Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My calves hurt

But I'm still smiling. I went backpacking with my son and a couple of his boy scout friends this weekend. It was a super easy hike. We actually were closer to my house than we were to the parking lot where we met the other kids and adults. We walked in a couple miles and set up camp. Spent the weekend in the fog for the most part. My son is working on his camping merit badge so he had to do all the cooking. That was cool. But what was really cool was he said he would only go on the camp out if I went with him. Its cool to still be wanted.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anticipation, Part 4

This is going to be short. I'm pissed, hurt, angry, shutting down. Needless to say there is more to say.

I guess perception is a matter of perspective. Or maybe its just hormones.


So, the sound of summer starting came over the weekend. A low rumble that built and built and built. It sounds like a flock of Harley Davidsons coming up the hill. That low throaty rumble. Then you can see it, coming straight at you

Every year just before Memorial Day a couple of WWII bombers come here for their annual visit. Because of where the house is, they fly over a couple times a day, for about a week. I'm kind of an airplane geek. So, this is pretty cool. On Sunday one of the planes flew over just a couple hundred feet up. The sound of the engines was pretty cool. I can't imagine what a hundred of these things flying in formation would sound like. Oh, and this year there is an added attraction. A P-51. They love to fly it over the house too. Pretty cool way to start summer

Friday, May 15, 2009

Anticipation, Part 3

We had a bet about what the man would say. She wasn't optimistic, I thought he'd just ask for time to absorb it all. He had started seeing someone, but it didn't sound all that serious.

Well, he called to tell her he'd pick her up at the airport after the trip so they could talk. We sat together on the plane. We talked. We parted ways when we landed. She thought it would be awkward to have to explain me to the man. He knows about the past, but he didn't know we were together on this trip. As I was walking out past security I saw a man. I was sure it was "the" man. He was standing, holding the security rope, leaning forward, almost on his toes. He looked like he was so excited to be meeting her. I was convinced he would say yes, lets get married tonight.

I got in my car and drove home thinking about her, and the man. What it would be between her and I. I know it would change the relationship we have. I knew she would want to really get into life with the man. I was torn. Not big torn. I knew I couldn't do the things for her that she needs, and I want her to be happy. But I started missing her. It was an interesting ride home.

I got the call in the morning. It was not the man. The man was outside baggage, circling in his truck. The man said no. He said too much time had passed. He still loved her. But not in that way. They could be friends. He knows all of her family. He was her dad's friend, that's how they met.

When she got to the office I went down and gave her a big hug. She had been crying. She needed to know about the man, and now she did. She felt better, and she felt worse. We spent a lot of time talking. She's OK. Kind of. I'm OK. Kind of. It was a big week. For both of us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anticipation, Part 2

We had a great dinner, the rest of the stuff we can talk about one on one.

About the guy, the man, the nice man. He drove her to the airport. And along the way, she kind of, sort of, maybe, asked him to marry her. She does love him, I don't think she's in love with him. And he loves her. But before, when they were dating they both got to a spot where they weren't "into each other". I don't know him. But I suspect he spent too much time reading into her, and not enough time just listening. It was interesting. Just normal stuff I think. So, after her dad got sick she has been reevaluating things. And she just didn't want to waste any more time. I get that. So, she thought it was time to find out. So she did, she asked him.

We had a great talk, about stuff, about him, about her, about me. It was really nice to spend that time talking.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Son is 13

A teenager. Let me say that again, a teenager. I next really thought about getting here, having a teenage son. To his credit he's doing really well. He has a good head on his shoulders, he has good friends. Good habits. Well, except the electronics. I know that's a huge hole some kids fall into. It is his monkey, like the internet is mine. Now, about the birthday. And birthday presents. And my wife. And the lack of cooperation. My wife decided on his present this year without even mentioning it to me. And, from what I can gather, without talking to him either. He had his heart set on getting an iPhone. Yes, I know that's quite a gadget. And even if its out of reach it was worth discussing. But that's not the way it works. About a week or so back I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and of course he said he wanted an iPhone. So, I said I would talk it over with his mom. That was when he told me mom had already picked out his present. The first I heard about it. She was planning on getting him fencing stuff. I asked if that's what he wanted and I got the shoulder shrug, yea, it ok. Not over the top entheusiasm. But he really wanted me to talk to her about the iPhone. The next day he has his fencing lesson and I get a paniced call that mom is ordering the stuff, but he really wants the iPhone and did I talk to mom. I get a text off to her telling her about the iPhone and wanting to talk to her. I get a "thanks for the info" text back. When they get back I wait until we're alone and ask if we can talk about the present. I get a totally different story. In her version he really wants the fencing stuff. But when I press I learn that she has ruled out the iPhone. On her own. Well that doesn't sit so well with me. But one thing about my wife, don't ever challenge her, she goes nuclear. And this is no different. Over the course of the next week it was out and out warfare about this damned iPhone. And since she refused to talk about it, I decided to take some unilateral action of my own. I took my son to the phone store to get him an iPhone.
My son has a very practical phone right now. So we went in to look at the upgrade options. Now, this shocked me, but it costs twiced as much to upgrade early as it would to upgrade when his contract expires. This is not logical to me. Why should it cost extra if we're willing to enter into a new agreement. So, the other option is to cancel the old phone and start over from scratch. But it turns out there is. $200 cancellation fee. So, no matter how was look at it there is no way to upgrade his phone until October. Yes he was a little dissapointed, but he accepted a signed IOU for an iPhone payable in October.
But even discussing that with my wife was a battle. And she wonders why I feel she doesn't respect me. She just avoids anything that she might have to yield on. In hind sight, I don't know if she's ever really yielded on anything. She just gets nasty until she gets her way. It was interesting hearing that observation from my son. He avoids her since he is convinced of what her reaction will be. That is a dangerous precident. He has already written her off. He doesn't talk to her. And now he's a teenager. The wrong time to have communication issues with your parents. I need to engage with him even more now than ever. I don't remember my teen years being as complicated as teens have it today. There is a lot of growing up to do. And a lot of places where it can go awry. I just hope he keeps talking to me.


