Stalking the Epilogue

Posting about Mrs. de Winter and addressing her openly yesterday was nerve wracking.  My natural response to conflict is to curl up and make myself as small of a target as possible.  Bringing this issue to light had as good of a chance of escalating matters as it did of resolving it.  Add in the issues I’ve been having over the last few months with feeling safe, and I was a bit of a wreck when I hit post.

Several friends offered suggestions on how to deal with this: mainly to document everything.  One, Priya, advised letting Stephan’s ex know what was going on.  I really didn’t think that would help.  Honestly, I was stuck in a mindset of fear and anger that all my months of work to feel safe had been undermined by someone I had never met.  Writing that post was as much as I was capable of.   And when the commenting started up again, I felt I had made a horrible mistake.  Rather than nipping the unpleasantness in the bud, I had fed the troll.

That’s when Stephan stepped in.

As can be guessed from his Viking Dad moniker, Stephan doesn’t shrink from confrontation.  Instead he puffs out his chest and says, “Come at me, bro.”  He wrote Mrs. de Winter, her husband (who we had believed to be the author of one of the comments*), and his ex.  What followed was an unpleasant back and forth that established:

  1. Mrs. de Winter has no desire for a resolution with Stephan.
  2. Nonetheless he shouldn’t hear from her again (although whether this means she’ll never comment here again, or e-mail him was not made clear).
  3. Stephan’s ex had no idea this was going on. She offered that she thinks Mrs. de Winter is acting out of love and did offer to talk to her friend and clear some things up.
  4. Like many people, Mrs. de Winter doesn’t have a good understanding on what constitutes libel.  Posting, say, that there is a warrant out for someone’s arrest when there is no such warrant is a libelous statement.
  5. Mrs. de Winter’s husband doesn’t care “what Stone Age gods” we worship.  This actually has nothing to do with the situation.  I just thought the religious bigotry (coming from out of nowhere in the conversation) is funny in its confusion.**

It is clear that this will most likely never end.  Mrs. de Winter and her friends will probably continue to read this blog.  There’s not much I can do about that.  I considered the idea of quitting; just stop posting to the site and retreat once again to the safety of Facebook.  If I can face the challenges of going against the norm when it comes to other aspects of my life, I should be up to the challenge of doing so under the scrutiny of someone who harbors my family ill will.  Stephan and my friends have my back, which makes a difference.

So this is less of an epilogue as an unsatisfactory denouement, I guess.  I promise the next post from me will be much more fun, and much more satisfying.

 


*It turned out we were wrong on that point.  Apparently, Mrs. de Winter recruited friends to read and comment on the site.

**If our religious practices are so offensive just how upset would he be if he knew, for example, I’m bisexual, or that we’re pro-choice, or that we’re practically socialists in our politics. The list of ways in which our beliefs go against mid-Western norms is long and varied after all.

How to talk about your stalker when she isn’t stalking you

I have dealt with my fair share of unpleasantness online.  As a publisher there was rape writer: an author who sent graphically written rape scenes to Miscellanea.  At least l think they were meant for that market, he never included a cover letter or anything else to indicate it was a submission.  There was the writer whose cover letter consisted of “I’ve been doing some writing since I’ve been institutionalized.”  There was the man who became angry when I didn’t respond to his offers and suggestions on how I could improve my business plan.  That one I had to eventually block.

Offline I have dealt with what I called my convention creepers: men in my LARP community who had a hard time distinguishing between their in character interactions with me and the out of character reality.  I could tell them, “Hey, your attentions are making me uncomfortable, so could you please back off?”  Most of the time that worked.  And the couple of times it didn’t, Stephan would step in and scare them off.

Last night two comments were posted to this site.  They came from two different e-mail addresses and under two different names, but the content was similar, and familiar.  I showed them to Stephan who laughed and rolled his eyes.  Mrs. de Winter was back in our lives.

Mrs. de Winter* first came to my attention in 2008, I think.  I was on LiveJournal back then, posting about costuming and sewing.  I saw a new profile looking at my journal … a lot.  These were weekly, sometimes daily visits.  It seemed a bit weird, but I didn’t give it too much thought until one day when Stephan saw her profile picture.  “That’s Mrs. de Winter,” he said.  Who?  It turned out that my new #1 fan was a friend of Stephan’s ex.  What had just been weird became a little concerning.  “She’s into fashion, maybe that’s why she’s reading your journal,” Stephan suggested, trying, I think, to make me feel better.  Maybe.  In case not, however, I blocked her from commenting on my journal.  It was a precaution against my space becoming a drama-soaked battle ground.

Over the years it became clear that Mrs. de Winter wasn’t reading my journal for my thoughts on corsets and publishing.  The first place I mentioned my pregnancy was in an entry there.  A day later Stephan’s ex wrote to him about it.  I began to censor myself, not posting as much about upcoming conventions, especially ones we attended in Michigan.  Part of me felt I was making a big deal about nothing.  So she was reading my journal, so what?

But she was reading my journal because Stephan didn’t have an accessible internet presence.  His Facebook, like my own, is locked down.  For years the only way Mrs. de Winter could get any information about him was through me.  I stopped using LiveJournal a couple of times, letting months, even years, pass between entries.  No matter how long the hiatus, though, within a week or so of posting, she would be back, peeking into a part of my life that I had chosen to make public.

Over the years it is clear that this vicarious creeping has affected the way I interact online.  I think twice about what personal information I post online.  I abandoned LiveJournal altogether.  I don’t post pictures of my children’s faces in public because I don’t want her knowing what they look like.

Last night, reading the two angry comments, I was nauseous and near tears.  The content wasn’t aimed at me (except in the most oblique way), nonetheless it was upsetting.  This site is supposed to be a safe, positive place.  With two comments that safety was shredded.  I am once again reconsidering posting our upcoming events.  I will be telling our daughter again that no one but her parents are ever to pick her up from school.  And again, a part of me thinks I am overreacting.  To hold onto this much animosity after seven years, though, is irrational.  Who knows how much further she would take things, given the chance?

Blocking her, ignoring her, deleting her comments, none of it has made a difference after seven years.  And so, I’m taking a different approach this snowy morning.

Dear Mrs. de Winter: I don’t know you, nor do you know me.  We’ve never met.  Never even exchanged a word.  But you’ve been a part of my life for almost a decade.  I want you to know that I hold you no animosity, no anger, no hatred.  I don’t know you, so how could I have any feelings for you?  I do feel fear though.  Your attentions makes me feel unsafe, it makes me fear for my children.  All you have done all these years has been to watch me, and it scares me.

Please know none of your comments will ever see the light of day on this site.  Comment moderation was turned on when it was first set up and I will never approve anything you write.  This is to your benefit, as one of your posts last night was libelous.  I have, however, taken screenshots of the comments, and will do so with any future ones, to hold on to in case I need to build a legal case.  I do not wish for it to come to that, however.

I do believe you think you are being a good friend.  Your loyalty is commendable, but any hurt Stephan may have caused is between him and his ex.  You are overstepping your bounds.  It is said that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  Perhaps it is time to let your anger go.

Please leave us alone.

I wish nothing but the best for you.

Blessed be.

 

 


*Not her real name.

Setting Fire to the Past

I’ve made so many moves over the years it’s hard to keep track of them all.  Besides the physical moves I’ve made—from Wyoming to Chicago and various suburbs thereof—I’ve made personal, emotional and relationship changes.  It is surprising how much distance one can cover without ever having to take a step.

Through all these moves I’ve carried a trunk with me.  It was a high school graduation present from my grandparents.  The trunk has been a bench, a footstool, and a table, as well as being the holder of those things I couldn’t bear to toss, but had no need to be out in the open.  Journals, letters, cards, old ids, and other ephemera.  For the past couple of years it has sat under my desk, home to the garbage can and a laptop that I don’t use any more.  I haven’t opened it, partly because I haven’t had anything to squirrel away (e-mail, Facebook and WordPress has digitized much of my correspondence and thoughts); but also because it is full.

In mid-December I dragged the trunk out.  I was looking for a notebook, and was certain it had to be there.  This happens on occasion. I’ll be seized by a need to find something and I tear apart the house in search of it.  Usually, I fail to find whatever Lost Ark I’m chasing; if it were still around I would have found it easily.  I’m then stuck with a mess and a heavy weight of frustration that my quarry managed to escape the nets of my organization zeal.

This time was no different.  The notebook, and the information therein, was nowhere to be seen.  In my digging through the trunk, I flipped through the dozen-plus journals there.  They were varied: cloth covered ones bought in a three pack from Sam’s Club in the early 90s, spiral bound ones from Borders, “leather” covered ones, five subject Mead notebooks, even a manila envelope stuffed full of loose-leaf paper.  This represented more than a decade of my life: from about 1995 to 2005.   There were some random pages from earlier and later, but the bulk of my regular journaling ended shortly after Charlotte was born.

