Acknowledgement

I'm no longer married. This transition has been happening for over a year, but now it's official. I'm checking off a different box when I fill out forms. My life has changed - logistically, emotionally, fiscally. But as altering as that is, I can roll with it. It's distracting enough. But when I check that box, there it is, without context, without ambiguity, without distraction: divorced. There's not another word in the English language more laden. At any given moment, that word can trigger frustration, hope, anger, happiness, sadness, relief, regret, elation, guilt, redemption, fear, anticipation, resentment, confusion. At this moment, it's acknowledgement. Simple as that.

This blog is my story, and I'm going to keep telling it. But divorce is a pretty major plot twist. It needs to be acknowledged. The story has taken a different direction, but it will keep meandering toward its point B. There, that wasn't so hard.

The hard part is real life; all the moments that happen when I'm not sitting in front of a blog template or Twitter. In my real life, my kids have to deal with the fact that life is now "mom" and "dad," not "mom and dad." And while it's true that they aren't forced into the conflicts that dictated our life, there was an "our life" in that equation that we all shared. They aren't old enough to understand that I wasn't happy, and that would trickle down to everything around it. I hope one day they will, but that doesn't change the emotions they feel right now, and no cognitive change down the line ever will. You can't retroactivley feel different.

And my relationship with Lisa. That's a doozy. I wasn't happy. I was quite the opposite of that. However, I did not want to be the bad guy. So instead, I harbored my resentment until it became a justification for anything and everything. I tapped out years ago, but I was too scared to just rip the band-aid off, put my head down, and deal with what ensued. At best, I hoped that she would catch up to my feelings about the marriage and we'd one day over coffee just say "so, you want to get a divorce?" At worst, I hoped that she would end up hating me so much that she'd be the one to make the move. She didn't. And even though we fought all the time, at least she was fighting for something. I wasn't. In not wanting to be the bad guy, I became the bad guy. For that I'm sorry. No matter how it ended, I would have been responsible for this marriage ending. I wanted out, she didn't. But what I feel is more important to apologize for is the hurt I caused, over so many years. Whether or not I liked how she tried, she tried. And no matter what resentment drove me to sabotage the marriage, I still did, and caused a lot of permanent hurt. 

No matter how I felt about Lisa, I always loved and respected her family. In fact, I often joked to myself in the darker times that it was her family that kept me from pulling the plug. They gave me pep talks and provided a sympathetic ear during our toughest times. And this is another reason I regret going about this the way I did. It hurt them in a way that cannot ever be repaired. I would hate me too if I were them, so I can't blame them. I can't go back and change history. I can only apologize and learn from it.

This acknowledgement isn't going to fix anything, I know. But it's a necessary step toward my point B, and I hope it in some way helps my kids, their mother and her family toward theirs. We all deserve to find resolution. I only wish it were as simple as that checkbox. Only divorce can make you wish you were filling out an IRS document.

Fatherhood is all about

Reaching the tallest branches and sharing the fruits of that labor

... and then adding butter, flour, sugar and ice cream on top for good measure.

Protecting them from butterflies. No, I mean actual butterflies. Every kid has his phobias.

Letting them be amazed and awed, even if that which amazes and awes is simply the Hello Kitty store.

Realizing that sometimes it really isn't fun until you actually poke your eye out. 

Handing down family traditions

... and the love for awesome things in general.

Working at the kids' table even though it's a pain in the neck.

Because a pain in the neck is sometimes worthwhile.

Selfies with a lot less duckface and a lot more faces.

Letting the zombies win.

Just riding life's ups and downs with your belt low and tight across your lap and one hand on the bar. 

Taking a moment to savor it all. You deserve it, dads. Happy Father's Day. 

Cheers!

Equations

I've been telling people "wow, I haven't blogged in a month!" for three months now. How quickly time flies between posts that you don't write. And this is one of them. I have no idea how to write it, but it's one of those posts I can't let myself skip. Not because I feel a pressing need to share it, but because the equation of my life won't make sense without it. And I'm a very linear person. So bear with me while I solve for X. 

When I started this blog, Fury was 5. He turned 11 last month! I love reading his birthday posts and I always look forward to writing them. There's so much I could say this time around. I'm seeing him evolve by the minute from "little guy" to "guy" and it's as awesome as it is sad. He'll snark like a 30-year old, but will still reach for my hand when we're walking across a parking lot. Those are my favorite moments with him, and I know 11 will take that away from me. But I also know I'm going to love the hell out of whatever it brings me. Happy birthday, son.

On the same day he turned 11, Lisa and the kids were moving to their new place. The night before, as we were loading the moving truck, both dogs got out of the house. 

Moving day/birthday started with a phone call from the police at 6:30am. And like all calls at 6:30am, it was accompanied by something you would rather not hear, but will be stuck on loop the rest of your days. Krypto had been struck and killed by a car, just minutes prior.

So, on the morning of Fury's birthday, on moving day, I pulled up in front of the middle school to meet two policemen who helped me place Krypto in the trunk of my car. Animal control doesn't work on Mondays, so I couldn't just leave him on the street. Not that I would. But the alternative they suggested of putting him in a bag until Tuesday didn't sit well with me either. I didn't know what to do. I just wanted him back with us. 

We buried Krypto in the backyard. 

"Well, it's only 9am," I told him. "What else could go wrong?"

This was April 15. Back in my hometown, the Boston Marathon was well underway. 

And this is all I know how to say about this. I want to change Fury's age on my About page. I want to write about nonsensical, stupid things again. Boston is still the greatest city in the world. 

Last night I sat in my backyard next to where Krypto is buried. I smoked a cigar and listened to the quiet, no closer to solving for X than I am now. But maybe that's the answer.

Costumes

I'm an aggressively heterosexual male. I slow down and admire the mannequins when I stroll past a Victoria's Secret. In middle school, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on the "Kiss My Bass" panties page in my Bass Pro Shops catalog. When the Body Shop in West Hollywood burned down in 08, I observed a moment of silence.

But today, I was disgusted at Party City. I'm using "at" in the locational sense, not the directional sense. This is not an anti-Party City post, because it could have been any store selling Halloween costumes. I just happened to be at Party City helping a buddy of mine pick up a costume for his kid.

