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.

Being an orange guy supporter fan is basically a meme

On my way to the office, there’s this house that I’ve noticed.  It was an obvious tear-down and flip, because it’s a home that sticks out that it looks absolutely nothing like the aesthetic of all the other properties in the vicinity.  It’s hard to describe it, but it almost seems fortress-like, because there’s almost no landscaping other than fresh sod, there are high fences that flank the sides of the property, and the only vehicles in the driveway have been two giant fuck-you trucks.  The trucks are black and white respectively, and for the matter so is the house, with it being primarily white with black shutters, doors and accents.

I don’t really know why, but I had this hunch that the people that lived there were probably the types of people who supported the orange guy that tanked ruled ‘Murica.  But recently, on my latest commute in, I noticed that they had two signs in their yard, in support of Bubba Kemp, the orange-guy worshipping incumbent governor who is up for reelection in November, and it basically validated everything I theorized about the residents of this property.

But then it got me thinking, how easy it’s become to pick out orange guy supporters, even if they’re not so flagrantly broadcasting their fealty.  And that they’ve basically become living breathing memes of human beings with their brainless worship of a clown.

Sure, there are the very obvious sheep out there who have Make America Great Again hats, bumper stickers, and other orange guy paraphernalia, and those guys are sad and disappointing in their own right, but at least they’re honest and straightforward with their allegiance.  But it’s the people that want you to know without making it obvious that I’m more fascinated in and frankly, these are the people out there that I think are worse, because it’s like they want to enjoy the luxuries of America, while being in support of ‘Murica.

Not to mention, that a lot of these types have unfortunately co-opted all sorts of brands, IPs and other forms of symbolism, and ruined it for everyone else by claiming that they’re symbols of their hatred of modern society.

So anyway, here’s what I’ve observed as being signs of more subtle orange guy fanaticism:

  • Don’t Tread On Me stickers, flags or decals
  • The Punisher logo decals
  • Salt Life stickers
  • Really loves firearms
  • Very large trucks with lift kits, usually black
  • American flags hanging off of said trucks
  • Properties that look like they are somewhat defensible in an apocalyptic scenario

I’m sure there are lots of other things that could be on this list, but these are the things that come immediately to mind when I think about things I see that instantly make me very confident that a person is an obvious patriot.  And the more bullets they check off, the more I’m curious what they were doing or where they were on January 6th.

The point is, people don’t really need to be brandishing the very obvious stuff to make it obvious where their general allegiances and temperaments lie.  Whether they care to realize it or not, there’s plenty of other things that have manifested and been nurtured throughout the last few years that make it pretty obvious to what type of person a random stranger on the street is, just by their behaviors and preferences, which to me, is what makes something meme-worthy. 

What’s sad, aside from the people who are brainwashed by all this bullshit, are the poor identities and IPs that have been bastardized by their being co-opted by the extreme right.  I feel bad for any intelligent Marines who have to see the Gadsden flag being used by idiots who have never even thought about serving the country, flying it without knowing any bit of its history.  I feel bad for Marvel Comics and any writer who ever was involved with The Punisher, seeing all these morons using the skull emblem and claiming it to be “for them.” 

And worst off, I feel saddest for the American flag, which is so often being flown with almost a malicious intent, by people who want to throw their extreme patriotism in the faces of normal, regular Americans who might not feel the need to have to throw the flag up everywhere they go to represent the country we live in.

The behavior of the mindless and ignorant have taken a lot of historic elements and respectable  symbols and turned them into memes by how flagrantly misused they’ve been, but at least in doing so, they’re making it very easy to identify people that I really have no interest in associating with, because ain’t nobody need this kind of stupidity anchoring down my little world.

Lol Alabama: who do you think you’re fooling?

Uh sure, my bad – Lawrence County, Alabama Old White Guys’ Club Republican group “mistakenly” uses GOP elephant logo featuring hooded Klansmen in it

East Side Elementary in Marietta, Georgia must breathe a sigh of relief every time some other group out there “accidentally” co-opts racist shit and puts it out there and expects to get away with it and never does.  Since their own stint using the Nazi eagle, it didn’t take long before Hanover County, Virginia basically used a swastika for some team within the government, which probably took the immediate heat off of them. 

And now to distance themselves even further, we’ve got some Republican club out in Alabama using artwork from an extreme left-wing news source to represent their right-wing bullshit, that had pretty obvious KKK imagery in it, and then saying “whoops, my bad” when they got caught.  Make no mistake, this is pretty obviously one of those instances where there would be no apology had they not gotten caught, but it’s hard to imagine that in this day where people are actively looking for racism that anyone would think they’d get away with it.

It’s funny, because I googled Lawrence County, Alabama, to see where on the map it was, so that I could then go onto the Southern Poverty Law site, and search where in Alabama where there was reported KKK activity, and see just how accurate it checked out.  But hilariously (ironically), when you click on Alabama, it says that not only is there KKK activity in Alabama, unlike most of the other hate groups in the state, there’s no specific dots to signify where, but it just says statewide.  So obviously Lawrence County falls into that category.

I mean, it’s no surprise how much of a layup such is, seeing as how Alabama is well, Alabama.  A state that other than college football isn’t really known for anything else other than Forrest Gump and racism.  It’s about as surprising as the NFL slapping Deshaun Watson on the wrist for sexual harassment while suspending indefinitely Calvin Ridley for gambling that Alabama has KKK on the brain, and it manifests itself in their Republican clubs.

Sometimes, I proclaim that one of the biggest flaws of the political field is the Democrats’ complete lack of respect for the collective intelligence of the Republican party; that it’s their liberal arrogance that thinks technology, creativity and solidarity amongst minority groups can actually overcome sheer force of numbers and mindless hero worship of a bunch of old white folks.  That this shit didn’t just manifest out of nowhere in 2016, but was the result of an extremely lengthy and tactical long game that is bearing tremendous fruit in advantage and a seemingly endlessly stacked deck against all opposition to this very day.  Tactics like this don’t come from idiots and brainless followers that so many people love to associate your stereotypical Republicans to be.  Somewhere in the party are some really, really intelligent and cunning minds, and this is why America is ‘Murica, and why it never seems like it will ever end.

But then we do actually have idiots and brainless sheep of ‘Muricans who make up other parts of the Republican party, who think they can flagrantly use graphics featuring Klansmen in them and actually think they’ll get away with it, and it’s like well shit, why the fuck are these dipshits’ votes actually counting?

Either way, I don’t think anyone with a brain will actually believe Lawrence County, Alabama, is actually apologetic for using their KKK artwork, and that the only thing they’re really sorry about, is that they got caught.

Dad Brog (#091): childcare in America sucks

Over the span of the last five months, I’ve had two nannies quit on my famiry.  I’ll be the first to admit the high level of difficulty in simultaneously overseeing two kids the ages of mine, but the thing is that before anyone gets the idea that my kids were the ones driving them off, it’s just that we’ve just been very unlucky with the people we’ve hired.

The first nanny quit because she basically had a mental breakdown after two days of solo duty, despite having over three months to prepare for it.  And the worst part was that she did it spontaneously by calling out one day and then ghosting us for nearly two weeks before resigning over the phone, after we had already moved on to hire someone else by the time she reached back out.

Unfortunately, that someone else has just given her notice after just barely four months, because her personal life has imploded and she’s decided that it’s just not possible for her to continue nannying for us any further.  I won’t go into specifics, but at least she’s given us the courtesy of some lead time, and mythical wife and I are scrambling to find someone else before we reach her hard stop last day, and that’s if she doesn’t decide to phone it in and peace out before then.

Needless to say, if not for the fact that I was already souring on nanny #2, I’d be apoplectic about the fact that for whatever reason, my famiry just can’t seem to lock down competent, reliable childcare.  I have a lot of mixed feelings about the current scenario, because I was already on the path of looking for a replacement and this saves wifey and I an uncomfortable conversation of having to let someone go, but it doesn’t change the disappointment of having yet another nanny who crumpled to the job, mostly on account of their lives just being another hot mess.

I know my kids won’t really remember much of this in the grand spectrum of things, but I would love for them to have some stability and consistency in their lives.  After nanny #1 peaced out on us, my eldest mentioned them by name a few times when they heard the garage door, thinking that they were coming to see them.  And she’s also cognizant of both nanny #2 and her own son that she brought in daily, but now both of them will be leaving our lives too.

My kids deserve better than what we’ve been giving them.  Unfortunately, it’s been very challenging on our part as parents to find a good nanny, because they all talk a good game to get the job, but we’re 0-fer-2 now at fielding someone that has actually remained up to the task at being able to handle it on a regular basis.

Frankly, and this is where I’m getting up on my old man soap box, I just think American childcare sucks.  All these nannies are mentally soft, have no work ethic, are susceptible to complacency and laziness.  They have little respect for my wife and I’s jobs and the jeopardy they put us in when they phone it in and call out with bullshit excuses like migraines and car troubles and forget that if we lose our jobs, they lose theirs.

The thing is, I think we pay fairly well; substantially better than some of the wages I’ve seen others in my community offer up.  And yet, it’s like in order to attract higher quality talent that might not be so flaky, I’d have to go up even more, and I’m already struggling to keep up with nanny wages as it is.

So it really does just boil down to the fact that childcare in America sucks.  Either people are lazy and untalented, or they’re priced too high for the middle class to be able to regularly afford.

Sorry if this metaphor is extreme

But honestly?  The overturning of Roe v. Wade and the general aftermath, kind of felt like September 11th.  Yes, that September 11th, of 2001.  No, thousands of American lives haven’t been lost (yet), but from the standpoint that it was a fairly ordinary morning until a massive metaphorical bomb went off with the breaking news that Roe v. Wade had been overturned, and all across the country there was mass shock, a panic at trying to figure out what happened, and then just, outrage.

Naturally, a lot of this is exacerbated by the existence of the internet and the rabid amplification at how fast news and opinions can travel.  Frankly, I’m (thankfully) not on Twitter or Reddit, so I can’t really see just how much rejoicing of this there is because I’m pretty sure it would drive me into a disgruntled frenzy, so all I really can see is a fairly curated ocean of anger, outrage and disappointment in the country from the outlets that I’m typically exposed to on the regular, when I actually have the time to look.  I just assume that the vast majority of those who are for this bullshit are probably just old white people, and mostly men that look like Mitch McConnell or various mutations of him.

I know comparing it to 9/11 seems like a pretty extreme metaphor, but that’s really kind of how this day as felt.  Lots of shock, confusion, anger, but mostly this feeling of defeat and disgust, disappointment and just sheer lack of faith in our country, from what feels like the first time in eons, we’re witnessing the actual removal of a human right for its population.

Obviously as a male, there’s a definitive limit to how much I can understand and be able to empathize for female America, but all I have to do is look at my wife, and see the sheer detachment from the entire day upon hearing of this news, to know that this is a really, really fucking massive major big deal.  All I have to do is look at my two daughters, my two female children offspring, and see two people who somehow will grow up with less rights than the generation before them, and I feel disheartened and disappointed and disgusted with the country in which they had the misfortune of being born into.

I’m not a political person.  I’m not very educated in the political arena or lots of historical events, but even I knew what Roe v. Wade is.  I know it’s something that’s been under fire for longer than I’ve been alive, but silly me for thinking that America had just enough common sense to keep alive, regardless of the fact that it’s been attacked endlessly for the better part of the last 50 years.

While lamenting our collective disgust, some of my friends said that this was the victory of a very long game by the Republican party, but I had to vehemently disagree.  A long game implies strategy, cunning and most importantly patience, all which most definitely this didn’t feel like.  It just felt like 50 years worth of mindless zombies gathering at the entrance to a castle gate, and finally, finally, they’ve gathered enough of their kind to where they could finally overwhelm the wall and breach their way in.  No strategy needed so much as it was just a tireless, endless constant war of attrition, where most likely tons of people in support of it have no idea what they’re even fighting for.

Unfortunately, when it comes to American politics, there is no undo function, no 7-day money back guarantee, no 55-hour annulment.  The overturning of Roe v. Wade is going to happen, has happened, and countless Americans will suffer as the result of it.  For reasons why, nobody knows why a bunch of overprivileged white men asshole motherfuckers in Washington DC needs to control what women do with their bodies beyond a primal, caveman-like need to control what they think is their property.

The political system is beyond broken, and frankly nothing short of a catastrophe that wipes out a large chunk of Congress and/or the Supreme Court, nothing is ever going to change.  Old, toxic cogs that retire or die one by one are strategically replaced by similarly toxic cogs that are slightly younger, but ensure the maintenance of the same broken status quo that will never change as long as a system like this is in place.

The bottom line is that I may not be a woman and fully understand the full spectrum of how devastatingly this day sucks, but my heart still breaks for them, and all women who will be impacted the most by it.  My wife has been on another planet since the news broke and my daughters will grow up in a society whose government sees them as second class.

