VISUALGUI

Hôm Qua

Sáng qua đi khám bác sĩ cái gì cũng tốt chỉ có cân hơi bị nặng. Năm ngoái khi đi khám vì bị gout nên ăn uống kỹ lưỡng còn năm nay thì ăn xả láng. Tệ hơn nữa là bỏ luôn đi bộ và chạy bộ. Tháng nay Dunkin’ Donuts cho nhân viên và học sinh trường Mason ăn donut miễn phí khi mua một ly cà phê nên ngày nào cũng lấy một cái. Cái miệng hại cái bầu.

Chiều hôm qua đi làm về nhà lại bị cảnh sát phạt về tội nói chuyên điện thoại dùng earbuds. Cứ tưởng rằng không dùng tay thì dùng earbuds nhưng luật lệ thì chỉ cho dùng một bên thôi. Sau mà lắm luật thế? Tội thứ nhì là xe đã bị quá hạng inspection. Tuần vừa rồi mới bị phạt về vụ đèn đỏ. Năm nay mới tháng Tư mà đã phải đi hầu tòa ba lần. Chắc phải bỏ láy xe cho xong.

Tối hôm qua trước khi đi ngủ thằng Đán lại bảo không muốn là con trai nữa. Hỏi nó tại sao thì nó bảo không muốn có hòn dáy ở dưới cu. Vậy tôi hỏi nó thích làm gì nó nói rằng làm người máy. Làm người máy làm sao ăn được những món ăn ngon thì nó bảo nó muốn làm ma để khỏi bận đồ. Tôi bảo con không muốn mặc đò thì ở trần truồng có sao đâu. Đến đó thì nó lăn ra ngủ.

Cái thằng con này nhiều chuyện lắm. Trước khi đi ngủ còn bảo tôi chơi trò khủng bố chiến tranh với Mỹ. Tôi là Mỹ nó là khủng bố. Hai tuần trước trong lúc nó đi cầu nó hỏi tôi toilet có phải toy không. Tại sao lại có chữ toy trong đó. Thằng này học thì không tập trung còn cãi thì không thua ai. Hôm nọ đòi ăn mì nên mẹ nó lấy mì gói nấu với nước soup. Nó húp hết nước rồi bảo rằng mì không tốt cho sức khoẻ nên không ăn. Cái thằng này tương lai sẽ điên đầu với nó.

39

Deactivated Facebook and spent my birthday with my little family. Not that I don’t appreciate seeing birthday wishes on my timeline, I just don’t want people to feel obligated to say something.

Birthday is not a big deal. It just gives me a sense of how long I have on this earth. 30 some more years if some terminal illnesses, like cancer, won’t interrupt my life. I still have plenty of time, but I never know.

Birthday also makes me realize how short life is. I already lived half of my life. Just the thought of leaving this life gives me a pause. I already begin to imagine what will happen when I reach 70. How will I live my life knowing that I could be gone any moment? I am hopeful that by that time I could just say fuck it. I will be ready to go when it is my time to go. Right now I just don’t have that confident.

Disrespect Red

This morning I dropped Xuân off at the daycare a bit early then headed to the Mason library to pick up a few books. I needed something to read while waiting for a court hearing for a red light violation. I made a right turn on red and was caught on camera. I determined to fight back because I did not do anything wrong. I was allowed to turn on red.

I arrived at the courtroom at 9 AM and started to read. At 9:30 AM, a police made an announcement and told us to turn off our cellphone. There were about 100 people in the courtroom. I knew it would take a while until my turn; therefore, I just sat back and read. I didn’t want to listen to anyone else’s business, but then a police asked me if what I was reading related to my case. If not, I had to put it away. What the fuck? I couldn’t even read? When I told my wife that she said why didn’t I challenge him for my rights. Challenging a cop? Was she kidding me? Two reasons I didn’t want to challenge the cop. I didn’t want to get dragged the fuck out of the courtroom or worse getting fucking shot in the courtroom. I don’t fuck with the cops. I could not use my cellphone and I could not read so I picked up my notepad and a pen to write this blog. If he was to approach me again, I would have said yes I was writing about my goddamn case.

Two hours went by and about a third of the courtroom had emptied, it came our turn—those of us who violated the red light. An elderly woman was called first. She pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered to turn on the video. She slowed down, but did not come to a complete stop. It was the same location that I was caught. The judged found her guilty. She shot back about how the language on the citation accused her being disrespected to the law. The cop came up and escorted her out. Five more people found guilty after the tape was rolled. At that point I knew I had no chance so I pleaded no contest. The judged asked me, “You don’t want to see the video?” I replied, “No, your honor. I think I have seen enough.” She laughed and issued me a ticket.