Once more heading out on a business trip to Denver. Once more going to try to meet a friend for dinner. But this time there is much less anticipation. I think that's good. Unlike the past, I am meeting CE for dinner. For those of you who need refreshing CE and I had a thing a few years ago. It was a great thing. It still is a great thing. Its just a different thing. There is a lot going on in her life right now. I doubt the needs the complication of another thing. During the three years between our thing, and last year when we reconnected she was seeing a man. A nice man, but not "the" man. One things she admits to is rapidly acting when she knows something isn't working. After dating this man for a while she realized he wasn't "the" man. She cut it off, and the next day ran into me at work. But the man is a friend of her father's. And now that he father is dying, the man is around again. The man drove CE to the airport this morning. They had a talk. I didn't press CE about the content of the talk, but I know it will come up over dinner.
I don't think I'm jealous of the man. It doesn't sound like the man is bad for CE, it just sounds like he's not right for her. But then, who am I to talk? I'm not right for her either.
I'm looking forward to seeing her tonight in a relaxed setting. No expectations. Desire, yes, but after this much time I have learned about expecting things from her. I would stand to learn that about other friends. Maybe that's the other thing about this trip. I'm just going. Sometime in the past there was far more anxiety about travelling. I would mull and muse and build such expectations that disappointment was inevitable. So, I disappointed myself over and over. Its better on this trip. We'll see if I'm still fooling myself.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Another Hallmark Holiday

Mother's day is a mixed blessing. I have one of the top mom's in the world. And she had an extraordinary mom herself. My wife's mom struggled in a really crappy situation to do the right thing. My wife loved her. I loved her. She's gone. My wife struggles. She's not Mrs. Cleaver, or Mrs. Brady. She's herself. And she carries with her the history she has. She's not a bad mom. Well, yea, she is a bad mom. At times. I think its fair to say all mom's have ups and downs. She tries. But I think the fact that she is so closed to input makes it a bit harder to excuse. She doesn't understand our son. She doesn't get guys. She's really hard on him. She's not good at dealing with fact that my daughter is trying to be just like him, in a lot of ways. My daughter has a lot of guy behaviours. She sees her big brother as a role model, as competition. She is a strong strong little girl. She will do really well in life. She is full of confidence. And defiance. My wife doesn't do defiance well. That's not how she was brought up. Defiance usually let to something being thrown at you. Or a lot of yelling. It left a mark. Its like a dog that's been beaten. All sounds startle them. Everything can be perceived as a threat. Attacking is always the first option when running away is impossible. That's kind of how my wife handles the kids. It can be a struggle for everyone. I know I have to support her. It is not right for the kids to think that it is the three of us against her. But I can't let the kids think they're on their own. We find that space where its tolerable. Over time I'm running out of responses when one of the kids comes up to me as I walk in after work and tells me that mom is in a terrible mood. Or that she's mad at everyone. Its not every day, its not every week. But it happens far more often than it should. And it takes longer and longer for the kids to recover. We try to honor her on Mother's day. We do honor her on Mother's day. She really is a good person. She just has this blind spot.

This year I bought books for the kids to give her on Mother's day. Books about mothers and daughters, and mothers and sons. I got her a book about mothers. A picture book. On Mother's day my family is gathering here at my mom's house for brunch. My wife made an appointment to go to a spa. She said it wasn't that she didn't like my mom, but she wanted to do something for herself. My mom understand. I understand. But I suspect we understand different things. Mother's day is always hard. Sometimes I wish we could do away with these holidays.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Scott's Toes

Last month we all went down to Pinnacles park for boy scouts and family camping. Once again we did the 10 round the rim hike. 5 miles to the top, then 5 miles back down. It was glorious, and I really didn't think I had a "shoe issue". But as we started down, I noticed every time I took a step my feet seemed to slide forward and my toes would hit the end of my shoes. After a mile or so it started getting really annoying, and a mile after that it got downright painful. When I got my shoes off, the nail on each middle tow was black. And over the course of the next couple weeks, they pretty much fell off.

So, fast forward to last night. Sailing. Racing. It was blowing, raining. And as I was running from one end of the boat to the other, I kicked a deck fitting. Yes, it hurt like hell. Yes, we were racing. No time to stop. When I got my boot off after the race, yea, pretty sure its broken. All purple and swollen from the last knuckle to the end. Yea, one of the middle toes with no nail. Yea, it still hurts. But there isn't much to do, maybe tape it to the next toe over. I just hope I'm done with this nonsense.