Pink and Blue / True Gold / Nine Days Old:

Episode 11
Alright this episode isn’t for the faint of heart. I’m going to give my opinions on some matters which South Carolinians may take offense, and as history teaches us, there’s no one more dangerous than South Carolinians when they feel slighted (just ask Charles Sumner).

Charleston is the greatest city in the Carolinas. North Carolina is the better of the Carolinas. Carolina is better than S. Car (or whatever that school in Columbia is legally allowed to call itself now). Lexington Barbeque is the best Barbeque in the world. And while the state of South Carolina focuses their passion for athletics into football programs that have one National Championship, the state of North Carolina focuses its passion towards highly successful basketball programs. It is this basketball focus that has stuck with me throughout my adult years, always watching football with a passing interest, but often spending more time focusing on my beloved UNC Tar Heel basketball program.  

Regulars coming into my bar have nicknamed me a variety of things, but most of them have come up with the nicknames “Big Mike” or “Carolina Mike” on their own. Both nicknames are easy to come by. I’m a large guy, which explains “Big Mike” and 9 out of 10 shifts you can find me wearing a UNC ball cap.  

Growing up I would sneak my radio under my pillow in bed and listen to all the late night basketball games. My mom, also an avid basketball fan, would let me watch the early games on TV. She’s such a big fan she loaded up all the kids at home (my oldest sister was studying at UNC at the time) and drove us to Chapel Hill to celebrate the ’93 NCAA Championship (I still own the t-shirt I bought from the bookstore). The only time I’ve ever cheered against UNC is when I was at CofC in the nineties and attended the Diet Pepsi Tournament where CofC played UNC (A game the Cougars won).

So it’s with this love of North Carolina that I wear plenty of Carolina Blue clothing. It’s my favorite color. And being much larger than my daughter (remember the whole “Big Mike” thing) I get to pick out what she wears. This means plenty of superhero, punk rock, and UNC onesies. Her wearing these onesies she often gets called a he.  

Working at the Upper Deck, and as a bartender elsewhere, I’ve been around many different types of people in my life. The Upper Deck has always had a policy that anyone who isn’t an asshole is welcome. The bar I worked at in Memphis, The Cove, had the same policy.  

My daughter being called my son doesn’t bother me. I do find it odd that strangers would call a child her size either a boy or girl. Here’s the thing. Don’t assume. While it doesn’t bother me that someone gets my child’s sex wrong, the mentality of having to label gender does bother me. Just don’t be an asshole. Or I won’t give you drinks.

Standard

The Road to Perdition: Girls on Film

Episode 10
I clearly have no problems taking photos of my child. At this point I’m pretty sure my Instagram and Facebook friends hate me. Tom just removed me from his Top 8, leaving him with only 3. I stopped by the Recovery Room last night to say hi to the guys from Dumb Doctors (check that band out) on my way home from work. There I ran into a friend who said to me, “man I haven’t seen you since you posted those last 50 pictures to Instagram!”. We had seen each other 3 hours before. I take, and post, with this frequency.

Now this isn’t all strange. I used to work as a photographer, back in the days of film. Moving to Charleston back in the 90’s sort of burnt me out on it. I worked for a certain camera store here where the owner of the location was…let’s say… disreputable. I also worked as a photographer for a service which took pictures of the sororities at College of Charleston (a low paying gig with tremendous benefits). The combination of weddings, sorority parties, and an asshole boss finally got to me and I put down my camera for a couple years and then never used it to make money again. In those years the digital revolution took over and now people’s cell phones take better pictures than the old point and shoot cameras ever did (okay I’m not going to get into Leica Cameras vs the iPhone 6). Every bored stay at home parent seems to be a “professional” photographer now, undercutting the truly talented event photographers out there. Instead of taking pictures in those years I started shooting skeet as a hobby instead. It’s something I really enjoy. So when this Christmas came around my wife, parents, and sisters all asked me what I wanted. I asked for gift cards so I could buy a new gun for this hobby. Well this caused all manners of consternation and I ended up getting a new camera. Which is fine, one should never expect a gift, and the camera has been a lot of fun. It’s rekindled some of the fun I had taking pictures 15 years ago.  

So these things have left my daughter well documented. But now my wife wants to have professional photos taken of all of us. I’m hesitant to get professional pictures taken at this age. I feel like we are going to end up as the weird parents with way too many pictures up in our house of our child. The next thing we know we’re going to be throwing her princess parties (more on the princess bullshit at a later date. I have to be ready to fire some vitriol at that subject in length), then trying to make her a child actor, and then wondering why our child is hanging out at that college bar with the coke dealer (you know the bar….). It’s a slippery slope dads. Don’t have your kid grow up to be the kid that hangs out at the coke bar.

Standard

Ca$h Money Millionaires?

So today I finally went by and checked to see if my lotto ticket won. And guess what? It freaking did!!!!!

“Congratulations! You’re a winner”. Dreams of not going into work, buying a Dodge M37 and loading the kid and wife into it, filling the back with camping equipment, and expensive Italian shotguns and driving into the sunset fill my head. Or maybe just paying off the lions share of my student loans. One of the two.  
“You’ve won 16 dollars” says the clerk! Dreams of getting a cold beer after work fill my head…

Standard

Hills Like White Elephants: Mistakes of the Past (The Theory of Omission)

Episode 9:

Mistakes I’ve made in life have always had a way of haunting my thoughts. That nagging feeling that if I had done something differently the outcome would have turned out a little better. Relationships with friends, family, exes, and even strangers could’ve all turned out differently if maybe I had been willing to be a bigger man (or if I had ever learned to keep my mouth shut). The relationships wasted keep me up at night. 

Hopefully all of my failed relationships will end up teaching me how to have the best and most positive relationship that I can with my daughter. All the failed late night drunk conversations which never got me anywhere at the time will pay off now (or when my daughter is older). I doubt most of the people I’ve ever fought with will ever read this but maybe one or two of them will, so to them, thank you. My regret I feel over you pushes me to never regret again.

Standard

It’s Decoration Day: An Act of Congress, signed by the President

Episode 8

With Memorial Day weekend here, we have some friends in town (visitors occur quite often when you live in a city often noted for being a vacation destination).  We’re excited to see them for a variety of reasons, but most of all, because on the day that we were going to leave for Tennessee for their wedding (which we were both supposed to be in), my wife’s water broke.

Earlier in the day we had both went to her check up appointment.  There the doctor and my wife (who is also a doctor) both assured me that travel was safe and that the baby wouldn’t be making an appearance for a couple of weeks.  I was hesitant to believe them, and stated this to both of them, but decided that they were the health care professionals.  I work at a bar where you used to be unable to see from one end of the room to the other end due to the cigarette smoke (thank god for that ban).  So after the appointment I dropped my wife off at work, came home, made myself lunch, and went to get a hair cut.  I was walking to the local barbershop (Holy City Barber) when I realized that I had left my phone at home.  Holy City Barber is a block from my house so I decided that I wouldn’t need it while I spent an hour getting my hair cut.  Sometimes a break from your phone is a good thing I theorized.  So I get a haircut (the guy did a great job), come home, look at my phone, and I have about 7 missed calls and 5 text messages from my wife telling me that her water broke.  I get in touch with her, pack our car, and head over to the hospital.  I met her in delivery and 10 hours later she had given birth to our daughter.  We were very excited to be new parents, her doctor called me and apologized for not listening to me (I advocate never listening to me.  Seriously, why are you people even reading this blog!), but we were sad to miss our friends get married.  Also, the groom is French, and there was going to be an amazing cheese course at the reception!

So with the new marriage and the newborn we talked and decided that Memorial Day weekend would be a great time for them to visit.  My wife and her friend could get manicures and drink wine, my friend and I have decided to go see “The Complete History of Charleston for Morons” at Theatre 99 and then celebrate another friends birthday at The Upper Deck Tavern (353B King St.  Come see me behind the bar someday.  Give me money so I can buy my kid superhero shirts).  I’m so excited to go out on the town. 
*interesting Charleston fact:  the first major Decoration Day took place in Hampton Park! 

