Bun in the oven likely getting crispy

Hello. If you’re reading this, my wife is still with child despite passing the “due date”.

Why is there a due date? Why can’t we just say due range or something like that? 40 weeks have come and gone and overall they have gone really well. For all the horror stories you hear about pregnancy, either Emily has been very lucky or she is not much of a complainer, comparatively. I’d say it’s both.

But now going over 40 weeks, experiencing August heat, having gestational carpal tunnel (apparently a thing) for months, etc. we are ready to have this tiny man.

They gave us an induction date in case we do not have Luke sooner than later. That means, we are at least operating under a known window at this point. After craving labor pains and the birth, it is now actually a little spooky to have a looming date somehow. Life is funny.

Our son appears to be a bit of a procrastinator, so I have reason to believe that he has more in common with me than his Mother to this point. Poor fellow.

Just the two of us is coming to an end

We are well aware of the joys of parenting and how we won’t understand how we could have been so happy before Luke was born. That said, savoring our last days as just a couple has been a really nice way of feeling okay about how long these last few weeks have been.

Being a couple since we were 15, we have already spent nearly 12 years together, five of them married. Being together for so many formative years as such a strong couple has been an incredible experience. We have grown alike in many ways, yet stayed true to ourselves and enjoyed each other through hundreds of incredible experiences.

Soon, we’ll get to share thousands more with our self-inflicted third wheel. That sounds pretty nice too.

We are excited to share him with family and friends as well as have him all to ourselves. He still could have had the decency to show up on time. Not very thoughtful, son. We will do our best to love him anyway.

For shorter, more accessible thoughts of mine, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @WilHarrington

Update: My birthday is Sunday, which could easily have been overlooked in all this. My wife just gave me some early presents and filled me in on plans for Buffalo Wild Wings, cake, yards games, and more presents. Whether or not we squeeze all of these things in over the next few days, this lady is nuts. I have no excuse for not providing the ultimate birthdays for her in the future – GREAT.

Not prepared, but practiced

Less than four weeks until I will be a full-on, real life Dad. Am I prepared? YOU KNOW I’M NOT. But, I do have some practice.

As I’ve been told, not much can fully prepare you for parenthood. Poo poo explosions, various forms of destruction, and overwhelming feelings of love all lie in wait. I may have never dealt with a feces catastrophe, but I have experienced a degree of overwhelming love.

Marrying my wife has come with some great benefits #wifewithbenefits

Her two sisters have raised three incredible little girls. They are seven, four, and one-and-a-halfish. There for a while, I (and many others) thought that this branch of the family was only capable of producing girls. It appears that I have finally injected the appropriate amount of testosterone to go against the grain. Anyone who knows me could probably have guessed that… right?

Anyway, these nieces of mine have brought a ridiculous amount of joy to my life. Technically I was still just dating my wife when the first was born, but I’ve still been lucky enough to be “Uncle Wil” for their whole lives. The middle niece kind of attended our wedding, though she was still in her Mom’s belly.

I was hesitant to hold the first when she was born since I’d never been around babies. I held the middle one immediately. The first time I saw the youngest, I tossed her up on my shoulder and burped her on the spot – all the doctors clapped.

They all have distinct personalities, ways of displaying affection, and other delightfully unique qualities. Watching them grow up and be raised so magnificently has been an excellent window into parenthood for me into life’s highest points, challenges, and hilarious moments.

As you may know, I haven’t known how to ride a bike for very long. We went camping recently and had some bikes for a few terrifying laps around the campground.

I was begged to go on a few rides, so I obliged even though I didn’t have the bike I was used to. I used my sister-in-law’s instead even though she may or may not be taller than me (I make up for my height with the aforementioned ample testosterone).

Long story short, I was on a foreign bike stopped in the road with a vehicle behind us closing in at 5 mph about 200 yards away. As I tried to scootch to the side, I stumbled and did a full roll backwards on the pavement. What did my niece/riding partner do? Help me up? Offer Band-Aids or refreshments?

She rode away laughing to tell everyone.

Riding gingerly back, I couldn’t stop smiling. Kids are the best people to share life with. Sometimes they ride their bikes a little too fast or slow, laugh at you, get laughed at, cry in sadness or joy, and everything in between. Every experience that I’ve had with each of my nieces has been positive no-matter what.

My own son will be a 24/7 gig, so every feeling will be amplified. I am excited for that. The highs, lows, and everything else will be an amazing experience that I can’t wait to share with him.

