I am an idiot.


I am an idiot.

That’s the best I can explain it.

 

I say I’m an idiot because I have no idea what the hell is going on anymore. Granted, it’s not like I was a genius previously, but Friday helped me realize that I have no idea how certain things happen.

 

I don’t mean physics. I get that.

 

I don’t mean computers. I get those.

 

I don’t mean how to survive (and be happy) with two crazy little girls under three years old. Because believe it or not, I get that.

 

What I don’t get is how someone can do such ultimate horror that happened in Connecticut. I have a few questions, but I don’t think any of us have answers.

 

Here’s what I do know though:

 

1. Today’s journalists (in general) suck.

 

“THIS HAPPENED AND I TOLD YOU FIRST! HAHAHAHAH! I WIN!!”

 

No no. That’s not how it should work. I agree with a good Op-Ed piece at Mashable posted yesterday night: http://mashable.com/2012/12/14/ct-shootings-media-judgement-and-the-public-trust/ Instead of news, we get showboats who want to be on TV, but have to find something to talk about. Too much time is spent with hair and makeup, and not enough on ethics and, you know, reporting.

 

As some of you know though, you can call bullshit on me. I haven’t had TV service for about two years – maybe things have changed in that time. Maybe. Plus, I don’t know anything about journalism. My B.A. from the U of M came from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Totally different.

 

Television, and some online journalism has failed us as of late. Sensationalism breeds more thoughts about how to be sensational, but we’re focusing on the wrong end of the spectrum. There need to be more shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition (save some of the sponsors), and less variations of CSI Nowhereville.

 

2. Healthcare in America needs reform.

 

I don’t mean about how batshit crazy everything costs (although, that’s a different conversation). What I mean is how we have historically seen mental healthcare and counseling. Seriously people, you need help. Not just a few of you. Every one of you. We all do. There should be no reason why we can’t all be OK with getting some help, guidance, and counseling. We look to professionals about law, physical medicine, technology, our hair style, damn near everything. Why are we so scared to get help for the most important part of our life- our Self?

 

Again, feel free to call bullshit. But alas, I have gotten help, and I’m 100% ok talking about it. As Zoey Bartlett once said, “The help helps”.

 

3. Education needs a much bigger investment.

 

If for one second you read that as “we need to buy our teachers Kevlar and outfit the schools with metal detectors”, then you are missing my point. What I’m talking about isn’t investing in our schools – but Education. We need to spend more time being smarter, and making our kids smarter than us. My biggest accomplishment in life will be the moment (and I know there will be two) where my girls look at me, and I realize that they’re smarter than I am. I’m sure they’ll be stronger, faster, and better at sports, too (not a big challenge on that front), but I am looking forward to them being smarter. That starts with what we teach them – in school, and at home.

 

4. Guns are neither an answer, or a question.

 

And if anyone says they’re the solution, I disagree.

 

Personally, I’d like to take half of our defense spending budget and move it to healthcare and education. Take half our troops, or the National Guard or Reserves, and make them more akin to civil servants than weekend warriors. Take their immense talent and let them build things. They become some of the best potential employees, but often aren’t given the chance due to lacking equivalent civil schooling. Someone can be an Army medic, but upon return, they are qualified on paper to be a school nurse, or if they’re lucky, an EMT. These people do amazing things, and the systems in place prove to be hindering transitions. By altering their duties to be more balanced with more civilian jobs, hopefully we’ll not only gain their talents at home, but also help them transition if their tours end.

 

So yes. Cut the military in half. All of it. It will save (and cost) us greatly. But we need change. WHAT ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY? What about it? We should be a nation that other nations love, not others fear. Take those jobs “lost”, and build a government-sponsored set of programs to actually DO things. Build better roads, parks, arts programs, medical practices and….schools. If we get attacked by another country, well, I guarantee we’ll have an Army of volunteers the next day.

 

But think of this: What if we were the nation that did not NEED a military?

 

As for the wonderful little Second Amendment, I’ll say something that hopefully others feel, but don’t necessarily want to say. I really don’t care about it. I think the founding fathers were geniuses of their time. I’m tired of people being more concerned with being popular politicians, always eying the next chair, instead of doing their job – being geniuses. Figure it out. That’s why you got the job. I think private citizens owning guns isn’t a big deal. But I’ll tell you this. I never want one. I want the protection that it instills, but fuck if I ever have to fire one. My closest encounter was paintball, and as fun as it was, it was a game. I’m not a hunter, but I can understand why people do it. I’m not a range-shooter, but I understand why people do it. I am not trained for it, and I firmly believe that there are very few people who should own guns. If someone does, then it’s training – both physical, and emotional. I may be physically capable of firing a gun, but I am not emotionally able to take someones life – even in defense. Even in defense of my two girls. I would beg, and plead, that it be me instead of them, but even if I killed someone defending my angels, I’m not sure how I’d be able to live with myself.

