don’t call it a comeback

Don’t call it a comeback.

No, really, don’t.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m looking back over these past few weeks with a sense that the worst has passed.  This Thursday and Friday most recently gone saw a bit of “culmination” for me at work.  The primary two or three things I’ve simply been pouring my time and efforts into seem, for the most part, to be “over the hump” and knocked down to coal from their previously stoked bonfire.  I think last week was the worst; I worked eighteen hours days, 6am to midnight and then again, Tuesday through Thursday.  Some might say I’m doing it wrong; perhaps so.  Doesn’t matter now, what’s done is done.  I missed writing.

From a blog perspective, I missed writing a poignant (or at least tongue-in-cheekily so) series of paragraphs about Keaton’s first day at Kindergarten.  I missed it, the actual act of it, well the part that a parent can miss, anyway.  The part where she’d be all lined-up at 8:15am on Monday morning outside room J25.  The teacher then bidding them to wave goodbye to their watching families for the few hours they’ll be under her care and tutelage.  The part where she’d be all dressed in her day-one finery and mom will have her hair shining and straight with one-hundred strokes and she’d be smiling and look all youthful-healthy and filled with excitement and maybe just a little visible trepidation, noticeable only to those close enough to spot it.  The part where maybe a big ‘ol grown-man dad might get a little misty as he watches his baby girl start her probably-not-long-enough march into adulthood.

Yeah; I missed all that.  It’s not as bad as it may seem though, as we got to go to an “orientation” thing the Friday before and watch a practice-run of the whole ritual.  Who’s to say that wasn’t the real “first time” anyway?  For me it was, at least.  So I got to see it, got to watch her face and shiny hair and even got a touch of the vapors seeing her disappear with the column of other mostly-eager fiver year olds.

She tells me she met a new friend named Angela and her favorite parts of the day are recess and lunch.  She tells me that she wasn’t sad at all leaving mom on that first day, and that she’s happy her next-door-neighbor girlfriend is in her class.  On Mondays she has school, dance, and soccer.  Sharaun has adapted crock-pot meals for the new schedule.  I feel like maybe it’s the “next phase” of parenting, the “shuttling” phase.  She’s getting bigger daily, so I can’t be doing this eighteen hour bollocks much longer.  Not enough days to miss more than a few for work.



winning the bread

A dismal week for writing.  The Thursday debut speaks for itself.

Been working late most nights, winning the bread.  Meetings have eclipsed most of the daytime working hours to evenings are email catch-up.

Within a week Keaton starts school and soccer and re-starts ballet.  I’ve told Sharaun that we’re going from a relatively “easy” schedule to one of those suburban first-world problem nightmarish kind.  The school, off to ballet, right from ballet to soccer practice and back for a late dinner kinda thing.  Maybe this is some new phase of parenting that we’re about to be broken in on.  Keaton… people ask me if she’s excited about starting school.  I tell them that she is, but, in reality, she has no idea what she’s excited about… so who really knows.  She’s excited to wear her new twirly “first day” dress and see what all the other girls are wearing; she’s excited because she and the next-door neighbor best-bud share a class; she’s excited because they have playground.

Yeah, one’s school-age now and one’s working on crawling (no appreciable progress yet, friends).  One’s a boy and one’s a girl and that’s about as “square” a family unit as I could ask for.  I guess that’s why I paid a visit to my general practitioner the other day for a physical.  See, they wouldn’t refer me directly to the urologist… maybe they wanted their insurance money or maybe that dude really likes squeezing my balls, but whatever the reason I had to go there first and get checked-out before they’d point me to the vasectomy doc.  Yup, sterilization.  Can you believe that, before they’ll do this to you of your own volition, you have to go to a “counseling” session and a class on the practical irreversibility of the whole thing?  After that they make you wait through a “cooling off” period before you can have the procedure.  California: where elective surgery is akin to buying a firearm.  It’s OK though, I’m not in any real rush or anything, I can wait.

This weekend is Disneyland for Sharaun’s birthday, courtesy of the travel miles, courtesy of the RV trip spending, courtesy of the bread won, courtesy of Monday through Wednesday night spent working instead of writing here.


thursday is my last day

Happy Tuesday internet.  It’s gonna be another humdinger for me.

The friend Sharaun had lined-up to watch Keaton and Cohen Monday so I could go into work called Sunday evening to tell me that her own kid was sick.  Fever, up-chucking, the whole nine yards.  Without any time to secure alternate options, I fell on my sword and decided to try and do the whole workday from home with both kids.  This, friends, is not easy – particularly if you have a precious four workdays left before leaving for seven weeks and need every minute to be bursting with productivity.  I did my best, and would say I was about 85% as good as I could’ve been at my desk.

Keaton, bless her, truly bless her, helped me entertain Cohen.  In exchange I delegated her parenting to Disney cartoons, computer time, and coloring.  I felt bad about it, but I had no choice in the matter.  Thankfully she handled it well and really did manage to keep herself busy (and not all of it was in front of the TV, either… she played dollhouse and colored and even spent some time practicing reading).  She can be an absolute angel when she wants to.  With the exception of the thirty minutes between noon and 12:30pm I had meetings all day.  My ears hurt from the earbuds I use to take calls (Bluetooth is terrible; never works and is too much trouble, wired is where it’s at).  Cohen also behaved, napping when I needed to chair meetings and eating well when I could borrow time to feed him.

Around 10am Sharaun called and let me know she missed her flight out of Miami and there was a chance she’d not make it home until Tuesday (today as you read, I know it’s confusing but I write a day in advance).  Luckily that didn’t happen because, man, I couldn’t do another one of these days.  Not to mention, I really couldn’t; I absolutely have to be in the office Tuesday through Thursday.  Thursday – my last day.  Holy crap Thursday, which is three day from now, is my last day for seven weeks.  Seven weeks on the road.  Seven weeks to let my mind wander.  Seven weeks.  Oh man, I am ready.  I am counting down.  Battling the mainspring and winning for once.



dad did it

It’s Saturday as work on this entry begins.  Day four as Mr. Mom.  Over the hump and with aplomb, I might add.

Presently it is 6:30am.  It’s that time of year where it’s light outside beginning around 5am here in California so it doesn’t feel so early when judged by surroundings.  But it is early; early to have Cohen up, bathed, and fed already.  Early to already have a load of laundry out of the washer and into the dryer.  Early to be on my third cup of coffee.  By eight o’clock Cohen will be back asleep… somehow the whole schedule slid forward by about an hour and a half when I was waking everyone so early to get them fed and readied before the daycare drop-off.

I’m not complaining.  I’m enjoying my morning.  Keaton’s still sleeping and I decided the grey skies outside were calling for a spin of Steely Dan’s sophomore record, Countdown to Ecstasy. (Note: somewhere in the middle of this paragraph a lot of time passed, that’s how writing goes.) In fact these days with just the kids and I have really been a blessing.  I kind of lost myself in it this weekend; stopping once to think how great it was to be able to do nothing but lounge on the floor playing peekaboo with Cohen or coloring with Keaton.  I like to think of it as a preview of the coming seven weeks on the road: plenty of time to spend enjoying my family and the fun we can have together seeing and doing new things.

Sunday after church (which, I should add, I was early for – not a regular occurrence) I decided that I’d take the kids out for lunch.  I didn’t feel like making their lunches and I’d already half-planned to do something so I’d packed food and bib and spoon and snacks for Cohen in the diaper bag.  Part of me knew it could be disaster… one parent and two kids in a busy restaurant, but another part of me anticipated the challenge – and even more so anticipated looks.  Dads… you know what “looks” I’m talking about: The “Oh gosh what a good dad he must be!” looks you seem to get whenever you’re out just you and the young’ns.  I thought I’d written about it before but I can’t seem to find it.

Anyway, dad’s out mom-less with their kids really do stand to get a swollen head.  People look and point and nudge and talk, it’s a good feeling but part of me also thinks it’s sad that being a “good dad” is something rare enough that we have a warm emotional reaction when we see someone doing it.  But, whatever, I’ll take it gladly.  It might help that Sharaun and I made some fierce-cute kids, like cute enough to strip the hide of a live steer – or some other such meaningful expression of a hearty cuteness.  It might also help that we’d come straight from church and I’d taken care to dress both kiddos as sharply as possible (y’know, to prove to the parishioners that this lone-dad has it going on… and to get those fond smiles from the pews as well…).  The image accompanying this post shows what sort of merchandise I was showing-out.

Sharaun get’s back today (Monday, not the “today” of writing), and it couldn’t come soon enough.  Goodnight.

i’m that dad

Today was the first of my six days without Sharaun.  By now she’s on her cruise ship and is giddy with some pre-teen New Kids on the Block fever.

The day started early as Sharaun was busy getting up and out around 4am.  I slept poorly after she left, tossing and turning until the alarm woke me at 5:30am.  I had a 7am meeting I needed to be on, one of those things where your manager’s manager’s manager would be asking your opinion on something.  Before that, however, I had to get Cohen over to the house of our kind friend who offered to watch him today.  We pulled into her driveway at 6:40am; not too bad.  Keaton colored groggily in the car, waiting while I dropped off Cohen and gave some terse guidance around his daily routine.

We left around 6:50am, somehow found time to run through the McDonalds drive-thru and grab some McGriddles and still make it back to the house by 7am on the dot. I dialed into my call and we ate while I sat on mute waiting to be called on.  The call went the full hour and afterward Keaton and I were out of the house and on the road again by ten after.  Sharaun had made arrangements for Keaton and Cohen to go to a local daycare on the days I had to work, the sawmill offers employees a complimentary week of daycare per child per year for just this kind of situation.  Since the ratio of teachers to babies is higher than teachers to fiver year olds, they had room for Keaton every day but could only fit Cohen in on two of them.

I have to admit, I was probably more nervous than Keaton whilst dropping her off.  She had told me in the car that she might be “shy” and keep to herself… letting me in a little on her through process, knowingly or not.  I tried to play it smart, I walked her to her classroom, introduced her to her teachers, and promptly gave her a big hug and kiss before turning quickly to leave.  I didn’t want to linger, as I was worried it might give her feet time to cool and re-think how “OK” she was being left there.  I caught her by surprise, I think, doing the whole drop-off so ninja-quick.  Out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving I saw a look of trouble and doubt blooming on her face and, although my heart was exploding at seeing it, I strode firmly out the door without a lingering glance or any hesitation.

OK so when I got to the car I nearly had to fight back tears.  Keaton can be “sensitive” socially.  She seems to care, already, at this age, about how people receive her and she wants to be liked.  I could tell she was nervous and shy and more than a little worried about fending for herself among this classroom thick with well-established friendships.  (Or maybe it was all in my head… and I was just projected the old social fears I myself once had onto my daughter, who knows.)  I guess it’s fair to say I was feeling anxious on her behalf, hoping she made quick buddies and fit in and had a good time.   And yeah, I’ll admit that I called the place at noon to get a halfway-point status report.  I’m that dad, apparently.

Happy to say, though, that Keaton loved her day at daycare and is excited to go back tomorrow.  She made friend and they palled around together most of the day; they had music time and she learned new songs; they had an art table that she stuck close to; she had hot dogs and vegetables and tots for lunch.  Not only that, Cohen was a good kid for our friend, napping per schedule and being generally all-around awesome.  After day one, I’m feeling up.  Also could’ve helped that the day at work was busy enough that I didn’t really have time to worry about anything but the present…

I got this dad stuff licked.  Hurry home, mama; we miss you!

