Category Archives: Parenting

I’ve Seen Better Days

Now if I could just find the rewind button…

Tuesday ended on a high note and Wednesday started with a ton of promise.  The day ended poorly, but as you continue to read, you will find that it was mostly my fault.  Here’s the deal…

Tuesday night The Phone Sex Operator (P.S.O.) came over for dinner.  She moved into a new house last weekend and it was stressful on her.  She arrived about 15 minutes after I got home and I was putting the finishing touches on some Cuban roast pork, black beans and lime rice.  I had a cold Corona waiting for her when she walked in the door and after a nice hello kiss, she hung out with Drama Queen (D.Q.) for a few minutes talking about this and that.

After dinner (which she said she really enjoyed) we all chilled on the couch watching American Idol and soon it was time for D.Q. to go to bed.  She said good night and P.S.O. and I finally spent some much-needed quality time alone.  It was really nice to snuggle with her on the couch.  When it was time for her to leave I asked her what time I needed to be at her place in the morning and she told me a little after eight.

I offered to help P.S.O. by staying at her house Wednesday morning to wait for Time Warner.  She had a short week at work since Monday was a holiday and she was taking Friday off to run me to and from some minor surgery I’m having.  I knew that my waiting for the cable guy would help her out and I was happy to do it.

I woke up early Wednesday morning in a great mood.  I was still on a high from our time together last night and I was looking forward to seeing her, if even for a few minutes.  After making sure D.Q. was up and getting ready for school, I hopped in my car and headed down the Thruway.  I rolled into Tim Horton’s near her house and grabbed some coffee just the way she likes it.  So far so good.

When I arrived, she was in the bathroom drying her hair and getting ready for work, so I headed into the living room and was looking around a bit.  The last time I saw the house a lot of things were in boxes.  She now had pictures and knick-knacks on the shelves and I was checking them out.

Remember at the beginning I mentioned that I was a complete a-hole?  Well, here it comes…

She came out into the living room and I kissed her and asked her how much flexibility she had in the time she had to leave for work and what time she thought the Time Warner guy would really show up.  She told me to behave and that she really needed to get ready to leave.

She walked over to the bookshelf and was showing me some pictures of her family and explaining the significance of each one and I put my hand on her back.  As I rubbed her back I noticed that she had no bra on and I made a comment about “The twins not being strapped in.”  She wasn’t thrilled at that comment (nor should she have been) and continued to show me things.  That wasn’t the only crappy thing I said that morning and it was far from one of my better moments.

We looked at a book of pictures from when her daughter was a baby and I did enjoy looking at her things and I do want to know more about her and her family and about what’s important to her.  I certainly didn’t show it on Wednesday morning, but I am interested and I do care.  I was just a complete douche and an utter tool at that moment.

I ruined her morning and I really hurt her.  I wasn’t intending to hurt her, but I did.  When she left the house I knew she was upset and that made me feel like crap.  I sat on the couch trying to read the book I brought, but it was slow going.  I kept beating myself up for what I had done, so I whipped out my BlackBerry to send an e-mail apologizing.  We traded a few  more back and forth over the next couple hours and I told her that her feelings are very important to me and that I didn’t want to add to the stresses and pressures of her life, but rather I wanted to be an enhancement to her life.

She e-mailed back that she loved me but that she was hurt and that this would not be THE defining moment in our relationship but rather A defining moment.  We traded a couple more e-mails that morning and the long and the short of it is that I am apparently going to do a strip tease for her at some point in the near future to Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry.  I guess I need to get practicing!  I think that’s the least I can do to make up for hurting her.

The Time Warner guy came and went and I headed to work to deal with a myriad of stresses there.  After work I went home to Drama Queen.

D.Q. has a school orchestra concert tonight and needs to have black pants and a white shirt (or a black dress) to wear for it.  She doesn’t have anything that fits her, so last night we went out to get her something.  The long and short of it is that she was being extremely snotty and rude.  After trying on a couple dresses, I handed her a pair of black pants and a white shirt.  She started to get really snotty about them and I told her that if the ‘tude continued that we would just go without getting anything and that she would not play in the concert, which BTW accounts for 25% of her grade.  I did tell her that if she doesn’t play that she was going to go watch and that I didn’t care how embarrassed she was.

She got snotty again and I walked out of the store.  I sent the teacher (and her counselor) an e-mail explaining the situation.  D.Q. is pissed at me and told me that she wants to go live with someone else.  She’s also been telling me that she hates me, to which I respond, “Get in line”.

