2 Under 2: No time like the present (#068)

About a month ago, I wanted to write a post about how I was embarking on my paternity time for the second time, on account of the arrival of #2.  How I was looking forward to not having to worry about work for 12 weeks, and all sorts of ideas of ways I could be productive and get shit done with no work looming over me.

Well it’s been about a month since I’ve started my paternity leave, and unsurprisingly I have not accomplished nearly as much as I hoped I would prior to the start of it.

Who would have guessed that juggling two kids would consume so much of my capacity, even without having to worry about work?  Pff certainly not me.  In all fairness, our Disney trip consumed nearly two weeks of my leave, since it encapsulated a Tuesday through a Wednesday, and trying to accomplish anything before or catch up afterward just weren’t going to happen.

But going into my paternity leave, I made goals of accomplishing several tasks:

  • Refinance my home: rates are crazy low and with a second child in tow, refinancing my mortgage to try and bring down my monthly payment and free up some cash sounded like a tremendously good idea
  • Look for a new job: the cat is out of the bag by now, and most everyone knows I’m quite unhappy with my job, and would like to seek out a new one now
  • Explore the possibility of upgrading to a larger car: my car of two years and less than 15,000 miles is already too small for the size of my rapidly grown family, and I would like to capitalize on the potential of the also-hot used car market, and try to trade in my car for maximum value, so that I may upgrade to a larger vehicle
  • Yard work: there are some shrubs I want to get rid of, and some general cleanup I’d like to do around my driveway and walking paths, as well as reclaim some of the wild land in the field adjacent to my home, while the poison ivy is wilting and the snakes are going into hiding

So nothing too lofty, provided there’s a reasonable amount of time to do them, but therein lies the biggest problem – there’s just simply never any fucking time.

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2 Under 2: making baby gates (#041)

As most parents eventually need to do, mythical wife and I have gradually began baby-proofing the home as our first is completely mobile, fast as an Olympian, and is capable of being out of sight and with a dust bunny in her hand headed toward her mouth in the blink of an eye.  And the impending second child will only make the need to cordon off areas of the house that much more imperative, so we made the decision to section off parts of the home, so that we can (hopefully) be able to have to only monitor half of the home at a time instead of all of it.

The problem is, baby gates are ridiculously expensive, and considering we needed multiple gates, it seemed like something that we weren’t particularly interested in spending the money we’re already stretching thin on.  Furthermore, baby gates all have a particular cheap and plasticky look to them, and just because we’re frazzled parents doesn’t mean we have to turn our home into a giant billboard for like Fisher Price.

Mythical wife found this online tutorial from a lady who made her own baby gates from wood and gate parts, and looking through it, I’m thinking “hey I could do this,” so we made the executive decision to make our own gates.

I’m not going to get too granular with all the details, because there’s basically nothing outside of the steps the mommy in the link that I didn’t do, so if you really are curious you could support her and give her traffic, but I’m just going to kind of write out the things I did in the process, and hope that this turns into something of a substantial post that isn’t too boring.

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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.

‘Burned out’ doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel

On any given day, here are the things that I like to accomplish in my free time:

  • Write
  • Run
  • Watch wrestling
  • Watch tv in general
  • Play Fire Emblem Heroes and/or Pokémon Go
  • Do surveys

Coincidentally, that just so happens to be the list of things that I so rarely get to do anymore, on account of the fact that I’m just so endlessly busy, with a plate so perpetually full, that I’ve been feeling on the cusp of anxiety attacks at just how much stuff I feel that I have to do on a regular basis, with practically no help at all.

The fact that I’m writing now is a miracle in itself, and I mentally would really like to accomplish a whole fuckton of writing that’s been backlogging in my brain as well as on the living document I keep a list of topics and things I’d like to write about but the reality is that as much as I love to write, there’s only a certain amount of it I can do daily before the topics begin to run into each other and I put out a bunch of bullshit that I’m not happy with.

Over the last few weeks, my daily schedule hasn’t really changed so much as it’s just had things added to it, as some of them have finite timelines in which they should be accomplished.  However, it’s these extra things that have nickeled and dimed their way into overfilling my plate on a regular basis, and the’ve all been constantly bleeding into all facets of my time not spent working and/or raising a child, that I’ve hit the point where “burned out” doesn’t come close to describing how I feel so much as I just simply feel like I’m drowning.

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I want a machete

Actually, I should rephrase that headline: I am getting a machete.

I’m not particularly fond of doing any sort of yard work or landscaping.  The idea of having a nice-looking property is, nice, but I don’t particularly want to put forth the effort in doing it myself, and I don’t particularly want to pay what I feel is outlandish rates and be locked into contracts with a landscaping company to have someone else do it for me.  So it usually ends up with me doing the bare minimum to have a remotely passable yard, as in the grass remains cut, and the edges are barely maintained, but there’s not much in terms of fresh mulch, neat little accents or any of the small things that make yards look pretty.

But when things become what I think are necessity, then I guess I’ll go ahead and put a little more effort into things.  I have some shrubs that really need to be tamed, because I’ve literally watched squirrels use them as a springboard onto my physical home and for those that know me, I fucking hate squirrels, and the idea of them infiltrating my home now makes me feel homicidal, so I need to nip this in the butt before it becomes problematic.

Furthermore, my property is adjacent to county-owned land, so in some regards it’s nice to not have a neighbor on one side of my house, but in the other hand, the county doesn’t particularly do a good job of maintaining public land, so there’s a good bit of brush and wild growth that has encroached onto my property that needs to be tamed as well.

Needless to say, it’s more work than a trimmer and blower would be capable of doing, but I don’t want to spend the money to get some power tools for what is basically amounting to a single job.  Frankly, in my mind, a good afternoon with a machete is what I really need, so I went online and ordered, a machete.

It’ll be interesting when it gets here, because I’ve never actually used a machete for its intended purpose, and only known of them for fantastical scenarios of killing zombies.  In my mind, it’ll be a gratifying, satisfying and a stress-reliever of an activity, hacking away at wild plants and shrubs, while at the same time bringing order to my property and gaining land back from the county.

But I know there’s an equally strong chance that I am underestimating the whole task, and that ten minutes in, I’ll find that a machete isn’t that efficient, or that there are some plants that are far too thick for a machete to be of much use, and I’ll be exasperated and disappointed with the results, throw in the towel, and end up springing for some power tool(s), and just be behind on my anticipated timeline of getting this task done.

I won’t know until I try though. The machete is en route, and pretty soon we’ll see if it’s everything I hoped it would be, or if I’m going to regret making this decision, and be angsty about the time and money wasted.

A sad reminder of how much I miss the gym

A week ago, I ran 13.1 miles to fulfill the obligations of the Disney Dine & Dash Wine & Dine Half Marathon that mythical wife and I signed up for months ago.  We were itching for redemption to run it this year, as we had to bow out the year prior with lots of sour grapes on how runDisney handled it, because of a little unexpectedly quick turn around on pregnancy, but we signed up for it in 2020, thinking we would have our opportunity to redeem ourselves as well as introduce our little one to her first Disney trip.

Among other things ruined on account of coronavirus, this too was denied to us again for a second year, but we opted to stay registered and run our half marathons virtually.

Mind you, in spite of having obligations of a half marathon, I’ve basically been living on auto-pilot for large swaths of the year, and I hadn’t really done any proper distance training leading up.  I run regularly, but only around three miles per run, mostly for maintenance and health purposes, and not necessarily with a distance goal in mind.  Regardless, because I was planning on doing run/walk, I was still confident that I would be able to pound out 13.1 miles without killing myself.

