Showing posts with label Kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kids. Show all posts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Figuring it out

Look at that enormous Sloat head. 
I'm typing this from the doctor's office. We're here for a checkup on Isaac, making sure he's growing like he should and hoping he won't be covering his face for the next ultrasound. 

I'm about to be brutally honest with you, and I hope you can forgive me for it. 

I don't want four kids. 

Up until this morning, I have been dreading Isaac's arrival, I've been worrying about my money, my time, and the fact that I've got three adopted children who might grow up holding a grudge against our sole biological child. 

Akeeli, Aven, and Drake, if you're reading this, I need you to know I never loved you any less than Isaac. Not for one second. I know you can't help feeling like you might feel, but listen: I love you more than you could ever imagine. I love you so much I'd die for you. 

On the way to Tulsa this today, I had to drop my truck off in Wagoner to get the oil changed. This is in no way a sponsored post, but the guys at Kevin Grover are seriously the best, and one in particular slapped me in the face with some truth this morning. 

He walked over to me, and I spent some time trying to figure out if I was looking at his smile or the sun. That's Neil being Neil though. I've never thought of him as car salesman, he's a friend who happens to be exceptionally skilled at getting me to spend huge sums of money on things with four wheels. 

My son weighs 2.6 pounds today. He's grown tremendously in the last two weeks. 

We're sitting in the lab now, waiting on blood to be drawn. In fact, I'm almost positive Alicia is actually reading what I type as I type it. She's talking about how much Isaac has grown over the past couple of weeks, and saying that he better slow down. I think she's finally realizing that when you have a giant for a husband, his kids might be huge too. I don't know, maybe just my head is giant. 

Back to Neil. He came over and shook my hand. 

"Two things to congratulate you for, Travis. One, you look fantastic, and two, your newest little one!" 

Everyone always does that. If they're familiar with our situation at all, they're so excited for us; for me. I get that, and I'm thankful for the empathy, but up until today, it was a forced smile, forced enthusiasm. So I smiled back at him, and I gave my prototypical response. 

"Aww, thanks! Be excited for her though, I don't want four kids." 

Neil didn't even blink. 

"Oh stop that, Travis. You've created an eternal soul." 

I'm alone now, Alicia has gone back to have her blood drawn, and I'm fighting tears as I type this. It's me and one old lady in the waiting room, and I don't need her wondering why the behemoth four chairs down is blubbering quietly into his cell phone. 

We've created an eternal soul. 

My son is an eternal soul. 

Isaac is an eternal soul. 

Somewhere in my brain a switch flipped. I took a couple of confused steps and finally spit out a response. 

"Thank you, Neil. I've never looked at it like that." 

"I'll leave you guys alone, I know you've got a busy day planned!" 

He bounced away, frustratingly happy, unaware of the chaos he'd just wreaked in my brain. Unaware of his creating a tectonic shift in the pangean plate that is my selfishness. 

You see, that's all it is, selfishness. One thing I've discovered since having children is that I am, by nature, a selfish person. I didn't realize that until after we'd adopted the kids, but it's true. I am a selfish person. I want my time, my money, my stuff, my wife. I, I, I, I. 

I'm not saying all that changed instantly. I know somewhere between now and the next eighteen years, I'm going to be selfish. But I was given a new way to look at things today. I have four eternal souls that I am now responsible for. Five and six if you count mine and my wife's, and that's a whole lot of souls to be in charge of. 

My dad figured it out. I don't know how, but he figured it out. Reading his writings from when I was a kid, I know he was frustrated, unsure of himself as a father, and selfish. But at some point he cracked the code. He figured it out, and he took responsibility for the eternal souls he'd helped create, and he did a damn fine job of it. 

Now I'm back at the doctor's office, waiting for my beautiful wife and my son to come back from getting a shot, which is apparently what you have to do when your husband's blood (A+), has a higher GPA than yours (A-). We'll leave here and go pick up two other sons and a daughter, all of which are mine

Today is a new day. Today I was verbally slapped by a friend who has obviously figured some of it out. 

Thanks, Neil. 

Here she comes. Gotta go. I'm gonna try figure it out. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Walk: Part Three

"There are lots of walks that people make in their lifetime. Some are important, some are not. Some of those walks are tougher than others, and some seem like they take forever, because you know you can't wait to have what's at the end. Some are painful, some are joyous. Some are profitable, some will end with you losing everything."

