Week one of Mama back to work and Daddy on baby duty

So, as it seems I always begin these posts, I apologize to all of you for my hiatus.  More BULLSHIT excuses, nothing more.  I am (and seem like I have always been) bad at time management, and now, juggling three kids, working, mama working, it is just a matter of trying to survive.  Anyways, it’s not something most of you don’t have working in your own lives, just mentioning it probably to make myself feel better.  As I keep saying, I will try to get better.

Before I begin with this installment, I have to give a few shout outs to some of the readers of this blog.  I have gotten a great response from those of you who read along here, and I just want to thank you.  It is gratifying knowing that you enjoy reading and sharing some of these stories, and it is good because you hold me accountable to keep writing.  From my Philly friend who gave me a perfect “jagoff” at the softball field, to my buddies back in Pittsburgh who shared in the weekly kindergarten card game, to some of my coworkers who help with material, and everyone else who gives me feedback and makes suggestions on what to write about next.  Thank you all.

One topic this week that did not make the cut but was almost a Seinfeld episode type of discussion was the weather here in Las Vegas.  A bunch of us were discussing how it was heating up a bit and whether or not you were turning on the air conditioning at the house.  Everybody had an opinion, and it was comical.  At what point is it too hot to just keep a fan on or just keep the windows open?  The air conditioning bill is by far one of the biggest household expenses that we encounter living in the desert, and everyone does it different.  In our house, we accept the fact that Mama is hot all the time and keeps the temperature low.  We wear sweatshirts and beanies in the house if we have to, we lay under blankets even when it’s 110 outside because it’s cold in the house.  If Mama is hot, it’s no good for anybody so she controls the temperature in the ocean of estrogen.  Whatever the price.

Another take on it was from some friends of ours.  The husband proudly declared that “Nope, we haven’t turned on the air yet.  Even with a wife going through menopause.  Nope, just sweat it out.”  And this was with his wife sitting right NEXT to him.  She countered back that “I sleep with a gigantic fan blowing right on me”, but he said he wasn’t giving in yet.  But, as the mercury climbed over 90 this week, I am happy to say that he finally gave in and turned on the air.  I am sure these conversations are going on in households all over.

Speaking of conversations and experiences that are going on all over the world, Mama went back to work last week after a 12 week maternity leave.  During that time, I was pretty much on vacation.  Mama was home everyday, taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, making dinners, shuttling the kids all over the place, and I was more of an accessory than anything.  I must say, I liked it ALOT.  She really had things running smoothly, and it made the transition of adding a baby to our chaos very calm.

But, alas, this shangri-la could not be sustained with what I make working at the sports book, so Mama had to go back to work.  That meant that she would go back to the overnight shift for seven days so it would be on me to take care of these kids at night and in the morning, then when the two older ones would go off to school, it was me and the three month old baby on our own while Mama slept.  Could I handle it?  Oh, yeah, no problem, I have done it before.  And this little baby has been wonderful.  She sleeps through the night, she eats, sleeps, pees and poops, and just looks at you with those big blue eyes.  Piece of cake.

Both the ten year old and the eight year old are huge helpers too.  They do everything, change diapers, feed their sister, talk to her, hold her, etc.  The only thing they don’t really like is the poopy diapers, but who does?  No sweat, I have back up while Mama is gone.  I take two days off of work to stay at home with the baby while Mama sleeps and away we go.

Let me put it this way, if it was 15 round fight, I lost a unanimous decision.  I don’t know how it got away from me so fast.  I know it all started with that damn baby monitor.

Lorex - Wireless Baby Monitor - Larger Front

Eight years ago, the last time we had a baby in the house, the baby monitor was a simple, walkie-talkie looking thing.  All you heard on it was static, sometimes the neighbor’s cordless phone conversations, and, of course, the baby crying.  Now, thanks to our society’s technological advancements, the baby monitor is ridiculous.  It comes with a night vision camera that you set up in the room, and it allows you to see the baby’s every move on a little screen that sits next to your bed.  It never goes off, and it may have the best microphone known to man.  You can hear EVERYTHING!  Every breath, every squirm, every cough, even every fart.  Then, when you hear it, you can immediately open your eyes and stare at the damn screen.

To make matters worse, the older ones are sleeping in the same room with their baby sister.  I am not sure if you realize how much two kids move in their sleep, let alone sigh, snore, talk in their sleep or get up to go to the bathroom.  This gives new meaning to the phrase “sleeping with one eye open.”  Doze off, then a startled “what was that?”  Nod off, only to jump up to a lost binky in the crib.  And then, the debate begins while your eyes are fixated on that damn screen.  “Do I go in or not?”  “Is she ok?”  “Maybe she will just go back to sleep.”  Before you know it, the sun is coming up, and it feels like I haven’t slept more than 15 minutes straight.

Then, the morning routine begins.  The baby is up, needs a diaper change and a bottle, preferably in that order.  Then, wake the other two up for school.  Not sure what it is like at your house, but it is NOT fun waking up two logs who like to sleep.  And all I keep thinking between getting spit up on and told “5 more minutes” by the kids is that Mama is coming home at 8:20, and if their asses aren’t up, it’s MY ASS that will pay.

I play the drill sergeant routine, no good.  I play the nice daddy routine, not working.  I even started begging at one point, still not getting up.  Frustration is beginning to set in.  Somehow, they finally get up.  Get dressed please, now.  No, I don’t know what you are supposed to wear.  Get moving, your mother is going to be home soon.  No, leave the baby alone right now.

“Geez, Daddy, why are you being such a crank butt?”  I am not being a crank butt, I just want you to get ready so there is not trouble from the warden when she gets home.  Don’t worry about it, I will explain what a warden is later, just get dressed already.

We did this song and dance three days in a row.  I got no sleep, the only time I left the house was to pick up the kids from school, I think I wore the same clothes the whole time, and I must have sang the ABCs at least 100 times.  I had been shaving my head every other day, but it never even crossed my mind in these three days.  Now, I have peach fuzz where it still grows on my head, and I have a playoff beard working like my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins.  For those three days, I lost touch with the outside world.  I had no idea what was going on other than what the headlines said on my phone.