Ironically enough, as I was typing the last paragraph, the orchestra teacher called me to tell me that he wants her to come play and to wear whatever she can.  He said that the orchestra is a team thing and it’s almost exactly what P.S.O. told me in her e-mail to me a half hour ago.  I love that she can tell me when I’m wrong and isn’t afraid to share her opinion on things.  I totally need that.

Yesterday was a crappy day, but today seems to be getting off to a better start.  I didn’t sleep well last night but I heard from P.S.O. this morning and she ended the e-mail with “xoxox” so I’m guessing that she still loves me.  I continue to feel crappy about the way I treated her yesterday and I’m not going to forget it, but I won’t dwell on it.  D.Q. is going to play her concert tonight and that’s probably a good thing.

I’m heading to Tim’s for some coffee (and maybe a few Timbits).  I also think that I’ll throw on Sunny Hours by Long Beach Dub All-Stars.  That always seems to make me feel better.  Tomorrow will be a good day.  I have my surgery and I get to spend the day with P.S.O.  I promise that there will be a very good story about the surgery down the road.  A really good story.  Now if I could just find the rewind button…

J.R.

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My Mom and Kotex

“Back when I started…”


I absolutely love my daughter and I love being a parent.  Do I wish that her mom were in the picture?  Not really.  Do I wish that things had worked out with her mom and I?  Sometimes.  Usually not.  The reality is that her mom is bi-polar and wasn’t a happy person and I wasn’t willing to live my life like that, nor was I willing to let my daughter grow up with that as her role model.

My parents were married for 46 years when my dad died of cancer and I always thought that I would fall in love and have what my parents had.  I guess that was their love story, not mine.  Right now I’m working on my own story.  So far it’s going really well.  I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!

I will always remember the date December 28, 2001.  It was my 10th anniversary and the day that I realized that my marriage was over as well as the day I found out my dad was dying of cancer.  For the record, I realized the marriage was over before I found out about my dad.  That is another topic for another day.  Today’s topic is way funnier than this…

Last Monday started like any other Monday.  I woke up at 6:45 and made some coffee.  I went upstairs at 7 to wake up The Drama Queen (D.Q.) and she announced (with her eyes still closed) that she was going back to sleep because today was a snow day.  I told her to open her eyes and look out the window.  She did and said, “There’s a lot of snow on the ground.”  To which I replied, “yeah, but look at my car.  No snow.  No snow on the car means no new snow on the ground which means no snow day!”  She was less than thrilled by that revelation.

I showered, got dressed and headed off to work for my 8:30 AM meeting.  The details of the day are more or less unimportant—until a few minutes after 6 PM.  I was driving home in the snow (now it was snowing….) and I was chatting with Phone Sex Operator (P.S.O.) as I made my way down Transit Road and onto Main St.  (Yeah, I had my Bluetooth headset).  As we were yakking I had another call come in.  “It’s my mom,” I told her.   “OK honey, talk with her and call me later,” she replied.  I clicked over to my mom and God help me; I wish we never had this conversation.  Why?

She called to discuss with me how I should talk with D.Q. about starting her period.  In all fairness, my mom and I talked the day before and I mentioned that P.S.O. had noted that she thought it wouldn’t be long until D.Q. had her monthly visitor.  Now I’m not at all naive and I knew that this day would eventually come, but I was totally hoping that we could put off this conversation for a while.  A long while!

She starts off with the whole “it’s a natural thing” speech and the “you’re going to do just fine” line.  So far it was going OK.  I mentioned to my mom that D.Q. has an appointment with her new pediatrician on Friday and that the doctor was a woman, so I felt pretty comfy with the whole situation.  For the record, I do NOT call her Drama Queen when I talk with my mom.  Well, I occasionally do, but not this time.

My mom suggested that I have D.Q. call my sister-in-law to have the Aunt Flo talk (my words, not hers) and I politely told her that I would keep the suggestion in mind and reminded my mom that P.S.O. offered to help with this.

After making me feel thoroughly uncomfortable and feeling like the conversation had hit rock bottom, she dropped “the bomb”.  It was perfect timing for this comment, actually, since I was about to pass a couple of very large, very solid trees.

I had no clue that I could be more uncomfortable than I already was, but once again I was wrong.  My mom went on to tell me that things have changed a lot over the years and that there are many more products on the market now.  What did she say that made me seriously want to drive into a tree and kill myself?  Prepare yourself.  My mom (who I love) said, “Things have changed a lot since I started.  Back when I started we only had Kotex.”

