Dear world: it’s not you, it’s me

After all, I am Korean.  And no culture has higher expectations from other people as Koreans do, and I ponder the day if and when anyone can prove to me that anyone can work harder than a Korean can, because as far as my personal experiences are concerned, I’m hard pressed to ever have bared witness to such.

Mythical wife and I got into a little tiff coming back from the airport, because she was tired of everything coming out of my mouth being a complaint, and I was tired of being criticized for speaking negatively in a scenario where everything was going annoyingly when I feel that everything else I do is usually for the sake of others because I’m always trying to please everyone.  Atlanta Hartsfield Latoya-Jackson Ching Chong Chang really is capable of bringing the worst out of everyone at the drop of a hat, even those who are on their way out of it.

We landed right at midnight, and having sat at the very back of the aircraft, we’re the last to deplane, which is never a pleasant experience sitting in a giant metal tube with stagnant air for an extra 20 minutes than most other people.  Naturally, we’re at the very end of the terminal, so it’s a quarter mile to get to the escalators only to find out that the Pain Train shuttle is on reduced service and only one side of the tracks are operating, so we start walking, only for there to be assholes who clog up the moving walkway with wheelchairs they’re using as push carts or people just too fucking stupid and/or oblivious and not moving out the way for those actually walking.

We get on the next pain train, and of course, it stops because the tracks are clogged, right before we need to get off, adding even more time to our arrival, to which I am being cognizant about because as it’s past midnight, a new day is ticking, and I don’t want to get charged even more for parking than I have to at this point, so getting out as soon as possible is the objective.

Arriving at the main terminal, it turns out that basically the entire north wing is cordoned off, so we have to do a really cumbersome detour around south and then back to north, and of course the parking payment machines are all gone, presumably so that people can no longer pre-pay for their parking and increase the chances of time lapsing further while you get to your car, and drive through the maze-like exits of the on-site parking.

By the time we’re off the premises, mythical wife and I are already not speaking, because she’s tired of my complaining, and I’m over not being allowed to be upset at the fact that Atlanta Hartsfield Latoya-Jackson is run by brain dead invalids who love to parrot that they’re the busiest airport in the world, leaving out the fact that such business is wholly a result of the fact that they’re run by a bunch of brain dead invalids.

I don’t apologize for having higher expectations of the world around me, and I understand that the only one set up for failure for having such a mindset is myself, because the rest of the non-Korean world is way more accepting of substandard performance out of fucking everyone than I am.  And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I am failing, because I fall victim to getting annoyed by fucking everything, because nobody in the world is capable of performing a job at a satisfactory level, seemingly anywhere I go.

I know the easy solution to a large percentage of the angst I experience on a daily basis would probably go away if I simply lowered my expectations on the world around me and were better capable of accepting the fact that the world is way less competent than I hope they could be, but it’s difficult for me.  I’m Korean, and culturally, Korean people expect a lot out of other people, and it’s never not disappointing when our expectations are not met.  This is a facet of my personality that in spite of my American upbringing that remains very much Korean, and it sucks because it means I’m an easy mark for disappointment, negativity and pessimism.

I don’t mean to be so negative and pessimistic and nihilistic about the world around me, but sometimes I really can’t help it.  I expect basic competence from everyone around me, and when everyone around me mostly, inevitably falls short, it’s a disappointment.  But I’m not going to apologize for voicing my opinions; I may try to be more cognizant that not everyone is going to want to hear them, but I don’t apologize if they come out.  If the world around me were more competent at their jobs and fostered efficiency and smooth operating, I wouldn’t have room for complaint, and in fact be grateful and praising of good work, because few things please me more than benefiting from efficient operating.

But as the subject of this post says, I know it’s not the world’s fault that I’m always so cranky and critical.  It’s entirely on me, because I have too many expectations from everyone, that I’m only setting myself up for let down and disappointment when they all inevitably fail to meet such par but lofty standards.  I’m working on it as much as a person like me can possibly work on it.

My kitchen counter is like Animal Crossing

One of the pet peeves that I’ve developed is that it annoys the ever-living piss out of me whenever my kitchen counter becomes overrun with crap that really has no place being on a kitchen counter.  Purses, junk mail, kids toys, handbags, regular mail, kids toys, clutches, old mail that never gets opened, and kids toys come to mind as the most common things that end up on my own kitchen counter, and it always gets on my nerves when things are placed there “for now” and for now turns into until I lose my cool and passive aggressively relocate things myself.