September 8, 2000. The day I lost a piece of myself, a piece of my identity. 

This past Saturday marked twelve years since my father looked me in the eyes for what seemed like an eternity, then closed his eyes and died. Those of you who need more detail than that can find it anywhere on this blog; my posts are littered with tributes and stories of dad. 

We've had our kids now for over a year. They've heard stories of Brian Sloat, their Papa, the entire time we've had them. As I stated in a blog a few weeks ago, to them, since he is not tangible, he is not a real person. He's a myth, a fable, one of the hundreds they've had told to them since they could understand words. Brian Sloat might as well be Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, or the Cat in the Hat. 

The question of taking them to see him, his grave, and exposing them to so much of my pain, has weighed heavy on my mind for the last year. I've often wondered if they could handle it, if they could understand what they were seeing, and if not, understand when I explained it to them. 

This, in a sense, was giving them all of me. In some selfish part of my mind, I didn't want to do that. To me, it represented the final barrier between them and myself, the last wall in our relationship, and I struggled mightily with knocking it down. 

Saturday morning, I covered a story for the paper. It was a 9/11 Remembrance Walk in Muskogee. In his speech, a man named Oscar Ray said the words, "I'm pretty sure that when the families of the victims remember their loved ones, they smile." 

He was addressing a crowd of people about 9/11, but all I could think about was dad. I climbed in my truck, cried, and tried to compose myself, but then I got the standard issue text from my mother on this date. 


"I love you." 

In that moment, I made a decision. I decided that I was going to take the kids to see dad.

***

The cemetery hasn't been mowed in a while. The grass stands up taller than I've ever seen it, and Alicia commented on it as we drove in. I killed the car, and waited just a moment to compose myself for what I knew was going to be one of the harder walks I'll take with our family. 

We got out of the car and Aven looked around, saw a crabapple lying on the ground and said, "Those are cow apples, right dad?" 

Our son. The little boy who takes nothing seriously...just like me. His mind was a million miles away from what was taking place, and I envied him. His innocence, once destroyed, is now slowing coming back. He no longer has to worry about mom and dad, and because of that I think he is truly carefree. 

Aven walked on my left, and Keeli walked on my right, and Alicia walked behind, selflessly giving me this moment with our children. Slowly, we stepped through the tall grass and around the usual tombstones, some standing, others flat in the ground. 

It was The Walk. 

There was no arguing with God this time. There wasn't space in my head for it. All I could think about was my obligation to try and make sense of this for our children, to help them understand what they were seeing. 

I thought about Aven tripping over a tombstone and how awful that would be, and I thought about Akeeli crying, because she always cries when she sees me cry. 

Our daughter, ever the empathetic one. The one who provides comfort in company, the one who wants to make sure you know that your sadness is hers too. She is beautiful. She is radiant. She is too smart for her own good, and I worry ceaselessly about the day when boys come knocking on our door. 

The Walk was a short one, because our children distracted me. It was a good thing. 

We arrived at the headstone, and looked at the name Sloat engraved on it. The tears came. 

Through choked words and ill-timed snorts, I explained to our children that my father, the greatest man I've ever known, was not there. His body was there, but he was in heaven, enjoying the company of his brothers, and now his mom. I explained that we would see him one day, and that I really wished they could have met him.

Then the words came:

"I hope I'm half the dad he was."

Keeli cried, because Keeli cries.  Aven asked why we didn't bring flowers, because Aven can't focus on one thing more than ten seconds. Alicia took a few pictures, because I had asked her to. I know I didn't want them then, but one day I will.

I asked them all to leave me alone for just a few minutes, and they did. I stood there, shaking, hot tears sliding down my face, but I didn't fight God. I didn't tell him how unfair it was. In fact, I didn't address God at all. I talked to dad.

I know he can't hear me. I know that my sadness isn't something he can feel or hear or see. If he could, it wouldn't be a happy moment for him, and Heaven is a place of eternal happiness. I'm okay with that, and I talked to him anyway.

As I talked, the wind rushed through the cemetery and whistled through the trees. While most would attribute that to something supernatural and impossible, I was reminded of a King of the Hill episode where Kahn's grandmother said she believed her deceased husband was reincarnated as the wind that blew through the meadow at that very moment. Bill Dauterive looked her in the eye and said, "My god, that's the most beautiful description of a haunted meadow I've ever heard."

