It’s been awhile… (6/7/15)

It has been some time since I wrote anything. The book reviews and author interview of the past week were scheduled several weeks earlier as part of a blog tour I participated in. I swear I have not been completely idle. I managed to catch up on several weeks of posts by the lovely people I follow, leaving comments/likes and reblogging a few that I found particularly useful to share.

I have managed to finish the first draft and first revision run through of my novella based on a freaky dream I had over a month ago. Now is the time to put it away and come back to it in a few weeks. Some elements nag at me a little but I need to wait and see if it is just jitters over sharing my work with anyone else. It took me YEARS to share my novel I published last year.

I have engaged in collecting pictures/quotes and links from writer groups I joined on Facebook. I wonder if my phone is going to fill up on pictures or books I have downloaded to it. I have collected at least 8 books for my To Be Read pile that I hope to get to over a campfire some evening this summer.

I have been highly active with my son’s 10U (aged 10 and under) baseball league team. I have been acting as assistant coach during practices and third base coach during games. It has been a wonderful experience. The kids have taught me a lot about myself and how to interact with my son. This Fatherhood gig never ceases to amaze me or teach me new lessons.

I have completed several Fiverr gigs, but thinking that freelancing editing is not going to make me money to supplement my writing or my day job. All it is doing is taking precious time away from my own creative pursuits with not enough return on investment. Elance, and its new name Upwork, have both proven to be a bust and a waste of time. It seems the people posting jobs have no idea the time investment to provide what they are asking for. Seriously, who accepts $50 to ghostwrite 30K words you are never able to claim any credit for? Especially when it needs to be published/polished and ready for publication to get paid. If I put that kind of time into it, I am going to publish it under my own name and collect all the royalties for myself. I don’t care if it is erotica/romance, which doesn’t normally appeal to me as something to write. I am more of a Science Fiction/Fantasy kind of guy. Even so, $50 or even some of the $80 ones are not worth submitting ove 30K published and polished words. More power to the ones that are willing to take those jobs.

To that end, I have the beginnings of 2 more manuscripts that I need to research, outline and start writing. Going to be a busy summer as hopefully I will have my second book back from the editors in the next few weeks. Then it will be time for a round of beta readers to polish it off and get some feedback before launching it. I still need to get a cover designed and write a blurb.

The last few weeks have also seen my wife’s baby brother graduate High School. To have watched him grow over the past 5 years has been a wonderful experience. He is hilarious and very talented. He leaves in about 3 weeks for an acting school in Los Angeles. One day he is going to star in major movies.

This past Thursday contained a new first for me. I saw my first professional baseball game live and in person. Remember, I am not a sports person so while baseball is America’s pastime, this should not come as a shock to any of my readers. My son earned a ticket for meeting his reading goals this year at school. The team is a Class A affiliate so it wasn’t true major league baseball. However, the smaller stadium and more family friendly atmosphere made for some entertaining hi-jinks in between innings. We had a lot of fun and got home much later than I would have preferred since I had to be at my day job early Friday morning. It was worth it to spend the time with my son.

This weekend began our summer of camping and last night I had my first beer around the campfire at the lake lot we spend our summers on. What a great way to reconnect with some of my extended family. Laughs were shared by all.

I suppose it is time to wrap up my day at the office. Thanks for sticking around through my absence folks. I will try to have something more for you to read in the near future. In the meantime, keep fighting the fight, whatever your personal battles may be.

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Baseball has begun…

So this week, baseball season started for my son. He is 10 and considered one of the “older kids” on his 10U team. We took him to some lessons earlier in the year to get ready for this season. His swing is greatly improved and he is actually catching and throwing better than I have ever seen him. I am so proud of him. Last night at practice (the second practice of the season), the coach had him working on his pitching. He could use some work there. Pitching wasn’t something we had been terribly concerned with. The only sad thing is that we have just eight kids on the team. So if someone fails to show up to a game it is an automatic forfeit. I think the games that I am off of my day job for I am going to offer to drive any kids that need rides. We cannot afford to have a season like last year where kids weren’t showing up because the parents didn’t feel like driving to some of the games.

I don’t understand why you would sign your kid up for something and then not follow through with it. The lessons we are teaching our children when we do those things are not good. This is a world where if you don’t put forth 110% effort, you are likely to be left behind. I worry about the kids whose parents let them skip out on practices or games just because they “Don’t feel like it”.

I am unable to attend the Monday practices because of my day job. I intend to be at every practice or game that I can attend. Last night I was able to work on batting stance and swinging with almost all of the kids from the team. We then worked on catching both pop fly balls and grounders. Having watched some of these kids play on T-Ball the previous years, or even on the 10U team last year has been a pleasure. Some of them have greatly improved from last year. I am looking forward to this season.

To go with this have came a great article my wife found.

http://momastery.com/blog/2014/03/10/how-to-watch-your-kids-game-without-being-a-jerk/

And a picture from one of the other sports moms that I really like.

Childsuccess

I just want to state that I in no way own the link or the image. If I can find whomever I should credit for the image, I will certainly update this post with that information.

Bachelor Night, or while the wife is away the husband will play.

Today is a special kind of day. I have to work all weekend at my real job because, sadly, my writing doesn’t pay the bills yet. So, while I drag myself through another day in the office, my wife and son are off to her cousin’s in Chicago for the birthday party of her 1 year old. Some of my wife’s family is from Chicago so there is a lot visiting to do down there this weekend. What this means is that it is just me and the dogs tonight till she gets home tomorrow.

Time to party. Have all the boys over for beer, pizza and cards right? Sure.

Or maybe hit the bar, gotta be a sports game on a tv somewhere right? Sure, that sounds fun.

But neither are going to happen. I have turned into a boring old married man. I will go home, probably pick up some take out on the way home. Feed and water the dogs. Watch a little TV, and then turn in early. Exciting Bachelor night right?

I am going to sleep like crap tonight without my wife there.

Baseball woes…

My son is preparing for the upcoming little league baseball season. We have done several lessons with a professional coach, we invested in a modest pitching machine, and I have even invested in a real glove of my own to play catch with him. We went out to our backyard this evening and tried to practice hitting. It took a few tries to get the pitching machine dialed in but once I did, it was throwing great pitches with only a little variation to the inside or outside. The teacher we had him taking lessons with had a little mantra for his hitting stance. “Elbow, Head, Back foot rotation”

Elbow – both front and back elbow need to be bent, no straight arming which is a huge problem for my son.  SO when we say Elbow, it means check your elbows, they should be slightly bent and positioned high on your chest but lower than your shoulders.

Head – head down and eyes forward watching for the ball. Follow the ball in and swing through it. My son has a problem with looking too high, like he is watching the pitcher’s head instead of where the ball will come from.

Back foot rotation – is simply what it sounds like. You pivot your back foot which adds torque to your swing to give you more power.

My son is suddenly deathly afraid that the ball will hit him, which is going to happen eventually. Probably more than once. He threw an epic temper tantrum while we were trying to work with him tonight and the ball never came close to him. My wife luckily even video taped a few of the pitches to prove it to him. He has potential because he has connected a few times and hit it better than some of the older kids on his team. I just struggle, being a non athlete, with how to motivate him because I have no first hand experience of playing sports on a team or in a league. The closest I came to sports was bowling on a league, and I was on the team because of my handicap mainly. That is how I was an asset to the team.

I have this huge surge of pride when I see him succeeding at this because I know I am no athlete. I wish I was better at sports so that I could help him. All the training and tricks in the world are not helping me since I lack natural talent. After hitting practice we tried fielding ground balls. Some of his throws were great and I just simply missed them. I told him he can go to school and tell all his friends. He played catch with his dad and caught more balls than his dad did. His response was great, in his best 10 year old temper tantrum voice he says to me, “Yeah, but they were all grounders.” It was all I could do not to laugh at his response. I told him, “So, they don’t have to know that.”  It lightened the mood a little and we had a good 15 minutes where I actually got him back to giggling.

Maybe I am not such a failure at this fatherhood thing after all.

A Poo Flinging Monkey

I thought I would do a little update on this Fatherhood thing today in light of something quite hilarious that happened. For over a month now we have been giving our son an allowance for doing “chores”. Really things he should do anyway at 10, but it is an incentive and it teaches him how to save money for the things he wants, instead of having it handed to him. He brought home his book order yesterday from school and there is a Minecraft item in it that is almost 50 dollars. Honestly, I think within a few weeks he wouldn’t even bother with it. My wife the genius wins again with her idea. If he wants it, he will earn it. He has some allowance saved up. Today we were cleaning leaves and gutters on our garage and storage building.

Now, I am deathly scared of heights. Anything more than 3 feet off the ground and I am likely to break out in an anxiety attack. I managed to clean the garage, because I only had to go up two steps on the ladder to reach the gutters. I can handle that. Our son comes home from school and is quickly talked into climbing onto the roof of the storage building to clean that gutter. All for the low low price of 30 bucks.

As he mounts the ladder and makes his way up onto the roof, I am already feeling a panic attack creep in. I know he is an extremely responsible 10 year old. I am proud of him every day for the way he conducts himself. I just have this overwhelming fear now that he is about 12 feet in the air.

Then the fun begins. He scoots within an arm’s reach of the gutter, small shovel in hand to use as a scoop to get the gunk out of it. As he begins to clean sticks, leaves and everything else out of the gutter, he says, “It looks like poop.” And down comes a clump of decaying leaf material that had clogged up the gutter. Then it got more hilarious as he makes a game out of being a poo flinging monkey and tossing down the clumps like some irate primate in a zoo.

Barely 20 minutes and he is climbing back down the ladder as I steady it from below. I think I took my first decent breath once he was within reach of my arms should he have fallen. I love this poo flinging monkey.

Look out below…

PooFlingingMonkey