As I flipped through the pages all I read was misery.  Every randomly picked page was a chronicle of how desperately unhappy I was.  Did I write only when I was upset? Or did I only write of my unhappiness because that’s all there was? I think a little more of the former than the latter, but there was no denying that what I had committed to the pages was unpleasant.  I wanted to reach out to my past self and tell her that it was going to get better … in a way.  I can’t reach her, though.  She is in the past and trying to cast back would only slow down the momentum I have gained.

But I didn’t have to keep carrying the millstone of unhappiness.  What did I gain by keeping these journals around? Evidence of my unhappiness during that time?  Did I really need it?  I had my memories, if ever I wanted to revisit them.  Which, again, wasn’t going to help me move forward.  I had learned all I could from that time.  There was nothing more these journals could tell me about myself.

I grabbed two cardboard boxes and filled them.  The letters, cards, notes, pictures and miscellaneous bits and bobs stayed.  The journals went.  For the first time in years there was room in the trunk.  Room for more pleasant keepsakes: love notes from Stephan, birthday cards from my children, perhaps even a letter to my future self, telling her that I am okay.  She can let me go and move on.

The first of January I took the journals out to the fire pit and burned them.  The day was sunny, if cold, and windy.  Despite the helpful nature of the weather, burning a decade’s worth of misery isn’t easy, even when it is bound in paper.  You can’t just set fire to your past and walk away.  You have to tend to it, or else it won’t be fully destroyed.  Blackened bits of paper constantly tried to escape, flying high and forcing me to run around the yard to catch them.  Some were still burning and had to be stomped out.  I had to open up the journals with a poker to make sure all the pages burned.  I got a surprising, and disturbing, insight into just what goes into a book burning.

The whole process took three or four hours.  As I worked I kept thinking, “This is who I was, but it is not who I am now.”  As the paper turned to ash, I felt the truth of it more and more. I returned to the house cold, smelling of smoke, my hair peppered with ashes.  I can’t say if I have completely divorced myself from the misery of those past years.  However, I won’t have those words sitting at my feet, their ambient unpleasantness influencing me.  And if that isn’t a solution, it’s at least a start.

 

Who is Viking Dad? (in about 750 words)

Well, I can start by saying that I’m not the guy in the YouTube video of the same name. That’s a start.  I was adopted, raised in Michigan, spending the school year in the lower peninsula and the summers in the upper peninsula.  I also, with this blog as a record, am living for and through my family.

Born in 1970, I displayed signs of Alopecia Totalis (meaning I have no body hair at all) starting when I was two years old.  It made elementary school a bit rough, as even those children in the minority still had each other, where I was the only one with that condition.  I found the wonderful worlds of Gary Gygax (Dungeons and Dragons) in the summer of 1980 (I was 9) and embraced it whole-heartedly.

I also went through an awkward (just like everyone else) time in that social circus we call junior and high school.  I was not the average kid. I didn’t like or play sports, I didn’t have an affinity for anything other than escapism by not really being present in my own world and substituted by living in a fantasy world.  Thanks to R.A. Salvatore, in the mid to late 1980’s I had a realm to escape to.

I had anger management issues. Having been picked on and made fun of my entire childhood and adolescence (and not having a solid sense of self at all, nor any confidence to be able to shrug it off as I desperately wanted to be a part of a group, to feel like I belonged), I repressed all that hurt and anger.  I then found an outlet for it, though it was unhealthy and hurtful.  I worked out lifting weights (not all that bad), trained a bit as a boxer (still not all that bad) and then started picking fights (bad).   Being beaten within an inch of my life (maybe a little bit less than) by several people put things into perspective for me.

I turned to theatre.  I got a scholarship at the local community college and started succeeding. I transferred to a four year university and at the direction of everyone other than myself, I failed. I moved around, got married, got divorced, moved some more, tried again and this time got my B.A. in Theatre and started feeling really good.

Then I went to graduate school and it all went downhill again. I moved around some more, got married again.  I found solace in escapism once more, in the worlds of darkness presented by the NPO (then) called the Camarilla, now known as the Mind’s Eye Society.  Things went downhill once more and I got divorced… again.

It wasn’t all bad, though.  I met the shield-maiden in the Cam/MES and it has lead to the happiest, healthiest, most fun relationship I’ve ever been in (going on seven years now, married for five of them).

