new paint

When you put new paint on things, when you wash the windows. When you seal those old holes the former owners put in the stucco, or make sure the grass is edged cleanly along the driveway lines.

You have a favorite pizza place, know where to get the best produce and who to call for appliance repair. You’ve moved things in the kitchen a few times, reorganized, optimized, made it better and easier to use.

What lanes to be in on the drive into work.

What time of day is best to take a walk.

You’re OK. You’re growing roots. You’re looking back less. You’re almost here.

20 minutes

You’re so sleepy but I’m not tired yet. I’m gonna watch ALDS game 3 for a while in bed before turning in. I check with you and you say it’s fine before pulling on a sleep mask and putting in earplugs.

I doze once or twice but am still awake. You’re tossing and turning a little. Thirty minutes ago you turned towards me, put your head on my chest, arm across me, and legs touching mine. I can smell your hair it’s right next to me face, it smells like you.

For twenty minutes I try not to move, not to disturb you so you’ll stay here forever. I feel your weight on me, your chest rising and falling against my side. I concentrate on thinking thoughts directionally – into your sleeping consciousness: I love you; thank you; stay.

Eventually you roll away and that’s OK, it was the best twenty minutes of my day.

why i haven’t called

I have been struggling lately with a set of strong, but thankfully intermittant, feelings.

I have had a hard time pinning down the exact nature of the feeling, but I think I’ve decided that its rooted in a sense of being disconnected. This disconnectedness is then followed by knock-on sentiments you’d expect, like sadness and lonliness. I’ve spent a lot of time on this. On me. Taking a soak with the feeling; considering it, processing it, attempting to engage it in conversation. I’ve spent so much time on it, on me, that it’s sort of become self-feeding. To really feel the feelings takes time. Without balance, the new allocation of time to focus on self could see me forsaking the very folks from whom I’m feeling disconnected.

I also suspect these feelings are not entirely rooted in reality. Meaning, I’m probably not as disconnected as I feel… yet, for whatever reason, I’m feeling it. Worse, I get obstinate when feeling particularly disconnected, and have even caught myself withdrawing further from the very things I feel disconnected from out of of some self-pity or spite. Makes for a neat little negatively reinforcing feedback-loop, doesn’t it?

Writing about it helps me remember that I’m most likely over-thinking it, and that it’s also probably not as real as it feels.



I think I know what’s happening.

You are changing… becoming You 2.0… I know you don’t think it’s much but I think it’s more than you realize.

Consequently, I am being introduced to, am meeting for the first time, these brand new parts of you.

And, perhaps predictably, or at least fortunately, I am falling in love with those new parts. Just like I fell in love twenty-eight years ago… that’s what I’m feeling… all those feelings that come with falling in love.

Beautiful feelings like discovery, euphoria, anticipation, fascination and seduction.

Less beautiful feelings like anxiety, fear, vulnerability, obsession and jealousy.

I think I know what’s happening.

coco fading

Since he was born we’ve called our son Cohen “Coco” for short.

It’s been an endearing nickname; one he embraced and which got heavy usage in immediate family and even across friend-family. We still use it, but… but lately I’ve been saying “Cohen” more often. I think it’s the beginning… a subconscious drift away from the childhood nickname to being addressed as a proper adult.

When the realization of my recent proper-name favoritism hit my consciousness this morning, I had a moment of the sad. Where are our kids going? They are big now, smarter, becoming their own humans. This may seem silly, but it was a meaningful moment to me… another indicator of change… my little man beginning to outgrow “Coco.”

Until later then. Hugs.

hook 142

I’ve mentioned that, of late, I am finding myself feeling a little… “less.” Less sure, less secure, less confident, less strong. It’s been sort of a creeping thing, really… snuck up on my for the most part; caught me with my guard down, perhaps. But there was one sort of lightning-bolt moment that, in retrospect, I can look at with a little humor. Let’s explore…

One of the bigger draws, aside from the nearness of family and a change of pace in lifestyle, to moving from California to Florida was the fact that we’d be close enough to get annual passes at Disney World. As soon as we’d established our Florida residency we bought passes, and we’ve been doing our level best (COVID gap notwithstanding) to get our money’s worth from the purchase.

On one recent trip, Sharaun and the kids headed to Epcot after school let out, and I drove out to meet them after getting off work for the day, so we had two cars at the park when it came time to leave. We all walked out of the park together, and out to the lot where we’d both parked, actually not far from each other in the same section & row, by happenstance. My car was a little further down the row than Sharaun and the kids, so when we got to their vehicle I told them I’d see them soon and kept walking. I smiled and waved to them as they drove away while I continued to walk towards my car.

And I kept walking. And I kept looking. And walking. And looking. Walking. Looking.

Ten minutes passed. Fifteen. I sent a a slightly irked yet still mostly cheerful message to Sharaun, “Hey I cannot find the car, I’m actually still here walking around. Just wanted to let you know I’ll be a little behind you.”

I ranged up and down the rows, knowing right where I thought the car should be… but never finding it. I held the fob to my chin and used my entire mortal body as an antenna while pressing the panic button, straining my ears for beeps. I imagined the scene from above, painted an imaginary search grid in my mind, and set-out to methodically cross off squares.

Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes.

I flagged down a security truck to alert them to my plight. The lot is now beginning to thin-out, people are leaving, the park is long closed. I still have not found my car. I am still walking, and I have already walked for hours, so I am getting tired. I am also getting frustrated, and feeling increasingly stupid. I send another message to Sharaun, “I’m still here, I’m still walking. I’m really sort of upset now. I’ve talked to security. Do you think people steal cars from the Disney parking lot?”

It’s getting dark. There really aren’t that many cars left and I swear I’m in the right place. It’s been forty minutes of me shuffling around. I am well and fully defeated. I actually feel like I want to cry, like legitimately sit down and cry. Somehow, this situation is all my feelings of “less” come-to-life, given corporal form and mocking me. I can’t find my car; I’m this stupid; what is happening to me?

Sharaun calls to say they’ve arrived home. It’s been an hour and I’m still walking around the lot, now in a state of mixed desperation and shame. I don’t know what to do, I’m starting to question everything… Am I on the wrong side of the park? Am I misremembering entirely? And, again, what the hell is wrong with me? I am not irresponsible; I don’t lose my car; I don’t forget things. This. Is. Not. Me.

It’s so empty here. It’s dark. The pavement is still hot from the Florida summer afternoon, though. I’m sweaty and so tired of walking. I have no water. The car must be gone, stolen or whisked into a black hole or… or I don’t know. I have lost my edge. I am not who I think I am. I am incapable. Is something wrong with me? Should I go to to a doctor? I still feeling like crying, I think I might be breaking.

Eventually, over an hour after Sharaun and the kids left I managed to find the car. It was in the section I knew it was in, in the aisle number I knew it was in, just a few hundred feet further down than I remembered… and apparently I walked around it the whole time and never managed actually see it. I got in and drove home, hitting a massive backup on the highway which delayed me even further.

I don’t know why but this experience really took it out of me; wrecked me. Writing about it now it’s not painful anymore… but man at the time I was deeply embarrassed. I felt stupid. All I could do was laugh (nervously) at myself.

change isn’t free & new is scary

I feel like so much is changing right now.

I’ve gotta work my use of “hedging language,” which I incorporate into my verbiage by habit, turning what should be matter-of-fact statements into apparent ponderings, as a way to soften them. Phraseology like “I feel like” and “perhaps” and “maybe” and “to me…” I do it mostly to give me wiggle room. Did you catch that “mostly” in the last statement? Case-in-point.

So much has changed. So much is still actively changing.

Even when change is positive, is forward momentum, even when change is the realization of something you may have wished for – it’s still change and change can be scary. I find myself working to balance happiness over positive change with the natural anxiety change brings.

Because I process verbally, I have talked at-length with those I love about it. While discussing why I might be experiencing such anxiety as things change around me, two friends made statements which have stuck in my head:

I think you fundamentally hit a switch on your priorities, you put family first where it was a source of tension before. That doesn’t come free though and now your brain is figuring out how to reconcile. – Alex

Because it’s new. It’s that simple. – Jeremy

I have been trying to use this as a sort of mantra: Change isn’t free and new is scary. While I am still feeling the feelings, that mantra is a nice reminder that it’s OK and maybe even expected.

Everything has always been good, but somehow it’s getting better.