Tag Archives: Kids

Battling the Bad Saturday Vibes

Mowing Dad’s Yard

3:19 p.m. and I’m at my dad’s watching my stepdaughter mow his yard. This is her first time using a push mower and boy is she doing an awful job. He finally admitted that his back was totally fucked up, he wasn’t the strong and undefeatable man that he once was, and that he needed someone to mow his yard.

The “someone to mow his yard” is me, obviously. But I’m trying to teach the kids that you have to work to earn something, be it money, food, or whatever other shit they want, and since I despise mowing decided to pay one of them to do it for me. I doubt my father will pay me, so I’m accepting of the fact that I’ll probably have to pay her out of my own pocket to be lazy, not mow, and write this angry blog post in the meantime. When I think about it, $20 is totally worth it.

I had to mow his back yard because the grass was nearly a foot tall. She couldn’t even get the mower through the mess, so I took over and knocked out the back yard for her. She’s doing the front, and I’ll still foot the bill for the her labor, the full $20. I forgot how shitty mowing yards are, especially if you’re using a push mower.

Another favor for my parents where I’m sacrificing something to assist. Time, money, peace of mind, convenience: something. They did raise me and I’m appreciative of that fact, but aren’t my parents — two fully functional adults — able to be a little more self-sufficient than this? Always borrowing money. Rarely paying me back. Requiring me to come get the money that they’re paying me for some reason, like a guy from the bank showing up at my home if I had a payment for him. Having me pick up cigarettes for them. Footing the phone and insurance bills for them monthly. Just being all around pain in the asses to me in a way that I don’t think is good for anyone involved. Sure, I’ll help when needed, but my help seems to be required all the time to where it isn’t helping anymore. It feels like a permanent assistance plan. Especially for my dad who seems to be kinda conservative, I wonder if he equates his opposition to “social safety nets” — those damn welfare queens getting free money and food and shit — to anything I’m doing to help him. The world has a way about making you into a total hypocrite if you’re not careful.

FORD: Found On Road (Driveway) Dead

We hopped in the car to drive to my dad’s to be greeted by this message in the Ford Focus Electric:

Oh no. Recall that this is a fully electric car and while I love the thing, when something does go wrong all it does it blast this message which doesn’t let you drive the car at all. You do have to appreciate shitty mechanical gas cars for your ability to actually fix them. I called Ford Roadside Assistance to get it towed 20 miles to the closest dealership that can fix the thing. (For free. Fuck Ford. Their shitty car broke again and they can pay to have it towed.) At least I bought a used Honda Civic a few months ago with 195,000 miles on it that can act as a spare. I swear that car will never die.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

More money down the drain. Hopefully it isn’t over $1,000 like last time. Oh yeah, I still need to pay $500 for a dorm deposit fee for the other step-kid…

A Pointless Car Trip

Before that? My dad stopped by to drop off food for some reason. Yes, we were going over to his house to mow in a few hours, but for some reason he felt the need to stop by and give us food and some tomato plants. We could’ve picked them up when we went to mow, but no. Once again, I have no idea why he did this — it doesn’t make sense — and seems to be a larger inconvenience than anything.

The Favor Dictator

While he was over all he did was act passive-aggressive the entire time. He said he had to “wait on me” and that he had “stuff to do” or something, once again proving my point that when I do someone a favor them seem to want to dictate the details. If I’m nice enough to mow your yard, maybe not be such a demanding ass all the time? I wake up around 11 or 12 and it still takes me at least 30 minutes to caffeinate and nicotine up to where I can function; apparently this is much to late for my dad’s liking. Nagging, but subtly, about me getting my ass in gear and getting his yard done despite him having no actual plans to attend to today. I can’t help that he wakes up early, is antsy, and really wants his yard mowed. If someone is doing you a favor, work with them a bit.

Phone Call Excerpt

“What are you guys having for dinner tonight?” he asked on the phone before he came over.

“I don’t know. We never have plans. I have no fucking idea what we’re going to have.”

