Monday, January 11, 2010

Pure

We interrupt this BLOG entry to apologize to anyone who has stumbled (or returned) upon this BLOG in the hopes that there would be something new to read. This BLOG is officially done. Archived, but no longer serving up fresh content. I created top of the pop type lists for anyone who wants to read (or revisit) posts that I feel are the best of each year this BLOG was open for business. Click hard for: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

If you want to see what I'm up to now visit aboynamedstu.


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Sunday. Morning. Came. Down. To. This. The 272nd post on this here BLOG. My last.

Six years have passed since I wrote that first tentative post. I was thirty six at the time. My Lovely Bride thirty three. The Elder Boy nearly two. And The Little Warrior was just two weeks old.

Life was different then. Simpler. Only I didn't realize it. You never do.

When I started this BLOG, it was intended to be a way to keep our growing family, that I had only recently dubbed Team Tinsley, connected with family and friends. A few months in, I had an a-ha moment and realized that what I was writing could serve a greater purpose. It could be saved for posterity. That my goofy ass BLOG could be a chronicle for you Boy(s), who short of some serious therapy, wouldn't be able to remember these stories. Because you were so little. I also knew that your Mom and I would forget some of it too. And like Neil Gaiman said, "You forget the things you were certain you would always remember, especially the tiny things, and all too often they're the things that matter." That quote in many ways beget this BLOG which is simply: my remember when, for then, then being the Buck Rogers future.

From the beginning I knew this BLOG would have an end date. That there would come a time when I'd stop because I didn't want to
embarrass you
in such a public forum. And probably more importantly, I don't want my stories to overwrite your memories. Memory is a funny thing. What you remember. What you forget.

Still, ending is hard, because I feel like there's so much more I want or need to say. Which is goofy. If I haven't said it by now, I probably never will. And the reality of it is that ending this BLOG is tangible proof that you both are growing up faster than I care to admit.

Blink your eyes Dear Reader.

It's 2004 and I'm sitting in front of the computer writing that first tentative post. Blink them again and I'm sitting in front of the computer, with tears in said eyes, writing this final post.

It happened so fast.

So here you have it. Sunday morning coming down to 272 entries that comprise this BLOG which is a living memoir — my attempt to document little snapshots of our lives from 2004 until 2010. It's an account of our journey, my thoughts, my lessons learned, my uncertainties. Even so, know that My Lovely Bride, your Mom, played an equal part in it all. Your Mom is the glue Boy(s). Never forget that. It's important.

The only thing to add beyond that is this.

I love you Ethan.
I love you Wyatt.
I love you Carter.

And that's it.


Pure and simple just for you.



Team Tinsley Retrospective Slide Show Action for those feeling wistful. All photos used are from 2004 until the present.

Monday, December 28, 2009

King For A Day

Finally, the final recapitulation ---- 2009 style. Click hard for the recaps of these years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

This whole omphaloskepsis exercise has been interesting. The early years were relatively easy to recap. I think because more time has passed, which lends itself to more perspective. Then we have 2009, which was hard to recap, mainly because I'm still too close to most of what I wrote, which is a bit sad, because I think in many ways, 2009 is the strongest year on this here BLOG. Cumulative. I found a rhythm. A sense of style. Which I like. Which is ironic considering I'm about to shut it all down. Actually. I'm going to continue to BLOG once I finish here. But it won't be the family friendly Team Tinsley kind of a blog (which is somewhat frightening considering how un-family friendly this here BLOG can be at times, with my bad language, and dark subject matter.) But that comes later. For now, we got one final recap to recap.

2009

Let There Be Love
January 07, 2009
You never really get over the death of a loved one, best I can tell. It's always there. That wound. Or sense of what you lost and all the things you wish you would have said, or done. The platitude that it gets easier with the passage of time, is true, but the thing they fail to tell you is that you'll trade the acute pain for a dull ache that you'll often feel at the big moments of life. And for me, often the smallest ones.

I wonder what's gonna happen to you
January 15, 2009
This is a companion piece to Let There Be Love in a lot of ways. The flip side. Where I out myself about being creeped out by the thought of a departed loved one watching over me from beyond.

I was made for lovin' you
February 27, 2009
This is one for the Team Tinsley record book. The first documented case of my bad sense of humor biting me in the ass at the hands of The Little Warrior. Truly classic.

