Laughing Baby

Hey you, laughing baby! Why are you laughing so much right now?

I don’t consider myself to be a very funny person. Every now and then I’ll say things that cause others to completely stop what they’re doing and force them to think, “did he just friggin’ say that?”. Those are the moments that even my brain tends to go, WTF. Its so out there and said in just the right way that if written down wouldn’t be considered a follow-able sentence, yet the mind somehow manages to do so. And I know there’s no way that she could possibly fully understand what I’m saying. Maybe its the way I say it that she finds funny?

I can make a two year old laugh with strange faces or by doing something weird. But I have no idea what-so-ever as to what would possibly make her laugh like that. She’s fallen asleep on my chest and across my lap a few times when spending the day with me. It just happens. She’ll rub her eyes, be moving constantly all around, and then without warning, she plops down where she pleases and falls asleep. She’s the exact opposite when she wakes up from her naps. Eye-lids open revealing curious eyes dotting all around the room getting familiar with her surroundings again. And then it happens.

She sits up, gaining her strength back, ever so slowly. She continues looking around as though hunting for something, but unsure of exactly what. All of a sudden, she spins around having caught site of my face, with a giant smile on hers. She begins laughing, and bouncing, having an amazing time for no reason at all. I just lay there in the reclined chair with her on my chest, enjoying her happiness. She’s enjoying a random moment spent with daddy, that nothing else in the world matters outside of our view.

We’re connected in that randomness, happy together…

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Geeking Out X-mas

Having the house to oneself is a nice feeling of relaxation and just being. Except when you’re being asked to watch kids, then there is no relaxation, or is there? I’m a geek and I embrace that fact whole-heartily. Sometimes a little too much, but that’s a very rare day.

I had my desktop, LCD and laptops with me having just left college for the winter break. I was also staying with my daughters mother helping take care of the kids over their school vacation. She was going to be leaving for a few days and it was up to me to keep an ever so “close-full” eye on them. I should also mention this was Christmas week, which meant extra excitement was abound in them about getting presents. I managed to carve out a little space for myself in the back half of the living room of the old Victorian to store my bundle of technology to keep it out of the way.

Having been that time of the year and not having cable TV meant that the kids wouldn’t be able to watch any of the traditional Christmas series or movies. The geek in me had other plans for that solution. It involved a few things and quick thinking on my part. There was already a wireless router in the house for internet access to their mothers laptop, which meant an even easier setup. I had an older laptop, but with a busted screen that could be used as part of this plan. The only issue I had, and a big one at that, meant that I would have to give my LCD to the destructive powers of the playroom. I made it abundantly clear that no one, and I meant NO ONE! was to touch it under any circumstances. There was no need of threats or punishment as they understood Christmas being around the corner could be canceled instead.

So with busted laptop and monitor in hand, I quickly set them up side by side on the window bench and got everything working to have a nice picture displayed. I made it extremely simple for them to make movie choices based on what I had in my personal ripped DVD collection. All they had to do was let me know the three movies they wanted to watch for the day and I’d have it setup for them. I even made it easier on myself by streaming everything over the wireless network from my laptop. Couple that with the UltraVNC program running on both laptops, and you’ve got yourself an easy way to remote into their movie to pause it when needing their attention.

This worked out better than I thought it could have. The kids enjoyed spending time together watching their favorite movies, if I happened to have one they liked. And if they got bored, being in their playroom, they could go about creating their own games without causing any issues with the others in the room. Though there were a few times I had to intervene. This idea worked so well in fact that I also managed to screw it up. Remember that little corner I scrapped out for my pile? Well, I also happened to have expanded it to the desk nearby for test setup purposes. This lead to a 30 minute freak out by not only myself scrambling to fix it, but by a group of kids wanting to watch a movie with me on the big couch. Its a pretty good thing I’m quick with my thinking!

I brought over my desktop tower, set the monitor on top of it and hooked it into my personal laptop with the external hard drive. A quick DIY television set was thus created. I don’t remember the movie we watched that night, but I certainly remember the kids having such big smiles on their faces when I came back to sit with them all on me. Even the teenager of the group was enjoying herself, lost in the moment. A pile of quiet kids, a fun movie and a happy household. That was definitely one of my favored Christmas memories that year…

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Ever turn around and find that your child is no longer where you left them? Add in the factors of anger, exhaustion and lack of self-control and you’ve got one very pissed off parent. What am I talking about? The simple, easy task of “listen to what I’ve fucking told you!”. I can’t really put it any simpler than that. Its not hard to follow, or remember at all. Its simplicity at is best, simple! But I was that pissed off parent, full of anger and exhaustion. And it was all directed towards the nurse pulling night duty in the maternity ward.

We were very clear and understood each other without even having to talk about it. Our daughter was going to stay in the room with us at all times less she needed to be taken elsewhere, then I would go with her. This was just simply understood. And we both thought it was made clear to the attending nurses that would keep checking in on us every few hours. But apparently it wasn’t clear or fully understood.

Here I was half asleep in the chair at 3 am when I awoke to an empty room. The mother was completely exhausted and thankfully sleeping comfortably, but minus one major detail. Our daughter was not at the foot of her bed. I was livid. I got up and went to look for her, dead-leg and all. She was taken by the nurse on duty along with another child that was having a few measurements and other tests done in the nursery. This kept me from going off like a mad man. I gathered myself before entering and calmly told the nurse that she was to stay with us, in our room at all times unless I was with her. The response I got nearly caused me to lose it, but I managed to bite my lip about it. She wanted us to “be able to get some peaceful sleep and rest”. I couldn’t give a flying hoot if I got “peaceful sleep or rest” with our daughter in the room. Sure the mother might be a little peeved, but it hadn’t bothered me one bit.

