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To Sell Or Not To Sell: A Question of eBay

It has been almost a year since I was asked to be a member of the eBay Parent Panel and what a year it has been. I have endured a literal, not virtual, roller coaster ride of highs and lows that at points caused me to scream with glee and at others filled me with vomit inducing disgust. But the ride wouldn't be exciting without the peaks and valleys, right?

Today is a hot, hot, hot Saturday and on this day I did what I like to call stuff "man stuff around the house" --- swapped out a deadbolt lock for a doorknob, walked the grounds of my house with a property manager and chopped it up about Chicago, spiders, Spider-Man, real estate and duct work. I forgot to go to Comcast to return a modem not once, but 3 times in the same day and only made a solid plan to go after the place was closed for the day. I did my best to play with the pooch but his natural fur coat transformed his normally wild shepherding antics a slow drag, that is me dragging him down the block while drool poured off his tongue. I also cleaned my house and cleaned out my closet. I tore through all the things I cannot wear, no longer wear and had no business wearing. Namely sweaters I like that must've been attacked by moths while they were in storage, if you catch my drift. I also noticed 3 bags of clothes I set aside months ago to sell on eBay.

Decision time.


#WordlessWednesday - #SocialGrindATL

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.


Mondays with Michelle: Summertime = Ice Cream Time

Happy Monday Foodie Friends!

With summer officially upon us, now is the perfect time to share my favorite Italian Ice cream spot with you... Paolo's Gelato Italiano in the Virginia Highlands. It is the best ice cream in Atlanta. If you live in Atlanta, like I do and you haven't been, get there asap. If you plan on visiting, include this as a stop on your itinerary. It reminds me of the delish authentic Italian ice cream shops from my home town in Germany, and it doesn't get much better than that!

Daddy-Daughter Date: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

I recently attended the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to witness magic. Atlanta Falcons Offensive Guard, Justin Blalock was the host and guest conductor for the Orchestra’s Side-By-Side Summer Concert of Student and Professional Musicians. He lead the combined orchestras in John Williams' popular “Raiders March” from the Indiana Jones films to conclude the show.

From the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: In addition to this new partnership with the Atlanta Symphony, Mr. Blalock will continue to grow his work with The Justin Blalock Foundation, which targets students, ages 11-18, in the Greater Dallas and Greater Atlanta areas who participate in sports. The Foundation uses athletics and education as tools and motivators to strengthen family relationships, and create a new generation of successful student athletes and future role models in the community.
If you are a reader of this blog, you know I take my daughter out on Daddy-Daughter dates. This time around, my daughter and I got dressed up and hit the town on a balmy June evening in my own efforts to strengthen her background in music and to remind myself of the majesty that is classical music. I was transported back to when I was her age, listening to the strings, hearing the brasses chime in, jumping from fright as I was never prepared for the thunderous roar of the percussion instruments. To put all those instruments and people (both young and aspiring and professional and accomplished) together to produce music nearly brought my heart to tears.

What I forgot was how much I initially hated the experience myself.


Bahamas-Bound: Good Eats And Fine Dining

There is no better way to go into the weekend than with talk of good eats and fine dining.

Since ancient times people come together to break bread. Eating with company, family, etc. is one of my favorite pastimes, sometimes surpassing the actual food I'm eating. But being as I am married to an amateur chef (who I feel needs to go pro) and have been sampling restaurant fare for as long as I can remember, it would only make sense that I would take note of all the food available to me during my recent trip to the Islands of the Bahamas.

Good Eats

Conch Fritters. This island delicacy is a sinfully light "pastry" that is packed with green and red peppers, conch (an island shellfish that is THE island shellfish), garlic and spices, the spicier the better. It comes with a dipping sauce that can be best described as a spicy ranch sauce that adds that much more punch to the already unique flavor. Conch (pronounced "Conk" like honk) in my opinion, tastes however it is flavored and it is fantastic when embedded in these Bahamian-made fritters. During my stay, conch fritters were served as appetizers at nearly every meal short of breakfast.


Happiness Abides Within

I've lived in Chicago. I've lived in Connecticut. I've lived in New York City. I live in Atlanta. I would like live a portion of my older years in the Caribbean.

Whenever I visit places, most recently, my native Chicago, I leave with this sense that I am leaving something behind. Some peace or ease of living that exists there that doesn't where I currently reside. The same happened during a trip to NYC a few weeks ago. And so too did this emotional yearning occur when I departed from my four day press-trip to the Bahamas.

