Californication: I’m Not The Average Dad

Palm trees never get old compared to naked maple trees in Indiana during the winter months!

Day three in sunny San Diego, and I’m checking real estate prices about a future transfer to this literal paradise on earth.  That was until I found out a 200-square foot outhouse with no plumbing was roughly $25,000 a month.  Seriously what is considered “middle class” in San Diego?  I make a decent living in my little Midwest utopia, and I would be dumpster diving and shopping at Goodwill just to keep myself fed and clothed.  I guess my living arrangements would be drifting from beach to beach and finding a rock to hide under during inclement weather.  Showers would be optional, I suppose.  Coming soon:  Skipah the new age hippie!

It was Day One of the Dads 2.0 Summit, and there was a host of activities, sponsor engagements, and good old fashioned dad talk.  First though, I learned that I was suddenly thrust into the free public parking world championships.  If anybody has ever ventured into San Diego, you know that parking became expensive in probably 1950.  To compensate they offer plenty of free parking, the problem is residents/tourists outnumber available spaces by roughly a 200 to 1 margin.  After driving the equivalent of seven miles and not finding a spot within walking distance to the Hyatt conference center, I broke down and settled for the lucrative all expenses paid (by me) hotel parking garage.  At least the views were scenic.

I can not confirm or deny rumors of my fellow dads having a water balloon launching party from the top floor.

First stop for me was to get #RheemReady and give my two cents on home improvement with Josh Temple of HGTV’s House Crashers, who was there bringing attention to Rheem’s brand new EcoNet System.  Think NASA infiltrated the modern-day water heater, and you get an idea of how neat this system is.  Josh himself was cooler than the The Fonz and off the camera asked more personal questions about my situation (in a good way) than an interviewer for the Rhodes Scholarship.

One has a face for T.V. the other has a face made for radio!  #RheemReady was great for the whole conference.

Since that was my only “scheduled” sponsor meet and greet that day (more to come the next day), it was off to take in some dad speak at the various breakout sessions they were holding.  After about ten minutes though, I figured out one thing.  I’m not these guys.

We are all the same in that we can write our name in the snow if our bladder is on overload, but few must deal with what I deal with when it comes to parenting.  I’m not jealous or begrudging one bit, and it makes me smile ear to ear to hear of intact families and what it means to be a dad and all the kumbaya with family.  The divorced guys that have found a new life with an upgraded new wife, I can fully understand (I’ve upgraded also, it’s the most beautiful thing about karma).  The difference is those guys have at least a working/manageable situation with their other baby mamas.  That’s nothing short of a pipe dream for me at this stage of my fathering career.  I have my own “new” kids to look after but nothing ever replaces your own biological offspring.  In a word, all I can say it “sucks” since at the time I had seen my daughter exactly once since January 4th.

Cooperation/Co-Parenting for me consists of getting a timely response to a text message after learning from someone other than my baby mama that a school event is taking place.  Before anybody reminds me that this is the digital age and all school activities should be online, I introduce you to the Anderson County, KY school system.  Supposedly, the teachers there don’t even have the capabilities to even email me any documentation concerning my daughter.  So, to think their school webpage is up to date would be naïve or just plain stupid.

My daughter goes to the doctor or dentist, I don’t hear about it until the E.O.B. (that’s Explanation of Benefits, novices) arrives in the mail, and then I must start asking questions before I get answers.  I live 90 minutes away from my daughter and at times it feels like 900 miles.  So, to say I related to these great achievements in fatherhood while sitting in a room full of people that haven’t walked a day in my shoes, it was tough for me to take and not get choked up or even more bitter that my daughter was unlawfully ripped away from me against her will because her dad ran out of money.

It was really about the only downer for me the whole week, but what better way to cheer me up than to go see more of San Diego!  After bidding farewell for the afternoon to the conference, it was off to Mission Bay to see if I could hop a ride on Shamu at SeaWorld or to see the gift shops and do a little shopping #tourist. The gold plated nirvana that is known as SeaWorld thought otherwise, as even attempting to shop there requires a full day’s admission.  So this guy instead headed off in his quest to devour his weight in fish tacos.

No fish tacos this particular time, but instead I settled on some shrimp ceviche!

Miss Madison, in her quest to keep Skipah’s frown turned upside down (she does every day), suggested I go catch some live music and just chillax for a while.  I thought, “What a grand idea,” until the place she looked up was way too close to Mexico and traffic in that direction was doubling as four-wheeled mannequins.  Since I didn’t want to wake up in a bathroom filled with ice cubes with a sign saying call 911, I avoided going near Mexico.  If you need a reference of what I’m referring to click here.