I took our daughter back to the room, only to find her mother sitting up in bed wondering “what the hell was going on”. Apparently she heard me when I left the room. She almost instantly went into the same rage I had just stopped myself from achieving moments prior. Our daughter being awake at this time, the mother had no issue with unloading a little on me. I don’t blame her for doing so, she needed to let that stress out and I didn’t stop her. We both politely informed the staff that which we had mutually agreed to, our daughter was to be with us at all times, no matter what.

Needless to say night time was, for me at least, a four hour rotational feeding that also involved not being easily let back to sleep. She was picky that one. Daddy wasn’t allowed to get comfortable or fall asleep until baby was. She didn’t want it any other way.

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The Transition, Pt. 2

An empty apartment, 4 walls and a bed. It’s been over a year now since I moved 300 miles South of where my daughter lives, yet I can still see the same old plain 4 walls and “couch” as the day I moved in. It’s a small apartment, what I dubbed the converted hotel room, but with a kitchenette. It was a hard sacrifice then, leaving everything that I came to know as being familiar. But it was a needed sacrifice, or at least that’s what I’ve trained myself to believe over the weeks. I moved for a job, a great job it turned out. Things were a little rocky at first, but they settled down nicely. The three of us got into a rhythm and kept it going despite all the issues we encountered. That’s pretty much the name of the game in the industry, adapting. You never knew when the phone would ring with an overly desperate, worried that his life is at risk contractor needing this changed or that added in. But we went with the flow. We quickly all agreed that we hated the phone calls as it meant everything stopped moving forward for those few hours as we had to regroup. We were questioned almost 4 times a day some weeks about how and why we came to the conclusions we did. It was almost unbearable at times with the stress we put ourselves through, but we did it anyway.

Double checking your work sounds easy enough right? Wrong. At least in our field. You see, we’re drafters, computer-aided drafters. We manage to create a massive amount of work in a very short time. And that time is spent forgetting what you just finished and focusing on the next stage.  Sure we went back and fixed mistakes that we noticed as we progressed, but that’s different. We knew exactly what was needed to be added, or changed based on what we just caught ourselves almost leaving out. Those mistakes are trivial in the long run, just add a note to the plans about the change made and on you went. As a drafter those trivial misses get quickly added to the core drafting standard that the project requires making them easier to deal with. The issues come when you’re working on a level and being asked to fix something two or more levels below the current. Its not an easy thing to do. You’ve not only just completed two levels of work above that issue, but you’ve more than likely also produced close to 50 drawings since then, accumulating nearly 100 hours spent creating them. But as drafters, we went back and quickly dealt with the changes and keept the high level of standard no matter.

I was enjoying my work with this company as well as my bosses. Both of them are great people to work next to and are good friends to have. They enjoyed my presence in the office as well as my ability to draft. I was quick, precise and learning quickly to adapt my skills to the office standards. I was a great employee and they were great employers. You may think I’m being biased with that statement, and I will assure you that I am being 100% biased. But there’s also a great reason behind it. They understood my situation of being a single father, living 300 miles away from his daughter. They were helpful and encouraging with their random bits of personal histories having either been through the same situation, or being related to someone that’s gone through it. After all, it was a family run company.

They understood that I’d be traveling almost every other week and were flexible in allowing some leeway come Monday morning should I be a little late. I just had to make sure I put in the eight hours they required. So it was a bit shocking when I was told that they also would bend over backwards to help out. I didn’t exactly fully understand what they meant by that statement, but damn, did I find out quick!

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Life’s Dreaming

Alone, early dawn morning, sun’s not even hinted at rising. Just laying there, trapped. There was no escape, no matter how hard one could try to escape. It couldn’t and wouldn’t be done. The physical body was trapped by the spiritual one. At the mercy of its whim, its plan. More frightening yet, being trapped and getting to see the one thing denied, but yearned for. That precious dream being seen, not able to be a reality.

Eight years old, and the love of her life, is little more than a bi-weekly miracle. Always uncertain of if, not when he will show. She knows theres no way of controlling this, its been the same way all her life. Every other weekend is a gamble of Russian Roulette standards, one thats been rigged and changes with the slightest breath of the one who controls it all. Shes come to accept the way things are, knowing that they won’t change, at least not any time soon.

The games are all understood, they’ve been witnessed too many times now. And if there be any doubt, a helpful reminder awaits just a week away, another chance to spin that wheel and hope it lands on that happiness thats been an eluding chase.

Theres no second guessing this life, its been laid out and repeated before. With each generation before her as a helpful reminder of what has been, but with that burning hope of what could be. They keep that portion alive in her, for they know what it is she yearns for, and know it exists and is there for her always. The constant reminders help keep her going, help her past the disappointment of that roulette wheel.

She treats those weekends as precious memories and dreams to be kept like fine sand in the hourglass she stares at. Each time she feels her arms around his neck she knows she is safe, loved and has the ability to conquer the world. She knows no harm will come to her, for she has her great defender, her beloved hero ready and willing to step in and save her.

Each night, like clockwork, these visions taunt me, a constant reminder of the endlessly possible future. One in which though unknown, is still full of endless hope for her happiness…

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