In 2008 I moved to the Chicagoland area, in 2009 I married the shield-maiden and in 2011, our son, Benjamin (aka Benvolio, Viking in Training) was born.  He has an older half-sister from the shield-maiden’s previous marriage.

Together the four of us work to not just survive, but thrive and live in this world.  We are trying to live creatively, choosing happiness over struggle.  We are in debt, always. We have struggles, perpetually.  We have bills, things breaking down, issues and obstacles from both of us having previous marriages.

Despite all that, we choose to embrace the moments of happiness instead of dwelling on the struggles.  The moments shared playing and working together:  Bonding over Minecraft and Nachos; Planning for the future of training with swords and archery.  In the process of teaching, I am learning the real life issues of helping my children grow up in a world that is nothing like the one I grew up in.

My children see me working on tasks that break stereotypes.  I cook, I bake, I do dishes, I do laundry. I make their lunches, and help with the homework.  I bake bread for our family two to three times a week.  I make sure the kids have a decent breakfast.  I play with them and involve myself in their creativeness.  I say, “Yes, and…” (most of the time).

Today, Ben turns 4.  Today celebrates over 1200 days of successfully raising our son and helping him survive (despite our setbacks and failures during that time).

Today, we have birthday cake for breakfast.  Happiness.

Find your moment of happiness and embrace it!

 

Making it Work: Nickels and Dimes

We’re a month into the grand plan.  December being fairly low key, with only one semi-disaster, I feel we got a decent baseline on income potential outside of conventions.  The following is our net income from our creative efforts in December:

Etsy Sales $103.94
Amazon Royalties $1.40
Survey Gift Cards $25.00
Total $130.34

The Etsy sales are pretty self-explanatory. The majority of that revenue went to paying for the new cutting table and a cutting mat.

The Amazon royalties come from two books Stephan and I wrote and self-published  a couple of years ago.  We never did any sort of promotion for them, and they usually net us a couple of bucks a month.  Our goal up until this point has been to get enough in royalties to pay for a bottle or two of wine.  Maybe 2015 will see that goal reached.

The gift cards come from doing online surveys.  They don’t really count as coming from our creative endeavors, but I include them anyway.  They are helpful in getting supplies (like the 1 lb of dice we bought for Midwinter).  And we are stocking them up for birthday gifts and perhaps the fourth season of Game of Thrones when it comes out in February.

It’s clear that our income is going to come from various sources.  There’s not going to be a single paycheck every two weeks.  As the months go on we’ll be adding more revenue channels: Amazon Affiliate links, an Etsy store for Stephan, e-book design services from me, perhaps even a Patreon account.  We will make every little bit count.  And I will keep chronicling our revenue.

The Zombie in the Basement and the Gremlin in my Head

To say that I have been happy the last few weeks feels like I am confessing a horrible secret.  It took forever to admit it to myself, let along to say it out loud—even to Stephan.  I feel guilty about my happiness.  Jerk Brain pipes up immediately to point out that I don’t deserve to be happy.  There are many reasons, the topmost being that I haven’t fulfilled my duties with regards to Eggplant and the Spellbound & Spindles anthologies.  No matter that there’s nothing I can do at the moment.  I am waiting on the printer.  Jerk Brain counters with the argument that I wouldn’t be waiting on the printer if I had gotten this done in a timely manner.  Ergo: I shouldn’t dare be happy with that unresolved business shambling around in the basement like a zombie I’ve trapped but have yet to dispatch.

More than the anthologies, though, the admission that I am happier than I have been for years brings up the question of why I was so unhappy.  When I reopened Eggplant I viewed it as a return to what I loved.  As time passes, I have started to view that move as a step backward.  With every bag I sew, every pattern I draft, I see that I never let myself enjoy my work as a costumer.  I looked at it as what I was doing to get by until I could do something “meaningful” again.  And now I find that I enjoy the sewing so much more than I did running Eggplant.

I have struggled to admit all of this.  It can be taken to mean that I regret going back to publishing, and that’s not what I am saying.  I’m glad I reopened Eggplant, even if I had to close it down again.  I am so very proud of what I published, and I won’t have to live with the regret of not having tried it again.  Still, it is clear that Eggplant was a way station on my journey, one that I wasn’t meant to revisit.

Until I can finish all of the Eggplant business I will continue to argue with Jerk Brain.  It’s a tenacious little gremlin, one that knows all of my insecurities and weaknesses.  That’s why it’s attacks are so successful.   And that is why I have decided to publicly admit that I’m happy.  One of Jerk Brain’s tactics is the fear of being judged by others for my happiness.  I make this admission to cut the legs out from under one of the gremlin’s most effective barbs.  And perhaps once I have laid that zombie to rest I will be able to banish Jerk Brain to the back closet of my mind.  If not, at least it can’t use my happiness against me any more.

