Sunday, September 24, 2023

Dried Out Dad His Boy With the Magic Bat

Tomorrow I will have been alcohol free for 6 months. It feels pretty okay. The sad realization is that I am learning that I have to quit weed too. I don't sleep well on that stuff, and then I'm tired and emotionally detached for a day or two. So that's not working either. When the weekend hits I'm still in the car or the bike on the way out of work, turning up the music loud and singing like I'm going to go get a bunch of drinks, but I don't. Now on the weekends what I really want to do is go for a long run or a long bike ride. Those sort of things do make me feel good, but then family stuff comes up and it goes down the crapper, doesn't happen. Don't get me wrong, "the family stuff" is what I live for. I love my kids. Overall, it's the right thing to be doing, the whole sobriety thing. It's just boring and hard to admit to myself that I don't really enjoy social situations that much when I'm sober. As it turns out, getting together with friends to watch a ballgame and get some beers was mostly about the beers. I only realize that now because I'm not making plans with any friends to do any sober stuff. 

This is reading like a guy who's going to start drinking again. I'm not. Cutting off the sauce was the smartest thing I've ever done. I'm in really good shape right now, the lightest I can remember being since I was a kid. And I have more energy, I'm more effective at work, it's all good. It's just hard sometimes when you're so used to having a drink when you're mad, sad, frustrated, lonely, just about any old reason, and now you need to find what it is you need to do to get yourself right. Exercise isn't always enough, so I'm adding in therapy, and right now I'm writing. 

My writing is trash since I stopped doing it regularly, but I need to stop worrying about how bad it is and just get some words down.

Let's get back to what I mostly did on this page and that's funny stories.

My oldest son, Erik Noisewater, is now seven and playing his second year of little league baseball. Last season he was one of the two best players on his team. Everyone hit off the tee (the little stand the ball sits on and you just whack at it) so no one struck out, and he was one of the only kids paying enough attention to get people out in the field as well. Fast forward to this season and he is a first grader in a league where many of them are second graders, the kids have to hit a pitch thrown by a coach from the rubber, and he is going 0 for 3 with three strikeouts game-after-game. It's god damn disheartening for a young man. Those whiffs bleed into every other aspect of the game. Suddenly he is in the field picking the dandelions and kicking the dirt while the ball is hit to him. He wasn't one of those kids last season! And the poor kid is stomping back to the dugout after a strikeout throwing his helmet and his bat in disgust. 

I was desperate for this kid to get some contact at the plate, so I bought him a bat with a wide-ass barrel thinking it will increase his odds of hitting that ball. After all, most of the time when you hit it you can get on base at this level. The guy at the shop asked what league he plays in and said it technically that bat isn't allowed. To hell with that. Some over zealous umpire or crazed opposing coach is going to have to snatch that bat out of my boy's hands. He's hitting that damn ball. Low and behold he did have a clean whopper single that he drove into the outfield. He was so proud of himself! And he made a putout at shortstop, his favorite position. 

Erik and I got talking about his magic illegal bat, and I said it's probably best he doesn't tell anyone that the bat is too wide and against the rules. He said, "Would if we get caught?" I said "Well son, then you and I grab that bat and we drive for the Mexican border." It was so damn goofy to say something like that, and it's the kind of thing I used to say and jot down for the blog years ago. Thought you may enjoy it. Hope you're finding that magic bat equivalent in your life, whatever it may be, even if it's a placebo. Lord knows I'm searching for one too. 

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Erik's theater camp teachers really seem to be nuts about him. What it does for me is remind me what an amazing little guy he is. What these ladies are teaching me is that I can't see him as just a pain in my butt. If I get stuck in that mode too much, I'll regret it. When they get those small doses of him where he is really showing off for them, they really can see him at his best. I too see his best qualities through out the day, but him not listening to me telling him to put his shoes on, things like that, are peppered in there too, making me lose sight of what an amazing little dude he is.

