Archive for the 'parenting' Category


Metal Butterflies are uncomfortable

metal butterfly_1

Art? Furniture? who knows?

There’s no comfortable way to sit on a metal butterfly.

Hang on, I suspect I need to clarify that first sentence.

To do that I have to apologize upfront that I’m going to be vague about some things. The family has been in a bit of crisis, but it’s not my story to tell. Everything will be fine, but it’s been a stressful week or so, hence my lack of continuation for the little series of Greek blog posts.

This crisis has required me to spend copious amounts of time in a local hospital. I don’t know how often you’re in hospitals, and I can only pray that the answer to that is very rarely, but hospitals don’t have a lot of empty space.

Whether there are waiting rooms, cafeterias, coffee shops, gift shops, or anything else is beside the point because what there really isn’t is a lot of, is privacy. Even at night, when the amount of people in the building is reduced significantly, there’s still not much privacy. After hours I’ve wandered down to the cafeteria, empty save for the soda machines where they sell my brand of iced tea (know where your favorite drink vending machines are, folks!) but even then, there’s usually one or two people on lunch break for their night shift.

So with that in mind, the hardest thing to find has been even a modicum of privacy. You can though, and I have discovered the last two weeks that every hospital has nooks and crannies which are empty or at least less heavily trafficked.

There’s a spot here in the hospital where two hallways collide somewhat awkwardly, and while it’s not completely quiet, it’s relatively low-traffic.

I’d sit on the floor, but I don’t have to because someone thoughtfully placed a bench there.

Hello Butterfly Bench!

metal butterfly_2

More form than function, also the antennae poke.

The bench is more art than practical item. I don’t want to sound ungrateful because again, it’s this or the floor, but there’s no actual way to sit on this thing comfortably for very long.

As you can see by the picture, the “wings” curve back and away from the seat. So when I sit on it, the whole thing makes me look like I have wings and am some sort of pudgy wood-sprite dude.

Which, cool, I always wanted wings, but also ouch, my back hurts.

dad moon butterfly


It’s pretty quiet there though, and aside from the chapel – which I forgot to mention earlier is quiet, but also not really somewhere I’m going to make a phone call or something – about the only place you can be where you can be alone, at least consistently during the day.

Still, I have questions, such as given the discomfort one has sitting on this bench, how did it come to be here in the hospital? It’s far more form than function, and it’s in such a random place it’s hard not to think it was donated and everyone looked at it with a sort of weird smile on their face and said “Gee, it’s nice….. Thanks?” and then had no idea what to do with it because: totally impractical to actually sit on.

So they found some random corner of the hospital, moved it there and said “Done.” Which was brilliant because you can tell the artist that it deserved its own special place whenever they came to check out their work.

Still, I’m grateful it’s here because it’s somewhere to sit that isn’t in a hospital room, and somewhere that, during the day, you can go and be relatively alone with your thoughts, call a friend for support or sit and contemplate the reality of a metal butterfly bench.

Plus it brings a little bit of whimsy to what can be a scary place.

And I have to be honest – uncomfortable as it is, the metal butterfly is really good at the other stuff.

PS – As I was posting this, I realized a fatal missed opportunity – which is like a fatal flaw but different – as I could have referred to this bench as the Iron Butterfly and then pulled in clicks from all the aging Boomers who remember the band from the late 60s, but I suppose they will have to come and settle for the video below.

PPS – Also Metal Butterfly is the name of my new throwback hair metal band. Our first album will be titled “Uncomfortable Butterfly Bench” and be an hour of guitar harmonics and rapid drum beats.

PPPS – I lied, there is no band. Sorry, not sorry.  




I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be

jarvisislazyI have been sick for a little over a week now.

I began to get an inkling something might be amiss the Sunday before Thanksgiving when I sat at my desk watching the NFL slate for Week 12.

That, in and of itself, wasn’t unusual. I do that every week.

What was odd was that this time, I did it shivering under a flannel blanket with about four layers on underneath. Next to the heater.

Yeah, I was sick.

I don’t handle that well—I never do, especially in-season when I am enormously busy. Normally my body and I have an agreement—it doesn’t fall apart between August and January and I let it collapse for all of February post-Super Bowl.

Apparently we’re at war because my body pulled a Blitzkrieg on me and there I was sick.

I was buried in work Monday and Tuesday so I slept a lot of Wednesday, drank a ton of tea and muddled through Thanksgiving (which was very enjoyable). The kids left with mom and dad for the weekend, which allowed me to sleep a bit more and knock some work off early on Friday.

My wife left on Saturday to head to Pennsylvania and a niece’s birthday party. We both thought it bad form if I brought even an improving plague with me despite their assurances that it was fine.

Which left me home alone on Saturday.

Relaxing is a hard thing for me. You’d think I would be good at it, but I’m actually quite awful at relaxing. I am constantly wracked with guilt that I should be doing something. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what that something is, though it usually becomes work and writing because even when something isn’t on a deadline the more you write the more you’re out there and the better and more diverse a writing resume you have.

There’s another column there grappling with the general American (and male) inability to shut work off, so let’s put a pin in that for another day.

Going into Saturday I made a determination: I was going to relax. I was going to make myself relax, rest, and reboot both physically and mentally.

If forcing yourself to relax seems like an oxymoron, welcome to my world. It’s warm here and we have cookies shaped like schadenfreude.

So Saturday, the wife packed up and headed to Pennsylvania.

And I did nothing—and it was everything I thought it could be.

OK, not strictly nothing. In part because I wanted to get a head start on a piece I needed to write for Tuesday and in part because I had fun things I wanted to do which would count as “something” even if they seem like “nothing.”