The thing is, either nobody notices or nobody cares how much this annoys me, neither of which is good.  But it’s not like I don’t have reason to be bothered by it so much, because the fact of the matter is that I do the majority of the cooking, especially for the kids, and when I’m making things, I just want to have some space on the counter to do my thing, without having to worry about toys, junk mail or a bunch of purses getting in my way.  Fewer things are more irritating than setting everything I need out, and then having no room for the cutting board or a bowl, or a place to just set an immediate need down.

But no matter how many times I clean the counter, relocate everyone’s shit and getting the surface nice and clear again, it’s only a matter of time before it just gets all overrun again.  Somewhere in time, it became as human nature to throw all your shit on the counter when you walk in the door as going to the bathroom first thing in the morning, because it usually only takes 1-2 days of people coming in from outside for the counter to get covered up with everyone else’s shit again, and then I get annoyed again, and this cycle repeats itself over and over again.

I came to the realization of the perfect analogy for the kitchen counter, which is that it’s just like playing Animal Crossing, and the endless chore of plucking weeds throughout your little islands.  It requires endless maintenance, and every day you let go by without tending to it, the worse it gets, and because my life is already packed to the brim with bullshit tasks and chores, sometimes I don’t always get to assessing and cleaning the counter every night.

And when the counter does get overrun, I just feel dejected, disappointed and annoyed, and after there are 10+ weeds all over the place, I just wish that that ghost from Animal Crossing would show up and clear everything from the counter for me magically.

But even that would be just a temporary fix, because in only a matter of days, the mess would just respawn, and I’ll be having a bad day as it is, and then I’ll try to make the girls a meal only to have all this shit all over the place and I’ll just get pissed all over again.

The thing is, I know this frustration is not limited to just me.  And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to hear just how many people share this frustration, but again, somewhere in history, it became a reflex for people to throw all their shit over the kitchen counters.  It’s gotten to a point where I’ll judge television shows now, that the most unrealistic thing about portraying a modern household is if the kitchen counter is clean, because I’m just not convinced that Americans are capable of living without countertops overrun by a whole bunch of unnecessary shit that doesn’t need to belong there.

I would just love one day where I don’t feel like I have to hard carry, everything

I am really fucking miserable right now, and this is another post where I don’t really feel like I can unload my baggage onto anyone, so I just put it all into writing the best I can and throw it up on the internet onto a brog where I have zero readers and hope that my words are heard.

But as the subject of this post says, I would just love to have a single day in my life where I don’t feel like the weight of absolutely every responsibility was on my shoulders.  I’m exhausted with life right now and I don’t particularly see anything getting better any time soon, and it’s becoming harder and harder to keep up the façade some days that I’m anything at all beyond an overworked dad and basically nothing else of any redeemable contributions.

I’m sure it’s of no surprise that a lot of this stemmed from the recent homeownership woes that my house has been going through.  I say my house, but the reality is that it’s what I’m going through, because when it comes to any of the home maintenance stuff, that pretty much falls solely on me to do.

I’m grateful to my neighbors almost to the point of tears for their generosity in time and effort in helping me get the whole fallen tree thing resolved, but as expected, the bigger issue was the plumbing matter, where I had a leak infiltrating the lower level from the bathroom above.  After all, moisture is the bane of homeownership, and I just knew that this was going to be a more aggravating matter than the fallen tree.

To summarize, plumbers came out to assess the situation, and I was fully bracing for a $1,000 expense, because nowadays, my old belief that most every small matter pertaining to cars, medical, home repairs, or any sort of labor, usually comes to $500, but due to inflation and just ‘Murica, I’ve upped it to $1,000.  Anything under $1,000 would be decided to be a win.

The showerhead was spraying back, which was determined the culprit of the leak, and a new shower head was affixed.  $467.  I was pretty pleased to have made it under $1,000 and I had hoped that the matter was solved. 

