Friday, April 22, 2011
First, let me start by saying thanks to those of you who have followed me and who have shared this blog - the traffic is starting to pick up - so keep sharing it - folks may not find what they are looking for here, but they may find me, and when I become a famous author I will think of you as I sip Pabst Blue Ribbon from a Waterford Crystal glass in a $3,000 smoking jacket in a really really nice double trailer in MacClenny, Florida. By the way, that is my idea of a perfect retirement - enough money to keep beer in the fridge, enough sky miles to keep travel possible, and a home that is paid for - no matter if the home is strapped to the earth by three flimsy alumninum straps. I don't think my ex-wife or current partner agree with this idea - or at least the idea of me spending my golden years floating in a pool in some well maintained trailer park in Nowhere, Florida, but ever since I got evicted from the trailer in Tallahassee, I have had a fond affinity of mobile homes and the folks that live in them. I are one. Keep sharing this out there - maybe they will make a boring reality series about a business man who travels alot, lives in St. Augustine, dates a girl in Washington, has kids in Florida, works outside of Los Angeles, and is based out of Nebraska. Who knows - none the less, thanks for following - I appreciate the marketing and not having to shamelessly self promote this thing any more than I already do.
Okay, so this officially has to be the best part of the movie, aside from the last scene where Ben Stiller is measuring out the wall to hang the artwork from Florence's niece - that perfect mix of anal retentiveness mixed in with an aloof sense of portraying that he does not care - but cannot be happy unless he really does care. You know, the movie is full of overblown characters - but all movies are, Greenberg is the consumate self-absorbed narcissitic prick - but what scares me the most is that he really does paint a picture of the forty something single guy who just does not get the rest of the world around him and does not understand what he is dong to complicate that world even more - pretty heavy shit to start a blog with.
So, sleeplessness again - I am running on about three hours of sleep in the past 48, not too good with adjusting to the East Coast West Coast travel when I get home for three days, and go back West for five, then home for three days. Not sleeping has its benefits, I can see posts on Facebook as soon as they happen, I can catch up a few levels in Zuma Blitz, can read some of 90% off books I bought from Borders (believe it or not, I bought twenty books for $19.00), and stay caught up with work - which lately has not been that easy to do - you always feel like you are being pulled in one direction, and don't have time to follow through with everything - well, if you just don't sleep, then you can get caught up. Cadence called bullshit on my warm milk sleeping remedy, but unfortunately, after a six pack of beer, a squig of Nyquil, and reheated pizza did not work, I had to resort to wives tales - and even the warm milk did not help - so instead I am sitting here writing a blog about a depressing movie that highlights my biggest character flaws and trying to figure out what the hell the rest of the folks on facebook are doing right now. The kids are out of school tomorrow, so I should be good and zombied out by then to be a perfect dad who just says yes. I already know that duck cupcakes are on the agenda, I have finished most of my work for the week, and the house, surprisingly, is clean enough to be presentable to my welcome company for the weekend. We will see how long that last, I already know that the Samoa Girl Scout Cookie crumbs scattered about my bed are going to have to be handled one way or another (to go with the warm milk remedy)...now I am just rambling...
Speaking of rambling - now I know three official authors, two who have published with the big houses - you know, (if you don't then don't worry) those nifty lables that have beautiful artwork departments and pay for publicity tours and help with marketing, and get those books put in the windows of all of the nice bookstores - and don't charge you $9,000 up front - and one who self publishes her books, and gets to keep the majority of the profits that she reaps from her work. I follow their blogs pretty closely and then I link to the blogs that they are linked to, and try to keep up with, and learn from their styles. Most good writers are pretty descriptive, they can make my Starbucks coffee description sound like an AM station that is drifting in and out somewhere along the highway - just scratchy and barely audible - and they really sit down everyday and write something. That's the work behind what they do - I am by far no artist, I am a recreational writer with a desire to be more than that, and hell, the reality is that I just don't want to write everyday, I don't want a shelf full of books about writing, and I don't want to spend three weeks at a retreat on how to do what it is you do better. That way I have an excuse for not getting to where I want to be - Greenberg exemplified. No, those folks that I read, they know what they are doing and work at. I don't know what I am doing, I just know that I finish these 1,000 word essays about every two weeks, drop them on my blog, and voila, there they are in the wonderful world of the web. So becoming a real author is about real work - I have enough of real work right now - so anyone who has any tips to get me the express route - let me know. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that".
Is there anything worse than that feeling that you are really missing something - you know that feeling - a mixture of fear and worry tinged by excitement - it is a hard physical feeling to describe - some folks say that it is like a weight on their chest, me, it is lightheaded fuzz - not really sure how to describe it, other than to say that I feel like something is out there that I am supposed to be doing that I am not a part of - perhaps it is just sleep.