First (unofficial) Father’s Day

Does your kid have to actually be born before you can celebrate Father’s Day? Oh my, no.

I’ll celebrate anything, really. A good quinceanera, your kid getting a 1 on his trombone solo, Friday, Father’s Day despite my son still incubating for a while… I’m there.

I got a few gifts, including a sweet new dad hat this Father’s Day. I also got a kind card signed with two names that filled my heart to the brim (though at the brim, nothing spilled over -don’t worry). Getting something from my wife and son (kinda) already made for a fond memory of my first Father’s Day.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I am very pumped about being a daddy-o. I am confident in my ability to only screw up a few times a day.

A good dad, like mine was/is, seems pretty perfect most of the time. Growing up, they are one of the strongest, smartest, and fun people that you experience. Despite the probable, daily screw-ups, Dad’s don’t have to try hard to stay golden in a kid’s eyes.

Father’s Day serves as little more than a reminder to give a shout-out to your pops. Much more necessary than many may think. Not everyone has had a great dad or even a dad at all. Those of us that have a good one, need to take this time (and other times) to thank them profusely.

My Dad was also my coach, protector, and friend. I am supremely thankful for him. If I can be half the dad that mine was for me, then my son is in an enviable position.

Dads (or whoever fills that role for you) are special people, certainly deserving of their own day. I look forward to joining their ranks.

 

 

Terrors of Fatherhood

Am I terrified of becoming a Father? No. Do I occasionally have irrational fears brought on by the concept of raising another human? I guess so, yah.

Okay, those things sound pretty darn similar. But, I am not afraid of becoming a father. I embrace the challenge of raising not just a baby/kid, but a young man. I am confident in my ability to teach him right from wrong, how to conduct himself, and how to be an effective member of society.

It is the ability to keep him alive and fully funded that spooks me. It is the cost of college, the watchful eye, and the ability to fulfill his every need that I am a touch nervous about.

The thing that I am the most confident about in my life is my marriage. I have the utmost confidence in the example my wife will set, as well as the example we’ll both set as a happy and loving couple.

Just a couple hours ago we had dinner. We shared a pizza, though she had a salad and a water besides, while I had a Blue Moon or two. We were enjoying each other’s company so much that we walked a block down to a pub where I had a couple or three more drinks while she had an O.J. She can hang in the weirdest situations and has been a great sport through this – above and beyond, really… and I could not be more grateful.

Anyway, back to the kiddo

There have been a few unexpected side effects of this pregnancy on me. I had a nightmare about the world ending, which may or may not have been related.

I was working for a company in a high-rise office building. My coworkers are made up of mostly strangers, but also a few high school classmates. Classic dream. There had been talk on the news about a cataclysmic event, but no-one believed it.

Sure enough, we all gathered around the window, and the world was ending. Water was rising and I saw some unusual stuff, even for a dream. The Sydney Opera House appeared in the distance, then the Eiffel Tower. The Roman Colosseum popped in as well as a a few other historic landmarks as the water rose.

As the final wave crept over the sky-scraping office building, I remember thinking “It’s too bad I couldn’t be with Emily in these final moments.”

It turns out world-ending dreams aren’t uncommon for expecting parents, or so the internet says.

This strikes me as a little hilarious, but also a little meaningful, as one chapter of life quickly closes and another begins.

I am excited and prepared for our son in many ways. I am also anxious and apprehensive about the unknown. Weird times that many of you have been through and the rest of you will likely experience for yourselves.

Nervous as I am, I am excited. Weird-ass, smart-ass, however he turns out (likely ass-related I would wager) this will be the best part of my life and I appreciate you being along for the ride.

Dad behavior: We have news!

Things are really changing in my life so I thought the blog needed a bit of an update.

If you didn’t already know (or are bad with clues), Emily and I are expecting a baby on August 2nd! We are already about halfway through the pregnancy. We were anxious to find out the gender, so we shelled out for an early ultrasound at an independent facility at around 15 weeks. Once we knew that was an option, we could not help ourselves!

It’s a boy! We would of course be happy either way, but a little fella is a new and exciting experience for our family. Emily has two sisters that have blessed us with three nieces. We were starting to think that her side just didn’t do dudes (say that three times fast). Somehow, we apparently found a way!

Celebrating in different, but equally blue ways.

Our news came on the heels of other big family happenings. With my sister’s recent engagement that we are all very pleased about, it has been a hilariously emotional time for my Mother. When we first told my parents, I took advantage of the situation as often as possible – entering rooms and announcing “Daddy’s here!” to make her burst into tears. Maybe that’s terrible, but what are sons for?

