Eventually

So this is the first time in awhile that I have sat down at my computer and actually typed out a rant.  “But Nate you rant all of the time!” Says one of my readers that I just made up in my head that doesn’t exist but I just created for the sake of having that quote.  Anyways, Yes I do “rant” on a regular basis.  I typically use my phone.  I started off using WordPress’s app for Iphone but it kept doing this crappy auto save thing so I stopped using it and began using the notepad app instead.  For whatever reason it felt better and it didn’t freeze up because it was auto saving to a server.  Anyways, the beauty of it all is that Toby can watch his shows and I whine and complain to you all.

So why the heck am I sitting here now? Ah bath time.  Its a great time.  Toby is getting a bath and so I had nothing else better to do but plop my butt down and type out something.  So I was thinking, like I usually do, that I needed to post something positive.  I was thinking about a few of my last post and many of them had a dark feel.  I didn’t want to give you, my readers, the impression that I was slipping into some sort of dark dangerous depression because all I rant about is negative things.  So I’ve been trying to force myself into thinking of something positive to rant about.  Ah and here in lies the issue.   I don’t have anything right now.  Anything positive that is.  Someone told me earlier today to “keep my head up”, “things will get better”.  Later in the day I had another conversation with a friend and I suddenly realized that as of tomorrow morning half the calendar year will be over.  Then I thought of how crappy the first half of this year has been.  Here is my check list in just 6 short months:

Realizing your marriage is doomed (check)

Separation with impending divorce (check)

Suddenly becoming a single father of an insane 3yr old (check)

Suddenly having to pay an gross amount of money for someone to watch that insane 3yr old (check)

A very sudden realization that your ex has moved on completely (check)

All in just a short 6 months.  Hell, people have lived life times and not experience this much change in their lives.  Ok, maybe I am being a little grandiose.  One of my students at work is going through a tough family situation.  He is coming to terms with a separation from his family.  The idea of the  popped into my head.  I counseled him that he needs to go through the 5 stages of grief but he cannot get stuck there.  He has to eventually move on and get to acceptance.  In short I was talking to myself.  Here I am grieving, if you will,5 stages a failed marriage and the end of a lifestyle.

My ex and I went through the denial phase together.  We simply did not accept that our marriage was dying and that we needed to move on.  Then the anger part.  I think we went through some of that together as well.  Bargaining.  We went through that together but separately.  We both debated ideas of how to make it work.  What we could each sacrifice to keep the marriage together.  What we could bargain. Depression and acceptance.  I think these are the phases that oscillate between.  Eventually, I’ll have more days of acceptance than depression.  Eventually, I’ll fully move on.  Eventually.

Mecca

I remember in college I used some of my student loan to buy a new desk top computer. Now some of you youngsters are probably wondering what that is, it came before laptops and tablets and you couldn’t carry it around. At the time it was a pretty sweet machine. It had the latest windows, almost 1G of RAM and a 20G hard-drive. By today’s standard it was a piece of crap. Back then though, it was the BMW of computers.

I remember when I got it my friends and I, Mike & Jeremy, decided to call it the Mecca. That’s how in awe of it we were. We thought “man this is it!” Don’t judge, we were in college and pretty goofy. Of course as time went on Mecca started to slow down. The boot up time took longer. Internet was slower. Pulling up word documents seemed to take forever. Mecca couldn’t keep up. I remember trying to pull up a report for class and hearing the computer work so hard to pull up that one little file. It churned and churned. It was like it was thinking so hard but couldn’t get on track. It had some how was burning a ton of power and getting no where. I’m pretty sure I could walk away, make a sandwich, pour a class of coke and then come back before my document loaded.

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to over think things. I process and process the same data. I feel like Mecca in its twilight years. Churning and churning and not doing anything. It’s like my brain spinning and never really coming to a conclusion.

I suppose what makes it worse is my own insecurities and my anxiety. My own insecurities question everything. It churns and churns the information that I receive and it gets stuck. Sometimes I come to ridiculous conclusions. One time I pulled up a document and my computer pulled up the wrong one. No matter how many times I clicked on the correct one, it pulled up the wrong one. I had to shut the whole thing down, wait a minute, reboot and then it got if right.

I know sometimes I need to shut my brain down and reboot. I think I ranted about this before. But too many times I’m like my computer, stuck. You walk away and make a sandwich and I’m still churning. Of if you force an operation I produce the wrong thing. My own insecurities act like I don’t have enough RAM to operate the program. I lack the confidence to follow through. To just be okay with things. The anxiety is like running out of hard drive. Insufficient emotional capabilities would be my pop up warning sign. The crazy part is that I’m not like this at all at work. I’m a super computer fresh from the factory. Outside of work though, just stamp “Dell” on my forehead.

So once again, I come back the question that plagues me. Now what? Toby’s little voice echoes in my thoughts.

“Now what daddy?”

Honestly don’t know. I need more RAM and a bigger hard drive.

A Forgotten War

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War officially started. 75,000 soldiers crossed the 38th Parallel that divided North and South Korea. In terms of wars and conflicts, there was little media coverage in the US. In many ways this is a forgotten war/conflict in US History. I remember being in history class and going over each battle of WWII and then seamlessly skipping over the Korean War and jumping straight to the Vietnam War.

I didn’t do any maps or class projects about the Korean War. What I did get were teachers asking me to pose as a Japanese silhouette to represent the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Never mind that the Japanese invaded Korea and attempted to eliminate the Korean culture. At the time I didn’t realize just how messed up it was that a teacher would even consider asking to me do something like that. This just reinforced the fact that the Korean War was simply skimmed over during most history classes.

For obvious reasons I have close ties to the Korean War. One reason that not many people know is that my great uncle fought in the Korean War. Sadly he died of throat cancer before I had a chance to talk to him about it. I doubted that when he was over in Korea fighting that he ever imagined that he would have two adopted Korean boys in his family. I wonder how he viewed us, as far as if it gave him a sense of pride knowing he essentially fought for our freedom.

40,000 US soldiers were killed during the Korean War and over 100,000 were injured. This Memorial Day, I’d like to thank those men and women who served during the Korean War so that I could be free. If the North Koreans would have taken over the peninsula, I can assure you that I wouldn’t be here today. In history classes this maybe a forgotten war but it’s something I’ll never forget.

Tree tops

So I was laying in bed. Ok now let me dispel any bad thoughts that might have just popped up. It was 3pm and I had just woken up from a nap. I was fully clothed. (Ok, now that that’s out of the way) I was laying in bed and I was looking outside through my sliding glass doors and was watching the wind blow through the tops of some trees. It was actually quite peaceful to just lay there and watch. It was fascinating to see the wind kick up and the tree tops wave to and fro.

It got me thinking about being flexible. The tree tops are flexible enough that they give just enough not to snap but ridged enough to not get blown over. As human beings sometimes we go from one extreme to another. Some of us are the types to literally bend over backwards for people. They get blown all over the place and many times simply get blown over. Others are too ridged. They won’t bend for anyone. They won’t change or adjust to their surroundings. I work with a guy so set in his ways that he simply believes he’s right all of the time. He’s unwilling to accept feedback and simply cannot adjust. Those people snap. Or get up rooted. The pressure of the wind and life will break them.

For me I’m trying to find that balance. Like the tree. When do I need to be flexible and when do I need to drive my roots deep into the ground? I suppose that’s really the trick to the tree’s flexibility. The deep roots that it has. The roots keep the tree anchored so that the rest of the tree can bend and flex without having to worry about being blown away. In the end I am learning that I need to have deep roots and still be flexible when necessary. Life is full of changing winds, if you don’t have both you’ll either snap or get blown away.

Maybe this is it

One of my first jobs in high school was working at a packaging company. It was a small company that mostly dealt with small orders and special orders. The company would do cut outs for grocery stores or folders for small business. There would be times when I had to rip the excess material from the cut out and toss it in the garbage compactor. Your hands would get cut up if you didn’t wear gloves. Generally though it was very mundane work. One order I remember we had, we had to tape gun and fold around 1000 business folders. It got to be a competition between me and the other workers to see who could gun the folder and fold it correctly the fastest. It sounds terrible but we made it fun, for about one day. The problem was after the first day you got tired of doing the same motions over and over. The only good part was because it was a small company the orders were smaller and would change up regularly.
Lately I feel like I am going through the same motions over and over. It’s crazy because, as many of you know, my life has gone through a ton of changes. At the same time, not a lot has changed for me. I go to work, make the same jokes at work, file the same paperwork, deal with the same issues. I come home and its watch Toby, feed him, he whines for 30minutes, then recovers, then watches the same shows. He goes to bed, I find myself watching the same shows, sitting in the same chair, playing the same iPhone games. It’s been pretty much the same stuff I was doing before chaos broke out.
I will say this, there have been a few reprieves throughout this time, for those I’m so thankful for. Evenings that have been broken up by company, a change of pace. Still, I can’t help but wonder if this is going to keep happening. If this… Is it? Five years from now, will I be pretty much doing the same thing? Ten years? I don’t know. Even robots who do the same motions over and over eventually break down. I’m sure there’s more. I just haven’t found it. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. Maybe I’m too tired to look. Maybe this is it.

I’m tired today.

I’m tired today. My legs feel like concrete blocks dragging under me, my eyes keep watering when I yawn, I’m having trouble staying awake. It’s a good kind of tired. Ever so slowly I’m learning that there are good reasons to be tired and bad reasons.

The good tired is staying up late having a great conversation with a friend. Running around chasing my son at the park after a long day of work. Staying up and cleaning the house so that it doesn’t feel chaotic. These are just a few examples I can think of. A good tired is when you think about why you’re tired and a small weak smile crosses your face. A good tired is if someone asked you “would you do it again?” The answer is always “yes”.

Too many times these past few months I’ve been the bad tired. The tired where you stay up late for no reason and you’ve accomplished nothing. The tired in which you lay in bed all night thinking how you could have done something different. Or being up all night with a coughing child. These are the tired days that you never want to happen again. The days in which you would trade a nice sum of money to avoid.

Today is a good tired. I’m happy that I’m tired.

Egg Shells

So most Saturday mornings Toby loves to sit and watch me cook breakfast. He’ll put the bread in the toaster and push down the lever. He likes to toss the turkey bacon on the pan. As much fun as that is for a 3yr old, there is one thing he loves most and that’s cracking eggs. The first time I let him do it was mistake. He smashed the egg on the counter. Awesome. The second time was better but he left more egg on the counter than in the shells. Finally, I got him to control himself just little bit so now he just taps the egg, most of the time it doesn’t even crack, and then he hands the egg to me. I’m always nervous though because there’s always a chance he’ll hulk out and smash the egg on the counter.

I went to a wedding the other day and the term “Walking on egg shells” came to mind. It was a rural wedding, I mean come on the invitations had a set of deer antlers on it. Not only that, I wore a pair of American Eagle jeans and I may have been over dressed. All of that though just sets up the context of me walking in and SURPRISE! I’m the only minority! It’s doubly difficult because not only am I normally the only minority, I’m the only Asian minority. It’s hard to explain to people that don’t understand, sorry white people this means you, what it feels like to walk into a room full of people that look nothing like you. Not that it’s the right thing but I honestly automatically feel like I am walking on egg shells.

I guess the thing I am always worried about is the rogue person who is just drunk enough to come up and say something stupid. Cuz lets be honest, weddings + alcohol = people saying stupid things. Most of the time you don’t need alcohol or a wedding for people to say something stupid.

I remember one time I ran into a group of students from Carnegie Mellon University. They were all Korean. It was one of the most surreal thing to walk into their house and literally see Koreans coming out of every room. Again, so hard to explain how that moment feels when you no longer have to walk on egg shells. No longer having to worry about someone asking you a dumb question like are you from the north or the south, or do you see differently because of how your eyes are shaped.

In the end there isn’t really a solution to it all. I’ve been walking on egg shells all my life, just like Toby learning to crack the eggs gently, the walking is becoming easier and less messy, but there’s always a chance I’m gonna get yoke all over the place.

