The misadventures of a first time father

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Right up front, I’ll be honest – this post is more dorky than it is daddy.

My cover as a comic book fan was blown a long time ago. I’ve been into comics since I was a wee lad and while my tastes have changed over the years, I still very much enjoy the comic book format.

That’s why it has been a dream come true for me recently to be a part of a comic book project myself, as a creator.

Holidaze is the bar where all our favorite holiday and mythical icons of childhood meet, drink, chat, and get into all kinds of trouble. Think of it kind of like “Cheers,” but with holiday characters. I admit up front, this one’s not for the kiddies.


The second issue just hit digital newsstands, but I’ve waited until we were at issue two before I mentioned it on here for two very big reasons.

The first reason being that the first issue was a short story, and was released around Christmas, with a Christmas-themed story. The artist and I really thought that issue two gave a much better idea of where we were taking the series beyond stories about the holidays themselves. Issue Two, we think, really shows what the series is about – it’s about the characters of the holidays and what their lives are like, not necessarily the holiday itself.

Secondly, having issue two come out just serves as a sort of validation that, yes, this is, in fact, a series. Not a one-shot, not a special, but a legitimate series.

It’s available for multiple reading devices, whether it be your iPad, iPhone, Nook, Kindle, or any tablet with those apps. We’re also working and hoping to be on Comixology in the near future as well, but that’s a work in progress.

It’s been a labor of love and something I’ve been having an absolute blast getting to make into a reality. It’s different from anything else I think I’ve ever written, and while it’s definitely a more offbeat, adult sense of humor, I really do think it’s a lot of fun.

So, for any of you comic book fans like myself out there, here’s some links below. Please, give it a read and check it out. I hope you like it.

Holidaze #2When Patty’s pot of gold is stolen by a ruthless thug, his luck begins to change. But is it for the better or the worse? Find out why they call it the “Luck of the Irish” Available on iTunes, Nook, and Kindle.

Holidaze #1When Santa over-indulges on Christmas Eve, the other holiday icons band together to try and make his rounds. If they don’t, they risk the children of the world ending their belief in Santa, and soon them, ending all of their existence.  Available on iTunes, Nook, and Kindle.

If you dig it, feel free to give us a thumbs up and a ‘like’ over at the Holidaze Facebook page.

If not, well, I’ll be back to more parenting posts shortly. 🙂

Now that fatherhood has me watching more Sesame Street than ever before, I occasionally come across unexpected moments like this.

Fellow “Arrested Development” fans might have been as surprised as I was to see Will Arnett pop up in an episode as Max the Magician, essentially just playing Gob Bluth, complete with a Sesame-type version of Final Countdown for his entrance. 🙂

I admire how the creators are using actors and references that the parents can enjoy and get them as engaged as the kids. It really makes for a wonderful bonding-viewing experience. Not that it’s anything truly new. Even the early episodes of Sesame Street had appearances from celebrities like Bill Cosby, Lena Horne, John Denver and many, many more. And heck, every episode of the Muppet Show had a celebrity host of the time taking part in skits. Still, it’s nice to see the tradition continuing.

If I’m any indication, it’s working, Children’s Television Workshop. Nice job.


© Copyright 2013 CorbisCorporationAs I walked out of our house with the baby’s bag, ready to load the car like any other day, I came across something out of the ordinary.

My driver side and passenger side door were open.

“That’s odd,” I thought, as I loaded the baby’s bags in the backseat. That’s when something hit me to check the arm rest compartment. I opened it and found that, yep, my GPS and other items inside were gone.

Someone had broken into my car.

I’m not even quite sure if broken into is the correct term. Look, I’m normally a pretty paranoid person. Once I’m in the house and before bed, I’ll peek out the window and double check the car locks with my remote. This is the one night I didn’t, for whatever reason, and it’s the one night someone got into my car.

You know, I’m not even angry about it. I called police, I told them what was taken – a GPS which I haven’t been using much anyway since getting a smartphone, some phone charger cords and a key ring with discount tags for various stores and some odds and ends keys. This part had me concerned. There was nothing from the house on the key chain, but if they took it, what’s to say they didn’t take it with the intention of coming back and trying to use those keys?

It just really bothers me to know that while my family slept, someone was in our driveway and going through my car.

Needless to say, I’ve adopted my more paranoid-type ways with car locks in the days since.

It turned out to be a less than stellar day. Work was terrible (not because of the work itself, mostly because I have one co-worker who makes it a mission to treat me like less than a human being…why is that too much to ask of a colleague in a workplace?) and that day I also ended up finding out that a book deal I was to be a part of ending up falling through. It was something that, while I wasn’t depending on, I’ll admit I had daydreamed about, knowing its paycheck would have helped eliminate two out of my three remaining student loans and help open the door to a little more financial freedom in our future.