I blinked through the tears, smiled, laughed, and walked back to the car. It amazes me how God put our family together.

September will always be a terrible month, and I'll always be glad when it's over.

But now, instead of September 8 holding pain and nothing else, I can remember it as the day when our kids met my dad.




Monday, August 27, 2012

On Living in Dichotomy.

From Sunday, August 26:

Today was a bad day. 

I didn't get enough sleep last night, and I woke up tired. 

I looked at an article I had published in the paper this morning and I saw that they had "edited" in a typo. It bothered me. 

We rushed to get to church on time as usual. We got to church, sat down, and listened to our pastor preach about death. 

He talked about what was more tragic; the sudden loss of a young lady in a car wreck, or the loss of a old woman who hasn't been in good health for a while. I've experienced both in the last eight months. You'd think I'd be qualified to make that decision, but I'm not. I have no idea which was more tragic. 

Of course after thinking about that, I thought about dad. I thought about how much he's missed. From there it didn't take long for me to start blaming God for the fact that our children will never meet him. To them, Brian Sloat is myth, a legend, no more real than anyone else that they've never met. And after that, I contemplated my own mortality. 

I'm afraid of death. It terrifies me. As a Christian, death is the ultimate reward. You are absent from the body and present with Christ. So why am I scared to die? What scares me about being with Jesus? Some would say that I have doubts. Doubts about my salvation, doubts about my faith, and doubts about my beliefs. Our pastor said I shouldn't be afraid of death. 

The Sunday School lesson we had talked about affairs. It talked about how easy they were to fall into, and how it is always a good idea to end them and tough out your marriage. It reminded me of the pile of crap I turned into for a year and half. Most of our class knows what I did. My mind played for me a constant stream of their judgement, what they would really say if they could. 

Our kids didn't get a nap today, and so they were terrible. When we were in the store, they acted out, climbed on shelving, and were just generally ill-behaved. I had to yell at them several times. I had to threaten to spank them repeatedly. 

We were in Tulsa traffic today. It was so humid you felt like you were swimming through the air instead of walking. We waited over an hour for a table at the restaurant. I was sweating everywhere we went. I snapped at Alicia. I was sulky and petulant for most of the afternoon. 

Today was a good day.

I woke up this morning. The Lord gave me another day.

I got to see an article that I wrote in the paper. I'm a writer. I am living my dream.

We got in one of the two cars we own and drove to church. We walked in the doors of the building without anyone trying to kill us for what we believed, and we listened to a sermon that taught me some things.

I got the chance to remember two very special people in my life. I remembered how they blessed me. How they both lived passionate lives before they were taken from me. I remembered the impact that they had on the lives around them, and how truthfully, they are both so much happier now.

I remembered dad today. I thought about the things that he'd say to our kids. I thought about how he'd hug them, squeeze them, and I thought about how that tough old Brian Sloat would probably be transformed into a giant softy by the introduction of his three grandkids. I found myself thinking about how I need to take them to see his grave, make him more real to them. Maybe soon.

I will not continue to be afraid of death. I will die. When I die, I will leave many people in this world, but I will be reunited with my father, my grandmother, a few uncles, an aunt, and Kambrin. I will not continue to be afraid of death.

I got to watch my newly saved and baptized daughter take the Lord's Supper. I got to see her eat the cracker and drink the grape juice, even ignoring my own so I could sneak a little peek at her. I thought about where she might be without us. I got to thank God for them both.

The Sunday School lesson talked about love. It talked about how even sure-footed people can fall into traps. It talked about how coming clean is always the best policy. It reminded me of my wife's forgiveness. It reminded me of why I fell in love with her in the first place. It reminded me that maybe I need to wash a few more dishes this next week, just to show her that I love her.

I got to spend a solid day with our kids. I don't get to see them during the week, and I spent all day with them today. No naps, no real separation, and no breaks. They were active. They were joyful. They enjoyed being alive and playing when and where they could. There was a time when they couldn't do that.

We hung out with some amazing friends today. We ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, and we laughed and fellowshipped the entire time. I was hot and sweaty, but I was walking. When I snapped at Alicia, she shrugged it off, knowing I was in a mood.

Today was a bad day. Today was a good day.

***

If the truth was told, most of my days are like this, and so are most of yours. We all take the good and bad, and at the end of the day weigh them on the scales of our temperament, and we draw our conclusions on whether the day was "good" or "bad."

There is a story making the rounds on Facebook that I love. It explains the situation perfectly. According to the Internet, it's an old Cherokee legend.


An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." 

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


I will make every effort to feed the good wolf from this day forward. The evil wolf will continue to fight, for that is what he does best. I will be tempted with negative thoughts, pity-parties, and bad attitudes. I'll have days where I want to be pissy and lame.

But I'll try. I'll give the good wolf Milk-Bones and organic, veterinarian-approved dog food. I'll give him clean water every day and take him in for regularly scheduled vaccinations. I'll brush his fur once a week and tell him that he is the best wolf a guy could ever ask for, and "Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? Is it you? Yes it's you."

And maybe, just maybe...I'll shake this nasty writer's block and get back to blogging about things.






Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ford Prefect Would Be Proud.

I want to preface this entire blog with this: I love our children, I would take a bullet for our children, and I would go to the ends of the earth to bring them happiness if that's what it took. Thankfully, right now, happiness is only as far away as the nearest item with the highest sugar content, so we're good.

But I do have a few minor hang-ups. And as odd as it may seem, this entire blog started with towels.

So let's take it back to the beginning. We all know that I have a problem with bathroom shame. I've had it since I was a kid, and I've never been able to shake it. I'm simply not comfortable knowing that anyone else in the world goes poop, particularly the ladies. I've been married to The Missus for 9 years now, and she's never once pooped, farted, or talked in any detail about either. She also doesn't pee. She tinkles.

I probably forced my bathroom shame on her, and that probably happened when, the day before the wedding, I told her, "If you ever poop or fart, I'll never find you attractive again."

I'm kidding.


So we've been together all this time, and it's a great thing we have going on. Then...we were introduced to the children. Being three and five when we got them, we didn't have the whole "poopy diapers and potty training" experience. We've been told countless times, "Dude! You didn't have to deal with diapers or potty training or anything!"

"You're so lucky!"


Alright, first, let me address the fact that some of us don't consider that "lucky." Some of us, particularly my better half, would kill to hold a baby and have it poop all over her and potty train it and stuff. That's me being real, so ease up off the "lucky" talk. Second, I don't know how many of you own a four and a six year old, but they're gross. Straight up gross. I just walk around my house, looking at them, and thinking about how disgusting the things they do are. The heck of it is, most of the things they are doing, I do too. But somehow, maybe because I'm an adult and I know how to shower properly, it's more disgusting when they do it.

When I walk into the bathroom in the morning to begin my morning ritual, the first thing I have to do is stare intently at the toilet seat for at least thirty seconds to make sure there aren't any little pee sprinkles. The boy child lifts the seat most times, but there have been mornings where I've been surprised. And not the cool, "OH MY GAWD I JUST WON THE LOTTERY!" surprised, either. If I see any water droplets of any kind, I have to spend another two minutes in an intense cleansing of the toilet seat ritual, even if those water droplets are from The Missus getting out of the shower. I'm not willing to take that chance.

Then, when I am seated upon the throne, my eyes turn downward to the floor, where more than likely, last night's clothes that were removed before bath time are still there. Before you get all judgmental, let me ask you a question. If I walked in your bathroom right now, would there be clothes on the floor? If you answered no, you  a) are a liar, b) might be gay, or c) you had company last night. Don't get mad at me about the gay thing. If you aren't any of those things, chances are probably good you have to take a pill to help balance out your moods.

So I'm looking at the floor, and there is -ahem- underwear. There is a possibility that it could belong to any of us, but usually it belongs to the kids. I still have a problem seeing little girl underwear. I have not seen our daughter in any state of undress since we've gotten her, and I'm petrified of the day it happens. Doesn't feel right. I'm also terrified of the day one of them accidentally sees me naked. I seriously feel like I need deadbolts on our doors when I'm changing. But back to the floor and the underwear that lies there. It's always gross. I think our son has a wiping problem, and sometimes it looks like our daughter might too, and I'm too ashamed to actually sit down and have a wiping discussion with them, so I just yell at them for being nasty a lot like D.L. Hughley. That's the correct way to raise a child, right?

So while completing my morning ritual, I have to try and keep myself occupied and my eyes off the floor. I play Draw Something, or come up with a witty Facebook/Twitter status, or just pick my nose a lot. When I'm all done, I hop in the shower.

After a very methodical shower, I open the shower curtain and look for my towel. It used to be, in every single house The Missus and I lived in, we had this whole sort of towel routine. I reuse towels, sometimes up to a week. Call me crazy, but I'm clean when I use them, and after drying off, I flip them up over the shower curtain bar and let them dry. Then, when The Missus takes her shower, she takes it off the bar and puts it on the towel bar next to the shower. Then I take it off the towel bar, dry off, and repeat. Like I said, this is how it used to be.

For the last week or so, I've noticed a trend. When I get out of the shower, the towel I used the day before is not on the towel bar, but on one of the hooks on the door. Where the children's towels are hung. Touching the children's towels. Maybe even used by one of the kids to wipe...well, anything. Maybe it was even used to...dry a kid off after their bath.

*cue me throwing up a little.

So, essentially, I've used more towels in the last few days than I have in the last two months combined. I can't touch a towel after I know it's been touched by one of our kids. Just the thought of using something on my body that has touched theirs...well, it makes me want to bathe in rubbing alcohol. Not that weak sauce 80% rubbing alcohol either. I'm talking 91%. That's the only rubbing alcohol that comes in my house.

This is how it works. See? Gross. Exactly how AIDS started, I'm sure.

Basically, after all this ranting, I'm wanting to know if this behavior is normal. Seeing as how I'm virtually surrounded by stay at home moms and mommy bloggers, I figured one of you could answer as to whether or not I actually need some sort of extensive therapy, or if this is something that I'll (God forbid) grow out of. When I addressed the problem with The Missus, she gave me one of those, "I'm late for work and I still can't believe I let you have sex with me" looks, and walked off saying, "I JUST moved it to the door, Travis. I JUST moved it."

And in the meantime I'll be wondering whether or not the conservation of a natural resource that is essential to life is worth me catching the kid cooties from towel transference.

Who can I call to get some of those mood pills?


Friday, February 3, 2012

Can There Be a Title for This?

This little blog won’t take much of your Friday. There has just been too much happen today to Tweet or Facebook all of it, and I thought a succinct little update on the ol’ blog would be the way to go.
I hope these few things make you laugh as much as they did me.
First things first, I was awoken this morning by a Facebook message from my first and second grade crush. She was seriously one of the two girls in elementary school that I swore I would marry when I got older. I’ve actually blogged about her before, in my post about having accidental scary accuracy. She was the little girl I brained with a rock as she was swinging on the playground so I could show her how much I liked her.
So…she doesn’t remember that happening.
I apologized to her for giving her irreparable brain damage, and we’re working it out.
Also this morning, I walked in on my daughter using the bathroom. The Missus looked at me and said, “The door was closed, that was your own fault.”
We all know about my crippling sense of bathroom shame. I don’t talk about bathroom stuff, I am dead set against open door bathroom stuff, I don’t want to SEE bathroom stuff, and I for dang sure don’t need to walk in on my beautiful young daughter as SHE’S doing her bathroom stuff. I don’t want to walk in on ANYONE doing that. Bathroom time is private time.
I HATE BATHROOM STUFF.
So anyway, after she got out of the bathroom, I said, “Come child. It’s time you learned about shame.” And I proceeded to show her that the bathroom door had a lock, and she should utilize that lock to protect her own privacy as well as the sanctity of my precious memories of her. I will teach these children bathroom shame if it’s the last thing I do.
Another thing I said this morning, to my son, was “That’s not how you use a basketball goal.” To which my wife replied, “That’s how uncle Josh was playing with it last night.” So…shout out to my baby brother (Happy Birthday also) for being the most nonathletic Sloat boy, and passing that down to my son, who I’ve determined will be recruited by Duke and then go to the NBA as one of three successful white point guards since the seventies.
I was also on point on Facebook this morning with the smart-@ss comments, as evidenced in the following picture.
Boom. Roasted.
Then…there is the piece de resistance.
My son was asked to draw a picture for his class yesterday. It was a picture of his family as he saw them. This is what he came up with.
The Sloat Family Portrait
As you can see, he plainly traced around a cantaloupe to draw me, then apparently remembered I have trouble supporting my head on my bulbous body. I also have a goiter and a black hole for a face. Maybe I need to work on yelling less.
His sister is just a mere 35 pounds away from me, a tad shorter, but at least she was given a facial expression and an “X” on her clothing. I think that may stand for the first person he’s planning to knock off. I am pretty sure I should get him in counseling.
Then we move to his self-portrait. I would have to say it’s astonishing to me how accurate it is, minus the pompadour haircut. The torso to legs ratio may be a tad off, but by far it is the most spot-0n drawing in the picture because…
…my lovely wife has a solid red face, green legs, lacks any arms whatsoever, and loves brown tops with green skirts. Also, SHE HAS SPRINGY SHOES. I think this solidifies how my son feels about his mother, in that she’s launched herself to a favorable position as the head of the family by being the highest in the air.
I’m seriously considering having him do artwork for the blog. I could pay him with bags of chips and Capri Sun, and that’s cheaper than most “photographers” out there. “Art by Aven” has a nice ring to it. Here’s to shamelessly selling out my children!
That pretty much rounds out my Friday, and I hope I’ve given you something laugh about until the weekend starts. Turns out, kids are GREAT blogging material. Who knew?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Look At Me, I'm Blogging. Oh, And The Basic Good Of Humanity.

