Beer & Diapers

Memoirs of a millennial dad

I’m full of suck and lose

Well it’s halfway through January and only wrote 2 posts when I said I would write every day. In my defense, I’ve taken on some good freelance work, and writing that pays gets priority. But I hate to give up on a resolution so quickly.

Hopefully, I can keep my resolutions to save more money, lose 50 pounds, and cut back on the hot midget porn.

Requiem for the Christmas Tree

Tonight I finally took the DeWeese family Christmas down from the stand, cut it into thirds, and laid it to rest in the yard waste bin. Kate and I had stripped off all the decorations several days ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to then taking the bare tree down. It always feels like a last acknowledgment that Christmas won’t be back for another 12 months.

In memory of this year’s tree, I thought I would share a little about the fun Kate, Daniel and I had picking it out at our friend’s tree farm. And the hassle it took to get it set up. The DeWeese family went to go pick out our tree at the Sprouffske farm in early December. It was one of those perfectly hazy winter days. On the drive out to Rainier, we passed past farmland and forest enshrouded in freezing mist. The mist gave a certain feeling of pre-Christmas mystery, of wondering what the next few weeks would hold. Jonathan and Shelley warmly welcomed us for a holiday get-together, and Shelley did a great job of taking the DeWeese family photo. It was then time to go out into the fields and pick out our tree. The sun had begun to burn away the mist and I was struck by the beauty of long lines of Christmas trees, with the shadow of Mount Rainier in the background.

Of course, the best part about the experience was watching Daniel and Mommy go find the perfect tree as I walked a few paces behind, handsaw at the ready. It’s not all that often I get to feel super macho as a suburban dad. But in that moment as I haul our tree back to the car for the long ride home to Tacoma, I’m proud of the fact that I’m not one of THOSE dads who just goes and picks a tree out from the corner lot.

New Year’s Resolution: Do more blogging

Hi all,

It’s 2012 which means it’s time to make some new year’s resolutions. My most important resolution (beyond losing 30 pounds and getting rich quick) is to write more. I realize I spend a lot of time on message boards arguing about things I would never argue about in person, ie, religion and politics. I also spend a fair amount of time perusing weird news stories, watching preview clips on gaming sites, and reading about random historical topics. In other words, wasting way too much time doing stuff that doesn’t really enrich my life that much.

I’ve also had hammered into me the concept that being a dad completely changes how I look at time as much as it has changed how I look at money. It used to be I could blow hours goofing off online and still have plenty of time to work out, clean the house, spend time with friends, etc. Now, that’s not true – every minute I spend on YouTube or Penny Arcade or arguing about the latest budget bill comes at the expense of something else. I also find myself using Facebook in an unhealthy way. Instead of spending time posting about what makes me happy, I spend time lurking and wondering why my life isn’t as great as former classmates or coworkers.

So this January, I’m trying something new. My resolution to myself and you dear reader is to update my blog at least once a week. I can’t promise that all my posts will be extraordinary, but I hope they will be all entertaining. And at the very least I hope that by writing this blog I will spur myself to do more freelance and fiction writing.

BTW, words of encouragement are always welcome. Merciless mocking if I don’t post are also encouraged.

Halloween Costume Shopping

Kate and I make the mistake of taking a two-year-old to Halloween City after dinner. I try unsuccessfully to convince Kate to dress as a naughty nun, Greek goddess, or French maid. Kate says she doesn’t know the difference between ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek costumes. I slip into history nerd mode and say that the styles of costumes couldn’t be more different, unless of course you’re talking about Cleopatra who was actually descended from the Greeks who conquered Egypt under Alexander the Great.

Meanwhile, Daniel sees Halloween City as a slightly more dangerous version of Toys R Us. He zips up and down the aisles, squealing with delight as he finds the kid’s costume section and terror when he comes face-to-face with Freddy. I have to chase Daniel for several aisles after he runs away with a Captain America shield. The staff have a great time with it, but some of the teenage girls trying to find a last minute costume are slightly annoyed.

The saddest part of the evening is taking Daniel to the bathroom on the second floor. From the next level I could see all the literary quotations left over from when the building was a Borders Bookstore. I feel extremely saddened that a store specializing in cheap Halloween props is booming while book stores just can’t keep the lights on. Who needs Shakespeare, Dickens, or Maya Angelou when you can dress up like Charlie Sheen or Snookie?

