Someone get the Minnesota Timberwolves a trophy

They avoided getting swept!  They may as well be NBA champions for demonstrating such guile and determination and defeating the mighty and championship pedigree of the Denver Nuggets to stave off elimination.

This, is the very definition of lowered expectations, and precisely the instance why I actually have a tag in my brog entitled “lowered expectations.”

Sometimes, the NBA is just so hilarious at how soft and silly it’s become over the decades.  There’s so much noise surrounding the entire league, that the actual act of playing hoops seems so almost tertiary.  It is entirely possible to get sucked up in the drama and storylines of an entire NBA season and not actually watch a single game.

But back to this hilarious screen grab, it’s perfect on so many levels:

  • First, it’s not even remotely accurate that the Timberwolves avoided getting swept for the first time in franchise history; back when the playoffs were still best-of-five, the Wolves were swept in both 1997 and 2002, but the NBA for some reason likes to disregard the BO5 era unless it’s in support of whatever narrative they’re phishing for.
  • They act like the Wolves getting swept would be some sort of monumental history or something; Minnesota isn’t an OG NBA franchise, having come into the league in the 1990 expansion, but in 30+ years, they’ve only made the playoffs 11 times. That’s literally 33% of the franchise’s existence they’ve gotten into the playoffs, and of those 11 times, only once have they gotten out of the first round, and that was Kevin Garnett’s MVP season.  Otherwise, the Minnesota Timberwolves are definition of a middling pretender that may never actually win an NBA championship ever.
  • Rudy Gobert being in the frame is like the cherry on top, because I can’t say that I follow the NBA much, but whenever I do hear about the NBA, Rudy Gobert’s name has come up a surprising amount, and it’s almost never in a good context. This is the guy that was the league’s Patient Zero when COVID started, but not only did he deny coronavirus, the guy dared the world to give it to him, and he made a spectacle of rubbing microphones and tried his best to get it, and by golly did he succeed.  As soon as he tested positive, the NBA shut down shortly thereafter.  Oh, and just a few weeks ago, the Wolves ended their season with Gobert getting into a fight… with a teammate.  Real smart guy, that Rudy Gobert is

Whatever though, let’s hear it for the Minnesota Timberwolves for winning the NBA Championship after 33 long years of operation staving off getting swept because they’re totally going to be the first franchise in NBA history to ever come back from an 0-3 series deficit, and that statistic, is very much factual with no asterisks or caveats.  Maybe the Wolves can build on this grandiose achievement, and perhaps in 22 more years, get knocked out of the first round in game six instead.  Progress!

Year’s End: Was 2022 a bad year?

My fantastic mother-in-law signed me up for some virtual races that give medals for Christmas, but among them was a run called F*CK 2022.  The medal of the run is a middle finger which of course I’m cool with, but what got my brain churning was the idea that there being a race with this theme, there has to be some overwhelming sentiment that 2022 was anything but a good year.

Which brings us to the question in the subject of this post, was 2022 a bad year?

Honest question, because I’ve been living in a pretty small bubble since 2022, and my exposure to the news and happenings of the world outside of it are more limited than ever, and I’ve become one of those grownups who lets theFacebook feed me curated news and really only hear of things from that, Apple News and the shit that my friends talk about in a group chat. 

I don’t watch any television beyond the specific things I want to watch, which most certainly does not include any form of television news and I don’t venture out on the internet to all the news websites and Atlanta-centric sites I used to, so I’m going blind to even local things.

In the past, I felt it was important to be well informed and knowledgeable of news and current events, because if anything at all, that could make me better at conversation, but I really just like being in the know of things.  But after the rise of COVID and having kids and having kids in the age of COVID, it’s just not as important, and far behind the priority of making sure my kids are safe and fed every day.

Needless to say, my bubble has shrunken to where I have to ask other people if they think a year was bad or not, because I don’t really think my opinion holds any weight.  Because within my bubble exists pretty much just my kids, mythical wife, sports, wrestling and working for the sake of making money in order to live, and just about everything else exists outside of it.

Throughout the last few years, I’ve created living documents for every year, where I’ve literally narrated a tiny blurb to summarize every single day, of notable things and happenings, because I’m of the mindset that something important happens every single day, be it as small as one of my kids successfully eating something new, or as momentous as Russia invading the Ukraine and daring the rest of the world into another World War.

Some years have been really sad to look back through, because there’s a mass shooting every single month, or the deaths of notable people in the world, but as far as my interests and explorations of the world via the internet go, combined with the happenings of my daily life, I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that something important does happen, every single day.

Continue reading “Year’s End: Was 2022 a bad year?”

Dad brog (#103): Dad’s solo blow off trip

I think any of my zero readers might have been able to tell through tone and topic, especially in these dad brogs, that parenthood has been challenging throughout the last year or so.  Two kids at their ages in the conditions we are in societally, have taken their toll on me, and I’ll be the first to admit that since the start of COVID which coincided almost perfectly with the birth of #1 have put me into a bubble that I often struggle to get out of and it’s up for debate on whether or not I’m even out of it at all.

I know that I’ve struggled tremendously with keeping my cool, and that I will never accept the perceived shortcomings of the rest of the world as being the norm now, as reasons for my mental wellbeing, or lack of it.  I’m extremely irritable, little makes me happy, I struggle to enjoy just about anything and I’ve basically forgotten how to live for myself because so much of my life is spent being a parent and taking care of just about everything but myself.

It’s hard for me to really let go of things and unwind, when I’m constantly in this state of feeling overworked and taken for granted.  That if I don’t do things, things don’t get done, at work or at home, and that there are many instances where if the result of me taking any sort of time off is just a backlog of bullshit for me to have to deal with when I get back, then I question having taken it in the first place.

The last few trips I’ve taken with my family have been challenging, because two kids as young as my own are a tremendous handful and I’m always trying to be cognizant of their safety and wellbeing to the point where I can’t enjoy myself at any point.  Any time I am afforded to have to unwind always feels inadequate and too short and I’m left wondering why bother, like an ungrateful ingrate.

Regardless, what this all amounts to is the very obvious need for me to have some time away from dad mode, even if it’s on my own.  An opportunity to where I can not be a dad for a few days and try and hope to unwind and relax and recharge just a little bit.  Stare at a walls or screens and not have to worry about clocks or the schedules of other people for a few days.  Let other people feed my kids and hope that they don’t fall victim to their pickiness and that it’s really just dada’s shitty cooking they’re tired of and not really hating things.  Not being the only one cleaning my house on a nightly basis, preparing for the next day when it all has to get done all over again.  Go to sleep with no alarms on, and hope I can actually stay asleep for at least eight hours.

Yes, dada needs this little break.  If it were any more overdue, it would have already been fully foreclosed upon, and being prepared for demolition and the property already sold to CubeSmart.

And in true burned out dada fashion, I slept through my morning alarm to get to the airport, and if not for the Lyft driver to call me at 5 am to ask me where I was, I probably would’ve fucked everything up and everything would’ve been 690% worse.

Better believe I tipped my driver well this morning.  Here’s hoping the rest of my weekend will be successful.

H-Mart* is where people act like the pandemic never ended

The other day, I took my au pair to H-Mart.  She could see what an Asian market was like, we could take the girls out of the house to stave off their boredom, and I could introduce her to some of the more unique foods in the food court.  Plus, ever since I discovered Bibigo’s ez-Korean stews, I wanted to get some more to stash for a rainy day where I’m jonesing for some Korean stew.

We get there, and while we’re walking into the store, I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the customers headed inside, were all masked up.  This was confusing to me, because usually when I’m out and about, I’m usually the only one who still wears a mask in public places.

Sure, it’s finally gotten cold in Georgia, which means it’s the usual cold and flu season on top of the fact that COVID is still all over the fucking place, but that’s never really stopped anyone from arrogantly going into Publix or Target without a mask on these days.  The news can literally mention a new variant or a spike in infections, and people still parade around like it’s 2019 again.  White people, black people, men and women, young and especially old people, just can’t be bothered to mask up anymore these days.

Inside H-Mart, it looked like it was March of 2020 again, with everyone masked up, except there were way more people packed into the store, which was a colossal pain in the ass considering I had a shopping cart and a double stroller for the girls.  But make no mistake, the vast majority of shoppers in the store were masked up, and it wasn’t lost on me the ones that were rocking the heavy duty KN95s instead of more casual cloth or surgical masks.