Dear Toby, (5/17/13)

Dear Toby, (5/17/13)

Hey little man, this is your second week of day care. Things were pretty rough at first. You cried a ton and you really didn’t want to go at first. Today was different though. When you woke up I told you that you had to goto school today and you didn’t cry or fuss. When I dropped you off, you didn’t cry at all. For me it’s a first and a small victory.

I know things are crazy right now. Dad watching you this day, Nanna watching you the next, uncle Roo watching here and mom watching you there. Toss in day care and things have been pretty crazy for you. Just know I’m doing my best. I don’t have all the answers and chances are I’ve already made mistakes. I know one thing tho, you’re my son. That means at very least you’re a fighter, a survivor. I can see you adjusting and trying to make sense of it all. Know that I’m proud of you and you’re doing great.

Love,
Friend Dad.

Reboot

So last night was just weird. Ever have one of those nights where things just feel off? You feel off. I was restless, tired, anxious, angry, passive, agitated, and off all at the same time. You don’t really know what’s “wrong”. If someone asks you can’t really quantify what’s going on. There’s nothing to “talk about” or work through. Ya just feel off.

That was last night. I just felt off. Yesterday, it was raining and cloudy. It fit my mood. Maybe the weather had a small contribution to how I feel, at the very least it was a reflection. I remember looking outside and it was kind of sunny, then randomly dark a few minutes later. My solution to all of it was to goto bed. I think deep down, I was probably feeling lonely, isolated, defeated, and worried. Too often, for me at least, when I get in “these moods” my mind races. I start to over analyze everything. I nit-pick details and extrapolate from them. My imagination goes wild. I think of a computer just freaking out and the only solution is to just unplug it. Reboot and hope that it was an anomaly.

That’s what I did. I went to bed early. The Black Keys blues rock melodies soothed me to sleep. I woke up once in the middle of the night. I heard a “thump”… A pitter-patter of little feet. I felt Toby climb up in my bed, pull the covers over himself. Then storm inside calmed like Jesus calming the sea.

I woke up this morning and the sun was out. The weather was better, not perfect but better. Again, a reflection of my internal emotional self.

Grrrr… This kid

Grrrr… This kid is pissing me off. Crawls on my head, jumps in my face, tosses random toys at me. All he does is whine and fuss. First he wants to eat and then he doesn’t. He wants to leave and go outside then he wants a show on. Please make up your freaking mind!

Trying so hard not to yell. Hell, I’m trying be polite even! Seriously, there is no reasoning with this kid! And yet there in lies the problem. A complete lack of reasoning. One would think that since I work with juvenile delinquents I would understand better that a 3yr old has less capacity to reason than a monkey. But, no, I still get pissed whenever he tosses his cereal because there isn’t enough marshmallow pieces in it.

Oh and the “I want to hold you”, which is code for pick me up for no freaking reason!! Why? Why do I need to pick you up? Is there danger? Are you hurt? Is something wrong? No, he just wants to push on the door frame. I try and put him down, suddenly I’m the unreasonable one. Isn’t that the best part? They (meaning all children) at some point look at you like you’re the crazy unreasonable one!!

Sigh, then of course inevitably they do something cute or amazing. They give you kisses when you feel like going all Beyonce muscle flex at the Super Bowl on them. Or maybe they pat your back and tell you “aww it’s okay dadda”. Thanks kid.

Of course all you can think about is why aren’t you 18yrs old yet and moving out to go to college? Heck that this point I would settle for him knocking up some girl up, working at McD’s and doing “the right thing” as long as he was out of my house! Alas, once again I look like the crazy unreasonable one. That’s what they do to you. They (again meaning all children) will make you look dumb, insane, stupid, and foolish.

I leave you now because my son, the kid I thought was a genius at one point, is laying across my leg, on his back and smacking his head off the floor. His response is to cry for one second, ask for his mommy (why? Cuz she isn’t here, 110% certain if she were here he would ask for me) and the smack his head off the floor again.

Ahhhhhh welcome to being a parent. If you are one, pretty sure you are laughing out of sadness cuz it’s all true and if you aren’t one… Keep it that way. The world is over populated and we are depleting the earths natural resources, you’re doing us and yourselves a favor.

(Ok, most of this was posted out of frustration and a little tongue n cheek… Well…)