The ruins to the right of me
March 17, 2009
A powerfully honest POST. So honest in fact, that I sort of cringe when I re-read it. There is also some serious subtext going on, since it was here that I made the decision I was going to pull the plug on this here BLOG soon.

Stand Up Comedy
April 08, 2009
Another entry that I heart, hard. It is even funnier to me now, considering My Lovely Bride and the Boy(s) have been awol from church for most of the year. Perhaps this is when it all began.

Horseshoes and Handgrenades
May 27, 2009
Sweet Mother of all that is good. A crazy ass wheels off post that involves Me, The Elder Boy, two seed ticks, and a pocket knife in a campground shitter in Oklahoma. Another classic.

Mirror in the Bathroom
June 20, 2009
Another post where I out myself re: my fathering skills and how I innocently messed the Boy(s) up (one of them shit in the hallway they were so afraid to go into the bathroom!) by telling them how Bloody Mary worked.

Yakety Yak
August 13, 2009
Funny post about cleaning out the Elder Boy's room. Does a good job of capturing (for posterity) our personalities and household dynamics circa 2009.

42
August 27, 2009
The best example ever, of how bad I suck in real time. Some heavy shit in this post as I realize some startling truths. One, from September 12, 2009 is a half ass epilogue to 42.

The Emperor's New Clothes
September 02, 2009
A funny yet simple, day in the life kind of entry that chronicles Wy's curious tendencies in regard to clothing, and his hate for hard pants (a.k.a jeans.)

Until I BLOG again...So listen...

Monday, December 21, 2009

And the train conductor says

To recap the recaps: 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

2008

I'm in the sky tonight
January 18, 2008
A historical (from a family point of view) entry that brings up the question of what those that remain behind should do with the remains of thier loved ones.

Barracuda
March 15, 2008
Another favorite of this here BLOG that I forgot even existed (that's what happens when you have 269 entries.) Brings back all the issues E had with kindergarten, as well me realizing that even though I want to be Crush the Turtle (from Finding Nemo.) I'm Marlin. It wasn't my intent at the time, but this post ended up being the first entry in what I'll dub my 'Sea Triology.' Swallowed in the Sea - May 13 is part 2. Such Great Heights - June 17 is the epilogue. Sadly, Molly the Dog who played a small part in these stories was put to sleep in late November 2009.

Story of my Life
May 01, 2008
Necessity is the mother of all invention, or so it seems with this Mr. Mom meets MacGyver smash-up where i fashion a band-aid out of a maxi-pad for the Younger Boy.

Boulder to Birmingham
June 21, 2008
Often for me, an entire entry will spring forth from a random sentence that comes to mind when I'm thinking about something that has happened recently. This entry came from this: Grief is funny. And apparently has no statue of limitations. Which is true. So true.

Roll with the changes
September 17, 2008
A simple story of how quickly kids grow up, and the beauty of this here BLOG in capturing those little moments.

20th Century Boy(s)
October 08, 2008
Mr. Mom + Tushka, Oklahoma mingo store + Rubber Machines + Diarrhea = 20th Century Boy(s).

I'm not running anymore - Part 1 and Part 2
October 27, 2008 & November 7, 2008
Another wheels off Mr. Mom adventure where we ask the question: Can you lose a lost dog?

I can't change the world
November 17, 2008
Brotherly love story that warms my heart more than a year later. It does a great job of capturing the Boy(s) complicated (or are all brothers like this? As an only child it is all voodoo to me) relationship.

Money Changes Everything
December 16, 2008
I like the comment this entry got so I'll sum it up with it: "The tooth fairy is feelin' the recession? OMg that is so funny! (you know you might be going to hell, right?)"

Until I BLOG again..."Take a break drive 8, driver 8 take a break, we've been on this shift too long."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lost in the Milky Way

Sweet mother of all that is good, there is nothing more fascinating to me as a breeder, than the difference in the Boy(s) personalities. And the way certain personality traits mirror My Lovely Bride or my own.

Take the Younger Boy. He's a chopped down version of me. Both in appearance and personality. But the thing is Dear Reader, when I was his age, I was more like the Elder Boy. Quiet. Sensitive. Bashful. I'd rather blend into a crowd or be a wall flower than be the center of attention.

For reasons I'm not exactly sure of, that changed in the 5th or 6th grade. I got over the bashful thing and became much the way I am today (which is very much like Wyatt.) Mind you I didn't really change in the way I thought about stuff. What I found funny. Or how I felt about things. All that remained the same. The difference was how I acted to the greater world about it all.

My Dad often talks about the fact that his twin was very gregarious and ornery as a kid, while he was shy and quiet. At some point their roles reversed. Much the way my personality shifted. Which is my heavy-handed set-up for this BLOG entry about my first storytime with Wyatt's kindergarten class.

One of my favorite posts on this here BLOG (It made my 2007 recap) is the story of reading to Ethan's kindergarten class. If you have the time and inclination, read it, as it illustrates better than I could ever describe, how different these Tinsley Boy(s) truly are.

Before we get started I got to make one more point, to give you context.

I'm Mr. Mom a lot these days. My Lovely Bride, back to working full-time, at the very school were storytime goes down, cannot read to Wyatt's class this year. This was not the case for Ethan's kindergarten and 1st grade year. Both My Lovely Bride and myself read often. Not Wy. He doesn't have that luxury. He only gets me. And he had to wait until December to get me because of a mix-up in my schedule and storytime back in October. This upset the Boy. For the past month or more, he'd ask when I was going to read to his class. After I'd tell him, he'd tell me how some kids had already had four parents read to the class. I would then tell him that those were children of divorce and although it might sound good, divorce sucks, the same way it sucked that I hadn't got the chance to read to his class yet. But soon.

Soon happened on Thursday, December 3, 2009 which found me in the library talking to the librarian when Wy's class filed into the room.

As soon as Wy saw me, he beamed. So excited. Priceless.

The librarian stopped the class and asked Wy to come to the front of the line. Then she took me and him to the chair at the front of the area, while the rest of his class came in and sat on the floor in front of us.

"Class let's welcome Mr. Tinsley back to storytime." The librarian said.

"Mrs. Nowacki," I said to the librarian. "This is my first time with Wyatt's class. I've done storytime this year, but it was for Ethan's class."

"Oh," she said. "Well Wyatt, can you introduce your Dad then?"

"Yes." Wyatt said, and then he walked around in front of me, in front of his class, like a mini-emcee and shouted, "This is Mr. Tinsley! My Dad!!!"

On cue his class shouted back, "Hi Mr. Tinsley!!!"

I couldn't help but laugh, not only at the class' in unison shouted greeting but because in all the times Ethan has introduced me at storytime, he hid behind me when he introduced me. In fact, you could barely hear his mumbled intro which he would say and then promptly go and sit down with his class. Usually in the back row. As far from me as possible.

Not Wyatt.

After his introduction, he spun around and grabbed the books from my hand, climbed upon my lap, got settled, and then said, "Let's go, Dad."

"Ok, then." I said to Wyatt when I noticed a little girl in the second row had her hand raised.

"Yes." I said.

"Are you Wyatt's special dad?"

"Special?" I said confused at what she meant.

Wyatt wasted no time in answering her, "No!" he shouted in that loud, husky voice of his, "He's Captain Inappropriate. It's awesome."

Then he laughed. Actually cackled, at his own bad joke which made the class bust out in laughter.

It was while the librarian was trying to get the wheels back on, and the kids quiet that I figured out what the girl meant by special.

"You mean his Grandpa?" I asked her.

The little girl, looking sheepish, nodded her head, and then said, "Yes."

"Really," I said incredulously, "I look that old?"

"YEAH!!!!" screamed the entire class.

Fuck me, thankfully I thought.

"My Grandpa is dead." Wyatt said.

Sweet mother of all that is good, Wy turned uncomfortable up to 11 with that statement.

You could feel the tension rolling off the librarian and teachers in the back of the room.

"That's not true." I said to Wyatt.

"Oh yeah," Wyatt said.

I could see the adults in back relax, until Wy shouted, again in that husky over loud voice of his, "My Granny is dead!"

"That is true." I said to the class. "Wyatt's Granny is dead."

"She was his Mom." Wyatt told the class.

"That's true." I told the class. "She was my Mom."

You got to love kids. While the adults in back were stressing, the kids sat there watching the Captain Inappropriate and his trusty sidekick, The Little Warrior show, unfazed.

"Ok." I said finally. "Let's get started. But first I have to ask you all something. Something important."

They all looked at me. Intently.

"Really?!? I look like his Grandpa?"

They all nodded their heads, slowly, and said, "Yes."

"Awesome!"