 Sometimes he will say something or figure something out on his own, and it makes Mrs. Noisewater and myself just think we are not exposing him to enough activities and challenges. Why have we not gotten him a musical instrument and lessons by now? I guess I'm hoping that if he has a calling for something it will just find him. I read a lot of rock star biographies, and those rock stars always had some moments where they decided they needed to play. The problem is that generation all had that awakening when they saw people like Elvis and The Beatles, and I do not know what in the heck is going to be the muse for these kids. 

Baseball he is good at though. Mostly because he is one of the only kids not picking dandelions or digging in the dirt when the ball comes. That's half the battle at this age. We really only have two kids who are watching the batter when the ball is hit, react to the ball to go get it, and know where to throw it. He is one of the two Bluejays can put all that together.

Desi is the sweetest thing ever. He wants to be independent so he will say "I want to do it myself" and then he will put way too much toothpaste or ketchup on something and make a giant mess. But again, that's the pain in the butt side that I don't want to focus on. Desi is the cuddliest little guy ever. When he wakes up in the morning he will crawl into bed and cuddle. Or if we are watching a movie he will crawl right into your lap. Those are the good moments that I really like to just take in and be present for. 

I'm still off the sauce (alcohol). The summer is going by fast, but I'm making sure I'm exercising, getting things around the house done, and working on my Master's hours every day. Oh, and remembering to pick the kids up. 

Mrs. Noisewater is out with some moms in the neighborhood. I applaud her efforts in making friends. We need some more dang friends sometimes - it feels like it anyway. Going out with some random dads would be a real challenge for me right now, especially without any beers. But I'm finding my way, navigating this world without booze, and learning a lot about myself. I still haven't really put it all into words yet, but I'm not quite ready to do that. 

Thanks for listening.

Monday, June 26, 2023

 Today the boys summer camps were in full swing. Erik is doing another theater camp, this time a 3-week one, and I'm taking him to and from on the electric every time. It is going to be over 200 miles that I put on the e-bike for those trips alone. That thing will pay itself off at this rate. Our goal is to extend the life of the car so we don't have to buy our next car for another couple years. I think we have around 850 miles on the bike and we only got it last summer.

Erik is the only boy in his theater camp. He is a little bummed about that, but the truth is that if he had a boy in there he would screw around with that boy and not focus as well. I know this from experience. The play is about Zeus and all the other Greek gods, but they're actually animals in a pet store? I'm sure it will be great.

Desmond has a camp as well, and he is happy doing just about anything we put him in. He is a good dude.

Today I got another essay written for my Master's hours. It's boring as hell, but it will make me more money when it's all done. 

Erik's grandparents came out to watch him play in his baseball game on Sunday, and the boy put on a show. He was ripping hits everywhere, and he made a catch of a line drive that made even the other team's cheering section applaud. A caught ball in a T-ball game is rare. Erik even surprised himself. 

I'm still off the sauce. I found myself looking at pictures friends were sending with glasses of whiskey, and while I will admit it looked good, what I'm finding is that it is an urge to dull myself. There is a nervous energy that kicks in like "what should I do with my spare time," and what I'm finding is that uncomfortable feeling is okay. I don't need to throw booze at it. So, here I am blogging again instead of having a couple drinks and looking at my phone. 

If you have ever read my stuff in the past you will notice that I don't write as well as I used to. I'm not going to pretend that isn't the case. But I'll get better if I stay with it.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Shimee Shay's Bar & Grill

I haven't had a drink almost 3 months now, and I feel pretty great. I'm more present for things going on in my life, more aware, more in the moment. I feel healthier and happier, getting more done, and enjoying my time with my family more.

So that's that.

Hey, let me tell you about someone else who was drunk. A friend of mine was in town with his son (he wasn't the drunk one, nor was his offspring), and he was bringing his young boy to his first baseball game at Wrigley Field. This friend has been living in LA for years-and-years now, but he decided he would be damned before he let his son's first game be a Dodgers game. And guess what? His son had the ultimate Wrigley experience and will likely (read hopefully) be a Cub fan for life. He got onto the field before both games and got autographs, the whole 9. 

So onto the funny drunk person story. After I parted ways with my buddy at a rooftop hotel bar overlooking the ballpark (where I drank fake beers, staying the course) an attractive 20-something attractive gal approached me. Did I say attractive twice?

