Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the tag “Wifey”

Stuck In The Middle With You

It has been said on more than one occasion that there is no I in TEAM… but there is a ME.  In MARRIAGE there is a ME and an I… and I suppose there could be RAGE, but we try to avoid that one as best we can; and for the most part, I’d say we have.

This week is the start of a new semester for me.  I have two classes I’m looking to take as part of my quest to complete my Network Admin degree by the end of the year.  Tuition was paid, books were purchased, file folders created, pens at the ready.  Everything is on track to dominate another semester and get 2 more classes closer to graduation.

And then Charlie had his latest check up with the doctor.  We now know his birthday as he’ll be arriving via a planned c-section. As Kate and I were discussing his impending arrival, it became obvious that with classes two nights, a recovering Kate, and a fresh baby in the house; the whole schedule wasn’t going to work.

If you’ve ventured over to Sluiter Nation at all, its no secret that Kate has been slowly been winning her battle with PPD and anxiety.  Well, given the arrival of our 2nd child, it started to fester up again.  And being that the lines of communication are open in The Nation, she voiced her concerns, and we went to sleep on it.

This morning after reviewing the schedule and work load associated with her recovery and a new baby; sacrifices for the good of the Nation needed to be made.  We discussed it briefly this morning and shortly there after, Kate’s anxiety has lowered substantially and I’ll be home an “extra” evening this semester.  Win-win.

I really didn’t like my school schedule this semester anyway, so dropping the class wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’d miss time with my boys too, so it really was an easy decision to make.  The only downside is that now I my goal of completing my degree by December might be pushed back a little bit… not a total loss, but a minor set back.

There might not be an I in TEAM, but by dropping that class, we took a big step in avoiding the RAGE that can be in MARRIAGE.

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Goals

What is it about the end of one year and the beginning of another that can either suck the smiles out of you, or hit you with a right hook to the gut when you least expect it?  For me, I feel like I had a pretty solid dose of both this weekend.

The New Year gives us a moment to reflect back on those things or events that help shape our year and our lives, while the idea of opening a fresh calendar to the first month of the year is like the birth of the person you want to be or the spectacles you hope to witness in the coming year.

Rather than make a list of “resolutions” or the idea that I can make a list of the things that I like least about myself or my habits, and decide that this year I’m going to change; I thought I’d make a list of goals that I hope to achieve this year.  Maybe it’s the same as a resolution, but in some cases, I think it’s different…

Vehicle Upgrade for Kate – it’s no secret that Kate in in need of a different vehicle.  A small, two door coupe isn’t exactly conducive to a hot mama taking the kids home from day care.  Something with four doors at a minimum and decent gas mileage wouldn’t hurt either.

Graduate from College – Some of you will remember that I was fortunate enough to graduate with an Associates of Liberal Arts, and if the schedule at the school works out, I should be able to graduate with an Associates in Network Administration.  This would be great as I’m ready to be done with school for a little while.

Welcome Charlie to the family – My 2nd son will be joining the family in March.  Given the inspiring journey I’ve made with Eddie thus far, I am super excited to see how the addition of another person to our family dynamic will affect our routine / mindsets / emotional growth.  I can’t wait to become a family of 4.

Ride my bike more – Ok, this really sounds like a resolution… but the truth is, I was fortunate enough to receive a bike last Christmas, but failed to ride it as often as I had hoped to.  This year, I hope to log some miles of pleasure riding as well as for purpose… that is, as an added element to an exercise plan.

The exercise plan – so yeah, resolution #2… but isn’t this one that is on everyone’s list?  And if it’s on our list every year is it still a resolution?   I might even think about running another 5k.  For some reason when there is something to train for, it makes it easier to get out and actually exercise.  So that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Be a better friend – Over the last year or so, I haven’t done a whole lot to maintain those relationships with the friends that I hold near and dear. Most of them are now spread out across the country, that seeing them in person happens so infrequently, I feel guilty when I can’t give them my full attention when they visit.  My goal is to make a more concentrated effort to communicate with them on a more regular basis… be it a text, email, skype session or a hand written note… just something to make sure they know that I’m thinking about them and that they are important to me.