As parents, we don’t get much down time. For a work-from-home/stay-at-home dad or mom, it can be hard to ever really shut down because your office (and therefore your work) is always right there.

“I can just hammer out a few paragraphs” or “I’ll just do some data-entry” and the like are things home-office folk tell ourselves so that we feel less shitty for working at home during “non-office hours.”

But that’s just a cover for the fact that, because we are always at the office, we always see the pile of work on our desk and always feel like we should be working.

We lie that we’ll just do a little X and a bit of Y and then flip on the TV but that never happens and the next thing you know you’ve worked overtime for free.

So when you’re a parent—and one who works from home—you need to grab those relaxation moments when you can.

Once I wrote the one piece I felt I needed to (which made Monday a lot less painful), I stepped away from the computer and didn’t look at it again.

That took a lot of self control, let me tell you. I didn’t watch any football, didn’t break down any game tape, didn’t look at potential 2014 NFL draft prospects—all things I could have done and written off as “work, but not really.”

I did a lot of stuff, but none of it was critical.

My day consisted of:

Catching up on Supernatural.

I was about two episodes behind and had to find out what the Winchester boys were up to. Two brothers, a muscle car, 70s and 80s hair metal and monster hunting. THANKS HULU!

Watched Pacific Rim.

Some of you people told me I would enjoy it.

You people undersold it to me and for that you will forever have my anger.

Or not. Who knew I missed giant robots fighting giant monsters? My inner 12 year old was excited.

If you’ve ever played Battletech, watched Godzilla (the originals not the crap with Matthew Broderick) or have read/watched something like Macross and you haven’t seen this flick you are doing yourself a disservice as a geek.

One of my favorite popcorn movies ever.

Ate way too much crap.

Which, when you think about how sick I had been was pretty counter-intuitive but I wasn’t cooking and calzones and cherry coke are tasty sometimes.

Played The Last of Us.

Someone described The Last of Us as the best zombie movie to come out in a long time and it’s a pretty accurate description.

I’m tempted to do a review of it at some point—both from an aging gamer/geek point of view as well as a fatherhood angle—because while there are zombie plant people/infected and bandits and apocalypse things, what the story is about, at its heart, is a grieving father and a lost little girl.

I have a lot of thoughts about it (and OH THE FEELS) but I’ll save it for another time because any half-assed discussion here is just a disservice to the game.

I will say that I have played many video games where I thought “well this could be a cool movie/TV series/book.” In fact, I ingest a lot of entertainment wondering how it would look in other forms. Comics as movies, movies as shows—I think that’s how we tend to absorb our entertainment now.

I cannot think of how this game—which I can best shorthand as the greatest choose-your-own-adventure “book” ever—would be improved by another format.

I can’t wait to finish it and also am sad that I can only experience it for the first time, once.

This game had me do something I haven’t done in forever.

When my wife came home—later than expected—we chatted for a while and she went to bed. I went back to playing. I figured I would play for maybe another hour and then go to bed.

At some point my wife got up and went to get a drink of water or use the bathroom and I thought “huh, she hasn’t been in bed long.”

I checked my watch and found out it was 1:30am.

I don’t play video games often but when I do, apparently I don’t sleep.

You’d think that I would wake up tired on Sunday, having hit the sack well past my bedtime—I mean I work late on Sunday and Monday since NFL games end at midnight both of those evenings, but almost 2am is pushing it even for me.

However, at the end of the day (and the start of the next one) I felt rested and refreshed. My brain was clear and I was surprisingly stress free—not something I feel most days when I don’t do more than a small amount of work.

As parents, we don’t get much time off.

But we should make some for ourselves even a little.

We—and our kids and partners—will probably be better for it.

I believe I am scheduled for another day off on December 12th……2016.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?



My friend, Carolyn Nagler, posted this on Facebook and I have to say—as a baby-fighting guide, it’s top notch.

Many people see a baby and panic because said baby looks fierce and smells like death incarnate but as this video shows—beating up a baby isn’t all that hard.

So as you can see, there’s nothing to fear when a baby approaches you in a dark alley and starts pushing you around, getting all up in your face yelling GOO GOO GAH GAH.

You can show that baby who is boss.

Unless he hasn’t trimmed his nails in which case you’d better run your ass off.

(hats off to Gavin McInnes for an entertaining video)


Two Whistles, No Waiting

image via

As you know, I’ve been coaching Pop Warner football since the beginning of August.

It’s been a rough season so far, which I’ll elaborate about at a later date, but a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, The Professor is getting ready for his soccer season and the league is short coaches.

Bravely, kindly (perhaps unwisely) my wife volunteered to be an assistant coach, making sure to mention she had only the vaguest ideas of how to play the game but could, in her words “herd the heck out of kids.”

There was no communication from whoever runs the league, so she assumed they didn’t need her after all.

She then got an email saying not only did they need her, but that they were still short head coaches and now some assistant coaches would be paired together to act as a co-coach.

She immediately knew she’d be one of the lucky assistants designated as a co-coach.

And she was.

She reached out to her partner, saying “hey I don’t know what the Hell I am doing, please help” and found out that her partner didn’t have the time to fully coach.

Getting the idea that this is going to go well?

On the upside, The Professor is thrilled she is coaching and we now have two whistles in the house.

This is possibly the greatest event in the history of our family.

No more do we need to shout across the house for the boys. We just whistle.

Didn’t clean up your room? Whistle.

Left your socks in the living room? Whistle.

Ate the last cookie? Two whistles.

In fact, mornings will get much more organized. Either of us can sneak upstairs and start blowing our whistles to wake the boys up!

And it’s all on the up-and-up. All official. Because we’re both coaches and as coaches, are duly licensed users of whistles.

There’s no stopping us.

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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages