Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

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The Work at Home Freelance Blues

January 8, 2009

Those of you who work at home will sympathize with my dilema.  Working at home with no family can be a very lonely and isolated venture.

I’m a divorced father living alone in a 2 bedroom apartment.  My lovely daughters stay with me every other weekend and I very much look forward to their arrival.  We play games, share stories, watch movies and even go out for meals and bookstore shopping.  I look forward to these times I get to share with my girls.

But when I’m alone I get to work.  I must motivate myself to wake up each morning at a decent hour in order to make some coffee, eat a little breaky, check email, then get to writing.  It’s not always easy.

I’ve always been a procrastinator.  In high school and college I wrote term papers and final dissertations usually the day or night before they were due.  Not a good practice in the professional writing world.  Each writing project I acquire gets assigned a due date on my calendar so I know what must be done by what day.

The problem with that system is that if I have a day or two between project due dates I get complacent and believe it is a day off where I can watch a DVD or read a book.  Why?  Because typing all day all by myself is boring.  Sure, I love the research I do for writing projects.  But staying home while all my friends are at their day jobs puts me in a place where I must entertain myself.  And frankly, I can be a pretty boring person.

So freelance writing isn’t all fun and games.  It requires a heap of self motivation and the ability to keep oneself solitarily occupied.  I’m still learning.  I’ve worked in a business office for over 13 years so the last six months at home have been an interesting challenge.  But is it worth it to be home sometimes 24 hours a day?  You bet!  I wouldn’t change a thing.  It can only get better with experience.

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Resting and Working During The Holiday Weekend

July 5, 2008

Is anyone else working this extended holiday weekend?  Is it only me?  “Why, Coffeeshop Pop,” you may ask, “are you working during this celebratory time when there should be only time spent gorging on barbeque picnics and enjoying the B-E-A-Utiful weather with your darling kids?”

Well, as is typical with the great Pacific Northwest it is cloudy and threatening to rain.  Even if I attempted a cookout on the grill and successfully avoided the rain, my 1st grader is a self-emposed vegetarian and wouldn’t eat my nummy smoked Kielbasa anyway.

In addition, I have two deadlines to meet this coming week so I must put the fingers to the keyboard in order to complete a couple of freelance projects.  While my kids are with me this weekend it does challenge me to find time and space to get the work done.  The young-uns do demand a lot of my attention but they also like to be entertained by the collection of DVD’s by the TV.  So while uncle Disney plays his feature films I sit at my comfy recliner with my laptop and type away, slowly edging closer to the finish of my projects.

So what are YOU doing on your holiday?

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Sparklers & Poppers & Snakes! Oh My!

July 5, 2008

So happy Independence Day, everyone!  At the homefront Daddy has his little girls for the Fourth of July weekend and we have LOTS of fireworks to fire!  Woo Hoo!

Except, my li’l girls are afraid of big booms.

So we have a supermarketbagful of easy to ignite sparklers, poppers and funny growing snakes that “look like poo!”  Yes, gone are the bygone days when I was young and me & my buds would set off bottle rockets (using actual bottles as launch pads!) over the Yellowstone River, and drop Cherry Bombs off the bridge and watch them explode just before they hit the water.  Small town Montana had nothing else to do in the summer, so when it came to fireworks we heartily entertained ourselves with the legal over-the-counter explosives!

Such dorks we were!  We even took our Roman Candles and aimed them at each other (from a reasonable safe distance of about five feet apart),  and played “dodge the flaming white ball.”  With A-HA and Mister Mister blaring from the powerful 2-inch speakers in our cool cars (mine was a ’79 Honda CVC – cherry red!) we jammed through the night at the beach by the river and drank be…er, rather consumed Kool-Aid and soda.  Yeah, that’s it.  I believe I went nearly deaf one holiday after we created a daisy chain of Black Cat firecrackers about that wound around trees and along the river rocks along the beach, trying to set some kind of record for “longest domino firecracker” ever.  Although we successfully did not destroy any property or lose any body appendages, we laughed the next day when we always heard the stories of some dorks that destroyed tons of piled hay bales, or caught the neighbor’s tree on fire.

Now, I’m a city dweller, a “slicker” if you will.  I’m turning crotchety in my old age and frown and make “ha-rumphing” noises when the punks outside light those noisy firecrackers.  My girls – 6 and 3 – like the fireworks, but only from afar.  Nothing that BOOMS, CRACKS, WHISTLES, or otherwise EXPLODES are ever set off in their presence.  Sparklers & snakes.  Why?  Because they sparkle and look like poo.  And THAT’S what Independence Day is all about!

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Where A Dad Can Be A Kid

June 17, 2008

Tonight I did what most parents dread: I took my kids to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Just mention the name and hear the unanimous and synchronous groans of all parents within earshot. Every mom and dad knows that a couple of hours spent at C.E.C. means loud screaming kids running between your legs, bright, blinding flashing lights, and horrible arrangements of your musical favs performed by Chuck & his gang. Not to mention the necessity to eat pizza with the consistency of a greasy tire. At least they give us all the soda we can guzzle to wash down the chunky bits.

No, parents dread the thought of an adventure at Chuck’s.

But…

Once the decision to embark has been made, a parent undergoes a change as we pass through the doors. Especially the fathers. We revert to little kids. The lights! The sounds! The games!! I noticed tonight dads who played air hockey with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing a stick. A beer-bellied 30-something with a long blonde mullet shot Skee Ball and collected tickets in a bucket which I’m sure he would redeem for a nice Nerf frisbee or something. Another dad was dropping tokens by the dollar in a Galaga game with the same intensity and frequency as dollars dropped at the local go-go girls wiggle tavern.

So regardless of the moans and groans when prodded by our kids, “Daddy! Let’s go to Chuck E. Cheese’s!” we secretly enjoy the experience and look forward to when we can go be a kid, too!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Galaga alien ass to kick….

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Crayons vs Legos

June 16, 2008

Daddy FridgeMy parents were clever. Much more clever than I am as a parent. Growing up I never had the encouragement to indulge in creative visual artistic endeavors. Rather than sit me down with a box of crayons or colored pencils in which my final output would be a bunch of indiscernible scribbles, circles, and zigzags surely to end up on the front of the fridge at my request, I was given the array of typical little boy toys. I built cabins out of Lincoln Logs, spaceships from Legos, and raced cool cars on mini race tracks. All of which could be disassembled and stashed after I became bored with the monotonous activity. Clean. No mess. No clutter. Very clever.

But despite all the underhanded training and playtime activity to become an architect, rocket scientist, or redneck race car driver, I became a creative artist. And as a parent with a deep appreciation for all types of creative arts I am obliged to plop my daughters down at the table armed with a gigantic boxful of crayons, colored pencils, markers, and a ream of paper, and say, “get to work, draw me something.”

I have also discovered that this route to keeping children entertained is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than spending hard-earned dollars on overpriced toys that get opened and played with once or twice then stuffed in the closet for eternity – or at least until the next yard sale. But, whereas simple toys can be put away, thrown away, or just accidentally swallowed, there’s a ton of creative output from the drawing table. And every little page of scribble is a masterpiece in the eyes of my girls.

“Put this on the fridge, Daddy!”

“Hang this one in the hallway!”

“Do we have enough for an art gallery showing on First Thursday yet?”

As dutifully as my daughters spent their creative energies drawing their masterpieces, I dutifully display their art upon as many surfaces as are available. That usually means the front of my fridge looks like a telephone pole in a bohemian part of town; stacked with layer upon layer of fliers and posters and silly art.

But I wouldn’t change it for the Mona Lisa.

Happy Fathers Day

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I’m Hungry – I’m Full

May 13, 2008

Goonie gets smarter every day. She has learned the artful dance of negotiation, she reads like a 12th grader, and she even composes improv songs on hilarious subjects such as excrement and throw up. She gets her smarts (and humor) from me. However, sometimes logic floats away like a helium balloon and becomes an airhead. She gets that from her mother.

Last night after a meal of two forkfulls of Mac & Cheese she proceeded to ransack my kitchen in search of snack booty.

“I’m hungry”

“Then eat your dinner”

“But I’m full”

“???!!!??”

Even after six and a half years of parenting I’m still trying to plug in to kid logic. They obviously understand that to get out of eating any more of the ca-ca that is set before them all they have to do is feign fullness. But their strategy to get up from their dinner and go straight for the kitchen pantry, well, I’m on to that scheme like Pooh Bear to hunny trees.

But I take the cue and run with the ball and say, “I’d be happy to get you a popsicle – as soon as you finish your meal.”

“But I don’t want any more.”

“Then obviously you don’t want any popsicles.”

“Then can I have potato chips?”

“No.”

“Popcorn”

“No.”

“Cheez-its?”

“Uh uh.”

So off she goes to play and dance, forgetting that she’s hungry. But near bed time she can’t stand the hunger any longer and eats her cold cheesy noodles. And after reading stories and hugs and kisses, and getting her cups of water and milk for her bedside, she walks into the living room 10 minutes later…

“Can I have a popsicle now?”

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Everybody Was Kung Fu Peeing

May 8, 2008

I’m reaching a very remarkable milestone in my life – the day when I shall NEVER have to change another diaper again! Well, ok, it’s a pretty important milestone for my daughter, the little Klingon, too. She is now ‘dis many (3) and finally stepping up to the plate, er, the bowl rather, to pee in the potty on her own without the protective shield of an absorbent diaper.

However, as these milestones are reached, there is a transition period. Right? Can I get an “Hell Ya” from all the parents out there? A little person doesn’t stop wearing a diaper cold turkey one day and start using the porcelain throne as if it were second nature full time, right? Right.

There are mistakes to be made. Accidents are expected.

Just, why does it have to happen on the same throw pillow on my couch!?!

Ok, sure, my precious little daughter has had “ooopsies” on the floor, and thankfully, on the linoleum in the bathroom on her way to the potty. But I swear I’ve steamed and Oxicleaned this pillow full o’ pee at least three times now. There are three, count ‘em, three decorative pillows on the couch, but it’s always the same one. Interesting, i’nt it, how a young Klingon, like a dog, will find an object to mark her territory again and again.

But have no fear, if Oxiclean is as strong as it touts on cleaning up tough “diaper leakage”, you’ll feel safe that you may lean your head on my couch throw pillow with no fear of offensive odor or stain.

I’m just not telling you which one of the three pillows. 😉