What a boring entry.  I’d go back and delete it were I not just happy to have written. Goodnight.

don’t kick that anthill

Hey friends and readers who don’t like me.

It’s Monday we are at t-minus 13 days until the big trip.  From a work perspective this means that I’m at t-minus 9 days (I’m taking that last Friday off to pick up the vehicle).  If I find more time to write between now and then, you’ll likely hear me come back to this theme again and again.  Y’know, the “Oh Lord I only have X days left to get this all done!” with a , “Oh Lord I only have X-1 days left to get this all done!” follow-up.  I have a feeling that, as the sun sets on those last couple days, and the whistle blows at 5pm as I leave the sawmill that this guilt will begin to fade into excitement.  Already I’m making little lists of things I want to remember to bring.  Sharaun’s been doing a good job borrowing things from her Facebook consort… thus helping us minimize our continued investment.

Speaking of Sharaun, she leaves for her New Kids On the Block cruise on Wednesday morning.  Abandoning me to both kids and a full-time job and all the week-before planning madness.  I don’t want to devote much writing time to this cruise, because I’m afraid I’ll get to riled up.  I’m glad she’s going because she wants to so bad… the kind of bad where you might mistake her for a thirteen year old teenie-bopper instead of an established stay-at-home mom of the suburbs.  I’m also glad she’ll have some time to cut loose with her friends, so there’s that.  But don’t ever, ever, try and talk to me about the money thing.  If I think too long about it I get disgusted (probably shouldn’t tell her that either, even though she already knows it’s not good to kick the anthill).  But let’s talk about it just a bit… perhaps…

I wouldn’t deny her the experience because of cost, obviously… no.  What angries up my blood is realizing how rational it is in her mind to spend so exorbitantly on something I consider so wasteful.  I think it’s that mental disconnect around “return on investment” that irks me.  To her it’s a “no duh” to spend so much on something like this, to me it’s akin to burning dollars.  But then again, I don’t expect to understand it… the ROI for her is something I’ll not be able to comprehend.  I’d like to say that there’s nothing I would be willing to spend so stupidly on… but I’m fearful of making such a statement and then getting called down with lightning.  I suppose I can leave it at that, because if we go much further down this route I’ll begin playing the apologetic and start questioning myself in her voice about the money I’m disposing on this silly RV trip (which, I might schizophrenically add, is a family thing).  I could do this all day… debate with my own consciousness.  Probably as good reading as it is thinking, though, huh?

Anyway it’s the kids and Mr. Mom for the latter half of the week, our last weekend in town, and Monday of next week.  Then Sharaun’s back and we have five days to get everything together, load it into the vehicle, and hit the road.  It’s going to go by in a blur, I already know it.  Wish me luck.


days and videos

Hey what’s up internet somehow it got to be Thursday and I need more days before it’s the weekend OK?  How about we make some kind of deal.  You give me a day between today and Friday, or even between Friday and Saturday.  I need this extra day because I still want, and furthermore feel I deserve, two days of weekend yet need another day of work.  We could compromise, call it Tweenday or Foreday or something like that.  Just another eight hours.  But don’t really do it, because I want Friday to be here.  OK thanks.

Tonight I wanted to shoot a practice video to test out both the new point-and-shoot camera as well as the ease-of-use of the new Windows 7 updated Movie Maker software.  Since I’m planning to try upload video content during our trip, specifically a video diary series featuring Keaton’s road-trip commentary, I was hoping that the new version of Movie Maker was as easy to use as the previous one.  Turns out it’s easier and faster, and I threw together a montage in short order.  After uploading to YouTube and linking to Keaton’s webpage, I’m super happy with the results.  You can check it out here.  Best case is we can upload videos like these as our travels bring us to places where we’ll have connectivity (most proper RV places now have wireless, and I’ll be serving IPs from the phone’s connection wherever we have data service, so I feel the chances are good).

I am going to go now.  Give me a break; I did a video.  Goodnight.