Kindness in Quarters

I always depend on the kindness of strangers

Here’s kind of a sad story from when I was unemployed, recently dumped, and with a new baby. As you can imagine, money was very tight. I would take my daughter to stores and malls just to get out of the monotony of being at home. I know parks sounds like a good idea, but the bathrooms in the parks around here are usually pretty disgusting and it’s just very hot in the summer.

So off to the malls we went. I could push her in the stroller. She would look at all the toys in various stores.  And most malls have a kids play area somewhere.  I’d sit and let her crawl or walk around and play with the other kids. Kind of like an indoor park.

There’s another thing some malls have and also a few stores and that’s those kid rides where you put in quarters and the ride moves back and forth and maybe makes some noise (like those pictured above). They are like $0.75-$1.50 depending on the ride. And this is where I realized I had reached a whole new low. I knew I’d hit my lowest point yet, but the moment I realized I couldn’t afford to spend 75 cents on a pink ice cream truck ride for my daughter is the moment I realized just the level of failure I’d reached.

I would sit on a nearby chair and watch her just move around the different rides pretending they would move. And sometimes another kid would come by and get on the same ride my daughter was playing on. Their parents right behind them quarters at the ready. I would move to take my daughter away so the kid could have his fun.  And the parents would just wave me away and let them ride together. Sometimes a random stranger, without kids, would walk by and offer me some quarters to put in the ride.

I was so incredibly grateful for that as I watched my daughter’s face light up when the thing would start moving and the lights would come on. I don’t care if they felt sorry for me or pitied me or whatever led them to give my daughter those happy moments. I don’t care however lost or pathetic I might have looked sitting there. Thank you so much for those quarters. Thank you.


Is the Tablet the New Diary?

eDiary of a Wimpy Kid

When she was younger I told my daughter I’d never read her diary unless she was in jail or at the hospital having nearly died from drugs or suicide attempt. I realize now that she doesn’t have a diary. She doesn’t need one because she has an iPod touch and she changes her password often.

I can’t imagine what I would have done at her age if I had that much power to play with. I did have a diary, and looking back on it now I’m only willing to believe my mother never read it because she never put me in therapy. But we were really poor, so maybe she did read it and just crossed her fingers in hope that I would be okay one day.

When I was a teen I stayed up late talking on the phone with my friends until 4am while my mother, in the same room, slept like the dead. My daughter with her own room and able to text instead of talk could do it with almost no risk. She has a parent protected email and I gave her rules and warnings about what she can post, but lord knows what she might be doing on that thing.  She added one of my friends to her Instagram account (of her own free will), so at least I have one person who can let me know what she’s doing.

Even if I had the password, and I was burning with curiosity, I wouldn’t go through her iPod like you see in TV parents going through their kids diaries. She needs her space. As scary as that might be, I do remember that much from when I was young. But I hold to my original caveat, if her very life is in danger, then yeah I will. Unfortunately, I don’t have the password. And when I do have it, she just changes it. Maybe a compromise? I can tell her to hide the iPod in her room so she’ll know if I went looking for it.

There’s all these teens on tumblr, instagram and with YouTube channels and the openness they have with the public just scares me. She loves watching them so I tell her why what they are doing scares me.   And why if I were a parent I wouldn’t be letting my child have a YouTube channel that amounts to a public video diary. 20 years from now when these kids are out looking for jobs the employers are going to google their names and find all of this. God help them if they made any controversial statements. All for the stupidity of youth. I’m not ragging, I said pretty stupid things at 16 and I’m so happy the internet wasn’t really a thing back then.

I mean, I had my own secrets back then. I have a very clear memory of where I used to hide my porn. And maybe I’m wrong and in 20 yrs these teens won’t have trouble finding jobs because everyone in that generation will have internet blemishes and they’ll be very understanding of everyone else’s. Maybe.  I just hope she heeds my words of warning. I might have been in danger of my mother invading my privacy as a teen, but here and now, she’s in danger of the whole world invading hers.

