Posts Tagged ‘days’

Calendar Days

28 October 2011

Dear J-

The problem with going out to eat on a Thursday is that my body has it so pegged as a weekend activity that I woke up this morning fully expecting to turn the alarm back off and sleep in at least a little. Well, there’s that and the extra salt my body didn’t need, which coupled with this weather (it’s reminding us that we live in a desert by the ocean: dry with col nghts and warm, clear days) left me feeling at least a lttle like calliing in sick. It’s hard to imagine that it’s already been four weeks gone since we went on vacation and I feel like nothing has gotten done at work. Eventually I’ll move over to the new job and my responsibilities will shift, but right now there’s a million things to do and a thousand different directions to head all at once: no wonder time has flown.

Tonight, of course, is figgy’s Halloween carnival, someething we’ll probably be able to attend for a few more years, given that we’ll probably stick Calcifer in the same school by this time next year. Last year was the first and I was surprised by the outpouring of creativity by staff and parents; it is no wonder that kids love Halloween, given the attention and care that adults lavish on it. Monday we may meet up with some other kids from preschool to go trick-or-treating throughout the neighborhood; we do run the risk of not having our house ready for junior ghosts and ghouls but unless you’re going to send your kids off by themselves, there’s only so much you can do.

I probably wrestle with the problem of photographing kids more than I should; reactions to the finished product have been pretty uniformly positive when I send them links to flickr or facebook, and most people get over the shock of having me walk around with a big lens. I wonder if less would be more; of course it’s intimidating to have every glance at me with my face hidden behind a camera; would it be better, you think, for me to hold conversations where I’m not completely obscured? Three things to remember for tonight (as though I’m secretly a robot that needs to be reprogrammed): smile, make conversations, don’t hide.

Mike

Advertisement

Fever Dream

5 November 2010

Dear J-

figgy runs hot at the best of times, and so the last few warm days (into the 90s for San Diego) have been tough on her; it’s strange to think about summer weather in November, but I suppose it’s no different than any year: last Halloween we worried that the cow costume was too hot. This year the late-season heat has arrived, as it always does, with explosive dryness. Walk outside and you can feel your skin contract in mympathy for the parched earth; for a place that was complaining about the brief rains just weeks ago, no one seems to mind the oppressive heat.

At night we switch between covers on and covers off; figgy thrashes to the point where any blanket smaller than the bed inevitably finds its way down to the ground or the foot of the bed. Even that’s a delicate balance: you need something to keep from taking too great a chill, but not so much that you wake up dehydrated and damp. She sleeps soundly except on nights like these, when the heat combines with her burning core to force her slightly awake, just enough to stay incoherently distraught, inconsolably uncomfortable.

Late nights and false dramas litter the evenings lately; don’t want this, want that, no and yes, now but not later and immediately. It’s as though the heat has burned all our fuses short; four thousand different things suddenly become intolerable simultaneously and individually. So help me,k don’t push me, let’s do this now, and the ever-popular what do you want hit a reflection; we talk past each other, we yell and pout, we can’t seem to get anything done until the switch is thrown and awake becomes asleep, the heat is banked for the night awaiting the inevitbale stoking of blast-furnace burning through our lives.

Mike

Young Talking

25 May 2010

Dear J-

My folks are back from New York (one of my cousins got married in New Rochelle) and they’re talking about how gorgeous the wedding was (on a harbor), the great food (they tanked up on hors d’oevures), and getting ripped off (trying to save a little money on a downtown Manhattan tour, they ended up buying tickets for a nonexistent harbor cruise that turned out to be the Staten Island Ferry, which is now free by the way). They could go to a thousand weddings and come back with the same impressions every time, but that’s how they’re wired; it’s like how you could put me in a thousand parties and I’d still find a way to hang out with the kids and avoid grown-up conversations.

We have had long nights for the last few weeks, especially on days she’s back from daycare (they somehow pull of the trick of getting toddlers to nap at the same time, and getting them to nap for hours at a stretch, to boot). She’s gotten independent enough to hang out in her room, and the conversations that come out are alternately amazing and horrifying (when they say that kids are sponges, that’s an understatement; she does dead-on impressions of everyone we meet, but especially of our anger). It’s a sobering thing to see your words writ small, admonishing a doll for having poopy pants; exclaimed disgust and short, angry movements betraying our real motives..

Today she came back wearing her hoodie sweatshirt because it was cold; the sweatshirt has a convenient pocket on the front where she managed to stash at least three pieces of chalk from school (not just little nubs, either — big “D” battery-sized chunks). What do you say? There’s no concept of ownership in the three-year-old brain; there’s little distinction between right and wrong; there’s no sense of patience or delayed satisfaction: everything now, everything just so. The best line I’ve heard all week is that the greatest illusion with communication is that it’s happening; it’s just as true with all the thousand conversations we have every day, figgy and me, but I have to keep working at it.

Mike

Demo Dark

3 April 2010

Dear J-

We’re not at our best when figgy’s very tired — we should have realized this about ourselves by now. And when she’s compounded the issue by subsisting on nothiing but candy and cake all day (her cousin had a birthday party, and the overall response seems to have been unbridled enthusiasm at anything with refined sugars) we should know that unspoken requests for help from each other aren’t going to be fllled. So it goes, another Saturday spent trying to convince figgy that we aren’t the craziest, meanest people in the world.

One thing that resonated with me this past week was the statement that children will believe what the important adults in their lives tell them: we may know we don’t mean it when we say stupid things like she’s such a pain or you’re being bad, but there’s no filter on her ears to keep her from repeating that in her mind. We’re at the point where memories are starting to be set and I know that last one that I’d want to sink in would be struggling at bedtime to get a story read or a last diaper change in.

When I think about it we actually don’t spent all that much time together: I’m gone before she wakes up weekdays, and lately we have all of two hours between daycare and bedtime, much of which is spent at loggerheads, trying to convince her that dinner and the potty are equally good choices versus the alternatives (going hungry and being wet). Kill the notion of simple peace; I want the time to be fulfilling for all three of us, not just marking off a couple of hours before we can all sleep again. Weekends are a good first step; we have all day and an ever-increasing chunk of the night to demonstrate how we feel.

Mike

Second Act

21 July 2009

Dear J-

Every day is different; regardless of actual bedtime, which has slipped later lately, getting up seems to be more a function of the day of the week, getting progressively more difficult as I approach Friday.  I’m also never sure if I have a car to stow my bike into when I get to the vanpool park’n’ride; I feel guilty when I have to put it on the van and, in my hurry, stow it the wrong way (meaning it rattles and squeaks the whole hour-long ride).  Like today.

Part of it’s a function of how tight all the connections are, but I never seem to get it consistently right.  I never know until the van’s in motion, and by then it’s too late already — we’re hitting those regularly-spaced expansion joints in the freeway that seem to have the right natural frequency to annoy everyone else on the van.  Spend enough time watching sunrises accompanied by the cacophony of metal-on-metal shaking itself apart and you’d get the same experience as my typical morning.

figgy took a long nap yesterday — very atypical lately — and got up just in time to go back to sleep, it seems; we therefore took two separate walks, one for the dogs, and one with her, once she’d eaten and revived her spirits (sometimes the nap just seems to emphasize just how tired you really are).  We fairly flew around the block, that second walk.  She likes watching the sidewalk speed past under the tricycle at a jogging pace; I think life keeps going faster, and variations on daily themes keep me marking time in an increasing tempo.

Mike

Stretching Exercise

21 May 2009

Dear J-

The weeks are starting to extend themselves into a bit of a blur; we keep working what feels like a whole month’s worth of work in eight hours.  When I reflect on the things I did at the start of the day, they seem like remote mysteries from some ancient past.  This is, of course, not to say that I got a lot done — to the contrary, most days I’m lucky to have kept the deficit between tasks and accomplishments to a manageable level.

Treat things as they come in, then; don’t let them grow to absurd proportions.  I said as much yesterday.  It’s one of those things that you set as what seems like an achievable goal but one you inevitably end up missing in favor of putting the right details in.  Okay, by you I mean me; must be accurate with the man watching in the mirror.  Tasks and weeks both, then, blurring in the rear-view; sometimes I pick up pictures of figgy from not long ago and marvel at how different everything seems.

Stretch your arms around the issues; very few things will escape your grasp if you are ambitious enough.  Acquiring more tasks is entertaining, but how long can you keep those plates spinning on sticks?  When your world contracts on itself and you find yourself having to account for your actions, how proud can you be for having spent all those extra hours at work, instead of on your family?  Priorities shift and so do lives.

Mike