Thanks again folks for following this stuff, until next time...
Sunday, April 17, 2011
So, I did the whole sentimental bit, and I mean every word that I wrote in that thing - being a dad is alot like being a roll of duct tape - hell, we are not special for any one reason - we don't even get the credit for many things - but in a pinch, we are generally laying around somewhere, and can fix many things when they are broken. That pretty much sums up where we fit in until boys start to grow hair in places other than their heads, and the wives start to realize that their boys love them dearly, but really don't want to spend the morning browsing the walmart cleaning supply aisle.
So, what are the top ten things I have learned about thirteen year olds - who knows, but I will give it a shot, I figure I have a year to learn more, but these are the ones I know now...
1. Showers become the norm. Really really really long showers. I am not quite sure why, but I could venture a guess. My advice to any parent about to broach thirteen with a boy - get one of those water heaters that produces an infinite amount of hot water, make sure to paint the bathroom with some sort of water resistant coating, and remove any electronics lest the steam short out the entire house.
2. Thirteen year olds smell. They do. Going to the soccer practices or soccer matches, and getting near the team afterwards is sort of like driving by the local landfill, or following a hog truck down the highway. We buy them deodorant, we buy them body wash, we encourage them to change their socks. But they still smell.
3. Showers may be long, but convincing them to brush their teeth is more like convincing a vegan that one hot dog will not kill them. My next great invention - a toothbrush that activates the hot water in the shower. That way, their teeth will be really really clean, and the showers will be a hell of alot shorter.
4. Thirteen year olds grow at a pace unmatched by anything in the natural world. The Old Navy sale rack is your friend. Sure your kid may not like wearing the styles that they provide - but rest assured, those shorts you bought on Sunday are going into the local "teen kid" clothing exchange program on Tuesday. (If you have not already done so - start taking bags of clothes to friends houses with similar aged boys - make sure to be friends with a kid who is slightly larger than your own, and you can save a ton of cash by inheriting hand me downs).
5. Thirteen is an unlucky number for several reasons. One of them has to be because it is the most awkward year for a boy. Somewhere, these guys are stuck between liking women's body parts, playing X-Box for innumerable hours, and learning how to properly use grammar in a sentence. What a hell on earth that is.
6. Boys, and I am sure girls, these days are not quite the same as thirteen year old boys back when I was a kid (I swear to never say that again) - between charging his iPOD touch, deciding what sports to play next season, friending folks on facebook, deciding a college path and being pressured to make sure he can follow it, playing some video game with 32 other folks as they mount an insurrection on some god foresaken video game country, keeping up with text messages, and doing homework - holy shit - I am 39 and already am tired from that sentence. We had a stick, matches, and collected bottles for money. Sure, we had Atari, but after thirty minutes with the joystick, your hand would sieze up, and you went back to the stick and matches, or you just dug a hole.
7. Forget chores. Call them "inquisition like tortures" - thirteen year olds come up with more excuses to not make a bed, fold towels, clean kitchens, or vacuum floors than the US came up with reasons for invading Iraq.
8. Did I mention thirteen year olds, particularly in groups, smell?
9. Thirteen year olds know the perfect bed time. They know that they will be awesome shining productive members of society at 6:30 am when you have to tie a rope to their foot, drag their asses out of bed, force feed them a pop tart, and send them down the street to school. Still, they know that cool parents would never make them go to bed before ten.
10. Thirteen year olds are no longer gullable. In fact, they don't believe anything unless they saw it on MTV, Comedy Central, or heard it from Tosh.O. Don't try to convince them that the sky is blue, because it is not. Don't try to reassure them that one "C" on their report card will not prevent them from getting into college, leading them into a life of crime and homelessness, don't try to explain to them that textbooks actually provide the correct way to do math - just keep sending letters to Tosh.O, MTV, and Comedy Central to do a few math problems each show to explain how algebra really works.
That's it. Child rearing from my point of view -
Seriously, I love it. I like not knowing what I am going to get every morning, but knowing that every night, at bedtime, thirteen year olds are still not too old to give their Dad a hug, and to say I love you.
They say that stops at fourteen...
Until next time...
Now not to get all sentimental and stuff, but watching my son today play Monkey in the Middle, or listen to him ask me why I don't think certain religious things have any context in a modern world, or convince me that marriage is a greater escalation of a relationship - hell, that will bring a fast forward moment, and then you have thirteen years of memories to try and shuffle through over the course of an evening.
