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Category: Parenting

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YouTube videos won’t play on iPad!

For the past two weeks my kids have had trouble watching YouTube videos on their iPads. It works for a while, then they see a message after the video’s ads play saying, “YouTube: Something went wrong. Tap to retry.” This issue has been prompting YouTube iPad users to “Tap to retry” for years.

The only solution for making the YouTube app work on their iPads has been to completely reset their “Network Settings.” I’ve googled this issue 20 times, but haven’t seen a solution, so here’s what I did:

YouTube bloody you logo

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My bills represent far less than what I owe

My bills represent far less than what I owe

I pay $10 a month for Netflix.
I have paid $10 for Hulu and other services in the same category that seemed worth it.
I pay something like $300 a year for Amazon prime.
$50 a month into my car’s gas tank.
$25 a year for Apple Music.
$85 a month for internet.
$65+ for my cell phone.
$20 for parking near work.
$185 annually for car tabs.
I can go as high as $100 in a single month for iTunes purchases.

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Mac Dad’s adventures in PC gaming: Rust on Steam

Mac Dad’s adventures in PC gaming: Rust on Steam

Attn: All Mac Dads

If your kids ask for a PC for gaming, just tell them you can’t afford it. It won’t be a lie, specifically, considering how much time you have to spend updating drivers and frameworks.

Rust PC Game LogoTonight my oldest wanted to try out a PC game called Rust. According to Steam’s Rust page, “The only aim in Rust is to survive. To do this you will need to overcome struggles such as hunger, thirst and cold. Build a fire. Build a shelter. Kill animals for meat. Protect yourself from other players, and kill them for meat. Create alliances with other players and form a town. Whatever it takes to survive.”

Sounds legit, right? I added funds to his Steam account, and told him to go ahead. Just kidding! PC gaming is so complicated that you can’t simply shove money into an account and say “go!” So after an hour of typing in passwords, birthdates, logging out, logging back in, putting my birthdate in instead of his, logging out again and then back in, I finally got through it all and then, stopped dead in my tracks by some pop-up window installer called something like “Super Easy Don’t Cheat Installer.

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Seattle’s Mystery Soda Machine

Seattle’s Mystery Soda Machine

My 8 year old’s big plans for this past weekend: “Can we go to the Mystery Soda Machine? You really don’t know what’s going to come out and then you have to drink it no matter what it is. The buttons just have question marks all over them. And it’s really dirty.” Nobody knows who fills it, it’s empty until you put your coins in, and there’s a magic rule that you have to drink what you get.

That machine has been there for as long as I can remember. Seems like it only had one “mystery” button before, though. Now they’re all “?M?Y?S?T?E?R?Y?” buttons. It’s been forever since I even paid attention to it.

Adding to the silliness of the whole thing, the mystery was amplified by my never letting on that I knew exactly where we were going and that there was nothing actually mysterious about the mystery soda machine in any way and I have walked by it (with both of them!) more times than I can count and have lived around the corner from it more days of my life than I have not.

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Parental Controls are a Perpetual Parental Annoyance

Parental Controls are a Perpetual Parental Annoyance

Parental Controls with Steam

Steam Powered Parental ControlsAccording to Steam, I can either disable parental controls, anti-malware, anti-virus, and browser privacy settings, type in my root password, and give Steam unfettered access to control the operating system as if it were sitting at the computer using its fingers, or I just tell them they can’t play Portal 2.

Parental Controls in aApple's Safari BrowserApple’s Safari Brower

www.boyslife.com is a restricted site that requires an admin password to access.

YouTube is Strictly Bad About Restrictions

Parental Controls with YouTube are Amazing! (ly bad)Even the most basic restrictions on YouTube block them from 75% of the Minecraft videos they want to watch.

Is Disabling Parental Controls the Only Option?

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Child Support in Washington State when Custody is Split Evenly

Child Support in Washington State when Custody is Split Evenly

The Poorly Defined Terms in Child Support Law

Child Support Amicable Split Custody DivorceTrying to look up the reasoning behind Washington State’s child support laws is really frustrating. For one thing, 90% of the information out there is for women looking for enforcement of a support order. Another thing is that 50% of the information directed toward men is vitriolic, sometimes misogynistic, bullshit from angry men spouting off about “the oppression of men” or it’s greedy lawyers eager to take those guys’ money from them.

But the biggest problem is the lack of definitions of terms used throughout the law. Custodial parent, for example. When custody is shared, there is no custodial parent. Obligor and obligee, terms used to define which parent owes and which parent receives, are left undefined, as though it’s supposed to be obvious. And, most frustratingly, the supplied definitions seem to be circular. The obligee is the custodial parent. The custodial parent is the one who receives child support. The parent who receives child support is the obligee.

Washington State Child Support “Standard Calculation”

Washington state has what is referred to as the “standard calculation” for calculating child support. But there’s no accounting for neither parent having majority custody. So if my children’s mother and I divorced and she only had every other weekend with the kids but we had equal income, the law weirdly offers no guidance on who should pay child support or how much.

The “basic obligation” for how much it costs to support the kids is based on combined income. Then that’s split based on the ratio of one parent’s income to the other’s. Each parent is responsible for their share of that basic obligation. Seems logical.

Calculation Worksheet Seems to Assume Higher Wager Earner Pays Child Support

Child Support Equality Challenged by Old Fashioned MindsetBut here’s where it gets weird. The parent with higher income is vaguely assumed to be the “non-custodial” parent, meaning the lower income parent is assumed to be paying 100% of their portion of the basic obligation as part of their day-to-day care for the kids. So the parent who earns less is assumed to be the “custodial” parent. I can only guess the logic is that traditionally women take the kids, women earn less, and the state needs to ensure that men are held responsible for their kids’ welfare, assuming that after divorce the father will no longer involved in daily care.

So if you fill out the calculator on the state child support website with the mother having full custody of the kids, full responsibility for their day-to-day care, but she makes more money than the dad, the differential between each parent’s support obligation makes it look as though she has to pay him. Granted it’s discretionary, so the judge gets to hear arguments and can deviate from the standard calculation at her discretion.

But in a case where one parent makes 49% of the combined income of both parents, the online forms for understanding the standard calculation all seem to assume the lower wage earner is the custodial parent and is 100% responsible for financially supporting all basic child welfare related expense.  So then “standard calculation” is spilt, assuming the “custodial parent,” as defined in the previous sentence, is already paying their part, thus the higher wage earner must reimburse the other for their own share.

But we live in a world where dads keep fighting for equal custody. It’s improper to assume men don’t want shared custody or that they can’t provide a family environment that matches the quality any mother might. But women are presumed to have better parenting skills, a stronger emotional connection to emotionally maturing children, and more commitment to parenting even when custody is 50/50.

This is insane. There is simply no guidance from law or legal precedence that would allow an amicable divorce settlement to proceed with a legally defined child support payment [PDF]. When you are eager to support your kids and you have full joint custody, the child support laws look at all men as though you just beamed down from the Enterprise.

Intent: let’s hold irresponsible people responsible.

Practice: let’s keep responsible people from working things out between themselves.


Hours and Hours of Reading Precedent-setting Legal Rulings

Child Support Law Seems to Favor MotherNow that I understand what happens in court and the consequences of how we handled it, my ability to find this information is improved. I know what I should have done now, but without hiring a lawyer for what was supposed to be a simple, uncontested divorce with no custody, property, debt, or abuse issues, I can’t imagine how I should have known how to complete the child support stuff. It’s seriously difficult! There are no legal guidelines for split custody. It’s all left to the judge’s discretion. But we both trusted her lawyer to know this and treat us fairly. Both of us. 

How are you supposed to prepare for divorce when some aspects, especially something as possibly contentious as child support, is totally up to the inner workings of the mind of the person who signs your divorce decree?

So that was two months ago. The paperwork is filed, the child support order is official, and I’m paying $800 more than I should be. We met with a lawyer today. Turns out we should be splitting the “basic obligation” as laid out in the “standard calculation” more evenly. My portion is about $800 less than our original child support order. She’s agreed to submit an amended child support order that takes our split custody agreement into account. What a relief! 

Finding out what your child support obligation is shouldn’t be so difficult! And the assumption shouldn’t be that the dad is the “obligor” while the mother is the “obligee.” The damned form asks you about your custody arrangement, but doesn’t take it into account at all. 

It’s like they took assumptions from the 50s and applied them to a digital form with no further changes or even guidance. What a frustrating system.

A Table That is Hard to Read if You Haven’t Been Through This

Anyway, here is the final calculation I discovered after all of this. I hope it can help someone else trying to walk themselves through a divorce without letting it turn into a horrific mess.

This parentThat parentTotals
Net monthly income

$4,000.00

$6,000.00

$10,000.00

This + that.
Proportion

40%

60%

This divided by this plus that.That divided by this plus that.
Obligation using standard calculation 

$800.00

$1,320.00

$2,200.00

The parent with majority residential time receives the full amount of the other’s obligation.Assumes one parent has a at least 65% residential custody.
Current Transfer

$1,200.00

$(1200.00)

Current net

$5,200.00

$4,800.00

Net proportion after transfer

52%

48%

Obligation considering split residential custody

$800.00

$1,200.00

$2,000.00

Each parent is responsible for their proportionate amount of the child support obligation.Considers that residential custody is split equally.
Adjusted transfer

$200.00

$(200.00)

$0.00

Equitable split of basic child support obligation.Half of the total obligation minus the proportional obligation
Adjusted net

$4,200.00

$5,800.00

Net proportion after adjusted transfer

42%

58%

 

Good luck. You’re going to need it.

Friend and breastfeeding activist is looking for some help

Friend and breastfeeding activist is looking for some help

Help lunar mama grow.

I know this isn’t the type of thing I normally post, nor is it the standard fare for this blog. But a friend reached out to me recently and asked me to help out with a project she’s working on that I wholly believe in. She’s been a long time, activist supporter of breast feeding. Seems like a subject that wouldn’t need activist support, right? But, weirdly, it does. There are laws against breastfeeding in some places. There are rules on Facebook about breastfeeding. There is a wide range of opinions about breastfeeding. And breast milk has even been regarded as less healthy than formula at times.

In order to publish my book I need to get some help editing it. I’ve begun a workshop with a well respected author to begin editing and have found a self-publishing group that can print the books in just the right format to fit in the kits as well as make them available for direct purchase at a very low cost. I’ve also found a great course on Women’s Herbal Health by an internationally known educator that will round out my 17 years of herbal and holistic health self-study and provide me with a certification to be a Women’s Herbal Health Educator. All of this will enable me to offer outstanding, well rounded products as well as low cost exemplary education and workshops to women and birth workers. Your contribution will have not only an impact on the mamas I am able to reach but their children and future generations that will have access to this life changing, and in many cases life saving information.

I’ve known her for years and there was a time in her life where she didn’t think she’d even be able to have kids. But now she’s got 4 and she’s very active in her interests as a mother. Her kids adore me, which earns her points with me, and as a father myself, I support her views on breast feeding and her activist role in promoting parental rights.

Anyway, I’m linking to her Indiegogo promotion to give her a little help.