So, in every sense of the word, I felt broken into, broken down and beaten down. It was not my finest hour (or 24 hours as the case may be) and I will admit an incredible sense of frustration and violation.

Is this the type of man I want my son to see growing up? Someone who was once ready to conquer the world with boundless energy, but is taken down by the actions or words of others, be it the break in of the car or just a beat down at work?

No, it’s not.

So, with that in mind, my pity party is done, and i am pulling up the bootstraps and continuing on.

Thanks for listening.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationSometimes reading my alumni magazines can make me depressed.

I’m just going to throw that out there.

Every now and then as the mail arrives, with it comes a brightly covered publication with someone smiling on the cover, ready to tell how great they are doing, loving what they do and how their time at the college made it happen.

And every time I get done flipping through the pages, I can’t help but think how easy they make it seem to be living the life they’ve dreamed, to be making a difference in the world, to be creating something.

I look at them and think ‘what have I been wasting my time doing?’

It can be a little depressing.

As I flip through the pages of each edition, there’s articles and notices like “John Smith has completed his fifth book, in stores now” or “Jane Doe is CEO of her own company that is changing the world and how we produce fuel.” “Jackie Smith (not related to John) is in Africa where she has been spear-heading an international effort to save the tigers while juggling her latest screenplay and a family of four.”

You never see “Dave is working in a small town, doing his best to make a dent in the student loans accumulated while at said school and trying to carve out a writing career in any small free seconds he has.”

So, once I got over the initial depression of it all, I started thinking and realized a lot of my feelings on this has to do with perception. In this digital age, perception is a very funny thing.

Someone once told me they could not stand someone we knew because it seemed like they had the absolute perfect little life…according to Facebook. However, the real world was not so much the case. However, that person’s misguided perception was the same one I had of all those I was seeing in the alumni magazine – because that’s what it’s there for. It is selling an image of the college as a place where success is bred. Flip through those pages and it will appear that everyone who goes there has walked out changing the world as we know it, just as the people we see on Facebook and social media appear to have everything going for them.

Why? Because in both cases, what we, the audience are seeing is the hand-picked thoughts, photos, and image that they want us to see. It’s like a Hollywood agent who handcrafts the persona of their client, only social media today has made everyone think they’re a celebrity.

If you continue to compare yourself to how we see others, you are comparing yourself to the unattainable because of our distorted perceptions.

The thing that matters is not the lives that others lead, or the ones they make us think they lead. It’s the lives WE choose to lead. Close the alumni magazines, shut off Facebook, and start living life as best you can. Whether the rest of the world sees it or not will not matter, because in the end, we’re all going to look back and want to know that we lived for US, not for countless friends who view us through cyberspace or a magazine and vice-versa.

The breakfast my wife made for me on Father's Day.

The breakfast my wife made for me on Father’s Day.

It’s been a pretty cool first Father’s Day weekend.

Yesterday, Meg and I took the little guy to a public market (sort of like a farmer’s market, but with additional things like crafts and other vendors alongside the farm stands). and since it’s held outside in the courtyard of a train station, we got to enjoy the beautiful sunny day to the utmost.

Then, we ran some errands that included me finally getting a new pair of sneakers and jeans. You see, I hate spending money on clothes. I really do. I often end up getting updates to my wardrobe at Christmas because I just don’t buy any during the year. I like to see just how long I can make something last, including articles of clothing. It’s just the kind of thing I don’t put much thought to throughout the year, to be quite honest.

With that said, I’ve had the same pair of sneakers for several years, wearing them down to pretty much nothing. I tend to do the same with my jeans, which is why, for the longest time, I had one good pair of jeans and the rest had holes in the knees and became relegated to housework or lounging at home. So, it was pretty momentous to walk out of the store with a pair of sneakers AND a pair of jeans, not to mention a polo shirt, which my wife insisted on paying for as part of Father’s Day, which was incredibly nice of her.

Pretty crazy, for me at least. Though I think Meg just thinks I’m plain crazy.

We ran a few more errands throughout the afternoon before meeting up with my parents for an early Father’s Day dinner for my dad. We gave him a framed picture of the little guy for his desk at work along with some fun smoking accessories for his grill.

I had to duck out late in the evening to fill-in on a partial shift at work, but came home, hit the sheets and actually slept in for a change.

When I awoke, it was to some both funny and touching Father’s Day cards from my wife, my little guy, and yes, our kitties. A big breakfast of French Toast, eggs and hash browns and I have been completely and utterly spoiled.

It’s been wonderful, it’s been more than generous, but honestly, the fact that I get to celebrate Father’s Day is certainly enough for me. Having them all in my life is worth more than any card, gift or breakfast. Not that I’m not thankful for the creativity and generosity, I’m just so incredibly thankful for all of them.

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, fathers-to-be and someday fathers. 🙂

I’ve mentioned previously here and there that I work in a newsroom by day. That can have some pretty high-energy days, but can certainly have some depressing ones based on the content.

This is what awaited me at my day job Wednesday.

Missing Levon

As I had to read the words of this story during a newscast, I was feeling physically ill inside from the entire situation and the questions, possibilities and theories that go along with it.

This may look a little familiar if you’ve seen cable or network news in the past few days, as the story has now gone national. It started here, though, right in my own hometown.

The day this happened, I came into work late. I had been volunteering at a fundraiser breakfast for a local historical society with my wife and little boy in attendance. As we left, I got a text message from my boss: “police press conference. Missing baby.”

My heart sank as I looked in the backseat and saw my little guy, only two months older than this child. When I eventually got to work and started the newscast, I was dumbfounded.

The mother was gone before the child disappeared. The father hadn’t reported the kid missing for two weeks. Two weeks?! And he did so only after a confrontation about the child’s whereabouts from grandparents who were getting suspicious?!

I follow our little guy around the living room afraid he might bump his head, and someone left a baby out on a porch by themselves at nine months old? Things don’t add up, the police have admitted it doesn’t add up, and the saga and search continues as the national media begin to turn their spotlight on our area.

If something DID happen to this child, as is often being implied or theorized, I can’t help but wonder why things are so unfair. We have friends who are going through hoops and hoops in an effort to adopt. They have all the love in the world to give and are going through everything to be deemed acceptable for it to happen. Yet, there are parents giving birth to children who they won’t give an ounce of care or attention to. I just don’t understand it.

Not that my wife and I ever feel like we take our son for granted, but it generated a lot of conversation between the two of us about just how lucky we are.

He may have bad days (don’t we all?) and he may be a bit challenging, but even on his worst days, we are still do incredibly blessed that he is here and he is safe and he is with us.

Hug your little ones extra tight tonight, please. I know I did.

© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporationDuring those torrential storms two weeks ago, two things happened. The first, I proved my sometimes stupidity/overconfidence in a way that almost got us killed and secondly, we had a lot of fun as a family.

When I went to go pick up the little guy after work, the rains had already begun picking up. My parents asked if we wanted to stay and wait the storm up, but as is often the case, I thought I knew better and wanted to get on the road to head back home. (I was under the impression that this was a storm, nothing big, and didn’t need to worry too much.)

Well, as the rains intensified, so did the winds, thunder and lightning, and in only the short amount of time it took me and my son to get around the block from my parents’ house, I was unable to see out of the windshield in front of me due to the rain and winds. With that, I shouted to the backseat “okay, buddy, we’re heading back,” and went around the block to return to my parents.

It was not that easy. In what was a span of 60-90 seconds from when we pulled out of their driveway, a large portion of a tree had fallen and was now blocking the street, making it impossible for me to get to their house.

Even scarier was the realization that had I still insisted on leaving and did so 60-90 seconds later than I did, we could have been seriously hurt.

So, I tried to go around the block and get to their house from the other direction, but to no avail, as that block was also blocked by a downed tree. A detour across several blocks finally got me to their street, but the rain had seemed, for the time being, at least, to have passed.

I said ‘to hell with it,’ and just decided if the rain was letting up, we’d keep on going home.

Also easier said than done.

Avoiding our usual route due to the high altitude, and massive amount of trees, I opted for another route, that still, unfortunately, had many, many trees before we could get to the highway. Along the way, we were dealing with slow drivers (and I know they were being cautious, but in that situation, I just wanted to be home as quickly as possible), more downed trees, downed wires, and some flooding. I was weaving back and forth to avoid these things as if I was in a movie or video game, only it was not nearly as thrilling when it’s from the first-person perspective.

I’ve mentioned how the little guy is learning to clap lately. Well, at one point, while trying to avoid the chaos around us, I looked into the back to make sure he was okay. He must have just been done with a clap, because from my perspective, his hands were out, palms pressed together, looking as though he were praying. Talk about not filling me with confidence in a time of crisis.

However, he was a courageous little buddy and did great. He even ended up falling asleep by the time we hit the highway.

We were much later than usual getting home, but when we got there, we found that the power all across town was out. It must be the way of this high-tech era we live in, but people were wandering out from their homes and onto the sidewalk, as if released from prison or some magic spell.

Meg had some candles going in the dimmer parts of the house and we stuck to cold foods like salads for dinner.

I checked on our elderly neighbor, who told me he had already had dinner and had his highball, so he was all set. Boy, I hope I’m that self sufficient when I’m in my mid 90s.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationThen back at home, we pulled out the battery operated radio, put on some oldies and had a family power outage dance party. It was a great time.

When the little guy tuckered out and went to bed, Meg and I brought some candles upstairs and read (her, magazines and a book she’s been working on; me, a trade paperback collection of Spider-Man comics. I can’t believe I’m over 30, a comic fan and have never sat down to read Spidey. It was some good stuff, especially form the 60s. But I digress…)

As I read by candlelight, I realized why so many people in colonial times wore glasses – it’s quite the task on the eyes to read by candlelight as it gets darker and darker out.

When the street finally went black, no street lights to shine, we blew out the candles and called it a day. I awoke in the middle of the night when the power turned on again, and chuckled at the sight of the entire neighborhood lit up as if it were full of life, even though everyone was fast asleep.

While I certainly found the drive home a bit nerve-wracking and appreciate the convenience of a working refrigerator, I have to say that having the power out for the whole evening was a lot of fun. No television, no computers, no hums of the street lights, and no mindless time wasters. Just time with each other, real time, without glancing over us to see what’s onscreen or on our phones. And when our heads hit the pillows, you just felt sort of right with the world.

What can I say, I like the quiet.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationSometimes, my son will do something so innocuous and full of joy that I can’t help but stare at him and realize what a profound statement he has just made to me without even knowing it.

Our little monkey LOVES to be barefoot. When we’re riding in the car, give it just a few minutes and he’ll have both socks in his hands, stretching them out and smiling and laughing at you the entire rest of the ride. In the living room the other day, we were playing, when he stopped (he’s sitting upright and even criss-cross all on his own now, amazing!), looked at me, then looked down at his feet curiously, eyebrows down with determination, and with a swipe, pulled off both socks off his feet. Then, without missing a beat, he looked at me, eyes glowing, a smile across his face that shows off those two tiny little bottom teeth, and he laughed. Within moments, he was moving around again, giggling, making noises, and just plain having fun.

I could learn a lot from him.

Every day I could lose count of how many things I worry about, whether it be work, money, the future, what to write about so my blog doesn’t have tumbleweeds blowing through it like a ghost town. It’s every day, and it’s completely unnecessary. Worry changes nothing and it solves nothing. It merely keeps us out of the present and unfocused from enjoying the moment at hand.

But my little guy has taught me, with the simplest gesture, that you just have to unshackle yourself, smile and enjoy the moment for what it is.

Sometimes you just gotta’ take your socks off and be free.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationI must definitely be slipping in my old age, as it just dawned on me that I never jotted down a few notes from our very first Mother’s Day as parents.

I admit that coming up with what to give my wife was difficult. When it comes to the holidays, I always feel like I’m that predictable guy who often ends up purchasing friends and family either books or movies (some of whom love it, some of whom, well, you can see it on their face). I’m trying hard not to be that guy anymore. I admit, a lot of it came out of wracking my brains to figure out what to get someone and then seeing some movie that I heard them mention they really liked or a book they wish they could read again. At first I think I’m doing something thoughtful by remembering these little nuggets of information, but as time passes I usually end up thinking ‘why did i buy that for them?’

So, I needed to make this one count. This was Meg’s very first Mother’s Day, after all.

All I can say is, Shutterfly to the rescue. I love this site. A few years ago, when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, I had spend the months prior slowly compiling photos from our wedding into a wedding album. We had hired a photographer, but we didn’t order a formal wedding album, so this seemed like a great way to go about it – and it was completely worth it. Yes, it did take me months of staying late at work (so that Meg couldn’t see me working on it at home) to complete, but while we were driving to our vacation destination and I pulled that leather-bound album out to give to her, completely customized, every photo hand-picked, every page laid out to my specifications, it was wonderful.

That’s why, a few years later, with our son now in the picture (no pun intended), it seemed that maybe the way to cherish this first year a mom would be for me to lay it out in a book for her again. So, I spent a few days going through photos that we’ve taken of the little guy over the past several months (and believe me, there were plenty) and put together a great medium-sized book of his almost-first year, with a photo adorning the cover of Meg holding him in his arms the day he was born.

So yes, in a way, I still reverted back to my book gifting.

The present was set and wrapped (although next time I will try not to take AS MUCH of my time prepping the book, as my order total doubled to get it mailed in time for Mother’s Day), the cards were signed (one from me, one from the baby and some from the cats) so now all we needed was for the day itself to come off well.

Unfortunately, the little guy did not wake up on the most pleasant side of the bed that morning, so it was a crankypants start to the day. He’s a baby, though, so he gets a pass. However, to ease the rest of the day, I got up early, made some breakfast (nothing too fancy, just toast, eggs, hash browns), and brought it upstairs to our waiting mommy with The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” playing via YouTube on my phone, and a DVD of an old Shirley Temple movie (one of her favorites) ready to go in the DVD player for her.

Our little Mr. Crankypants didn’t seem to lighten up throughout the day, even when we went to visit each of our own mothers and tell them how much they mean to us. It was okay, though. What mattered the most was celebrating my wife, his mommy, and all the wonderful things she does for him, for me, for us, each and every day.

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