I was never happier to go to work than I was on Saturday despite getting up at 5 am to shower (with the monitor in the bathroom and staring at it through the shower curtain), waking the kids up to have them at the softball field by 6:30am, and leaving the baby with grandma at the house.  As I was driving to work after dropping the kids off for their games, I cranked up the music and let it all out on the 30 minute commute.  Needless to say, exhaustion caught up to me, and I took my lunch break in the car, alone, and took a GLORIOUS NAP!  Seat all the way back, old man style, O-U-T!

I know all of us with kids just do it and get through it.  I know I did it, but I was younger and didn’t think so much.  You just do what you have to do, and get through it.  Now, being in my early 40s and constantly thinking and worrying about these kids all the time, this was a rough week.  NO BULLSHIT, the fact that this baby’s life was totally dependent on me while Mama was gone and the other kids were sleeping got the best of me.  I could not shut it down comfortably.  I was talking to myself.  Borderline basket case.

It got to the point by the end of the week that Mama said maybe you need to talk to somebody.  HELL, YEAH, I need to talk to somebody.  Men are not wired like you to do all of this shit.  Make me an appointment.  For $50/hr, it will be worth it for me to bitch to somebody that has to listen because I am paying him.  I will go TODAY.  I already know I am crazy, but this week put me over the edge.  When can I go?

OH, it’s not covered under our plan.  So, it’s going to be $160/hr???  Are you kidding me?  I could take the guy to dinner for two hours, buy his meal, and it would be cheaper.  That seems steep, but you can guarantee that if I go and pay that rate, I am not going to stop talking for the entire hour.  I will breathe through my ears if I have to.  For $160, that guy is getting it all.  After that session, he probably will tell me “you know what?  This is probably not going to work out.  Good luck to you.”  That’s fine.  I know I am a jagoff, the warden tells me on a regular basis.

But, you know what happened?  We made it.  Just like Nike says, just do it.  The baby survived, the kids made it to school everyday, their homework got done, they played their games, Mama went back to work, and I am still standing.  I even got a blog post done.  It was a week of adjustment for all of us, and we will do better next week when she goes back to work.  And I am going to keep writing because it’s my outlet.  Thanks again for sharing.

In the meantime, NO BULLSHIT, if any of you know any good babysitters…

What’s in a name? And what the hell is a “home slice?”

First, let me apologize to all of you.  In addition to our usual “controlled chaos” in our daily lives, we had a computer crash.  Apparently, something to do with the RAM going bad.  Anyways, I want to thank all of you who helped my wife with the diagnosis, and thanks to the Apple Store, we are back up and running.  One disaster averted for sure.  We have learned the hard way in the past that if you don’t back up the stuff that you want, it can be gone in flash.  Pictures, notes, bookmarks, etc.  Call me old school, but that is why I still like paper backups for the real important stuff, and I still like photographs.  The only thing getting those items are a fire, and I can prevent that way easier than I can the computer crash.

A quick update on the cooking vs blogging scoreboard would indicate that it is a blowout.  So much so that we have started eating out again with a bit more frequency.  Visited a couple of our old haunts like Hot N Juicy for seafood, Geisha House for the steak cooked right in front of you, and Grimaldi’s is always a favorite for pizza.  Anyways, we have to get to writing and try to get this thing back to respectability.

With a few of my previous posts, it was pointed out to me that I may have been throwing people under the bus.  By no means is that my purpose.  I am just telling stories and writing them for entertainment purposes, plain and simple.  It is the theme of the BULLSHIT blog to just tell it like it is, and that is what we are trying to do.  I will take all suggestions under advisement, and like I always say, please feel free to comment and start a discussion.

So this entry is going to be about names.  And not just our names that our parents gave to us.  I mean the names that we call each other.  Nicknames, shortened versions of our real names, altered versions of our last names, and who knows what else.  There are endless possibilities, and I just want to touch on a few.

Ever since I can remember, I have been coming up with fun names for people.  I think it comes from playing sports from a very young age and reading about sports and the various nicknames for legends of the past.  The Babe, Pee Wee, The Duke, Broadway Joe, etc are just the tip of the iceberg.  I don’t know about you, but I have been shortening people’s names forever.  It’s either first syllable or just use the letters.  Tony is “tone” or “TC”.  I have a “Big Dog”, a “Dougie Fresh” and a “Smoke” in my own family.  Maybe it’s a guy thing, but it’s just another example of what simple creatures we really are on a daily basis.

After college, I played in a weekly card game with a very eclectic group of guys.  Every Sunday night, we would gather in the basement of the barber shop or the back room of a bar and play cards.  If you had a great night, you might leave up $70, and it was very hard to lose that.  It was a game called “oh hell”, and it couldn’t be missed.  I nicknamed the weekly meeting “kindergarten” because it was 6-8 guys ranging from 25-50 years old, getting together and acting like kids.  Non stop laughter, occasional bickering, but always fun.  The roster included Moses, Rub, Shoop, Guy (pronounced GEE), the Hat, the Rat, Killer, Bomber, Tooney and myself.  Sometimes, the Beak would come by and drop off pizzas from his pizza shop.  These were the guys that nicknamed one of my brothers “the Head” because, yep, you guessed it, he has a big head.

That is what we do, especially with people we know.  In college, we had a “Skinny” because he wasn’t.  We had a “Norm” because who didn’t love Norm from Cheers.  The guy with the last name Ham is “Hammer” but that is easy.  Speaking of easy, we added a “y” or “ie” or “o” at the end to make Dan “Dan-o” or Steve “Stevie” just because.  That was like calling the biggest guy on the team “Tiny” or the slowest guy on the team “Turtle”.  And heaven forbid somebody mispronounce a guy’s name because that became what we called him forever or until we came up with something else.

