Jackson had a good one this week. Mr. I’m 3 and I Know Everything. He wanted something from our camper, that is currently in storage in a building behind our house. Now, a couple months back when it was first put in there, he wanted something from it. I went back there with him and he realized he cannot get to the toys (because with the slideouts in, you can’t access the bunkhouse portion. You can’t access the kitchen either. He didn’t believe me that we emptied the snacks out of the cabinet – but we did.
So the day before this story happened, he told Mom he wanted the “slime” from the camper. I’m not certain this slime even exists, to be honest. He proceeded to put on his coat and go try to get in it. Things did not go as he planned. He was highly upset.
The story for this week is him trying a third time to get into the camper, but this time, he decided to bring a secret weapon – Dad. I arrived home from work, and was told off immediately about how he wanted the slime from the camper. He drags me by the hand outside and to the storage building. Now, this is Wisconsin in winter. We have snow on the ground. Surprisingly not as much as some years, but enough for his tennis shoes to sink to his ankle.
As he took that first step onto the unshoveled or unplowed snow and sank. He looks and me and says, “I need you to make footprints for me to walk in.” I did, taking strides about the length of my shoe so he could use them to not sink in the snow.
We get to the camper door and he starts to pull on the metal folding stairs. I wait. I know what is coming. He turns to me. “You have to open these.” As he tugs on the stairs. I get the stairs down for him. He climbs up on them, “Now I have to open the door.”
Dad ends up doing this too. He goes into the entranceway of the camper and looks at the wall of the slideout, blocking his way further into the camper. He asks me where his bedroom is (the bunkhouse at the rear). I point through the slideout panel. He tries to peer in the window that is there. He orders me into the camper with him. After explaining there is no power, we can’t make the slides go out (not to mention the walls of the storage building would prevent them from opening too far anyway), he then tries the switches anyway.
Eventually, he gives up, accepts defeat. We put everything back the way we found it and he goes inside to tell Mom. He’s persistent though. I suspect we will try again in a week or two.
This past week started off strong, and then stalled out on me. I did manage over 4k words for the week. I got some editing done on my short story collection as well as added some words to a different project I’m working on. A couple of blog posts got added into the mix.
I went through a few of the latest submissions for Spring Into SciFi 2022 so I am almost caught up on those at this time. Still excited for this year’s edition and the other two collections planned for June. Trying to find traction for the Kaleidoscope project in attracting talent, but it’s still early. I’m sure it will work out in the end.
I grabbed up a MG fantasy beta read from an email list I am in, because I hope it will help me with my own MG stuff. We’ll see. They want it turned around by the end of the month or so. I have to get cracking on that tonight.
My oldest had a couple basketball games this week. I love watching him on the court or the football field. I can tell that it is his zen, the place the feels the most at peace and centered. The littles have had trouble with their “listening ears” this week. It’s frustrating but we have more good days than bad days. I keep telling myself they are only 5 and 3. We’ll get there.
This week’s Friday Funny comes courtesy of my youngest, and is a three-parter.
Samurai Jack Wannabe
Jackson and I were home just the two of us on Monday. Older sis and bro were at school, mom was at work. Typical Monday in our house actually once Emma started 5 day a week Kindergarten. I had a cup with sweet tea flavored water in the living room while he was taking his nap. I had not finished all of it, but no big deal. I am working in the kitchen fixing dinner while he is in the living room, having woken up from nap by this point. He comes running into the kitchen super excited, and our exchange went like this.
Jackson: “I finished your soda daddy” Me: “What soda?” J: “Your soda in the living room.” M: “I didn’t have soda, I had tea buddy.” J: “I drank your soda.” giggles maniacally and runs off. Jokes on him. It wasn’t soda, no matter how much he thinks he pulled a fast one.
Part two is – Mom and Dad spent 20 minutes trying to find the thermometer to make sure whether Emma had a fever or not. We knew we had just used it a night or two before for Jackson when he wasn’t feeling well. Couldn’t find it at all.