It didn’t take long to consider what the outlier was, which was the fact that we were at an Asian grocery store.  Sure, forget that H-Mart corporate is based out of New Jersey, and most of the produce they procure is from the same suppliers as most commercial grocery chains in America.  The narrative now begins to feel like the fact that it’s an Asian business with a bunch of chinks and gooks all over the place means that China Virus is clearly wafting around in the air, and all the non-Asian folk will be damned if they are going to risk getting it.

I mean, they could just, not shop at H-Mart, but I suppose their low-priced produce and Korean fried chicken are far too tantalizing to resist, and for these people, it’s worth risking their lives and looking like passive racists.

But hey, if you’re exasperated with people arrogantly not masking up, start going to H-Mart to shop for your groceries instead of Publix or Kroger.  If you’re not Asian you’ll look like a racist, but at least you can shop somewhere where most everyone is finally being careful for a change.

*and presumably any other Asian-run business that non-Asian people like to patronize

Permanent damage

An email late Sunday night came from #1’s preschool, stating that someone in my my child’s class had just tested positive for COVID.  They were at school on Friday same as my daughter.  But not only was my child exposed, this past Friday was also a special day in which several of the classes had a singing day where they all got together, and parents were invited to watch the children participate on the stage.

So instead of one child exposing a classroom of 13 kids and three adults, this child instead exposed four classes, all their teachers, and all parents who came, including me.  Despite the fact that I still mask up in public places and large groups of people, this doesn’t change the fact that not just one of my kids, but both of them, since I had brought #2 with me, were exposed on top of the nearly 60~ish people that were present on Friday.

Seeing as how #1 was already showing some sneezing, coughing and runny nose that I originally thought was just another run of the mill cold that she seems to get every single month, now it’s probably most likely COVID, but it’s something that has yet to be determined, because trying to swab her nose and run a rapid test is about as difficult as Left 4 Dead on expert mode, and two days past exposure, it’s already too late to try and protect ourselves in the house.

Another email Monday morning confirmed the spread, as both of #1’s teachers had tested positive and class was effectively cancelled, which was fortuitous considering we had already kept #1 home for safety purposes to begin with.

This is the world we live in now, where COVID is still all over the fuckin place, and the vast majority of people just accept the fact that everyone is bound to get it at some point, and they’re somehow okay with that.

And then there are people like me who get pissed and get mad over the spread of a plague that has basically killed six million people since 2020, and we’re the ones told to get over it or accept that it was bound to happen, when people continuously spread the disease like it were the common cold.

No, I won’t accept it or get over it.  I will always be upset, I will always be mad, and I will always be frustrated with how the world is being so inconsistent and cavalier about coronavirus.  And even more so when it afflicts my family, because people are so stupid, so selfish and so ignorant to the fact that we live in a world where a potentially lethal virus is just floating all over the place and we’re okay with not masking up and protecting ourselves because it’s uncomfortable or it’s hot or fogs up our glasses when we wear them.

I’m the one who has to disclaim that I’m the social outlier these days, that I don’t feel comfortable in crowds or clam up when I see anyone sneeze or cough out in public because I want to be safe or keep my kids safe.  And yet, I’m the one who has to be concerned about the optics of not wanting to go into the office or into a crowded conference room, because despite the fact that people and businesses all like to talk a big game about how they take health and safety seriously, hardly anyone is actually demonstrating it in their actions.

It’s frustrating all the people and business out there that pretend like they care about people who try to take care of themselves or their families, but there are all sorts of inadvertent consequences to those who actually do.  It’s frustrating being an outlier who still takes things seriously, and being seen as a paranoid pariah instead of someone who is just trying to be safe.

I think this is what we call some permanent damage on account of the pandemic, and I don’t believe I will ever be able to readjust to a life being like it was pre-COVID, and it’s frustrating that I’m the one who is treated like the weirdo.  Because I value safety.  Seems legit.

Dad Brog (#096): Raising children without help is impossible

Now I’m sure any long-time parent who reads such a statement is probably like, duh no shit, and I’m not going to refute it reads as one of the more obvious statements that can probably be said, and most definitely nothing I haven’t already said in my life a hundred-fold by now.

But in my latest moment of despair, where I was trying to wrangle my two kids, where #1 is sick and screaming for attention, while #2 was getting into shit she shouldn’t be getting, all while I was logged into a virtual meeting at work because I’m still on the clock, but completely incapable of paying any attention to it, and the sitter had already gone home for the day because all paid help watches the clock, I just stood there for a few seconds, and the words formulated in my head, at just how shitty things can be sometimes and that I’m living at a very unsustainable pace, way longer than I probably should have, seeing as how my resolve crumbles so frequently sometimes.