Potty Mouth

This week I had one of the most embarrassing moments so far as a parent. You see, I’ve yet to teach my son how to use the potty, but I’ve helped him develop a potty mouth.

The two of us were on our way to daycare when I pointed out a fire truck going the other way.

“Look Daniel, do you see the fire truck?”

“Fire Truck!” Daniel replied happily. Then without warning, my little red-headed cherub dropped the F-bomb.

” Fire F@#k!” Daniel continued, completely unaware of how horrified his father was.

I know I’m to blame. Kate and I had invited the family over to our place for a Labor Day barbecue, and we were both stressed trying to get the house in perfect order before dinner. One of my jobs was to get the bathroom in perfect order, which included swapping out the well-worn toilet seat.

Since it was old and loose, I figured I needed maybe 10 minutes to get it off. Thirty minutes later, I was still kneeling on the bathroom floor, yanking on a bolt that had rusted so badly it wouldn’t budge no matter how much WD-40 I applied.

With time running out and the in-laws on their way, I called the toilet a number of choice words. Kate was pretty horrified, but I hoped that Daniel hadn’t overheard any of my tirades. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Too bad Daniel isn’t a little bit older, or I could play off that he learned the bad word from his cellmates, err classmates, at daycare. But this time I have to own it. The good news is Kate has started Daniel to say “God bless you” whenever he gets frustrated. It’s so cute to watch him get mad at his toys and say stuff like “God bless you Thomas!”

Tougher than my dad

Hello and welcome to my new dad blog – Beer & Diapers.

My name is John, and I’m a 30-something professional writer, husband to the lovely Kate, and father of a wonderfully crazy two-year-old named Daniel. In the upcoming months, I hope to capture all the magic, excitement and challenges of being a dad at the beginning of the 21st Century.

So where to begin with my story? Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

My English major wife will immediately point out that I’m plagiarizing Dickens.

If I’m going to rip off anyone, it might as well be Kurt Vonnegut’s first line from Slaughterhouse Five: All this happened, more or less.

Every guy to a certain extent lives in the shadow of his father. I don’t want to paint the wrong picture of him, because my dad has a huge heart and a big soft side when it comes to his family. On the other hand, he’s one of the toughest guys I know. He grew up on a small farm in rural Kentucky, won multiple Bronze Stars in Vietnam, and spent 20+ years working hundreds of feet in the air as an iron worker. It’s safe to say that growing up as a nerdy kid in suburbia, I could never claim to be tougher than my dad.

If  I’m like Ron Livingston’s character in Office Space. My dad is Ron Livingston’s character in Band of Brothers.

That all changed the night Daniel was born. You see, when I was born my dad hung out in the waiting lobby while the doctor and nurses helped mom get through delivery. The 1970s are a far cry from today, when fathers are expected to be in the delivery room. However, going in I had no idea how involved I was going to get.

Kate had to be induced, so I don’t have any cool stories about rushing her to the hospital through a driving blizzard. Instead, Kate and I waited from about six in the morning up until around dinner time.

Kate’s contractions really kicked in right around 7 p.m., and she requested drugs. The epidural went in around the time Jeopardy came on. Kate’s sister Noreen was in the room with us,and she joked that thanks to the epidural I was finally going to be able to beat my wife at guessing the next answer.  Kate actually fell asleep for awhile, and I think I dozed myself.

Shortly before midnight, Kate began the final contractions. We had a great delivery nurse named Jean who did a great job of putting Kate at ease and coaching her through the pain. But in true DeWeese family style, little Daniel was going to take his sweet time arriving. It wasn’t long until nurse Jean told me to grab Kate’s leg and take over as lead breathing coach/cheerleader.

This was definitely not what I signed up for. I had this strange idea that I would be at the head of the bed, holding my wife’s hand and trying not to look past the handy dandy dividing sheet.

Instead of being safe back in the control room, I found myself down on the ground with seal team six. I won’t go into gory details, except to say that watching your son come into the world is like watching a particularly gruesome X-Files episode. I remember going into a Zen state, telling Kate over and over again to push and breathe, push and breathe. Holding up her leg became the two person yoga stretch from hell.  Finally, the cavalry arrived as our doctor took over to finally bring Daniel into the world. It was then that I realized Kate had been pushing for over three hours.

Exhausted, terrified, and extremely happy, Kate and I took turns cradling our tiny little boy. And it began to dawn on me that for that one night I could say I had it tougher than my dad.

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