The reason I felt like writing about names, pet names, nicknames and other monikers is for what I just observed in my last few weeks at work.  As you may or may not know, I work in a race and sports book in Las Vegas.  That means I am front and center with the public on a daily basis.  During March Madness, there are people from all over the United States and Canada here for the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament.  This may be their only trip of the year here, but it is usually a guys trip.  They come every year to meet, hang out, party, gamble and have fun doing it.  One group I talked to was in their 19th consecutive year of doing this.  Hell, I used to do it before I moved here, and we called it “Clownfest” because we all came and acted like clowns.  No BULLSHIT, just plain old, innocent, blowout fun for a few days.

So, in the sports book, it’s mostly testosterone, unlike my ocean of estrogen at home.  Guys being guys, and for these couple weeks in March, the locals are overrun by the tourists.  The regulars have the lingo down and it’s like a language of it’s own.  The visitors have their own thing going, but at times, they try too hard to fit in.  And it is pretty funny at times.  You never know what you will hear.  From your friends, you come to expect it.  But, from complete strangers, it makes me laugh.

In the past two weeks, I have been referred to as “Bro, Brah, Coump, Bald Guy, Young Man, Old Man, Homie, My Friend, My Man, Herman, Partner, Pardner, The Guy on the End, Prime Time, Jerk Off, Know it All, East Coast Guy, Cool Breeze”, and these are just the ones I know about.  My man Angelo the bus driver who comes in to do a $5 parlay after he drops kids off at school surprised me this week.  He is a 5’4″ African American gentleman in his 50s who is beyond nice and leaves me a $1 tip everyday he comes in for typing his bet, despite the fact that I have never seen him cash one of his six teamers.  Anyways, he goes to another window to get his bet in because I was typing Old Man Tony’s horse bets, and from a distance, we make eye contact and he yells out “GOOM-BA”  (My first GOOM-BA!)  We smile at each other and exchange fists in the air from 30 feet away.

But, the best was a kid who was maybe 25 years old from who knows where.  He is at the counter, just banging out parlay after parlay for $5 each, and he has NO chance of hitting any of them.  You just know.  At the end of what felt like 20 minutes at the window, he goes “Thanks, home slice.”  HOME SLICE??  I had nothing.  I am a grown man and I just got called home slice.  No BULLSHIT.  I just started laughing.  If any of you have any good nicknames, please leave them in the comments below.

The Stroll… just another walk through the park

Sorry that it’s been a few days since I have written a post.  Mama has been cooking, and she is ahead on the meals vs blog posts scoreboard.  That was the deal, when she cooks, I am supposed to write.  My BULLSHIT excuse for the past five days was that it was the first week of March Madness, and I worked at the sports book 10-12 hours each day.  It’s only the biggest single week of the year in the business, and it requires me to be on my game.  The response came cold and swift, complete with a sarcastic “hrmmph”, a side to side head shake, and a muttered something.  OH, OK.  I get it.  You like eating at home?  Start writing mother huncher, or it’s back to unhealthy value meals for you.  Message received loud and clear, no problem.

This week’s post is about taking walks.  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE going for a walk/run.  I used to run a lot more than walk when I was younger, and those days will come back someday, but for now, it’s a nice, brisk stroll.  Just me and my playlist or a couple of podcasts.  Sun shining down, breeze in my face, lathered up in sunscreen, workout shirt and shorts, nice running shoes tied tight, away I go.  Peace and solitude.  It’s like a small sliver of heaven watching the cars go by as I work up a good sweat, smelling the trees and grass (and the car fumes) and losing myself in whatever I am listening to at the time.

Over the years here in Las Vegas, I have developed a routine and a route for this excursion.  It’s a one mile walk down Alexander Road to W. Wayne Bunker Family Park, do at least a lap around the one mile track around the park, then back to the house.  All depends on the window of time that I have, the condition of my body, the temperature outside, the wind, etc, etc.  At minimum, it’s three miles, and usually takes about 36 minutes if I just do one lap around.  It’s not record setting pace by any means, and depending on what is going on in the ocean of estrogen at the house, there are times I walk like an eighty year old man to milk the clock.  It’s quiet time for Daddy, and the pace slows to a crawl.  Walk, run, listen to music/podcast, sweat, get the heart beat going, back home.

On some occasions, I am joined on these walks by the girls.  The ten year old and the eight year old will either ride their bikes or their scooters ahead of me.  Needless to say, this changes the dynamics of the quiet stroll completely.  The “Daddy Spider Sense” is constantly tingling and on high alert.  Only one earphone is allowed on, as I have to hear what the two of them are doing at all times.  My head is on a swivel, not looking at the birds or the owners walking their dogs, but watching for whatever imminent dangers lie ahead every step of the way.  It’s a relief when we get to the park because the traffic danger is no longer present, but now, as I am constantly reminded by Mama, you have to keep your eyes on the kids at all times because people are crazy, even at the park.

This week’s episode begins when we decide to make the stroll a complete family event.  Dinner is cooking in the crock pot, it’s 4:30p.m., Mama says we will have dinner at 5:30 so I say, “Let’s all go for a walk.”  HOORAY.  Cheers for Daddy’s idea ring out all throughout the house.  The eight year old jumps up to put her shoes on, the ten year old tells Mama she will help get the stroller out of the minivan, and Mama goes to load up the diaper bag.  I grab my house key and my phone, and I am ready to go in about 15 seconds.  I go outside and do what I do best— stay out of the way and supervise.  This is what it is like leaving the house with a wife and three daughters.  I mostly just try to not get in the way.  I do what I am told and try not to ask questions.  Without a doubt, the worst thing I can say is “hurry up”, “let’s go”, or “are we ready yet?”  Those type of questions are like pouring gasoline on a simmering flame.

Sunset on this day is at 6:53 p.m., and in my head, I am racing against sunset just to leave the house.  Wisely, I don’t say it out loud though.  Contrary to popular belief in our house, I have learned a thing or two how to survive up in here.  And, soon enough, after at least three trips back into the house to get something somebody forgot, we embark on our journey.  It’s 75 degrees outside and perfect.  Kids on their scooters, baby in the stroller, Mama in her workout gear complete with sports bra, the monogrammed diaper bag loaded to the gills, and me with my phone, no headphones and only 25% life on the battery.  Definitely not the usual routine, but away we go like Columbus discovering the New World.