 

5. Stop hurrying.

 

Everything I’ve talked about above takes time. Answers take time to get to the public about what happened. Healthcare is (almost) worse than taxes when it comes to full-fledged reform, but the mindset of being help-able will take even longer. The investment we make in education won’t be seen by our kids, but maybe our grandkids. But in turn, maybe those grandkids will be the ones big enough to stand up and say that we don’t need a military, we need a country.

 

We all want things to change rapidly. I’d love it if that were possible, but this is a long game, and we’re merely pawns moving one tile our entire life. Make it a good move, but set up the next player.

 

 Maybe someday I’ll stop being an idiot, but honestly, I just hope my kids are smarter.

Baby June. My Version.

My wife posted a very moving and wonderful rendition of our newest family members birth.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how I remember it.

Let’s rewind a bit. When my wife let me know we were pregnant again, naturally I was very excited. My first thoughts of it however were very different than hers. She thought “Hey! I want a photographer there, so we can remember it forever!” To which I responded (in my head) “there are some images that will always haunt me, why on earth would I want an actual copy of it?”

At any rate, I’ll spare you the in between for now, but 9 months later, and just ovet two weeks ago, baby June was born.

7lbs, 3oz, 20 inches long.

At 7:33 am.

Yeah, that’s right. 7:33am. If you’ve had kids before, or know someone who has, or really just paid attention during sex ed class, you’d know that labor isn’t generally a short process.

It was a Sunday, and we woke up, made breakfast and tried to figure out our plan for the day. My wife wanted to go see The Hunger Games, and I was honestly too exhausted to care. So after breakfast, we thought we’d get ready slowly and give it a whirl. After all, we weren’t due for another two weeks.

Now, around 8-9am, I noticed that Mary was wincing about every 9 or 10 minutes. “Ah shit. Pack the bags, and especially the iPhone charger” I thought.

With our first daughter, it was about four hours of labor, then about 15 of pushing and active labor. The doctors (and our mothers) all warned us that it’d go faster this time around, so “don’t be stupid” is what I think I was told at one point. Naturally, I wanted to NOT have a baby in the house or in the car, so I encouraged Mary to move a little faster (BAD idea and impossible – gentleman, take note). And thinking that we were going to the hospital, of course she wanted to take a shower and shave her legs. Who wouldn’t?

My wife claims my distain for having a kid at home was to protect the hardwood or our furniture. Surely, if you’ve ever visited our house, you’d realize that the floors need an excuse to be refinished, and I’d be happy to reupholster about 99% of our furniture. I just know I’m no Doogie Houser and pass out at the side of blood. Yeah, having a baby at home sounds like a wonderful idea – just not for us.

So shortly after she was able to clean herself up a bit, my mom who was awesomely on-call, showed up.

Now, to be fair, I did make Mary sit on a towel in the Jeep. ‘Cause it’s the Jeep. Even with the big dent by one of the wheels (thanks, Wells Fargo ATM post), it has a better interior than our house some days.

So we scurried to the hospital, to arrive at my favorite time. It was “you can’t park at the ER door because there aren’t any spots, it’s time for the ramp you have to pay for” time. We parked the car, walked up to PETU. PETU stands for something about Pre-labor, but all I remember is that it’s called PETU in my phone’s address book.

We got there, and contractions decided to continue to be around 7-8 minutes apart. Thinking that we were having a baby shortly (mind you, it’s about 11am on Sunday), I sent a text to Mandy of Glimpses of Soul Photography. She was who Mary wanted to take pictures of the whole shebang, and me being a good husband, chose not to argue. Mandy was waiting for the call, and ready to go whenever we told her, she was about 15 minutes away. I waited a bit to see how things were going to progress. And waited.

Fast forward about four hours, and it was decided to move us out of PETU and into a Labor and Delivery room. That was fine with me. I knew from previous experience that they had better chairs.

Making the move, we decided to let Mandy know, and invite her to join us. We thought it’d be no time. Holy crap were we wrong.