Oh my God!  My mother did not just utter the phrase “back when I started” in reference to her menstrual cycle, did she?  Yes she did!  I told my mom that I really needed to get off the phone and I quickly re-dialed P.S.O. and relayed the story to her.  She laughed really hard.  I mean REALLY hard.  After a couple of moments she composed herself and said, “honey you need to go to the store and get something for D.Q. to have on hand.  I said, “OK.  What do you suggest?”  She recommended something thin, but absorbent and said something about having wings.

The next morning I went to Wal-Mart and scanned the shelf for something that I felt met all of her criteria.  I made my purchase at the Self-Checkout (not that I was embarrassed, there was no line there) and ran a couple more errands.  After I got home I unpacked my bags and left the feminine product on the table.

I wondered if I had actually bought the right stuff, so I whipped out my camera phone, took a picture and texted it to P.S.O. with this message:  “Did I do good?”  To which she promptly replied, “Seriously?  You did NOT just send me a picture of ‘stuff’!”

We laughed about that on the phone for a few moments and P.S.O. asked to talk to Drama Queen.  The two of them had their little chick talk and D.Q. seemed pretty happy when they hung up.  As I thanked P.S.O. for helping me out, she laughed and said, “Oh baby…this is only the beginning.”  Great!!!

J.R.

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My Daughter, The Drama Queen

I need to make a mental note to pick up a big bottle of Jack Daniels tomorrow.  Some Cuervo Black too.

So far I’ve spent a lot of time regaling you with some of my crazy dating stories.  I’ve introduced you to The Period One, The 36-Year-Old Virgin, The Bookstore Chick and my personal favorite, The Phone Sex Operator (P.S.O.).

I’ve briefly mentioned a few more people who play important parts in my life—there’s the Drama Queen (my 12-year-old daughter) and O.C.B. (A.K.A. Original Crazy B****, A.K.A. the Drama Queen’s mom) and The Kings Fan, who has been one of my closest friends since we met 15 years ago.  The Kings Fan came to the hospital when Drama Queen was born and he was there when she was a baby and we would play pickup hockey with her sleeping in her car seat in the penalty box.

This blog is advertised as “The world of dating and parenting from the perspective of a full-time single dad raising a 12-year-old daughter.  You will usually laugh, sometimes cry and often say, “What the hell was he thinking?” So far we’ve covered the dating, the laughing (sometimes laughing so hard that you cry) and we have more than covered “what the hell was he thinking.”  Now it’s time to get into some parenting…

Long story short, O.C.B. is bi-polar.  There’s not a joke in there anywhere.  She’s bi-polar.  Her doctor told me that there is always some event or circumstance in a bi-polar person’s life that brings out the sickness and for O.C.B. it was having The Drama Queen (D.Q.).  I held the family together as long as I could, but O.C.B. didn’t take her medicine and when D.Q. was five, it was time for mom to move out, thus ending an 11 year adventure.  Since then I have had full custody of her.  The judge gave mom monitored visitation, but she rarely went.  The bottom line is that in 7 years D.Q. has seen or talked to her mom no more than 20 times and even went through a 4-year stretch with absolutely no communication.

I know that I’m not the best dad in the world, but I do the best I can and I think that I do OK, all things considering.  I don’t have a sister, so I can’t look back on memories from my childhood and remember what my parents did in certain situations.  My mom is 2,566 miles away and can help via phone, but it’s not the same.  My goal is to maintain health insurance so that D.Q. can start seeing a really good therapist; one who can balance out all the mistakes that I make!

I’ve been told that the eye rolling and attitude are par for the course with a hormonal 12-year-old.  Oh yeah, I’ve also been told by P.S.O. that all signs indicate that she’s about to have a regular visitor.  Damn.

She needs to go and get a new type of underwear—one which I am happy to say I can take off a woman with one hand tied behind my back (or tied to the headboard), but a type of underwear which I have absolutely no clue how to buy for a 12-year-old.    I need to make a mental note to pick up a big bottle of Jack Daniels tomorrow.  Some Cuervo Black too.

What’s life like at my house?  Well, I’m making chili at this moment and it’s almost done.  I told her that I wanted it to simmer for another 20 minutes or so and then we would eat.  I took a small spoonful so that I could make sure it couldn’t use any more seasoning.  It needed a touch more garlic and some chili powder, so I put them in the pot and grabbed a spoon (not the one I just ate from) and prepared to mix them in.  At that moment the Drama Queen burst into the kitchen and asked if she could stir.  I told her that she could, but to be careful as I didn’t want to have to clean up a mess.  She looked at me and said with a completely straight face but more than a hint of eye roll,  “I think that I can stir chili without any parental consent.”    Oy vey!!!!

J.R.

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