The kids start out like it’s a sprint and racing with each other.  Them and I have done this before.  They know the routine.  They go ahead, but they can’t cross a street until I get there.  We are maybe 5 minutes into the walk, and Mama starts chirping.  “Girls, you are a little too far away.  Slow down.  Be careful.  Watch for cars.”   Then, to me.  “Boy, you really let them go up ahead of you.  They know not to get too far away, right?”  Oh, yeah, I see how this is going.  “It’s fine, Mama, we do this all the time.  They know the routine.”  My playlist is on but I can barely hear it.  This is no time for Eminem.

A couple more minutes pass, and we make it across our first crosswalk.  First, I walk out into the street, looking like the old man crossing guard, but without the little stop sign and fluorescent vest.  “OK, let’s go.  Get moving, please.”  Everybody safely crosses the street, despite Mama’s pleas that the girls walk their scooters across instead of ride them.  The baby, two months old now, is just smiling and enjoying the ride.  Mama comes with, “You know, it’s going to be harder walking back because it’s uphill, right?”  Pitbull is on the playlist now, but I don’t hear it.  In hindsight, I should not have heard this question, and I should definitely not have responded.  But, I can’t help myself.

“WHAT?”  I reply, loudly over the passing traffic.  “You are kidding, right?”  She looks at me, pushing our child in the stroller, and says in all seriousness, “No, I am serious.  It’s a down grade going there so it’s uphill coming back.”  Now, I have done this route a thousand times on foot and we drive this road everyday.  I know it’s flat.  Hell, even a blind Stevie Wonder could tell that it’s flat.  I ran hills in Pittsburgh, this is not a hill.  This is not a grade.  This is flat.  It’s one of the reasons why I like going this way.  A bit agitated, I say, “Look, you can see all the way to the park from here.  There is no hill.”  Without breaking pace, she says, “Yes there is, but that’s fine, whatever.”

I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but the whatever is the end all be all.  Conversation over.  I shake my head and continue forward, ahead of mama and the baby, but behind the two speed demons on their scooters. We make it across Buffalo Road with minimal arguing over who gets to push the button at the cross walk, and soon, we are at the park.  I don’t know what time it is, but we are way behind pace.  Mama says, “Ok, now what?”  I say that I usually do a lap or two around the track and then go back.  After a brief negotiation, it is agreed that I will go do a lap around the track while the kids go on the swings.  We will meet up upon completion of my lap, and make our way back to home sweet home.

Ah, time to go.  Me and Eminem, Pitbull, the Fugees, a little K7, and some Limp Bizkit for a little quality time.  I start to run.  I am fired up.  Quickly, I go back to walking.  Nobody else is in a hurry, why am I?  This is going to be one of those slow walks.  Everyone on the track gives you a head nod, or a brief hi, the sun is out, and I am off duty.  Soak it in.  It is glorious.  Then, just as I am about done with my little side trip, I get the text.  “We walked to the gas station for a drink.  U want anything?”  First sniff of BULLSHIT.

It’s a strict rule I have on the stroll when I am with the kids.  The gas station, let alone the Dairy Queen, across the street from the park is usually off limits because it extends the trip by at least a half hour.  Unless it’s really hot or there is a poop stop required, we don’t go.  I usually don’t bring money, the park has water fountains and public bathrooms that are perfectly acceptable, let’s go.  Too late.  I see them crossing the street to the gas station as I am making the turn home to the swings.  So, I reply with this text.  “Nope.  I’m good.  You want me to wait or just meet you at home?”

“Wait for us.  Meet us at the swings.  Will be there in a few minutes.”  More BULLSHIT.  I thought we were walking, but again, I am just waiting.  I should have just done another lap, but I didn’t want to hear about it if I wasn’t there waiting when they got there, so I just started pacing, back and forth.  The music is playing, the battery is at 8%, but I am like a caged animal walking back and forth, waiting.  I can’t relax knowing we have to get back home, get dinner ready, eat, do homework, get showers, bathe the baby, watch the Voice, and get to bed.

Finally, the crew arrives at the swings.  The eight year old is walking with Mama now, her scooter folded up in the stroller, a bag of sunflower seeds in her hand.  The ten year old has a blue Powerade, as does Mama.  “You want some seeds, Dada?”  Sure, but let’s go.  My whole routine is thrown off.  Let’s pick up the pace.  So, we head towards home together, but we are walking at Mama’s pace, not mine.  You know what happens next, right?  Yep, baby unloads.  Diaper change time.  Find some shade off the path.  Who knew you can’t change a diaper in the sun?  What usually takes 45 minutes is now approaching two hours.

Poopy diaper disposed of, we are now a half mile from the house.  The sun is approaching the horizon, and hopefully, the dinner is not overcooked because I know I am hungry, and I have to think the rest of the crew is famished as well.  We get to the crosswalk, and the baby is not happy about something.  Probably because she is hungry too, but what do I know.  She is really crying at this point, and she is all I can hear over the traffic, the bickering about pushing the button, and  the pleading by Mama to stop crying.  I can’t stop myself, and out it comes.  “Whew, it’s like nails on a chalkboard, huh?”

You know the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  Yep, well, if I could pull that one back into my head, I would.  But it’s too late.  Mama just looks at me and says “JUST GO ALREADY!”  I reply with a meek “What?  Why?”  She says something about it’s not the baby’s fault, you don’t have any patience, you walk too fast, something about being a jagoff, and gives me the backhand wave.  Incredulous for a moment, I pause in my tracks.

PEACE OUT!!!  SEE YA!!  You don’t have to tell me twice.  I take off like Adrian Peterson heading for the end zone.  I am waving my arms like a madman and screaming to the heavens.  “OH, NOW you want me to just go?  After you made me wait for 20 minutes at the swings?  NOW I get to just go?  And WHY?  Because I said the baby crying sounded like nails on a chalkboard??  You mean it doesn’t?  BULLSHIT!  Really?”  On and on, it went all the way home.  The ranting and raving of a madman to himself in public view.  Cars beeped.  One even waved.  All said and done, almost three hours from start to finish.