I should have paid the damn fine and not wasted my two hours sitting in court. I honestly did not know that I have to come to a complete stop on the red light before making a turn. Like Biggie said, “If you don’t know now you know. Nigga!” A fucking lesson learned.

Life and Work

Taking care of three young boys while working full time is a huge challenge. It would be impossible without the support from my wife, mother-in-law, and supervisor.

I am fortunate to have such an understanding boss. She has been very flexible with my schedule as long as I do my job. In the past five years, she has not once complained about my time off to take care of my kids. They get sick quite often.

My mother-in-law has been a tremendous asset. She has lent a hand for the six boys since the day they were born. Three of them are our kids. Alhtoumgh all six of them are attached her, only Đán would sleep by her side at night. I can’t appreciate her help enough.

Obviously my wife plays a huge part in this. With three boys, she could stay home, but she chooses to continue her career. Her job is too good to give up and I am glad that she can continue to work and while take care of the kids. She has the flexibility of working part-time until she is ready to return full-time, but she is in no rush to do so. Work can give her a break from the kids.

For me, I had to adjust to my work-life balance a bit. I rarely learn new technologies nowadays. I give up my freelance gig.I get exhausted after the kids go to bed. I try to continue to do my favorite things like blogging and reading to keep me sane. I love my kids, but I also need some space for myself. I am not the best dad. I also don’t want to be a miserable dad. I can’t run around and do things with the kids all day. I am glad that we have more than one kids. They play with each other while I sit back and absorb. I only get involve when they fight or join in when I find something interesting. I can’t pretend to play something that I have no interest in. I had earned the title of the worse dad in the world, but I am being honest.

Raising kids has also taken priority over our marriage. We are too busy with the kids that we hardly do things for ourselves. The positive outcome of that is that we hardly fight. If we get into an argument, Đạo and Đán would say, “Here they go again.” On the contrary, we had not slept in the same bed for eight years. It feels kind of lonely sometimes after the kids had fallen as sleep. As the season changes, I wake up with a bit of sadness sometimes. I know that we had not loved each other any less, but I still feel distanced. With work, the kids, and cooking, she is always tired; therefore, I try to give her the space. I know she loves me and tries to be there for me, but it is an extra burden on her part. I feel bad and ashamed.

I used to drink to beat the blue. A couple of ice-cold Don Julio shots would knock out my insomnia, but gout has ended that remedy. I could go back to drinking and taking medication to control my gout, but that would put my liver at tremendous risk. Then again, what’s the point of living an unsatisfied life?

Since I can no longer rely on alcohol, I turn to this blog to express my feelings. I write them down so I don’t have to carry them around in my head. I’ll get through it. I have learned that marriage is more of what you give or give up than get. I have no choice.

Tình Cảm Gia Đình

Dù giận dù hờn, dù chửi dù mắng, dù đúng dù sai, dù gì đi nữa chúng ta cũng mang cùng một dòng máu. Nên tha thứ và đùm bọc lẫn nhau.

Càng già tôi càng quý trọng tình cảm gia đình. Kiếp này có duyên có phận mới trở thành cha mẹ con cái và anh chị em một nhà. Nên không có gì quý báo hơn là sự kính trọng và thương yêu dành cho nhau. Đã là ruột thịt thì không thể nào ghét bỏ nhau được. Thôi thì mỗi người nhường một bước để sống hoà đồng.

Giờ tôi đã thấu hiểu được lời nhắn nhũ của Trịnh Công Sơn: “Sống trong đời sống cần có một tấm lòng / Để làm gì em biết không? Để gió cuốn đi, Để gió cuốn đi.” Nếu có một tấm lòng thì nên tha thứ cho nhau và để gió cuốn đi hết những điều chia rẽ chúng ta. Tôi rất mong muốn chúng ta có thể làm được như thế.

My Dentist

My dentist is Vietnamese-American. I have been with him since I started working for George Mason, which is over five years. I visited his office every six months for cleaning and checkup. Except for the previous visit, which required a crown, he doesn’t try to create additional services like previous dentists I had.

Every time we met each other, he would greet me with a handshake and how are you. One time I tried to speak to him in Vietnamese, but he didn’t respond. So we spoke in English ever since.

In my recent visit, I wondered about his family. Does he have wife and kids? What if I were to give his children some candies? Then I realized that he wouldn’t appreciate that.