Fast forward to a couple nights later, I’ve got the kids helping me pick up their toys and things from the living room. I send Jackson behind the recliner to get this old time tea pot looking thing and some other toys he left there (He likes to hide behind the recliner when he thinks he’s going to get in trouble for something, like swiping someone’s phone or a toy from his sister). I pick up the tea pot when he set it down, it rattles like something is inside it. I pop off the lid. Look what was inside.
He also managed to stick a small container of aquafor in there as well. I get the items out and show him that Mommy was looking for the thermometer.
He responds: “I put it in there. I’m a good hider.”
The things this kid comes up with.
Part 3 involves my new coat I got for Christmas. I had it hanging on a hook by the back door in the kitchen. Emma and Jackson managed to pull it down, and then they ran around claiming they were Daddy. They like to quote me as saying, “We’re eating dinner and going straight to bed.” This is their chant as they run around in my coat. Jackson eventually ended up with the coat, much to Emma’s dismay.
Stay tuned next week for another edition of Friday Funny, or as I should have called it, “Funny Shit My Kids Did This Week.”
Today did not start out the way I would have liked. My youngest decided at 1am he was up. Wife had to work so it was up to Dad to take him downstairs and try to get him wound down.
Flash forward about 4 hours and I finally get him in his bed. I go back to mine to find my 5yr old has invaded. Dad hooks back into his cpap machine (yes I’ve been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea). About an hour later I have to get up and get kids ready for school. I send off the older two to school, wife to work, and I finally get another hour or so of sleep, albeit with Jackson sleeping on my arm.
Caffienating as I drive, we make it to our joint chiropractor appointment. I get adjusted and then it’s Jackson’s turn. It’s like he flipped a switch and became the most well behaved not quite 3 year old you’d ever meet.
We then managed to negotiate shopping at Walmart in record time, only missing one item, because they were out of it.
I would say, never argue with a child about what you McDonald’s has, because even if you’re right, you’re wrong. I told him they didn’t have dinosaur toys, he insisted they did. He ended up with Lion King’s Simba.
Lunch home and nap: in that order. Dad would have loved to get a nap too, but sadly I had things to do. He looked well rested when he got up later.
In the store, he’d tried to put two bags of mini powdered donuts in the cart. We compromised on one, in addition to the promised box of candy he got for being a good boy all day. For snack time before bed, he swore to me he didn’t pick out the candy that he did, Jolly Rancher Sour Gummies.
Instead, he chose to have two donuts “I need one for each hand”. And a third to give to Mommy “They are her favorite, I know”.
That’s when I was betrayed. He said he wanted more. Dad said no. Mom told Jackson to get the kitchen stool so he could reach them off the back of the counter where I had put them.
It’s clear the gauntlet had been thrown. The coup has begun. Dad is going to be overthrown as King of the House.
Dad hasn’t been King since at least Empress Emma was born. I’m just a puppet. Dancing upon the strings.
Moral of the Day: Maybe, just maybe, the kid needs a facial massage and chiropractor appointment to keep the sassy away.
I’ll clarify this post at the beginning before anyone gets confused. “Bishing” means “Fishing”. This summer, my youngest has discovered the ages old past time of fishing. He’s absolutely mad for it. He even sounds like a cranky old fisherman sometimes.
Where we spend our summers, he’s been using canned corn to fish from the dock, catching sunfish and bluegill, along with the occasional catfish or a tiny bass. when he reels in his line and the corn is gone, he’ll turn around and mutter, “Fish took my darn bait.” I wish he’d do it on camera, but if he sees the phone pointed at him he clams up and hides his face. At least, most of the time.
Sunday morning was our last morning at the lake for the season. And as the first rays of sun poked through the camper windows. He’s jumping up and down on me yelling, “It morning time. It Bishing time.”
So, now that our time at the lake is over, he still wants to go “bishing” down by the river or even back to the lake. On Monday we got a container of worms and went to the river on the edge of town while we waited for his sister to finish after school program. We didn’t catch anything, but the way he looks at the water and his line; it’s a boy in his happy place. Hard to believe he’s not even 3 yet.
This means dad has to learn something about fishing. Which I haven’t done seriously since I was a kid myself. And that with a cane pole catching brim down south. I’m hoping he doesn’t want to ice fish though. That’s pretty darn cold.
Though “Bishing” really isn’t my thing, I’d love to be supportive of his enthusiasm, which means it’s time to learn what I can. If anyone has any favorite blogs or podcasts about fishing I’d appreciate it if you dropped them in the comments. Even better if they specifically talk about fishing in Wisconsin. Until next time…
Super proud dad moment that I have to tell the world about. for some background, we are in our third year of raising monarch butterflies for release. By gathering the eggs and caterpillars we find in the wild, we can make sure they grow up predator free and released healthy into the wild as butterflies.
My 5 year old daughter, Emma, is why we started doing this. For her third birthday, we got one of those mail order kits. She fell in love with watching and helping those caterpillars become butterflies.
The Agricultural teacher at the local school asked if Emma would bring in some of her caterpillars (we are at almost 500 this season so far at various stages). Part of this would be Emma giving a talk about the life cycle of these beautiful creatures.
She took to the idea with gusto. This topic is a passion of hers and she was beyond excited to share it with her “students”. She gave her presentation and shared her caterpillars with two classes that day.
Her classes loved it and they really enjoyed getting to hold the larger, 5th Instar, caterpillars she brought with her.
After her lessons, she checked over the school’s milkweed plants to see if there were any “friends” there to help.
She amazes me everyday with her drive and passion for you interests. I can’t wait to see what adventures she takes us on next.
Side note: this teacher used Emma’s YouTube channel in her Food Science class for the cooking shows Emma has there. The fun part was that Emma’s older brother took that class, and therefore had to watch his sister as part of his class curriculum.
If you’d be interested in checking out her videos, you can find (and Subscribe) to her channel HERE.
You can also check out some of her adventures on her Facebook page.
I managed to write two scenes for book 4 of my urban fantasy series, Family Heritage. A third scene is formulated but not fully written. I began a new short story for Meteor Falls. Oh yeah, and I turned 39. Last year of the 30s before I hit the big 40.
Our monarch butterfly season is in full swing. We have close to 500 eggs and caterpillars of various stages. And nearly a dozen in “raccoons” as Emma called them the first season. She couldn’t say cocoons, much less chrysalis, at that point. The term has kinda stuck around our house, even though we know the proper terms now and can use them.
Sunday is my niece/goddaughter’s birthday. I took Emma and Jackson to go birthday shopping for her. They did really well picking out things they thought Nora would like. I guess we’ll see when we go there for her party.
How in all that is written is it June already? It feels like we just had the doubleheader of my wife’s birthday and then Valentine’s Day. Lots to talk about so I may ramble a bit.
February I participated in a Pitch Party on Twitter (you can follow me here). I got a grand total of 1 like from an agent, so then I panicked. I’d written the story, almost 30k words, in January. Could I do this? Should I do this? I figured, what the hell. Worst she can say is no right? It’s never stopped me before. So I sent in the query packet. Then the crippling anxiety set in. February was a horrible month writing wise and March wasn’t much better. I’m getting back into a grove now, but none of my projects are holding on as tight as that one.
Fast Forward to April 7th, and I got the form letter rejection. No agent for me this time. I’m still thinking this one has commercial appeal and I’m going to query it again. When I’ve had a chance to study how to write better queries.
Meanwhile, I received feedback from a beta reader for Reunions & Rebellions, the third book in my Family Heritage series. She loved everything, including the ending. Except the girls sounded stilted and formal in their conversations. So I’ve reworked a few scenes with the help of my amazing friend Leya.
The day job is going well. Still slinging cheese but I’ve been promoted to a full time operator. Little more money and so far it’s easier on my wrists and shoulders. Feet still kill me almost everyday but might be time for a new pair of work shoes.
Cloaked Press is growing. Through our partnership with SciFi & Fantasy Writer’s Guild, we launched Depths of Love 2021. A short story anthology featuring tales of love in all its myriad forms, not just your typical romances.