Just another walk in the park.

 

POSTED FROM ANOTHER BLOG, BUT FITS THE THEME…Let’s Talk About Facebook, Shall We?

I read this on another blog, and I immediately thought it was well written and made good points.  So, here it is to share.  No BULLSHIT.  Does any else see the irony in it being called “social” media when it seems like it’s the least “social” thing that we do?  Enjoy

Oh for the love of...me

I’ll admit it…I’m a defender of Facebook. I like it. I like seeing pictures of my grandkids and keeping up with what is going on with them. I like keeping up on the lives of my friends and what their grandchildren are doing. I like the positive news items and the helpful way it reaches out to millions of people at a moments notice. I like finding friends from way back when and touching base again…not enough to actually make an effort to get together or anything but I’m nosy…I like knowing what’s going on in the world.

But I’m finding there’s no real “etiquette” when it comes to Facebook. It’s kind of anonymous…but not really. We’re not face to face so you don’t have to see my initial reaction to your post and I have time to think about how I’m going to (or not going to respond). Kind…

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Searching for the truth and being right…

Quick update.  Mama keeps cooking so I am still trailing on the posts.  We had a busy week with school and softball for the girls, and the week before March Madness for me at work.  I know, that sounds like BULLSHIT because everybody is busy, but it is the truth as well.  That is the thing, sometimes even the truth has a whiff of BULLSHIT in it.  We all know it, it’s just part of the program.  My lovely wife keeps telling me it’s a good thing I don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.  My response is simple and always the same… “I can’t make this shit up.”  And, apparently from the responses both her and I have received, we aren’t alone.  This BULLSHIT is going on all over in houses from coast to coast.  The fun part comes in sharing our stories.  Cue up the Law and Order theme… ba ba BA, these are their stories…

This post is about a topic that I am sure happens to all of us.  We have discussions everyday (except on those days that I am getting the silent treatment for something I said or did), and between mama, the ten year old, the eight year old, and myself, we have some strong opinions in this house.  Everyone has a thought and makes a case.  Simple discussions have turned into Supreme Court cases, and there are numerous times where each party has to make a case like a lawyer in a courtroom.  Ask a question, get a response, wait for an answer, make an objection, overruled.  Sometimes we have to literally take turns talking because it ends up like a show on ESPN where everybody is talking and NOBODY is listening.  Who doesn’t like being right?

The whole house knows if you come to me with something, you better have facts.  A lot of them.  I ask a lot of follow up questions.  I ask why you think what you do.  It’s not always fun, but it is always an engaging conversation.  And I say it all the time, I can disagree with you, but if you make a lucid, informative argument, I can see your side.  I may not agree, but that is why we are talking, isn’t it?  And I listen.  So, you better not make up BULLSHIT, and you better have your facts correct.  That’s all I expect along with listening to my side.  Contrary to belief, I don’t have to be right all the time, and I don’t mind being wrong.  I like to learn everyday.

In our modern, technological world, you really don’t have to know anything anymore.  In the old days, you had to look up stuff in the dictionary or the encyclopedia.  Remember those World Book Encyclopedias?  Or, you had to call someone who knew the answer and actually talk on the phone?  Now, we google it.  Don’t know where the place is?  Put it in your phone and it gives you a map.  Not sure what time they close?  The phone gives you the hours.  The smart phone has made our brains retain nothing.  I used to know everyone’s phone number.  Now, the only number I know is my own only because I have had the same one for 15 years.

Anyways, the best is when you are having a discussion and you know the answer.  Doesn’t matter what it is, you know it.  But, as is the case more often than not, the wife doesn’t believe you.  You know the drill.  You stick to your guns because you KNOW you are right, but this person who you share your whole life with looks at you like a lifetime criminal.  “I’m telling you, I know that happened, trust me.”  That should make it better, but in some cases, it makes it worse.  Ok, time to dig in the heels.  “Go ahead, look it up.”  In 2014, that means look it up in the google machine on your phone.

We have a fun tradition in the house that when you are right in one of these “discussions”, the person who did the questioning has to do what the ten year old has coined “Pay Up.”  That means you have to say out loud “You were right” seven times (once for each person who has lived in our house at one time or another, and one extra for the people in the cheap seats).  Try it.  Go ahead, it’s ok.  “You were right, you were right, you were right, you were right, you were right, you were right and YOU WERE RIGHT.”  I am not going to lie, that BULLSHIT is painful when you are the one saying it.  But when you are the one being serenaded, it’s sounds like the most beautiful symphony music in the world.

So, after this ridiculous back and forth discussion, we go to the phone.  Actually, mama goes to the phone while I sit on the couch with great anticipation.  I already know I am right, and it feels good.  But, I just sit like I have a royal flush, waiting for her to play the hand, knowing I have the hand won.  Then, it happens.  First, the screen is pressed to confirm the answer.  Then, the face.  You know THAT face.  The neck gets a little red from the rush of boiling blood.  The nose scrunches.  Finally, a quick mutter about a damn it, maybe a really, or even a I can’t believe it.  I sit up, chest puffed up, chin to the sky.  “Well?”

And, then it comes.  Seven times, and say it S-L-O-W.  No half assing it.  Loud and proud.  I stand up and conduct like Mr Holland conducting his opus.  I even start to shimmy, and throw in some cha cha.  I even throw in a little Hulk Hogan and cup my hand up to my ear to make sure I can hear.  I make them all join in.  Right on cue, on the last “right”, I do my best James Brown and blurt out “I FEEEEEEEL GOOD!”  It’s a walk off, shoulders shimmying, hips gyrating, almost passing out from the blood rushing to my head as I literally leave the room to revel in my glory.

From the other room, it comes.  “Great, girls.  Here comes more BULLSHIT for the blog.”

Think you can handle this kind of bullshit?

Hello all, Megan here, Dave’s cousin.

I’m sitting here tonight and he texts me “you need to put these on the blog”….I say “What?”  he says “These stories from the ambulance…it’s good stuff”.

I must confess, I can tell a story or two from my days of running around the City of Pittsburgh, in a 2 ton ambulance, with lights and sirens.  Everyone always use to ask me “How the hell do you do that job, I could never!”   Truth is, it’s who can last the longest, and how much bullshit can you really take?  Can you handle it or can’t you?

 So you think you can handle the bullshit?  Because as Dave has so eloquently put it, it’s all just bullshit….I have 13 years of bullshit stories that I believe should be told!

We’ll call this Call 1. 

I’ll have more, but this one is Call 1.

My partner (a guy, about 5 foot tall) and myself (5’8)  go on a call for a man down in his apartment, can’t get up, been down for a couple of days.  Standard bullshit….must have went on one of these calls a shift.

Item #1:  This call always involves a level of piss soaked pants of epic proportions, or worse, a real shitty day in the shift is about to take place.

Item #2:  9 times out of 10, this call involves some form of alcohol or drug use OR mental illness OR if you’re really feeling LUCKY all of them with some crazy twist!

Item #3:  Someone is always there with the person that can’t get up, equally as intoxicated or mentally ill, and yes, soaked in piss their selves (I guess you get to a certain level and just think what the hell, bathroom’s 3 feet away, I’ll just cut loose now, piss my pants….I don’t have a job, I ain’t going anywhere, why not….let’s all have a piss party up in here, Piss Fest!

Item #4:  Almost always, these people never want the party to end, they want the medics to pick them up, and let the good times continue to roll…they want to stay home and not go to the hospital….Why is this important you ask…because the equipment is heavy, and after you lug that shit around day in and day out sometimes for 20 hours a day, you ain’t taking everything, you’re taking what you think you are going to need, they don’t want to go, you aren’t going to need to treat anything, why take it all, when there’s a lil secret weapon….and it’s called “THE BULLSHIT BAG”….make no mistake….medics work smarter not harder, and there is a BULLSHIT bag on every ambulance somewhere….so guess what we took on this gem of a call…that’s right…THE BULLSHIT BAG.  It has the stethoscope, BP cuff, band aids, and a few other things that you could use….but probably won’t on a Bullshit call. (such as this)

Item #5:  There will be some degree of nakedness, or old man balls, that will burn an image into my cornea and deep into my soul.  No bullshit!

My partner and I take the elevator up to the apartment, go to the door, and it’s answered by a very skinny, older woman in a night gown, pissed stained of course.  We could smell the apartment down the hall, we knew without even looking for the numbers what “palace” we were called for, just follow the rancid piss smell, like a couple of toucan sams, the two jagoffs in blue shirts….  She answers the door and begins to yell…..and here is the call.

Piss stained woman : “His mother F’ing ass be laying all up in here, he fine, he can get up, he playing”

(larger man, no pants on (of course, always naked), with a t-shirt on—and yet, pissed on the t-shirt), laying in the middle of a filthy room, laughing and giggling up a storm)

He starts “Oh ignore her…so what happened is we were partying a few days ago, you know I got my beer, a little bit of weeeeeeeeeed, and we were having a good time, then I woke up like this, and been here ever since.”

My partner is now doing the “interview”, while I write down all the information.  I look for a spot to put down the Bullshit bag, and notice, we are standing in THE arena of PORN…That’s right folks…there are joints, porn, and beer just littering this lovely casa, and piss stained carpets, and piss stain owners.  This was my life for 13 years! I’m not talking a few DVDs, we’re talking STACKS up the wall of porn, we’re talking magazines, we’re talking Huge Hefner would have been blushing and the owner of Hustler would have gotten out of his wheelchair and walked out from embarrassment, porn.

Having heard enough of his story, my partner says “Okay buddy, we’re gonna get you up and put you on the couch, and we’ll be outta here.”  He was a guy, he wins, I’m not touching a half naked, pissed stained (and probably other stains too) man…guys touch the guys, women touch the women, and that’s the way that cookie crumbles….

When picking up a person, typically one medic was all it took, unless the patient were over 400lbs., then we call in the troops.  My partner gets behind him, puts his arms under the patient’s armpits, to hug him from behind, and clasps his hands in front, he hoists him up.  At this point of the operation, the patient typically can get to his/her feet and stand, they just need a little help.  My partner yells “C’mon buddy, you gotta help me help you.”  the patient is laughing.  Think of when a kid throws themselves on the floor and the parent tries to pick them up to walk, and they refuse to put their feet down…this guy was basically laughing and doing that, pissing my partner off to no end….HOWEVER, upon further investigation, i.e., I gave a damn and glanced at him, I noticed that between BOTH of his knees and ankles, his shins, were BENT IN HALF!  That’s right, his shins looked like elbows!  He had somehow managed to break both of his legs (his tib/fib), and now, as my partner gave a valiant effort to try to make the man stand, I yell out “OMG TOM, LOOK DOWN!”  The patient is so drunk and high he is laughing and said “What’s wrong honey, you never seen one like mine”….. at this point, I’m crawling with disgust…the porn, the illegal drugs, the aromatic piss scented room, the nakedness/balls, the woman screaming and yelling, and HIS LEGS!!!!  His legs looked like silly putty!

My partner lays him back on the floor, and we both go out in the hall and do one of those “shake it off, shake it off” ewwwwwwww grossed out moves.  We tell the lady and the patient we’ll be back…. The bullshit bag wasn’t gonna hack it on this one folks…we needed splints, the stretcher, and other accoutrements…

The guy, aside from being a perverted, piss stained, high, drunk, was actually okay.  He was never in pain, he was pleasant and didn’t Mother F us the entire trip to the hospital, and he thanked us for getting him up…we were even invited back for piss fest II.  I declined, went home, and took a silkwood shower where I ripped off the top layer of my own skin.

And they only get worse from here…..hope this will do Dave.

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A Parenting/Life question about letting someone win…BULLSHIT

Mama keeps making dinners, the kids and I keep eating, so I have to get writing. I am a couple posts behind on the scoreboard, so I am going to try to post something every other day or three times a week. Please check back, comment at will and email us any suggested topics. There is a lot of BULLSHIT to write about, whether it’s kid related, parent related, family related, work related or just life related.

Today’s post is about winning. Everybody likes to win, and everybody likes a winner. Nothing earth-shattering about that. I try to win everything that I do, and I always have every day. Nobody likes to lose, and if somebody says they don’t mind losing, I say BULLSHIT. Growing up with two brothers and two sisters, there was a competition every single day for something, and none of us wanted to lose. Whether it was board games (does anybody ACTUALLY play board games anymore), video games, a race up the steps, or who knows what, we were playing to win. And we did WHATEVER it took to get it done.

Lately, it has come up in discussions about “letting the kids win.” You can substitute the kids with the wife/husband, the boss, a friend, whoever. You know the drill. You are playing a game with the kids, do you lose on purpose? You are playing golf with a client, do you miss a putt so they feel better? You are bowling with coworkers, do you miss a spare? You are on a date, do you let your significant other beat you to pump them up?

One thing I know is that nobody ever let me win shit. Nothing. Between siblings, friends, parents, strangers, it didn’t matter. I was in it to win it. The thought never crossed my mind to let somebody win. If they won, fine, they won, but that didn’t mean I liked it. And you can be damn sure that I will try even harder to win the next time. It was a good lesson because it taught me how to lose, and even more importantly, it taught me that I hated losing. That is one of the things I love about the race and sports book business. We measure winners and losers everyday. Winners get paid, losers get nothing, no BULLSHIT.

Recently, the ten year old and the eight year old think they can beat me in a race. They are active, they are getting older, they are athletic, blah, blah, blah. I get it, they are looking to take down their old man. They see a mark in an old, bald, overweight guy who thinks he knows everything and bosses them around every day of their lives. They’ve seen me play hockey, but they have also seen me sleeping on the couch. They’ve seen me bowl, but they have also seen me the morning after a few too many beers at bowling night.

Keep in mind that we just had the baby five weeks ago. Needless to say, I put on few pounds of what I like to call the “sympathy pounds” myself. Metabolism in your early 40s is BULLSHIT, but that is another post for another time. What I am trying to say is that I am not in the best shape of my life right now, and if I race these kids, my immediate goal is not only to win, but not trying to pull a hammy in the process. And there is no letting them win. I mean, what would be the lesson in that?

So, after school the other day, it starts. The homework is done, the after school snacks are eaten, the baby is contained, and the two older ones have nothing to do. They start going back and forth with each other, then mama gets involved, and all it sounds like to me is a bunch of BULLSHIT. I reach that point (you all know what that point is), stand up and say “OK, let’s go outside until dinner.” Apparently, with modern day society, you can’t let the kids go outside on their own anymore. It’s not like it was 30 years ago, when our parents said, “go outside and come back for dinner when the street lights are on.” Nope, now you have to go outside and supervise… that is BULLSHIT too, but again, I’ll save it for another post.

OK, we go outside, I have a folding, beach chair that I use to sit in the driveway while the kids do all the shit they love to do while mama isn’t watching. “Watch Daddy, I am going to get on the scooter, go really fast, then jump off right before the curb.” Sure, sounds like a good idea. “Look, Daddy, I am going to jump it off the curb then turn real fast like a spin out.” Hey, go for it. Mama is in the house with the baby, but if she comes out here and sees any of this, I am in BIG trouble. I know I am 43 years old, but I am still scared of two women in my life, my mother and my wife.

Tired of looking over my shoulder waiting for her to come out and then feel her wrath, I suggest to the kids to do something else. You know, jedi mind trick stuff. “You don’t want to ride the scooters anymore… you should probably hula hoop or jump rope.” That jedi mind trick works, and they do that, but not for long. The ten year old comes with “Let’s race, Daddy. I can beat you.” Immediately, I think “BULLSHIT.” Lets get it on.

I am not afraid to admit that me stretching took longer than the races. There were three “heats.” Straight sprint from the neighbor’s driveway to the mailbox. The eight year old vs me alone, not close. The ten year old vs me alone, closer but no danger. Then, all three of us at the same time, again I win. I feel like Usain Bolt. For sure, I am more excited about NOT pulling a hammy. But I am not going to lie, I am breathing pretty heavy. At this point, I won and that’s good, but I am looking to make it a clean sweep over the wife as well.

No, No, NO. Hell no, there was no mama vs daddy race. If there is, we will YOUTUBE that mofo. No, instead, I come up with this. I am going to “limp” into the house while I am almost out of breath, and say that I pulled a hammy. The kids love this type of thing so they are all in on it too. We’ll see how it goes. They like to jag us as much as we jag each other so their role is to come in all concerned a few seconds after I “establish the scene.” There is definitely no parenting manual for this BULLSHIT, but I know it goes on here on a regular basis.

In the door, I stumble in, really limping and wincing in pain. Right to the freezer for an ice pack. Mama is sitting on the chair with the baby on a boob. She looks up and goes “What the hell happened to you?”

“I think I pulled my hammy. I was racing the kids, and of course, I didn’t stretch. Damn it. I can’t believe it.” And I gingerly lay down on the couch, keeping the leg outstretch like it’s really messed up.

In between baby slurps, she dead pans, “Did you win?” Of course I won. And then this gem. “Well, look what you won, you jagoff. I can’t believe you pulled your hamstring. Really? You are a J.O.” I was really feeling the love at that moment.

Right on cue, the kids come bursting through the door. The eight year old really plays it up. “Daddy, Daddy, are you ok? You already have ice on it? Does it hurt a lot?” Worthy of an Oscar nomination. Their backs are to their mother at this point, but I can see the smiles on their faces. We can’t keep this one running much longer, especially as mama is over on the chair muttering something to herself about an asshole, a big kid, and now hearing somebody bitch about being in pain.

