& some resuscitation, with introductions

Here's a picture of a cute kid so you don't lynch me for being gone so long. Pitchforks down, people.

Here’s a picture of a cute kid so you don’t lynch me for being gone so long. Pitchforks down, people.

You know what Twain said—reports of my death, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’ve been staying alive over on the Facebook and the Tweeter and even the Instagrams*, so find me there if you’ve been getting splinters in your ass pining away for me** over here.

*I have no idea how to link to this, but my username is andedav, if you want to find me.
**See what I did there? I learned puns while I was away! Still miss me?

All right, so three months away probably deserves a little explanation. Well, first off, I’ve been getting sick more since August than I probably have in the previous decade, mostly because daycare has turned Squatch into a petri dish. Illness doesn’t put me in the best mood for writing.

Second, I picked up an extra lit class this semester, so that’s just another giant stack of papers to grade with less time to do that in. Yeah, I’m using that as an excuse. Sue me.

Third, since my teaching gig is a year-to-year thing with no really good idea what I’ll be doing the following fall, I spent a bunch of time this past fall doing applications to figure out what I’ll be doing next fall. Like a bunch of time. Then I spent just as much time over the couple months after Christmas fretting about those applications to the point where I was probably pre-aneurysm at any given point. Then last month I got accepted to a PhD program for the fall, and I got a GTA* to help pay for it. Hooray! Only now I’ve been spending the month since fretting about getting everything ready to do the school thing again. With a kid this time! Seriously, people, my brain’s been exploding about this stuff.

*Not that I’m super excited to go back to the peasant caste of teaching assistants again, but it means my tuition is covered. Luckily, it was a short fall from temporary instructor.

So my blog kind of deflated over the last few months. Sorry about that, guys. I’d promise to do better in the future, but you and I both know better than to believe me on that. The best I can do is promise to try. You can Yoda me all you want on that—try is the best I got right now.


Anyway, here’s what brought me back: Squatch’s future mother-in-law invited me to pitch in a piece over at Tipsy Lit for their Higher Ed Week. It’s an awesome site that I like to go over and read between panic attacks. If I’m not mistaken, it’s mostly ladies writing over there, and I’m one of the first dudes to make an appearance. Shattering the glass ceiling*, left and right.

*Actually, the glass ceiling is for women, I believe. So would it be the glass floor? In either case, it’s Y-chromosomes doing our part for gender equality.

Tipsy Lit being a bigger deal than my little, underused corner of the internet, I figured some readers might make their way over here. So welcome, Tipsy Litters! As a means of getting you familiarized with what goes on here, allow me to show you some of my faves:

I’ll leave it at that. There’s some more good stuff on here. It’s like boogers on the underside of the couch—just dig around and you’ll find ’em.

& missing it

No YOU haven’t posted on your blog in about a month. Shut up.

It’s been a crazy few weeks around the Sasquatch household. Again. And another big milestone—one for us, not Squatch.

We had our first one-parent nights this month. Don’t worry, Squatch survived. But there were little pieces of me and Karli that suffered in the process.

The first weekend in March, Karli had to go back down to Oklahoma for her job. Squatch and I decided to stay behind, which means that we were having a dude’s weekend all day Saturday and Sunday, with the whole night in between. We had a good time (y’know—some blocks, some storybooks, some poker, some strippers and cigars—normal guy stuff) but his mom missed him and probably broke a few sound barriers in the rental car* on the way back.

*I’m pretty sure she’s probably the first person to do Mach 1 in a sky blue Fiat compact.

Squatch, meet Robster. Robster, Squatch.

Squatch, meet Robster. Robster, Squatch.

The following weekend, it was my turn to leave for a conference in Boston. Only I was gone five days and four nights. Not gonna lie—That. Was. Tough. The first night, I kept hearing phantom baby cries and jumping awake to take care of it, only to realize I was in an overpriced hotel room. The second night, I probably appreciated the full night’s rest without needing to get up and take care of a kid. By the last morning, I was dying to get back. It’s not like I never missed Karli when I was on trips before—of course I did—but this was just another level of separation. I have no idea how parents whose jobs involve regular overnight travel manage to do this.

The toughest part was that he’s at an age where he didn’t really miss me. He’s not really old enough yet. Don’t get me wrong, he lit up like the Vegas Strip when he saw me at the airport, but he couldn’t spend the whole five days talking about how much he missed Daddy. He was almost as excited for the stuffed lobster I got him as he was for me to hold him.

We’re still in that stage where separation is harder on us than it is on him. He adjusts really, really quickly. I know that won’t last for much longer, and his separation anxiety will start to kick in pretty soon, but our separation anxiety is going to get a little kick in the pants soon. Karli got a new job—an outside-the-house job—that starts in a few weeks, which means that we have to start with the dreaded D-word: Dogfighting.

No, wait, wrong post.

Daycare.

We’re steeling ourselves for the inevitability. Karli gets bummed and bemoans abandoning her sweet baby boy, and I tell her that everything will be just fine while shoving down thoughts of him picking up pneumonia and whooping cough and bad habits from the other little rat bastards darlings in the daycare. It’ll be okay, though. I keep telling myself this. On the fortunate side, things have worked out so that we can swing some temporary grandparent babysitting for the couple weeks between when Karli starts and my summer begins so that we really have till August to find the just-right place to take care of him. And it should give plenty of time for Squatch’s separation anxiety to settle in so we’re not the only ones bawling like crazy when he gets dropped off.

& i need help

Well, obviously. But this isn’t about that.

I’m not looking for parenting help, either. Not at the moment anyway. We’ll wait till my kid’s mobile before I go begging for that.

No, I need YOUR help, fellow denizen of the Bloggy-verse. With blogging. Specifically, with my students’ blogging.

I promise I have an actual class. They are not imaginary.

I promise I have an actual class. They are not imaginary.

See, I’m teaching a composition class that is all about “Writing as Engagement.” And little ol’ me thought, “What better way to have my students engage with writing than creating their very own blog?” So I did that. They each have their own blog, centered around a specific topic (family, sports, crafts, etc.), and three times a week, I give them a blog prompt. I try to make it something that can help spur some ideas in their heads while still being adaptable to a wide range of topics.

For instance, their first prompt was “Confidence.” I gave them “Ambition,” and “Failure,” and this picture. This week I’m giving them a few Super Bowl commercials as prompts. The idea is that they can use the prompt in whatever way they see fit to help them relate to their blog’s central topic. They can straight-up address the prompt itself or use it in a way that makes them think of something only tangentially related to the prompt. It’s just there to get them content to fill three days a week during the semester.

So where do you come in?

Well, Bloggites, I need some ideas for prompts. I’m pretty sure I’ll run dry quickly. As you can tell by this space, I have a little trouble getting my own content up sometimes (though that’s usually more of a time problem than anything else).

But you’re creative. I’ve read your sites. You’re the best people I know at this writing-on-the-internet thing. I figured, “Why should I drive my own damn self nuts when I have droves of loyal followers a few random, lonely nutjobs a wonderful community of creative individuals to draw from?” Give me stuff. Give me lots of stuff. Make it adaptable to a broad range of topics. What can my minions students write about that would be good? Tell me, tell me, TELL ME!

*Ahem*

Please.

& the freak-down: an old man’s game

The Freak-Down

37 Days

Today I drank. Not because I’m one of those folks who needs to start drinking at noon on a Friday. It was for academic purposes.

No, really. The school here in Oklahoma actually has a pretty decent-sized criminal justice department, with a lot of students who come through every year. Before I bolt from this place, the guy in charge of the CJ program asked if I wanted to help out with the law enforcement training class today.

What were they doing? you might ask. Well, the students had to do their field sobriety training today. And the best way to do this is to get drunk people. Enter Ande. I’ve never been one to pass up a drinking teaching opportunity.

I’m a pretty responsible (read: lame) drinker, which I’ve discussed before. That means I’ve never had to do a breathalyzer test. Today would be a day of firsts.

I’m a pretty big guy. You’ve seen pictures of me before. I’m definitely not petite, that’s for sure. So it would appear the alcohol takes a little bit more to get into my system. I drank more than anyone else in the room, yet my BAC was the lowest. Good to know, amiright?

I actually never went above the legal limit. I barely approached the DWI zone of .06, which is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. The thing is that I’m such a lightweight that I couldn’t have driven if I’d wanted to. I felt the buzz by the time I was blowing .03. I’ve never been much of a drinker.

Because I’ve never been much of a drinker, I haven’t been that drunk before. Even today, obviously, I wasn’t that drunk. Still below the legal limit. Luckily, since we live in our shitty campus apartment, I could walk home to take care of my pregnant wife. Drunk. Husband of the Year material right there.

I still jumped right in. Karli wasn’t feeling very well today, so I rubbed her back and got her water and started cooking dinner. Then I barfed in the sink—another first for me. I finished cooking dinner*, fully aware that I’m now ready for parenthood.

*After washing my face and hands, just in case you were starting to doubt my level of responsibility.

I didn’t go through my super partier phase where I was out getting bombed every other night, but now I’m absolutely certain I’m past that point for good. There’s no chance that I’m able to become that guy, either. I’m definitely ready to be Dad—calm and lame and chillin at home with the little-uns.

I’m definitely tall enough to ride this ride.

& the freak-down: bailing on the okies

The Freak-Down

52 Days

Yesterday I mentioned the Big Thing that happened this week and that I’d talk about it today. It’s probably not as big of a thing as having a kid, but it’s still pretty huge. It’ll change our lives, that’s for sure.

I got a new job teaching at a school near Kansas City, so we’ll be leaving Oklahoma behind*. We’re sticking around here for a couple more months so Karli can keep her insurance and get a paycheck, which means that we’ll be heading up and moving out by the end of the summer. After we have Squatch.

*Sorry about the sly “I’ve got a secret” crap yesterday, but I couldn’t really announce it till I told my boss. You never know what gets around on the internet.

Yes, we’ll get the joy of moving with a newborn. I honestly have no idea what to expect or how the kid’s going to be able to handle it. Here’s a list of things I do know about moving with a newborn.

This is a no-no. At least not without proper packaging

  1. Don’t pack the baby in a box.

And that about covers it. Aside from that, we’ll get to figure it out as we go along. Karli said she read that it’s actually easier (in general) to move with a newborn than a baby who’s a little bit older.  It’s also supposedly easier to build a car engine than a nuclear reactor, but I can’t really do either of those. Perspective, I guess.

Our families are thrilled because we’re bringing their grandchild back to within a short drive instead of a whole-day trip down to the mountains. Oh, and we’re coming back too, I guess.

We’re thrilled because family will be nearby, as will Target, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, and the rest of civilization.

I’m thrilled because I’ll be teaching four classes instead of seven or eight.

Squatch will be born here a few weeks before we move, which means it’ll never get the joy of remembering the shitty student apartment we lived in when it was born. It’ll also never get the chance to pick up the accent. We will, however, constantly ridicule remind Squatch that it’ll always be an Okie. No escaping your destiny, pal.

& a lesson in manhood: over-reaching

Lessons in Manhood

Lesson 6: Responsibility

Squatch, I haven’t done one of these in a while. It’s not because I’m done with the lessons, but for another reason entirely that I’m going to discuss. This definitely has a chance to fall into “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” territory.

One of the things I’ll be teaching you your whole life is responsibility. It’s one of those lessons that you’re never done teaching, and for some people, it just takes a while to sink in. So you’ll learn—from me and from others—all kinds of things about responsibility. That responsibility means a Man takes the blame for his poor actions and shares the credit for his accomplishments. That responsibility means a Man takes care of the consequences, good and bad, of his actions. That responsibility means a Man understands what is required of him in life and steps up to fulfill those obligations. That responsibility means when a Man gives his word, he follows through on that promise and doesn’t renege.

And it’s this last one that I want to talk to you about today, Squatch, because there’s an underrepresented addendum to that part which most people don’t seem to address. A Man needs to follow through on his commitments, of course, but a side note to this is that a Man also needs to understand his limitations and not take on more commitments than he can follow through with. This, sadly, is where your dad is more man than Man, Squatch.

This area has always been one area where I’ve struggled quite a bit. And you’ll probably be surprised to learn it’s because your dad has trouble saying “No” to other people. I know, it seems like that’s the only word I know how to say around you sometimes, but when other people ask me for favors, or to help out with something I know how to do, or when something enjoyable comes along, I have a hard time telling people that I can’t do it. I just add it to my list of things to do and pack my schedule tighter.

There’s a few problems with this, Squatch. First, you end up placing an unfair burden on yourself when you overcommit. You make it harder for you to prioritize your schedule and you end up feeling overwhelmed until whatever commitment you made is completed. Or until you add more commitments. Your stress level gets ratcheted up and you’re not a pleasant person to be around. Your family definitely won’t appreciate it. And, of course, when I say “you,” I mean “I.”

Second, everything you’ve committed to starts to suffer. You’re not doing anyone a service by only being able to give half your attention or half your effort to things because your focus is split in so many different directions. Nothing ends up going as well as it could, and the people you committed to help out might have been better off without you in the first place.

Third, you squeeze out all the “you” time. In saying you’ll help out this person and that person and that person with their things, you’re making it so your stuff has to take a back seat. You don’t get to spend as much time preparing for your classes or grading papers. You don’t get to update your blog. You don’t get to write. You don’t get to spend quality time with your family. That’s definitely no good for you.

A Man knows when to say “No” in order to not overcommit himself. It’s such a simple word, but it’s something your dad is working on, Squatch. That’s why he says it so much to you. It’s practice.