Pink Shoes

Our son, Benjamin, is a little dynamo of a kid.  At three, his personality is oftentimes bigger than his body.  It’s delightful and frustrating and mesmerizing at once.  He’s a kid of varied interests: robots, planes, princesses, Star Wars, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, baby animals, jewelry, Legos, the colors blue and pink.  He likes to throw himself down, pretending to “die”.  He rough-houses with his father.  His current best imaginary friend is Princess Leia, who more often than not is symbolized by a Lego minfigure he constantly “dresses” with different torsos, feet and hair styles.  She always, however, has one of the two girl heads we have.*

We took Benjamin shoe shopping last month.  As his current pair of sneakers were being held together by the sheer force of his personality, it was time to upgrade.  Thanks to the generosity of others, we hadn’t needed to go shoe shopping for him before.  We hit the local Meijer and headed to the kids’ shoe section.  Upon arrival, Ben immediately pointed out the pink shoes.  He didn’t even look at the others: those were the ones he wanted.

Watching my golden-haired boy, I felt a twist of fear in my gut.  I thought of all the articles I had read over the years about boys being bullied for liking My Little Pony, or for having long hair, or for any number of other ways they might deviate from accepted gender norms.  He’s only three, not even in preschool yet, but I was already preparing myself for the unkindness the world could hurl at a person who is different.  I hated that fear.  We are trying to raise Ben to be free of gender norms, to be himself and to feel free to express himself without fear.  But I couldn’t stop the reluctance inside of me, even as I said, “Okay.”

Stephan agreed.  If his son—who is constantly mistaken for a girl—wants pink shoes, then pink shoes he’ll have.

We were getting ready to go check out, when another pair of shoes caught Ben’s attention.  They are blue and light up.  The first pair, no matter how pink and pretty, couldn’t compare to shoes that light up.  Ben changed his mind.  And I felt relief.  And I felt betrayed by my relief.

Raising Ben (and Charlotte) as we are is a constant learning—and unlearning—process, one we are committed to.  Should Ben want pink shoes the next time, it will be a little easier, I think.  Baby steps.  Or in this case toddler steps.


*That we only have two girl heads (three if you count the Lego McGonagall, which Ben doesn’t) and 3 billion + “boy” heads is pretty damn annoying.

Making it Work: The First Obstacle

Our plan is pretty solid: I sew like a despondent Disney princess.  Then, instead of hitting multiple small conventions throughout the year (as I did before) I only vend at one or two large conventions.  In theory this gives me time to make plenty of stock, and will let us walk out of a convention with a fat stack of cash.  There’s plenty of risk with this plan, though.  It means that our cash flow is severely low for months.  As we are living hand-to-mouth as it is, we don’t have any room for the unexpected.

Which, of course means the unexpected happened last week.  I was working in the workshop when my cutting table collapsed.  It was a slow motion sort of disintegration, like a building that had been dynamited.  I stood next to it torn between laughter and annoyance. Continue reading Making it Work: The First Obstacle

A Day in the Life – VikingDad

This site, this blog, was intended to display our creative outlet for those who are interested in what we do, those that are in similar situations, or just looking for information on those sometimes Herculean obstacles we overcome in our life’s journey.

What would that be without having some insight into who we are and what it is we deal with on a daily basis but words on a page?

To dispel that notion, let me share with you what an average day in the life of VikingDad looks like:

Midnight – I will have been asleep for about an hour or so at this point, so not much going on.  I am a light sleeper, so I wear earplugs.

4:30AM – Generally around this time, Enya, one of our elderly dogs generally wakes up at this time and tries to get us to feed her.  Now, this time is fluid.  It’s sometimes as early as 12:30AM, and rarely ever is it after this time.  Granted, on those days she gets us up before 4:30, it’s due to her ears (she sometimes has infections so they need to be cleaned regularly) and just letting her out and then sleeping with her on the couch until 4:30 does the trick.  The shield-maiden usually takes the bulk of this (thankfully for me) as the couch is just a bit too short for me to stretch out.  Alternatively, I get up and take Enya for a jog at this time, usually two to three times a week. For simplicity sake, let us say that this is not one of those days. So currently I have gone back to bed.