The ten year old says in my ear, “on the count of three, we better tell mama we are kidding cause she is getting mad.” OK. 1-2-3, in unison, “JUST KIDDING!” Laughter ensues all around. We got mama. I win again, and it feels good. The kids go running back outside. When they are out the door, I get this from mama.

“Funny. Real funny. You got me with that BULLSHIT. But, just so you know, you are real lucky you DIDN’T pull your hamstring because that would’ve been the least of your worries.” WINNER

First post— Parenting is HARD, Marriage is HARDER, but it is just every day BULLSHIT

So, I made a deal with my wife after she said I wouldn’t blog. She says that I talk A LOT of BULLSHIT but I don’t follow through. Sometimes, she is right, and as most husbands can attest, it is not easy saying that. You know the deal. We say “I’ll get the garbage,” but we end up falling asleep on the couch. We say “I’ll pick up my dirty laundry,” but we just step over it the next day. Things like that happen all the time in most houses.

Recently, I have been talking a lot of bullshit about wanting to start a blog and/or a podcast. There are a whole bunch of people doing it, and I know I can do it, but I make all the usual excuses. You know, “I don’t have the time”, “we are too busy with the kids”, “you won’t like what I have to say”, blah, blah, blah. In a word, BULLSHIT.

Now, she comes up with a bet that I have to take. Hell, I work in a race and sports book in Las Vegas, making odds and taking bets everyday from complete strangers, I can’t resist a bet from her. She says she will start cooking meals so we can eat at home as a family more often, but if she does, I have to start blogging. I think the direct quote was “Watch, I will cook for a week straight, and you won’t write a damn thing!” If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is…

And that leads us to right here, right now…We had an amazing Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetable Dish with Rice tonight, and it was REALLY good. This was after we had an after school late lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup and homemade smoothies. No BULLSHIT, my pepper jack grilled cheese was good, and dinner was awesome. The bet was made, and I am paying with this first post.

PARENTING IN 2014


Before I get into the post directly, I have to provide you with some background. I am the father of three amazing, beautiful, loving daughters, ages 10, 8 and one month. YES, that is correct, I live in a house with four women. I call it my OCEAN of ESTROGEN. I need a life preserver most days up in this mother while mama duck and her chicks swim around. It’s no joke. My favorite word is “OK”, and my daily mantra is “go along to get along.” And there is only ONE menstrual cycle going on right now in this ocean. I don’t even want to think about when that tidal wave of emotions hits this ocean.

As you can imagine, emotions run high here, and the tide can change at a moment’s notice. There is no warning, no emergency broadcast system alert, no SOS, nada. One second, it looks like on golden pond, the next its a typhoon. I am sure that is just the nature of being married and having kids, but in the ocean of estrogen, I am usually the one left floating with one of those little, circular, styrofoam life vests. Wading in the water, waiting for the storm swell to calm.

The wave usually hits, and nobody saw it coming. I feel like one of those lifeguards on the beach, just hanging out, looking out through my binoculars, watching for possible trouble spots. The older sister calling the younger one a name, the younger one poking the older one looking to get a rise out of her, anyone fighting over the remote or what to watch on TV, the baby crying for who knows what, nobody listening to their mother, etc, etc. You have all been there… it’s a daily grind.

Tonight’s episode went something like this… I take the kids to their softball batting practice at the batting cages while mama stays at home with the baby to finish cooking dinner. It’s a one hour session with the team, and we are done at 7:30. We get home in 10 minutes, they are hungry, I am hungry, and we are all looking forward to this wonderful dinner that mama prepared for us. The kids jump out of the car in the driveway and run into the house. I turn off the minivan, and I leisurely stroll into the house maybe a minute later, but no more than two, for sure. Coming off a good practice, some good adult conversation with other parents at the cages, and a good song on the radio, I am feeling good and really looking forward to a great dinner.

Ten steps into the house, I am in the kitchen, and then… BOOM!!! I never saw it coming. Mama is yelling at the ten year old, the eight year old is sitting at the table patiently waiting for a dish of food, the baby is crying, and I have no idea what just happened. The 10 year old is just staring blankly at mama, then me, the eight year old shrugs her shoulders, and then mama says in true Pittsburghese, “You are all acting like jagoffs! Have a nice dinner without me. This is why I don’t cook.”

I immediately pour gasoline on the fire and yell louder, “WHAT the HELL just happened? Who said what? WHY is everybody YELLING??? What is going on?” The response— crickets…blank stares…stugatz…nothing… Then, mama grabs the baby and storms up the stairs, mumbling who knows what to who knows who. The kids are looking at me as I slam my ball cap on to the couch and yell “What about dinner?” The eight year old ran by me on her way up the stairs to find mommy. The ten year old eyed me up and down like she was going to make a move or call child protection services. I froze up, then I said “DAMMIT” at the top of my lungs, and went for a walk.

I walked for 15 minutes around the block, talking to myself the entire time (except the 10 seconds I walked by a guy with headphones and a backpack, pausing to respond to his “How’s it going”), and came back home. The front door, which I left open, is now locked. I rang the doorbell. The 10 year old answered and opened the door. Nervously, I took the fifteen steps into the kitchen, and I was nothing short of amazed at what I saw.

Sitting around the table, mama, the kids, the baby in her bouncer, and dinner on the table. Smiles on everybody’s faces. Manners being used. Amazing aromas floating around. WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED??? It looks, sounds and smells like a Norman Rockwell painting in here.

“Are you going to join us for dinner?,” Mama asked. Sure. I sit down, and get a full plate of this teriyaki chicken that I can’t wait to try. It’s so peaceful, the food is great, and I am afraid to move let alone ask a question. But, I can’t help it. I mean, I am the captain of this ship. So, I float it out there. “Can somebody please tell me what happened in the two minutes from the car to the kitchen?”

The answer comes from my lovely wife. “Nothing. Everybody has something to say, but it’s over. Let it go. We all know you are crazy and that is it.”

OH, OK. That is it. The bet is paid off and the BULLSHIT blog begins.