Wait… karma is going to be intense isn’t it?

New name, largely similar blog content

For the most part, this blog will be used for the same stuff. Sports, video games, strange adventures; these are fatherly things, yeah? Of course now there will also be Dad/parent-specific stuff as well. I’M GOING TO BE A DAD. Sorry, I’ve been blurting that a lot lately.

You remember my first time riding a bike? Well I’ve yet to have my first time changing a diaper too, so… yeah. Look forward to that.

The dork in this picture somehow got this girl to stick around long enough to become parents together at 26. Babies havin’ babies.

Emily and I are wildly excited, terrified, and antsy to have this little guy. It is going to be an experience unlike any other, but our lives have been building to this point for a long time and we are ready. Probably. Maybe.

I have already been privately noting some of my thoughts, fears, and excitement, so there will be some interesting Dad behavior posted here soon enough. As usual, thanks for coming along for the ride. Wish us luck!

Uber Adventures

Image from Phys.org

I teased you a while back saying that I had some good Uber experiences to share with you. I apologize for keeping you waiting.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am not the most driven of drivers (just assume that all of my puns are intended). I only give a few rides a month, usually on my lunch break when I don’t have anything else to do. Somehow, I still manage to have some very interesting individuals each time.

Perhaps if I drove more often, I would become numb to the weirdness. Maybe that’s reason enough to do it sparingly – the weirdness provides solid writing material.

We have had Uber in Springfield for over a year now, but many people are still new to the ride-hailing app. I’ve had a few first-time users and they always ask: “Should we tip you?” The answer I give is very humble and polite, but of course my preferred answer would be “40% is pretty standard” or something
like that.

Usually I am honest and tell them it is optional, but tips are not included in the base fare. Tipping is rare, but always appreciated.

Driving ladies in my Charger since the mid/late 2000’s

One ride that caught me off guard happened pretty early in my driving tenure. I picked up a young woman visiting from Florida at a sushi restaurant and she sat in the front seat. Usually the only individuals that go for the front seat or solo male riders, but that isn’t what caught me off guard.

“Can I use dat auxiliary cord?” I obliged and gave her full control of music duties. We bumped to some pretty heavy rap the whole way to her destination. Not the weirdest ride I suppose, but it was certainly unexpected.

It wasn’t nearly as stressful as driving a very pregnant lady to her job. Again, not the strangest ride, but I went through so many scenarios in my head that involved me delivering a baby in my backseat. Such are the fears of the Uber driver.

I realized another fear of an Uber driver when the app took me to wrong destination during another ride. I had picked up a couple of gentlemen at the mall, once they figured out how exit the building. One was Polish and the other was British – they were in town for a conference.

The app does not do a great job of telling you your destination, but I eventually deduced that we were headed for the airport. We talked on the way about European weather, currency differences, global communication for business, and the like. I was enjoying the conversation and just blindly following the route, even though I know how to get to the airport…

It took us to a locked gate at the very back of the airfield. It required a 10 minute detour to get back around the whole thing. Luckily they didn’t seem to be late, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a tad embarrassing. I stopped charging them of course once I realized the mistake. They still gave me the most
generous tip I’ve ever received. Long live the Queen.

Foreign individuals make up a decent demographic of the daytime riders. I took a fellow Uber driver from Chile to get a haircut. He thought I spoke Chilean because I said “gotcha”. Apparently “cotcha” essentially means “cool” in Chilean. I’m more worldly than I realized.

There is certainly local flavor as well, from known radio hosts to a pair of Springfield Cardinals headed for the pool, after Brown Derby of course. Only one spoke English. I assume they both made it to the big leagues since then.

I have a couple of my most interesting trips still in my back pocket. They are long, so they will likely require their own blog post each. Stay tuned, people. Check out some of the stuff below to see what I’ve been up to and why my posts have been more sporadic recently. I’m going to try and ramp it back up, so thanks for checking in and I hope you’ll be back!

Quick blog update!

Wil, you seem to have really slowed down on you blog content. Are you giving up on your dreams? Fading into obscurity?

I appreciate your concern, dedicated fan. Fear not! I have certainly not given up on my dreams and am still making efforts to remain as far from obscurity as possible. Many of these efforts are just not seen here on my personal blog.

As I have mentioned previously, I have become a contributor for Thunderous Intentions and Grown Gaming. Since I was already only writing a few posts a week, a lot of my posts are now going through those avenues.

