Thoughts from a much-needed weekend off

Paris – my #2 favorite place in Las Vegas

As mentioned in the fanny pack post, I was actually in Las Vegas over the Labor Day weekend.  This was effectively the first real, multi-day, kids-free breather that mythical wife and I have had since, before the arrival of #1 back in March of 2020, right before the pandemic shut the world down.  Since then, we’ve literally never had longer than a single day where we were both not without children.  We obviously love our kids and our budding famiry very much, but we’d also be kidding ourselves that having gone through such a stretch has been difficult at times, and it’s amazing we’ve gone this long without a true break and not ended up going insane in the process.

Needless to say, the highlight of the trip was without question, simply getting to sleep in for two straight nights.  As in, turn off all alarms, pin the blinds shut, and go to sleep, only to wake up naturally, once our bodies deemed it no longer necessary to remain asleep.  I know we were in Las Vegas, the city that never truly sleeps and we’re supposed to be out gambling, drinking and being total shitheads all night every night, but damn if it wasn’t so refreshing to wind down the evenings knowing that we could sleep as long as we wanted.

To any of my zero readers who might be under the age of 32, I can imagine just how depressing of a paragraph the preceding one was, as a glimpse of what life after the age of 40 and with multiple kids can await but I really do love my famiry I really do.

As for Las Vegas itself, it was a good weekend to get away from the grind of daily living, but I have to say I had a lot of thoughts about not just Las Vegas, but the experience of traveling, and the state of the world itself.  And not to shit on what was a very welcome weekend to relax some, but me being who I am, of course these aforementioned thoughts are quite critical.

If I could get right to the point, I would have to say that I feel like there is a pretty wide disconnect when it comes to the world of business and the people of the world, and where they stand on how “re-opened” everything really is versus how re-opened everyone thinks it is, or should be.

Case in point: travel to Las Vegas is expensive as fuck, due to supposed demand and inflation.  What should be no more than really a $350 RT give or take anywhere in the continental United States was like an $800 RT per person, resulting in mythical wife and I settling with Greyhound Spirit Air in order to not get to the casinos already broke.  Except when you get to Las Vegas, casinos and restaurants all over the city are operating at less than pre-pandemic capacities, almost all of the buffets are either shut down or completely impossible to get in on account of them being the only ones left, table minimum bets are way higher than they used to be, and it’s basically impossible to be spontaneous or do anything substantial on short notice anymore.

Aside from sleeping the fuck in, two things that I wanted to do at my first time in Vegas in like 5-6 years was to eat at a buffet, and visit Ellis Island.  Neither of which happened because pretty much every buffet in Las Vegas was either closed or required a massively advance reservation, and nobody in my party wanted to go to Ellis Island and even if we did go, there’s no doubt that their restaurant would’ve had a massive wait and been impossible to get in at.

Not that they were that bad by any means, but we had several meals at places I probably wouldn’t have gone to if there were buffets available, not to mention that they were all way more expensive than good Vegas buffets were.

But due to the general feeling of restrictions and handcuffs here and there, I found myself breaking a couple of my own neurotic rules in Las Vegas, out of a feeling that I didn’t have any choice.  Two of them, at the same time, which was no playing where you stay, and no playing at tables with robotic female Asian dealers, because to me, both are omens of horrible luck.  But I did both anyway, and found myself down a good bit in short order, and going to bed feeling agitated and dejected.

Fortunately, a positive gambling session at Paris the following day helped salvage my gambling exploits, but I still left the city an overall net negative in the process, not that such isn’t always the case when it comes to going to Las Vegas, but the point is, there’s a noticeable disconnect between how much the city wants to operate versus the demand of things from the people who are visiting, leading to a lot of obnoxious waits, crowds, rushes and rejections.

Such sentiments weren’t limited to Vegas itself, just the traveling experience in general, is very similar in the sense that airports want to operate in these pandemic-era manners with skeleton crews, early closures and basically taking away all seating from travelers, but not taking into consideration every single flight is basically oversold, because of the reduced number of flights is making every ticket a hot one, and all these people are stacked on top of each other, sitting wherever there’s floor space and an outlet on the wall.