But the entire time I was home in Chicago I listened to my mother complain about the declining quality of life, the escalating prices of everything, and the outrageous murder rate (which everyone should be complaining about). While waiting to fly out of Atlanta to the Bahamas I met a woman in the airport, a recent transplant to the city, who professed that she hated the ATL. Even in my own household there is a geographic pursuit of happiness --- an assignment of almost mythic grandeur to either a place you once were or a place you have yet to arrive that leaves persons perpetually unsatisfied. I've been guilty of the same. I think most of us who walk upright, breathe air and communicate via language have been at least once.


The Top Ten Crazy-Statements This Dad Makes

If you grew up with one or both of your parents, you most certainly have either a short or long list of sayings that one or both parents got into the habit of saying while caring for/disciplining/chastising you. You know these words were said more to test you back once you began to test them as if to ask, "you really want to go there?" And you never did. And no matter how wild or brazen mom's crazy-statements were, dad was able to effortlessly take crazy-statements to an incomprehensible level. In honor of Father's Day I've decided to list down the ten things I say weekly and sometimes more to my kids. Some are son-specific, most are equally applicable and all are said with love. I used to think my dad was ridiculous for his sayings. Now, I belong to the club of the ridiculous.
  1. Why is the front door unlocked? If I get robbed I'm putting all of y'all out in the street!
  2. Keep it up and I will hang you upside down by your toenails...yeah, really.
  3. Who left these lights on? I will empty your college fund out right now and go on vacation.
  4. I didn't hear you...what did you say? (pause and lean in close to hear) You sure you want to repeat that?
  5. You got five seconds to get it together --- 5...4...3...2...1 (repeated twice)
  6. Oh my God, go to bed! The only thing going on right now is me trying to get some sleep.
  7. Don't show up at my front door after curfew. No, I mean, don't bother coming home and don't think you're coming home the next day either.
  8. Your what? (lean in and pause for answer - usually silence) Nothing in here is yours except the body God gave you.
  9. (To my son after he says something ridiculous) Do I have to punch you in the head?
  10. (While driving) Hold on... (while pulling to side of road or highway or into some parking lot in the middle of nowhere) Get out. Since you got so much mouth you can talk your way home. Good luck with that.
Spending a little bit of time thinking about the above list brought a smile to my face. I've said it all with no malice at all on my heart in an effort to coach, direct and love my kids.

I love my kids.

Happy Father's Day.

Want to add to this list? Please do in the comments and please keep in mind this is all in fun, anything offensive won't be posted.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.

INFOGRAPHIC: What Fathers Wish They Had Known

Check out this graphic below listing the thoughts and opinions of some of the leading online dads on the subject of what they wish they had been told prior to becoming a dad (compiled by Future Fortified). You might be surprised by the responses based on who is saying them.

Why my two-cents is included in this esteemed group is beyond me.

Graphic courtesy of Future Fortified.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.

VIDEO: Addressing The Crisis of Black Fatherlessness

As lofty and optimistic as I am about fatherhood, there are alarming stats that suggest otherwise. Either not everyone agrees with me, or they might not be able or willing, for one reason or another, to be fathers to their children. On Friday, June 15 at noon, I was a guest on Headline News with host, Mike Galanos, and actor, singer, Tyrese Gibson, I was able to share some of my insights on this issue and also celebrate all the dads trying and doing their best (Happy Father's Day). Check out the video below:

What are your thoughts on fatherlessness? And for the record, although there is a spike in the numbers in the black community, the stats show this epidemic cuts across all ethnicities in the U.S. so please don't feel excluded from commenting.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


E.Payne Pontificating on Fatherhood on TV and Radio

It seems that my moment has begun to sprout, in the midst of a particularly turbulent and tumultuous time that I may or may not ever speak on here on this blog.

Father's Day is literally just around the corner and I spent most of the week (most of my lunch breaks, that is) being interviewed about being a father, what it means to me and what it should mean in the larger scheme of things.

At home my wife has frequently asked me if I want a cookie for being a father. Of course this comment is drenched in sarcasm thanks to Chris Rock introducing it in a comedy special years ago. And the truth is no I don't other than some occasional affirmation to know I'm doing the right thing versus the wrong thing. And although moms claim to not get any recognition for the things that they do, moms are celebrated everywhere and everyday. And anyone who doesn't celebrate the moms of the world and all the work they do are foolish.

Turns out my blog or at least the several years' worth of messages contained within it are affirming me in ways I never considered or anticipated.

Today at noon Eastern Standard Time I will be on Headline News with host, Mike Galanos and actor (Transformers) and singer (pick a song) Tyrese Gibson talking about fatherhood and some of the challenges facing black fathers. I was a bit nervous being in front of the cameras for the first time since maybe the second grade when I was interviewed with my class on a talkshow that aired in the middle of the night. I hope you will be able to tune in. At the very least, you can put a voice to the words. I just ask that you do ignore my fidgeting.

On Sunday at 7pm EST I will be discussing fatherhood with my blogging brother, Lamar Tyler on local Atlanta radio station, Kiss FM 104.1. This segment was considerably longer and a really good dialog occurred.

This week I was also interviewed by theGrio.com and Kimberly Allers for a forthcoming article. Once those links are made available I will post them.

To any man out there wondering if they can do it, why they are doing it, does anyone care, whatever I say look at your kids, keep them as your focus at all times. Even if they don't thank you or "treat you right" you are grooming thing for successful and hopefully stable adulthood.

And for all the men who are doing what they are supposed to be doing I don't have a "cookie" to offer you. I salute you for hiding in plain sight while society and the media would rather focus on those who aren't worth their salt or the digital ink I will never spill writing about.

Peace and blessings!

Eric Payne

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Wordless Wednesday: Radio Dads

After taping a Father's Day segment for Atlanta's KISS FM 104.1, airing on June 15 at 7 pm. With Jennifer Keitt and fellow Dad, Lamar Tyler.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Thankful Dad

Most days being a father is thankless, so much so that you don't even think about it --- all the things you do, all that you endure and all that you give by day's end. But most men, even the toughest, of which I am not (the toughest), come face to face with matters that will test and sometimes batter their mettle.

During days or times such as these you may feel that you are alone and no one but maybe God is there. But then compassion comes from the tiniest of places. You hear a small caring voice ask, "Dad, what's wrong?" as I did last week. A voice filled with the love and compassion of all the angels up above. And if you're like me, you answer honestly, or at least as clearly as possible so that young mind you're responding to understands the unnecessary complexities of the world of grown ups.

"It's okay, Dad."

That was my daughter's soft and caring response. She put her small hand first on my shoulder and then on my cheek as she sat in my lap. I felt more compassion than I can describe in this 15-second gesture. I looked into her eyes and she smiled at me. I took a deep breath to keep from crying and ruining her time at the park. In the next breath, nearly half my sorrow was gone.

There is no greater power than the power of love. There is no greater blessing than to have a child who is able to exercise that power.

I am too thankful to be sidelined by the thoughtless actions of men (and women) because of the thoughtfulness of my children.

And my daughter was right. It is okay.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad. To learn more about me, you can read my story.

Mondays With Michelle: Date Night for 2

Happy Monday Foodie Friends!

My partner and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary last month and instead of going out to a restaurant and blowing both of our paychecks, I decided to sneak home early and surprise her with a fancy, scrumptious seafood extravaganza dinner on the patio for the two of us. I managed to get some pretty good pictures so thought I should share, because everyone can use a little date night trick or two!

Here is what I whipped up...
Seared Scallops, Mango Jalapeno Puree and Roasted Tomatoes.


Wordless Wednesday: My Life In Pictures (Frames)

Where I've been, what I've done, what I've seen...recently:

Tesla S, Yes!


Dazzle 'Em With Your Smile (and a Toothbrush): 2 Weeks Later

It's been a full 2 weeks since I started using my Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide and I must say that my teeth are better off because of it. I've been taking turns using my old school human powered toothbrush and my Oral-B power toothbrush. The differences are quite noticeable. First off, I don't stand there brushing my teeth on my own for 2 minutes. I simply don't watch the clock as I typically brush my teeth with my eyes closed. With the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 the SmartGuide always has me focused on the time spent brushing, notifying me when it's time to stop and move on the next quadrant of my mouth (divide your mouth into four sections and you'll get the idea). However the biggest, most noticeable and most welcome change is the Floss Action brush head. It gently flosses your teeth while you brush. I'm not sure it's a 100% replacement for flossing but it's a wonderful feature that has effectively stopped a gum irritation I was experiencing between two of my back teeth when I first began using the new brush. I also appreciate that notifies me that I'm applying too much pressure by stopping when you are brushing too hard.

Pardon the cliche statement, but in addition to taking my word for it, you should try out the brush yourself. Oral-B is currently offering a $10 mail-in rebate on select power toothbrushes now through June 16, 2012. Please visit OralB.com for more information. And of course, Like Oral-B on Facebook (that is if you're on Facebook).

“Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Why Settle?

I was raised a Christian. I was raised to be God-fearing. I was raised to be thankful for all that has been given to me and all that is in front of me. When I wake in the morning I thank the Lord for the air I breathe, for the sky and sun above and I ask that I be a blessing to all around me regardless of whether anyone blesses me back.

As I aged and matured in years, wisdom and my own faith walk I realized I had certain abilities. The ability to create something out of nothing. The ability to take a little bit and turn it into a lot. The ability to make the mediocre great --- in time. In my late twenties I began reading money management books and learned how to save and how to live debt free and how not to splurge on myself. My life became an exercise in sacrifice for the great payday. I taught myself to become more by being less.