But this post wouldn’t be here if that were the case, and that evening sure as shit, the leaking was still present.  I got in touch with the plumbers, whom were total pros, polite, and I genuinely like them, but seeing as how all this shit was happening behind walls, the next solution would be to convert my 30+ year old three-valve shower hardware to a single pipe system, because the dated hardware was probably what was leaking.  Suddenly, I’m up to $1,700, and add in the showerhead and I’m looking at not just $1,000, but $2,000+ to solve this conundrum.

Whatever fine, I just need this shit fixed.  But since I’m poor as fuck and mostly living paycheck to paycheck these days, I have no real idea on how I’m going to cover this, but I know I need to get this resolved sooner rather than later, because the last thing I want is my home to deteriorate from a leak, because I really do take serious that moisture is the antichrist when it comes to homeownership.

Continue reading “I would just love one day where I don’t feel like I have to hard carry, everything”

Dad Brog (#105): when the Karens become real

It’s no secret that many of us of a certain demographic love good Karen stories. Stories of uppity white women making outlandish entitled demands, asking to speak with managers, getting off on generally being pains in the ass to millennials, minorities, and society in general. 

We love when the internet feeds us stories of them, exposing their bullshit, low-key doxxing them and revealing them left and right, but I have to say it’s not nearly as entertaining when the Karens start targeting you, or attacking your personal world, proving themselves to be real-life insufferable c-words, and not just demons from stories on the internet.

On my daughter’s birthday, we went out to eat; a rare occurrence considering my two toddlers, but the grownups outnumbered the runts, so we braved the excursion.  My group was sequestered in a wing of the restaurant that it became quickly apparent that this was where all larger groups, parties with kids, diners needing special accommodation, and ironically, black people (this is a pretty white area), were all stashed away.

The booth seat in which I was sitting at with my daughter, had small openings in the wall behind, that can peek into the booth behind us, if she stood up.  And being a curious now-three year old, of course she stood up and took a peek at the neighboring booth.  Despite my quick admonishing her to not do such, the woman in the adjacent booth wasn’t slow to hide her displeasure at being seated near some young children.

I get it, I’ve been them before too. When I was in my teens and twenties and had no consideration of the challenges of being parents dining out with toddlers.  And she probably was too 40 years prior, the old fucking Karen hag who started making remarks about “it was so empty here” and clearly voicing her displeasure at being near my kids.

I took #1 to the bathroom and when we came back, I noticed that they were gone.  They had moved somewhere else in the restaurant, because they didn’t want to be near my kids.

Here’s the thing, had they stuck it out 10-15 minutes, I wouldn’t have blamed them one bit for wanting to move.  My girls did get noisy for some bursts, and #1 did poke her head over the partition again.  If they moved after those little annoyances, I wouldn’t have taken it as a slight.

But the fact that they did, in advance of any troubling behavior, irked the shit out of me.  It’s like they banked and hoped that my kids would do some mischief to justify their self-important moving so they could continue to have their trite white people conversations about probably how colored folks are ruining their town or some shit.

I felt insulted and unfortunately triggered by it, and it was a stinky moment in what was supposed to be an entirely great dinner with family for my daughter’s birthday. 

Continue reading “Dad Brog (#105): when the Karens become real”

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.

Dad brog (#102): We’ve reached the picky eating stage

It’s been a while since I busted out a dad brog; the last time I had a daddy bitching session, it was because of stage of life in which kids inexplicably decide that biting each other seems like a great idea.  Not much has changed since then, #1 is still biting her little sister and unfortunately #2 has learned how to bite just as #1 had learned from shitbag in her pre-K, but at least I can take solace in the fact that there haven’t been any biting incidents at school that requires mythical wife or I to have to sign any waivers of acknowledgement of said bitings.

No, today’s daddy bitching session is going to be about how my kids have entered a picky eating phase, to which if I’m writing about it, means it drives be bonkers.  And I unfortunately use the terminology “kids” as in plural, as in both my kids, because both of my kids are being picky, by virtue of #1 is the one truly having entered the picky eater stage, but #2 being the younger sibling that copies just about everything her big sister does, has decided to be picky about certain foods too.

It makes little sense to me too, because prior to entering this stage, #1 was a voracious eater whom I applauded being good at eating just about everything other than eggs, products with egg in it, because she’s intolerant, and bell peppers, which are the foods eaten on the same day with eggs to which she’s mentally deduced are just as bad as eggs are, which I can understand because there’ve been foods in my life that I’ve avoided from a bad association.

But she would eat just about everything else we put in front of her; meats, veggies, dairy, American, Korean, Italian; there was little limit to what she would not be willing to power through at least one meal.  As most parenting resources state, variety isn’t just the spice of life, it’s also the building blocks to prevent kids from getting picky, so they don’t fall into the pigeon hole of where they’ll ultimately only want to eat chicken tenders and pizza.

Now though, over the last few weeks, I’d say about 66% of the food I make and present to my kids is usually met with disgust, disinterest, and usually the words “I don’t like this” before #1 decides to eat slower than a Galapagos turtle or just not eat outright, with her little sister soon to follow regardless of how she actually feels about the food herself.

I’m sure this is a shocker, but let me tell you just how infuriating this is to me.  I bust my ass and spend a lot of time in my life cooking and making food for the girls.  I don’t cook for myself or mythical wife a fraction of what I cook for the kids, so when they turn their nose up at most everything I make, or refuse to eat something without trying something, it basically makes my head explode.

And when they’re sick, which is often, then the things they touch and pick at or spit out, I can’t save this stuff, and then I have to throw it out.  For a person who’s as anti-food waste as I am, this kills me every time I have to do it, and I’m left feeling ragey and pissed at my kids for making me have to waste food.  I know it’s not their faults and this is a phase that the vast majority of children go through, but it doesn’t make it any less maddening for those who have to go through it.

All I can really hope is that this really is just a phase, and will eventually pass.  Because I’m developing a complex at meal time, because my kids pretty much hate everything I make for them, where any successful meals feel like scoring a goal in the World Cup, but the vast majority of the time, the reactions are tepid and leave me feeling rejected and inadequate as a parent, which is kind of a metaphor in itself of raising kids.

Behavioral observations as a new Tesla driver

To cut to the chase, I bought a Tesla.  Okay, it’s really my wife’s car and she’ll be the one making the payments on it, but on paper, I’m the purchaser, since I don’t have student loans and my credit was more optimal to get the financing done.  But we have a Tesla, and I get to drive it around every now and then.

It hasn’t been long, but it’s definitely a fun new toy to drive around in.  There’s definitely an adjustment period getting used to regenerative braking, and how you can literally drive with your foot on a single pedal.  The feeling of there being no gears shifting at all as you accelerate, and the sheer lack of sound of motors or smells of exhaust definitely makes you feel like you’re driving a spaceship.

Without question, there’s still a treasure chest worth of experience yet to be tapped as far as diving deeper into ownership of our Tesla, and I’m sure weeks, months and maybe years down the line, there will be functions and features that we’ll still be discovering, and hopefully none that will have been gamechangers early in our ownership.

But the point of this post is about behavioral observations that I’ve had, now that I’ve been driving around in the Tesla myself for a few weeks now.  I didn’t really think much about it after experiencing some observations, I guess I can kind of understand what’s going on around me whenever I, or my wife are riding around in the Tesla.

  1. Surrounding drivers are more aggressive. This is really the big thing that I’ve noticed the most when driving around myself.  Turning on a turn signal to initiate a lane change, way more frequently than I’ve noticed in any other car I’ve been in or driven, results in adjacent drivers stepping on the gas to forcibly deny me entry.  If at a merge point, surrounding drivers are noticeably more aggressive and out to make sure they get ahead of me, regardless of our spatial positioning.  At stop lights, in just the last two weeks, I’ve had more people act like they’re Brian O’Connor on me, and turn a green light into an impromptu drag race, and seemingly make a point of getting in front of me like they just won the le Mans.  I’m all like, buddy, I’m still trying to learn the pedal of this car, I’m definitely not trying to get in any races here.  Plus, I’m 40 with kids, I’m long past caring about 95% of red light matchups.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve pushed the pedal a few times, and the acceleration is staggering.  In most cases, I probably could smoke a lot of the cars that have gone Dom Toretto on me, but just because I could doesn’t mean that I am, especially where I’m still new to this and learning about the car.

    But I don’t know if it’s the color of the car, or the notion that all Tesla drivers must be rich assholes, but it’s pretty undeniable that drivers all around me, when I’m in the Tesla, have their aggression ramped up like that one cheat code in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City where you can make everyone super aggressive.

Continue reading “Behavioral observations as a new Tesla driver”