Standard

Grumpy Old Man

Episode 7

     Today I realized that I am a grumpy old man. I went on a rant on brunch earlier today because, well I hate brunch.  

     “I can’t stand people that choose brunch over lunch or breakfast.  Combining meals is bullshit, and you miss out on a meal if you combine them.  And you’re adults.  You can eat eggs and bacon for lunch if you want.  And if you want to get drunk in the morning  just admit it.  “I want to drink bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s at 10:30 in the morning because I have a drinking problem.  It’s the only way I can numb the pain of my horrible job.  My boss is an asshole, I got a degree in English, but now I’m pretending like I give a shit about Brenda in Ohio on the phone.  I sit in traffic for 5 days a week so I can afford my car that looks like every other car.  I live in my apartment complex with the swimming pool, it’s cool I promise (just ignore that minor in historic preservation), and shop at trader joes and H&M.”  This is how I view brunch people.  So, anyone want to go to brunch?”
     Some of my friends attributed this to my lack of sleep, and while that may be true, I feel like fatherhood has definitely changed my feelings on a myriad of topics.  I often post short rants and Facebook, sometimes dealing with fatherhood.  In the past, my thousand or so Facebook “friends” could chime in and I wouldn’t give it much thought.  Now it’s a little different.  
     
     Sometimes the advice given on Facebook is genuinely helpful.  I’ve been able to ask friends and acquaintances for advice.   I would’ve never thought to purchase the NoseFrida (or heard about it) if I hadn’t posted something about boogers and children.  That was a super helpful comment.    Other times the comments can be downright stupid, inane, or vacuous (the old thesaurus is working overtime boys).
  
     New rule to every parent out there:  if someone posts a rant about their child crying (example) just take it as a rant.  Here’s how one of those work.  “Virginia hasn’t stopped crying since my wife  left for work, I haven’t eaten since 6pm yesterday, and I slept for 2 1/2 hours.  Operation fatherhood is not in its finest hour.”  Offer sympathy, condolences, empathy.  Don’t say something as fucking dumb as “have you tried checking to see if she has a messy diaper?”  Yes.  Yes, you asshole I checked to see if my child was screaming because she had a messy diaper.  I also thought to myself “I wonder if she’s hungry” and “Oh my god I wonder if she has a fever” because, while I might not be a rational person, I am going to think about some of the obvious factors that would lead a child to cry.
     Cue Imperial March, drops mic.
*clearly some people are Saints:  Beth Carroll, Kathleen Gilbert , Reggie Bush from 2006-2010, Saint Marcel of Paris (Invoked Against Vampires!), Barry (the dog)
Standard

Mommie Dearest:  Mother’s Day

Episode 6:
Mother’s Day rapidly approached this year.  The sleepless nights, work, and a steady stream of visitors sort of pushed the holiday to the back burner.  It was only when my sister and I went to the Greek Festival here in town did I really think about it. 
My sister told me I at least needed to get my wife a card.  That seemed a little boring but like a good start.  The problem was, I was behind the gun.  
I tried looking at the festival for a gift.  The jewelry seemed to be the mass produced stuff easily ordered online in bulk.  The dresses for sale were nicer.  But which one to buy?  They all seemed of similar style.  My sister thought they were cute but wasn’t purchasing any which gave me the hint that maybe I didn’t need to get one for my wife either (thankfully I learned long ago to take clues from my 3 sisters on what women liked).  
I then looked online.  The overwhelming problem with this option was it was Saturday around 2:30 when I started shopping online. Man I should’ve planned this Mother’s Day a little better.  I ended up stopping by the grocery store and buying a card and chocolate.  Thankfully chocolate, in large enough quantities, has magical properties.  I bought the card, wrote her out a note, and then took a marker and colored my child’s foot with it to create a foot print on the card. It ended up coming out pretty cute.  Also, after 20 years of being in the Food and Bev industry I’ve picked up a few tricks in the kitchen and made her and her sister dinner.  Mother’s Day was saved, although next year I think we can all agree that I should plan out something a little earlier in advance.  
Thankfully, I have plenty of time to come up with an Anniversary gift.  Four whole days!!!
Standard