Friday, January 6, 2023

The Little Painted Nails in the Coffin


Something happened a few weeks ago.  I’m not going to go too far into it, but suffice it to say, due to the actions of someone who I don’t even know, this will be the last post of Little Painted Nails. 

After 8 years and a few hundred posts, it’s time to put the baby to bed.  Admittedly, it’s sad for me. This was a passion project and to walk away from it under weird circumstances feels a little empty.  I would normally have gone a little more grandiose.  A big Ang Lee ending with explosions and doves flying out. That being said, this wasn’t a snap decision.  I thought about it and I think it’s time to go. 

I think it would be best to enjoy the time I had with it as opposed to bemoaning how it ended.

Over the years I’ve been doing this there have been diaper changes and soccer games and training wheels.  There have been tee shots and basketball games and hot sauce challenges.  We’ve dealt with illness and injury and loss. In the end there were laughs and struggles and tears and love. 

The website has had well over 100 thousand views and (for the most part) the comments have been kind and supportive. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to blow off work for five or ten minutes here and there to read my ramblings.

The idea of giving my girls life lessons through funny stories and weird experiences has proven to be a good one.  They seem to have liked it and I have received a ton of feedback from other dads who have taken my words to heart and even a couple who have said they are doing something similar now for their little ones.  People who have read this over the last half dozen years, I appreciate it, I truly do, and feel free to reach out if the conclusion here seems abrupt.  I’m happy to share the back story and I think you’ll understand why I A) won’t discuss it here and B) have chosen to close up this particular shop.  I will probably do something else in the future, but this iteration of my writing has run its course.

I think I should also offer a brief “Thank You” to my wife, and by extension, my family.  My wife has always been supportive of this project even in times where it was a little invasive when our proverbial curtain got pulled back a little bit.  There were times when it was collaborative.  When I needed reeling in.  When I was just wrong. 

She, as always, has been my rock and my best friend. 

To the girls, I hope you read this in its entirety one day and think to yourselves “Man, my old man was a goof, but he really cared”, or at least that I gave you a few ideas before my senility really kicked in.

I suppose I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give you some parting advice from this blog. 

For that I would say, strive for happiness.  We don’t know how long we get to screw around on this blue marble.  It doesn’t make sense not to enjoy the time you have. 

Be Compassionate.  Being kind has a way of finding its way back to you.  We all are climbing uphill against something.  Be a foothold and not a loose stone for someone.  They’ll recognize it most of the time, trust me. 

Be Present. In the world of cell phones and schoolwork, it’s easy to become a touch of an island of yourself.  There’s a quote from a great philosopher from my youth 

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” F. Bueller. 

I’d hate for you to miss something great because you were posting something on Tik Tok.  Try your best to live in the “now”.  It’ll offer you a lot more experiences than SnapTok or TweetBook ever will.

Be Healthy.  I don’t know what happens after we shed our mortal coil, but I know while you’re hanging out on the blue marble, you only get one vehicle.  This body of ours needs upkeep.  Get up, move, dance, run, play sports, travel, explore, eat strange foods, get underwater, compete, laugh, love, hug, it’ll all do that shell of yours some good.  The way I see it, it’s better to be able to run a mile or lift a ton and not need it than the other way around.

Remember who you are and where you came from.  You have a big, wonderful family who loves you very much.  Your mom and dad, even when it doesn’t seem it, puts you first when we make decisions.  We want nothing more than for you to grow up and be happy, healthy, kind young women.  So, when it seems we are being a couple of hard asses, consider, while we love being your parents and your friends, we are your parents first.  Your grandparents and aunts and uncles love you very much.  Sometimes distance gets in the way, but they think of you often.  Most of all, despite the occasional fight and snide remark, the three of you are the greatest friends each of you will ever have.  They will be your shoulder to cry on and your comic relief.  Don’t take those relationships lightly.  Hug often and apologize easily.  Winning an argument isn’t always winning and losing one can be the best winning you can do. 

Finally, remember, your dad loves you.  You are the best thing to ever happen to me.  To be someone’s greatest thing is an honor, and you are just that.  Nothing has made this life more worth living than you three and your mother.  We all have our shortcomings, for sure, but know that, despite anything you have fallen short on, you have made one chubby old man’s life impossibly good.  You’ve given me joy that I couldn’t have imagined before I got married.  Thank you, little ladies, for all you have given me.  I love you very much.


Monday, October 24, 2022

Quarterbacks, Balloons and Goldfish

We have a saying in our house “Balloons and Goldfish”.  What that refers to, are things that are temporary and need to be enjoyed in the “now”.  It was always a way of softening the inevitable blow of a pet floating upside down in the tank or a balloon becoming a handful of latex garbage. 

It also may have been a mistake.

Balloons and goldfish may offer the feeling of loss that a three-year-old can wrap their little head around.  Hopefully they move from balloons to goldfish to maybe a cat running away to a harsh breakup.

That last one is the one to focus on today.  My middle, Macy, is a striking young lady.  She is pretty, funny, athletic, has a great sense of humor and impeccable fashion sense.  She is, even to thirteen-year-olds young eyes, a catch.

A catch in the way that you expect her to be the kind of girl that wins prom queen and dates the quarterback. 

The latter is in fact true, that is, true until yesterday.

Macy had a boyfriend (or a middle school version of one) who was the QB of the school’s football team.  “Had” is the functional word in that sentence. 

The young QB, we’ll call him ‘Lance’ for the purposes of this story.  Lance decided he needed his freedom.  No problem. Certainly didn’t expect her first dip into romance to be her last. 

Balloons and goldfish. 

The problem is twofold.  The first is that he did the deed via text.  It was out of the blue and not the most articulate thing in the world (excusable as he is only thirteen).  The second problem is his social media post saying that he is “single and taking applications”.  Funny? Sure, but I’m his ex’s dad so he’ll obviously wind up on the wrong side of this blog post. 

In all actuality, 'Lance' is a good kid who dipped his toe into the dating pool for the first time as well.  He’s a stand-up guy but of course his breakup was awful.  He’s never done it before.  The nice thing was that one lesson seemed to stick with Macy.

“Balloons and goldfish” and apparently romances with thirteen year old quarterbacks are all things that don’t last.  She took it fine and the two are actually back to being friends. 

The lesson here little ladies?  Its simple, boys are dumb.  It’s true, but it’s a little more nuanced than that.  Boys are dumb, but they get better.  They get better, but that’s much later.  In their early teens they are just trying to figure it all out, their bodies, their place, and girls.  In their late teens they are trying to figure out their place and girl’s bodies.  In their twenties, its college and work and moving out of their mother’s basements.  Thirties?  Figuring out what happened in their twenties.  Forties involve wives and kids and homeownership and plumbing and heating and groceries.  Fifties?  I’ve just started those and I still have no idea about girls, the ones my age or my daughters.  So, I guess I’ll speculate that boys cease being dumb in their sixties. 

In all honesty, if you want a boy to like you, find a sincere one.  One that sticks up for you when times are tough.  One that respects the people around him.  One that does things for you even when it is in contrast to what he wants to do himself.  Find one that will go to the craft store with you  even if he kicks and screams the whole time and one that will take you to restaurants and movies that he doesn’t like. 

And here’s the tough part ladies, be someone that will do the same for your partner.  Relationships are about compromise and sacrifice.  As you date in middle school and high school and college and in the work world, look for someone who is willing to sacrifice and willing to compromise (and one that can cook isn’t the worst thing either).




Wednesday, September 21, 2022

What Color Are Mermaids Anyway?


I work online and therefore; YouTube tends to be the soundtrack of most of my days.  I listen to the news, music, audio books and movie trailers.  I listen to stand up comedy, sports blogs and spoilers.

And movie and television reviews.   

It’s the last one that I’m writing about today.   

A few years ago, there was a rumbling of Idris Elba playing James Bond.  To me, he’s a perfect fit.  Handsome, sophisticated and a better-than-capable action star. 

The internet did not agree.  Not because he couldn’t act, or he has some personal history that would disqualify him.  James Bond is traditionally played by white actors, and Elba, while sophisticated, has a pigmentation issue that the internet couldn’t abide.

To date, he still hasn’t gotten the role.

Recently, another role was being awarded. There is a live action version of The Little Mermaid being released, and unlike the 007 series, they cast an African American in the title role.  The internet couldn’t let that slide. 

Over a million people “disliked” the trailer and some of the responses to the coming attraction are downright despicable. 

It seems closed minded and ignorant to put ones preconceived notions above the direction of the film maker who is laying out hundreds of millions of dollars to make their vision. 

In the James Bond example, the objection to a black actor seems awful, in the Little Mermaid, silly.

I’ll explain. 

Not having Idris Elba play Bond doesn’t make sense.  It’s simple racism.  Racism or terrible taste in actors.  The Little Mermaid is a different animal altogether. 

The Little Mermaid is the story of an underage half fish, half teenager who decides that she was born in the wrong body and longs to be transformed into a human so she can be with a guy without fish parts. 

Her father objects to her trans desires so she seeks out someone who can perform the procedure without her father’s approval.  In the end, her dad finally, despite her only being sixteen years old, approves of her transformation and marriage.

So, here’s the rub.  People (which may be a loud but small number) object to the skin color of a fictional species but have no problem with her trans lifestyle or the fact that her betrothed is eager to engage in interspecies shenanigans.  Seems like a tremendous oversight.  Maybe as bad as ignoring that Elsa’s parents locked her in her bedroom for a decade because she was different. 

The point here little ladies?  Beyond the fish fetish issues?  Its that what’s on the outside really doesn’t matter.  The young lady playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid can act and she is a heck of a singer.  That’s really all that should matter.  The vitriol over a black stormtrooper, or James Bond or mermaid is inexplicable.  In reality, it applies to your day-to-day life as well.  If someone doesn’t wear just the right clothes, or carries a little extra weight or is somehow different than you, let it go, or on second thought, embrace it. We are all the ‘different’ one at one point or another and how great was it when someone understood you or just spent time with you.  For some people, being different isn’t a phase.  Being of a different race, or gender or having a different sexual identity or having a handicap or literally anything else that can offer someone a way to see them as “other” is a way of life.  It doesn’t have to be a bad one.  Different does not equal bad, disliking someone for being different does.