Well, why not?

“I don’t know. I never cook the meals really.”

Well why not?! You need to help out around the house too. Does your wife need any more tomato seeds? Any tomato plants? Do you guys want some potatoes?”

“I don’t know. You should probably call and ask her; gardening is her hobby/project. It’d be like asking her about my solar panels or…”

Click. He hangs up on me.

Father Knows Best, Or, You Don’t Know A Fucking Thing

We had some fermented apple juice laying around today. About a half gallon, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Straight apple juice doesn’t really turn into a strong wine, so I opted to add a few cups of sugar to it to really get the alcohol content up to wine-like levels. I grabbed a funnel, measured a cup of sugar, and dumped it in.

Apparently this caused all the dissolved carbon dioxide in the juice to instantly fizz out, ala Mentos and Diet-Coke, causing an impromptu volcano of fermented apple juice to spray violently all over the table. I laughed — Wow I didn’t expect that! What a fucking mess! — and was overjoyed to have fucked up so badly and been surprised as much as I was. I had a moment of sheer childlike wonder that I rarely experience anymore. But apparently my dad and my mother-in-law didn’t appreciate the volcano of juice as much as I did. “Why didn’t you do that outside? What were you thinking? Clean that up now, quit watching it spill all over the floor and laughing about it.” Fuck, I didn’t take it outside because I didn’t expect it to blow the fuck up. Duh.

So I’m cleaning the table and my dad has to point out to me that I should lift up a few jars, cups, and cans and wipe under them. You see, as my dad explained, the juice can collect under the cups or whatever and you must lift them up to really clean everything up. “Goddamnit dad, I know how to clean a damn table off, holy shit.” I was really losing it about this time. I’m a thirty-year-old fully mostly functioning adult and it’s offensive that he thinks I can’t clean a table or something. Fuck off, man.

I went to add more sugar after I cleaned the mess up. More nagging. “You’re going to do that again?! Why don’t you take it outside this time?!”

“Goddamnit, dad, ALL THE CO2 DISSOLVED OUT ALREADY, IT WON’T FIZZ ANYMORE.” And it didn’t do anything dramatic when I added more sugar.

Phone Call Excerpt #2

“Where are the kids at?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“Why not?! You should spend time with them.” 

“I’m writing right now. Trying to get a blog post out.” 

“*passive-aggressive sigh* Jer, you need to spend time with your kids. Take them to the park. Play with them.”

“I have a list of things I need to do. I’ll take them outside later.”

“*Sigh* Okay. Whatever.”

Towing the Car, Or, I Do Everything Wrong

The tow truck finally showed up to take the derelict car to the dealership. Yay, I could get that mess dealt with finally. I took the kids outside, a five and a four-year-old, to watch the guy put our car onto the flatbed tow truck. Kids are kids and love seeing new and unusual things and I knew they’d be interested in watching the car get loaded and towed away, and I wasn’t wrong. They didn’t know what was happening and I loved explaining what was going on and watching their wonder. When the man drove away, they ran to the end of the yard waving and smiling and the guy smiled and waved back. I knew that the two little curious kids totally made his day. Like he’d go home from work and tell his wife and kids about the two excited children he met today. Totally excited about his mundane job that he probably hates and gets little joy out of. It was cool and I felt good about it.

But apparently this was not the right course of action, at least to my wife. She was worried about the tacky clothes they dressed themselves in today, as if that matters at all to the tow truck guy dressed in his dingy work clothes. And apparently he had a cough so she was pissed the fuck off at me by having the kids outside around an obvious COVID-stricken person. We stayed more than ten feet away from him! The kids are scared of everything — loud trucks, strangers, big machinery — and they never went anywhere near him. Well, fuck me right? 8 p.m. on a dreary Saturday and I’m once again feeling that no matter what I do doesn’t seem to be right.