As I perused the aisles, my eyes were naturally drawn to the requisite "slutty fill-in-the-blank" costumes that adorn the display shelves in any costume store this time of year. I have always taken this phenomenon with a grain of salt, and have even made social commentary slanted jokes about it. I've shaken my head, but never with true revulsion behind it. But then I saw this, and everything changed:

This is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume for women. Ninja turtles are male, reptilian and a cartoon. You can have your vampires, you can even have your zombies, but when you take something as non-sexual and child admired as Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo and make them slutty (technically, the term is *sexy* Ninja Turtle), we need to sit down and have a talk. 

When I take my daughter costume shopping in a few years, she'll notice this. She'll notice that while her brother can aspire to be a SWAT officer, Ninja, Doctor, Scientist, or Serial Killer, her future aspirations will include a police officer with a short skirt and handcuffs, a ninja with amazing cleavage, sleeveless dress and long gloves, a nurse who looks like she should be straddling a pole, a girl in a bun, glasses, a short lab coat, heels and a clipboard, or a girl in a tilted fedora and strategically torn dress mimicking the color pattern of Freddy Krueger's sweater. Of course, she can also opt to be a crime fighting turtle, with patent leather thigh high boots because, and I quote, "She's the smartest and sexiest of all the Turtles!" Oh, my bad, she's smart. Ok, the mini-skirt can stay. 

Upon realizing this, I took a stroll down the costume aisle to find anything non-slutty (sorry, I mean... sexy... and smart!) for women. I failed, but I did learn that Harry Potter, Minnie Mouse and even Big Bird can be quite arousing. If there were a bouncer at the door, I'd be fine with that. But there wasn't. I was in an establishment full of little boys and girls who are forming an association between aspiration and fantasy, admiration and imitation.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the ideal progressive male. I will never be. I will objectify. I will sexualize. I will walk into an establishment with a bunch of my buddies, armed with a stack of ones. There is a time and place for everything when you're a consenting adult. But just as there's room in this world for a woman who starts out as a girl choosing a Halloween costume to put her sexuality front and center, there is just as much room for her to put her writing talents, love of quantum physics, musical ear, punching and kicking ability, entrepreneurial drive, crime fighting instincts, leadership qualities, and etc. etc. etc. etc. in front of the world to see. 

These are the "fill-in-the-blank" possibilities I want to see for my daughter. When I finally take Lessi to buy her costume, I will try to shield her eyes, because there's some scary stuff out there this time of year.

Not Winning

In second grade, I was on the baseball team that won the town championship. Part of the thrill of victory is knowing that the other guy didn't get your trophy. A few years later, I was on the soccer team that lost every single game we played. Nothing like knowing you suck to strengthen your resolve not to. That's the ebb and flow of life, and it's just as essential to one's development as knowing what foods to eat to avoid constipation. Of course I'm still bummed I didn't get selected for MTV's Singled Out when I auditioned in 1995, but it made me realize my energies could be better spent on less futile things than trying to impress women. I can quote you any line from Pulp Fiction.

Winning is good. Losing sucks. But losing gives us the opportunity to reinforce some really important things: self-confidence, resilience, perspective, and will power. By removing loss from the equation, we end up raising a generation of kids who cannot deal with things not going their way, and that leads to things like reality shows. So I guess you can tell how I feel about the "everybody gets a trophy" thing that permeates youth sports today.

Yes, sport is about about fun, it is about learning the value of teamwork, it is about pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits. But just as much, it is also about winning and losing. 

Fury had his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament this past weekend. As someone who has trained in martial arts for more than 20 years, I can say that this was one of those life-defining moments for me, characterized ironically by my inability to define the mix of excitement, pride, apprehension, and anticipation I felt as I saw him lined up, ready to do battle.

I was also pleased to see that, although every kid got a medal for participating, only one competitor's hand got raised at the end of each match. There was a clear winner, and a clear loser; and the loser got a different colored medal. As the matches progressed, I thought, "good on them, they totally get it." As kids' anticipation turned to disappointment when their names did not complete the sentence "and the winner is..."  I thought "hey, it builds character." As my own kid got taken down to the mat moments after the opening bell, and the tears in his eyes begin to well up, I thought "oh... shit."

When the final whistle blew, it wasn't Fury's hand being raised in victory.

There was my boy, who has seen the fire in my eyes when I talk about K-1, UFC or a sick KO clip on YouTube. My boy, who has heard a thousand times the story of how I bought him his first pair of Muay Thai shorts when he was just three months old. My boy, who has felt the pride emanating from every pore of my body when we talk about Jiu Jitsu practice at the end of the day. My boy, a 10 year old with expectations now turned to tears streaming down his face. 

What he saw was the other kid's hand being raised. What he didn't see was the one hell of a fight he put up against an opponent who was more experienced and a full rank higher than he was. He didn't see the hours in the gym that he's put into training -- the hours that transformed theoretical moves into an arsenal of instincts. Nor did he see the relentless hustle, the heart of a fighter, and in the end, the grace of a sportsman he displayed in defeat that we all saw, including his coach. 

Right after the match, before he even left the mat, his coach awarded him his next stripe. Right after that, Lisa hugged him as he cried and said the things that moms know how to say so well. And after that, I knelt down, put my hand on his shoulder looked him in the eye and told him today he was a warrior. 

Fury didn't win his first Jiu Jitsu match. And I couldn't be more proud.

The Conservation of Momentum

It's amazing how many zoos and museums you discover within a 75-mile radius when you only get to see your kids a part of each weekend. Divorce forces you to be more creative because you'll be damned if that Xbox, Netflix or Yo Gabba Gabba will define your day. This is why Google searches like "I've been to all the museums in the SF area, so HELP ME GOOGLE I'VE RUN OUT OF EDUCATIONAL FUN THINGS TO DO" exist.

Even better, these results also exist: Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition at the Tech Museum of Innovation.

Google, I am feeling lucky.

Wasting no time, I got the kids into the car, hit the drive-thru for lunch and headed down to San Jose. I even timed it so Lessi's nap coincided with the 90-minute drive. I am a highly effective and efficient parent (especially when you, dear reader, cannot see the chicken nugget in her hand, rising and falling in cadence with her snoring). 

We eventually got there, found parking some ways away, and headed toward the big orange building, ready to bust some myths.

Turns out the myths weren't ready to be busted. The Mythbusters Exhibit starts October 13 (I know it's Oct 15 today - this story took place 2 weeks ago. I just hadn't gotten around to writing it.). Like it says on that huge banner in the lobby, or everywhere on the museum website, or like the lady at the ticket counter tells you after you pay for your tickets and remark on how awesome it is that no one is here and you'll have the Mythbusters exhibits to yourself.