"Do you know where the karaoke place is over that way," she said, motioning south down Clark Street.

"Well, Murphy's Bleachers used to have some karaoke" I suggested, not knowing if this was still true all these years having gone by since I painted the town brown in that neighborhood.

"No, that's not it."

"Oh, well, you could for sure go to Trader Todd's. That's not far at all, on Belmont and Sheffield. They do karaoke 7 days a week."

"That's not it either. It's a big name," she said, spanning her arms out like jazz hands in either direction, looking deep into my eyes like I would get it. She might have been on something besides booze, now that I think about it. "The name is like . . . Shimee shay," she said in an epic, important-sounding manner, "Like that's not it, but it's like that."

"So that's not the name at all because that's nonsense, but that's like the rhythm of the name?"

"Yeah!" She said, thinking I got her.

I didn't. "I'm sorry I don't know this gibberish bar. I wish I could be of more help."

"It's okay," was the last thing she said to me as she joined her friends walking south bound, relaying to them that the guy she talked to didn't know where the bar was. I hope they found it. I walked away not wishing at all that I was drunk like her, but looking back fondly on those drunken adventures. I don't need any more of them, but they're nice to fondly look back on in the rearview.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The summer is flying by.

Erik has had a half-day camps so it doesn't afford me much time to get much done when I drop him off at 12:30 and have to go get him again at 3. Plus I'm dropping off Desi at his daycare at 8 and picking up back up around 2PM. The E-Bike has been helpful in zipping around the city, but I'm getting sun burned a lot out there so much. It can be fun to ride that thing fast, but I only like to really get on it when there are no kid passengers.

We sail off on our Disney Cruise next week. I'm a little nervous about a couple things. Will Erik be a brat and embarrass me in front of my in-laws? And will Desi attempt death defying acts and try to hurt himself? I guess what I really need to do is just do my best to stop those things, and just try to make sure that they have a good and memorable time. Will I have any fun? That's not really important anymore I'm finding. 

I'm doing my best to get continuing education classes for work done. They take a lot of time, and I'm on daddy duty a lot this summer. I just knocked down another essay for a class at a coffee shop before beginning the pickups of each kiddo. 

What's popping this weekend? Really not a whole lot. On Friday there is a concert in a park near our house where we can let the kids dance around and enjoy a "yuck juice" or two. Mrs. Noisewater was out of town for a long stretch and then went right back to work, so it will be good for the two of us to enjoy some fun time together. 

Okay, I'm hopping on Electro (that's what Erik and I have named the E-Bike) and burning some rubber. Thanks for listening, Beloved Seven Readers. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Sheer Henry: The Bomb Pop Uncle

I was driving my kids in the car the other day and needed them both to take a nap and found myself giving them captive audience rock music history lessons. A song by Queen was on so I just launched into every bit of information I could think of in a stream of consciousnous until I looked back somewhere in the midst of naming songs off of Sheer Heart attack to find that they were both sound asleep. It totally worked. My dad told me that he you used to recite poetry to my sister and I. He insists that Dylan Thomas did the trick more than the rest of his favorites. Since I don't have "A Child's Christmas In Whales" committed to memory, I just pick a band/artist and rattle off an essay. I'm really not bad at it. The 40 something rock biographies I have read are finally good for something. One time I was telling my boys all about Marvin Gaye and realized it was a horrible idea to tell them that his own father murdered him. I swear I did not mean it as a threat. I just wanted them to sleep. You have to believe me!
I've always thought this was the best sweaty cuddling album cover.

Before I go I just want to tell you a couple things about Erik Noisewater, my now 5-year-old son. He is absolutely incensed that there has never been a woman to walk on the moon. He was asking how many people have walked on the moon and while I was looking it up I happened to mention that all 12 have been men. He was pissed, and I'm proud of him. I think this little dude could write some letters and get some traction going because he is awful cute and convincing, especially when he wants something, like dessert. If I told him he could get a lifetime supply of Bomb Pops if he could get a woman to the moon, he would have it done by the middle of next week. 

The perfect treat on the birthday of our country, even if I'm not nuts about our country lately.

