Friday, September 30, 2011

Daddy Daughter Days

I know that I said these would be posted each Thursday, but it was a little bit hectic yesterday.  So you get my Thursday post to kick off your weekend instead.

It was hectic because my wife took an adventure to the Google headquarters.  It was for her job, so she actually had a business reason to go.  Although it is also her favorite company ever, so she was excited for the opportunity to go.  She did however agonize about it.  She knew that going there meant leaving on Wednesday night and possibly not seeing Grace and Ana all day on Thursday.  I think a small part of her was worried about my ability to take care of the girls, but a larger part was not spending any time with them.  She ended up going (and enjoyed it in spite of not seeing the girls).

She warned that the girls may wake up in the middle of the night and to move the monitor closer.  My secret shame: I sleep through them crying all the time.  I thought I would develop a radar for this sort of thing, but it hasn't happened.  I was a heavy sleeper before, and I'm still a heavy sleeper.  No changing that apparently.  So I turned the monitor up full blast and put in right next to my head.  Grace woke up just after midnight, but I gave her a pacifier and she fell right back asleep.  For the rest of the night.

They both were up at 6am and ready to play.  Seriously.  They were hungry, but more than anything they wanted to play and laugh.

Grace went on an adventure in the kitchen.  She and Ana did their normal routine of pulling out on the plastic ware in the cupboards.  Instead of playing with it on the floor, Grace wanted to delve deeper and see the inner workings of the cupboard.  This is how I caught her.

For lunch I gave the girls spaghetti.  If you've never watched a baby eat spaghetti, you are missing out big time.  Seriously one of the cutest things ever.

After lunch we played in the living room.  Erin bought them a little table that makes music noises and ABCs and counting.  The girls seem to really enjoy it.  They get to stand and play with it and each other, and it is much safer than them playing on the jumperoo.  The only problem is it shorts out and that causes the sounds to stop, but that hasn't kept them banging away on it.  You'll also notice that I don't have them in their normal Thursday attire (Giants gear).  Erin said that people would think I never clean their clothes if they're always in the same outfits, so I changed it up this week.

We went up the stairs again.  Grace has already gotten so much faster than just a few days ago.  Ana is still the reigning speed demon.  In fact she has started a new game to worry her dad.  She now turns around when she gets to the top of the stairs and tries to come back down.  Not quite yet Ana.  There of course are no picture of this yet because I'd feel like a pretty irresponsible dad if I whipped out my camera instead of making sure they didn't fall.

After stair climbing, we walked to the store to get Erin a card.  She was very upset that she didn't get to see them, so I bought her a card and wrote her a note from the girls.  I also went to Icing on the Cupcake and got a two-pack of deliciousness.  She seemed to like both, and she let me have one of the cupcakes.  Win-win.

I did bathtime by myself because Erin didn't get home until after their bedtime.  Erin was obviously happy to be home.  So happy that she wasn't listening when I said that I had given Grace some Baby Tylenol before bed since her teething has been bothering her.  Erin gave her another dose which freaked her out enough to call the advice nurse.  All was fine though.

Another wonderful Thursday with my girls.  Erin even got a Google t-shirt from the headquarters.  Have a great weekend!

The Dream Team

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I love writing my Twitter Machine posts.  They're oftentimes unfiltered looks into my psyche.  I write "oftentimes" because a completely unfiltered look into my mind would both scare and offend most people.  I wish I could be unflinchingly honest, but I really can't without pissing off a lot of people.  And really I hold back not because I fear offending or angering others.  I just don't want to deal with it.

So my political correctness (what little of it I have) is 100% driven by selfishness.  At least I'm willing to admit that.  Most people are PC for the same reason, but they pass it off as caring about others which is total BS.  It's either that or a sense of superiority that manifests itself into trying to help every person that they sense is below them or their social class.

Anyway here is my only slightly filtered Twitter Machine:

-Here's an unpopular opinion: I like the Facebook update and have since it rolled out.
-Last I checked Zuckerberg hasn't charged anyone to use Facebook. If you don't like it don't use it.
-The irony of ironies of course is people complaining about the Facebook update ON FACEBOOK.
-Shaving with a brand new razor is right up there with a hot shower on the refreshing scale.
-The refreshing scale is a form of measurement I invented that runs from a low end sand in your pants to a high of full body massage.
-REM won't be around anymore making new music, and that makes me sad.
-I realized that outside of Dave Matthews, Zeppelin and Ben Folds I own more REM albums than any other artists.
-Personal favorite REM song: New Test Leper off of New Adventures in Hi-Fi
-We have a theme and almost have invitations for the girls first birthday. Baseball themed (in pink).  I win!
-Normally I'm not the type to clamor for stuff, but I hope to have an iPhone 5 before the end of the October.
-To avoid being called an Apple fanboy, I have had the same 3G iPhone for 2 years and don't run out for every release.
-Bath time is so much fun in our house. Grace loves splashing.  Ana loves playing with rubber duckies.
-Do you think Grover's agent complains to the Sesame Street writers about all the screen time he's lost to Elmo?
-You don't ask those type of questions until you have kids.
-I thought Robert California's analysis of Sesame Street and Elmo was dead-on. #theoffice
-Do you know why people stay in their careers? Because learning something new is a lot of work.
-I happen to enjoy the challenges that are in front of me and find myself invigorated by not knowing everything.
-I just want to watch the NBA, and it is looking more and more like it won't happen for a while.
-The NBA lockout just makes me hate everyone involved. How can no one involved see this?
-Sometimes I read blogs and think "This isn't that great" or "Why is he/she writing this?" or "Who is the audience on this?"
-I never ask those questions about this blog. So well-written, funny, honest, at times heartbreaking and faith reassuring.
-I've never understood the appeal of fishing. I get sitting around drinking, but why add disappointment of not catching anything to that?
-It's hard to accept that an album all about how much money two guys have sold so well #watchthethrone
-I love when my girls laugh. It's actually becoming more of a chortle at this point.
-By the way clapping, laughing and dadas from two babies is actually like 7 times more awesome than one.
-I'd say that the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is the greatest of all time. Right ahead of Antony and Cleopatra.
-You know it's fall when Count Chocula is on the shelves. #bestcerealever
-I'm coming up on my 100th post. I don't think I can afford a giveaway. So you'll get nothing and like it.
-I'm thinking I'll do something special when I get to 138. Sort of like The Simpson's 138th Episode Spectacular.

If I did a giveaway, what would y'all want? Case of Dr. Pepper? Halloween candy? Something SF Giants related?  An iTunes gift card?  Oh wait that's what I'd want.  Giveaways are what the cool bloggers do, and you all know I've always wanted to be a cool blogger.  But I also don't want to do a giveaway solely to gain more readers because that is inherently lame.  I really should have thought about this before my 98th post.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Exercise In Futility

Erin and I have been trying to cut down our spending on a month to month basis.  We throw good money away for things we don't really need or use.  Like most people we got rid of a portion of our Netflix (which became Qwikster or New Coke or whatever).  We looked into dropping some of the premium stations on our television.  We tried to do a better job of spending at the grocery store.  We had identified the quick ways to increase the money we had available each month and allocated it more necessary items.

One those items: gym membership.  I'm not here to promote an unhealthy lifestyle.  If you use your gym membership and are in the best shape of your life because of it, good for you.  Personally I only ever go to the gym to use a treadmill.  Erin hardly used it for much more than that and the pool.  You don't need to take a logic class to know that a moving belt on a piece of electronic equipment isn't necessary to run.  And it certainly isn't necessary to pay out $60+ per month for the privilege to use that equipment.

So it was decided that a gym membership was fat that could be cut (pun certainly intended).

I put the girls down for a nap and had some time on my hands to handle some of this stuff.  I was on and off the phone in less than 5 minutes with DirecTV.  I told them to cancel something.  They did.  They even gave me three free months of HBO.  Thank you very much.  It was about as easy a customer service transaction that a person could do.

I was feeling good as I called our gym, but that didn't last.  The first three times I called all circuits were busy.  Apparently there was a run on cancelling gym memberships.  The fourth time I called I was connected to an automated line which put me on hold for about two minutes.  I was starting to get a little frustrated about it.  This is what we call the tip of the iceberg.

I finally got a live person on the phone.  I gave her my member number and told her that I would like to cancel my membership.  I also told her I'd like my last month's dues to be applied to the current month.  Her response "You can't do that."