My favorite three pictures are above - one, I am pretty sure, is Gabe and I sitting in a chair - could be his sister, but I closely relate it to him. I remember sitting with him for hours, letting him fall asleep on my chest, the frustration my wife had in learning how to feed, when to feed, and to feel like a woman again. There were sleepless nights, and several days where the only thing that was really comfortable was going to the parking garage at work and catching an hour of sleep before going back into the basement at the Kansas City Southern and flipping through endless reams of cost sheets and time reports. I can remember him sharing ice cream with dog, and giggling when Comet would get it on his nose, and try to lick it off as much as possible. I guess I was more engaged then, I was still trying to find a way to make it better, the little townhome on some cul de sac in Liberty, Missouri, the long drives back to Jacksonville to see our families, it, compared to now was a much easier time - and as much as you hear parents say that it is difficult (and it is) - the good thing is that you get over that pretty quick - and remember just enough advice to sound useful for other new parents(simethicone is your best friend, toilet locks are really unnecessary unless you really like fumbling to take a leak in the middle of the night and give up and just piss in the sink, kids are pretty flexible, and yes, you will lose sleep, they are just farting when they smile at you). I was happy to be the father of a beautiful Arnold George - I was happy to have the small apartment or the condo, and to be in the midwest. It was good.
The birth was an experience - I had to travel to St. Louis, and Christy was two or three weeks overdue (we tried every wives tale in the book to speed the process up and I am pretty sure Christy could not walk another two miles of hills, drink another sip of raspberry tea, and the other wives tale - well it did little to help as well), and scheduled to go in to be induced - my boss seemed to care little, he said go, and that I could drive back when the time came - I did make it back - after Christy had been on pitocin for about three hours, and I caught the scowl of my mother in law for not being there sooner - the good and bad thing though, was that after another day and a half of pitocin drip, the doctors finally decided to speed up the process - and voila - out popped a slimy alien looking thing that scared the living shit out of me, and my first inclination was to ask for a hose and a bucket to wash the thing off, and try to see something that was less lizard like - but that faded quickly with the first little cry, and the fear as the doctors rushed him off and explained all about meconium or poop in the chute as I later termed it, and we had to spend those first hours without him.
Then the circumcision - what a hellacious thing that is. I am not sure why they do it anymore, and I am not quite sure why we had it done, but I can assure you, if we had to do it at thirty, there would be a hell of alot less of those procedures hapenning...
The sad thing is that I cannot remember too much more about that day - I was excited. Most of all, I was happy, but I remember being scared and ill prepared - but knew that this was it, and that I had to do something.
My next favorite photo - the infamous sippy cup drawer - that, and escaping from any type of enclosure were his favorite things to do. He was always followed by the dog - Comet became his best friend, and Gabe would fall asleep cradled on the dog - and Comet wouldnt move - he woud just lay there, as if he knew that this kid was going to be around for a while, so he might as well get him on the team. Besides, there were plenty of scraps to be had in the form of cookies, biscuits, and those nasty ass melba toast crackers that instantly turn into mush.
The sippy cup drawer. That was bain of our existence. We gave up (as you can see in the photo). The kid had six doting grandparents, more toys than a factory in China, and a huge yard to eat dirt in - but he wanted the sippy cup drawer. There were days when the kitchen was a minefield of blue and yellow and green lids and plastic cups - and that was his biggest thrill in the world. He would stand there, look at us as if to say, "Look you two - we all know these cups are mine, and this drawer, well, let's just agree that hthis is mine too. Now, I am going to throw these cups all over the floor. You are going to enjoy it as much as I am". He was a good baby, an easy kid. Of course, my travel life started shortly thereafter - I started heading to Shreveport twice a month, started going to St. Louis quite a bit - and really, that leads to the last picture -
I missed this day. This was Gabe's first day of school. Christy took this picture of him walking away - a little man off to his first day. I missed that one. You know, the more you look back as a traveller - the more you realize that looking back reminds you of how much you missed. The thought of staying home sometimes is there - what would have happened if I stayed home - what would I have not missed - I am not sure where I worked at the time - and not really sure what company I was with or what my role was - but I am pretty sure that I was not there for that day - and since then, have not been there for a whole lot of other days -
The answer is pretty clear - I was able to coach Gabe's first soccer team as an assistant. I was able to not worry about getting on a plane on Monday morning - there was even a time that I was able to enjoy Sunday afternoons - not worrying about packing or the meeting times on Monday or having to close the books - not having to miss the first day of school and get an update via telephone in some hotel in some city doing something that I cannot remember doing - I am sure that we all know the reasons why we do what we do - we have bills to pay, and things to accomplish, and deadlines to meet, and nicer things to buy, and a bathroom to remodel, and tennis lessons, and gambling trips and etc etc etc into an endless stream of justifications -
Thirteen years old today. Questions about marriage and family and politics and history - it seems as if I was sitting in that chair holding my son for the first time a few days ago - and I turn around and he is smiling at me as he tells me that he is a teenager, and does not really feel all that different, but that he knows it is different.
