A Father’s Words To His Sons

My sons were born three months premature. Each of them came in just a hair over two pounds each and by the time they came home, each of them already had more extensive surgery than I had. I suppose it was the monumental stress caused by needed procedures and the closeness each of them came to leaving this world that kicked my protective dad brain into overdrive. I was simply amazed that such fragile little beings could be so resilient. In short, they had my immediate respect and awe.

One of the most continually frustrating things about having twins is how inexorable they were from one another. On principle, it’s very easy to consider them one great being instead of two. I fought the idea of dressing them alike because I wanted them to be their own persons. But it became increasingly difficult because all life events were celebrated in tandem with one another. Birthdays, holidays, rites of passage; everything was done together. Despite all of this, they both managed to establish their own identity which simultaneously contrasted and complimented who they were as individuals. But as they clearly are their own persons, they are still the nigh inseparable daring duo who instinctively know that they have one another’s back. In the spirit of always wanting to express them as individuals, I wanted to take a few minutes to demonstrate how unique and wonderful they truly are. Continue reading “A Father’s Words To His Sons”

Into (And Out Of) The Pit

My daughter is a Netflix junkie. While I’m sure, in her quick and more than likely loud defense, she’d point out that I’m just as bad as she is. My only retort is that, one, we’re talking about her, and two, Netflix junkies probably outnumber the population of Belgium. Seriously. Someone should just make a flag and draft a constitution already. Although we’d more than likely be wholly dependent on other nations for our military defense — that first season of Luke Cage isn’t going to watch itself and even small arms combat is enough to drown out the dialogue.

Anyway, my daughter’s latest Netflix binge has been How I Met Your Mother, a show I’ve only watched in bits and pieces. But it’s very watchable. Who doesn’t love Neil Patrick Harris? But like most sitcoms, it can be entirely unrealistic. Family crises cannot be solved in 30 minutes or even the occasional two-part episode. But it’s fun to watch anyway, the plots mostly consisting of situations with about as much depth as a kiddie pool and plenty of cute moments that could no doubt have Generation X watching with a certain sense of nostalgia through their respective rose-colored memories. Continue reading “Into (And Out Of) The Pit”

My Personal Music Industry

When I was younger — back when woolly mammoths walked the glacier fields — I wanted to be musician. I suppose everyone entertained that fantasy at one point or another in their lives, but I was willing to go a step further. I actually purchased guitars and amplifiers and bass guitars and drums for, from my family’s perspective, the purposes of making their lives rich with music or at the very least incredibly loud and annoying. Around the time I graduated high school, it was my father calling the local police on his son’s band that was playing in our garage. A few years and several band lineup and instrument changes later, it was my band, Medium, playing at full volume in the basement of my house with my infant daughter napping just above us in her room. Yes, both of these things happened. I’m not making anything up.

At present I play guitar, bass, piano, drums and noodle around on nearly anything musical that other folks let me touch. I even sing, depending on who you ask. I listen to an incredibly wide range of musical styles because various sounds and melodies serve such a purpose as to resonate in different parts of my psyche. Rock, pop, thrash, rap, techno, cathedral chorale, progressive metal, reggae, grindcore, classical, deep trance, bluegrass, Broadway, and even a few country songs sprinkled in; music can convey emotions and ideas that simple words cannot. Music is the thread that holds the diversity of myself together and forms unspoken bonds with other people, be they friend or stranger. Continue reading “My Personal Music Industry”

Too Busy To Enjoy It

We’re now in the final weeks of May, and I’ve been busy trying to keep up with all that is involved with graduating seniors. Perhaps that isn’t the best choice in phasing; more like watching time fly by like the Time Traveller in H G Wells’ The Time Machine when he jumps into the future. At least that’s what it feels like. My twin boys graduate high school in a scant 18 days. Emotionally, I can’t put how I’m feeling into words. Perhaps it’s overwhelming, perhaps I’m numb. Probably both. Whoever said life flashes before your eyes when you’re dying probably had kids that became adults before they noticed.

Last night all three of mine went to prom. It’s a bit odd that my daughter, who is now encroaching drinking age, attended this event. But she was invited and it’s simple luck that they all get dolled up for this occasion. As is my duty as a parent, I armed myself with a camera and went all annoying parent on them before they left. Upon reviewing these photos, I was struck with how old and simultaneously young they all looked. Much to my surprise, and perhaps this is the numbness factor, I didn’t feel emotionally overwhelmed by it. You know, the whole, “My babies are all grown up” maudlin experience common to the parental species. The fact of the matter is that I have too much to think about and too many time constraints to get caught up in the moment. It may be a guy thing — trapped by the logistics and the mechanics of events — but I haven’t made time to have a proper emotional meltdown. There’s simply too much other shit to worry about right now. Continue reading “Too Busy To Enjoy It”

Mid-Life Crisis Candidate

Ever since I was younger I wanted a motorcycle. It wasn’t a need, but more of an passing interest. I have had a long history of those and have been prudent, I think, in if/how I indulge them. Having a motorcycle always took the back seat, so to speak — especially when I had children and kissed anything resembling discretionary spending goodbye. I didn’t have time or money.

Last year I finally decided that I had waited long enough. I enrolled for a motorcycle learning course and passed my written exam a mere two days before it started. I rode a bicycle when I was a kid (equipped with playing cards to simulate the engine sound more than once), and I even had a four-wheeler when I was a teenager, so it wasn’t much of a jump to get the hang of things. By the time I had passed my license test, it was a matter of weeks before I had managed to get my very own little Honda Shadow Spirit VT1100C. I named it Caboose after a favorite Red vs. Blue character. Last summer I put on about 1900 miles on Caboose. To my great joy, I’ve found that being on a motorcycle can be a very zen experience. Also, you simply cannot beat the unspoken camaraderie that exists between fellow riders. Continue reading “Mid-Life Crisis Candidate”

Unsocial Media

I’ve spent the past week or two trying to find ways of getting out of social media, but not for the reasons that you may expect. I’m tired of having it being so inexorably tangled in my life. I’m tried of being under pressures that, frankly, I shouldn’t have allowed myself to fall prey to in the first place. In short, this stopped being all that fun a while ago and I really should find better ways of keeping up with people who are ostensibly part of my life.

Given that one of my Facebook pet peeves — yes, that’s a thing for some reason — are folks that post grandiose announcements that they’re leaving Facebook, short or long term. It always came off to me like as “Hey! I have a huge goddamn ego and believe that you couldn’t live without my snarky quips about people that I think are less important than I am, and because of that you should be fraught with dread that I’m no longer going to be here! Panic like the sheep you are!” Or, you know, something like that. But something I noticed was exactly how embedded Facebook had become in my like. It’s like a deer tick. There’s a good chance I could poison myself while trying to remove it, and who wants Facebook Lyme’s Disease? I’m told the primary symptom is a blue target rash. Continue reading “Unsocial Media”

Late February and the Coming Spring

I don’t know about you, but I’m just about done with winter. Thank your deity of choice that spring is coming. Days seem to drag slower when you look upon the bleak, grey landscape that is the late winter. Days don’t seem as glorious, work days pass with all the expedience of a methadone trip, and the beer just doesn’t satisfy the way it should. I wonder if this is how it was for our ancient ancestors. To get up from our dry beds of dirt and grass, climb out of our shelters, look up at the sun as it strains in vain to break the clouds, see how it alights to bleak landscape that surrounds us and say, in cavemanish, “Well, fuck…time for breakfast I guess.” Cavemanish, by the way, I assume sounds like grunting; something akin to mornings before coffee. Those poor bastards didn’t even have coffee, either.

I don’t know what motivates us apart from the promise of warmer days. There’s something so subliminally depressing about late February. I mean think about it — there’s little else to look forward to, even in these modern times. We just cruised through a few months of feasts involving turkey, ham and beef of all shapes and sizes. We’ve celebrated everything from thankfulness, to peace on earth, the passing of a new year and even a day where we apparently have to love our significant others more than the other 364 days of the year; and what do we have to look forward to at this point? St. Patrick’s Day? Really?! I’m all for a day where we all pretend we’re drunken Irish, but is that really something to look forward to? I thought that’s what Fridays were for, without the assumed lie of being Irish. Continue reading “Late February and the Coming Spring”

Mad Plans?

As I get older, I’m continually amazed at how quickly time passes. I just realized yesterday that I passed the two year anniversary of my divorce. (Divorcinnary?) It really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long as the actual 17-month divorce  process seemed to have taken much longer. But here it is, 2014, and my daughter is graduating high school, and my boys will be juniors next year.

What’s coming down the pipe is apparently momentous; My 40th birthday is less than two months away. I use the term momentous because, by all accounts, it’s all downhill from here. Truth be told, I never really expected to live beyond 40. I’ve been saying that since I was a teenager, much to the objections of certain family members who don’t like envisioning the concept. Not that I blame them, but even since seeing Monty Python’s Meaning of Life as a teenager, my own mortality has been somewhat of dark joke to me. (As a reminder to those who’ve known me for a while: I do expect to have Always Look on the Bright Side of Life played at my funeral. Don’t make me come back and kick your ass.)

But now I’m almost at that imaginary finish line. Forty is staring me down, waiting for me to flinch. I can see why folks get worked about this admittedly arbitrary number. It looks hungry, yet twitchy.

Regardless, I figured that I should make an event out of this. It isn’t often that I go out of my way to aggrandize anything about me — probably never. I figure this is as good of a time as any. So I took the week of my birthday off from work. My plan is to fill every day with something that I wouldn’t regularly do or have otherwise been putting off for some idiotic reason or another. For one, I’m getting a tattoo. This isn’t exactly an odd choice for the four decade mark; my Ex did the very same thing upon hitting the same birthday. But this isn’t so much about originality as it is new and fun experiences for me. (Not that being jabbed repeatedly with a needle should be in any way considered fun, but I digress.)

After that, I’m rather befuddled at what else to do. Call it a lack of original thought. If anyone has any interesting suggestions, I’d be delighted to hear them.

Minnesnowda

I have lived in Minnesota for my entire life. As much as those who visit have complained about the cold weather — indeed, those who live south of here have a misconception that it’s never warm — I’ve never had a problem with the cold. As I learned a few years ago during a particularly dry winter, not having snow for a few months of the year is unnatural to me. At the time, it actually plummeted me into minor depression. I proudly wear an imaginary badge on my chest that states “Yes, I’m from Minnesota, you wuss.” I think it ranks up with those who live in LA or New York City as a badge of bravery and is to be worn with honor.

All of that said, this winter has completely sucked the joy out of the season for me. As this month comes to a close, I cannot think of a January that has left me feeling more miserable. Even the novelty of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, an annual pilgrimage to the downtown area and beyond, has yet to intrigue me enough to get outside and enjoy the frozen festivities. All I want to do is stay inside, eat soup and chili, and hibernate like a bear. I have never felt this way. What’s worse, I never in a thousand years would’ve even thought I’d feel this way.  Continue reading “Minnesnowda”

Dating at 39 – Part 1

I’ve made a concerted effort to start dating again. This process has been met with mixed results, to put it kindly. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t take very good care of myself. So in entering the dating world again I feel like used car salesman who’s got one car to sell; a beat up Dodge Minivan. Sure, it’s got a horn that plays La Cucaracha, but how entertaining can that be after the first few uses? In the first few months, my walking train wreck of self-confidence was clearly evident to all who witnessed it. I think the women I was with stuck around for as long as they did out of pity. The alternative was that they were batshit crazy. But the point is that I had all of the dating skills of a dead ferret. I should add that this may still be the case, but I’ll let my dates decide.

What made this more fun was attempting to restart a love life that had about eight or nine years of dust on it (I’m being nice — honest, but nice), and doing so with three teenagers. You’d be amazed how much fail can be generated on a first date when you’re only real recent social experience is whatever is going on in your teenager’s life. I honestly think I frightened the first one when I refused to have liquor with a light dinner because “I’m driving and you can’t be too careful.” This was shortly after the Ex moved out, and I was abiding the rules I had set for myself many years before. Regardless, I’m sure her beer was just twice as tasty in the knowledge that this nutball on the other side of the table was probably judging every sip she took. I wasn’t, but do you think anything I said after that would’ve changed her mind? The poor girl nearly left skid marks on her way out of the restaurant parking lot. And I don’t blame her one bit. Continue reading “Dating at 39 – Part 1”