Her: "You can't have your last month's dues applied to this month.  You'll be charged this month and your last month that you paid will cover next month."
Me: "I'm telling you that this is my last month ergo this would be paid with my last month's dues."
Her: "That can't be done."
Me: "Do you know why they collect first and last month's dues?  To cover you when someone leaves.  This is me leaving."
Her: "That isn't how it works.  Also you can't cancel over the phone."
Me: "I can't cancel over the phone?  Don't you sign people up over the phone?  What's the difference?"
Her: "That is unrelated.  Your contract states that it must be cancelled in writing."
Me: "Okay.  Can you do me a favor?  Grab a pen and write down the following: Brandon is cancelling his gym membership.  Now it's in writing."
Her: "I can't submit it in writing for you."
Me: "Okay then.  What is your email address, and I'll email it?"
Her: "Email doesn't work either.  It has to have your signature.  You can fax it or bring it in."
Me: "Really?  What is the difference?  You realize that an email is in writing, right?  Anyone can send a fax in to cancel it.  How would you know that is my signature anyways?"
Her: "That's how it needs to be done.  You signed this contract."
Me: "Yes.  I know that almost 5 years ago I signed a contract.  I've been a member of your gym since then with no issue until today.  I know that you only make people jump through these hoops because they are less likely to cancel the more inconvenient it is."
Her: "That's just how your contract works."
Me: "Yes, it is my contract which will be void in 5 minutes.  What is your fax?  I can't wait to send it in."

After trying to fax it four times with a no answer at the fax number she provided, I was done.  I strapped the girls in the stroller and walked to the nearest gym.  I had my letter prepared to turn in.  When the lady at the desk asked if she could help me, I told her that all she needed to do was file my paperwork to cancel my membership, and I walked out.

I've had an easier time quitting a job than this gym.  I've gone through break-ups that were less painful.  The customer is always right until he doesn't want to be a customer anymore.  The good that came out of it: I was motivated to run...away from that gym as fast as I could.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Daddy Daughter Days

We're already back to my favorite day of the week.  Thursdays with my girls cannot be beat.

Thursdays all pretty much start the same: I change the girls' diapers and bring them into bed with Erin and me.  She nurses Ana, and I give Grace a bottle.  Then we spend a few minutes snuggling in the bed.  Then we move from the bed to the floor to play.  After playing on the floor for a little bit, we go downstairs and eat breakfast.  Erin goes to work, and then the fun starts.

This morning was all about exploring the downstairs of our house.  The girls try to open every cabinet, cupboard and drawer in the kitchen.  Then they go into the dining room to see if they can open the china hutch and play with the napkins and tablecloths.  When they get tired of that, they move to the family room to look out the front window to see what's happening on the street.  They also like to get themselves stuck under the table.  It is very reminiscent of Sixteen Candles.  I see a little Anthony Michael Hall in Ana.

After naps, it is lunch time.  They love being in their high chairs as long as there is food in front of them or their dad to distract them.  I can't get over how efficient Grace can be while she is eating.  She only eats one type of food at a time, she doesn't leave much of anything on her tray and she doesn't really make a huge mess (unless she is tired).

After lunch we had some time to go on a walk and run some errands.  There was gym membership to cancel (we'll get into that tomorrow) and a trip to the grocery store planned.  We were all set to go both in one trip and mix in some exercise while we were doing it.

We got derailed from our plan because of a stupid thorn.  Apparently the tires on our jogging stroller are wafer-thin because a small thorn punctured a hole in the wheel, and it was flattening fast.  I wouldn't be nearly as frustrated by it if I hadn't just changed the inter-tube earlier this week.  So this tube basically lasted less than four days.  Thanks for that.

So a change in plans was in order.

It was off to the sporting goods store to get a patch kit for our inter-tube along with a new tube (you know just in case we roll over a rock or something).  We did some window shopping, but I was careful to keep an eye on Ana with her history.  She did see something she liked, or maybe I'm just projecting on her...

After a grocery run, we came home for a nap.  Mom got home which is always good for some huge smiles.  We all ate dinner together and rolled around on the floor.  Erin let Ana climb up the stairs before when I wasn't here, so she wanted her to show off her climbing skills for her dad.  It was quite awesome.  The only thing that made it better was Grace not wanting to be left behind and figuring it out before our eyes.  She seemed to be cheering herself on with each step.  It even sounded like she said I did it when she got to the top.

Not going to lie, I was choked up a little by it.  Babies have such a capacity to learn which is only matched by their curiosity.  They don't think about what is holding them back.  They just do or at least try to do.  It is inspiring and a reminder to foster that curiosity and give them new things to learn.  They may get frustrated, and they may even fail.  The point is to challenge them, and they'll blossom.