Mow my dad’s yard? Get shit on. Mow our yard? Get shit on. Car shits on me. Try to show the kids something new and exciting, and guess what? Yes, get shit on. I’m really feeling the bad vibes today and I’m sure after I make this ranting post I can get shit on for whining about getting shit on. I cannot wait. Oh well, there’s nothing else to do on the weekend besides piss time away, and this is serving its purpose nicely. Maybe Sunday will be a better day; at least I can drink on Sunday.

Birthdays Suck: Part Two

Now that the first part post is finished, posted, and part of history I can move onto the real cerebral reasons as to why birthdays fucking suck. In case you didn’t read part one it was basically me bitching about how bad my birthday was just because it was a generally shitty day. Any day that went the way it did would suck, it just happened to also be my birthday. I was tired, insomnia-and-anxiety-stricken, felt like an ex-coke head (I imagine), and was all-around miserable. Now onto the actual reasons for birthdays sucking.

The first thing to complain about is the arbitrariness of celebrating a year of life. If you get down to it we could celebrate every day (or week, or month, or whatever) we’re alive but that would lead us to unnecessarily high numbers rather quickly. For example I’m apparently 12,058ish days old, but that number doesn’t mean very much because it doesn’t give you any reference frame to compare it to. We all know what a year is so when you say someone is 25-years-old you have a good idea what it means. An 9-year-old might be is likely an immature brat while a 90-year-old is likely frail as fuck and about to die. A year makes good enough sense and I don’t know what else we could use to measure age. But where does a year come from anyways?

Age is just counting how many orbits you’ve personally made around the sun after you appeared outside your mom. A year makes intuitive sense with seasons and stuff like that, but when you think of it as “laps completed around the sun” it seems rather strange. Think of most of our laws that are age-based: you can’t drink alcohol unless you’ve orbited the sun 21 times. You can’t vote for our country’s leaders until you’ve done 18 laps around the sun. And if you’ve orbited the sun 67 times you don’t need to work anymore.

A key gripe here is that laps around the sun doesn’t equate to actual knowledge, wisdom, or anything important really. Some ten-year-olds could probably operate a car as well as an adult, and some adults shouldn’t be allowed to vote or drink no matter how old they are. I don’t know how we would set an age for “wisdom” and have it actually mean anything, but ideally it would be a better measurement than solar orbits. A 25-year-old could be a successful millionaire or a heroin addict and the only similarity these people would share is the fact that they’ve orbited the sun 25 times. This just further makes the idea of a birthday seem kinda meh as age itself is a poor “progress of life” counter or whatever. 

Also the fact that we celebrate the day we came out of our mom’s vagina seems kinda…strange when you word it that way. Obviously this exempts people who were born via c-section but even that is celebrating the day you were cut out of your mom’s womb. I mean it makes sense to use that as the “starting point” of your life, but it’s also kinda strange. You could also use the point of conception as your “birthday” I suppose, and I’m kinda surprised that pro-lifers haven’t jumped on that idea yet. I mean I did exist in some form 8 months before I was actually born. (Getting all deep and shit I’ve existed — my atoms at least — since the universe began. Woah. mind-blown.gif) By giving you a “birthday” on the day you were conceived you’d seem more an actual person than “a fetus” would; this would play right into the “life begins at conception” idea. (Really if they take up that idea and actually go with it I’ll be really upset. Like I was joking guys don’t take it seriously.)

Outside of all that bullshit, birthdays also suck because I’m an adult. I just turned 33 (in case you didn’t want to do the math with my age in days earlier) and anyone within ten years of 33 will know that it’s not an important birthday by any stretch of the imagination. 33 is an age where nothing actually happens while the closest “special” birthday is 30, followed by 40. But the 40-year birthday is going to be a ton more dismal than 30 was. I got seven years to go and I already know that fact. But before that? 21. Because you can drink at 21.

