pay for it

Yeah, so, yesterday was a parenting milestone for me. And by milestone I mean, barring a diagnosis of cancer or death by freak accident, one of the worst days of my tenure so far as a parent. Not only did my newly minted nine year old have the virus his four year old sister had exactly one week before (nausea, fever, congestion, fatigue), on Wednesday evening, in response to furious scalp scratching, I checked and confirmed not one, but TWO cases of head lice. I removed several live bugs from each kid's head. Yuck.

We hadn't yet experienced this common nuisance. For something so common, the level of misery was surprising and is, to some extent, ongoing. Because it was my first time, both kids had it, and I was dealing with it solo, I decided to go to a nit removal salon. Doesn't that sound nice? A day at the spa, if you will. The four year old, with her long hair that takes five minutes to detangle at least once daily,  managed pretty well through what is apparently not a terribly pleasant experience. My son, on the other hand, who refuses to comb his shaggy hair, ever ("I like it messy!"), shut down after the professional nit picker (?) pulled a comb called "The Terminator" through his hair maybe three times. I seriously threatened to cancel his birthday party tomorrow if he didn't quickly learn how to deal with a little discomfort in this life.

Long story short, both kids were treated, the nine year old now sports a summer buzz cut, the house is ridiculously clean, and combing through everyone's hair with a $20 accessory* is now a critical component of our morning and evening routines. At least until we go back for a head-check early next week. I'm feeling pretty in touch with my primate roots, let me tell you.

*Do yourself a favor and order one of these from Amazon RIGHT NOW. If you're a parent, it's only a matter of time before this hell will visit your home. Be prepared and save yourself ten bucks. Then you can go to a real salon and treat yourself to whatever self-care you can purchase for ten bucks (upper lip wax, perhaps?).

Anyway, we were listening to Hamilton this morning, as one does while getting ready for the day, and when 'Wait For It' came on and it got to the part where Aaron Burr sings "Life doesn't discriminate..." I got an idea for a cathartic way to process the big emotions I've been experiencing over the past 48 hours. If you're a parent, a Hamilton fan, and you've experienced this common misery before, this is the anthem for you.

Edited on September 6, 2017 - tweaked some of the lyrics and added a verse to create a complete parody! Stay tuned for the video (no, really).

Pay For It
(set to the tune of Wait For It from the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton soundtrack)

The kids come home from school at the end of the day.
I’m making dinner when I tell ‘em “put your toys and games away!”
The 4 year old complains her head is itchy,
near her ears and the nape of her neck.
That tickly sensation in the hair…
Infestation, oh heck!

Lice doesn't discriminate
Between the curly
and the straight
It lays all its eggs and it stays
And we keep picking anyway
We cringe and we cry
And we clean
And we wash all the sheets
And if there's a solution, ain’t gonna lie,
After all the other remedies I’ve tried
Then I'm willing to pay for it
I'm willing to pay for it

And now a call from the 9 year old’s 4th grade teacher,
It’s like a really bad horror movie double-feature.
So many different treatments,
But which ones are pesticide-free?
Vinegar and peppermint oil,
Guess it’s better than DDT.

Lice doesn't discriminate
Between the curly
and the straight
It lays all its eggs and it stays
And we keep picking anyway
We cringe and we cry
And we clean
And we wash all the sheets
And if there's a solution, ain’t gonna lie,
After all the other remedies I’ve tried
Then I'm willing to pay for it
I'm willing to pay for it

Pay for it!

This is just one of those things I cannot control!
We practice good hygiene,
Never had a problem before.
I checked their heads after the last outbreak,
The nits were too small to see,
They’ve been lying in wait!

Parenthood feels like an endless uphill climb
Found so many live lice
Put all the brushes on ice.
It could be worse,
but this comb-through’s taking all my time.

(What if I shave her head?)

Lice are human parasites,
You might sleep light
because they bite and they’re active at night.
Their nits warm while they incubate.
Lay eggs every day.
And they’ll mate, make no mistake!

So if there is a cure
That gets my lice-free kids back to school,
Then God dammit
I’m willing to pay for it,
I’m willing to pay for it!


peanut butter jelly time

I quit my job today. Well, officially, I gave notice last Friday, then I told my boss' boss today. But my last day is almost three months from now. You see, I can provide a generous notice because I don't have another job lined up (yet).

People have already inevitably begun to ask me what I plan to do. I anticipated this, so a few weeks ago I started a list of possible responses. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • I'm going to figure out how to make hand-stitched felt phone cases for Android, minus the carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • I’ll be making videos for my YouTube channel “dances with kids” of me, dancing with my kids.
  • I’m developing recipes for a cookbook called “Sweet on Oakland: Cookies Inspired by Oakland Neighborhoods".
  • I’m starting a food truck business that serves only peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Each PB&J order comes with a free carton of milk!
  • I’ve signed a NDA and I can’t tell you where I'm going from here.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that not many of these responses will satisfy the question, "what are you going to do?" So, in other words, what people really want to know is, "how do you plan to make money?" Because, as you can see, I have no shortage of things to do to fill my time. And I do plan (hope) to monetize a few of them.

Before I get to the "quit your day job" bibliography promised above, here's a collection of thoughts I've already posted on this topic since my second kid came along over four years ago:
Additionally, here are some things other folks have written on the topic, suggested further reading (and a few things to listen to and watch) if you're looking for a "work less, make art" reader:
I think that's enough for now. A list of movies about characters who've quit their jobs or made some sort of big life change will likely follow. You can otherwise follow my journey right here. And here and here and here.