Browsing Family & Marriage

Blueberry eggs.

January12

So over breakfast this morning I watched this little guy take the shell off a boiled egg, then carefully remove the yellow ball in the middle, then stuff the middle full with blueberries, and then eat his blueberry egg. Delightful :).

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Happy 4th Birthday To Calico :)

December30

He turns 4 years old today :). Lindsey bought him some amazing balloons to celebrate. He was a bit bummed we couldn’t have a party with friends. But, when we explained why he understood and he starts school next week so he has that to look forward to.

We’ve had so much fun with him this last year, he started his why phase, and his imagination has exploded.

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Funny Calico Story…

December27

Calico was putting on his shoes by himself, and said to the left shoe “you are dammit”. And then to the right shoe “, you are Jesus”. I asked him what he said- he said “this shoe is dammit and this one is Jesus.” I asked if he knew what those words meant “no, I just hear you say dammit and daddy says Jesus a lot.”

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Merry Christmas!!!

December25

We had a great Christmas here in Viseu. Super chill and so much fun now that Calico is about to turn 4 years old (in 6 days!). He was so excited to leave out cookies and milk and water for Santa. The first thing he wanted to do was check on it and see if it was gone (he promised me he would put his hand up to block his view of Santa lol). Last year he didn’t quite get it whereas this year he is just so excited to open some presents. Fun day!

Merry Christmas to everyone 😀

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Love For Valencia + Moving To Portugal

September1

I LOVE Valencia Spain!

It is by far my favorite city. And, it is one of the first places that both Lindsey and I feel is “home”. It has amazing weather, amazing people, and a perfect blend of city, nature, and beach. Plus great biking!

It has been really hard to think about leaving the city and we’ve dealt with waves of grief/anger over the last couple of months :(. We do not want to leave… we would like to stay here long term.

We always knew we couldn’t stay in Valencia for more than 1 to 2 years because of Spain’s tax system. They have some taxes that are poorly designed and we would be paying 60% to 70% of our income in taxes. Which makes it impossible to live here. Spain has a very badly designed Patrimonio tax and because we are American we are stuck between the two systems. If you are not an American citizen it is pretty easy to avoid these taxes and pay much less, but as Americans, a lot of those options are not available to us given American regulations (waiting on the USA to switch to a territorial tax system like every other country in the World). The other option we had was to move to Madrid as it is the only region to void the tax, but we did not like Madrid.

Part of our trip last month was to scout locations around Europe and see what clicked. We were debating between Austria and Portugal… and Portugal won out based on weather/cost.

So… we are moving to Portugal :). We’ve been to Portugal several times and we are looking forward to finding our neighborhood and settling in. We hope is we can find a place we like as much as Valencia in the next couple of months.

We have hope that Spain will fix their system given the huge economic crisis. The current system makes startup/business investment near impossible and they need labor reforms to make it easier to hire people as employees. The current system punishes risk and pushes money into real estate where it won’t lose value but your returns are very low (how a lot of people avoid Patrimonio taxes if they don’t leave in Madrid).

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Why I do not want my son to grow up in America.

August31

This is a hard thing to write. 

I love the USA. We have such an amazing story that attracts and inspires people from around the world. We have a can-do culture that I adore. But, we have failed to turn our potential and American bravado into positive results for our citizens. 

I do not expect miracles and I do not expect us to be perfect. But over the last 20 years, it feels like half the country has been convinced to join a death cult. And, that death cult stands for nothing except telling Americans how exceptional they are with their freedom and big penises. As a nation we are drunk, covered in our own tears and vomit, and singing tiny dancer on the floor of a gas station bathroom. We are sitting in a puddle of our own exceptionalism. It is cold.

I do not want my son to grow up in the USA.
I do not want my son to be an adult in the USA.
I do not want him to be a parent in the USA

I view the USA a lot like I do a war zone. I am the type of person who wants to do a few tours in a war zone. I will flourish in that environment. And, I know plenty of people who are like me. But, I also know that if I spend 15+ years in that environment the war zone will change me and I will start to think it is normal to wear a necklace of ears and drink from a human skull (if THIS is your answer to what is “best in life” it might be time to take a vacation :)).  

Would I want to raise a family or children in that war zone with a war zone mentality? 

No. It creates people who only think about “I” and not enough about “we”. We overdosed on individualism a long time ago and instead of rehab and moderation, we thought it would be smarter to just add it to the water supply and up the dosage by 100x. I do not want the USA to be Europe/UK/Australia with their tall poppy syndrome but we have got to find a balance before we destroy our citizens. 

Do I want people who do not want to be in a war zone to be stuck in a war zone? 

