21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Happy Birthday Twilli

August 7th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

front_porch_twilliIt’s so cliché, but it’s so true. Having children sends you into a vortex where space and time get grossly distorted. My truest of true loves turns 2 today.

I never heard a more beautiful sound than her first cries as she made her explosive entry into the world. She was so tiny, delicate, and precious. I could be happy freezing any given moment and having her stay that way forever, yet I daydream about what she’d be like as a 2 year old, 5 year old, pre-teen, teenager, and a young woman. Time would stand still, especially when she was throwing one of her epic tantrums. Then we’d reach a milestone and realize how fast it all seemed to have gone by.

The first year was marked by dramatic physical changes. She grew to 3 times her birth weight. All that thick dark hair fell out and was slowly replaced by her current golden-brown locks. She cut her first teeth. She was one super-duper chubby-wubby obviously-breast-fed baby for a while. She started crawling, then cruising, then she took her tentative first steps without help from mommy or daddy.

Between ages 1 and 2, it gets really interesting. She is growing cognitively. The rate of physical growth slows, but continues. She looks so tiny and so huge all at the same time. Twilli started to talk. She could say a few words. You could clearly ascertain from the context that she knew what she was talking about vs. mimicking what she hears.

“Pretty!”

“More? More?”

“No.”

“Nurse! NURSE! NURSE!”

“Ooh, what’s this?”

“Daddy!”

“Mommy!”

Our relationship has moved into a new phase. We are communicating verbally. Lengthier conversational volleys are on the horizon.

As much as there is to teach, I have learned so much. I have opened my eyes to my own Korean heritage. I continue to eat garlic and insanely spicy food in large quantities. Twilli also enjoys some pretty spicy food for a toddler. There are many more lessons in store for me.

Still Subscribed

June 29th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad
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I unsubscribed from almost all of my feeds.

I still love you guys and gals. You now show up in my Google Reader instead of my inbox.

I can now consolidate all my RSS subscriptions in one place. My entire computing life is more streamlined now. Having a Google account gives me some cool online tools. I can squeeze even more functionality out of my non-smart phone.

If you’re not cool enough to have a smartphone, the next best thing is an unlimited text messaging plan connected your social media accounts.

Now that I have a Google account and iGoogle homepage that I’m actually using, I’m looking at Google’s SMS goodies even further. A detailed post about how I make my dumb phone smarter will be coming soon.

Happy Father’s Day

June 21st, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad
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Photo: Renee Holiday

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t post today. I want to shout out to a couple of guys who will be celebrating their first ever Father’s Days:

Pat, Chris, and Brandon (you guys know who you are). Welcome to the club! You think changing dirty diapers is fun now, wait til they start getting squirmy.

When I started this blog, I enjoyed the ad-hoc social network created around bloggers in one’s niche and interests. Now my social networking time is spent on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

With the transition from Florida to Tennessee, some plates stopped spinning. Some balls got dropped. My voice is even lower now. I get enough positive encouragement to continue this blog, albeit on a very sparse posting schedule. I’ve connected with several people through it, and continue to connect. Many of those connections have been carried through to my “big three” social networking sites. Is that kind of like owning the same album on 8-track, LP, cassette, CD, and mp3? Okay, I may not be old enough to have an 8-track player, but I do remember them. If I’m too old to shop at Abercrummy and Filth, then I’m certainly old enough to remember 8-tracks, or at least LPs.

Today is Father’s Day, a celebration of fatherhood and another opportunity for retailers to hawk their wares. While it’s a day to buy yet another barbecue grill set or another tie he won’t wear,  it’s a day to be the best dad you can be. Turn it up a notch or two, or three.

Say hi to some of these great dads out there in the blogosphere. Most are dad bloggers, but some are bloggers who happen to be dads.

The Tennessee Transition

June 5th, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

When we last left off here, I was preparing to move to Tennessee. A master of the obvious will tell you that I’m already here.

It has been a mostly painless transition. Taking care of things like getting a Tennessee driver’s license, registering my car (yes, I have a car now!), and getting administrivia taken care of is much easier in The Volunteer State.

You Live Where?

If you tell anyone who doesn’t live in Tennessee that you live anywhere else but Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and maybe Chatanooga, they think you live way out in the middle of nowhere.