And finally… Blog more – I stated a couple months ago that I was going to try to blog every Sunday… and for the most part I managed to stay true to that goal.  Unfortunately, once finals rolled around and term papers were due, I found it tougher than I had tough to get a post up every week.  In fact, after writing a couple pages for class, I really didn’t want to think about writing anything else, even if it was for fun.  With the New Year, I’m going to try to stick to that Sunday post goal, but not beat myself up if I miss one due to a school requirement.

What about you?  Any goals that you’ve set for yourself in the coming year?  I’d love to hear them, maybe even append my list…

They Say Its Your Birthday

A lot can happen in a year.  This past Saturday was my birthday… and after having to get up early to drive 40 minutes to school so I could take my first final of the semester,  I was able to return home just in time to gather up the family and roll over to my in-laws house to help decorate Christmas cookies.  And while I’m pretty sure if I had wanted to, I could have played the birthday card and went back to bed or something, but I would have felt guilty for leaving my post.  My MIL and I are the two lone frosters… everyone else (we had 6 this year… ) and I it is up to us to get the cookies frosted so they can be adorn with sprinkles, candies, and various items of deliciousness.

So I assumed my post on the east side of the island in the kitchen with seven bowls of homemade frosting between us and a pile of cookies, my MIL and I got after it.  The family time is something that I really enjoy… with Kate’s brothers living farther away than we typically travel, I really enjoy the time I can spend with them and their significant others… and hanging with the nephew is always good times too.

After cookies, we headed home for a nap for Eddie and what I thought would be a little unwind time for me… but then I remembered some of the items on my honey-do list… so I was off.  Reflector stakes to line the driveway, return cans because the box was full, try not to lose my cool while waiting for the can return machines to be fixed; making friends with a little girl in the cart in front of me was a highlight of that trip as well.

Closing out the evening was a visit with Santa and dinner with Kate and Ed, with a special viewing of The Big Lebowski made my birthday celebration complete.  Given all my little family has been though this past year, both good and bad, I think made this year’s celebration that much more sweet.  Seeing Ed so excited to give me a birthday card brought emotions to the surface I hadn’t ever felt before.  This birthday is one I shall not soon forget.

Thank you family for a wonderful celebration, you make me feel special each and every day!

Education

I’m questioning my education
Is my education who I am now?

So… this past Friday I became a college graduate.  Granted it’s been almost 14 years since my last day of high school and this being my third college that I’ve had the honor of attending; I will have something to show my long days and tired afternoons.  This journey has been one of many nights where I didn’t think I would make it to the finish, and actually took quite a few years off while I found my direction.

I had the great fortune to marry Kate, who, being an educator by trade, was more than supportive of my going back to school.  I think what really helped me go back was something she said when I was trying to decide if school was the right choice for me.  I knew I needed more education to get ahead or open up additional career options, but I was stuck.  Then she said it…

“So to school for something you enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be for what your job is right now; just because your job is sales now doesn’t mean that is what you have to choose.  You like computers and technology, why not pick that?”

And there you have it…it’s like a light switch had been flipped and I knew what I wanted to go to school for… and in the fall of 2008, I applied and registered for classes to start my new path towards a CS degree in Network Administration.

While you’re deciding, I’ve been finding
Looking around in the here and now.

And then it happened… In the fall of 2009, I was let go from my place of employment and I wasn’t anywhere close to finishing my degree.  I had only been going to school part-time, a class or two per semester, whatever my schedule or budget could handle and now I was in serious trouble with finding a way to cover tuition, books and the whole lot.  Not to mention that without a degree finding new employment was going to be a serious challenge, especially in today’s job market.

I met with my adviser.  I wanted to know what my options were for financial aid since it was the middle of the semester, I had a pile of classes to finish and I knew I needed to keep 1st shift hours available so I could still continue the job search.  While reviewing my transcript, he noticed that, while being on the path to a Network Admin degree, I was only 10 or so credits away from finishing an Associates in Liberal Arts… so the path took a little turn.  Now, instead of taking computer courses and following a set path, I had new pressures to finish that degree as quickly as I could…

I’m questioning my education
Rewind and what does it show?

And with great pride, I can say I’m a college graduate.  I made the Dean’s list a few times, managed to maintain a 3.9 GPA since going back to school.  Of course, now that I have the one degree down, class starts up again on tomorrow (Monday) and the path regains its original direction… hopefully in a couple more years, I’ll have another degree to hang on my office wall someday.

Could be, the truth it becomes you
I’m a seed, wondering why it grows

* lyrics from the song Education by Pearl Jam, composer: Vedder

Gonna See My Friend

While standing at the sink this morning, washing a sink full of dishes I noticed these two cups just sitting there as content as could be.  Now, bear with me as I get a little symbolic here, but I want to say that these to cups just looked happy to be in each others’ company.

I realize inanimate objects don’t care where they are or what they are doing… I get that, I’m not completely crazy… but they looked happy.

Don't They Look Happy?

Obviously the one on the left is mine and the other is Kate’s.  I took this after they had been washed, dried and were ready for their close up.

Normally these two cups wouldn’t last 3 minutes on the coffee table with Short Stack running around causing havoc.  What got me thinking was the fact that mine says “The Best Dad Ever.”  A bold statement to be sure, but I realized that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to be that Dad if it wasn’t for Kate being a Mom… and a damn fine one at that.

I know she goes through her days sometimes wanting to be home with Short Stack and me being the one at work… I know she feels like she is missing all the growing up time while she is away bringing home the bacon.  We have made this arrangement work, and it has worked for a reason.  I just hope she knows that even when she isn’t here, E and I think of her often and can’t wait for her to come home.

Man Of The Hour

My wife is amazing.  For those of you who know her, both in the flesh or online, you can attest at how great she is… this would be another example of why she is wicked sweet.

This past weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary and my first Father’s Day.  In celebration of our day of wedded bliss 5 years ago we enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Alpen Rose, our favorite anniversary dinner spot… correction, our only anniversary dinner spot.  We split a delightful bottle of wine over dinner and talked about how much our lives have changed since that wonderful day 5 years ago.

On Saturday, we ventured off to Detroit to take in a Tiger’s game.  Last year we weren’t able to make the trek due to Kate still being pregnant or due to the arrival of Short Stack and our not being quite ready to leave him overnight yet.  This year was a different story, we were going to make it to a Tiger game and I wanted to make a full evening of it and stay the night.  So with some added budgeting I was able to put away a few “extra” bucks to cover the cost of the hotel.  What a great time!  We were able to stay after the game had finished and enjoy a wicked fireworks show in center field.  Had we not stayed the night, we would have been on the road before the first shot had been lit.

Sunday was Father’s Day, and even though we were in Detroit and our little man was in Alto, Kate didn’t disappoint.  She did wish me a Happy Father’s Day but I was told I had to wait until we were home and with Short Stack before I was allowed to receive any gift from him.  I we stopped in Alto to pick him up and spent a little time with our good friends the Visels.  I was given something completely unexpected from my godson, a very nice card for Father’s Day.  It’s odd, but I didn’t expect anything and that probably made it a little more special.

Little did  I know once we got home, my little guy had a lovely card and a super cool surprise for me.  He, with the help of his mother, had gotten me a bike cart so I can take him with me on bike rides.  I have wanted one ever since I found out I was going to be a dad, giving me a renewed reason to ride my bike.  It was awesome and I can’t wait to us and share it with Short Stack.  I have Kate to thank for a fantastic first Father’s Day and a great time over our anniversary.

On a more somber note, this is my 4th Father’s Day without my Father.  Not having him around always makes this time of year a little difficult.  Lucky for me I have my son around to cheer me up, a supportive wife that allows me to be a little sad when I need to be, but not so much that I lose myself, and I have a father-in-law and a step-father to share my joy with too.  I know Pops would be proud of the job I’ve done thus far, just sometimes I wish he was still around for some “extra” pointers.  If you’re interested in reading more about our weekend fun, check out Sluiter Nation and check it out.

What’s In A Name?

Sometimes it the simple things in life that can make a world of difference to those who need a little bright spot in their lives. I thought I would surprise my wonderful wife with her very own domain name for her blog. http://www.sluiternation.com is now part of the world wide web. She’s been super geeked about it ever since I let her know of my little purchase.
Well it went live tonight and she has been glowing ever since. To quote my wonderful wife “…some guys buy their wives flowers. some jewelry. mine buys me my own domain. and i squealed like a little girl.”

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