At least we did have the museum to ourselves. And luckily the Tech Museum is pretty cool, even without Jamie and Adam blowing stuff up. We learned about genetics, sustainable technologies, space and underwater exploration, earthquakes and best of all, they have an infrared camera. Or as Fury and I more aptly deem it, the Predator cam. 

On our way out, we stopped at the gift shop, where Fury picked out a Newton's Cradle. Being that these are educational, as well as the requisite desk accessory for every high powered executive and/or criminal mastermind, I bought him one. 

As kids are wont to do, Fury took it out of the box and set it up on the sidewalk. 

As he watched the metal balls clack back and forth, I told him "that's called the conservation of momentum. The energy you put into one side, comes out the other side, with a little loss due to friction."

You have now witnessed the strength of street knowledge.

Since Lessi and I wanted ice cream more than a science lesson, I told Fury to pack it back up. We trekked to the parking lot, got in the car and drove off in search of ice cream. The ice cream was easy to find. The parking, not so much. So of course Fury took his new gadget out of the box again.

"Dad, can you help me? This is all tangled up."

Apparently my boy should never work in a restocking room. Those balls and their corresponding strings were gnarled up into a latticework that could rival that of kevlar. 

"Fury that there is beyond hope. I'm going to drive you back to the museum and park outside while you run in to exchange it."

As with anything worth blogging about, things were not as easy as the statement above implies. I had already thrown the receipt away, and outside of school book fairs or his impromptu fruit stand, Fury has never done a retail transaction before. It makes no sense that he'll wheel and deal with customers in his front yard, but be too self-conscious to pay for something at a store. I guess that's the beauty of kids.

"Dad, can you just pleeeease do it? I'll watch Lessi in the car."

Any other situation, I might have caved. He just looked so fearful. Also, this was a tricky transaction. He had no receipt, the tangled mess wasn't entirely the item's fault, and he had already thrown most of the packing material away. The odds were stacked against him. I would be sending him into a retail suicide mission.

But there was no parking outside the museum, and we would have to trek to the parking lot all over again, at which point it would just be easier to order another one for him from Amazon. So I parked in front of the museum, hazards on, and started coaching him.

In our household, I am the customer service whisperer. I can profile a rep within the first 5 seconds of an interaction and find a way to speak to them in a way that will have them giving me refunds, free stuff, upgrades and their first-born before they can ask me for my account number. 

"Ok Fury, you tell them your dad is parked out front with a baby in the car. You tell them you just bought this a few minutes ago and all you want is an even exchange. You don't want your money back. They will ask you for a receipt and you tell them 'my dad threw it away' and you just wanted to learn science with this. You offer them all the packaging that comes with the new one, so they can properly process the return with their supplier. You use all your polite words. You ask, you don't demand."

"But dad, I can't--"

"If you can't, then you have to live with the fact that your Newton's Cradle is going to always be a tangled mess of balls and fishing line. It's now or never. I can't stay parked here."

He took a deep breath, gathered up his Newton's Cradle, exited the car and headed into the unknown. But first, he paused in front of the door and made the sign of the cross.

That's his mom's doing.

A few minutes later, Fury came bounding out the door, all smiles. As he got into the car, I high-fived him with as much pride as I would had he scored a goal in lacrosse. 

"NICE GOING FURY! I am proud of you! How did it go down?"

"The lady said that this is the 5th time this month someone has returned one of these all tangled, and it happens all the time. Then she just gave me a new one!"

As I pulled away from the curb, listening to the silver balls clacking rhythmically from the back seat, I wondered how much of this latest victory was due to my coaching, and how much of it was due to that momentary pause before he stepped into the store. It doesn't much matter, I guess. Friction be damned, I just want to conserve this momentum.

Exit, stage

I haven't been writing much lately, even by my own lowly standards. It's not because there hasn't been anything to write about. Stories still happen, whether we want them to or not. I've simply chosen to let them pass by, because nothing makes sense without a context. And my context was in flux. Phantom of the Opera isn't the same production when you put Michael Crawford on the Great Wall of China. The story fundamentally changes. So as we come out of this intermission, I need to let you know that the set has changed. Divorce papers have been filed. No commentary will be offered nor accepted. I just needed to address it, so that my stories make sense. I need to usher this elephant out stage left, and Ghenghis Khan along with him so that I can blog again.

I'm not good at this stuff. Can we just talk about the zoo now?

When your time with the kids has an imminent handoff attached, it sure makes you look at Xbox in a whole different way. Instead of being a lifesaver, I now see it as my competition. Good thing there's wildlife. Last weekend, I took the kids to a local museum that rescues animals and teaches you about them, too. Luckily, some exhibits are like videogames. You have to wean the kids off their natural environment first.

Lessi and Fury had a great time observing local wildlife, some alive and some stuffed. I had the pleasure of seeing my first-ever live bald eagle. Lessi had the pleasure of learning that because of our species' opposable thumbs and abilty to harness the power of gunpowder, she can take pictures like these without becoming a tasty snack.

Also, I get to do this:

Unfortunately, this museum was kind of small, and high fiveability aside, stuffed animals aren't that exciting. We decided to go to the Oakland Zoo instead. But not before spotting a rogue exhibit on the way out.

The Oakland Zoo was a storybook come alive for Lessi. The first animal she saw was a monkey. As adults, we take monkeys for granted. If you could translate childhood wonder into words, she said "WTF, those things are REAL??" Although Fury has pretty much seen it all, you can always count on a full-blown chimpanzee fight to brighten a 10-year-old boy's day. Also, a 40-year-old's. They also witnessed an elephant pooping. That's zoo admission ROI right there.

And I take back what I said about stuffed creatures. They can be pretty cool. Meet Lessi's new Otter, which she named Butter, because "I like butter!" 

She took this picture in front of the otter exhibit. She wanted Butter to see where he came from. That, or she's into being all meta and stuff.

If picking the blog up again was this hard, I can only imagine the long road to the new normal. For everyone. It'll take a lot more than zoos and monkeys and high fives, but at the end of the day, if it's about these two being able to smile like this, it's a small step in the right direction.

10 Minutes

As a working dad, weekdays have always been tough. I'm usually out of the house before the kids are up, and home right around bedtime. Forget dinners with family around the table. Dinner is whatever you can forage between the distractions of everyday life. 

When life gives you a wedge of lemon, you suck on that and extract whatever you can. Lemonade is a luxury for folks with time and a pitcher. To make the most of my few minutes with Fury on weekdays, we instituted our aptly named "10 minutes playtime." For close to a decade, I've been getting on the floor each night with Fury and playing Legos, Star Wars figures, Bionicles, Hot Wheels, Transformers, or any mashup thereof.

But kids grow up, and play evolves. Fury no longer lives out scenarios with his toys where I can easily grab an action figure, make up some robotic voice, and jump right into. Now he likes to create. He conjures up entire armies of hybrid Bionicles. He uses parts from his dozens of Lego sets to build war machines. It's more reflective, solitary. Robot voices need not apply.

Sometime last week, as we made our way to his toy stash, Fury stopped and asked "Dad, I don't feel like playing with toys today. Can you just tell me about what it was like when you were a kid for our 10 minutes instead?"

He just wanted to chat.

So he lay in his bed and I sat in the chair beside him and we talked. We talked about how bad I was at sports as a kid, and how I only scored one goal in youth soccer (in practice) and how in youth baseball, I only made contact with a ball once (foul), and of course we talked about the guy in Florida who ate the homeless guy's face off before he was killed by the cops. Because the dawning zombie apocalypse is relevant for any conversation in the house of Lin.

The next night, the Bionicle army stood by in the dark as we talked about the conflict in Afghanistan, North Korea's threat to launch missiles at South Korea's media companies, and Hot Wheels' new line of toys (I hope client NDAs cover 10 year-olds).

The other night we discussed careers. He wants to be a video game designer. This works because it gives me leverage to make him do his math homework. It might even make all our Xbox games tax deductible.

"Dad, what did you want to be when you grew up?"

"A marine biologist."

"Well, you could still do that. They'll hire you because you're already a VP and it looks good on your resume."

"That makes sense. I never thought of it that way."

"Also, all you have to do is hold up a fish and spout random facts about it. You're good at that."

Like toy time, I'm sure our conversations will also evolve as he and I get older. I will see the world through his eyes and guide him with my hindsight. He will see the world I have mapped out and explore it with fresh vision. There will be moments to ponder, issues to tackle, emotions to sort, stances to take, decisions to face, opportunities to laugh.

"Oh Fury  -- that guy who got his face eaten? He survived! I saw a picture today. He has a skin graft over his eye and a hole for a nose, but he's alive!"

"Don't the doctors know that he's going to eat them now?"

And zombies. There will always be zombies.

* * * *

Bonus reading material: I posted about life lessons from the film Goodfellas on Mamapop last week.

Embracing the happy in birthday

Today is Lessi's second birthday. As I look back upon memories and pictures from the past couple years, I simply smile. While fatherhood can be as complicated as you'd like to make it, it can also be about one very simple thing: finding happiness in the little things.

Like a full sippycup.

A delicious meal.

The perfect eyewear.

Star Wars.

(ok maybe not quite yet)

The wind in your hair.

Family.

Quiet contentment.

And of course, cake in the morning.

I love you. Happy birthday, little thing.

Life's Hella Good

 

Look closely at the picture above. To the casual observer, this may look like Nerf darts scattered across a suburban cul-de-sac. To me, they spell the word validation. Validation for a moment's notice decision to move the entire family from Los Angeles to a small town no one's ever heard of in Northern CA. Validation for my using the word hella in a post title in an attempt to adopt the vernacular of my new home (ok, maybe some things can never be validated).

When we first packed up and left, I had fears. My own migration into suburbia also happened in 4th grade. It didn't go so well. While times and racial tolerance are different now, I couldn't help but worry that I was removing Fury from everything that he ever knew and plunking him down in unfamiliar territory to fend for himself. Well, he fended for himself, alright. With Nerf guns blazing, sqeals of laughter and a gang of neighborhood homies of all colors, creeds and Axe spray varietals. They show up at all hours of the day, ravage our snacks like locusts, and make this new house a home for Fury.

And because this town was built with parks and bikepaths connecting every neighborhood, I can actually let him bike outside of our own driveway for once. In fact, I give him a cell phone and he rides for miles. I know this because he calls me and says "Dad, I am in front of [any given address]. Check Google Maps. How far have I gone?"

The only thing missing is jobs, which d Wife and I both moved here without. However, things are looking up on that front for both of us. I don't like to jinx things that help me pay my mortgage, so that's all I will say about that for now. However, not having to go to work each day means I can do things like help my buddy Toheed (who moved here from LA a year before I did, and wouldn't shut up about how awesome it was until I did too) do random things like dismantle a car wash. Lessons learned there: a rented forklift is worth every penny, and tweakers you hire off the street are excellent at unbolting lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of bolts.

The dismantled carwash is pictured above. Also, the house next to ours is empty and available in case you're looking to move to the best little town no one, not even NorCal people, have ever heard of. And no, we're not turning it into a carwash, though if that crossed your mind, you know me well.

Oh yeah, file this one under "Makes your relocation a whole hell of a lot easier to swallow": LG Electronics found me at the Dad 2.0 Summit and said (and I paraphrase): "Jim, we'd like to pimp your family room for our Techorating Challenge."

I said yes, and showed them a picture of my family room:

"Have at it," I said.

Then this happened...

And then they gave me a script, some makeup and turned my house into a film studio for 18 hours.

They also did the same thing to High Tech Dad and then pitted us against one another in a grueling fight to the finish. At least we both get to plunk down at the end of this Techorating Challenge and rehydrate in front of our 55" LG LCD 3D TVs (QRS... TUV... WXY and Z). The electronics and home decorating cockfight, hosted by ESPN's Stuart Scott, is depicted below, if you dare:

I'm showing you all this because it too can be yours. Just go to the LG Techorating Challenge Facebook page and enter to win your own Techorated room. You only have one day left to do this (procrastination would be my middle name if it weren't Ching-kuo). They close it off on Wednesday, May 2 at 11:59:59 pm EST. You have to vote for one of us, but really, it doesn't matter who you vote for. The TV and room make-over were enough for me. I don't even know what I win, if I win and it doesn't really matter.

And remember kids, a good disclosure statement gives you healthy teeth and gums and keeps your blog out of the government no-no house, so here goes:

*YO YO YO! LG or its affiliates have not kicked me over a dime for any articles or posts. They did, however hook me up with a gang of stuff, like a 55" 3D LCD TV, some classy "MTV Cribs" caliber furniture (I'm still waiting on that stripper pole, though), an LG Bluetooth Soundbar, and they even threw in a microwave just for the hell of it. All this was provided as part of the Techorator program experience. However, all articles, tweets, and other materials that I post related to LG products and the Techorator program are entirely my own opinion. In fact, everything I post is always my own opinion, which would mean that if this were North Korea, I would be making license plates with my healthy teeth.