The Job Market

Knox County has about 1/3rd of the population of Broward County and an even smaller fraction of what’s considered South Florida. One would think jobs would be even more scarce. It’s not the case. Take all the available jobs in South Florida. Subtract the ones that require you to speak Spanish. Now compare the job markets in Knoxville and South Florida. 1-0 Knoxville! If you include Oak Ridge, then prospects start looking better.

I wouldn’t mind having a regular job here. The pay is much more in line with the cost of housing here. With the pay scale being very close and a lower overall cost of living, it’s Knoxville 2, South Florida 0.

I could always use another freelance client. Know anyone who needs help with PowerPoint?

Culture Shock

I never knew customer service could be so good! Add a little southern charm and a smile, and your trip to Starbucks is just that much more pleasant. They say the pace of life is slower in the South. It has to be. The first 3 minutes of every conversation is almost always jockeying back and forth with different ways to say “how are you?” and “I’m doing fine, thank you!”

I stopped by Target in Clinton last week. (Again, Clinton sounds like it’s way out there. In reality, it’s only about 10 miles from Knoxville). I was looking around and Marisa Tomei’s voice spoke one of the many memorable lines from My Cousin Vinny. “Oh, you blend!” Within seconds of having that thought, I spy an entire Asian family. There’s a stronger Asian presence here than you would think!

I Don’t Need no Stinkin’ GPS

If I get a GPS, I’ll never learn my way around! I am a bit of a throwback. As connected to technology and web 2.0 as I am, the inner curmudgeon sits on my shoulder and speaks very loudly when I pass by the GPS units at the Super WalMart.

South Florida is laid out like a grid. Knoxville looks like what would happen if your toddler played Sim City. Planning ahead, Google Maps, maps of Oak Ridge and Knoxville, and I’m doing just fine.

Bad Drivers Are Everywhere

Ask anyone where the worst drivers are. They will invariably tell you it’s where they live. I’m disguised as a local, complete with a Tennessee license plate on a Jeep Grand Cherokee. You probably think that bad driver is a local. It’s really me – a recent transplant. I still have to say, South Florida wins this nefarious honor by a landslide. I turn on my blinker and in Tennessee, that means, “the car with the blinker on wants to turn or change lanes.” In Florida it means, “Let me finish typing this text message while I juggle my coffee and Mapquest printout.”

Making the Big Move

May 1st, 2009 . by 21st Century Dad

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Quittin’ Time

It’s hard to believe that I’m finally getting on the road next week. Today was my last day at the job, and now I’m officially an “unrestricted free agent.” One might think there are fewer opportunities in a less populated metropolitan area. However, if you don’t include the jobs in South Florida that require fluency in Spanish, Knoxville probably comes out ahead by a wide margin.

Movin’ Out

Mama Leone left a note on the door. She said, “Sonny, move to Tennessee.” Or something like that…

I have about a gazillion things to do. It feels like there’s a never-ending avalanche of stuff. I’ve been in this house for almost 10 years. How can so much stuff accumulate if the Super Target by my house has only been open for 2 years?

I’ve shared this house with my mother, 5 different roommates, Renee, 4 cats, Austin, and Twilli. Throughout the process of packing and purging, I’ve found items brought into this house by all of the people who have shared this house with me.

Vacuum Sealed for Freshness

vacuum_sealedPacking is a monumental task made only slightly less monumental with vacuum-seal storage bags. I compressed a king-size down duvet into a package the size of a briefcase!

I especially like the hanging suit bags. Back in December during phase 1 of the relocation, we packed up Twilli’s stuffed animals in a Space Bag. For whatever reason, the vacuum-sealed stuffed animals inspired a strange fascination. It was borderline morbid.

These vacuum-seal bags work great for storage too. There are only 2 seasons in Florida – summer and tourist. I didn’t need to store any winter clothes. These vacuum-seal bags are great for stashing your seasonal clothing. Winter clothes are bulky. Plus, you can lock in their freshness, just like those bricks of coffee you buy at the supermarket.

I do have to offer up a word of caution. One of my roommates used these when she was going home to Sweden. They expanded in her suitcase during the flight!

Hitting the Road

I don’t anticipate being able to do much writing over the next several weeks. However, you can catch up with me via Facebook and Twitter. Those social media outlets are far easier to update on the fly and during random spare moments. I will definitely be Tweeting from the road next week.

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