Reconnecting With My Old Man

This summer I will co-present an academic paper with my cousin on hybrid web app design and development at the InSITE 2017 conference in Vietnam. In addition to attending the conference, I wanted to take the opportunity to reconnect with my old man. This is something I have wanted to do for years. In fact, I wrote this seven years ago:

What if I just take two or three weeks off go back to Viet Nam and just lock myself in with him 24/7. We’ll just hang out and travel together as father and son, something we had never done. Will that help reconnect our relationship?

I am still feeling anxious about it because we have been apart for so long, but I need to do this. He is in his 80s and time is running out on us. I wanted to take our entire family back, but the thought of having to take care of three kids on a long flight and in Vietnam had frightened me.

I am grateful that my wife is not only willing to take care of the boys for two weeks, but she has also been very encouraging. She understands how I feel about my relationship with my dad. I still don’t know how he feels about me, but I am his son after all. Time and distance have not changed that. All I know is that if I don’t do this, I will regret it for the rest of my life. I really wish we could be closer, but if I don’t make the move, it won’t happen.

Except for three days at the conference, my only plan is to be with him 24/7 for ten days and I am looking forward to it.

In Us We Trust

A few years ago I met up with a lady for dinner. We got to know each other through iLoveNgocLan.com. She obviously knew that I was married with a kid through this blog. We had a nice conversation about Ngọc Lan, being Vietnamese-American, and politics. After our initial meetup, I was hoping that we could become friends so I could introduce her to my wife and kid. Unfortunately it was a one-time thing. We never kept in touch after that. Of course my wife knew about the meetup and she even approved it. I see nothing wrong with it. I would do the same if she wanted to dine with a male friend. I completely trust her just like she has trusted me.

The trust between us is something that I take very seriously. Trust doesn’t come easy and we had to build it from the beginning. If one of us breaks that trust, our marriage would suffer. I would never jeopardize that trust. I worked very hard to earn it.

I am also fortunate to have a strong, independent, confident, and understanding woman. She doesn’t post any restriction on me because she trusts me. I can hang out and drink with friends as long as I don’t violate her trust. Some guy can’t even hang an Áo Trắng calendar on his wall. If she has done that to me, I don’t think we can be on the same page.

My wife and I both come to the same conclusion that if we want to cheat nothing can stop us. We also know that there’s no turning back once the trust is lost. All I ask of her is that she keeps it real with me. If we can no longer be together, we can walk away without breaking our trust.

Trust trumps everything. The notion that a married person can’t dine alone with another opposite sex is fucking religious.

Let’s Be Real

As I am reaching the end of my 30s, my body has switched the maintenance mode. My hair is not growing back; my gut is not getting smaller; my teeth are not getting any whiter until I get complete dentures; and my keloids are not fading away. Everything goes downhill from here.

The good thing is that my wife accepts me for who I am. Not that I have a low self-esteem, but who wants to be with this piece of shit unless they want something else? I am almost forty now and I might be a piece of shit, but I am not a fucking dumbass. I have a strong, independent, and beautiful wife who had chosen me for who the fuck I am. I have three wonderful kids that will always be a part of my life. The chance of me fucking all that up is nonexistence.

Perfect Timing

This week I will be attending Computer in Libraries 2017, a three-day conference, and my damn gout flared up. I suspect saké is the culprit. I had been drinking soy milk as well, but I am not sure if it caused the flare up. My diet has been terrible. I ate pretty what I wanted except for beef. I haven’t been walking or jogging for a while. I need to get back to exercise and eating right. I am not good at self-disciplined.

Life is good, but stressful as usual, particularly work, which has an effect on me. The good side is that I no longer have the time to give a fuck about the incompetent president. That puppet motherfucker is going down. The healthcare bill is the first major sign of failure. I still can’t believe that son of a bitch is our president.

I haven’t blog much because I have ran out of shit to say. I want to get back to just writing without thinking or editing. Lately I have come to realize that I am so damn awkward in socializing. I hardly have anything to say to people because I don’t want to get into their space. I also fear of sounding stupid. I have been observing my kids to see how they do it and I think I can learn from them. With Xuân, he just smiles and touches people. He could get away with it because he is so damn adorable. It would be too creepy for for and I might even get in trouble. Đạo is very natural when approach others, especially his peers. He could easily make friends. I don’t have that friendliness in me. Đán is fascinating to watch. He can talk to anyone about the things that he is into. He doesn’t care who he’s talking to or if that person has any interest in what he’s talking about. He would talk about a video game that he played and than that person would be interested in his subject. Imagine if I come up to someone and talk about web typography. They would look at me and be like, “What the fuck are you talking about?” That’s what I think anyway.

What if I don’t give a fuck what people think? Just say whatever the fuck I think just like what I do on this blog? If I just have half of the courage I have for my blog in real life, I would not be so social awkward.