Sure, some preparation probably would have made things easier, but I did just that, and finished my half marathon’s distance without dying.  I admittedly hit a wall a little faster than I had hoped, and by mile 10 I was running out of gas pretty quickly, and my right calf was telling me that it was very unhappy with my choices in life, but I still finished, and under my goal time of 2 hours and 30 minutes to boot.

I figured I would be in pretty rough shape afterward, seeing as how such was usually the case whenever I’d done any prior 10K or 10-milers in the past, with training, but the following day, it was nothing more than the atypical tender quads and achy ankles, leading me to be quite satisfied that I wasn’t a complete train wreck of a physical specimen after having not been to the gym in literally eight months.

A day ago, as is something that always has to be done this time of year, I went outside and raked leaves, as I have three very large trees on my property, and therefore have a metric fuckton of leaves to have to rake.  It was a massive pain the ass last year, as I had but a cheap wire rake that I had procured from Amazon, so I decided to not be a cheapskate and get myself a real, effective rake, even if it meant that I had to leave my house and go to a Home Depot to buy one. 

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New Father Brogging, #021

As my paternity leave winds down, I naturally feel like the last six weeks have blown by, and that I wish I had more time.  Mentally, I’m not really that prepared to return to work yet, but it’s not like I really have much of a choice if I want to be able to provide for my family, other than to suck it up and get back to it.  But I definitely wish I had more time, without a doubt.

Overall, the last six weeks have been mostly anything but easy, as raising a child is definitely no small feat, and I should be fortunate that I even had the luxury of paternity time in the first place.  As necessary as it most certainly felt to me, the reality is this is something that my company did not have in place when I first started there, which wasn’t even a full five years ago.  I remember the big deal it was within the company, and even getting some national news traction about how when we went full paternity, and thinking nothing of it back then, because I wasn’t even married yet, but having capitalized on it now, I couldn’t be more grateful to work for a company that offers it, because I know that such is not the case everywhere else.

But throughout my paternity leave, my child has grown a bunch, begun eating solid foods, competently rolling over front to back to front, has graduated out of swaddles, and has been teething, chatting a lot more, and we’ve begun trying to get her to sit up on her own strength.  One of my prime hopes was that while I was off, we’d be able to get her into a casting call for some sort of baby company, and put her to work a little bit, and once she actually did get put on a shortlist of candidates, but then they hit us with the curveball that all babies would be required to be able to sit up on their own power.  Bummer

Aside from baby-ing, over the last six weeks, I managed to get my brog back up and running, although it’s an indeterminate time to whether when or if I’ll ever get the pre-2010 archives back up and running, because that’s way lower priority than the brog.  I also had some house issues, when some freakish storms exposed some leaks in my home, which turned out to be a time consuming and costly ordeal in its own right, which really messed me up, and I also found out that my own dad has been having some minor health issues on his own, leading to my sister and I to have some real talks about the inevitable future.

Needless to say, it’s been a time during paternity leave, and it’s hard to comprehend that these six weeks have evaporated so quickly.  Put being on full-time daddy duty 10-12 hours a day, with next to no help and practically no down time for myself, and it’s been very understandable when people try to expound the difficulties of parenthood.

To reward myself and/or indulge in some retail therapy, I decided to get myself a new belt, as well as track down my own belated birthday gift, in this sweet Power Rangers T-Rex DinoZord.  And the belt is mostly as a result of an Amazon gift card my sister got me for my birthday when her own attempt to get me the T-Rex stalled out due to a flaky seller in Japan, and much like Target gift cards, I’m left with a wtf do I purchase, until it came to my attention that Amazon actually had a few people selling legitimate belts.  So now I have a Ring of Honor tag replica, that guys like Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, the Young Bucks, Hardys, AJ Styles, Kevin Steen Owens, Cesaro, CM Punk and Seth Rollins have held in their histories.

And modeling the belt is my new life-long tag team partner.  As intensive as some parenting might have felt at times, I wouldn’t take anything away from the last six weeks, and I’m sad that it’s likely I’ll not get another massive chunk of time like this to spend with my child for the immediate future.