*Mic drop. Peace in the middle east.

On your tenth birthday

10 years ago today, I discovered the difference between being alive and living. Living means that you take every opportunity you can to steal a chuckle.

Living means sharing the things you love with those you love, even if they can't quite stand on their own yet.

It means shouldering the burden, every once in a while. And making your chiropractor rich in the process.

And rocking on with your bad selves, whenever and wherever possible.

Living also means passing on valuable life skills, like an intimidating staredown.

Or the ways of the Force.

And realizing that making a mess is half the fun, no matter what you're trying to do...

But that cleaning up well will get you far in life.

Living also means knowing that some rules were meant to be broken (this is us visiting the temple where my dad's ashes rest - and bringing some JD to pour one for our homie).

Most of all, it's about knowing that one day you will pass the baton to your lion cub and stand proud as he carves his own path over the one you have started together.

Happy 10th birthday, son!

Love,

Your biggest fan.

Movement

Every parent has that benchmark with which they measure their day-to-day success as a mom or dad. For some, it's a successful nap. For others, it could be five servings of vegetables. For me, it's pooping.

If it were up to me, age would be a factor of poop, not years. Is your child 3 years old? No, he's 1,345 poops old. Time is nothing but an arbitrary man-made unit that reflects nothing of significance. Who cares when the sun came up last? What I want to know is when did you poop last? One poop cycle is like one stroke of an engine. Fuel enters, it's consumed, then the waste product is expelled. One poop equals one round of being a functioning human being. For both my kids, I could never relax for the day until they pooped. A successful poop meant that I was fulfilling my responsibility of keeping my offspring functioning properly as human organisms. It meant I earned another first down in the game of life.

"Look, Fury grew his first tooth!"

"That's great! By the way, did he poop yet?"

* * * *

By the time the moving vans rolled up to our house 10 days ago, everything was boxed up and ready to go. While leaving Los Angeles was something I promised myself I'd do as soon as I had kids, the act of selling our house and buying a new one in a small farm town six hours north took 9.5 years of procrastination and merely two weeks of execution.

Logistically, everything was perfect. Sudden, but perfect.

Who are you guys and what have you done to my room?

I don't know about you, but I'm gonna get every last minute of Minecraft in before they drag me outThe movers showed up by 10 am and got to work wrapping all the furniture. Our cars were packed with everything we needed for the drive up, we had exchanged goodbyes with our friends, sent out change of address cards, and in a matter of a few short hours, we'd be pulling out of our driveway for the last time.

"Did Lessi poop yet?"

No, she hadn't. She hadn't pooped the day before, either. And with each dolly-load up the truck ramp, visions of an agonizing 6.5 hour constipated upstate trek alternated with doomsday scenarios of Lessi filling her diaper with mega poop somewhere in the middle of the California desert miles away from the closest Koala Bare Kare diaper changing station. This was not going to be my first memory of the first move that either of my children would ever remember.

"Lessi... poo poo?"

"Nnnnno!"

"Poo poo time?"

"No poo poo."

 Please, baby. Please just poop!

The house was emptying fast, and my baby was doing the opposite. With nothing left in the house but some of the larger furniture items, the team foreman had me sign some final paperwork and assured me we could head out and let them finish the rest. It was 2pm. Exactly when I had originally planned on leaving.

Lessi munched on some Cheez-Its, and we didn't leave. I busied myself with taping random boxes shut, watching--hoping--for the "poop face." Then around 2:30, Lessi strolled over to the bathroom and stood next to the toilet. 

"Poo poo."

I sat her down triumpantly on that toilet for what would be the last t--

plink...

"All done!"

That's it? A lamb's pooplet? Baby girl, that is not a day and a half's worth. You owe me!

Back to more random box taping. And three more futile poop attempts. Lessi likes to say "all done" and I'm guessing that seeing her dad plead with her to poop so we could move to our new home also amused her.

Then around 3pm, I heard quiet. The quiet that a toddler makes when she needs to focus. The quiet accompanied by the look of concentration. The poop face.

I swooped Lessi up and sat her on the toilet, but this time, I had to make her stay. The big one was on its way and I wasn't going to take an empty "all done" for an answer. Lessi isn't fond of sitting on toilets and the only way to make her stay on one is to distract her with objects. But everything was boxed up! Everything but one little ceramic bird that somehow managed to escape every wave of packing frenzy that swept through the house over the past three days. A bird that my mom got us in China. A very breakable, kind of sentimental bird. A bird that could save the day.

I gingerly picked up the bird and placed it in my daughter's hand. I tried to keep my hands under the bird as Lessi played with it, but since the baby toilet seat adapter was long packed, I had to keep both hands on Lessi so she wouldn't fall in. The bird was in fate's hands.

Not two minutes after I gave Lessi that ceramic bird, I watched in slow motion as that bird tumbled out of Lessi's hands and shatter into tiny shards of porcelain as her little gastrointestinal system focused all its energy on doing what it was born to do.

Movement happened.

And the next round began.

Adapting

Fury failed his Spanish test last week. As a consequence, we took his screen time away for the weekend (no TV, no computer). This hits him harder than most kids because we have a "no screen time during the weekdays" rule. You can wag a finger at me all you like, but my response will always be "at least I'm not Kim Jong Il," so there. It's so easy being an Asian parent. We have convenient reference points.

This weekend was particularly tragic for Fury because we were taking a road trip up north (did I mention we sold our house and are moving up to Northern CA in March? More on that in a few weeks). On road trips, Fury is allowed to be on the laptop/Nintendo DS/iTouch all he wants without limits, since we're just sitting in the car anyway. He also gets unlimited screen time once we get there because my buddy has a 15 month old baby and no age-appropriate toys for Fury. I guess he picked the wrong week to fail a test.

"But it wasn't a fail, it was a D-"

Oh Fury, in some Asian villages, that gets you banished until you're 18.

So what did Fury do without anything electronic for the entire weekend??

He read books in the car.

He pushed his little sister around in a toddler mobile.

He pushed my friend's kid around in a toddler mobile.

He played catch with me in the yard.

He hit wiffle balls with me in the yard.

He read books at night.

He had conversations.

He had fun.

He adapted.

Another birthday would have been nice, even another day

"I never get sick. But the day I do, I will die."

I always humored my dad and chuckled along in customary admiration whenever he boasted about his hyper-evolved immune system, borne of "5,000 years of Chinese evolution." He took great pride in never taking a sick day, and availed himself of every opportunity to remind us that this was the true metric of one's strength and vitality as a human being. Of course this claim had nothing to do with the fact that he was a mere 130 pounds.

My junior year in high school, he got an offer to work overseas. My dad was a traditional bring-home-the-bacon kind of guy, so if being shipped off to Turkey meant more bacon for his family, he did it. Aside from a few summer visits, I essentially progressed from boyhood to manhood without my dad. 

A year after I graduated from college, I traveled alone to Turkey to visit him. We hung out, we drank, we gambled. We were just two guys, having a good time. A few years later, he came to LA to visit me. We went to Vegas, and we hung out, we drank, we gambled. Two guys, having a good time.

He missed my wedding, as well as the birth of Fury. I progressed from manhood to fatherhood without my dad.

In 2003, when Fury was just a year old, my dad asked me to start looking for a house near us. He wanted to retire; to come home and enjoy the fruits of his toil: his family. I could never picture my dad outside the context of his work persona, but as we visited more open houses, I began to picture him sitting on each respective porch, shooting the breeze with me. No fancy dinners, no casinos -- just a father and son, Scotches in hand, talking about life and comparing notes on the last 20 years.

In 2004, my dad got sick. I'm sure he took pride in the fact that it took lymphoma to finally knock him off his feet. But getting back up was hard, and my mom and sister flew to Turkey when it was too much to handle on his own. In May of that year, I got the dreaded call. I might want to get there as soon as possible. The next day, I was on a plane to Turkey, accompanied by the 2 year-old grandson my dad had yet to meet.

After 18 hours on a plane and an 8-hour layover in Munich, where a certain little boy would only stay quiet if I walked him around the airport on my shoulders, we stepped off the plane in Ankara. In contrast to the usual reception, my welcome party was somber. I expected that. Instead of the usual jokes about customs agents and Turkish prisons, no one said much. I expected that.

"You missed him by 90 minutes," my sister said. I expected that, too.

I felt nothing. Or if I did, I couldn't tell. I held my son on the ride to the hospital and tuned out. When we got there, my mom was waiting for me.

"Want to see dad?" she asked.

I handed Fury over to my sister and rode down the elevator with my mom and the doctor. When the door opened, I saw a gentleman lying on a stainless steel gurney, hair done perfectly, sporting a custom-tailored suit. A gentleman who took cremation as seriously as any meeting with his government contacts, accepting nothing less than being properly attired for the occasion.

I stood over him. My mom put her hand on my shoulder. And I began to cry -- the angry kind, where you pound something, like your deceased father's chest. I wasn't angry at him. I wasn't angry at the world. I wasn't angry at the airline schedule. I was angry for him. I was angry for Scotch conversations with his grown son he would miss out on. I was angry for him not being able to say hi and goodbye to his only grandson. I was angry for him because he never got to teach his son how to be a father. I was angry because this was all so close.

The next day, we visited his office to collect his belongings and say our thank yous and goodbyes. His colleagues entertained us with the usual superlative tales that one reserves for times like these, and we all laughed and remembered.

And then someone said "when Ambassador Lin was too weak from his chemo treatments to walk down the stairs from his office to go home, he'd simply sleep in his office. He never took a sick day."

Of course, we all expected that.

* * * *

One more birthday. It would have changed the world for him. He could have chided me over being a slacker dad and poured me another. He could have beamed with pride hearing his grandson say the words "am-baa-sa-dore!" He could have left the tie hanging in his closet for once in his life. One more birthday isn't simply one more birthday.

This is why I want to thank Tiny Prints and the American Cancer Society for including me in their "More Birthdays" campaign. If anyone could appreciate the significance of one birthday, it is me. Support the American Cancer Society by visiting Tiny Prints' "American Cancer Society Collection" and order a birthday card created by the American Cancer Society's More Birthdays artists. Every card sold enables the American Cancer Society to help more Americans celebrate another birthday. Plus, the cards are really cool because you can add your own picture and message inside them, like this:

These are Fury and my mom's next birthday cards, so if this is Fury or mom, don't look!

If you think one card can't make much of a difference, just ask someone who celebrated another birthday this year.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. But my disdain for cancer is my own.   

I Don't Remember

9 years ago today, I discovered how hard it is to perform a simple task like verify that there are 10 little fingers and toes when your heart is racing at 160 bpm, and your brain is at once bewildered, amazed and freaked the hell out. That's probably why I don't remember much from that first night you made me a dad. It was simply too amazing to comprehend.

But over time, you settled well into being my son, I settled into being your dad, and my brain settled back to full functionality. I remember your first word (Ack, which meant car. Of course.). I remember your first step. Your first bite of non baby food (chocolate cake!), your first day of preschool, your first Lego set (Star Wars V-Wing), your first pair of Converse, your first Christmas, your first plane ride, your first haircut...

Then just the other night, as I was about to go to bed, I stopped by your room to check on you. Only it wasn't you. It was some kid whose feet could almost touch the end of the bed.

I don't remember when Bob the Builder stopped being his favorite show...

I don't remember the last time I used kitchen shears to snip his vegetables into little unchokeable pieces...

I don't remember when I stopped reflexively hoisting him up to sit on my shoulders wherever we went...

I don't remember when he stopped yelling "knock knock, dada" into the baby monitor every morning when he woke up...

I don't remember the last time he called me dada...

I don't remember when we stopped referring to ourselves as "2 and a baby" whenever we left our names with the restaurant host...

I don't remember the last time I tied his shoes...

I don't remember how this:

Turned into this:

I guess it still is too amazing to comprehend.

At least I remembered it's your birthday, son. Happy Birthday, Fury!

Love,

Dada

My Middle Name

The crowd was evenly split, half of them waving dollar bills while mockingly encouraging their chosen gladiator, Jeff. The other half doing the same, but chanting "Greasy! Greasy! Greasy!"

Greasy Lee. I didn't choose that name. It was bestowed by the 5th grade bully elite upon the chubby Asian kid who always happened to suffer bad hair days.

I glanced across the makeshift arena, which was nothing more than a clearing between two boulders and a tree stump in the woods behind the school. Jeff and I locked eyes. Not in aggression, but more in a desperate telepathic attempt to assure the other that we were doing this for our mutual survival.

I don't remember the fight. But I do remember sitting in math class afterwards, unable to write anything on the worksheet in front of me because my hand was trembling uncontrollably. I also remember the dozens of perfect red dots on Jeff's white polo shirt, which matched the missing skin on my middle knuckle.

There we were. The only two Asian kids in an otherwise white working class New England town, divided and conquered.

* * * *

When we first moved to the suburbs from the heart of Boston, it was every kid's dream come true. A sprawling ranch-style house with a huge playroom, a circular driveway for unhindered bike riding, and an immense backyard. Which meant I could get a dog. Summer was everything it was supposed to be.

Fall meant starting a new school, but I wasn't worried. I had switched schools a couple times before, and it always brought with it new friends. Also, this was the first time I was going to take a bus to school. Just like in the movies!

And the first few moments were just as I had pictured. As we drove up to the corner, I noticed a group of kids laughing, chatting and probably catching up, dressed in their shiny, new back-to-school best.

I said bye to my dad, jumped out of the car and made my way over to my new friends.

"Ching chong!"

"ah sooo!"

"Hey, chink!"

I sat by myself, at the back of the bus.

* * * *

Having grown up in a multi-cultural part of Boston, the only ethnic stereotyping I ever encountered was Bugs Bunny putting on a rice paddy hat every once in a while and bowing at Elmer Fudd. When you're 7, it's kind of funny. When it's not happening to you, it's kind of funny.

Moving to the suburbs in 4th grade taught me a lot about race. Namely, that it mattered. That when you're different, or your parents speak to you in a tongue no one else can understand, people are allowed to make fun of you. I mean, if you think about it, it is kind of funny when a girl walks up to you at recess, smiles and asks you:

"what do you call a fat Chinese kid?"

(smiling back) "What."

"A chunk."

And you learn to laugh along. With every karate chop, ching chong, buck toothed smile, and slant eye gesture they can throw at you.

You also learn to hate your race.

* * * *

"What's your middle name?"

"I don't have one."

* * * *

Eating by myself in the lunchroom had its advantages. On the occasional day when my mom would pack me a steamed bun, shrimp chips or something equally Asian, I could dine incognito, safe from ridicule.

* * * *

"If you don't practice your Chinese, you'll forget it," mom would remind me.

"If it means people forget I'm Chinese, I'll take it," I thought.

* * * *

Jeff didn't look Asian to me. Maybe it's because I'd never met anyone who was only half Asian. But he didn't make fun of me, so there was that. Having someone to sit next to on the school bus and eat lunch with is sometimes all you need to quell the stomachaches that well up before you walk out your front door each morning. Also, he had Atari.

We'd still get picked on, but when you travel in numbers, even if it's two, you take half the punishment.

* * * *

"Why aren't you wearing green?"

"I'm not Irish," I replied.

"Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day," Chris threatened.

"I'm American, so I'm wearing blue," I countered.

I think the kids savored beating me up that day, more so than usual. American. How dare Greasy Lee say that? He eats shrimp chips.

* * * *

Jeff and I got into an argument one day. I don't remember about what. Probably something we would have gotten over the next day.

"Hey Greasy, I'm betting all my lunch money you can beat him up."

"Kick his ass, Greasy. I'm betting two dollars you can."

"We're setting up a fight for you at recess tomorrow. Don't be a pussy, Greasy."

I went to sleep that night, replaying in my head the right cross that Frankie taught me on the school bus. While sitting next to me.

* * * *

I was riding the school bus home one afternoon and grateful that I might make it through the day free of being teased. Two more stops. As I sat there, not really looking at anything or anyone, my gaze met Lenny's, one of the only Black kids in my town. We hesitated for a moment.

"What are you looking at, chink?"

"Fuck you, nigger."

* * * *

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Cruickshanks was a World War II veteran. He "stormed Iwo Jima and killed Japs." His war stories were actually quite entertaining. He had a passion for them. Science? Not so much.

One day, we were learning about lighting, and how you're safest in a car during a lightning storm.

"Does anyone know why?" he asked the class.

"Because of the rubber tires," he answered for us.

I raised my hand. "Mr. Cruickshanks, that's actually not true. It's because electricity in its quest to be grounded travels around the metal frame of the car and into the ground. In order for the rubber to even be a factor in insulating you from electricity, it would have to be 3 miles thick." [I had actually just learned this at the Museum of Science.]

Mr Cruickshanks stopped writing on the board, turned around slowly and removed his glasses.

"Jim, go back to Shanghai."

* * * *

I studied hard that year, and worked harder than I ever worked. Because all I wanted was get into private school the next year. I didn't do it for the academic challenge. I didn't do it because it would set me up to go to an elite college. I didn't do it because I could reach my full potential. I did it so the teasing would stop. Turns out you can motivate an 11-year old, after all.

And after I made it in, the teasing did stop. I even took Chinese my junior and senior year.

* * * *

"What's your middle name?"

"Oh, it's just my Chinese name. You'll forget it once I tell you, so I'm not gonna bother."

* * * *

By the time college rolled around, I had practically forgotten all about 4th, 5th and 6th grade. I mean, I was doing people a favor not telling them my middle name. I didn't want them to be embarrassed if they mispronounced it, right?

* * * *

Around when Fury was born, I was chatting it up with some guys at work. Someone made a joke about Asians, but quickly apologized to me. A co-worker of mine jumped in.

"Jim? Come on, he's whiter than any of us white guys!"

That made me proud. Then a little bit disgusted.

* * * *

The other day, I was packing Fury's lunch.

"Dad, can you pack me some shrimp chips for snack?"

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I want shrimp chips."

"Ok, but I don't want the other ki-- Ok, I'll pack you shrimp chips."

* * * *

My middle name is Ching-Kuo. And you can pronounce it just fine.

What an anniversary can teach you

Today is me (my?) and Lisa's 9th wedding anniversary. 9 years ago today, we took a leap of faith. And while all the dust hasn't yet cleared, we're still standing. And we've got two more standing beside us. Well, not really. One is kind of rolling around and eating her feet. And I've learned a few things...

Doing the right thing is often the right thing

When Lisa and I first met, we were different people. We had also been 3 or 4 drinks into it. She was here on business from a foreign land. We clicked. I liked her carefree attitude, she liked my shaved head. We spent a weekend together. Then she went up to Northern CA to visit relatives. I drove up there to hang out with them (I'm weird in that I actually enjoy hanging out with relatives). I cooked dinner for them. Good move. Then she and the relatives went to Vegas. I tagged along. Our first and last dinner date was at Denny's. Awesome. Then, just like that, she was on a plane and gone. She went her way and I drove back to LA alone. But little Fury had other plans. Namely, he wanted to be born.

We went back to Vegas. We drove back to LA together.

Just the other day, she watched an old video of mine and remarked "ew, you looked ugly with a shaved head." And then she made me a To-Do list for the next day. 9 years. That's a whole lotta evolving.

We make smart kids

Did you know that if you teach a kid the average gestation period of a human baby, then teach him basic math, followed by the order of the months of the year, they can somehow take that disparate knowledge and apply it to the real world?

Yesterday, Lisa was telling Fury that our 9th anniversary was coming up. Fury paused for a moment.

"So... you were pregnant when you were married? Cool!"

We make awesome kids

Last night, around 3am, I heard Fury's alarm go off. He hit the snooze button. 10 minutes later, it went off again. Then I heard shuffling. And papers. Then I saw a figure tiptioe into our bedroom. This morning, on each of our nightstands was a handwritten note from Fury, wishing us a happy anniversary.

Let me be the SECOND person to wish my wife a very happy 9th anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Lisa!

- Love, Jim

(Dinner at Denny's tonight! woooo!!)

Give me fried apple pie or give me dea-- oh, wait!

This week, McDonald's announced the return of the McRib sandwich. What a slap in the face.

For nearly 20 years, I have kept the porch light on for the best thing McDonalds ever threw into an elongated semi-spherical cardboard container with ejection flaps: the fried apple pie. From the "Caution, Filling May be Hot" warning label to the guide holes that enabled you to gingerly slide the pie out of the box with your kid fingers, the fried apple pie was the manifestation of fast food perfection. Its unapologetically crispy bubbly crust served as a fitting complement to the molten oozy apple-y goodness percolating inside. The first bite was heaven, the last bite, sweet, sweet sorrow. When I was a kid, I used to stick my nose in the empty box afterwards to simply savor whatever aroma was left.

Then in 1992, McDonald's used my fried apple pie as a pawn in their public relations game, replacing it with a baked version in an effort to appear more health conscious. They even changed the box. My beloved apple pie went from sweet beckoning siren to something more resembling a homicide victim on an autopsy table. It was bloated, grotesque and oozing out of its wounds. Lifeless.

But I didn't fret. A few months tops, I thought. The public will grow restless, demands will be made, heads will roll and the fried pie will be back. Months turned to years. The internet got invented. And I searched desperately for answers.

Sometime around 1999, I found the Fried Apple Pie Locator. It was like finding an underground reisitance movement. I learned a few things, like the fact that you'll most likely find fried pies at McDonald's locations in Walmart stores because their limited space doesn't accommodate an oven. But more importantly, I had a source for old school apple pies.

Operative word: had. I found out last week that one of the underground resistance Walmarts fell to the hands of the enemy. "Sorry sir, we no longer carry the fried pies." When I got home, I checked the pie locator. That Walmart location is still a "confirmed" fried pie location, but only because the last update to the site was made in 2008. The resistance movement has moved on.

I probably would have just taken the defeat and let it go under normal circumstances, but today's news about the McRib woke up the revoltionary in me. McRib? Serious?? If I asked 50 people on the street if they'd rather bring back the McRib or the fried apple pie, I guarantee you more people would say apple pie. Not just a little more -- a landslide more. Go ahead try that yourself and prove me wrong. I assure you, I am not. Hell, I'd rather have the McDLT back. I actually liked keeping my hot side hot and my cool side cool. It made sense. The McRib makes no sense! Pork molded to look like baby back ribs? No one puts a slab of ribs in between bread!

I was channeling Mao, Che Guevara, and the Contras all at once. In my revolutionary fervor, I even made a petition to bring back the fried apple pie and put it out on Twitter, which nobody signed. But just as I was getting ready to say "Screw you guys. I'll do this myself if I have to!" I got a call from d Wife.

"I read your tweets" she said. "Funny, I got you something before I even read those tweets. You'll see when you get home."

What did she get me? These:

Those are fried apple pies, folks. From Pizza Hut! I guess they just came out with these because I went to the Pizza Hut website and they are not listed. Even though I am on a strict Paleo Diet right now, I had to try one, in the name of science. Ok, five. But I had to make sure these were the real deal. And they are. Look at the joy in my face. You simply can't fake this:

Yes, I committed a fashion faux pas by wearing the same shirt, two posts in a row. No, my dog is not eating my apple pies, as he is very well trained, but can still lay a good guilt trip on you. Yes, I am totally going to eat all 10 pies this weekend. No, I guess I won't go down in history as a famous revolutionary. Yes, the Force is strong with my wife... or I whine way too much about fried apple pies. Either way, I'm gonna be burning my tongue for a long time to come and savoring every minute of it.

A Father's Job

A father smiles in the face of adversity. Even though he hasn't strapped on a pair of skates in 30 years. Even though he will skate like a zombie in fast forward past herds of snickering teens. Because you ask him to.

A father doesn't always know the best or the right way to do things himself. In fact, his form is downright embarrasing sometimes. But he's there to pick you up as you try to figure it out. Because you expect him to.

A father makes the difficult seem easy. He may be on the verge of falling on his ass, but he'll put on a facial expression that makes it look like a cool Westside Story stage slide. Because you inspire him to.

A father brushes the melting ice off your pants, makes sure the coast is clear, gives you a little push, and lets go. Because you need him to.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who get the job done, grit their teeth and wait till the kids are asleep to apply the Ben Gay.

Let's take it back to the old school

When I started my blog, I had the luxury of blogging 4 hours a day as I made my daily commute to and from work on the LA Metro system. Nobody knew who I was, and nobody cared - which meant I had to write posts about parenting from a universal perspective, rather than posts about me and my life. Now, I get about 15 minutes a day to blog, if I'm lucky. Granted I have more fun with it now, but my posts were OH SO MUCH BETTER back in the day.

That's why when The Yummy Mummy Club asked me to guest post, I jumped on it. Nobody who reads that site knows who I am. It would give me a chance to write an old school BusyDad post. Sure, it took me like 2 weeks to write, but I loved every minute of it. I could almost smell the transients on the train as I typed away...

Anyway, check it out. This is a post about how the second kid always gets stuck with the jaded parents. If you can comment, that would be great. It's been up like 3 days with no response. I like going old school, but not THAT old school!

What to Expect When You're Expecting... Again