One of the primary goals of this blog is for me to establish varied writing samples. I am interested in both sports and entertainment writing, so it makes sense for me to put a lot of that style of content on the more trafficked and professional web pages. I appreciate you noticing me, but I would like for others to notice me as well!

I have been learning a lot about formatting and search engine optimization. I’m not necessarily going to make all of these posts super SEO friendly, because I still just want for this to be a place where I can jot down thoughts and write what I want and how I want.

There will still be a flow of content here, but for anything video game or Thunder related, you know where to go. I love you.

So This is Christmas

Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so they say. By “they” I am mostly referring to my wife. We all know someone who takes holiday cheer very seriously. You may even be that person. I’m not here to knock that. In fact, I think that those are the people that make the Christmas season as great as it is.

December almost entirely revolves around Christmas (sorry, winter birthday folks). For many, this is the busiest time of the year. Work year-ends are needing to be closed out, everyone’s kid has a dreaded Christmas special at church or school (even though they usually wind up being adorable/hilarious), and you have to buy presents for what feels like everyone you know on a first-name basis. Though all that makes the season stressful, it is also a time for people to be thankful, generous, and cheerful. Those are good things. I like those things.

If you are like me, you accumulate presents for friends and family slowly. My wife and I do most shopping simultaneously, but the gifts I get for her or any others I’m responsible for, I buy one at a time for about a month leading up to Christmas. Some buy their Christmas gifts at Walgreens late on Christmas Eve. I have a coworker that I am fairly sure was done shopping by Halloween. The holidays aren’t all about the presents, but giving and getting makes for a pretty good time. Let’s not pretend the presents aren’t one of the most fun parts of Christmas.


I talk a big game about there being no Christmas trees in our house prior to Thanksgiving. I do have to be honest though that every year, our house really does look its best when we have our Christmas stuff up in all its glory. Well played, wife. The fake tree is nice and easy, but real trees are one of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid.

Like a lot of memories, I appreciate cutting down a tree with my Dad more now than I did at the time. Freezing my toes and taking turns dragging a tree across the field wasn’t the first thing I looked forward to at Christmas. However, bundling up and marching towards the woods with my Dad, our dog Oliver happily bounding ahead, and maybe even a cat or two joining us on our journey was a pretty darn good time. Pops did most of the cutting since all we had was a rusty handsaw. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but it was a joyous occasion that brought a sense of accomplishment when we hoisted up the tree in the house.

Uncle Shae (always in shorts), me (not helping), and Dad (head in a tree)

Having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house and Christmas morning at my parents is a tradition that has never left my life. My wife’s family has been very accommodating in having Christmas brunch/lunch and allowing this ritual to continue. Even though I touted the fun of the presents, it really is family and loved ones that make this a special time of year.

I want to thank all of the Christmas fanatics out there for making this season go. The rest of us may roll our eyes at the Christmas music, tree decorating, and silly traditions, but we need all of that in our lives. The magic doesn’t have to stop when you aren’t a kid anymore. Use the opportunities that Christmas provides to let your family and friends know you love and appreciate them. Long live all of the goofy traditions and may all your Christmases be merry and illuminated! Or something.

Hunting Season

I was hoping to have a really cool picture to post with this of me proudly holding a buck three times my size, but alas, the above picture is from last year. That was my first deer, though I have been hunting for four years or so. Deer season is still in full swing, though opening weekend came and went without me pulling the trigger. I may not be done yet – I’ll have time to go out again during the coming weekend, but opening weekend certainly seems like the ideal time to drop a deer. Even so, good times were had and I am already looking forward to next year – in the stand or otherwise.

Like I’ve done the last several years, I took a half-day of work last Friday to gather my things and make sure I was stocked up on everything for deer camp. My wife had been preparing for a week long work trip, so I was trying to take the planning and inventory into my own hands. Despite my misplaced confidence, I did a predictably terrible job. I married a planner, something that I did not do by mistake. On my own, I forgot a pillow and blanket, boots, ibuprofen (a morning necessity), long underwear top, orange hat, and Hot Hands hand warmers. I did manage to bring women’s gloves, beer, snacks, and almost enough warm clothes. I even stopped to get someone else’ forgotten boots. I am an imbecile. I borrowed some goods from my father in law and my busy wife even made a special trip down with stuff before she left. They were both very impressed with my beer-remembering skills.