Either way, I don’t regret the trip, and I’m grateful to have gotten away from ordinary life for just a few days, and could sleep in and feel like a self-absorbed adult for that time.  By the time it was time to pick the kids up from grandma’s, I couldn’t wait to see my girls, and give them big hugs and kisses again.  But obviously me being the headcase that I notoriously am, nothing goes by without me overthinking about it, even good shit like small vacations.  But I would wager that I’m not the only one who feels that it’s kind of obnoxious that the commercial world is trying to have their cake and eat it too when they try and use the pandemic as an excuse to operate at 75% when the consumer world is ready and itching for things to be operating at 110%.

Dad Brog (#093): Year One of Forever, part 2

As is often the case with life with two kids as young as my own, things seldom go according to plan. And as much as I loathe tardiness and inability to be on time, things happening behind their intended time has become more and more of a routine occurrence that I hope one day rectifies itself as/if life ever calms down to a less frantic pace.

That being said, with no disrespect for my second child, #2’s birthday has come and gone now, for a few weeks now, but finally I’m taking the time to really reflect on the monumental  occasion.

To be fair, some of this delay had to do with the fact that unlike with #1, #2 got to have a traditional big Korean first birthday party, as the travels I described in prior posts was so that my side of the family could celebrate the first birthday, as is a big tradition in Korean culture.  And that particular weekend was the best chance at getting as much of my family members present, even if it meant celebrating a little bit past the actual date.

But my little #2 is officially one year old, and it most certainly has been an eventful twelve months since her arrival into the world.  I’d be full of shit if I didn’t talk about just how difficult it had been at times, especially considering her challenges she’s had with sleep in general, that still rears up every now and then even to this day.  And when she gives us hell about going to sleep, I fantasize about when she’ll one day be a groggy teenage girl who wants nothing more than to sleep, and I’ll be the obnoxiously awake dad who will gleefully remind her of her infant days when she fought like war to not sleep on a daily basis.

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The Clock King is most definitely the worst villain ever

A long time ago, I posed the question if The Clock King really was a villain, in the grand spectrum of things.  That he really was just a punctual and time-considerate individual in a world full of shitheads that don’t have such qualities, and he’s the one that gets painted to look like the bad guy, and eventually a member of Batman’s rogues gallery.  Back then, it didn’t really seem fair to me that he was considered a villain and I wanted to open that discussion to my then-six readers.

But after a weekend like this past one, and 2+ years of parenting, all I can really think of now is that not only is The Clock King most definitely a villain, he’s without a shadow of a doubt the greatest evil in all of comics.  Worse than Darkseid, worse than Doomsday, worse than the Joker.  Worse than Thanos, worse than Kang, worse than Onslaught.  Shit, it transcends comic books, and The Clock King is the greatest evil in the history of, history.  Worse than Hitler, worse than bin Laden, worse than Trump.

Obviously this goes into the obvious notion that there is no greater force in existence than the passage of time, and how it’s unfeeling, unbiased, impervious by nobody, and never ending.  Which means those who wields it to greatest effect, like The Clock King, are basically the worst people ever.

At this current juncture of my life, there’s seldom any time in which I am not up against a clock on a fairly regular basis, and there are times in which it becomes absolutely maddening and fills me with despair and levels of stress that I have a hard time coping with.  By individual nature, I am a punctual person who believes in punctuality and adequate lead time; I hate to rush, I like getting to my destinations early, and as a worker I believe that 15 minutes early is on time and on time is late.

But since I’ve gotten older and had kids, my agenda is always packed full of things for other people, I’m routinely stretched past capacity, and I’m way more prone to being late to things, and I concern myself that I’m developing a reputation of being flaky and unreliable.  Or just a typical parent maybe.  Regardless, it goes against everything that I’ve always put a lot of conscionable effort into maintaining, and I have a hard time dealing with the seemingly endless stress that comes with being up against the clock.

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Kind of one of the worst days ever in a long time

[transcribed on my phone while I was laying awake in a sweltering house at 3 in the morning]

  • Couldn’t really work due to all sorts of conflicting appointments to do
  • Work team building function sucked up even more time in which I would have preferred to have gotten some actual work done than swing golf clubs when I don’t golf
  • Had to rush pack and head to the airport to which of course there was hellacious traffic because Atlanta
  • Atlanta’s airport logistics are never the same each time you visit and my risk of missing my flights due to being unable to check bags increase with every passing minute
  • Successfully getting our baggage checked was probably the only good part of the day
  • The plane ride from hell where #1 pissed herself during the taxi time in which nobody can access restrooms and then 30 minutes later, shit herself, requiring me to change her out of soiled clothes and into a spare outfit in the confines of a tiny airplane lavatory
  • Also #2 was a squirmy handful the entire flight because she was bored, hungry and past her bedtime and I’m pondering how much I hate air traveling with an infant and a toddler and never want to do it again
  • My dad’s house turned out to have turned into a house of horrors with no working refrigerator, no hot water from certain outlets and worse off, no working air conditioning. It was literally 84F upstairs, resulting in numerous people to sleep in the dungeon of my old basement to have any chance at staying sane

I went to bed after a cold shower feeling dejected, embarrassed and miserable at the circumstances of my surroundings and that I had to subject other people to them, much less my wife, kids and mother-in-law.  Need to figure out how to salvage the rest of this trip’s lodging situation even if it means relocating to a hotel or my mom’s place.

Feebly attempting to play catch up

It’s been a minute since I last took some time to write.  Long past the period of time where I begin to get anxious because I haven’t written anything in a while, and to a point where I start to get dangerously apathetic about doing it at all.  The problem, as I’ve alluded to numerous times is that I’m a peculiar personality that really likes to have so many conditions met before I find it possibly adequate time to write, and pretty much all month, they just haven’t been met.

Most obviously, the time factor.  It’s not like this is going to devolve into an angsty dad brog where I make all sorts of poorly veiled remarks about how hard parenting under my circumstances are, because frankly the girls haven’t really been much of an issue other than the fact that one or both of them seem to pick up some rando sickness every single month this year.  But they’re eating well, sleeping is improving, and those are the key things at this stage of life, and I can’t say that I’m having so many ragey emotions at how overworked I am on account of the difficulty of parenting.

No, it’s just that I haven’t have any adequate time to do any writing.  I get up, feed the girls breakfast, go to work; if I’m at the office, I actually get a good amount of shit done, and I get to hit the gym on most of those days which elevates my feeling of well-being.  Or if I’m working from home, my days kind of wrap up sooner, and regardless of which, I go right into the fires of the chaos of a toddler and infant until it’s dinner time, bath time and then bed time for them.

But by the time they’re down it’s usually 8 pm-ish, and if mythical wife and I haven’t eaten yet, then it’s a mad dash to get something to eat because we’re probably starving and we don’t want to cook and every food option is close to closing since we’re out in the burbs.

Then comes the nightly reset which somehow I’m the only person who does any of it, which takes about another hour or so of cleaning, straightening, cleaning and filling bottles and just getting everything ready to get used up and torn up the next day.

Sometimes I have work I need to catch up on, and on my work-from-home days, I mandate treadmill runs to compensate for not going to a gym, to which yes, is an activity that would classify as a me-activity, but I treat exercise like a job in itself, so often times I don’t want to run, which is exactly why it is that I have to.

And then the clock is at the point where I don’t feel like I have adequate time to write something before I need to get to bed so that I’m not completely dead the following day.  I get angsty about this, and instead of starting and stopping something in text, I usually just end up playing Fire Emblem Heroes on my phone or doing surveys or waiting for the next day’s Wordle to queue up before going to bed feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing for myself.

But TL;DR, I’m finally at a point where I feel the compulsion to write about something, but also feeling like that because I haven’t written anything in so long that this pile of word vomit needed to be stated first before I can actually get to the gradually growing list of topics and things that I’ve earmarked as having to want to write about, and hope I can mentally get back into the right places to where I can.

Otherwise, kids are good, job is going fine, my health has been a bit wonky since I hit 40, and I’m sure I’ll delve into it more in depth if/when things straighten up, but I’m still able to workout and run.  It’s just the same old song and dance, with probably less angst than when my second kid was younger and still working out her sleep issues.  Went to Savannah for a brief spell, for a wedding of a former co-worker, which was quite pleasant, so that’s where the image above comes from, where I sacrificed sleeping in when I could, because I really wanted to jog along River Street while we were staying right on it.  Priorities.

I would be all for sudden death baseball

I came across this story about how the Frontier League (independent) is going to explore with an idea labeled as “sudden death” in games that exceed ten innings; presumably to eliminate the idea of long, drawn-out extra-inning games.  Usually, I’m pretty resistant to change, but as far as this idea is concerned, I absolutely love it, and would love to see it in action.

I’ve actually been to a Frontier League game.  There’s a team just outside of St. Louis, technically in Illinois, despite the fact that the town is just called East St. Louis.  My friend and I went to a Cardinals game in the afternoon, and we realized that we had the time to get across the bridge and catch a Gateway Grizzlies game.  It also didn’t hurt that Man v. Food labeled their ballpark’s nachos as the best nachos in baseball, which we were very intrigued at putting to the test.

The nachos were a bust and Adam Richman’s opinions are shit, but we did enjoy being out at a Frontier League game.  So knowing the level of talent and the fact that they’re not affiliated with MLB, the sudden death baseball experiment should be pretty interesting.

Long story short: games that exceed ten innings go into sudden death.  Home team chooses whether they want to hit or pitch.  If hitting, they start with a runner on third base.  They have three outs to bring that guy home by any means necessary.  If they don’t?  The team pitching automatically wins.  Game over.  No 11th, 12th, 16th or 18th innings.  Nobody has to worry about games ending at 1 am or beyond anymore.

And I am all about this idea.  Not that I mind extra-inning games, but there have also been plenty of times where extra-inning games end up feeling like a chore, and I wished it were over three hours ago, after the first three hours of the original nine innings.

But it opens the door to so much new strategy and scenarios for excitement, that I have to be optimistic about this.  It’s kind of got that college football overtime feeling to it, except the fact that there is no opportunity to match, it’s just an instantaneous decision.

Like, if a team has their best hitters coming up, they absolutely should decide to hit.  Conversely, if a team sniffs out the possibility of sudden death, they might choose to hold back their closer or general bullpen ace(s) in order to prepare to pitch.  Or a team that is put in the position to pitch switches pitchers every single batter in order to play the splits.

More likely than not, a team will probably opt to hit, because three shots to put the ball in play seems a little too favorable.  I almost think the rule should start with one out, instead of none, but I get that it should be “a full inning.”  But there’s still all sorts of holes in the idea, like what if the guy on third gets gunned down at the plate, but there aren’t three outs – does the sudden death resume with presumably the next guy on base, having to try and win hard mode from first?

Either way, I love the idea.  MLB will undoubtedly be watching, because even when they’re not in loose cahoots with Indy leagues, they’re more than happy to steal great ideas and implement them themselves.  And if it goes well in the Frontier League, than I’d expect to see it start popping up in MLB, even if it starts in the minor leagues first.

Not feeling that thankful this year

Oversleeping was my fault. A lot of the day’s issues don’t happen if we don’t oversleep, but it’s simply something that can happens when living a life as exhausting and draining as ours of raising two under two can be.  But it’s how the rest of the day transpired that has left me feeling few emotions aside from disappointment, regret, and the polar opposite of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about. 

The irony is that even if we don’t oversleep, there’s no guarantee that we would’ve made it to the airport on time.  Airlines appear to have tightened up two hours in advance rules to where they don’t even check people in for flights once within 105 minutes.  Long appears to be gone the days of when I could roll in with 75 minutes to go, no checked bag, TSA precheck and be ready to board group 1.  But with kids, all the kids’ stuff, and checked bags, that creates a tremendous amount more room for complications.

Ironically, regardless of if we left at our originally intended time, there’s little chance we would’ve made it on time anyway, because Atlanta airport’s parking is basically the worst lot in the galaxy, and it took us probably 30 minutes to find a place to park, and we would’ve missed the check in window anyway.

At this point, I’m kind of ready to punt; our original plan was to get us there as efficiently as possible, and pivoting with kids and checked bags never seems like a good idea to me, but mythical wife seemed more determined to see my family than I was, so after a 47 minute phone call with the airline, $465 basically paying for a full fare, we’re rebooked for a later flight to a different airport that gets us in four hours later, which slashes my already short trip and I’m wondering if it’s even worth it. 

Calling my mom to give an update is met with more disappointment and aggravation at the change of plans instead of any modicum of empathy or understanding. After my mom asks if we can uber to dinner after the money and effort to make sure the girls had car seats waiting for them, I’m already having regrets for not punting and heading into this trip with more dread than any sort of anticipation or excitement, that my family is finally getting to meet my kids for the very first time. 

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