I don't regret many things in my life. Hell, I type about them here. I do regret missing things with him, and if any encouragement serves its purpose, the past two years of being with him ten to fifteen days a month (yes, this is an improvement) and getting to be a dad who is there and is engaged - then it worked - I still miss things now - but I try not to miss too many - I count on those times as much as he counts on me to be there - and that makes me feel pretty good.
Happy Birthday Gabe -
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I go out tonight onto my Sitemeter, and the damndest things - someone actually pulled up my blog and queried the words "pillow" and "affair" - not in the same search mind you, in separate searches. There was the word affair used twice in all 10,000 or so words, and the word pillow was used six times. Another thing - those damned top secret IP addresses are frustrating. I like to see where you readers are from - and apologize that you may have stumbled upon this ranting by mistake, but hell, if you are going to hide where you are from - at least post a comment! (And not one of those comments that encourages me to invest in Nigeria, or will grow my penis larger - I have tried both and ended up with a small share in a pump factory in Nigeria).
So the blogger thing is really good about telling you how many times you have sat down at the keyboard and actually published and presented anything that might mean anything to you - it is kind of a sadistic reproach for those of us who think that they may be writers hidden somewhere in a normal productive member of society. My typing leaves much to be desired this evening, I have about forty unanswered unpublished posts that I keep re-re-reading, so tonight I decide just to post what comes out - hell, it is worth a small shot of single malt bourbon to make it to 230, it is worth a bottle to even be willing, or even think it is worth it to share two or three years of ones life on a simple and Platonic website such as this.
I am not a good writer. I do several things better than I used to, but writing stays pretty constant. I have read all of the help books and self-publishing guides, and etc etc etc, (I am pretty sure that is a bad thing to do in writing), but at least I am persistent.
So what does this blog help me focus on?
1. Loving my children. I want them to know that I am still and always will be Dad. I am their friend, a shitty guidance counselor, an honest observer, a willing participant in their lives who can and will protect them when he is able.
2. Not using pick up lines to make my point - saying I just got out of Mexican Jail, or telling a woman that her shoes are nice - okay, they work, they are humorous and create a conversation, but you know, I prefer that gold standard of a cup of coffee on the square, and a simple how are you...another blog, another time.
3. Accepting that Life is a box of chocolates - we really never do know what we are going to get - for the time being, I win, I get two beautiful children - a home, friends, and a beautiful companion, but voila, I am one pick away from that piece of shit vanilla cream that some son of a bitch left in the gold leafed box...
4. 235 posts or Thereabouts equates to about 500 pages of unedited speak. That means, if I actually was thinking about doing something productive, I could have written the history of Saint Augustine, some detailed description of some battle, or transcribed the first week of the O.J. Simpson trial. But that requires real work, and this requires a box fan, beer, and a computer.
5. Intellectual banter makes me want to go poop. I read alot. I just went to that bookstore that declared bankruptcy and bought twenty books. My kindle battery dies more than a dildo in a whorehouse. With all that being said, I don't like intellectualism that is not based in good old fashioned Mark Twain sensibility. It is sort of like watching C-Span when our elected officials tell us what we want and how we want to pay for it.
6. Nancy Grace and Anne Coulter are a pain in my ass. This blog prevents me from watching both CNN and the Fox New channel. Both are good things. As soon as they figure how who is preying on those women in New York, there will be some other thing to pay attention to.
7. Coffee. I really like caffeine, and the fact that it comes in coffee. Writing this thing gives me a reason to have an Irish Coffee at two am. It gives me a reason to pour the three or four cups of left over coffee into one cup and heat it up in the microwave.
8. Humor. That's the long and short of all of it. I just finished reading a book about bohemian bourgeouis (if I spelled that wrong, complain to the french). It said that our generation has a problem committing, and is actually a humorous study in today's yuppie class. But the reality is that there are reasons to be skeptical of things - life has turned into a big commercial, and who wants to be the bear that has toilet paper stuck to their ass? It is all pretty funny, no matter how dire it really is.
9. I focus more on money - and the fact that I dont have that much of it. I have enough, but is there such a thing as enough - I liken money to the dipping sauces they give you for McNuggets. They have scientifically proven that two packages of dipping sauce for a ten piece is just enough to cover 8.5 nuggets, and to leave you craving more when you are out. That's money.
10. Relationships. I want to be better about treating people the way I want to be treated. You know, being narcissistic, selfish, and arrogant - well, that is a character flaw unless you have number 9 well under control and can afford to be an ass. I can't - so this thing makes me think with a little more dignity every now and again.
I posted some letters, but didnt link to those, but figured they could cover my March quota - hell this is just an old blog that I needed to edit, and finally got around to it. The only thing that I am focusing on now is that damn bear with the toilet paper stuck to his ass....whatever happened to please don't squeeze the Charmin.
