When I look back and try to figure out what single thing, if any, is responsible for me not writing anymore - it's a feigned exercise. There's no mystery, it was the RV trip. I just got way out of habit... and don't feel compelled to go back. Nothing, even folks occasionally telling me they'd like to see me writing again, really sways me much. I'm just done for now.
There are things I miss about it, mostly the archival nature of old posts (and mostly not the self-indulgent soliloquy that I look back on with growing embarrassment). I feel bad that one day down the road I'll be able to look up posts like this one to help me recall when Keaton's verbal skills were turning from words into rudimentary sentences but won't have a complimentary post to help me remember when Cohen began doing the same. (For the record, Keaton was 19mos when I wrote that and Cohen is now 18mos... he's got quite a few words but isn't quite idea-stringing like she was.) Anyway I think I'll miss being able to look things up in that sort of "index" to the past I had when I used to write every day.
I also miss the "release" of writing. It was a great break from the tension of the day. I've become bad at this, releasing tension.
I've atrophied; become bad at drawing every last bit of joy from each day and instead become focused on "point happenings" in the future. My brain says, "Just four more weeks of work and then we'll have that weekend camping trip. Then it's another month and I'll take that week off when Sharaun's folks are in town. Oh, and, won't next Thursday night's happy hour be a nice break... only a week or so more of this." There was a time when I was better at this, I stopped. Lately I'm doing better. Striving to re-establish good habits. Put the computer away at night. Read at least one chapter to Keaton. Spend at least 20min on the floor with Cohen. Pull the bike out at least once a week and get around.
I fear that, looking at time stretched-out in front of me like a series of anticipated events dropped thin along a linear timeline of "must do" humdrum, I'll miss the good stuff that happens every day. We must be deliberate. Must remember that the magic that is now is gone tomorrow and if I miss that game of Chutes & Ladders with Keaton tonight I might miss it forever. We must be selfless. My work-time can and should happen at work. I must be diligent and keep it there. Must be involved. Television doesn't count towards together.
Gonna make it better guys. Gonna work on this sort of thing before I get down to "writing" on the priorities list.
I thought, "Why not try to make my own martinis?"
How Draper of me. How 1950s Catholic. What's one need, anyhow? Some olives: check. Some vodka: check. Some vermouth: check. Ice and whatnot, sure. Some years back, I don't even recall the occasion, we were given a cocktail mixing set. I think it was the "thing" at the time, a little metal bar set with tongs and strainer and whatnot. When I pulled it down from the back of the top shelf this morning it still had tape on it, just like the day we pulled it from the box. I gave the thing a thorough cleaning and double-rinse in preparation for its inauguration.
And a few jiggers later I was sitting in the garage listening to Neil Young with a buddy from South Africa (I needed a martini-experiment guinea pig). It was hot today so the garage wasn't all that comfortable, and there were flies in there (I have this theory that they're attracted to smoke, the barbecue and pipe seem to draw them in). I have a thing for fresh air (says the guy who just wrote about flies and smoke), so sitting in a camp chair in the garage where it's shady is an upgrade to sitting inside (and not being able to smoke a pipe, too, I suppose).
The drinks came out OK. Too much vermouth. Would've made another to hone the mix but didn't need another.
Happy Tuesday, people of the internet. Welcome to the place where I'm trying to write again.
Worked from home today, mostly out of fear that yesterday's stomach bug might'nt have fully passed through my system. Seems like it was an overly-cautious move, as it's back to normal in the bowel movement department and I'm craving spicy burritos again. There are times where I've been sick in the past and wondered, "Could that have been food poisoning?" This time, I knew it was food poisoning.
It's OK. Despite being on meetings all day, working from home, or "WFH" as we say, can have perks. Take for example the fact that, until sometime between noon and 1pm at least, I was able to work with the house thrown open and fresh air all around me. More, I situate myself next to the sliding door into the backyard and get direct sun from about 9am onward. You know, thinking about it, I haven't had a shirt on all day. Counting the hours I was asleep last night, that means I've been free from the shackles of the foreign textile industry now for almost thirty hours now - a feat for a modern American (at least from the waist up). Also kinda rad to have done all my business meetings shirtless.