That’s not all. Spring Into SciFi 2021 launched right on time this year as well. In its fourth year, this series of anthologies continues to be my best seller, both in copies and kindle unlimited page reads. I’m overjoyed that I got to share these stories with the world.
Our newest themed anthology, Summer of Speculation launches its first edition on June 21st. with a theme of Catastrophe, I wasn’t sure what kind of stories I would get. It’s turned out better than I hoped. It can be found HERE.
Ok onto the family side of things. I’m now the father of a high school junior and a kindergartener. We’ve been raising what we thought were frog tadpoles, turns out they must be some sort of lizard as they are well past the turning point to be frogs. Still waiting to see what they become.
It’s also Monarch Butterfly season here in Northeast Wisconsin. This is our third year helping these little beauties and I think we’re already nearing our total from last year. Between eggs and caterpillars we have nearly 400 already. We’ve seen Facebook posts from people who e crossed the thousand mark before now, but we just like to try and help as much as we can. The more we have, the more milkweed we have to collect, which means the more we find in the milkweed. Still, the look of pure joy and wonder on Emma’s face when she gets to hold the big 5th Instar caterpillars or the emerged butterflies is totally worth it. Jackson is starting to get into it a bit this year as well. You can follow Emma’s journey on her Facebook page, but it would be awesome if she got some more YouTube followers. She loves hearing comments from her “fans”.
I think that’s all for now but hopefully soon I’ll have a release date for Reunions & Rebellions. Until next time.
I wanted to write this post two weeks ago, but a combination of the holidays and no small amount of procrastination has delayed these thoughts. My oldest officially became a licensed driver the week before Christmas.
I’m immensely proud of the young man he’s becoming. Sure there are still some things he does that annoy me, but isn’t that all teenagers?
He was given the task, to get his license, that he had to get his grades up. This half virtual learning path has been a struggle. It’s certainly not what any of us would have chosen for his sophomore year, but he keeps rolling with the setbacks: a shortened football season, several complete virtual weeks, and now disruptions to his basketball season. He’s handling better than I probably would have at his age. I doubt I tell him I’m proud of him enough. But hopefully, it shows.
With his license has come some freedom to come and go as he pleases. And with his sister in 4K during a Wisconsin winter, it’s wonderful that he can take her to school with him and she’s safe and taken care of. Emma really enjoys riding with Teta and has asked him to pick her up after school when he doesn’t have practice.
To fund his newfound freedom, he’s taken the initiative to apply for jobs. I’m proud of him that he sought out and negotiated a job that will work around his sports schedule. He has orientation this weekend and gets to start right away in the afternoon.
I’ll admit I’ve been nervous about this whole situation, but he’s been an amazing driver with his mom and I during his learning period. I can’t wait to hear about his first day of work and all the life lessons he’s going to experience as he enters this phase of life.
Teta, Your dad is very proud of you. Keep striving for your goals and I know you’ll become a great man.
Time flies when the world is in crisis and you have three kids to keep track of.
The Coronavirus Pandemic is still in full swing though states are starting to open up a bit. We shall see if this is too soon or not in the coming weeks and months. I’m not a fan of groups of people anyway so that part of the social distancing hasn’t bothered me much. It has been annoying that I couldn’t take the kids to parks or anything when the weather warmed up. Trapped at home has not been kind to my littles. And my oldest, well, he’s had an ok go of this home school thing when they shut schools down in March. Beyond that, we’ve eaten more takeout from local places to help them stay afloat and tried to find creative things to do at home. Which has translated into yard work mainly. We’ve planted some flowers and set up a little fairy garden area that Emma loves. We’ve also take a plot at our village’s community garden. We’ll see how it goes. Not much to show right now except a plot of dirt.
The second bit of unpleasantness to get out of the way is the situation that began in Minneapolis with the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. His murder has ignited protests all over the country and even foreign police are condemning the actions of the officers in Minneapolis. I am appalled and angry that this shit keeps happening in America.
