Being A Flawed Individual

This week was a very rough week for me.  I knew that a mental breakdown was brewing for some time and I have been actively been seeking avenues to remedy this before it got too hectic.  Friday night I almost got close again.  Cydney cried until she was horse, went to sleep, and woke up two hours later.  The sound of her voice going sore, my head and heart both pulsating to the point of pain I yelled “What! What! Cydney WHAAAAT?!”  She got quiet for a couple of minutes and then began to cry some more.  This time telling me that she’s sorry.  That made me really feel like shit.  By then I was awake and restless.

So at 3 AM I wrote a long series of text messages to a three of my friends; two of them single mothers who I know have been there and the main people I go to when I’m upset about all that is going on in my life.  It was a moment of reaching out at a time when I’d felt the most vulnerable.  A lot of weight has been on my shoulders recently and after four years of just continuously going I’d reached my brink.  Upset about these years, frustrated with trying to find work, problems at home, not seeing eye to eye with my girl on a myriad of things I just had to write out my thoughts and feelings for myself to see and I sent it so that they could as well.  After I wrote it I turned my phone off because it felt like the only thing I could control at the time.  Control is something I’m big on so doing just that was big.

The next afternoon I finally turned my phone back on.  My single mom friends had sent me texts back asking me if I was alright and what were my thoughts that morning.  The other friend had left a voicemail saying they’d try again later, called a couple more times, and then sent me a text letting me know that they were checking up on me (I’m laughing as I write this because I could hear the tone behind the text).  I responded back to them respectively letting them know that I would be alright.  Immediately I called my friend Kia who was one of them that I’d reached out to the night before.

Kia and I talked for nearly six hours.  About everything.  We talked about our lives, our current “situationships,” and after hearing each other out were able to give needed perspectives.  We spoke again Sunday for a good hour or two as well.  What I took away from a lot of this was that [as I wrote about last week] while I am very stoic when I am comfortable I am okay with showing that I am in fact flawed.  One of the things about being a strong and nonchalant individual is that things either come off like they don’t affect me at all.  People will continue to take from you or associate you as this kind of individual.  I have seen in relationships that being this way gives off the impression that when I do in fact show some kind of emotion that it is intense.  I probably am not mad at all; but I am aware that this is the vibe that I give off.  I’d been seeing someone for a while and they would often joke that I am mean, but what they really wanted from me was to show that I was excited to see them and to be around them.  When I would actually say something it would seem like a rousing profession of love or something but it was me just trying to give them a peek into that I am in fact not devoid of emotions.  They could see me show my daughter all kinds of love, joke, and smiles but when it is just her and I or when she would talk to me I came off uncomfortably reserved.  Definitely not a good thing.

In said relationship I wanted to show that person that I felt in fact very deeply for them.  Kia had facilitated a process in which I came to the realization that by the time I was able to actually show them which was in a time of need I’m  hurting it was a lot for them to handle.  In their mind and heart they wanted to be there but they couldn’t.  In retrospect that was a good thing.  I am able to take this into the next thing that comes along.

I also learned through her experiences that I am at the point where I am ready and willing to share more than I do.  People like to know that we all have things that irk us.  We all have questions that we’d like to have answered and many times we have to read beyond our own thoughts and wants to be there for those that we care about’s needs all while balancing our own.  When trust builds over time eventually you can rely solely on your partner to take care of your needs and vice versa.  When its done right, the trust builds the dependency; not your insecurities or what have you.  In my case I think or I know that slowly showing I have fears and things that I get upset about can actually help a relationship.  Even in doing so I can learn to follow someone else’s lead and they can do the same for me.  This isn’t just in the context of romantic relationships, either; but with all friends.  My friend Kia showing me that she is a flawed individual made me comfortable with doing the same to her and others as well.

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WHY MEN MARRY SOME WOMEN AND NOT OTHERS

I read this article on The Minority Eye a few weeks ago.  I meant to write something about it a few weeks ago and forgot.  I just finished writing a post about parenting and dating and it reminded me to share my thoughts.

This article written by John T Molloy is based on a book that he wrote with the same title in which he and his researchers interviewed over 3,000 people.  He covered everything from the basic guidelines to get married, how to maximize your likeliness of getting married, who gets married, the stages in a relationship, and a myriad of other things along the way.  I found it to be an interesting read.  While statistics mean nothing to the individual, it was something else to see what was concluded to be the consensus.