Hi there. My name is Travis, and I run this blog. We've probably met before, you know, at that convention that one time in Querqe.

You get it?

I've been gone a while, so I'm making jokes.

Please don't leave yet, I swear I have a legit blog going on here. But real quick, let me get you up to speed. We've had the kids about 2 months now, and things are going great. We love them, they've adjusted rather quickly, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. I figure you guys are going to want a picture, so here you go:


This isn't them, obvs. You have to wait 4 more months for that. However, they are every bit as cute as this. 
At this point I probably have one or two people still actually reading this. Lauren and Mandy, thanks, and keep going.

Today at work I helped my department head move from an office in one town to one a couple of towns over. She had accumulated quite a bit of stuff in her office, and we loaded a some of it into a couple of trucks and headed out. When we got to our destination, I started unloading the trucks. There were quite a few heavy items, and I'm notorious for being a "fewer trips is better" guy, so I tend to overexert myself on lifting, carrying, pulling, etc.

I love to watch people. Before you get that crawling feeling at the base of your spine, know that I prefer to watch them fully clothed. I think people are, among many other things, fascinating, and I love observing their individual behaviors. I discovered Chat Roulette a few weeks ago, and I honestly had a blast observing the 3 people on there who didn't have their penises out. Fortunately, this morning provided me with an opportunity to observe some people who were fully clothed and all too helpful.

When I walked up to the entrance the first time with a heavy load in my arms, I was trying to figure out how to open the door, and a gentleman of about 45 walked up and opened it for me. I told him thank you, and continued on. A few minutes later, I walked to the door with another heavy load, and a pregnant woman jumped out of her seat and ran to open up the door. Smiling, I thanked her, and continued on my way.

I had one major load left, and as I was carrying it to the door I realized that I was going to be able to open the door on my own this time. However, just through the door, I spotted something that absolutely thrilled my heart. A handicapped African American lady of about 60 struggled to her feet, grabbed her cane, and walked over to the door to open it for me. We kind of opened it together, and I walked through, thanking her politely.

Three trips to the door, three people being kind. The office I was at is an Unemployment Office. It is the place people go when they've lost their job, they are looking for a job, or are just generally down on their luck. People usually aren't in good moods at the Unemployment Office. They aren't kind, they aren't thinking of anything but their situation, and they are usually stressed out and dealing with wounded pride. I've been in the office, I know how it feels, and I can't say I blame anyone for feeling like that.

However, three people - two of them in "conditions" - went out of their way today to commit a simple act of kindness that reminded me of why I love the human race. The fact that people are basically good. We may not all believe in the same God, we may not all be having a great day, but deep down there is a good person in all of us. A person who loves their fellow man, who wants to help out when they can, and who knows what the right thing is and tries to do it most times. I'm not saying we're all perfect, and I'm not saying even the kindest person is going to grab every opportunity that comes their way. As much as I say I hate people, I still believe in the basic good.

To the three people that helped me today: You inspire me, and you give me hope for us humans. May we all learn to be so considerate.

Thank you.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Going...Going...Gone. (But I'll Be Back)

Well, the time has come.

For those of you that know me or who have followed this blog for any duration, you know that we're in the process of adopting kids. It's been a long process for us, but everyone else has said that it's gone really quickly. But after what has seemed like an eternity, we got a phone call this morning.

We're meeting our kids on Friday.

