No, really, this time I mean it. One more week of hauling back and forth to Botox City, and the weekly commute will finally be over. Oh, sure, I’ll go back for a day or two here and there — we won’t have closing arguments until mid-September because the judge wants us to brief the legal issues for him, and there will probably be follow up, but after this week, the most TRYING part of the case will be over (get it? what, did I make that joke already? fine, be that way).
Also, weekend fatherhood sucks. I spent more time with my dad during summers growing up than I’ve spent with my kids the last three months, and my parents were divorced. Trying to step back into that role when you’ve been gone all week, week after week, isn’t easy. Today it was trying to advise my daughter when the bratty girl across the street behaved badly, again — I don’t know that I’d have any good answers for her ordinarily, but I’m so removed from the situation now I really don’t have any idea what to say except that the kid’s a jerk and not to bother about her. Inspiring stuff.
One more week.
Oh, God, she’s 10, and all I can think about is soon she’s going to be 14. I’m taking deep breaths.
Some pictures of my tough, determined, brilliant, serious, silly, buttkicking not-so-little girl from the past year:
First day with the bo staff in traditional weapons class.
Getting her high green belt in taekwondo.
Rock climbing in the Dells on Father's Day.
Getting ready to boogie board at the beach.
At the Renaissance Faire.
School picnic at the beginning of 4th grade.
In full Ravenclaw gear, as we were leaving to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Happy birthday, honey. I’m sure it will be a terrific year.
I sort of wish I’d pulled this out before the Boy read it, but on the other hand, it isn’t that different from what the Siren and I say over dinner. It’s just that it brings it home with a reference he understands:
The Green-Eyed Siren made the coat for me — it came off the sewing machine and on to my back at about 4:30 this afternoon, accompanied by a chorus of the kids chanting “Can we go now? Can we go now?” — and ordered all of the accessories. Because she loves me, and she’s just as geeky as I am.
She also made the costumes for the Unfocused kids: Katara from The L@st A1rb3nder and Sun Man, Junior’s secret identity:
First, I’d like to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you started the day as beautifully as the Siren and I did: our 6-year-old son marched into our bedroom at 7:30 holding an oversized birthday card one of us received last year, and opened it wide so that the sound chip played The Chicken Dance at top volume. Romance lives in the Unfocused household. With that rousing call to wake, I wished the Siren — the love of my life — a happy Valentine’s Day, and we hid under the covers until the children went downstairs and we realized they were making their own breakfast — yay Montessori-trained self-reliant older kids! — with the milk that had gone bad but was still in the fridge (because we weren’t absolutely sure it had turned) and I had to run down to the kitchen and dump the cereal out of their bowls. Good times.
I had my first full 10 mile outdoor run in weeks? months? this morning. There’s just enough ice on the ground to make it hard to really pick up the pace, and wearing enough layers to make a run in 17-degree weather comfortable slows me down too, but I was glad to be outside. One of the podcasts I listened to on the run was Escape Pod #237, “Roadside Rescue” by Pat Cadigan. It’s a very short story, very cool and thought-provoking, like a lot of her work. Cadigan gave me nightmares my senior year of college with a short story about an alternate history where the 1968 presidential election went so much worse than it did here, and what happened to the country after. I can’t remember the title or find it easily online, but it was published around 1990 or 1991 in either Asimov’s or Analog. I was a political science major in college, and I wrote probably half a dozen papers on either the ’68 election or the careers of candidates who ultimately ran for President in that election, and the story sank its claws deep into my brain. I haven’t read a lot of her work since then, but now I’m planning to go back and catch up on everything I missed.
And I’m all out of blog posty-stuff.
It’s been a busy few weeks. Here’s a quick rundown, the good and the bad:
- A mentally ill parishoner burned down the church my wife and children attend, doing millions of dollars in damage and forcing them to seek temporary space for the next 9-12 months.
- My wife got swine flu and, mostly, recovered.
- My father came for a visit!
- Junior spent the first night of my father’s visit throwing up.
- I had to go to Austin for a few days while the Siren was sick. The Lass and I tried to work out a meeting in the holographic projection we call the real world, but our schedules didn’t mesh.
- A case that was going to have me in Peoria for a week and a half straight for an arbitration settled at the last minute.
- I wore my Vibram FiveFingers for a half-hour treadmill run shortly after my last post, and they chafed in a couple of spots badly enough that my feet bled. I’ll try them again to see if I can break them in a little, but I think they’re just a size or two too small.
Well, enough of that. We’re all in reasonable good health, I’ve started to get some more work done on Breezeway, despite having a busy time at work (I can’t recommend Merlin Mann’s recent post, “First, Care,” highly enough to assist you in getting off your personal stick, by the way). My running is off and on but I’m registered for the Shamrock Shuffle and getting ready for the start of the racing season in less than two months.
Unfocused Girl and I are testing for our high green belts in taekwondo next week, so today was board-breaking practice ahead of the test. Witness the Unfocused Family’s destructive might:
That’s five boards: Unfocused Girl and I each broke two, and Junior broke one. After TKD, Unfocused Girl and I take a marital arts weapons class. We recently moved from nunchaka to bo sticks, and our new bo sticks arrived today:
Don’t let the smile fool you — we Unfocuseds are totally badass.
The first thing I did this morning was 15 minutes of Write or Die Desktop Edition, and quickly knocked out 448 words for the novel. I added a sentence here or there later in the morning, for a total of 535 more words for the novel. Since I WON NANOWRIMO YESTERDAY, the pressure is off, and I had a bunch of other things I wanted/needed to do today. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that occupied my time today besides working on my novel:
- Ran 6.39 miles very slowly (1:04:04). It was my first run since Nov. 17, and my longest since Oct. 25. I lost a lot of speed (and muscle) in the month spent in front of the computer every waking moment, and it will take a little while to get it back.
- Read a little of the Sunday New York Times for the first time in mumble mumble.
- Worked. I’ve got a lot going on at the office (and out of town) between now and Christmas.
- Went to lunch with the Siren and the kids at the diner for the first time in weeks.
- Played Sorry with the kids while the Siren went to the supermarket to buy more butter, flour, and sugar for NaCoBakMo.
- Went to the supermarket after the Sorry game to pick up the dishwasher detergent that the Siren forgot so she could focus on baking cookies.
- Worked some more.
- Listened to Christmas music. The Hanukkah music comes later, closer to the holiday itself, because there isn’t as much of it that I like.
- Ate some cookies before dinner.
- Listened to the first episode of The Cinnamon Bear with the family during dinner.
- Ate some more cookies for dessert.
- Got the kids to bed.
- Worked more.
- Had one last cookie.
- Paid our property taxes.
- Told the kids to go back to bed.
As much as I enjoyed NaNoWriMo, and I did, it’s good to be able to do a few other things, too.
IMPORTANT: You may have noticed my references to NaCoBakMo and eating cookies, lots of delicious cookies. The love of my life, the Green-Eyed Siren, has started the first ever National Cookie Baking Month to raise money for our neighborhood anti-hunger charity, the Irving Park Community Food Pantry. You can read about Day 1 here, and Day 2 here. She’s baking cookies every day from now through Christmas Eve, and will send a batch to everyone who donates $25 to the IPCFP before then and emails her the receipt. Please participate so that I don’t end up eating all of these cookies myself. To encourage you further (although if you’ve ever tasted the Siren’s cooking, you would need no further incentive), we’ll match the first $500 in donations. Get off my blog and over to hers to read the details and see pictures of the delectable dainties as she makes them.
FINALLY, I leave you with The NaNoWriMo Song, because it’s awesome: