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September 21, 2003

Daddy Man Strikes Again

This has been an especially pleasing weekend as we have had no obligations to any of our friends, relatives or other abstract committments. So it was, from the very beginning of the weekend Friday evening dedicated to the nuclear family aka the Nuke as I will further refer to the wifeandkids.

Starting Friday afternoon, the spousal unit went to get her do did. So it fell to me to grab the brats from school. I stuck around the playground for the second time this week and almost got drafted to QB against Ian the Parks & Rec guy who usually quarterbacks for both teams on the big green.

The first time I did that, our team 'the Raiders' got trounced. I was being equitable and not giving the ball to Ryan all the time, who was obviously the fastest and most talented on both teams. I did pass a buttonhook to my boy and he got his first touchdown, ever I think. Also Tatianna on the power sweep was a killer play. Ryan's bootleg double reverse was a total flop. But we all had fun that day. This time I faked a knee injury because I didn't want to spend so much time there. It worked out just as well because Ian got distracted and never formed up his team.

But I did have enough time to drill my boy on the finer points of running patterns. He now understand (and has probably already forgotten) a screen, a buttonhook, a down & out and a down & in. Next time are a flag and a post. That's about all I know.

Baby girl and I played catch. She's always inventing something. So we did a triangle number from 10 and one step back in a kind of egg-toss progression of catch. She's got a pretty powerful granny goose. Great for catch, bad for basketball. Good form will have to suffer because as a first grader who can make 9 foot hoops, what can I do to convince her that her dysfunctional fallaway is more aesthetically pleasing? Not much.

Girly girl and I played striker and tender against the chain link. She wore me out so that bad knee wasn't too far off from the truth. She is the bursty one. A sprinter and a diva's personality. I pity the fool who falls for her, even after he gets through me.

Saturday began at 6am. The boy and I hiked over to the donut shop and talked about life. Like most 9 year old boys, he's into fish stories that may or may not have happened. So I'm trying to get him to retweak his way of explaining things. He knows the difference between reality and imagination, but can't help exaggerating. I figure this is a problem for anyone who plays Yugioh cards. Action boys are invested in hyperbole, especially one who is naturally shy.

We had a mammoth breakfast at the crib and then headed over to the Y. New sessions begin this weekend. The boy is in volleyball, the girls in jazz dancing. The spouse and I walked the track and reviewed the week. Then we went for the wall. That's right, the rock climbing wall of despair. My boy chose the blue path, I chose the yellow path. Why did I choose the yellow path? The last time I successfully climbed a wall of any stature, I was 30 pounds lighter than I am today. At least I choose to remember that I was sometime back in 1996. Where did all that weight come from anyway? Whatever. It was on my fingertips halfway up that wall and my fingertips didn't like it. As my boy kept climbing, I called to my belayer 'falling', or more like 'quitting'. I knew I was licked. The spouse wisely chose the green path and got to blow the bicycle horn at the top. I got to make jokes.

We headed back towards the homestead and finally checked out the Wilderness Park which is on a hilltop in the middle of our comfortable beach burb. There are a couple of manmade but very natural looking ponds, complete with tall reeds, turtles, ducks and monstrous koi which can be barely made out in the murky green depths. We scoped out a couple of camping spots and hiked around amid loud unruly teen boy scouts. Of course all I needed to say was teens, as if any adjective (like boy scouts) could appropriately modify them. The spot is decent, and the kids finally got to smell a pepper tree up close. We'll be back.

We headed over to the library and I finally got to sit down. I read about the Iranian Siamese twins. I believe the proper term is 'conjoined'. I missed the news of them being or dying. It was an interesting tragedy. I have to say after reading that and the story of the one legged football player, I am becoming more steamed about what seems to be the direction of medicine. But I was very relaxed in the library. I tried the self check out with our basket of mixed media, but couldn't get the barcode scanner to beep properly, so we stood in line with the rest of our frugal non-blockbuster neighbors.

Once home we did our Saturday cleanup. My excuses about my sore fingers did not absolve me of vaccuum duty.

Today, it was my turn to pick the church and we headed over to St. John's. I haven't been in a while, so I didn't recognize the priest. He reminded us of the emnity of God which comes from friendship with the world. I think he gestures a bit much considering the tone of his voice, and since I presume he was the new gay priest I imagined him as a woman during the whole sermon. It didn't quite work, especially as his words started coming into their own during the last five minutes. The peace was especially friendly and lengthy as were the prayers of the people. There was definitely a different pace and focus to the liturgy this day. More reflective I think, and nicely so. Back at the parish hall, I got an extra piece of chicken and we grubbed quit a bit. A very good church day, and I needed it.

We headed down Figueroa expecting to get to Exposition Park, but evidently Hollywood paranoia got in the way. The Emmys are tonight at the Shrine Auditorium, which means that there were concrete barriers and half a million cops and emergency people in the vicinity under the hovering helicopters. We detoured around and paid six dollars for parking at Exposition Park.

The Rose Garden is the same as usual but there was no wedding party this time. They must have just cleaned the pennies out of the fountain and I never noticed how gorgeous a color of red are the Olympiad roses. The old space museum is missing its roof. In fact there's a whole lot of construction going on at the park and it's going to be even greater than it is now. That must be the explaination for the 9 dollar cover charge at the Natural History Museum. The Afro Am languishes. We didn't bother checking out its magnificent collection of movie posters, but I don't think the kids minded. We spent more time in the Transportation exhibit than we ever had. The new, more private section was a real blast for the kids, as was the live show on electricity.

We walked back through the Rose Garden and over to the playground for paletas. By this time, I was dead on my feet. But it was good to reflect, not having been to this place for many years, on how little I had to exercise that exhausting parental skill of keeping the locations of 3 pre-schoolers in mind at a playground.

We got back to Redondo and stopped by Albertson's for BBQ meats. I stayed in the car and listened to a new faith-based program on NPR. An octogenarian theologian was carrying on about creeds. I haven't heard the Apostle's Creed in quite some time. Much of it sounded familiar and foreign at once. As he was saying it, I kept thinking that he was improvising.

Back at the pad, I lit up a back of Kingsford and proceded to Q the hell out of 16 chicken legs and 4 country style ribs. It was a good fire, but the pecan didn't quite smoke as much as I would have liked. Plus I was distracted by some static I had to respond to over by Esmay's joint.

Dinner was a smash and the boy and I retired to the non-violent set of electronic entertainments we entertain on the sabbath. The women watched some VHS we got from the library as the weekend wound to a close.

It's been family-ful and great. As I type this, I wonder how many dozens of times I've spent with these very pursuits that have gone without their chronicle. Etched on my heart is as good a place as any, and I've got plenty of etchings. I just thought I might share a bit today.

Now I'm on my way to watch Blackadder the Second with an icy jug of moo juice some of the finest homemade oatmeal raisin cookies and scratch brownies on the planet. Life has it's moments.

Posted by mbowen at September 21, 2003 06:36 PM

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