it's been a while. no excuses, no explanations. nothing... but this:
And now some explanation. We've been busy. That's life. Family, work, and a small bit of paddling (though that is taking a far back seat these days). Life is good, just busy. And things are a bit stressful due to the start of First Grade which is in a new classroom with new people and new things to do in new ways. No more skating along in the same way as last year. Homework! After school care!! It's all good, we're just in the process of adjusting.
Another couple pictures to balance out the first two:
…that our post-bike ride gustatory mystery is solved!
What we did this weekend.
It’s Sunday morning and I’m heading out with the girls for a bike ride at Jack Block Park. We’ll drive down in the van and M will run to meet us at the park, and then we'll all ride home together in the van. I’m working on getting the girls out the door before noon.
me: You guys ready? Socks on. Helmets!
K: I'm going to bring my phone with me.
L: Me too!
K: Because I've got a lot to do.
L: Me too!
me: Me too too!
(time passes, we load, I drive, the girls talk on their phones, and we approach Jack Block Park)
K: Daddy, can we go out for lunch?
K: Awwww.... Why not?
L: Yeah, why not?!
me: Because we're going biking.
L: Well can we order something then?
me (getting out of the van): Nope.
K: I'm ordering something! (Opens her non-functional flip phone) Yes, yes, this is K. I'd like order something for lunch.
L (taking out her phone too): Yes, I'd like to order something for lunch.
K: ... some hamburgers, and fries, and some soda and orange creme and mayonaise.
L: Yes, pizza and hamburgers and frieds and soda and rootbeer.
me (to myself): mayonaise?!?
We bike, M runs down and meets us, L and I ride circles playing follow the leader, we all skip stones on the water (with mixed success), we all get hungry. M jogs back to the van while the girls and I hop on our bikes and follow.
At the van L announces she wants to walk back home. I look at M who looks at L. K says she's hungry.
M: That's 2 miles L.
L: I know.
K: No she doesn't!
me: Now she does.
K: I meant she didn't know!!
me: I know.
M: You really want to walk, L?
M: I won't be able to carry you if you get tired.
L: I know!
M: You'll walk the whole way.
L: I know!!
me (exchanging glances with M): I have a "feeling" about this.
M (quietly): Me too. (turning to L) Ok L, let's get going.
K and I get into the van and start driving.
K: She's going to get tired.
me: Yup, I think you're right.
K: She's going to want Mom to carry her.
K: But Mama's not going to.
me: Probably not.
As we drive away I roll down the window and wave at L who is walking next to M. She sees us, smiles, waves back and starts trotting to keep up. She's grinning through the open window, speeding along on her tiny legs, happy as a clam.
me: Watch where you're going.
L: Bye Dada! Bye!! Say bye to K!!!
K (yelling from the backseat): I can hear you!
me (picturing her running into a tree or lamp post): Watch where you're going!
L (running faster now): Bye Dada!!! (waving) Bye!!!!
me (wishing I had my phone out to film this grinning, running, wild-haired girl): Have fun!
I speed up and watch in the rear view mirror as L makes a last effort before dropping back, finally stopping to let M catch up to her, and I think that the last thing M needed was for me to wear L out before they started. And I wish again I'd had my camera to video her enthusiastic pacing of our van.
As we drive for home, I think that I should pull over and wait for them. I see and pass several good spots to pull over, then we're climbing the hill on California Avenue and I realize the chances of M and L making it up there and then the 2nd mile to home are pretty slim, so I turn off and park at the top of some stairs that are the most likely route they'll take. K wants to know what we're doing, then finishes off her book in the first 5 minutes and we're now sitting together, waiting for her sister and mother. A man comes, takes off his shirt and starts disappearing down the stairs and reappearing, panting hard, hands on his hips. He takes a break after each set and knocks off a few pushups. We watch and talk about baleen whales and when M and L are going to come.
At some point K pulls out her phone again and "orders" more lunch.
K:... and fries and...
me (pulling my own phone out): Yeah, this is P. Please cancel that order.
K (horrifed look): No! You can't do that. (yelling into her own phone) Don't cancel it. I still want it.
me (into my phone): We'll skip lunch today. Thanks. Bye!
K: Yes, please. Hamburgers and fries. And a corndog. And soda. Orange Creme. And mayonaise.
me (looking at her): Huh?
K: We're going to get lunch.
K (grinning): Yeah.
me: Orange Creme?
me: And mayonaise?
K: Yes. For you.
me: For me?
K: And Mama.
K (nodding): The beer you like.
me: The beer... (lightbulb) Manny's?
K (nodding and not hearing the difference): Yup. Mayonaise.(big smile)
me: It's 'Manny's.' Like 'manny' except with an S.
K (slightly confused/embarassed): Manny's?
Laughter in the van.
A few minutes later my phone rings. It's M calling.
not M: What're you doing?
now more clearly L: What are you doing? Where are you?
me: We're waiting to give you a ride. Where are you?
L: At home! Mama, they're waiting to give us a ride! (laughing)
me (ready to head home): Ok, we're coming now. Bye!
I disconnect and start the van.
Back home we tell them we were waiting and M tells us that they caught the Water Taxi shuttle because L wanted to pull the "stop requested" cord but then someone else pulled it before she had a chance, so they had to go to a farther stop so L could pull it. M's already got mac & cheese cooking for lunch, and I find myself wishing I had a mayonaise to go along with that.
I may not think much about Father's Day, the holiday, but I sure do think a lot about being a father. And it's these two that matter when it comes to me being a father. They're out of town for a couple of weeks, so I had the day to myself, to focus on projects around the house.
Which I did. But I missed my family too and thought about how well (or poorly) I manage as a dad and where I fail and where I maybe am doing ok or slightly better than that. I thought about my own dad and my relationship to him and how I was grateful that I grew up enough to appreciate who he was and what he did for me before he died. And I know that at some point my girls will become teenagers and not want to hold my hand when we walk to the store, or sit with me when they wake up in the morning, or come running to greet me when I get home, but right now they both still do want to do those things, L will snuggle close and let me put my arm around her as I read her a bedtime story and K has taken to whispering "You're the best daddy in the whole world" (or mommy, when she's telling this to M) as we tuck her into bed, and I realize that being a father to these two young women is a pretty damn good gig.
M and the girls left for Alabama this morning to spend 12 days with M's mother. In the time they're gone, I have approximately 50 projects I'm hoping to "finish up," some dating from before K was born, which, according to my rough math, was a bit over 8 years ago (who really needs complete molding in the second bathroom, anyway?). It's been gorgeous for most of the spring here, very unlike our usual spring, which means that I haven't gotten to the various outside projects and it's about to rain tonight for the first time in weeks.
Which means I needed to get project 1 under way:
Adding tar paper over the plywood I put up to replace the 5 year old "temporary" plywood I tacked up in the middle of a rain/snow storm to keep the basement from flooding.... it's a long story...
And I did it. I got it up before the first rain drops fell. Mission accomplished!
This last week M chaperoned K's class overnight to Camp Sealth on Vashon Island. Which meant that MissL and I spent an afternoon, evening, night, and morning having some quality one-on-one time. K was "camping" (in cabins, with bunk beds) and so L wanted to "sleep somewhere not in the house." Uh...
I contemplated doing a tent-in-backyard sort of thing, but that would have required my either just going to bed with her at 7.30, or leaving her alone out in the yard until I was ready to go to bed (around 10ish). And no matter what, we would be waking up periodically all through the night before we woke up for good around 5am. It just didn't seem very... practical.
My "solution" was to not to bring it up after we went out for a pizza date, and we managed to get through bath and books before L sat up next and glared at me accusatorily. "You said you would set it up!" she cried.
me (a bit lost): Set what up? L: The tent!
me (ah!): Oh... yeah. L: Well can you? Please Dada?
me: It's pretty late now. L: Pleeeeease!
me: How about in the living room? L: Well... ok.
So that's what we did. I set up the tent (with her "help") and I put her to bed in it, which meant that I was able to 1) get my normal evening stuff done, and 2) sleep in my own bed.
It also meant that even though I got up at 5am and tiptoed around to get my normal morning stuff done, she woke at 5.30 and so we both got an early start on the day. Which was just as well, because I had calculated that if I managed to get her out of the house by 7.30a and dropped off at school by 8a, I'd be able to make the 8.45a water taxi and could ride my bike to work. She was ready to go by 6.30, bribed with the promise of a on-the-way-to-school donut, and I managed to do the drop, catch the water taxi, and bike. All in all, it was a satisfying father-daughter overnighter at Camp Our House.