodly amount of chores and tasks I do on a daily basis as well as I do.

Make no mistake, I feel like shit and am endlessly guilty admitting to all of this, but inherently therein lies just how difficult the journey of life with two children under the age of two is, and made more difficult in the midst of an endless pandemic where we can’t send #1 off to daycare or have a larger pool of people to trust with child care that isn’t the family that lives 3-10 hours away from us.

But at the same time, I’m not going to sugar coat it, lie and say everything is fine, because it most definitely isn’t.  Parenting is hard.  Parenting two kids is even harder, especially when I’m having to do it on my own as often as I do.  Multiply that by difficult behaviors, a lack of sleep, no breaks or times to unwind, and you have me.  Obviously, it would be arrogant to think that I am a genuinely unique instance as dads throughout history have undoubtedly matched my circumstances if not worse countless times, but I sure as shit don’t know anyone who is or has, in my little bubble of life.

I don’t have enough help.  My wife and I do not have enough help.  The state we live in, in the country it resides in, isn’t doing enough to help us much less themselves, based on the rise of Omicron and the endless existence of coronavirus.  Child care is expensive and bleeding us, especially since the last six weeks of my leave were the unpaid portion of it.  I really didn’t want to go unpaid for six weeks, but the needs of my children still come first, and seeing as how we still have no fucking clue to what’s going to happen once both mythical wife and I are both working, there is no light at the end of the tunnel right now.

I want to enjoy the last moments of this leave with my second child as I did with my first, but it’s proving to be difficult to do so.  Time is never on our side, and I am always against a clock somewhere for some reason.  Again, it sucks balls writing all of this out and admitting to just how upset I’ve gotten more than I like to admit, but shit, life has been hard, and there’s no reason to deny it.  One of these days, I hope that it won’t be as much so, but I’m definitely struggling to navigate things beyond a few hours of each day at a time.

Maybe in the near-to-distant future, or later on down the line when this post shows up on my On This Day, I’ll re-read posts like this and cringe at just how stupid I sounded, because life then will be so much better, or hopefully not, still be in this depressing state in the future.  But true to the brog, this is where I am at in this juncture of time, and shit ain’t easy.  And with going back to work on the near horizon, it probably won’t be getting any simpler any time soon.