All I could really think about was just how impossible it truly is to raise children without help, not just from a metaphorical standpoint, but how it truly is from all other ways, especially in this current state of the world where inflation is murder, greed and white people are endlessly fucking the country and America is still ‘Murica.

Like you hear about couples where one person quits their job to be a full-time parent; yeah, that shit is impossible now, and probably wasn’t really that ideal in any previous points in time, because unless one half of a couple makes a ridiculous, white man amount of money, let’s just say $175-200K plus annually, most American parents probably can’t afford to raise a child on top of surviving in a middle-class or better setting.

Everything is far too expensive for the average parents to reduce to a single income without some tremendous pain, and expect to live life remotely comfortably.  Therefore, they must both work.  At least that’s the case between my wife and I, our combined income isn’t that bad, but it’s completely dependent on both of us working full-time in order to make ends meet, however that results in us requiring child care, which quite literally half of my paycheck goes towards every single month, because child care is fucking expensive and not at all that great, but still a very necessary evil to have to endure.

And let’s not even really bother to analyze single parents, they most certainly need all the help they can get, be it childcare or free care from family.

The point is, as obvious as it is, more so put out in writing, is that it is truly impossible for any family unit to raise a child without any help.  It’s often popularly said that it takes a village to raise a kid, to which truer words can’t really be said, but it just isn’t possible for those to do so without said village.  Logistically, mathematically, financially, there just isn’t a way to do it without some third party hands getting involved somewhere along the way.

Dad Brog (#092): Fuck parents who send sick kids to school

#1 has gone to but just three days of camp, and she’s already picked up some sort of sickness.  Croup or RSV, most likely, although it would probably be in my best interests to run a COVID test to make sure, but the point remains is that all it took was three (half) days being exposed to other kids before my kid has picked up some sickness.

And because we’re active parents who aren’t content to let our children suffer in isolation, we do what we can to care for them when they’re waking up because they can’t breathe, and I woke up this morning with a slight fever after going to bed with massive chills, and it’s evident that such a bug has afflicted me as well.  I’m mostly fine, but my digestive system is telling me that I’m most definitely not 100%.

The point is, I’m livid and frustrated because the impression I get is that some parent(s) somewhere of kids that go to my kid’s school, knowingly let their sick kid go to school, where they have exposed everyone else to their plague, and in the case of my daughter, she’s brought it into my home where now I’m also affected by it too.

Basically, the overarching feeling I feel is what the subject of this post says: fuck parents who send sick kids to school.  I wish grave misfortune onto those of you who knowingly do it, like some gnarly and violent diarrhea that ruins your day, and maybe some clothes along the way.

I get it, it’s frustrating as hell raising kids sometimes, and when they’re sick and whiny and inconsolable, I’d want to jettison them out of the house for a few hours too.  But that’s a dick move and irresponsible and reckless, and I wish terrible things onto parents who knowingly do it.  Today, we kept #1 home from school, because it’s the right thing to do, and this is how responsible people conduct themselves, and look out for others.

Ironically, my own mother sent me to school with very obvious evidence that I had chicken pox.  But this was when I was in kindergarten, and I didn’t know the severity of the situation, until my teacher took one look at me and shipped my ass off to the office where I had to wait for my mom to come get me.  I still give my mom shit about that story to this day, even more so now that I’m a parent as well.

And I understand that sometimes it’s hard to tell if a kid is sick or not.  In those instances, there’s a little more leniency from my judgment, but if your kid is showing obvious signs of hoarse coughing, snotty noses or any sort of physical addling, then fucking keep your kids home for god’s sake.

I have no idea if the parents of whatever plague rats that have spread their disease onto my kid’s school knew or not that they were harboring a patient zero.  But in my cynical view of society, I assume they did, and so fuck them.  I hope they get a case of the shits while stuck in traffic, because knowingly sending sick kids to school is exactly why coronavirus will never, ever end, and I’ll go homicidal if some shithead passes it onto my kids.  Sure, I know this whole rant sets me up for some future hypocrisy if I’m ever in a position where it’s borderline, and I send my kids to school, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when it ever happens.  But for now, crazy shits for those who do.