Happy Thursday.  Can't wait until next week.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

As I write this, I am certainly not thinking about writing it.  How is this possible with words still finding their way onto the screen?  That is a very reasonable question, and I can't really say I know.  Because right now I'm thinking about what is on TV tonight, and yet the words keep showing up.  I'm also thinking about what it will take for the Giants to make the playoffs besides a miracle combined with a collapse.  I'm also thinking about what my girls are doing at this moment.

As you can see it becomes very hard writing a blog with two cogent thoughts strung together.  Luckily for me, I have my Twitter Machine posts.  All I have to do is spit out one cogent thought, and actually it doesn't even need to be cogent.  Just a thought is all I need.  It doesn't have to be humorous or tug at your heart-strings.  It just has to be a thought and nothing more.  This doesn't bode well for people actually posting to the real Twitter Machine.  If I'm not thinking before I fake tweet, I can only imagine how little thought goes into real tweets.

So once again here are my unfiltered, unprepared thoughts for the week:

-The Sing Off is back on, and I have one of my guilty pleasures distracting me from writing again.
-Sara Bareilles is so much better and brings more to the table than Pussycat Dolls chick
-I hate wishing the worst on someone, but damnit I hope Arizona D-Bags choke so hard. #sfgiants
-Pro-Tip: Never try to drive home past a football stadium immediately after a game ends.
-You never realize how much you can hate multiple fanbases when you deal with them in traffic
-We actually saw a guy get out of his car to threaten someone...on the freeway. #safetyfirst
-As I see it, a two-ton truck is more deadly than your hard looks and over sized jersey #thinkitthrough
-JLo driving a Fiat is about as believable as me driving a Bentley
-Ana was sits in the bathtub looking at Grace just laughing.
-Kids constantly remind you why you had them (not that I needed the reminder)
-Poison for the last few weeks: Vanilla Coke Zero and Vodka. Crazy delicious.
-If The Playboy Club gets picked up for a second season, I'll eat a rabbit's foot.
-Apparently Modern Family is well-loved.  I don't watch it or the Emmy's, so I've no frame of reference.
-Any awards that fail to recognize The Wire can't be taken too seriously.
-But really what are awards shows but gigantic, televised, over-dramatic circle-jerks?
-Isn't it enough that these TV folks get paid handsome salaries? They also need awards to validate them?
-That being said Jon Hamm was robbed.
-Rice noodles are totally under-appreciated. This is also true of Thai food in general.
-Now I want some Pad Thai and Panang Curry. Anyone want to bring me dinner?
-When is fall supposed to happen? We're still in the 90s where I live.
-I want the leaves to change, the weather to cool and hot cocoa to become an acceptable beverage again
-Is Pete Campbell from Mad Men so annoying because we've all worked with someone like that?
-The girls love pancakes. I'm sure they'll ultimately prefer waffles but its a good start.
-I find that your political leanings matter very little. A blowhard is always a blowhard. #keitholberman #billoreilly
-Moneyball combines 3 of my favorite things: baseball, movies and Brad Pitt
-All they needed was to include my babies and wife and it would be the perfect movie for me
-Seriously can someone bring me some Thai takeout? I'm starving.
-I'm about 10 lbs lighter since starting Weight Watchers with @erinsgirls. Another 10-15 would work.
-If I hear Blue Bayou at work one more time, I may punch something #changethestation
-People playing made-up words in Words/Hanging with Friends is one step below hate-crime
-I feel like the R&D department at Nabisco is just a room full of stoners #tripledoubleoreo
-Erin and I are trying really hard to not curse in front of the girls. It's pretty fucking hard.
-Erin insulted Tony Bennett. He sings I Left My Heart In San Francisco. May lose her Giants fan card.
-I'll miss this summer heat like you'd miss a kidney stone.
-Underrated Pandora station that you'd probably think sucks at first glance but doesn't: Rush Radio.
-Doesn't look I'm getting any Thai food via my Twitter Machine. Looks like its leftovers tonight.

Signing off this week.  I'll be back revving up the Twitter Machine next Tuesday.  Have a great week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Parent Proofing

I often wonder how much easier life would be with only one kid.  That isn't to say that I only want one kid.  I love both of my girls and can't imagine my life without them.  It's like twice the cuteness all the time.

But we also have twice the babies which can also be twice the trouble.  It's also at times impossible to keep an eye on both kids.  They are almost totally independent at this point.  This forced a need to start baby-proofing the house.

We installed padding on the edge of the fire place.  Sure it keeps them from busting their heads, but Ana has decided she would rather pull the padding off and try to eat it.  Something new to worry about.

We now have gates on the stairs, so the girls can roam all over the place without fear of a huge fall.  Not a moment too soon since Erin actually accompanied Ana today as she crawled up the stairs.  It's good for them to familiarize themselves with climbing up (and more importantly back down), but I don't think I'm quite ready to allow them free rein.  So we now have a gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep them from crawling up and a gate at the top of the stairs to keep them from falling down.

I also installed the cabinet guards to keep them from getting into trouble under the sink or with the pots and pans.  We don't want them breaking things or hurting themselves.

Have you ever noticed that more often than not these baby-proofing items are just a source of frustration for parents?  I mean I'm all for keeping our girls safe, but it is pretty damn annoying pushing down on those stupid latches any time I want cook something.  And do you know how hard it is to work one of those gates when you're trying to hold twins?  Such a pain in the ass.

We pay for the safety of our girls with constant annoyance.  I guess it's a fair trade off.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daddy Daughter Days

Welcome to the first installment of Daddy Daughter Days.

This is week two at my new job, so this is the second week of having Thursday off with the girls.  Last week wasn't too exciting.  I just hung out with the girls, and it was amazing.  But it wouldn't make for a very good read.

This week we actually had some junk to do.

The morning is always the best part of my day.  I've always been a morning person.  When I was a little kid, I would put myself to bed at night and be up early every morning.  That has stuck with me as I've grown up.  In fact I oftentimes don't even need to set my alarm in the morning because I'm usually up before it even goes off.  I'm also always in a good mood in the morning.  And I don't even drink coffee to get myself into my normal chipper mood.

It would seem that my girls have taken after me in this regard.  They are a joy in the morning.  They smile and laugh.  They are ready to play and explore from the moment their eyes open.  They spend their early mornings in our bedroom playing on the floor, climbing on the bathtub and trying to trap us in the shower.  Even if I wasn't a morning person, they would've made me one.

After breakfast we play in the living room a.k.a. where all the toys are kept.  We love rolling around on the floor and playing in the living room.  Although I'm still trying to get the songs that play on the electronic toys they are now obsessed with out of my head.

I tried to watch some TV, but recently that has become a bad idea.  The girls can now reach the DVR, and they love to change the channels.  They've also started to record whatever I may be watching right then.

We try to stick to a routine.  The girls always nap in the mid to late morning, and I wouldn't dare break that routine.  But after naps is the time for adventures and getting stuff done.  Today we went to get Erin's ring cleaned and pick up some groceries.

I think that the lady at Jared wanted me to play a practical joke on Erin.  She finished cleaning the ring and asked if I needed a travel case to bring it home.  Of course I wanted it.  I didn't want to lose it on the way home.  But she was all out of travel cases and gave me an actual ring box.  For a second I thought about faking Erin out and telling her that I got her something special.  Wasn't worth it.

We also had to go to the grocery store.  Mostly we needed propane since we went to grill veggies the other night and it was empty.  Now I'm never going to be accused of being a good planner, but I must say that I had a little stroke of genius today.  I wasn't sure how long the ring cleaning was going to take, but I knew that it might run into bottle time.  So I had bottles ready to go which I fed them with while sitting in the car in the grocery store parking lot.  I sat in the back seat in between the car seats and fed them both before getting groceries.  I rule!

You don't seem to buy as much crap that you don't need when you have to load it all up in the stroller.  The car also gets crowded very quickly on a grocery trip.  But the girls and I worked our tetris-like magic and made sure everything fit along with the stroller.

The day ended with a trip to the park.  Erin got home early, so we decided to go play on the swings.  We loaded Grace and Ana up back to back, and they fit perfectly in the swing.  They also LOVED it.  They were giggling and squealing.  We took about 100 pictures.  Erin even took video with her phone.  The best was when we loaded them up next to each other in separate swings.  They couldn't help but look over at each other and laugh each time their swings passed each other.  I guess kids just love swings.  Now I know why every park and jungle gym has them.