Until next time,
Friday, April 15, 2011
Well I believe I am officially cruised out – I think I was cruised out by Wednesday, but now, I am just ready to get on US dry land, be able to use my phone, have a hot bath (there are no bathtubs in the standard balcony rooms, just showers, and boy, I miss the bath) I spent some time on deck reading Idiot America, it is a pretty good book, but a little high brow for me right now, and I don’t really have anything else downloaded right now, so I just gave up, ordered a diet coke, and headed back for the stateroom. I finished up the kids packing, and have their items out for dinner, and clothes for tomorrow, and am about to fill out the customs declaration card, and tag the bags to leave. I am actually looking forward to the five block walk to the hotel, kind of a nice break between the ship and the car, and there is a starbucks at the hotel, so I am pleased that there is a reward at the end of the hike.
The swimming pool is packed today – it is even hard for me to find a chair that does not have a fat little kid sprawled out on it, and the adult areas are packed as well. I think there must have been some at sea swinger hookups, because it resembles a roman orgy back there right now, and I am just not up for an orgy right now. I am up for some good quality quiet time at the Edmonds Beach, or sitting at the park, or just watching a movie together – or even walking down to the Starbucks – that’s about the amount of orgy that I am looking forward to.
Some folks need to hire a clothing consultant when picking out bathing suits. Men included. There is one gentleman here who is probably mid-forties, and he has worn the same baby blue speedo the entire cruise – I call it a sighting – his gut hangs no higher than his pecker, so from the front, he looks naked, and his gut is just covering his pecker – then there are the women who wear two pieces of cloth that are struggling to hold their body parts in, and the other parts that are not covered seem to be pulling away as quickly as possible from their body as to not be associated with it –
Gray just stopped by from Camp Carnival – Gabe left around 9:30 this morning, and I have not seen him sense, but he has a pretty big group of kids that he is hanging out with, he is sad that we have to leave, and has had a great cruise – I think Gray could care less, she has enjoyed herself, but she is more tempered than Gabe and I about separating the good from the bad – and I think she is looking forward to getting home, taking a bath as well, sleeping in her own bed, and seeing her mother – funny, they have not asked to talk to Christy, and I have received no emails from Christy either. That’s pretty good and peaceful.
So what have I enjoyed most on this cruise? The kids, I have to admit, have worked out to be a joy. It is nice to eat dinner with them at night and wake up with them in the mornings. They are independent, strong and positive kids – and they are well behaved and know their limits but are willing to challenge their abilities – I was so proud of Gray on the volleyball court – she was in the game the entire time, and was not afraid to get in the mix – and both of them laughed and played and enjoyed themselves – I have enjoyed going to the comedy shows with them, and having late night desserts with Gray – definitely the kids and watching them have fun has been the best part.
Worst parts of the cruise – the number of people, the amount of food and watching people eat it, and the constant supply of endless in your face opportunities to buy this or use this or do this or be that or see this or hear that – it is mind numbing the number of activities they put on these things, and in some ways that is good, but in others, I just wish they would have a “quiet day” at sea where they plan four or five activities instead of twenty, and they politely announce them once in the morning, and that’s it. I don’t like walking through the photographers or pushing through the crowded areas, or having to walk through a dining area to get to a quiet place (if you can find one). I don’t like how expensive everything is – from 2.50 per soda to 8.00 per drink – that gets a little old and pushy – but we are a captive audience, and in order to drink, you have to pay.
It is sad that vacation is ending – sad because I don’t have much to look forward to with the kids, and am in need of planning their summer breaks – sad because I know that they want to stay longer, and enjoy themselves more, and really, will not think about how much it cost to do this, and probably will forget much of it, but they will remember parts of it – I hope they remember the good parts – the dinners, the laughter, the volleyball games, those parts.
Another bad part of the vacation – the isolation – for me, I am alone on this thing – and that is difficult. I am thinking that this was a good exercise for me, and a bad one at the same time, and it gets tough to not have an adult to talk to, aside from dinner table folks, or to do things with. I am more than capable of spending time with the kids, and can enjoy that, but right now, sitting in the cabin, it would be nice to have you here – (it is always nice to have you near) – to talk with, or sit on the deck with, or just take a nap with. Pretty glum about that.
Sleep last night was difficult, I had pretty horrible dreams, and have had them just about every night this week – some are varied, last night was like I was reliving the divorce time over again – I woke up confused and in a cold sweat wondering what the hell was going on, and then had difficulty falling asleep – just to fall back into the same dream. Perhaps it has to do with the cruise ship being a reminder of the last big family vacation or just too many sweets right before bed? Gray and I slept pretty late, Gabe was up and in the shower early, he was ready to hang out with his friends, Gray and I were content to lay around for a little while and start a little slower.
Well, that’s enough for now – I know you have a big week in front of you, and hope you are able to enjoy some time with your old friends and your new friends, and are able to make some good contacts for the continued growth of your office – I know you will make a great impression – your laugh is the best sales pitch I know – and your eyes help too – among other things (like your brain, intelligence, and ability to deliver) – and you are going to do great – I hope I get to talk to you tomorrow morning or tomorrow night when you get back in from your activities.
Thursday morning, and that means four days without a good morning, or “Hey, its me” or me getting frustrated over the sound of the speaker phone or you having to call back because you are in Starbucks – I would take endless interruptions this morning to hear “Hey can I call you back, I need to place my order” – I like that about you – at least you are honest about it.
I went to the gym this morning – the kids opted out on Belize – they have met a series of kids their age, and now roam the ship in packs – I occasionally see them out and about, doing kid stuff, laughing and joking and playing, and I have to send them away from peeking into the adult areas (particularly Gabe) and then worry constantly about where Gray has wandered off to. This morning, she could not decide if she wanted to do build a bear, or just go eat breakfast (we giggled in bed this morning about having an egg eating contest – we both think the scrambled eggs are gross, so, in the end, I decided to go to the gym, she decided to go to Camp Carnival). The workout was good, I kept imagining the Bahamas, with you beside me on the elliptical, and us smiling at each other every once in a while – that is a good feeling – a good memory. It would be nice to have that now, and have it more often.
So I get back from the gym, pack up some dirty laundry, (the cheapest thing on the ship is the wash and fold service - $15 for a laundry bag same day service, wonderful idea – they did not have that the last time I was here – and frankly, it is a great thing!) The sun in Belize is intense, and the weather is calling for 87 degrees, no breeze, and lots of Carnival guests getting sun poisoning…. – we are sailing the same internary with the Carnival Valor – the new ship from Miami – and it is funny watching all of the folks on land. They all swarm to the same places, at the same time, and buy the same stuff, Gabe, Gray and I are a little more adventurous, we tend to head away from them, go find some local and find something to do. I suspect that is what we will do tomorrow in Mexico. They have gotten much easier, Gray is getting more independent, she was shy at first, now she knows what she wants to do.
Last night, I ate dinner alone. That sucked. The table next to me is filled with a family full of assholes – they kept making jokes about taking a dump, homosexuals (then one of them pointed at me), and how crappy folks live in other countries. I asked the waiter to say something to them, and he mentioned that he already had, but they just don’t seem to stop. Dinner alone on a cruise ship at a table for eight is not a very uplifting thing. Gray had a spa appointment ice cream party, Gabe was goofing off with his friends, and our table mates, I am not sure where they were.
Anyway, I sat on the deck this morning, and listened to a couple argue. It brought back some pretty revealing memories about my past life with Christy – and made me think of ways that I should/have/want/need to change (and those that I have). I have been to more movies, concerts, places, vacations, dinners, stores, beds, with you than the entire time I was married. I have had more open and honest discussions with you about the things that scare me the most with you than I did in my entire marriage. I have been a better person – but still, listening to them talk, and listen to the sobs of the wife plead for her husband to not do those things – not take advantage of her, not ignore her, not be so selfish, that kind of hit home for me. I don’t want you to feel that way in a week, or a year, or five years – and at times, I think it sneaks back in, and you do feel that way. He listened, stoically, and said nothing as she pleaded with him to let her know what he is feeling. She ended the conversation with ‘I could be 110 pounds, I could have sex anytime you want it, I do everything to keep two houses, three cars, two dogs, and three kids together so that when you are there- all you have to do is be with us – and yet you choose to wander away from us. You choose to be away, and I cannot be there for you anymore to be away.” She was crying uncontrollably at that point, and all the guy could say was “When we retire it will be different” – I suspect the difference will be that he will not have those things anymore – it was just tough to listen to.
I want the best for you and I. I want the best for you and I together. Our relationship is ten days with a week thrown in for spice – and I want you to know that I am trying to be the most honest, open, and selfless person I can be. I don’t want you to get sick of the things I do – I want to do new things with you, and don’t want to become so complacent that we don’t do those things together. I know that I have been that way in the past couple of months, and I am sorry for that.
Well, needless to say, did a lot of vacation thinking this morning – and the best thing is that I thought about you, and the things that we can do together. I am proud to be with you, I am happy that I love you and that I feel loved, and I am happy that our families are becoming one- you have made significant strides in just about everything you have done in the past three years – and I would like to think that I have done some of the same – but most of all – I miss you, and I love you, and I look forward to seeing you and hearing your voice soon.
Gabe has come in the room and has decided to turn on the Price is Right, clang around the dishes, and be a general pain in the ass, so that means I need to go to the pool (the adult pool) where it is a little quieter.
I love you and miss you.
This is easier and cheaper than writing a long email – I can write letters, and send them to you and that way I only logon for a minute, and then am off again. Sort of odd to familiarize myself with letter writing – it is a lost art, and one, I am afraid, that I am not very good at. After touring each of these islands and out of the corner of my eye constantly looking for a payphone or US phone cards – I realize how lucky we have it in the states – in most cases, the payphones are broken, right next to some guy sleeping or holding up the side of a building where twelve shoeless island kids stare at the red/pink tourists with disdain and contempt. Needless to say, I gave up on the payphone search. My cell phone is completely useless, the camera is now not working, it refuses to shut off, and the only way to get anything to work is to restart it every time I want to try and find a signal. At least the cabin phone works, and so far, they have not charged me for my calls home, but I am sure that will hit the bill before too long…
So Roatan – it has changed quite a bit since the last trip – even three years makes a big difference – they have built this huge cruise facility in Mahogany Bay, and it is just like the rest of the tourist stops – uniformed people smiling, not a bare chest or shoeless foot in the place, sparkling and shiny, complete with a Fat Tuesday’s and a Starbucks – and of course, the normal jewelry shops, and kitsch caverns that attract every fat lady on the ship – and there are quite a few of them.
We walked outside of the “secured area” and went into the normal stretch, to the waiting line of about 150 locals with cars, and caught a cab to the jungle – we went through town – we did not stop, it is about $60 US to hire a driver for the day, and she took us to West Bay (the beach) and then we stopped at the Zip Line place – I only brought $100 cash today, so I only had enough for Gabe to go – but that’s okay – Gray did not feel like it, I was happy to sit on the overlook of the jungle canopy and drink a beer, and Gray was happy to play with the Spider Monkeys. The price of the zip line on the ship was $89.00 (and even if Gray and I did not go, we would still have to pay $49 to ride out to watch) so, thus far, it has been much cheaper to go off the ship and find something to do. A little more work, but significantly cheaper –and the kids don’t seem to mind getting out into the villages.
Gray has a spa ice cream party tonight –she is there now, and Gabe is supposed to be back getting ready for dinner, but I don’t really expect him to make it back – I came back after the zip line and slept – and the kids have been running roughshod on the ship all day- they are starting to settle in and enjoy everything – and for me, it was sort of like a huge burden that they started to get entertained…
I cannot think of much more I would rather do than to go to these places with you- waking up in the morning is not so much fun when I am on vacation, and I know you are not here. Like you said on the phone the other day – My days are normal and my life goes on, well, same here too. I just prefer that the days that I don’t spend in the ser vice of work, that I spend with you. It has been wonderful to be with the kids, and we are having fun, but you know, something is missing. I want to sit by the pool, and have someone to play bingo with, or go to the comedy shows, or whatever. It would be nice to have you at dinner or just to have you here so I can liberally apply sunscreen to you. Cruises are great fun. They are just not great fun when you miss your lover, are trapped on a boat, and have no way of seeing them other than the pictures you have stored on your laptop. The kids are going to start wondering why I take my laptop into the bathroom….(just kidding).
Aside from that remark, I wish that you could sit on the balcony with me, have a drink, and we could just hold hands and listen to the ocean together. I think that would make this the perfect vacation. In fact, I am pretty sure that it would make it the perfect vacation.
Well, no phones in Honduras. With any luck, Belize.
I love and miss you, and am looking forward to hearing about your week and hope I get to talk to you before Monday.
So, its 1:45 am, and I just sent Gabe out to the all night pizzeria – I figure I have refused to take the elevators on the ship (we are on deck 5, the pool is on deck 9, the gym is on deck 9, the restauraunt is on deck 2) so I am getting a fair share of exercise going up and down the stairs. Add to that the gym visits, the salads, the light meals, and I may actually lose weight on this cruise. Carson Daily is on right now, and he just was talking with Meiko – funny, we have seen lots of artists…hmm I wonder if they will ever get famous one day.
It was good to hear your voice. I don’t really want much out of our relationship. I want to have a companion that I can talk to. I want to be able to smile, laugh, giggle, cry, yell, run, stay up late, go to bed early, drink too much, drink too little – basically I want you to be honest with me, and I want to be honest with you, and I want to enjoy as much time as I possibly can with you.
Apparently, I fell asleep during that email – because that is what I opened my computer up to this afternoon – I guess a few too many rum drinks, a little too much sun, and waking up next to two slices of cheese pizza…
So Friday has come and gone – we had a great day – Gray made an awesome pick of the Playa Mia beach break – it had everything she wanted – and we ended up spending the day playing volleyball on the ocean, our team was a ragtag group of children, overweight c competitive parents, and single Theta Chi fraternity brothers out on spring break – it was hilarious to watch everyone try to keep it kid friendly, but at the same time have fun- my knees ache like an old door that is missing a hinge, I am not sure if my feet should feel this way, and I am pretty sure that my back has deteriorated a few notches, but seeing Gabe and Gray laugh and smile and play and just be kids made the entire trip worth the money. Funny, I live in Florida, we could play beach volleyball every other weekend, but it takes three grand, a boat, and Spanish speaking folks to entice my fat ass on to the court – with that being said, it was a great day, and the kids thought it was cool that I could walk to a taxi and say to him La Playa Mia Por Favor, Quantos dollars senor…..
Speaking of my Spanglish, I met a man today in one of the bodegas, his name was Renaldo, he lives here on the island, and he is “divorcado” as well – we talked in Spanglish about the joy that our ninos bring us, and the lack of understanding that they have about “dinero” un “divorcado” – he started to cry – it was heart wrenching, from what I could gather – his ex-wife took his ninos to the mainland, and he stayed to run his shop and work hard – but he misses Miguelito, and loves his son, and his little “angel”, then we did shots of tequila and sang Mexican songs together and taught each other English and Spanish while Gray had her hair braided. We spent an hour talking, it was almost Hemingwayish in its simple beauty – he had a hut, with customers, buying junk and hair braiding, but it paid the bills, and he could afford for his kids to go to school and to see them every month via ferry. It was nice, he shook my hand and said “Tu es una gringo, pero tu es una bueno gringo” – and then he wanted me to take a rosary – and I told him that I wanted him to have my blessing – he hugged me, offered me more tequila, and we walked away. $80,000 US and $600,000 retirement, and I could be here, and live for a lifetime – something to think about when the kids are older – sanding an old boat to fish in, opening a bar for gringos and locals alike, waking up in the morning and smelling your hair, and seeing your smile, and wondering if we really want to open today,or just go snorkeling for ourselves, or have breakfast and wander down to the cruise terminal to take a family out for a day on an old boat, and smile with them, and then write about them in our blogs…I can see it, and think it is realistic to want to be here – it is simpler in these places – unlike the States, it comes down to Time and Money – there is plenty of time, and things are cheap, and with a good try, there is plenty of money.
Today had to be the highlight of the trip – granted, I was proposed to by the hired driver in Roatan – but Roatan is too violent, and the people are used to violence, but in Mexico, the people do appreciate honesty, and I like that raw feeling of going to discussing the “luchadores” (wrestlers – the popular one right now is Mysterio, and he is about 5’4” but they love him) right to having a shot of tequila singing a rousing chorus of Valla Con Dios – or some other song they tried to teach us.
I am afraid my kids don’t have that same sense of securidad that I do when I am out and about – maybe it is a lack of fear on my part (that would be more intelligent and better served with more), or maybe it is that they are kids – American kids, and they just don’t know what it is like to wonder where food may be, or if school is open, or if they can drink the water today – I don’t know.
Okay enough of waxing, how can I best describe six days cruising to you – it is eating, followed by eating, then you eat, just in case you did not eat enough. No, practically, it is floating for six days on a blue sea that is a vast expanse, occasionally interrupted by lights from somewhere. There are shows and indulgent spas and swimming pools and piano bars and shops and people, but the best times – and I mean the best times, are when it is late at night, and you prop the door of your stateroom open and hear the ocean push against the ship – that is the time when all the other folks have passed out, sleeping, waiting for the next guided adventure – and I just get to sit in the relative silence of the ocean.
You being here would make that perfect. I want your adventurous spirit and your strength with me on the next one – I can see your brown eyes gleaming as we drink fresh coconut water, or we try something that looks like it is good, or we have a cold beer in a small via or calle in a Mexican town. I miss you. I missed you yesterday, I missed you today, and with my awesome powers of deduction, I am sure I will miss you tomorrow. Its difficult to feel those emotions when I am working – I have a distraction – but when I have time to stop and think – I realize I want you here – I want our family, all of them, joking, complaining, whining, laughing, asking for things- I want that all at the same time.
It struck me funny what you said in your letter – I know that we can survive apart – we are two people capable of doing things that we probably never thought we would (and are doing them now) – but I choose, everyday, to be with you – you are good to me, and good for me, and I love you for that. I miss you. I don’t like being on vacation without you. I do not like not hearing your voice, I do not like not sleeping beside you, or waking up next to you, but like I said, the distance highlights that- and it makes it no easier to dwell on those things. I love you, I am in deep debt for your friendship, I love being with you, and you do make a difference in my life. What I would give to kiss the North Star right now.
I cant wait to see you.
Jorge (aka George)