This is a horrible tragedy that has sparked riots and looting as things continue to escalate in cities other than Minneapolis. Even as close to me as Green Bay saw violence at a protest over the weekend. There are reports of rocks being thrown at police.
I’m not going to rehash all the events. I simply want to state that I support the calls against racism, transphobia and all the other despicable-isms. I’m about all lives. Because this issue is about Blacks, I’m in. If it’s Native Americans protesting a shitty pipeline on their land, I’m in. If it’s Pride rallies, I support you too. I can’t do live protests, my anxiety around large groups of people wouldn’t let me contemplate it. So I try to be supportive in other ways. Donations, signing petitions, voting appropriately and encouraging others to as well. So for those out there fighting this fight that needs to happen, I see you. This cishet white guy is sick of the racist bullshit as well.
Now onto more pleasant events for those who’ve stuck it out this long. My oldest is driving. He was able to get his learners permit when the DMV reopened to limited services.
It’s going quite well. I feared this day, teen drivers being potentially what they can be, but he’s doing what he should and is attentive on the road. I’m proud of him. Now if the usual teenage surliness would go away, everything would be great. It’s to be expected though. He’s 15 and trying to figure out himself and his place in the world. I try telling myself I wasn’t much better. Hell, I moved out of my parents house a couple months after I turned 17. I hope this pandemic is cleared up in time for football season. I don’t know if either of us could handle him not getting to play football this year. He needs the activity. Playing basketball in the yard by himself isn’t cutting it for his energy level.
Those who have read about my daughter know that she’s passionate about a great many things. She has her YouTube channel and a Facebook page to document the many things she gets into. This past weekend we were able to begin again the adventure of raising monarch butterflies. We found our first eggs. She was beyond excited when we found the first one. We ended up with ten from our excursion into a marshy area. All ten hatched within a few days and we’ve added a dozen more as well as some that we found already hatched into tiny caterpillars. Now we wait and see if this next batch all hatched, as well as continue to hunt for more. Keeping these beautiful creatures from all becoming bird food is a noble cause right?
How to begin to describe my youngest child. Perhaps this image will help you. Picture a Tornado wearing a Hurricane Jacket, plunked down into a Volcano, while riding a Tsunami during an Earthquake. That should give you a pretty clear picture of the Incarnation of Chaos this little one has become. He chatters away at you, mostly making sense, and understands more than he pretends to. Close to bed time the other night, my wife asked him, “What do you want for snack?” He looks right at me and plain as day said, “Ice Cream Cone Daddy.” Then went back to snuggling his mother while I made him a little cone with orange sherbet. He tests my patience almost as strongly as his older brother. He really riles his sister up. He will pick something up, a toy or doll or whatever. If she decides she wants it. She goes up to him and as she’s asking him for it or offering something different in trade; she snatched the item and leaves. Then you hear, “EMMA!” at the top of his little lungs. Sometimes I think he takes her favorite doll on purpose just to make her angry.
He’s also quite entertaining when it comes to big brother, “Teta.” (Emma started calling Mason, Teta, pronounced TeeTah, and it’s kinda stuck.) So Jackson has a poop diaper, we can all smell it. Mom asks, “Jackson, did you poop your pants?” “No.” He replies with this smirk on his face. Mom asks, “Who put the poop in your pants then?” “Teta.” He yells with a giggle and a look at his older brother. Teta was a good sport. He just said, “Jackson you weren’t supposed to tell anyone.” Which set everyone to laughing, even Emma.
All three of my kids challenge me to be a better person. To set a better example than what they may see around them in these times of crisis. I just hope I’m doing a good enough job.
My writing has been up and down the last few months. I’m still hitting my word count goals but I’m no where near ready to publish anything because I keep bouncing from project to project, unable to focus on much except knocking out Tales Of Ezrahn short stories. I think I almost have enough for a collection so maybe if I can knock that out I’ll be able to get back to Mike’s journey. Book three needs some rewrites then off to my editor. I hope he’s ready to deal with Colleen coming back into his life and a betrayal from The Council.
Until next time, my Gentle Readers. Keep on keeping on.