6:00AM – Benvolio wakes up.  This is also fluid. Sometimes it’s as early as 5:00, other times, it’s as late as 7:00, but this is the general time frame.  He then comes looking for me.  We get up and I relieve the shield-maiden from couch duty to let her go back to sleep in an actual bed.   I get moving, feed Trixie, the other elder dog, and then go about getting breakfast ready for both children.  Charlotte is often still asleep at this time (though there are the infrequent mornings she gets up at 4:30 or 5:00 to come out and get some alone time with Minecraft on the Xbox).  For simplicity sake, let us say that this is not one of those days.  I also, at this time, make sure that Charlotte’s lunch for school is packed.  We try to make sure she has at least one veggie and one fruit, doubling up on one or the other to accompany her sandwich.  I am also certain to have prepped the shield-maiden’s caffeine (Wild Strawberry Crystal Light Energy packet).

7:00AM – Breakfast.  Charlotte and Ben and I have breakfast to the sultry sound of Clone Wars on Netflix.   I make sure that they stay on task and not get too enraptured with the television.  I also make sure that Charlotte is ready for school.

8:00AM – Charlotte is off to school, Ben is being occupied and I am organizing my day (and doing some form of calisthenics), taking care of administrative tasks (either doing a rune draw, or filing requisite paperwork, answering email and doing research).

9:00AM – I have woken the shield-maiden up at this time and after making certain we have all eaten and are prepared for our day.  I’ve also usually started the laundry at this time.  Once all the requisites have gotten out of the way (and Ben has proudly proclaimed his successful use of the potty), we check our white board for our tasks for the day and start on them.  This is the start of where one or the other of us get the bulk of our physical work done (sewing craft for the shield-maiden and wood or chain craft for myself).

NOTE: We try to organize our weekly goals and daily tasks in order to achieve them on a whiteboard in our office.  It’s extremely handy.  The key to remember is to schedule the beginning heavy and the end light… and to be forgiving of yourself since things come up that limit what you can do in a day and if something needs to be pushed off until tomorrow, that’s OK.

12:30PM – By this time, one or the other of us have been on point with Benvolio so that the other can get work done, or he’s been able to entertain himself for a bit while we both collaborate on a task for a few minutes. I then go and prep lunch.  More often than not, it’s for the three of us, but occasionally there are scheduling things that mean it’s just for Ben and me. For simplicity sake, let us say that this is not one of those days.

1:00PM – LUNCH!!!! Not as exciting as I make it sound, but it usually takes forty-five minutes from start to finish for Ben to complete the entirety of his lunch.

2:00PM – QUIET TIME!!!!!!! OK, the theory of this is REALLY exciting for us parents.  Since Ben doesn’t nap any longer, he understands that this is his quiet time. Usually it means playing on his leapster, or getting to watch a movie or something, but that this is the time when (since one or the other of us have played with him for the better part of the morning) he entertains himself.  This is better in theory than in practice, however.  One or the other of us is working in the family room with him, so we’re in proximity while he does so.

4:00PM – RELEASE THE BENVOLIO!!!! Benvolio, who has been entertaining himself for the better part of this time is (usually quite literally) screaming for human interaction.  Charlotte is now home from school and she gets to work on her chores (emptying the dishwasher and her lunchbox) and then homework, after a short snack for her and Ben.  I then take point on Benvolio and the shield-maiden hits the workshop if she’s not there already.

5:00PM – Feed the hounds.

6:00PM – The shield-maiden then generally gets dinner started (NOTE: we’ve also got a whiteboard in the kitchen with dinner plans and grocery lists… yup, another whiteboard… sensing a theme?).  This time is also a bit fluid.  At this point, if Charlotte is done with her homework, she and Benvolio get some Xbox time together.  This gives me a bit of time to also catch up on email, social media posts, etc…

7:00PM – DINNER!!!!! We have a dinner together where we talk about our day.

7:30PM – Bath/Bedtime for the Benvolio.  I would normally put this in all caps, because really, it’s an exciting time, but I’m usually too exhausted by this point to be really excited about much.

8:00PM – Charlotte gets about half an hour or so of alone time on the Xbox.

9:00PM – PARENTAL FREE TIME!!!! I have regained a tad bit of energy and now am able to be excited about sitting down with the shield-maiden, having a glass of red wine and either working on collaborative projects or simply enjoying an episode of something on Netflix.

10:30PM – BEDTIME!!!! I try to be in bed at this time, but usually it’s more towards 11.

There you have it… a day in the life of VikingDad!