Erin had a Moms Night Out with her twin group, so I had to do bath and bottle time alone.  There of course aren't any pictures of that because I still lack that third hand to take pictures.  My attention is squarely on Ana trying to climb out of the tub or Grace trying to eat as many bubbles as possible.  And don't even get me started on trying to corral them while they're wrapped in their towels crawling on the floor.  It is equal parts fun, frustrating and adorable.  But they went down like angels after it was all said and done.

It was a great day all around.  I can't wait until next Thursday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Daddy Daughter Days

One of the fears of changing industries was figuring out a new schedule and how it would affect my time with the girls.  I was already working pretty ridiculous hours at my previous employer, so I welcomed the change.  I knew my new job could still have odd and brutal hours which sucks with a new family

The odd hours also came with a few benefits.

For example, I didn't have to be into work at 6:30 (yeah that is AM) each day which was worth the price of admission alone.  We're lucky to have two of the best morning babies ever.  They literally wake up smiling, and I've been missing it for the last few months because of my work schedule.  Instead I had to settle for pictures from Erin which never capture them as well.  Now I get mornings to play with them and do breakfast on my late days and be one of the first faces they see every morning on my early days.  It reminds me why I'm going to work in the first place when I see their smiling faces every morning.

I also learned coming in that I’d have Thursdays off.  This may seem like a small benefit.  I’d still only get my two days off per week and lose one of my weekend days.  Seems like a wash, but it really isn’t.  A day off in the middle of the week is like gold for a new dad.  It means one less day of paying for child care.  It means being off on a day when normal business is being conducted.  But most importantly, it means a day spent with my girls all to myself.

This of course means that Thursday will quickly become my new favorite day of the week (right after Sunday since that will be an all-family day).

So every week I’ll be posting what I did on Thursday with my girls.  I’m sure I’ll be including more pictures than you can handle.  Some weeks will probably be boring because I’m not the world’s most exciting guy.  More often than not, I prefer rolling around on the floor with my girls to just about anything else.  But I’ll try to make an effort to do something different each week for the sake of my readers and my sanity.

So starting tomorrow I'll be keeping track of what Grace, Ana and I do each week on our day off and posting it here every Thursday evening.  Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy the time I have with them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Okay.  I know what you're thinking.  He writes this post about his work life changing, and his blog life goes kaput.  It really wasn't my intention.  I wanted the transition to my "new" life to be seamless, so that my tens of followers didn't notice the difference.

That of course didn't happen.

I've instead seemingly abandoned you.  For that I give a half-hearted apology.  You see I never realized that all these work changes and schedule changes and life changes would affect my ability to post consistently on my blog.  I figured that I might even have more time to write.  This may be true once I settle in, but I'm still learning the ropes of a new industry and getting used to being a stay-at-home dad for parts of the week.  Not to lessen what I do here, but life takes precedent over the words I write.

But I promise to make more of an effort.  I'm going to get back in my groove with more posts each week.  I'm home alone with the girls on Thursdays, so that will mean a weekly post about our Thursday adventures.  I'll also write about my life learning a new industry.  And of course my calling card is making its triumphant return never to be missed again.

That's right.  Twitter Machine Tuesday is back in full effect!

-You'd think that I'd have some of these saved up after such a hiatus.  You'd be wrong.
-The internet is the last bastion for anonymous douchebags to rip someone they've never met.
-Anyone can be tough when they don't have to be held accountable to what they say. Own it.
-Being a true fan is continuing to watch your team even though they have no real shot of winning.
-Every Chicago Cubs fan is nodding right now.
-I don't get how people get so excited about the Madden video game. Never been into it.
-I would celebrate a Tecmo Super Bowl release though.
-I'm officially the only dude that doesn't care about that game. I'm sure @erinsgirls appreciates that.
-I don't really care about the NFL which may have something to do with my disinterest in Madden. Is that un-American?
-Peanut butter, bananas and vanilla ice cream. Or as I like to call it: The Elvis Sundae.  Delicious.
-Parenthood is back, and I am VERY excited.  Adam Braverman is my hero (Fake Person Division)
-I was never really clear on what I'd be doing in my new career...and I won't be now.
-I've had Chicken McNuggets more in the last 30 days than I had in the previous 10 years.
-Fiber One commercials aren't joking. Those bars shouldn't taste as good as they do.
-One of the perks of my new job is being able to see the girls in the morning.
-They're so happy when they first wake up. #notlikemom
-Both the girls are clapping now. Ana does it when you hold her above your head. Grace on the changing table.
-You don't realize how adorable something can be until you see a ten-month-old do it.
-Cinnamon Burst Cheerios are crazy delicious. I could eat them every day.
-I find that mixing your own plain Greek yogurt and fresh berries is more delicious than the store-bought stuff.
-I don't understand the appeal of Pitbull. So he wears suits and makes bad Miami music? I guess so.
-At least The Miami Sound Machine made good music and had Gloria Estefan. Bring them back.
-Note to wedding DJs: Lady Gaga doesn't get the over-25 crowd on the dance floor. Just play 70s funk and soul.
-80s songs are also a good bet considering current demographics of wedding guests.
-I write "current demographics" like I've consulted studies on the topic. I haven't.

You may have been expecting more.  If that is the case, you've obviously never read my blog before.  As for my loyal readers, I'm glad to crawl over the bar I've lowered to floor level for you.  But you'll start getting my mediocrity more consistently again.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Career Day

For the last couple of months I've been struggling with what I'm supposed to be doing with my life.  I know my place in our home.  I'm the happy husband who works on the dishes.  I'm the father of two little ones.  I'm the diaper changer and bottle maker.  I'm the one on the floor rolling around and entertaining 10-month-olds.  I'm the guy who chases those little ones all over the place.  That part of my of life is set.  I love it and cherish every moment I have playing those parts.

Unfortunately I haven't been feeling nearly as complete in my professional life.  It was the first time I questioned where I was and my direction.

I've been in the same industry since I was 16 years old.  I work in collections.  Scum of the Earth.  I know.  But it is something I've excelled at since before I could drive a car.  I called people on the phone and helped them recover their debts.  Or I managed and trained people who called people to recover their debts.  And for 13 years that is what I did from 9 to 5 every day (or 6 to 6 and even later while I've been in management).  When you do something for that long, it starts to define you.

This only made things more difficult.

It's hard to even think about leaving a stable job that you're pretty good at in an unforgiving job market.  It's even harder to do this with the house payment and a new family.  But when you feel like your life needs a change and you start to feel underappreciated, doing what is "safe" feels less and less like an option.  Whereas doing something new and challenging has been shouting at me like an obnoxious sports fan.  It was something I couldn't ignore in spite of how scary it really was.  I needed to address this nagging feeling that had grabbed hold of my brain and refused to let go.

Erin and I talked about it over the last few months.  She could tell I wasn't happy where I was.  She saw how much it was taking out of me.  And although it would make our life a little more difficult in the short term, she supported me and let me know that she would back me up no matter what my final decision was.  She knew I had to move on if only for my mental health.  She wanted what I wanted and knew that I would do what was best for myself and more importantly for our family.  We spent much of our vacation talking about plans, where I could work, what we needed for income, health benefits, etc.  We talked about the short-term and the bigger picture.  I emphasized how important it would be to work closer and cut out my commute.  We realized an opportunity and weighed the options of taking it or looking for something else.  I had reached a decision by the time we got home and knew what I had to do.

So I did something incredibly difficult when I returned from a week off, I informed my boss that I would be leaving after the end of this month to pursue something new.  I was leaving a place just a few weeks short of my five-year anniversary and an industry that defined my professional life.  She was a little shocked that she would no longer have me to depend on, but she understood my reasoning.  There was no bad blood.  No bridges burned.  I would give her all the knowledge I had to make sure no balls were dropped after I left.  But I would also not look back the moment I walked out the door on my final day.  That was fair.

This week I informed the rest of the staff.  A task that I actually found even more difficult to do.  These were the people that have gotten to know me over these last few years.  I had actually hired and trained most of them.  I tried to teach them what I knew and helped them be successful whenever I could.  There were times when they frustrated me (and I'm sure I frustrated them), but that is the nature of people you work with.  You respect them and enjoy them all the same.  Part of me feels like I'm abandoning them, and that is what made it harder than anything.  I know they can do the work and continue to be successful without me there, but I also know that not seeing someone that you're used to seeing every day is hard.  I've always had a positive attitude and a smile on my face which isn't easy to do in this particular industry, and I hope that isn't lost when I leave.  I will miss them and wish them all the best.

I'm at the same time scared and excited, mournful and ready.  I've made big changes in my life before, but this is a change that welcomes an exit from my comfort zone.  This is a risk that I've not taken before.  This is giving up something tangible for the unknown.  Nothing great can start without something else ending.  I think this is the start of something great.