Fuck no. I think maybe 20% of Americans want to be in the war zone and 80% are stuck there. The 80% that are stuck are hard-working and super-smart people that are just not as broken as that 20%. The 80% do not want to work 3 jobs with no paid sick days or time off just to survive in the USA. The 80% do not want to work 60+ hour weeks for so-called “career success”. The 80% do not want to sacrifice being a parent and being part of their children’s lives for their career. The 80% do not want to spend every day at work apart from a two-week vacation until they die. And, so on. 

Do I want people who are like me in that war zone? 

Yes! We need the 20% to do what they do. With the caveat that I want them to have a Geneva Convention so they don’t turn the entire world into a war zone and break everything. The USA is in a weird place where it has created rules that overly-regulate the wrong things. We’ve allowed private interest to create licensing and regulations to create monopolies while removing regulations around EVERYTHING else. Capitalism doesn’t work if you don’t have equal power for the common good and labor. It is like we looked at homebuilding and said we don’t care if you build the houses out of asbestos and napalm as long as the person who installs the doors pays $45,000 to go to these four-door installer schools and pays $3,000 a year to be part of a door installer guild. 

So… why do I not want my son to grow up, be an adult, and be a parent in the USA?

#1 – Health Care

I want my son to be able to focus on just getting better if he gets sick. I do not want him or any other American skipping medical visits because of money. And, I do not want him to declare bankruptcy because of the huge bills. And, I want my son to be able to get affordable health insurance no matter the job he is doing. If he is a cashier at Walmart and gets cancer he should only have to think about treatment and getting better. There are so MANY countries doing healthcare better than us. Go steal their system and implement it. And, stop paying for expensive treatments that extend life by only 6 months – we have to have some honest conversations about the inevitability of death. 

#2 – Paternity/Maternity Leave

I want my son to be able to spend time with his kids when they are born. And, I want his partner to be able to do the same thing. For all the bullshit right-wing politicians say about family values they don’t do a damn thing when it comes to actually help families be families. 

#3 – Daycare

If my son and his partner want to go back to work I don’t want the cost of daycare to crush them financially. For a family of two, this can cost as much as $1,500 to $2,000 USD a month and that is insane. If the government wants future taxpayers it needs to incentivize families to have kids and provide subsidized child care nationally. Make it easier to be a family in the USA. 

#4 – Paid Vacation

I want my son to have a life outside of work. I have family members with high paying jobs who get ZERO vacation days for their first year. WTF! Even if you are lucky to get two weeks off a year, that is just enough time to de-stress from work but not enough to remember who you are outside of your job. And, I want him to get time off even if he doesn’t work for a high paying tech company. If he ends up working as a cashier for Walmart I want him to get at least 4 to 5 weeks of paid vacation. It is like our society forgot that there is more to life than work and that people are more than cogs in a machine. In Europe, the minimum amount of paid vacation is four-weeks plus 10 holidays. In Mexico and Brazil, you get six weeks of paid vacation. Why are we so far behind the rest of the world? 

#5 – Paid Sick Days

If my son gets sick I want him focused on getting better, not having to choose between getting well and food/rent. Plus it is good for society as the current pandemic is showing. 

#6 – College + Debt

If my son has the desire, drive, and ability to go to university I do not want him to go into life-ending debt to afford that education. Education shouldn’t only be for the rich. I want any American who has the drive to be able to go to a university or technical school (and, at any age). It doesn’t have to be free, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be tied to the cost of a part-time minimum wage job (like when Boomers were in college). 

#7 – Guns

I do not want my son to be killed in a school shooting and I don’t want him to grow up doing active shooter drills. The USA has a problem with guns and it continues to take no action. When 20 children between six and seven years old are gunned down and your country does nothing you know you are broken. We need better gun control policies and they have to affect current gun owners and models. 

#8 – The American Dream Is Dead + No Safty Net

America has been rebuilt for the upper-middle class and rich and Americans have an increasingly small chance of upward mobility. You have a better chance of upward mobility in Canada and these 31 countries (mostly in Europe). I want my son and his friends and other Americans to have the chance of a better life. There is no reason we can’t deliver that. Instead, we’ve built a country that is built on the backs of the poor and lower-middle-class. 

The American safety-net is almost non-existent. I do not want to eliminate risk, but I think we can help more people get on their feet, create jobs, and do better. Right now our safety net is like playing Russia roulette with 6 bullets in a 6 bullet gun. You are going to lose. I’d like to get it down to 1 bullet. And, I don’t necessarily want us to be Scandinavia. But, I feel at some point the USA looked at the huge pit we force people to climb out of and said you know what? We should add lasers and guns and bears because it should be harder so only 1 in 100,000 people can “make it” in this country. Plus that is good business because the ones that do will be so de-humanized and broken it will create great jobs for therapists.

#9 – America’s Kids = My Kids

I want to live in an America where we strive to give every child the chance to succeed no matter the amount of money their parents have, the color of their skin, or equally silly divisions. Right now it feels like we are building a country where we think the only way for our kid to win is at the cost of all the other kids. That mentality utterly disgusts me.

For many reasons, my son is going to have incredible opportunities and experiences. Some of which his classmates could only dream of and that is ok, that is part of the inequality life. But, everyone should have access to things like a great education, free/cheap university or technical schools, great healthcare, paternity/maternity leave, paid vacation and sick days, safe housing and neighborhoods, equal justice and treatment before the law, equal legal access, equal treatment by businesses, and so on and so forth. I do not think the USA is headed this way. The last 20 years have been horrendous.

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Calico story…

August25

I heard Calico crying and walked into the room to see what was wrong. Apparently, Lindsey and Calico were playing a game where he was Aladdin and he was trying to steal her cheese (he loves Aladdin). He was laughing and having fun, but then Lindsey said the police came and Calico told them it was Aladdin who stole her cheese. But, then he started crying because he felt bad for telling on Aladdin and giving him up to the police. Later, he told us he was sad too as Aladdin and other people were poor, and that he thought their faces were sad.

He was very tired, right before nap time…

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First time eating out :)

June4

Delicious Greek meal at one of our favorites :)!

And, a bit of a non-pandemic birthday lunch for my lovely wife :)!

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Calico, Cuts, and Bandaids.

March28

This is from a while back, but I wanted to remember it as it cracks me up :).

A few months ago we realized Calico had a bandaid on and we asked him what happened. He said he cut himself, so he went and got a bandaid, and put it on. The little guy had cut himself with a bread knife making food in the kitchen, got a bandaid out of a high drawer in the bathroom, and put it on. Awesome to see :)

At this point, he has done it maybe 3 or 4 times now.

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Our Place In Valencia :)

February13

I forgot to blog about this :)… I bought an apartment in Valencia Spain last year! When we visited we loved it so much that I started looking at apartments here. At the time, I thought we might visit a few months each year and I could rent it out on AirBNB the rest of the time (good investment IMO as it is grandfathered into a license). And, now we are living here for a few years.

The apartment is in the old city, close to the massive park, 3 bedroom / 2 bath, and full of light. After I bought I converted the master bath to a shower, refinished the floors, painted it, fixed some odds and ends, and updated the HVAC system. Here it is before we did anything to it:

After we got here we decided to redo the kitchen. The appliances and cabinets were old and broken. The walls on the oven were melting and dripped black gunk all over our pots. When we removed the oven we found we were probably a few usages away from an electrical fire. And, we decided to redo the floor/walls at the same time. Here is what the kitchen looked like before:

Here is what the kitchen looked like as they started in…

And here is the finished kitchen! We cook a ton so it is really nice to have our kitchen back and designed how we wanted!

And, we are slowly getting moved into the rest of the place. We finally got a couch last week which helps. We only have some small stuff left like to make it feel like home… a coffee table, bedside tables, a fold-out couch for guests, and something to jam the TV devices into. Calico’s room was finished first. We got him a “big boy” bed so that was pretty exciting for him. Plus an Ikea kitchen set too. We wanted to make sure he felt settled the quickest.

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The Why Phase :)

January27

So Calico has finally hit the “why” phase! I got the first why a few weeks ago and yesterday maybe a hundred :). And, here is Calico pretending to be a Tiger in a jungle.

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Calico Jack is 3 (happy birthday!!!)

December30

He is now 3 years old and is so much fun. Just bursting with personality and I love being a dad :)

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Calico and the big water slide!

October10

A few weeks ago I took Calico to a local rec center for a swim. The pool was great! It had a little float section with a current, a kid’s slide + shallow area, a deep area with a basketball goal, and a HUGE water slide. I asked Calico if he wanted to go on the big slide as a joke and he said no. We had a blast in the pool and about 45 minutes later he asked me if we could do the big slide.

I asked the lifeguard if we could use it, as it had a height limit, and they said it was fine as long as I held him (duh). We climbed up the stairs… several sets… got in and started down. It was fast! At one point I thought we might go over the top but it was all good and I held Calico above the water as we plunge into the last pool. He loved it and wanted to go again. My heart was beating fast as holding onto him was a little scary :). We went again and he had so much fun.

We went back this weekend and did it twice again. Fun times!

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First snow of the year!

October10

4 or 5 inches and still coming down. Calico was SUPER excited this morning for a snow day :)

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Calico Jack :)

August13

It has been so much fun to watch more and more of Calico’s personality emerge, he is a little over 2.5 years old and so much fun :)

He has started this new thing when we ask him why he did something he says “happy”, which is hard to argue with.

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This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).


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