I realize the irony of saying that, as I sit here and type my blog, so let me say this… I still have a physical diary I unload into sometimes. And even then I censor myself. Because once you let it out, that’s it.

Sadly, Not a Cosplayer

Thor cosplaying in Assasin’s Creed gear *

A few years ago I went to the Star Trek convention in New Jersey.  I had the Romulan Commander uniform made for me and it looked great and got a lot of attention. It was an item of my bucket list I could check off.  It was also an experience that I’ve never been able to duplicate.

My daughter usually dresses up for cons and I’ve always made her costumes. I’m really not very good at sewing and stuff but I think she’s been able to pull it off since she’s young and adorable.  People have stopped her for photos at conventions.

But the excitement is running down, I think, our costumes to go to Tate’s or for Halloween have been lackluster.  Like I said, I’m really not very good at it. My last few attempts with myself have been completely off the radar at cons. Granted, I talked to a few cool people while my kid and I dressed as Sam and Dean from Supernatural. And one time, a Halo cosplayer asked me how I made my Winter Soldier arm. That made my day.

I’ve kind of given up. I still make my daughter’s costumes and if she wants me to do it with her as a team costume then I’ll do it. I am the Captain Hammer to her Doctor Horrible, the Winter Soldier to her Captain America, the Ted to her Bill. She’s going to dress up as the Crow for the next convention. So there’s nothing really there for me to dress up as. I’ll just wear some nerdy shirts like my Cobra t-shirt (looks great with my long black hair and glasses), or the Captain America tank-top.

I’m not going to dress up anymore. Unless I’m going to invest in someone else making a good costume for me I just feel embarrassed out there. Plus, I’m like old and stuff. And I’ll be working at a booth anyway.  Yeah, I’m just trying to convince myself that I didn’t find being treated so great at the Star Trek convention awesome.

*This is Ryan Frye whom I saw for the first time while he was dressed up as Thor and is crazy convincing. So much so that anytime I see his cosplay pictures I still imagine it’s Thor wearing a costume. Sorry, dude.

The Santa Lie

EDIT : I deleted the areas of this post referring to a conversation my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had with a few others. Though I didn’t name the people nor how she came across them, one of them somehow found this blog and got angry enough to confront a 12 year old girl about it. With my daughter in tears, I apologized to her for putting her in that situation and vowed never to tell stories here, however vague, about any conversations of experiences she has with those people. I don’t want her to go through that again.

I’m a bit baffled as to how this person found my blog. No scenario I can imagine is flattering to them or anyone they know so I’m happy enough to believe any of them. My blog is public so I always try to make anything about any non-public figures anonymous and them reading my blog would be amusing if it wasn’t for my distraught child. So, I’d really just rather you [person who got angry] fucked off, but … eh.


Bad Santa

Who’s Naughty and Nice

The Black Sabbath Paranoid gene

from what I’ve seen of this show it’s a pretty accurate description of the relationship btw me and my daughter (image from Gilmore Girls)

Are the mental issues of parents hereditary? I was afraid they were and then my friend who studied anthropology said they weren’t.  I remember when Kurt Cobain committed suicide, articles would mention that his uncle had also committed suicide. That had been proof enough for my young brain and it stuck with me through the years.  My friend managed to appease me, but now I’m not so sure anymore she’s right.

My daughter’ been having a hard time transitioning in middle school. For the most part she’s a social butterfly and generally happy, but her grades have suffered and she has a hard time dealing with a few issues. Is it just a natural part of growing up or has she inherited some sort of anxiety/depression gene from her dad and me? A brief internet search tells me I have the right to be worried.

I’ve told my daughter a few times now that if she wants to see a counselor that I can help her find one and it’s okay to go to a few before she find the right one. But I have no idea what I’m talking about and am going off other people I know who’ve received therapy. I have never felt comfortable with the idea of going to a therapist for myself. We all need therapy