I had the chance to go out for a morning jaunt with my wife and daughter today. Being out with them reinforces how much I like them.
I have learned over the years that there are certain combinations of words that you just don’t want to hear from your children as a parent. I haven’t heard ALL of these yet, but I know I don’t want to hear them.
-Would you like to see my piercing?
-Mom, Dad… I got her pregnant.
-I know I’m only 13 daddy, but Snake and I are in love!
-Where do we keep the fire extinguisher?
-I think someone pooped in the bathtub.
Most of these things are fairly stereotypical. You hear about them in movies. But of all the things you could hear (Either fake or real) the one that stops me in my tracks the fastest is this…
“Dad, What’s for dinner?”
CRAP! I have no flippin clue. It’s only four thir…… DOUBLE CRAP! It’s almost SIX.
Mom’s not home to yell at me to make something which means I’m on my own here. This isn’t that big of a deal since I do the cooking every night anyways. But now I have to come up with something quick, easy, and that they will ACTUALLY eat.
Might as well go paint a chapel ceiling cause’ that will be WAY easier than THIS task.
Okay, seriously, what to make for dinner.
After a quick look in the cupboard I realize I don’t have a lot of quick and easy stuff. Lots of meats and such, but not a lot that’s fast.
Suddenly, I spy the pasta.
I’m making spaghetti tonight.
Freaking SWEET! I love spaghetti, but my family hates it. Every last one of them. Seriously… how does one make it this far in their life and NOT eat spaghetti? It’s a freaking staple of civilized society for the love of Odin.
Well, I know I want spaghetti, so now I gotta figure out a way to make the kids eat it. I have garlic bread, and I know they will eat that, but that doesn’t solve my spaghetti problem.
While I’m digging through the freezer looking for something that I could make other than the awesome pasta that I have running through my head, I moved around a bag of Rhoades Bread Dough. (I love that stuff).
I didn’t think too much about it at the exact moment I saw it but by the time I made it upstairs, I knew what I was going to do.
Genius had struck!
Okay, before we go any further with the dinner train of thought, I need to give a short backstory.
I grew up eating something called “Cowboy Bread”. That stuff was AMAZING. Deep fried bread type substance that my mom made on occasion. Apparently, my uncles wouldn’t eat elephant ears when they were kids back in the 50’s so my grandmother called it “Cowboy Bread” because my uncles were always playing cowboys and indians. My mother picked up the term and it stuck. So this amazing bread that I ate as a kid was simply re-branded fried bread dough. Simple enough, but freaking amazing with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar.
I apologize, my back stories are usually WAY WAY better than this. I might not have the commitment to that one that I should.. but meh. Whatever.
Okay, so I’m walking up the stairs from the basement and inspiration hits. Instead of calling it spaghetti, I’m calling it… uhm… canned noodles? No, they’ll figure that out. Uhm… “Super Spaghetti”?…. HA, even I’m not dumb enough to fall for that. ooohh…. I got it… “Potted Lasagna”. (Turns out it wasn’t even a real thing yet… I might have to patent this one.)
So, as I’m standing in the kitchen, before I open anything, I yell to the kids…
“HEY! Who wants potted lasagna?”
Hayden: Uhm… sure.
Dinner is ON!
So I make the noodles, and I throw the sauce in the pan afterwards (which I never do) and I let the whole thing cool off a tad. I throw a little shredded cheese in the bottom of a bowl. I top it with the spaghetti and I top it with a touch more shredded cheese.
Now people, for all intents and purposes, THIS IS LASAGNA! I don’t care how you slice it… It’s freaking lasagna.
So, Lillie devoured hers in a heartbeat. Hell, she even asked for seconds. Now if I had told her that she was eating spaghetti, she would have freaked the hell out. But… this did not happen. Dinner for her was a success.
However there is the issue of Hayden. This kid is WAY smarter than I honestly give him credit for. I set that bowl down in front of him and he stopped. He looked at me and stared for a moment. Three words escaped his ever truthful lips… “This is spaghetti”.
I had to poke, prod, bargain, urge, yell, plead, cry, and cajole, but I finally got the boy to eat. I dunno if I’ll be trying that one again with him any time soon. But for Lillie, it was a stellar success.
Now I gotta figure out what I’m making for dinner tomorrow.
It’s funny how music can be a motivator, a hinderance, or a controller of emotion.
Right now I’m underway working in my office.
I have this great playlist that has about 250+ songs on it that range from high tempo hard techno to slow loving and emotionally charged ballads. The music has driven me in many directions. And while sometimes it is merely a distraction, some of it has actually driven me to be better.
As some may know, I’ve been on my own for the last 10 months of my life. Those 10 months have been the most difficult of my life.
I have had experiences that have reduced me to tears. Brought me to the edge of the bounds of sanity. Destroyed my ability to function. And for a period of time, dragged me down into the realm of suicide.
Nearly everything in my life that is of value was removed from me by my own actions leaving me no one to blame but myself.
To anyone reading this, That is a VERY difficult pill to swallow.
Since I have been alone, a lot of things have taken place. I have learned. I have observed my mistakes and the mistakes of those around me. I have made alterations to my life, my personality, and who I am in an attempt to restore a modicum of order to my existence.
I am slated to transfer from my current unit within the next few months.
I have spent three years stationed at a facility that has beaten me, broken my will, and destroyed my faith in the service to which I have toiled for the last 10 years of my life. I was, and sometimes still am, in the position where I don’t even know if holding on to this job is worth the stress.
I look forward to the day that I walk across the brow of this ship for the last time, never to return. Only to turn back one final time to flip the bird and dust my feet. I have plans for getting away from this three year disaster that has made up the most recent chapter of my life.
The plans I speak of are simple. But because of the pain, the suffering, the lonliness, and the constant heartache that I have suffered, I will execute these plans with such vehement passion that you would not recognize it as coming from the man writing these words.
I am moving across the country. 2034 miles from here.
I will rent me a home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and off street parking.
I will have my lovely wife Andrea by my side. My two Children Hayden and Lillie will be there as well.
I will work my required 8 to 4 shift each day. Traveling as required.
I will ensure that two Fridays each month my lovely wife will have the uninterrupted hours dedicated to a night out as a couple.
I will ensure that my children have the time each night dedicated to them as people instead of wasting my time on a computer.
My kids will be read a story each night at bedtime. They will be tucked in, kissed on the forehead, and told that they are loved.
My eternal companion, my spouse, my lover, my wife… Andrea will receive her nightly foot rub as I did each night when we were still together. She will get her backrub as often as she desires just as I did for her before.
Each time I have the opportunity to do so, I will tell her that I love her. I will not only show her through my usual deeds of cooking, cleaning, and watching the kids, but I will buy her flowers. I will get her little gifts just because I was thinking of her.
Weekends will be dedicated to taking the kids to a park, a movie, or just playing on the beach.
As I have done for the last 10 months, the “noise” that only my wife knows of has ceased, and it will continue to stay that way.
I am a horrible person as judged by my history.
No sane person would consider associating themselves with me if they knew of my personal atrocities.
I am dedicated to resolving my personal failings.
I am committed to exceeding the expectations laid out by my loved ones.
I am committed to being the best Father, Husband, Lover, Spouse, Companion, and Friend that I can be.
While some involved are apprehensive, I have too much riding on the line to fail.
If I have learned anything in the last 10 months of my life, I have learned that I can succeed.
Now… I just have to show the right people so that they can judge for themselves.
My wife made a comment on the 4th of July back in 2011. She told me to find out what makes me happy. To find what I enjoy in life and to seize it.
I figured it out.
It’s kind of funny how you can find contentment in life with the things that make you happy, but still know that there is that last piece that makes the good things even better.
My name is Garen Anderson.
I am going to retrieve my family.
We are moving to Oregon where I will fill my role as Father and Husband.
I fucked up!
I’m fixing it.
God as my witness!
Okay, day 6 states that I have to post a picture of somethign that makes me happy.
I looked at that challenge and said, “This is simple. BAM! A picture of Andrea”.
But I realized that this is what I ALWAYS do. No, not this time.
As much as I LOVE and adore my wife and children, this time this will be about something other than my family that makes me smile. Don’t get me wrong, my family makes me happier than most anything on this earth, but since we assume that this is a given, we’ll move on to the next best option.
What you are seeing here is a rendered version of a scene from Descent. Now, it isn’t this game in particular that I want to write about. The shot is more of an analogy. Maybe a metaphor. Possibly some other word that says it means something other than it looks like. I forget, but that’s not important.
The thing I’m trying to represent here is video games in general. I play them. I enjoy them. Some of them make me smile. Some piss me off. Some make me think. Some I just like to look at. Others I am finally begining to play.
There is so much of my life that has been affected by video games.
I have a few that top my list of favorites and those I believe I will point out in the future.
Well, it’s TECHNICALLY the future now from when you read those last lines, so I guess I’ll tell you about them now.
GAREN’S TOP xx FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES
5. Super Mario Bros. series on NES
I spent way too many summers playing this bugger. Be it with or without cheats, I enjoyed it. I played with my brothers and sisters in nearly every house I lived in growing up. This is the epitome of nostalgia in my book. LOVE IT!
Metroid is one of those games where I love the premise of the game. I love the physics. I love the controls. I love the exploration and the ability to wind up in some really strange places…. but…. I never beat the game. Hell, in all reality, this game scares the ever living daylights out of me. Dunno why. But it’s still one of my favs.
“Trust me, I work at Gamestop”. Worst words ever to hear. Best game that could have ever been suggested by that guy. I still think he was a tool though.
2. Warcraft Series
From RTS, to point and click, to MMO… The warcraft and Starcraft universes make me smile. I love the lore. the storylines. the graphics. the ideas behind the game. And hey, Jaina is kinda hot. LOL. Regardless, with the amount of time invested in this series, it’s up there in the top 5 for a reason.
I played descent for way too many years. I still pick it up from time to time even. The game makes me sick to play. It’s scary at times. And no one I know plays because they were never able to get ansy good at it. Let’s not forget though, I have the super power known as ADD, so a lot of things like this I wind up being really good at. Take battletech for example. I’m CRAZY GOOD at that game.
But that isn’t the point. The point is that I enjoy video games, and some board games. And it is those forms of entertainment that give me the opportunity to escape the real world for a little bit, enjoy some time either alone or with others, and let my imagination run wild.
So, what is it that makes me happy? (Other than my family which is my true #1)
Sorry, it’s true