We all know birthdays are cool as a kid, and to a lesser extent as a teenager, mostly because you get shit you want. As a kid you are showered in toys and birthdays/Christmases are great opportunities to get the things you want. This is especially important given your paltry $10/week allowance that makes it impossible to get the really good shit you want. These gifts gave you something to look forward to on your birthday and made the day special. As you age these gifts magically disappear and the day becomes a mundane affair.

Teenagers get the “gift” of knowing they’re making progress through life: at 13 you’re finally a teenager, at 15 (in Illinois at least) you can get a driver’s learning permit, at 16 you can get an actual license, at 17 you can go see rated-R movies (Not a big deal. The shitty teenager birthdays are 14, 17, and 19.), and at 18 you’re an actual fucking adult! The “progress factor” of your birthday quickly tapers after that. At 20, well, you’re 20, and at 21 you can drink. That’s it. At 24 (I think) you finally get booted off your parents insurance if you’re attending college so no one cares about that, and at 25 you can run for congressional office (yay!). Then 30, 40, 50…blah blah.

Even if teenagers might not get really cool gifts and experience the fun that birthdays as a kid used to hold, they still get to feel like they’re getting somewhere in life. Hell, even senior citizens sort of get this “birthday glory” back as they can look forward to retirement age or getting fucking senior discounts at restaurants and shit. Somehow I don’t think I will be very enthusiastic about that crap when I’m that age (if I’m alive). Also your impending death kinda puts a damper on things for you.

Remember when I mentioned something about “progress in life?” Well, for me at least, that’s a major downside for birthdays. Birthdays give me that “looking back on life” thing that New Year’s usually does to me (and the 4th of July as well…) and I don’t know if it’s me or if everyone deals with it. It definitely gets worse as you get older as well. As you get a year older on your birthday it becomes a perfect time to process that you are in fact a year older and that, well, you’re getting older. It’s natural to look back at all the time and think of what you’ve accomplished, or in my case, what I haven’t accomplished.

I remember leaving high school and knowing that I was only 18 and that I had plenty of time to actually do something with my life. The day I graduated I went to my grandma’s and planted grass. A day as notable as graduating high school was capped off by quaintly planting grass in the afternoon with no thought given to my future. At my 30th birthday I really realized that “hey, I haven’t done a fucking thing yet. What am I doing?” and I resolved to actually get off my ass and do something, but progress has been slow.

My supervisor pointed out that some people accomplish their life’s work at a late age. Late-bloomers and all. Charles Darwin was near 50 when he published his landmark book on evolution so compared with him I still have 17 years to do my thing. I don’t like that mindset though because it seems easy to use as a crutch to justify not doing anything to myself. It’s the same “I got time” mindset that ended up wasting most of my 20s. I think I need the self-loathing and anxiety that birthdays bring to keep me moving forward, even if the self-loathing is pretty shitty.

This is almost made worse by well-meaning family members who want to see me have an amazing birthday. This creates a dichotomy where people are being very enthusiastic and joyful about my birthday where I’m just feeling like shit about it. It almost makes it worse because if all of these people are happy about my birthday, why the hell aren’t I? I just makes me hate myself more because I’m feeling shitty about getting older and not doing anything with my life while everyone else is yelling at me to be happy because it’s my birthday! Blow out the candles and make a wish!

I don’t know if other people feel the pressure of time on their birthday, but for me it is inseparable from the day itself. Any fun, positivity, and celebration is always outweighed by my constant looking back/forward and it makes the day depressing no matter what happens. It’s one of those things I wish I could shut off but it has been lingering around for every birthday and New Year that I’ve since being a teenager. This sucks because the idea of a single day being your birthday when you “turn a year older” is silly as time is constantly moving forward; there isn’t really one day that you age but this day still drags me down and makes me feel like shit about my life. Couple this with the fact that birthdays are generally bland and pointless when you’re in your late 20s and 30s (and onward I’m assuming) makes any upcoming birthday something to dread and avoid. Like I want to shut my phone off and deactivate my Facebook page until it’s over in an attempt to make the day as normal as possible. It’s like a storm to hide from or something. So yeah, birthdays suck.