Posts Tagged ‘quality’

Short Time

20 July 2011

Dear J-

Consider this: I spend maybe at most three hours a day during the weekdays with figgy. She’s in daycare so I pick her up between 5:30 and 6, bring her home to eat dinner (where I tune everyone out while reading the newspaper distractedly), give her a bath, then we watch maybe half an hour of some show (she’s been on a Wallace & Gromit kick lately; they are the perfect length and I will nap sometimes) and I brush her teeth and read her stories for another half an hour until theVet takes over to sing (let’s just say that no one would be soothed by my tuneless croaking). Repeat. That’s been our pattern for four years come October.

Put it that way, line the numbers up baldly like that and it’s clear that I spend less time with figgy than at work or even (almost) the commute (4:45-6 in the morning and 3-4:45 in the afternoon = 3 hours commute time). And after she goes to bed I stay up late thinking I need the time to update pictures, online status, go through my Google Reader articles, maybe play a game or two and decompress. Because, you know, it’s so stressful to not spend time with your daughter and ignore her until she falls asleep (she has started holding it until after bedtime so that she has an excuse to bound up and use the restroom, which does show a surprising level of craftiness: how can you say no to the restroom break?).

I don’t stop being a parent once she goes to sleep but I also can’t spend your fraction of a day together and call that adequate. When we’re on vacation or the weekends the intensity level doesn’t drop. We have the whole day when usually we have to compress the crazy laughter and play into those three hours and yet it feels unbalanced, that we instead need to spread ourselves thin across activities and busy times to compensate for th skimpy amount of total hours. I remember what it was like to have to entertain yourself and I know she’ll get there sooner or later but for now we make the best of it and I promise that our three hours, short as they may be, need to have more quality and less distraction.

Mike

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Once again, the bellybutton

18 November 2006

Dear J-

I must have this deathly fear of being forgotten, since it seems like all I do lately is hide things around the house for people to find in the event of my demise (much like this correspondence, in fact). I put away a box of letters (daddy, what are letters? well, in the days before e-mail …) after flipping through and taking stock of where I sat in the grand scheme of things; by far, theVet has sent me the most, back when I had time to write, back when I had the ticket to write.

It pervades my life, this drive for quantity over quality. The shelves are groaning under the weight of obsolescent audio disc players (TDA1541 and CDM-2 seems to be the magic bullet for me). I’m throwing some game systems in the shed, having had no time to play anything but the latest and greatest, and even then only a few games. Man, this growing up and cleaning up is tough.

But of all the choices I’ve made — not keeping up with as many people as I’m willing to meet in this world has got to be the worst, most boneheaded one. Hi, how are you? Here I am. Let me write to you, talk to you, get to know you — and then disappear, ha ha! It’s mysterious, not knowing what happened, it means that anything could have taken place between now and then. It’s just another manifestation of Clark Kent-itis, isn’t it? As long as I can get people thinking about me, that means that I’m not nearly as invisible as I thought. And Clark, buddy, the glasses aren’t fooling anyone. How long do I think I can keep the charade moving along? Where do I see myself going with this, with life, with anything?

As I’ve said before, it’s an ordinary sort of goal in life, and yet I don’t want that forever, do I? Growing up, house in the city, couple of cars, some kids drawing on the walls, big screen TV, running water, vacuuming Saturday afternoons drinking with shoes off stereo hifi robe slippers dog by the fire vacations on Maui bikes on the beach sunsets sunrise spa pool trivia reality shows carpool asleep on the couch by nine …

There’s too many ways to numb ourselves to life, ways to pass the time. How much easier and uninteresting is it to spend the entire weekend indoors in a video-induced stupor without once bothering to shake your neighbor’s hand, visit family (why do we always wait for holidays as an excuse?), or call and reconnect? I’m not ready yet, I think. I keep trying to be a better man, and it’s not easy, never was.

Mike