Mary was uncomfortable – who wouldn’t be – so our nurse ran a bath, and thought it would help her relax a bit. Boy howdy did it. I kid you not, she fell asleep between contractions.

Guys, think about this. Go do something so intense for about 30-45 seconds (every six or seven minutes) that you fall asleep between each moment of intense action. It’s insane. And honestly, fairly comical to watch – but do not laugh. That will end poorly.

Unfortunately for us though, Baby June really liked her time in the tub. So much so that the contractions slowed significantly.

So we waited. And hoped. And starved. When you go to the hospital to have a baby, they don’t feed you until after you have the baby for fear of nausea and vomit. Trying to be the empathetic husband, I said I wasn’t going to eat until she could. She was starving. I was starving. And I was just being stupid.

Then, an epiphany.

Sort of.

The nurse told me that Pizza Lucé delivers to the hospital, and they’re open till 2a for deliveries.

So, if you’re keeping track, we got to the hospital around 11am, moved rooms to L&D around 3ish, and I finally caved (as per Mary’s insistence) and ordered a pizza at about midnight. We’d been there 11 hours at that point. Mandy, who with every passing moment grew more appreciative and respected, had been there for seven hours.

Photographers take note. Imagine a wedding shoot where absolutely nothing happens for about seven hours while you’re there, and the ceremony still isn’t in sight. Crazy.

Speaking of food though, Mary was starving and at some point our nurse realized that the rate of contractions was not quick enough to have the threat of immediate active labor offered her some food. For some reason, Mary had a hankering for some peanut butter toast. The nurse oblidged kindly.

About 30 minutes later, as predicted, I was holding Mary’s hair back as she tried throwing up said toast into a wastebasket on the floor.

Now at this point, I hope you realize how different my wife’s beautiful story is from mine. But there’s an important correlation. Both tell the same story, and that story continues and culminates only a few hours later (ok, another seven hours).

At about 7am, after a long night sleeping on and off (on a window sill bench – pro-tip: fathers bring your own pillow, even if you go in at 11am), we could tell sweet baby June was fed up.

Within about a half hour, the number of people in our room quadrupled wearing all sorts of protective gear. I swear, one was wearing a clear visor that reminded me somewhat of a hockey mask.

Mary had an incredible urge to push. With every urge, I lost a little bit of feeling in my arm. Her nails dug deep, and pulled me as close as possible. I know that my level of pain was a fraction of hers, but another pro-tip for fathers: wear long sleeves and never complain about how much it may hurt.

Now at this point, my wife turned from the in-pain-sane woman into what could only be described as one of the scariest versions of my wife I have ever seen.

Gentleman, you’ll get yelled at during your marriage. But nothing compares to that of child birth. Sure, it is loud, but it’s the deep, from the gut, “I WANT THIS THING OUT OF ME” and “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT” that are the hardest to bear.

Lucky for me, it only lasted a few passing moments.

And during that time, at some point, every father must feel that little sense of scared-relief. A moment in time where you realize that it’s really happening. Something impressively awesome is about to occur. And even though it scares the shit out of you, knowing that it is truly partly your fault makes you feel amazing.

Our daughter, Tigger Two, The Moose, Baby June was born at 7:33am on Monday the 26th. She was healthy, mom was healthy, dad was happy. There’s no greater joy I have than writing this post, because as comical as it may be, having kids is more Magical and Revolutionary than any iDevice in existence.

I love my wife. I love my Lucy. I love my June. All in no particular order.

Anyone want a cat, though?

The SOPA Effect

Well today was an interesting day.

I tried to do my part, but there were several who did some really creative things. Wired, Google, Reddit, and The Oatmeal.  Several local local companies showed their frustrations on their sites, Twitter, or Facebook.

 

 

 

For those uninitiated, you should check out @herpderpedia It’s a hilarious curation of content that is from folks who didn’t know what was going on.

But if you’re looking for content on the Why, check out http://mashable.com

The bottom line is this:

We need to keep it up.

There have been 13 Senators that no longer support the current bills.  But we have short attention spans.

No matter your politics, I beg of you to pay attention. To participate. To vote and be heard. Social media and the internet (as it sits today) is a place to be heard, but alo a place to read. Don’t be afraid of typing more than 140 characters; but know it can start there.

Don’t just do this for politics – make it part of what you do.

Want to succeed at work? Participate. Want to have safer roads? Drive better. Want to write a book? Start typing. Want to have a better relationship? Pay attention.

No more bullshit. No more excuses. As Nike says, Just Do It.