I don’t feel that it really needs to be said, but I want to put it in writing all the same, because it’s important to me that my stance be very clearly known to the zero people who read my bullshit anyway.  As a male, I will not fully understand, but I still vow to be an ally and support and not judge the feelings or disappointment or any other emotion that any woman is going through on account of this fucked up development.

America fucking sucks right now, and it would be easy to say that I’d want to pluck my family out and go somewhere else, but it’s hard as shit to accomplish and frankly no other country in the world is without their own bullshit and insufferable political issues that stampede on common sense human rights.

Why I’m the only guy in the office still wearing a mask

Both my kids are sick now.  Still possible that I caused it, but also some reason to believe it might not have been me.  Either way, strep was brought to them somehow, and obviously through basic transmission of germs.

But this is why I still mask up, even if in doing so, it’s still not foolproof at protecting my famiry.  I went all of 2020 with not even a common cold and it was glorious.  But as time progressed, people selfishly got sick of masks and arrogantly believed a vaccine made them invincible, sure as the sun rises, the common sicknesses that nobody got in 2020 were waiting around and it’s been a fucking war zone since.

Literally, a night nurse at the hospital #2 was born at got my wife and newborn baby sick, who immediately passed it onto #1 as soon as we got home.  That was real fun, dealing with a house full of sick people, among them a literal newborn.

2022 literally started with coronavirus infiltrating my house, where mythical wife got it, and although untested, myself and #1 probably had it too.  Amazingly, #2 seemed to escape unscathed.

And since then, I think it’s accurate to say that one or both of my kids have been sick every single month of this year.  Coincidentally, mask mandates are relaxing all over the country, and Georgia was full of yeah cmon hicks who already began ditching them, and shocker, fucking sicknesses are goddamn everywhere.

And when my kids get sick, I’m the one who has to eat the load and work from home and compromise my work responsibilities and often times run double duty on the girls.  I’m the only one who’s work suffers and the backlog usually ends up with me working into the evenings and/or having to rush and be at higher risk of shoddy work.

I’m just sick of my kids getting sick.  It’s by no fault of their own, they’re just kids.  I blame the fucking world around us full of arrogant and selfish assholes who can’t be bothered to wear masks in public, happily content with spreading two years worth of backlogged colds and other niggling ailments that everyone is spreading and getting all the fucking time.

I refuse to feel like the outcast in public because I choose to wear a mask still.  It may not be fool proof at preventing sicknesses but I’m doing the best I can to try to protect all my girls, even if it makes me seem like the outlier that was just barely months ago, the norm.

Peak America

I read this story about how health care in America is so fucked up, that it creates a perfect scenario for billionaire Mark Cuban to swoop in and get to play hero to the country.  In short, Mark Cuban launched an internet pharmacy that offers more than 100 generic drugs at reasonable cost, which is a bigger deal than it might sound, because American pharmacists have been notorious for gauging the fuck out of the American people over the last decade or so.

Naturally, Cuban is being lauded with acclaim, in addition to people being refueled for their disdain for the pharmaceutical industry for being greedy and valuing profit over human lives.  The thing is, Cuban embarking on this endeavor is about as low-hanging fruit as they come; there are a number of billionaires, corporations, conglomerates or any other entities in the world that could have done this, a long time ago.  The fact that of all the random rich entities in there are, Mark Cuban is the guy that grasps the low bar, and is not only going to look like a modern saint, but make no mistake, he’s going to profit, massively.

I have no qualms with Mark Cuban, in fact I respect the guy tremendously, in spite of the fact that us pleebs are supposed to hate the wealthy.  He’s one of the guys that actually understands the need to give some shit away in order to make money, and such is the core strategy of how he basically transformed the Dallas Mavericks from perennial laughing stocks into eventual champions.

In fact, he’s basically doing the same thing all over again, but instead of basketball tickets, it’s common, necessary medicine.  Just because he’ll be selling generic medicine at a little over 15% over at-cost, he’s undoubtedly going to be raking in massive amounts of money on account of the likely million people who will all be shopping his online pharmacy; all while gaining their adulation at providing such a compassionate service.

It’s basic Wolf of Wall Street math here, sell cheap necessities to the lower classes, and there’s ridiculous amounts of money to be made.  And as much as I too think what Cuban is doing is a very good thing for the world, the sad reality is that he probably shouldn’t have been the party to have had the opportunity to do this; when it really should’ve been the responsibility of, fucking America, to do this for its own people instead.

But I guess without stories like this, America really wouldn’t be America.