I hunt with the fellas on my wife’s side of the family. We have a “cabin” planted on some farm land owned by her brother-in-law. Despite it’s shed-like appearance, we’ve whipped it into shape over the last few years with a wood-burning stove, bunks, an outhouse, and now a porch. It is a lovely little place where the Busch Light flows like a river and signal is just good enough to get the occasional text from my wife reminding me about the highlights of basic gun safety. Each night we heat up deer chili or something similar, throw back some brews, and play cards. This year was only my second time playing poker, so I was very happy to have only lost $15 on the weekend. I’m sure I would have won if I wore sunglasses like the pros on TV. Even if I had thought of that, I probably would’ve forgotten the shades at home anyway.

Perfect for six grown men (pre-porch)

We all stay in the cabin at night and then fan out early in the morning. Some stay in tree stands right around the cabin while others have to do a little traveling. I had to drive about 20 minutes to my stand set up out behind my grandpa’s house. I was pretty pumped to get to hunt on my family’s land this year. As I mentioned earlier, opening morning seems like the perfect time to shoot a deer. There is a sense of excitement and adrenaline, though I haven’t had any luck on that morning so far. Plus, I was underdressed and had a self-induced headache this year, so it seemed a little less magical. I went out a few more times over the weekend, seeing an undersized six-point buck, 17 doe, two owls, and some field mice. I had a good shot on the buck, but was more interested in an impressive rack than just more meat for the freezer.


Hunting is fun. Being outdoors and having to stay alert with your head on a swivel for something to shoot is a pretty awesome departure from daily routines. If you shoot something though, you have to cut it’s guts out, which isn’t my favorite thing. What is my favorite thing is the comradery, cards, and memories made with good people. I’m not going to trade in my Xbox for a new tree stand any time soon, but no matter what happens this weekend I’ll be out there again next year and the one after that.

Halloween

Halloween is weird as heck. People around the country decorate their houses with spiders, skeletons, and zombies in an attempt to lure masked children to their front door so they can shower them in unhealthy treats. It’s great. America is great.

The origins of Halloween are traced back to Celtics from what is now Ireland celebrating their new year (Nov. 1st). They thought ghosts and such came out to haunt on that day, but they would calm the spirits with treats. It’s common knowledge that ghosts just stopped existing all together in the 1930’s once they all moved into candy factories, gorged themselves, and exploded into candied bits. That’s where M&Ms came from. Look it up. We continue to celebrate regardless.

Halloween has evolved over the years and means different things to different people. Like with most holidays, folks have various traditions. Some go out seeking treats, some stay in and dole them out, some ignore it all together, some use it as an excuse to dress as crazy or as scantily as possible. Like I said, it’s weird. I’ve done many of the above (aside from dressing scantily, but I’m still young – there’s time) and I can’t say definitively what my preference would be. Doing nothing is a little sad, so that’s ruled out.

As a kid, I loved Halloween. Getting to pick out a costume and go out seeking candy is an obvious blast for kids. The first costume I can remember wearing was a trash bag that looked like a pumpkin, filled with balled-up newspaper. I’m not sure the bag was intended to be a costume, but it wound up adorable anyway. Not surprisingly I was also a 3 ½ foot tall Darth Vader. Twice. Once I was the Riddler from Batman because I was obsessed with Jim Carrey. I went once as a mad scientist with one of those strange glasses/nose/mustache combos and an Einstein wig. I mastered a slow head turn that actually made it pretty darn scary. I went as death (aluminum foil scythe and all) and likely would have terrified every poor old person in the nursing home if I was taller than 4 feet or so.

In college I always went to a Halloween pub-crawl dressed in either a couple’s costume with my girlfriend/fiance/wife (college was eventful for us) or with a larger group in costume. It made for some fantastic people-watching, but it isn’t always ideal to go to the same packed bars as hundreds of other thirsty college students. I’ve also spent a couple of Halloweens at my sister-in-law’s house, handing out candy to kids and the occasional too-big-for-Halloween weirdy, though my nieces do most of the handing-out work. My wife and her family are also big pumpkin carvers – a tradition that’s beginning to bleed over into my family as well.

However you spend your October 31st, whether it’s carving a poorly done face into a gourd, escorting your kids around in their expensive (or homemade/likely too time consuming) costumes, or staying in quietly watching spooky movies, it’s going to be a pretty good time. I’m considering going as Darth Vader for a third (or fourth?) time, but I’ll likely just dish out some goodies and have a pumpkin ale. I’ll have carved at least two pumpkins and will have a few too many pieces of my own candy. It’s tough to go wrong with Halloween.