ptooey, he said...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Do You Move in a World of Fog?

You have to do it running but you do everything that they ask you to
'cause you don’t mind seeing yourself in a picture
as long as you look faraway, as long as you look removed
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters

You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank lights
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under
oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wannna watch
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults

The National - Mistaken for Strangers

It seems to be a running theme in my life lately. I've been listening to the above CD a lot this week. Boxer is filled with pretty dead-on musings on the journey to adulthood. It took me a few spins to grasp the full impact of the album, but that's the way the best albums are.

I turned 36 last week. It strikes me that the struggle to realize my own adulthood should have been over years ago, yet here I am. I don't feel 36. I imagine that in many ways I don't act 36. hiccup told me that our oldest daughter was convinced that I would really like to have a skateboard for my birthday. It's sweet that she still thinks I would enjoy something like that, though I suppose my shredding days are long gone.

hiccup recently convinced me to grow back my goatee after four years of a smooth chin. I cannot believe how gray my beard is now, though given the salt and pepper on top of my head I know it shouldn't surprise me. When I look in the mirror, I'm forced to accept the fact that my appearance now contradicts my feelings and actions.

For some inexplicable reason, my mp3 player has been feeding this fire by spitting out one sweetly nostalgic song after another as I sit here, making me acutely aware of just how many years have passed between the young person I still see myself as and the note-quite-so-young person I actually am. It occurred to me yesterday that hiccup and I have been hanging out together for nearly half of our lives now. Almost eighteen years have passed, and I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

No, it's not that old, but a discrepancy in my perception definitely exists. Given family history of the proclivity toward sharply decreased lifespan, I'm acutely aware that my time here may not be as long as some expect. Morbid? Not really. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, really.

So what do we do? How are we to define our adulthood? How are we going to approach middle age? Old age? Will we make it that far? I certainly hope so.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Discovering my Past

The other night, hiccup asked me to scan a photograph for C. Something about a school project, I don't know. I decided that since I had the scanner out, I might as well scan a few other pictures we had laying about. hiccup and I have both been interested in photography for quite some time, so we have thousands of photos boxed up here and there. I felt it was time to digitize some of the better and more significant ones.

As I was digging through these photos, I happened on many from our Dark Ages (roughly 2001-2003). It occurred to me that we have purposely scuttled most of these, because neither of us particularly likes to be reminded of that period of our lives. I can accept that. But, I also dug through and found some stuff that I did want to have around, scanned a few jpgs, and a newspaper article written about my brother when he broke his high school's 1600 meter run record. I may even post that article here, as it's a pretty decent read (especially considering the usually well below par writing in my hometown's pitiful rag of a paper). That article, at least, was nice to see again.

This afternoon, we're loading up the family for a few days' vacation, camping near Moab, Utah. I'm looking forward to it. I REALLY need a break. See you all on the flipside.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wanting a Victory, No Matter How Small

Lately, it seems that my every undertaking ends in failure. I'm tired of feeling that I can't do anything right.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Everything is Broken

Our GOT damned fancy-schmancy high efficiency washing machine gave up the ghost last night. The stoopit thing is just a bit over 2 years old, and we've had problems with it from day one. So much so that we sprung for an extended warranty on it. That's the only time we've ever paid for one, and we're going to use it for all it's worth. Looks like the drive motor in the washer quit, so it's on their nickel for now.

The repair dude isn't due to our place until the 4th of March. Yay.

This month has just been loads of fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Kindness of a Crush

It was the fall of 1990, and I was just starting college. hiccup and I had met, but were not yet an item, so to speak. I was having a frustrating time, both academically and socially, and was striking out spectacularly in the dating department.

The acquaintance of a friend had caught my eye. She was an absolutely stunning girl with gray-green eyes, a quirky hippyish fashion and a beautiful mouth that turned down at the corners. She had a dazzling smile, a pleasantly husky voice and an adorable giggle. I was smitten.

We had a class together (I forget which), and sometimes ended up walking the same direction afterward. One day, in a moment of uncharacteristic boldness, I decided I would ask her on a date.

I braced myself for the inevitable embarrassment of rejection. This girl was so far out of my league I felt it an insult to her that I was walking on the same sidewalk. In the past weeks I had been shot down in some fairly humiliating ways, and expected the worst.

Instead, she touched my arm, smiled her incredible smile and told me she was flattered that I asked her, but that she was seeing someone at the time. Her actions were genuine, and she made every effort to take the awkwardness away from the situation, striking up another conversation without skipping a beat. It was the only time in my life that I ever got turned down and walked away feeling better about myself.

Sometimes it's the small kindnesses that make an impression. I still think back that moment occasionally and remember how she took care to make me feel good about myself. After months of pursuing girls who had definitely taken other approaches, it made me examine what sort of women I was interested in. I paid much closer attention to how prospective dates treated other people after that. It made a difference in who I approached, and I definitely came out better for it.

I wonder what happened to that girl. I also wonder if whoever she might have settled down with realizes how lucky they are.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Stupid Money

For the last month or so, our household has been in the throes of the sort of monetary crisis that every lower middle-class family experiences from time to time. I guess it never goes so far that we don't have enough to put food on the table, but for a while we wonder how we're ever going to make all of the ends meet up. This time, they did. Finally.

It's by choice, of course. Our single income, as-debt-free-as-humanly-possible lifestyle doesn't lend itself to a great deal of financial wiggle room. We've had a few technical difficulties lately, in addition to the home improvement spree. Those unexpected troubles seem to periodically throw us into a tailspin.

I'm trying not to let it bother me as much as I once did. As I said, we always have roof overhead and food on plates. But there is part of me that wishes that we didn't have to have the occasional freakouts when an appliance decides to give up the ghost or one of the kiddoes needs to see the doctor. I'm enough of a realist to know that this will probably never happen, but a guy can dream, right?

Now that a bit of the strain has been taken off, I can stand back and wonder why I allow myself to get so worked up over it. I suppose that part of it was the death of the treadmill. For the last 4 years, that's been my stress relief. I either need to find a new way to burn off steam, or replace that thang.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Me Me Me Me Meme

I was tagged for this one by Beanie over at All Frayed Edges and Shades of Red a while ago, and I just haven't had time to put anything together since then. I'll give it a whirl, though. Anyhoo, the game is "seven random things about me."

1. I can eat 50 boiled eggs.

I can have a problem with people in positions of authority. I think a lot of it stems from a series of incidents when I was in elementary school and junior high where I was wronged by teachers and coaches. I try not to let it get the better of me, but sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail miserably.

2. I am a golden god.

Today is my sister's birthday. I should probably call her or send her a card or something, but I'm not going to. It has also been almost exactly 2 years since I last spoke to her. Even more scandalous than that? I don't think I really care.

3. My hovercraft is full of eels.

I can sometimes take frugality to the point of insanity. I will literally spend more money trying to fix something myself than it would cost to replace it. I guess I just like to have the sense of accomplishment, and that can be worth the extra trouble and expense to me.

4. I have a friend I've never seen. He hides his head inside a dream.

I have way too many shoes and way too many jackets. When I was little, I had a light jacket, a winter jacket, dress shoes and sneakers. I don't know if I felt that wasn't enough, but I am compelled to buy way more shoes and jackets than I actually need.

5. I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer.

One of the only things that I sort of resent about parenthood is the lack of time I have for things that I used to enjoy. I used to have hobbies. Since C was born, my guitar sits gathering dust, I'm lucky to brew 2 or 3 batches of beer per year and I barely take photos of anything but the kids. I realize that the children have sort of become my hobby now, and I love them dearly, but sometimes I miss the things that I used to enjoy doing just for me.

6. When I think about you, I touch myself.

I have officially worn out a treadmill. I hear lots of stories about people whose exercise equipment sits gathering dust. Last week, I literally ran through the deck of ours. If anyone asks how many miles you can get out of a Nordic Track C2000 treadmill, I'd guess it's in the neighborhood of 2360, give or take. Yup. The deck split right in half a mile and a half into my run last Wednesday.

7. I'm a xenophobic tapiocaphobe and a claustrophobic agoraphobe.

Sometimes I envy people who have aspirations. To clarify, I have NEVER known what I want to be when I grow up. I never had a direction. I never really had goals. When people used to ask what I wanted to be, I replied "Happy." I've got that, but I wonder what it would be like to actually have a clear path in mind, something that I felt I must achieve.

There. That was relatively painless. The other part of this meme is to tag seven people, but I'm not sure I know seven people who haven't already done this, so we'll just pretend that wasn't part of the game. Thanks, Beanie. That was kinda fun!