Until I BLOG again...For the Life of Riley.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mad World

"I wrote a story." The Elder Boy said, apropos of nothing, as he was getting ready for school a week or so in the rearview.

"Really? What about?" I asked.

Nothing. Just an ornery smile.

"What about?" I asked again. With his shit-eating grin I knew there had to be more to the story about his story.

"About Rudolph." He said. "We had to draw a Christmas picture and then write a story to go with it."

Then he laughed.

"Is there something about your story that is funny?" I asked.

"Yeah..."

"What?"

"Well, you know the story of Rudolph, right?"

Fuck me. Patronized by a 7 year old.

"Yes." I answered. "I know the story of Rudolph."

"Well you know how the other reindeer are mean to Rudolph...well in my story Rudolph goes into Santa's shop in the middle of the night and makes a gun and then..." He paused for dramatic effect. "...and kills the other reindeer."

"Excuse me?!?" I said.

"Because they make fun of him he sneaks into Santa's workshop..."

"I get it Boy. Rudolph goes postal." I said cutting him off.

"Postal?" He asked.

I cut him off again and said, "You didn't turn it in yet, did you?"

"No." He said with a puzzled look on his face.

"Thank God."

"Why?" He asked, confused.

"Dude, they'll think something is wrong with you if you turn that in...it would freak people out, bad."

"Really?"

"Really." I said. "They'll think you're crazy."

"It's just a story." He said defensively. "The other reindeer are mean to Rudolph..."

He started to explain the story again but I wasn't really listening at that point. I was busy wondering what I should do. I know my Boy. I know he's not crazy. Or at least not that kind of crazy. That he thinks too hard and has a dark sense of humor, which he more than likely gets from my demented ass.

After he was done explaining his story and drawing to me I said, "I get it son. I do. You have what they call a dark sense of humor. You get it from me. The more disturbing something is, the funnier I find it. But the thing is, in our world today, you can't do stuff like that."

"Why?" He asked.

How do you explain political correctness to a 2nd grader? And the horrible things he's never heard of that cause a certain amount of it, like the Columbine High School massacre? If I told him about that he'd never want to back to school, he'd worry so much.

"Why...it's just a story?" He said again looking for an answer.

"Son. I understand. I get it. But most people won't."

"Why?"

"Why." I said.

My go to move. Ever the dipshit. Answer a question with a question to buy time.

"Ok." I finally said. "I'm going to try and explain it to you but you need to let me get all my words out before you start asking me questions. OK?"

"Ok."

"I get that you are a sweet kid who has a dark sense of humor. I know you would never hurt anyone. You are tender hearted. Very tender hearted. You don't mean anything by the story. Well actually you do. You get the fact that the Rudolph story is sort of messed up...that the other reindeer basically drive him from his home and family because he's different. Which is disturbing. Rudolph should be pissed."

"Yeah," Ethan said. "He goes and lives with that elf and all those toys..."

"Yes," I said cutting him off. "I appreciate the fact that you look at the Rudolph story and see it for what it really is, a messed up story. I mean seriously, the other reindeer drive him away because he's different. And they only accept him when the thing they made fun of him about can help them get their job done. That's messed up. But the thing is Boy...most people don't look that deeply. They don't really think about it. Not like that. Not like you."

"Like that song about the muslins?" He said.

Fuck me. It's like I'm talking to a 7 year old version of me.

We have to back up a few days for the song about the muslims. It was a typical Mr. Mom on our way to school morn when Do They Know It's Christmas came on the radio.

"Dad." Ethan said.

"Yeah?"

"Why don't they know it's Christmas?" He asked.

"Probably because they are muslims." I said. "They lived in Ethiopia which is in Africa and many people over there are Islamic which is the same as muslims. They don't celebrate Christmas because they aren't Christians."

"Why." He asked seriously.

Not wanting to get into a full on comparative religion study on the extremely short drive to school I said, "I'll explain that later. Listen to the words of the song instead. Its a pretty song with nice voices and all, but listen to what they are saying..the words, 'There's a world outside your window, and it's a world of dread and fear, where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears, and the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom, well tonight thank God it's them instead of you.' Pretty messed up, huh?"

"Yeah." He said. "Why?"

"Most people don't listen to it that closely." I said. "They just hear the melody and the basic message and know it's about Christmas so they don't really think about it."

"No. I meant why are they sad and it doom?" He asked.