Cavemen conducted all their business shirtless, too. Braining other cavemen, spearing fish, dragging cavewomen by the hair for coitus; all sans their Hanes. Today I talked about frequency domain simulations, shirtless. Never before have I been so close to my neanderthal kin. One blood, cavemen; one blood.
Woke up at 4am last night and was called, by animal urge, to the loo.
The water-closet part of our bathroom is little more than that, a tiny sarcophagus with a toilet and a magazine rack, a plunger and a toilet brush. From that 4am visit on I decided the place could be quite homey. Maybe out of necessity, as I was tethered there until the sun came up and then the rest of the day Sunday.
Earlier in the day it was just my gut ailing me. I made a list of the things I ate or drank, tried to see if there was anything unique which the family hadn't had too. Nothing really stuck out. Around midday I could tell I was running a fever in addition to my intestinal distress and that led me to think I was battling some bug and not just a bad bit of cheese or off sushi from Friday night.
I spent the entire day on the couch, slept for most of it. I listened to a lot of music and drank lots water. Somewhere in there I queued up a lot of Pink Floyd, the albums I don't listen to much like Obscured by Clouds and Animals. The family attended me, Keaton bringing me water and rubbing my belly. Laying there I was wondering what was going on in my gut. I imagine these little flagella-having viruses hammering some soft pink lining.
Couldn't have happened at a worse time as far as work is concerned. I have an obstacle course of a week ahead of me and don't need to be waylaid by a stupid stomach bug.
Hi everybody. Went to the state fair tonight with the family.
It was kids get in free and everyone rides for a dollar night so the place was... crowded. I ate a "western sausage" (whatever that is) which had to be two feet long. It really wasn't that good, but there's something fun about fair-food. And while I'm sort of sad that we didn't really get to sample any of the fried novelties (Oreos, artichoke, pickles, etc.), I suppose my heart and waist and whatever else is better off for it. Speaking of health in general, I cracked the User Manual my parents passed onto me when I turned eighteen for the first time in years today. Since I have a milestone coming up I wanted to see what the accompanying recommended servicing included. What I found:
At the 300,000 hour mark, the manufacturer recommends the following servicing:
- Schedule "routine" dental cleaning (because you missed the last two and it's been over a year).
- Statistical note: One cavity (the first since the 150,000 hour mark) will likely be found. If this should be the case, the tooth shall be filled next Tuesday.
- Call primary physician to inquire about "permanent" birth control via vasectomy.
- Schedule vasectomy and throw away the last of your prophylactics.
- Statistical note: Primary physician will require a physical before referring you to a urologist. They will claim this is because you have not been in for two plus years, really it is so they can collect a $10 co-pay and their insurance billings.
- Restart the previously abandoned "Program Cardio." Mandated gym usage.
- Eat nothing bigger than your first. Do this no more than three times per day.
- Statistical note: At 300,000 hours there is a 75% chance your first-size will disqualify the Double-Double animal style.
I guess it's time to get on all that, then. I'm not happy with the pounds I put on during (and prior to, really) the RV trip - so those'll have to come off at some point. But you know if I had some fried butter in front of me I just might have to try it. Yeah, they really have fried butter. No, for real.
If there is a stinking dance show on the television, Sharaun will find it. If there's not one, she's got one recorded and will watch that. Man I hate dancing shows.
So I grab the laptop and don some headphones and listen to music and surf the internet and write. Newlyweds, take note: this part of a successful eleven-year marriage. I can silently protest these despicable dance shows and their infestation of my living room while at the same time listening to some funky breaks and maybe watching an old episode of HBO's Braingames on YouTube or searching Amazon for the best Led Zeppelin biography. Later, we'll reconvene, husband and wife, and it'll be as if the dancing show never happened.
I might get a bowl of cereal here shortly. I downloaded a ton of vintage Smurfs cartoons for Keaton a month or so ago, before I'd heard about their coming CGI resurrection, and she's been really into them. So much so that she begged Sharaun to buy some Smurfs cereal in the store the other day. Turns out this stuff is just Fruity Pebbles, but with only blue and white crunchy things. Since my favorite cereal on the face of the earth is Cocoa Pebbles, and Fruity Pebbles is close, I'm pretty dang fond of the Smurfs cereal. And, hey, there's not much like the 10pm bowl of cereal to cap a night.
I flew today. The half-hour flight on the sawmill shuttle. We zoom high above farmland and the Marin Hills. In the morning the stewardess brought me a Nutragrain bar, the strawberry kind, and I'd already finished my coffee so I ate it with a dry mouth, laboring over each cement-mix piece. In the afternoon flight, the flight back home, the stewardess (a different one) offered me a choice between a school-lunch size bag of pretzels or the same size bag of chocolate cookies. I chose the chocolate cookies and discovered, upon opening them, that I had been deceived as they were simply some kind of "wafer thin" cracker thing with dryish chocolate things embedded in them. Again dry and again I'd already tossed back the last of my (afternoon) coffee so it was like chewing ashes. Tasty ashes.
Thinking about taking the family to Disneyland next weekend to celebrate Sharaun's birthday. We did it last year and really enjoyed it. Disney is not cheap. You can't really get a weekend down there for a whole lot less than a grand. That's pretty insane for a weekend. But man I love Disney. I've looked into tent-camping near the park; there's one RV place within walking distance which charges $30 a night for tent spots - a body could save $50-$70 a night doing this. There are some nice state parks within driving distance, but then you'd have to park. Hotel is likely the simplest option with a one year old.
I don't know if it's a temporary side-effect of seven weeks away from the sawmill, but I've been consciously less "over zealous" about all things bread-winning since returning. I realize that sentence stretches the limit of structure and comprehension so I'll re-phrase: It's hard to see the return on working as hard as I was before I left.
I think this has always been the case, it's just my natural tendency to "fill-up" on work. I'm no workaholic, in fact I'm inherently quite lazy, but I do tend to take on work as it comes with very little selectivity. Put simply, unless I determine a task has zero value, I'm apt to accept it and find a way to get it done. At the sawmill this trait is received well, and has earned me both dollars and accolades. In the grand scheme of things, however, I feel it's both unnecessary and potentially unhealthy.
One can achieve workplace success in eight hours daily; it most certainly can be done. Modern cubicle-bound jobs, however, have transcended the physical and geographical boundaries which governed our jobs of yore. I don't need to be anywhere in particular to do my job, nor do I have to work during any prescribed timeslot. If I have an internet connection and a computer I could work in 23min bursts from midnight to 7am and no one would care if I was on the moon. The unbounded nature of these jobs in the tele-presence age makes for easy "infection" into what, historically, has been non-working hours.
And that's where you get burned. It's so easy to do mail on your phone, take one call at 11pm, work on that presentation after church on Sunday. I don't go to a steel factory, a refinery, a coal mine, or an assembly plant. I don't punch in at 8am and clock back out again when the dinosaur pulls that bird's tailfeather. Work happens on my terms, and as great as I believe that is for productivity and flexibility it can be lethal to the concept of real free-time.
Being away for seven weeks reminds you of this. Truly severed time is precious and should be savored. I vowed to myself that I'd be vigilant about this sawmill-sprawl. Better guarding my 5pm and 8pm and Saturday mornings. It may seem like this theme is one that dominates my writing, or that I devote a lot of time to it. So maybe I do. I suppose I started writing four paragraphs ago simply to comment on how I'm less-busy, and happily so, since returning.
Don't worry, though, I'm sure work will fix that... it has a way of filling in the cracks and I have a way of letting it. I'll remain on alert for encroachment, though, you can bet on it.