I can't and won't go into much more detail about them, but I can tell you that it will take a couple more meetings before they're ours, and we're ready. They have a room, they have clothes, they have toys, and they have a life, all waiting at our house. These next couple of months will undoubtedly be very hectic and busy, but I don't think I've ever looked forward to anything as much as I look forward to this.

I'm going to be a father.

Now here's the bad news. Because of the nature of the adoption, it takes about six months for it to be finalized. That means within that six months, the kids could be removed from the home for any number of reasons, and none of those reasons would have anything to do with us. It's a slippery slope, and I think in the back of our minds, we'll have a tiny spot of fear until the adoption is finalized.

But for me, I have different things to worry about. This blog, my Twitter, my Facebook, and every other online presence I stake claim to has been an outlet for me over the past couple of years. When something happens, or a memory strikes, I tell you about it. I try to be humorous in doing that, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. But when it all comes down to it, this blog, and everything else, is just an outlet. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been in serious thought over how an outlet might be perceived to someone else while we're in the "trial" period of adoption. I've wondered about the possibility of me saying something unintentionally, randomly, or off the cuff, and someone else taking it the wrong way, and being upset enough about it to bring it to the attention of a case worker or state employee. I've thought about DHS coming into our house and saying, "Mr. Sloat, you said something negative about cats on Twitter, and we saw it. We're taking the kids." I've thought about what that would do to my family, and I've made a decision.

This will be my last blog until the adoption is final. I will also be staying away from Twitter and Facebook until it's final. I will be limiting my online presence to occasionally snooping around Facebook and maybe sending someone a DM every once in a while. If you're VERY lucky, I might comment on your blog. And I'm doing this for three reasons. The first is listed above, and the second is that when we get the kids, I'm going to want to spend as much time as possible with them. Thirdly, I'm going to write a book. It's essentially going to be a book of stories, some of which I take from this blog, others you've never heard. All in all, I think I'll be busy enough without having to be online 23 hours a day.

So consider this a blog goodbye, and of course if you want to contact me there is always email. I'm a texting fiend, so you can do that as well, and make no qualms about asking for my phone number. I truly hope that six or seven months from now I can hop back on this site and let you all know how happy I am to announce that we have had the opportunity to officially change the last names of two kids who are getting a second chance.

And of course to tell you about my first six months as a parent.

Wish me luck, friends.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Journey of 4 Years Starts With 21 Giant Leaps.

So this is where I'm at.

Starting Monday, I'll be a college student. Again. For the third time. My academic record so far? A beautiful and stunning 21 credit hours of zeros. Oh-fers. Goose eggs. I kind of sucked a college in the past, if by "kind of" you are comparing how Lindsay Lohan "kind of" sucks at rehab.

My transcript actually has a picture of Lindsay Lohan on it. 

So why am I going back to college if I'm so stupid bad at it? 

Well, I honestly believe that in the 6 years since I've been, I've grown up a lot. I've realized a few things, and I understand the importance of having a degree. Especially if you want to be a writer/journalist, which is the career goal I've chosen. Say what you will, but there isn't a single company or person out there today willing to give you a chance to write more than the classified ads if you don't have a piece of paper in your hand saying that a degree granting institution considers you to be "alright." It's bull, but don't try to tell that to people who have that piece of paper. They'll cuss at you.

My goal is to go straight through, no breaks, no summer vacations, nothing at all until I'm done. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but I'm going to try. I want to get this done. I want to start a career. I'd settle for becoming famous, but published would be great. I don't need millions of dollars to be happy, but when my kid comes up to me and says, "Dad, I'd like *insert name of ridiculously expensive and stupid toy*, I want to be able to buy that for them. I want to be able to send my kid(s) to basketball camps so they can be really talented and get drafted into the NBA and let me retire at 45. I want them to have things I didn't.

Speaking of kids, I got word this week that we are "unofficially" approved for the adoption. We should get the final approval next week some time. That both excites me and scares me to death, because the other day I was thinking about it, and I realized that we're essentially going to have a little stranger move into our house and never leave. Kind of like all the movies with Sinbad, only this kid probably won't be as funny.


So there's that. After the approval, it could take anywhere from 3 months to infinity to get a kid, and that's the number coming from DHS. I think they actually used the infinity symbol, but kind of turned it at a bit of angle so it looked like an 8.

Starting on Monday, get ready to be greeted by a Facebook/Twitter feed of exhaustion, excitement, learning, and stuff about my farts, friends, penis cups, and Duke basketball.

You know, the usual.