Friday, August 24, 2007

I’ve Got a Thousand Ideas

But for now, just accept my sincerest hello, hope you're doing well. I'm behind on work after burning two days serving jury duty, which was a first for me, and a real learning experience. We let a guilty man walk because we took the law seriously.

I hope to pay everyone a visit soon!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Want My Two Dollars!

There is a kid that wants so badly to have a play date with my son Jackson that he is starting to hound me in my dreams. He was in Jackson's first grade class, where I volunteered once a month as an assistant. I was mortified on one such occasion when he sat in front of me and jammed his hand down his pants between his butt cheeks. He was also on my soccer team, put there by league management because he monopolized his previous coach's time with endless questions and requests.

Towards the end of the season is when it started—the incessant drone, the rata-tat-tat of request after request for a play date, right in front of his parents who never took the hint. The reasons why I won't are two-fold. First, as bad as I feel for the kid, he's got some filthy habits. And two, his parents are strange. Strange can be good, but between them and myself there always hangs an oppressive and uncomfortable silence. With play dates come the parents, and if that doesn't work out, then the kids don't work out, not at this age. I'm damn sure not dropping Jackson off at their house, and that kid is not coming over here unless he wears latex gloves and he agrees to a prison-style hose down.

When soccer season ended, I thought I was free of this persistent menace. But this week Jackson is taking a community course on building with Legos. There are other courses going on at the same time. Walking down the hall to drop Jackson off, I heard a familiar voice come from an adjacent classroom. I panicked, looking for nooks and crannies, perhaps an open locker to jam myself into—but it was too late.

"I want a play date with Jackson!"

"It's a complex thing with work and all…"

"I think I've been very patient."

"I know, but I… I'll…"

"Let's get it done before Labor Day, ok?"

I have to walk this gauntlet for three more days, and baby, I'm counting.

I told my wife about it, and she got a big laugh. That is, until I told her that next time he asks, I'm going to tell him to have his mother give her a call. A bucket of ice water to her face would have chilled her less.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In The Rain

Yesterday was a departure from the norm.

The kids were stir-crazy. And by that I mean, they were bored – laying around like limp weeds, picking fights, tattling on each other – and the wife was low-energy and in low spirits. So we decided to go for a hike around Walden Pond.

It was overcast, so we brought a few umbrellas just in case it started to rain. By the time we pulled into the parking lot and paid our five dollars, it started to sprinkle. No big deal. It was warm.

On the trail, it came down a little bit harder. There were puddles forming, and I was wearing my brand new sneakers. But the puddles were easy enough to avoid. The kids were loving it as the drops polka-dotted their shirts. Normally I would have cautioned them to stand under the umbrellas, but they were like antelopes sprinting up the trail ahead of us and back. What the hell. They were having fun, and like I said, it was warm.

Then the rain started falling in earnest. It was awesome. Walden Pond was being assaulted, and the water level was rising. We crossed a little land bridge and continued on. And why not? The rain around here never lasts for very long.

Water poured through the forest, downhill toward us and into the pond. The puddles merged into a running creek now, impossible to avoid as I waded in ankle deep water. It was hard to hear one another as we finally decided to turn back. The little land bridge was gone now, but we didn't know it yet. We blew right by thinking that by keeping the water on our right we would eventually make it back. But the trail was no longer familiar; the brush became dense and nearly impassable. We abandoned the umbrellas altogether.

Thankfully my wife figured out what had happened with the land bridge and we were able to wade our way back to the main trail.

There were only three other people left when we emerged at the trail head, soaked to our underwear. We all had a laugh at ourselves as the kids went swimming fully clothed.