What I wanted to touch on was the last part of the article:  Divorced Men, Widowers, and Single Fathers.  He gave six points based on his research and I’d like to opine based on my experience being two out of the three in this title.

1) Young widowers without children are the most marriageable men on earth-I could see this being true.  If you’ve lost who you thought was to be the love of your life and you have no children you are probably more than willing to try again.  Sometimes I feel this way.  Still in my twenties I may be a little more cynical than most; but there is a side to me that is still idealistic which is synonymous with youth.

2) Single fathers with young children have little or no energy for a social life- Fact. Fact. Fact!  I have a three year old who drains most of my energy.  I don’t have time to waste, for playing around, or the time to just be kicking it.  For the most part my friends know that they’re gonna see me on birthdays and special occasions.  More than likely Cydney will be in tow and everyone knows that she is part of the crew.  If I am seeing someone or I am in a relationship that once a month that I get to go out sans Cydney goes to them.  I was out one night at a friend’s birthday party and their sister asked me “Where do you hang out?”  My response was “I’m a single parent.  I don’t hang out.”  I understand that to most people who do not have children this is not part of their reality.  Most people they know can hang out and/or do whatever.  If you’re seeing someone who is a single parent mother or father you have to understand that they do not have the time you do.  If you think you are busy then trust me their off days body your busiest in time, energy, and stress.  I have very little tolerance for non parents who think otherwise (If I like you I may reconsider and put you on the learning curve).

3) Most widowers are not ready for a relationship until 2 years after their wife passed away- Accurate.  I was ready to date again pretty quickly.  I wasn’t really looking for a relationship, though.  I just wanted to hang out, enjoy the company, and at the time just be a 26 year old.  I didn’t really consider a real relationship until close to two years after Timile passed away.  I’d been hanging around with someone for about seven or eight months by then so after lots of time I was willing to consider it.  With that person or anyone else I would have done so earlier if the right person where to have come along.  You never know who will come into your life so I recommend just keeping your mind and heart open.

4) Men whose wives died of lingering or painful illnesses are less likely to remarry- I could see this.  Timile died from cancer.  I know that if I were to marry that one of us is going to die first.  I don’t want to have to go through that pain again of losing someone I loved as much as I did Timile.  I was young when it happened and maybe some decades down the road I’ll feel differently.  However, the law of average says that we’re gonna die from old age and natural causes really means that you’re gonna slowly break down and die.  I’m sure that even are seventy or eighty [or ninety?]-something I’m going to have flashbacks of seeing Timile go through this.  I did when my mother was going through cancer treatments and one of the hardest days within the last two years was sitting with her while she received chemotherapy.

5) The more amicable a man’s divorce, the more likely he is to remarry- This sounds reasonable to me as well.  It is highly likely that one could have gone through a reasonable divorce one will not be so jaded and find peace that things didn’t work out.  Peace is everything.  Making amends with things gone awry changes the likeliness for anyone to try virtually anything again.

6) The younger a man is, the more likely he is to remarry- Agreed.  I’m 28.  I still feel like I have my whole life ahead of me.  I’m handsome.  I have a great little girl.  And most people my age are not married yet so I can be as choosy as I want to be.  For the most part I have a strict “No single moms” policy.  The older I get that’ll change.  Also, the older I get the more used to being on my own I will be.  My daughter will be older and have more of an opinion as well.  One of the last conversations I had with my grandmother while watching “My Girl”-the movie about a widowed father, his daughter, and finding love again-was that she said she hopes that I marry someone while Cydney is young so that she will not remember these times.  She’ll only know that whoever her stepmother is was the woman that was always around.  The older we get the more in our routines we will be.  Not to mention if one were to spend decades with someone and they were to pass away I could see how the pain of losing someone could make it hard to want to try again.

So there are my thoughts.  If you agree let me know.  If not, let me know.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and possibly share them in another post.

Being Reminded I Don’t Show Emotion

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A friend of mine put me up on Sam Smith the other yesterday.  They shared his song ‘Nirvana’ with me.  While I thought it was a dope song I replied that I thought it was cool but it sappy falsetto love songs just aren’t my thing.  They aren’t.  I’m not a super huge John Legend fan and I absolutely hate Maxwell’s ‘This Woman’s Work’ with a passion.  I’m a R&B head at heart but I prefer the manly approach to love songs like Teddy Pendagrass as opposed to all that crying.  That’s just me though.  My friend responded “That explains a lot.”  That bugged the hell out of me all day.  I think that I’m an open book so when someone has a question or assumption about me I like to know what it is to either confirm or clarify.

The next day I asked my friend what did they mean by that and they said because I’m mean and stoic.  I laughed it off and said I am stoic but that’s because I’m actually a very shy individual.  They then proceeded to swear that I in fact am not shy and that I never show any emotion.  This I agree with.  I would use stoic and frustratingly nonchalant as words to describe my demeanor.  I’m not one to wear my heart on my sleeve and I know it bugged the living hell out of Timile.  We lived together for nearly five years and even she had a hard time reading my thoughts.  It’s not the first time I’ve been told this.  This other girl I used to talk to would often say jokingly that I was a robot and didn’t have feelings (I just didn’t show them to her because she was in a long term relationship so I knew eventually our time would pass).

I talk candidly in detail about my experiences without skipping a beat on this blog and can converse about Timile that would bring others to tears while I just joke through it.  I post pictures all of the time on Instagram and on Facebook of the times that I have with my daughter but no one really sees me in my full dad glory full of smiles, silliness, hugs, and kisses.  Outside of family the only friend of mine whose seen this side of me is Neighbour and that’s because they and Cydney are so close.  For the most part I internalize everything and even while I may refer to intimate relationships and the full extent of how much I smile around my daughter I like to keep that side to myself.

I had a conversation with my boy Donnell this morning as well.  We’ve both been going through some changes in and we both talked about how difficult it is to remain strong in front of everyone else who needs to see that without much release.  I agreed and told him about the chat I had with my other friend a little earlier that morning.  It made me come to a realization about two of the last three times that I have actually cried.  The first time was Thanksgiving Weekend 2011.  My friend Devin and his newly engaged fiancee were in town and we met up at Dave and Buster’s in Times Square.  After we parted ways I began to think about Timile, how I missed her, and that I knew right then in my heart that six days prior was the last time I’d ever see her again.  I was right there at the busiest intersection in the world with thousands of tourists passing me by (real New Yorkers avoid Times Square like the plague) and just let it out.  While people were passing me by no one saw me.  The second time was after having a rift with my father and I was on the train on my way to a studio session.  Once again I was in a place where there were lots of people but yet I was invisible because no one who knew me could see me cry.

Many times these days my moments of sadness are on the train or walking around Midtown Manhattan where there’s comfort in people being around yet there’s a loneliness that allows me to have a moment to myself.  Honestly most people around me can’t handle this and since I am aware of it I keep it all in to myself until I feel comfortable enough to lean on the right person.

It’s funny how God makes moments like this.  My friend shared with me the acoustic version of Sam Smith’s song.  In order to write this post I looked up the song on YouTube and felt totally different about it.  Had they shared with me the latter a conversation between the two of us would have never happened and I wouldn’t have learned something about myself today.

Even in writing all of this right now I am doing so not from a place of sadness or feelings…I’m watching Cydney play with a lunchbox, some dolls, and listening to YG’s new album “My Krazy Life”-which is about as ignorant and ratchet as rap music gets these days- with my headphones blaring a song called “My N*gga.”

The Weekend In Pictures: Cydney’s Often Delayed Third Birthday Party

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Soccer at baseball practice.
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Good swing!
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Cydney on the bench.
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Making tiaras.
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The table.
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Cydney and her cousin Keyanna.
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Mmmm
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The tea party stopped because they had to be doctors.
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Dance freeze with Olaf.
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More dancing with Olaf.
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My godmother and the kids.
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Cydney preforming for us.
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Cydney and my mom.
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My mother and I photobombed by my aunt.
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Cydney's Neighbour came out too. I photobombed their moment.
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After it was all said n done...
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Baseball practice Sunday.
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Soccer during baseball.

Return of Cyndey Quotables!

“I’m crying my tears out.  That wasn’t me crying my heart out, daddy.”

 

“My toys is getting on my nerves!”

 

Me: Cydney what are you eating?

Cydney: I was eating my spit.

 

“The police are driving Nunu (my grandmother who recently passed) to heaven so she can recharge”

 

A three year old’s thoughts on childbirth: “Because I was in my mommy’s tummy and I fell out with green icing all over me.”

 

Person:  Cydney you look cute.

Cydney: I’m not cute for girls!

 

Lisa: Hello Cydney.

Cydney: *turns back*  I don’t want any girls in my house!

 

Cydney had an accident…. 
Me: Cydney did you do something?
Cydney: No.
Me: I can tell you did. 
Cydney: My body did something.

 

“I’m not ready to go to bed.  I have work to do.  I’m afraid of the dark and it’s hard to do my work with monsters even with my frozen powers!”

 

“_____ and me are your girls, daddy.  But you need a girlfriend.”

My Almost-Meltdown

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What was an immaculate den at 4:30 looked like this by 8.

It almost happened yesterday…

After years of holding it together, staying strong, and keeping it moving no matter what adversities come my way I almost lost it yesterday.  I almost never lose my cool. It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers to yell, say something out of anger, or even scream out of frustration.  On our worst days even Timile couldn’t do that.  I know that I am a very emotional person, however I let logic prevail and almost never let my feelings guide me.  If I am upset, hurt, sad, or angry I will walk away and address whatever rubbed me the wrong way when I can articulate them calmly and after the fact.  I do this keep peace and let whoever the culprit or catalyst know that everything is and will be alright once I talk out.

Yesterday almost all of that went out the window.

The perfect storm began to brew yesterday morning.  Yesterday’s post was about how Cydney and I need to go our separate ways for a little bit.  It was as if speaking what was on my mind and heart in a public forum planted the seed for this to come to fruition.  For the most part our day was fine.  I’ve been really cleaning up to give the house that sparkle for Cydney’s party most of the day.  Cydney wanted to help but I was a little annoyed because she peed on the couch.  She wanted to help mop up but as soon as I was finished she began to cry because she wanted to mop some more.  I told her “There’s nothing left, baby.”  That didn’t help the cause.  

A number two accident came shortly after in which it was all down Cydney’s leg and no matter how hard or what we try this is an every day occurrence; but yesterday’s was the absolute worst.  After cleaning this mess up I washed out Cydney’s car seat because there was vomit all in it from some time ago.  Within an hour I touched piss, vomit, and shit.  The last word in that sentence describes what the day was becoming quickly.

By 4PM the den looked great.  Because of the aforementioned incident the covers to the couch were in the washer machine so that was the only thing that didn’t have the den looking immaculate.  Around 6 we went to get something to eat and since I already wasn’t having a good day I opted for comfort food and a lot of it because I had been so busy and stressed I didn’t eat yet.  Cydney had been asking to have a Gogurt-one of those squeezable yogurts for kids-and I said no because she made on the floor.  She began to have a fit that afternoon.  Around 7:30 I gave the kids their cheesesteaks for dinner (with vegetables).  I was going to work out but I didn’t have it in me.  I then got my food, put it on a plate, sat down to eat, and began to take my first bite.  I was called to do something upstairs for my mother and as soon as I got downstairs to take that first bite my nephew came in the kitchen and said “Cydney just exploded the Gogurts all over the couch.”  I just yelled out all of the frustration in me once he walked out of the room.  

I got into the den and sure enough there were four Gogurt packets opened up, all over Cydney, and all over the den.  I looked at her and said “I told you not to go in this, right?”  She just looked at me.  I gave her a real spanking then.  Not no pow-pow.  The real deal.  She began to cry and normally it would tug at me a little because I’ve hurt her feelings but I didn’t care at all.  I told her to sit down and eat.  I walked out of the room, ate, came back in, and told everyone Disney Jr is going off and I’m watching the Knicks game.

I got through the first half without much of an issue.  Cydney had come back downstairs to jump on the couch.  I told her no repeatedly and she proceeded to do so.  I gave the countdown from five that normally works and she kept going.  I popped her once on her leg, she started crying, ran upstairs, and told my mother that she was on punishment because I wouldn’t let her watch Disney Jr in the den.  Fucking done.

I hear Cydney crying upstairs during the third quarter.  I know my mom is tired so while I am beyond my limit I take my child downstairs.  Fuck watching the Knicks game in peace so I turn to Disney Jr just because I’m sick of the crying.  Cydney then wants orange juice.  I didn’t want her to have any because I had been drinking it because I thought I was coming down with a cold.  The tears started.  There was a cup full left so just to keep her quiet I gave it to her.  Two minutes later she asks for an apple and I said no.  More tears ensue.  I just look at that little girl and tell her what does she want from me.  My mom can hear that I’m at my wit’s end and tells me to get her stuff together and she can lay with her for the night.  I knew that wasn’t going down.  Cydney had cried herself into such a tizzy that she began to cough and then spit up.  Yep.  After all of that today then came the piece de resistance. 

After cleaning up more bodily fluids I washed got Cydney up, got her dressed, took her back downstairs, and let her watch Disney Jr.  I was numb to everything at that point and just stared with a blank expression on my face.  I was done.  I felt like a nervours breakdown was coming.  I went upstairs by myself in hiding for about twenty minutes, listened to the rain, and began to figure out my life like I do while playing Tetris.  I came back downstairs and Cydney had gotten into the grapes that were in the refrigerator.  I took her by the hand and went upstairs to bed.  Lightheaded, dizzy, chest feeling tight, and I could feel my heart beating in my temples.  I turned on Frozen until Cydney would fall asleep.

…Then she asked for tea that I wouldn’t oblige and another fit of crying ensued.  It was 11:30 by the time she’d cried herself to sleep.  I couldn’t sleep until about 3am and was back up by 5:30 to begin my day.

Time For Cydney and I To Go Our Separate Ways

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Cydney has been on the daddy daycare plan since she’s been back with me the last two years.  It’s the inexpensive route because with the peanuts that I make spending close to $800 a month just doesn’t cut it around here.

It’s time for Cydney and I to do something different.

I do the best that I can for my little girl within my parameters.  She wakes up late so that I can get up early, do a full day’s work before it’s time to do my dad duties for the day, then clean up the mess she makes around the house, and by the time she passes out after the bedtime struggle I’m beat even though I still have more work to do.  I’ve been getting more and and more tired since  2014 started.  I have more and more work to do, so work has significantly seeped into the time that I take care of her.  It also takes more time for me to do work because I’m sitting at my computer while someone wants to sit on my lap, type, and wants my attention.  I’ve been letting TV raise her a little more than I want to.  

I’ve been trying to make my circumstances work for me, but something’s gotta give and I’m the one suffering.  I’ve been running for the last four years without much of a moment to take a breath or get just do the things that I’d like to do.  I’ll get more into this maybe tomorrow or so, I have a post in mind for that.

On Saturday at my nephew’s baseball breakfast when all of the kids wanted to run around Cydney was more than happy to run around with them.  When it was time to go she grasped on to a little boy because she wasn’t ready to go.  The same thing happened about an hour later at Modell’s.  She just grabbed onto a little girl and said “No!”  Looking at her for a distance it pulled at my heart’s strings a little bit.  Cydney is often a loner around kids playing by herself at birthday parties and is more comfortable around adults.  That’s because she goes with me everywhere I go.  Now she’s ecstatic to be around people her age.

Because we’ve spent so much time at home the last couple of months (hence no Weekend in Pictures) she goes wild when she’s out the house.  At the mall she wants to run around everywhere.  As if the house that she spends all of her time in is confining.  I understand because I feel the same way.  She never wants to leave the store and get back into the car.  I think in January she spent nearly two weeks at home with leaving the house not once.  I didn’t really leave either but I would still run an errand or two.  I feel bad because there isn’t much that I can do about it at this time in life.  

  She’s happy to be around me and loves to have daddy’s attention all day and night.  I think we’ve both reached the point where we need more from our lives than what we currently have.  It’s time to put her into preschool.

How Disney’s Frozen and Jordans Are Similar

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One of the most fundamental principles of microeconomics is supply and demand.  As the demand for a product or service increases and the supply stays the same, it drives the price of what is coveted increases.  Nike’s Jordan  brand has made sneakers from someone who hasn’t dribbled a ball in eleven years more relevant than he ever was with this model.  As a kid, everyone loved Michael Jordan and his sneakers were king.  The original marketing plan for his sneakers while he was still playing was that anyone could theoretically buy the sneakers because they didn’t sell out and were available anywhere–they just cost $150 in the 90’s.  

Twenty years ago it was absurd to pay that much for a pair of sneakers.  However, the supply was there and if you really wanted them you shelled out the money for them.  After Jordan retired and Nike came up with the idea of selling his retro sneakers they came up with a new plan: the price point has only changed by $35 because or the times/inflation but made them exclusive by playing on the nostalgia of the people who wanted those kicks growing up but could not afford them at the time.  Since those who were youth at the time were now old enough to afford them to buy if they could get their hands on them fast enough.  The demand went through the roof as everyone tried to get their favorite ones that got stolen or they ran them into the ground during their formative years.

As the sneakers became more exclusive, there became a culture of collecting them and that really drove the demand up.  The internet made people who understood the principles of supply and demand quite savvy because they could sell their $150 sneakers online for nearly 300% what they paid for depending on the shoe and the crazy thing is people will actually buy them (I would if I had the disposable income for a couple of pairs). 

Disney has taken this same approach with Frozen.  For starters, they began to release trailers about a winter movie in July.  Just enough time to get children excited for the holiday season.  Then, they made a winter movie that takes place in the summertime.  Brilliant!  Why?

Disney knows when they have a movie franchise that will rake in a billion dollars in the box office, but will make even more money on the merchandise.  They are still selling stuff from Cars like the first movie wasn’t released eight years ago.  Frozen was a little different.  Since they made a movie about snow in the summer means that they could sell merchandise year-round.  When it’s cold kids will love all of the snow and stuff like what’s on the ground during the winter months wishing for the summer.  When it’s beach time, they can sell Frozen bathing suits, towels, and all of that (they insured this by making the talking snowman, Olaf sing a song called “In the Summer.”  

Around Christmas time if you looked in Toys R Us, that section had everything.  The kids loved the movie (mine included) but the merch didn’t catch on right away.  You could buy the stuff just as readily as you could anything else from them.  ‘Let It Go’ began to take steam once the movie was in select theatres.  All parents thought it was cute at first but then began to hate the song as their child sang it over and over and over again and wanted to be Queen Elsa who actually is the antagonist (another twist that is ingenious).  Starting around February when the Oscar buzz generated, everything Frozen sold out.  Cydney got her Elsa castle for her birthday right on time because by Valentine’s Day they were gone.

Disney’s Frozen merchandise is all about exclusivity.  I’m finally preparing for Cydney’s birthday party a month later because of my grandmother’s passing and I had a hard time finding Frozen anything.  The party supplies aren’t in store and are close to sold out everywhere online.  Most of the toys are out of stock even on Amazon, and the prices of what’s available are sky high.  The figurine playset that one would notmally find at the Disney Store for $26 is on Amazon for $49.99.  The $14 Elsa dress is now $45 and someone is selling them on eBay for $68.  People-myself included-are buying them because you have to have it.  You can’t disappoint the kids.  The marketing mavens at Disney know this too.  I went to the Disney store looking for Elsa’s dress and the manager told me that this one little pocket was all of the Frozen stuff they had.  It was pencils, Kristoff dolls, and bathing suits.  I asked him when they would have more and he said they don’t know because the Frozen stuff comes intermittently when no one knows which makes sure no one can wait around and keeps things on a first come first serve basis…Slightly advanced supply and demand microeconomics suggests that this keeps things exclusive. 

The DVD/Blu-Ray was released today.  Watch those sales go through the roof.  Within the next couple of weeks there will be more Frozen merchandise everywhere and you’ll see more and more of it being geared towards the summer.  And our children will be Ice Queens [who value family] year-round…even when it’s 95 degrees outside.  If you think about it that’s unbelievable.  

…Like a teenager who wasn’t alive when the Chicago Bulls went 72-10 wearing Jordan Bred or Concord XI’s which can be found on eBay for $800 and $500 respectively.

The Weekend In Pictures: Ice Cream, Cleats, and Chuck E Cheese Edition

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:Meet The Team" Little League Breakfast
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All the other kids
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Courtney is on the Mariners this year
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All the kids wanted to run around
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Cydney's soccer cleats
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Courtney's baseball cleats
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Party supplies for Cydney's long overdue birthday party
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Wheel of morality
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... turn, turn, turn
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Skee ball
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base and football
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Fly away, Cydney
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There's always one kid
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I hate this place
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Cydney and Chuck E Cheese riding
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The tickets came
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... and came
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And came
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Courtney and his winnings
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429 tickets
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All that money and this is what they got...