"That song is from when I was in high school. Olden times. The 1980s. There was a famine, which means they didn't have any food, and water was hard to find in Ethiopia, which is in Africa. All these English guys formed this band and did this song and the money went to try and help the people in Ethiopia. Which is a good thing."

Fast forward to what was then, now, and I said, "Yeah, like that song about the muslims. It's the same with the story of Rudolph. Most people don't think about it that hard. At least not as hard as you."

"Why?"

"Just the way people are, Boy. Everyone is different. What makes the world go around. But the thing is if you turn your story in, more than likely you'll end up in the counselor's office having to talk about why you drew it. They might think you see yourself as Rudolph in the story. That you are going to do something violent. Or you are being picked on at school."

"Really?" He asked, completely shocked.

"Yeah. And you'd hate that wouldn't you?" I asked. "The last thing you want to do is to have to go and talk to them about a picture you drew cause you thought it was a funny twist in the Rudolph story. Violent. Yes. And bad. But funny. I'd laugh if you turned it into me, and knew you didn't really mean it. That your over-the-top violence was to draw attention to how messed up the story is..."

"What?" He asked, confused.

"That's just a fancy way of saying that you have Rudolph doing something extreme because you are commenting on, or wanting people to see certain things about the story that they might not have thought about."

"Huh?" He asked, again confused.

"You are a lot like me Boy, we think alike, and that's what I think you are doing, I'm just putting it in grown-up words," I explained. "But I think it's what is going on with your drawing and story."

At least I hope so. I thought.

"I don't think your teacher would feel the same way." I added. "Probably freak her out, bad."

"Yeah." He said.

"I have a way I think you can fix it though, if you want?"

"How?"

"Just change the gun to something not so violent. Or something that is silly violent, like they do in cartoons." I said. "I imagine reindeer would be proud of their antlers. Maybe Rudolph sneaks into the shop and gets a saw and cuts their antlers down short so they look funny. They'd all have antler envy."

"Yeah." He said laughing.

"Or he gets some paint from Santa's shop and paints the antlers funny colors so they look silly. Maybe pink. Since they are boy reindeer."

"That would be funny." He laughed.

"Or you can leave it the way you have it, I don't want to censor you, which means stop you from doing something creative, but as your Dad, I have to warn you, if you turn that in, I think it's going to have consequences you won't like. You'll get attention from it you don't want. And you'll hate that. I know you."

"But I already drew the picture." He said.

"I'm sure you can make the gun into a saw easily enough." I offered.

"Or I could start over." He said.

"Yeah. You could start over. If you want to start over. It's ultimately up to you Boy."

We were both quiet for awhile after that. I had expended more words in this one conversation than I'd probably said in the past week. Plus I couldn't help but wonder if I had handled the situation correctly.

Should I have said nothing and let him hand it in and face the consequences? To see the reaction. Maybe I was overreacting? All young boys, to some degree, go through a violent death fixated sort of stage. The again, maybe I wasn't reacting enough and should be worried about the Boy?

In the end Dear Reader, I simply don't know. I did what I thought was correct. And I hope, even pray, that time proves me right.

A day later while watching Santa Claus is Comin' to Town I asked the Boy what he ended up doing. I figured he'd censored himself to some degree since I hadn't been summoned to school for a parent teacher conference. But I wasn't sure what he actually did so I asked, "What did you end up doing. About Rudolph?"

"I did the saw." He said which sort of made me feel bad if I'm honest. I hate censoring anyone, especially my child.

"Where's Rudolph." He asked watching the part in Santa Claus is Comin' to Town when it explains why reindeer can fly.

"Keep watching." I said.

And sure enough a few moments later the show answered for me.

"Oh," he said. "Dad?"

"Yeah."

"I had another idea for a story. If I didn't do Rudolph. You know the elf guy in Rudolph? Who is different too."

"I think his name is Hermey." I said. "He wants to be a dentist instead of make toys."

"Yeah. Well I was going to have him break into Santa's shop in the middle of the night, get a tool and..."

"Dude." I said interrupting him.

"...pull out all the elves teeth."

"Nice." I said. "You and your Yuletide revenge stories."

"Yuletide?" He asked.

"That means Christmas." I answered. "But seriously Ethan. Should I be worried about you?"

"Dad." He said smiling that ornery smile.

"It's just a story."

Until I BLOG again...And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad.