I stretched awake one Monday morning sometime in late September and decided that I’d take the week off to tackle a backlogged to-do list. With the due date of my first child looming on the near horizon, there were things I had to get done before she was born and other things I certainly wouldn’t have time to do once she was here. This list included baby things (washing all of our little girl’s new clothes, reminding my wife to order a breast pump through her insurance, packing my hospital bag, making space in the kitchen cupboards for her baby supplies, installing car seats, etc.) and things not directly about baby (replacing the brakes on my car and getting the radiator flushed plus the interior detailed, reorganizing emergency supplies, figuring out my insurance due to a change of ownership at work, getting the dry cleaning done, scheduling myself an eye exam, taking the dog to the groomers, and having the dog spayed due to a false pregnancy lasting over a month), plus myriad other items I’m not remembering on top of the usual cooking and cleaning, online birthing classes and doctor’s visits, Hello, Author reading, and my relaxing evening book time.
Luckily, most of the major baby things (like flipping the guest room into a nursery) had been taken care of well before this “week” of to-do list tackling. Nonetheless, that week stretched into over a month. My to-do list not only took me longer to accomplish than I expected, but it seemed to grow with new additions by each Friday’s end. I finally slowed down, finished reading a fantastic western by Oakley Hall, and picked up my book for future dads only to learn that the next thing I’d likely do is tackle any to-do projects I’d been putting off. Apparently this is the paternal version of nesting, and I’d been nesting hard.
Well, that to-do listing last pretty much until the day our daughter was born. And since then, it’s been baby bootcamp. Well, also baby cuddle time.
So, uh, am I ever gonna get back to writing? Perhaps. It’s 2022 and I’ve got the same old things on my plate: write, edit, consider consistently posting to social media. But I’m also looking for a new job. Yes, babies cost a lot of money—so considering a new line of work wasn’t off the table—but my current job provides me with the perfect hours to avoid the need for shipping our bundle of cute and poop off to daycare. My current job is ideal really. Well, it was, until I caught wind of potential position that would more than double my family’s income and provide more or less commensurate hours. Still, I love this job and how darn easy it is. Easy except for when the customers try to kill you.
Yep, you read that right. Easy except for when the customers try to kill you. A guy went after me with a knife last Sunday. Why? Because we were out of hard boiled eggs. He got up in my face and was like What you gonna do about it? I told him I’d make some more (I normally wouldn’t so close to closing, but whatever). Well, instead of waiting for fresh and delicious eggs, he decided to curse at me and the hotel with some very crude language. At this point I told him he had 15 minutes to pack up his room and leave the property. He got quiet then, and a cold countenance turned the previously angry face into a violent nothingness. I started stepping back and watched as a knife flip open in his pocket.
At this point everything happened rather fast. Through some instinct, I contorted my body in a way to keep my soft parts as far from him as possible and had my arms way out in front of me, all the while apparently moving back toward the office door where I could lock myself inside. I also screamed “I’m sorry!” which paused his advance just long enough for me to get inside the door without harm.
The man was crazy. He began crying and giving me a sob story about being homeless for the past three weeks. I did not end up pressing charges so that he could spend his time talking to mental health counselor instead of in jail, which, yes he deserved, but which also wouldn’t have helped him. Yeah, the man needs to not do these kinds of things, but he’ll continue to do them until he gets some sort of mental health help.
If only this wasn’t the only incident in 2021. Since I began this job over seven years ago, I’ve met my fair share of belligerent, crazy, and downright rude people. I’ve also met some super sweet folk. The fact that not only coworkers, but four guests gave gifts when Cora was born proves that there’s more good than bad here. But my life is worth more than $12 an hour. And it wasn’t too many months ago that a guy I told to get packing did pack away everything but his gun. Instead of entering his room when it was evident that he was still in there, I decided to call the police. While I did not know he had a gun, something told me the mother fucker was in there waiting to shoot me. I was right. The first thing the police did when they entered his room was ask him why he was sitting there with a gun. He had his bag ready to go and his gun ready to go off. Yeah, a real nice piece of human trash. Reason I was kicking him out: he was attempting to pick fights with other guests.
I love this place but, if I’m realistic, I could have died over hard boiled eggs. HARD BOILED EGGS. Fuck that. I’m done.
So now I have the prospect of a new job plus all the time and energy that goes into raising a baby. But I do intend to get back to writing. I already know I’ll be spending less time than before on my novels and short stories. Not only because of job and baby, but because it’s a new year. It’s 2022 and, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not the person I want to be. There’s things about myself I want to work on beyond my creative output. And, in fact, I’m putting that first. Because I can’t be happy with me or even with me as a successful writer until those aspects of my potential I haven’t honed are indulged. So I’m going to indulge in myself this year. I’m going to make my baby girl proud to have me as her father. I want the dad she’ll come to known to be a different man than the one I am now.
And I already know this is going to be a great year. My first email of 2022 was an acceptance letter for Bright Moon Over Lover’s Bridge. So let’s celebrate the beginning of this new year with a book and a beverage. Cheers!