So, next I turned to my on-location tour guide, and she suggested I go hit the Gaslamp district in my quest to hear all things acoustically pleasing to the ear.  What she didn’t tell me was that I need to be 25, with DiCaprio looks and a wallet size to match.  Holy Hell, I was so out of my element there.  I’ll take downtown Nashville any day sitting around, chilling, and listening to some good blues or jazz.  This place was “da club” on steroids!  Women dressed as hookers (and that was only the bartenders) and the other women donning their best stripper wardrobe, that would have been arrested for public indecency in my hometown.  Dudes were polished and shined liked they just rolled out of a local car detailer.

You can’t drive anywhere without the backdrop of the Laguna Mountains.

After one drink, I decided this was no place for me and it was back to my little hidey-hole for the evening to remind everyone back home on Facebook that I was in San Diego and they were in Indiana.  A long day full of reflection and sightseeing had me longing for the solitude of my laptop and yakking with Miss Madison and various others about how awesome San Diego was.

About it for now, we just crossed the halfway point of my trip out west, did Skipah make it to Tijuana?  Did he return home with all of his organs?  Could he save the Chargers from relocating?  Stay tuned for the next chapter of Californication, not the David Duchovny version either!

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  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Midwest! ⋆

  2. I can’t even imagine being able to afford to visit SD, let alone live there. I hate Illinois, but LOVE its cost of living!

  3. Though it looks pretty, California has never held any appeal to me. I’m just not a sun, sea and sand person. I like snow, ice, fir trees, winter. In the States, it would be New England all the way for me.

    Shame that the experience was hard for you. Not the same circumstances or resentments or hardships at all, but I get the experience of seeing other people and blogger’s families that are less complicated and being happy for them, but also sad and angry.

    • You do know it snows a lot in New England? Me being Mr. Midwest, California was a bit of a culture shock due to the unreal cost of living there. As for being a divorced dad on the wrong side of custody, yeah in a word it SUCKED. A bunch of awesome dudes, but until you become a custody war casualty there is no comparison when you get to hear about great feats of fatherhood. I had to walk out because I was missing Sloane so much at the time.

  4. You are NOT an average dad for sure. Most women would kill to have a dad as involved as you want to be.

  5. “One has a face for T.V. the other has a face made for radio!” — LOL! Mind if I use that phrase?

  6. Pingback: Californication: #SanDiegoRocks ⋆

  7. So, San Diego has one of the highest priced real estate in the nation. That’s why regular people who live in SD county move to the North or East County. More homes keep being built in Ramona, Alpine, etc, making a long commute. But the freeway system is San Diego is great–one will take you anywhere. Not like we have in Sacramento where I moved 30+ years ago from SD! Glad you had some good times and new memories, Gary!

    • I have zero idea how anybody that doesn’t make seven figures can reasonably live there. 30+ years ago? What were you three years old at the time? #smoothoperator LOL! Loved San Diego, still scratching my head how in the hell people can afford to eat there.

  8. My mother-in-law has left and returned to CA more times than I can count. Right now she’s in TX, but my husband and I have bets on how long till she’s back at the coast. I will say, it’s a lovely place to visit. But seriously, those prices! Yikes! My parent’s heart breaks for your disconnect from your daughter…can’t even imagine. Blessings to you as you move forward, and to your daughter as she grows and sees your love and commitment to her.

  9. I am a native Californian and love it but I left it for Texas last year because of those prices you are talking about. It is an awesome place to live, but not cheap.

    • I have no idea how any middle class or lower can live there, its mind boggling worthless say a 20.00 bill is there. My friend that lives out there is a native Texan and she was just listing thing after thing that costs more out there.

  10. wish I could have made it. I sometimes feel like a total fraud talking about parenting when in reality I have absolutely nothing to bitch about. I’ll bet after a few tequilas we would have found some common ground

  11. I personally enjoy maple trees over palm trees any ol day, and love the snow ten times more than the sun, but I am still happy for you, enjoying your mid-winter getaway 🙂
    Since I didn’t love that climate before I moved to Georgia, I don’t reckon I’ll ever grow to enjoy it, but again, so nice for you. But, OH THE FOOD! 😛

  12. My niece just relocated from San Diego before we could visit her there. I was disappointed but after reading your post, not anymore, lol.

  13. Yeah, it’s a little pricey there, huh? Still worth visiting for awesome dad events. Now excuse me as I seek out some ceviche for myself, love that stuff!

  14. I would have paid good money to see you at the Gaslight Quarter!!!! Were they celebrating Mardi Gras yet? Oh such pretty boys there….hmmm sorry picturing it in my head…

    • I have no idea if they were celebrating Mardi Gras, I was so out of my element. I was so “overdressed” in my long sleeve T-shirt and jeans I was beginning to think I was one of the “old” guys. Wait….nevermind.

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