NOTE: Any time I put a proper name in quotation marks, that means I am using a pseudonym. I will try to do this the first time I use a pseudonym in any posting.

First of all, let me say that my two kids, “Chipper” (9 going on 10) and “Beth” (7 going on 8), and I made the two day, 700 mile journey from our previous home to North Cackalacka without incident. And, yes, we did blare Petey Pablo as we crossed over from West Virginny into NC. If I wasn’t driving, I would have taken my shirt off, twisted it around my head, and spun it like a helicopter.

We are currently separated from my wonderful wife of nearly 12 years, “Bella,” and our youngest son, “Lil Ricky” (4 going on 5), who are back in our previous home trying to sell our house. On the afternoon of our arrival, we moved into our 3 bedroom apartment. We had more clothes than any person has a right to own, but only one folding chair and a card table for furniture. A quick trip to Wal-Mart got me an inflatable twin matress, which doubles as a sofa when we’re watching TV. The kids both sleep on the floor. I told them it is fun, like camping! They don’t seem to find it as uncomfortable as I would. Of course, they have less body mass pressing down on the wood floors to make themselves uncomfortable.

On the domestic front, I am feeling some pressure from being entirely responsible for getting them three meals a day. We’ve been eating healthy cereal for breakfast and they have gotten good lunches to take to school so far (we’re 3 days in). Dinner has been typical of my diet during college: hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, pizza, and hamburgers. I should say that they also have to eat vegetables with every dinner, so it’s not terrible.

On a brighter note, we now have cable TV for the first time since 1991, which is good for kids shows, sports, and movies, but otherwise is a total — but irresistable — waste of time. Why was I up at 2:00 am flipping back and forth between “Iron Chef,” professional wrestling, and “The Real World”? Because it was there! For the past 13 years, the bulk of my knowledge of popular culture has come through print media (magazines and the New York Times) or students. I don’t know what’s going to happen now that I can access this culture directly.

Although we’ve been here less than a full week, our weekday routine is as follows: I’m up at 6 or 6:30 am to shower and get dressed. The kids are up at 6:30 or 7 am for breakfast. We head out for the bus around 7:45 (it picks them up about 100 yards from our apartment). I then make the 6 minute walk up to my office where I work until 3 pm when I head back to the bus stop to get the kids. Of course, since I work more than 35 hours a week, I put in more hours after the kids go to bed at 8 pm.

Overall, I’m excited to be here and to get started on my new professional and personal life. Of course, our time here hasn’t been without disappointment. I took the kids to Pig Pickin’s the other day for some bar-b-que and they told us they were out of pig. No ribs, no tips, no pulled pork. Nothing. How is a father supposed to explain to his children why they have no pig at Pig Pickin’s? Well, no one said being a parent is easy.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for my reflections on the previous 7 years and my thoughts looking to the future. Slappy is outtie.

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