The other thing about our guy Erik is we signed him up for a theater camp because he is expressive, not shy, and he can memorize dialogue and songs inately. The day camp was a week long and at the end of the day Friday they performed The Wizard of Oz. I thought for sure with his charisma he would land a meaty role like that of the Scarecrow, who is loveable and silly, just like our guy Erik. Then when I saw he was the only boy in a cast of all other women I thought for sure he was a lock to be maybe even the great and powerful Wizard himself! When I picked him up on day two one of the teachers said, "Erik, tell you dad what role you have!" He said he forgot and the teacher let me konw that he was Uncle Henry. Uncle Henry?! I faked like I was excited about this news and then walked him to the car muttering to myself, "Who in the hell is Uncle Henry?" I later realized that he is Dorothy's uncle, but I could not even think of one thing he says in the movie. However, later in the week I got the news that the little girl playing Auntie Em was not going to be able to participate anymore. I let Erik know that Uncle Henry was a poor farmer raising an orphan girl as a single father, and to me, he just got promoted to the biggest hero in the entire story. 

Put that respect on Uncle Henry's name!

He was very cute and did great the day of the show, as did all the other young ladies. He is signed up to do the Lion King at the same theater in a month when we get back from our Disney Cruise. Yes, that is another thing I need to talk to you guys about. Talk to you later!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

What's Your Couch Break Moment?

 It's 6AM on a Saturday, and I woke up this morning wide awake at 4AM sharp. I blame the canned espresso stuff I keep in my desk drawer for emergencies that I had late into my Friday workday. I try not to ever dip into those unless I'm really tired. When I got home I was still amped up. I asked Mrs. Noisewater if we should invite some neighbor friends over, a friend from Erik Noisewater's school and his family, and she said that was a good idea. So in my caffeinated turbo mode I cleaned the entire house. Both bathrooms spotless, and I suddenly grew very annoyed with clutter I had looked over without thinking twice about for countless days. I was suddenly a 1950's housewife jacked up on diet pills that were actually speed before we knew what speed was.

"Check weight, clean entire house again."

We ended up going over to the neighbors' house instead, but at least I got a clean house out of the deal. We had a great time. Yeah, I drank 3 beers. A dry January that made it like 25 out of 26 days of the month has now just completely ended short of the full 31. But anyway, the kids got along great because they have kids roughly the same ages (ours are 5 and 2 and theirs are 4 and 2). When we got home Mrs. Noisewater thanked me for taking the initiative to set that up so that we are not hermit crabs (or crabby hermits?) every weekend. I may never have picked up the phone to call the other dad had I not been euphoric from canned evil coffee. I seriously wrote a review on Amazon saying that stuff is way too strong. 

Behold. Pure demon pee.

Okay, time for one more thing to write about. Also perhaps because I had the energy of ten men, I decided to get haircuts for myself and both sons after work. This barber is from Eastern Europe, does amazing job on kids' har, he is all business, even does the hot foam on the neck and the straight razor, all for an insanely cheap price. We looked like three damn studs rolling out of there. But here is thing because that sidebar about his professionalism and prices was completely not needed: The story is about this great big fat guy that was in the shop.

I'll give him a plug. What the hell. A plug for Seven Readers who don't live in Chicago, but still.

The heavyset man (roughly 375 pounds) was just wrapping up his cut and proceeded to sit in a chair (as the couch had a sign that said not to sit on it), maybe waiting for a ride, casually making small talk to me and the kids. Midway through one of our three haircuts a guy with paint on his pants and a power drill comes to talk to the barber. Then right when the overweight fella leaves, the barber says to me, "Can you believe that guy broke my couch?" How embarrassing. Yet the obese man was all smiles, did not in a hurry to leave, and the guy coming to fix the couch came in while he was there! He did not seem the least bit embarrassed. 

Still the funniest show ever.

So, Seven Readers. I have come to the end. Maybe breaking a couch was the wake up call that man needed to make a drastic change in his life, like switching to diet soda (which maybe is worse?), and maybe our couch break moment could be something else as a reminder to switch something up. Like maybe I better throw those amphetamines in a can out when I get to work Monday morning. I'll start there.

So, what's your couch break moment? Let me know in the comments.