Conversations with Mouse

Zima, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Tommy Lee Jones

Mouse tried to rip my lower leg off this past weekend. She almost succeeded.

Chad: I could make her a world-champion. Dude, I think she’s the most talented person I’ve ever trained.
Me: Thanks for teaching my erstwhile girlfriend how to kill me.

Spent most of the weekend working on projects but I did manage to see her, Chad, Cho, and some other friends here and there. Chad wanted to watch 1917 so we rented it. It was pretty depressing.

Me: Thanks for the film suggestion. Do you want to slap me and kick her in the face now?
Him: Nah, I think I’ve done enough.

Curt also stopped by for random board games one night. We were doing Scattergories and the category was: Birds that begin with the letter “G.”

Him: What the hell’s a Great Auk?
Me: It’s a large, flightless, extinct bird.
Him: You can’t just put “Great” in front of a bird and say it starts with, “G!”
Me: OK Google, what’s a Great Auk?
Machine: According to Wikipedia, “The great auk is a species of flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century. It was the only modern species in the genus Pinguinus.”
Him: OK, stop, stop. Just take it.

But really, the best conversations of the weekend were with Mouse.

Her: What’s a Zima?
Me: You don’t know what a Zima is?
Her: Is it an old person thing?
Me: (long pause) Yes. (later) It’s essentially a clear beer.
Her: (puzzled) Why don’t you just drink beer?
Me: (slowly nodding) Yup.

Although she’s not wrong about me being crazy old. I’m forgetting everything:

Her: Send me that recipe in a text.
Me: OK. (sends Mouse a text, then hears her text chime on her phone) Oh, you just got a text!
Her: (confused) Wait, that’s you right?
Me: No, it’s your phone.
Her: No, YOU just sent me a text.
Me: What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?!

It’s been a recurring theme. For example, we also saw The Hunted for a future episode of Scenic Fights, Fight Scene Breakdown.

Me: Do you know who Tommy Lee Jones’s roommate was in college?
Her: Well, considering how old he is, you?
Me:  (nodding slowly)

Although she has her own issues:

Her: I think that killing people is like eating Cool Ranch Doritos.
Me: How so?
Her: Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
Me: I don’t know where to start with this.

…plus between her, the kid, and me, I’m not sure how we’d make enough money to survive together.

For example, just tonight for dinner, she ate two 1/2 pound burgers, a whole head of lettuce, a hot dog, a bag of chips, an avocado, some chocolate, a cup of coffee and a cup of tea…

Me: If we ever end up together is this what’s waiting for me?
Her: Waiting for you? This is happening right now. This is happening.

Well, certainly, something’s happening.

Podcast Version
Location: home, helping a tenant fix her faucet
Mood: amused
Music: I know I talk too much (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Overcorrecting

If you say so

Of course, on the day I went to see my son, the teacher was reading the class a story about a fish looking for his mom. Because, of course.

It’s the first video I’m posting with his voice, if you’re interested in hearing it.

Boy: Can I have a pretzel?
Me: What have you done to earn a pretzel?
Him: I dunno. (thinking) I love you?
Me: (reaching for pretzels) Man, I am so easily manipulated.
Him: Manipulated!

When I first learned to drive, and now when I wrestle, I tended to overcorrect. Things that need to go, say, 5 degrees to the left, I go 15.

Do you remember the Minority Report with Tom Cruise?

There’s a scene where Cruise’s character sits in the dark by himself and watches videos of his son and his wife. He no longer had them, you see.

I remember watching that scene and feeling so sad about it. Enough that 18 years later I recall it, having recalled little else about the film.

I told you that I don’t have too many videos of Alison; almost none, in fact. She hated being recorded.

Of course, I have videos of her immediately after she got sick. One in particular I’ve never seen and don’t think I ever will. I wouldn’t survive it, I don’t think.

But that’s a memory for me and my lonely nights.

In any case, she asked that I try not to put pictures or videos up of her on this blog so I didn’t. I wish I did.

I wish I took so many more pictures and videos of her. God, she was beautiful.

I probably take too many pictures of the boy and people I care about these days. I’m definitely overcorrecting. But I don’t care.

As the years go on, these little bits of digital ink are all I have left of some people and moments. I’ll take them.

Him: I miss mommy.
Me: I do too. All the time. She was my best friend.

Just got back from seeing him. The hope is that he can safely go back to school part-time next semester and that this country’ll have an actual plan of trying to deal with this goddamn virus.

He still gets sad whenever I leave and I tell myself that this is a good thing but it’s hard. Everything’s harder than it should be.

Him: I could wave to you from the front door.
Me: It’s too dark. You wouldn’t see me. Stay here.
Him: (sadly) If you say so, papa.
Me: I do. I’ll be back soon. I promise
Him: (nods, cries)
Me: Really. I promise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking at pictures of people I’ll always love
Mood: lonely
Music: Don’t come and go like you do. (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

We *all* have problems, Logan

Good luck and good day

Me: You want some Sriracha?
Chad: (covers his entire meal with it).
Mouse: That’s a lot of Sriracha!
Me: I’ve made him into a man now, Mouse.
Chad: (nods, doesn’t stop eating)

People keep calling me to help out with these projects and I take what work I feel I’m a right fit for or if I want to help someone out.

You know that I don’t advertise? Been working for myself for over two decades and I’ve never advertised anything ever beyond this blog, I suppose. Maybe a few things, here and there.

Huy Fong, the makers of Sriracha also never advertised. They got by purely on their reputation. Must be an Asian thing.

Anywho, a lawyer buddy of mine asked me to help out with a client so, as a favour to him, I reached out to her and sent her what I could do and what I would charge.

Her: That seems excessive for a few pages of paper.
Me: I couldn’t agree more. You can probably find someone much cheaper with the New York Country Bar Association. You can ring up a lovely woman named Hannah there at 212-267-6646, ext. 217 to find someone else.
Her: Wait, but…
Me: 212-267-6646, ext. 217. Hannah. With two H’s and two N’s. Good luck and good day, madam.

I know what I’m worth and I don’t have the time or interest in convincing anyone of my value.

On that note, last week was one of my busier work weeks in a while.

On the flip side, I can also remember sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Of course, that was before everything in my life turned to shit.

Speaking of sitting at home, like I said earlier, Chad broke his foot but he’s a teacher by nature, so he’s definitely going stir crazy locked in his pad.

And Cho just got a new whip.

So, I offered for them to come by – along with Mouse – and roll in exchange for some food and entertainment.

And on a random weekday night, they were here.

We were all grateful for the lesson and I think Chad was grateful to just be on a mat again. He literally walked in – or hobbled in – and lay on the mat for a moment and sighed.

Just like the first time he came over.

After our lesson, he asked if we had any questions.

Me: About what you just taught or life?
Chad: We don’t have that much time, Logan.
Me: Well, I’ve got a lot going on.
Him: We all have problems, Logan!
Me: You don’t have to yell.

Pro tip: If you see a bottle of Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chili, buy it. You’ll be ahead of the curve. Trust me on this.

It’ll be the next big thing.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, trying to break an arm
Mood: tired
Music: I don’t want somebody like you (Spotify)
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Father-to-Father

He’d be 82

It woulda been my dad’s 82nd birthday this week.

The saddest, most unnerving thing about losing a parent is that you always think that you can pick up the phone and call them. But you can’t.

A cousin I was super close with lost his dad this week too. Another uncle from my dad’s generation, gone.

It’s tough. That cousin and I used to talk all the time but we lost touch after Alison got sick. What can you say? What can you do?

Him: They told me that if I went to see him, I’d have to go to quarantine for 14 days. He wouldn’t last 14 days.
Me: So, what did you do?
Him: I asked them what would happen if I broke quarantine and they said I’d be fined $20,000USD and tossed in jail. I told them I was ok with that.

Being a father now, I understand my father in ways I never did when he was alive.

We fought so much when he was alive, but I never once doubted that he loved me and I don’t think he ever doubted that I loved him.

I’m sure the boy and I will fight, it’s what fathers and sons do. But I hope he knows I love him.

Ah, man…

I wish I could have spoken to my dad as a father speaking to another father. That woulda been so cool.

That woulda been so fucking cool.

Me: I’d pay that. To see my dad again? I pay that in a heartbeat.
Him: Yeah…

Podcast Version
Location: my apartment, hunting heel hooks with her and two others
Mood: awful
Music: the baggage in my heart is still so dark (Spotify)
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Herding cats

Nothing is, I suppose

Been working on alla these projects of mine. Some for scratch, most not.

For example, I’ve been heading out to Queens early in the AM to meet up with a buncha guys to roll around every once in a while.

See, I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible because I’ve been missing the boy something awful.

He just biked by himself the other day. When I was in another state.

It’s less than ideal.

And when I’m not thinking of him, I’m thinking of Alison. Or Mouse. Or my old life lives.

Suppose we’re are all just prisoners here of our own devices.

I’d just finished a project when Chad hit me and some friends up, outta the blue, via a messaging app.

Him: What’s up everyone? Cho and I are getting dinner later today and then look at the sunset together if he’s lucky. We’re doing Flushing.
Cho: I’m driving.
Pac: I can meet you guys in Flushing.
Mouse: (later) Reading this chat is like trying to herd cats.

I needed the distraction.

Me: I’m in.

And I hopped on my scooter to meet up with Cho around my old offices and we went off to pick up Chad downtown and Mouse in Brooklyn. It was a 90 odyssey.

Mouse: Since you all came to pick me up, I brought some homemade dumplings to tie everyone over.
Chad: Sweeeeeet!
Cho: Sorry, no eating in the car.
Chad: Dammit!

We ended up meeting Pac at the same restaurant that Mouse and I met him at over a year earlier. I wanted to go see my mom and sis since we were there but I figured it wasn’t fair to make everyone go out of their way.

I chatted up one of the greeters there for a buddy of mine.

Me: It’s too bad you’re not single, Sophie. He’s a catch.
Her: You remembered my name!
Me: Of course, darling. It’s what I do. But enough about me, tell me about this fella you’re seeing.

We ate. We drank. And then had some complex carbs.

It was a good night and a good distraction.

I went home and tried to get some sleep but instead pulled up pictures and videos of my family.

I’m grateful for my friends, really. But it’s not the same as family.

Nothing is, I suppose.

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer, non-stop
Mood: focused
Music: I had to find the passage back to the place I was before (Spotify)
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Everyone else does

Shrimp cocktail-esque

Mouse picked me up and met Alison’s parents. It was a bit surreal for me, but Mouse is such a sweetheart and Alison’s parents are so great that I knew everything was going to be fine.

MIL: Should I call you, Mouse?
Mouse: (laughing) Sure, everyone else does.
MIL: Mouse it is then.

The boy wasn’t allowed to hug Mouse but I could tell he wanted to.

Him: I wish you could both stay.
Me: I wish that too. But we have to keep your grandparents safe.
Him: Ok.

We drove off in her car and he waved to us and shouted, “Bye, Papa! Bye, Mouse!” until we rounded the corner.

Maybe longer.

Dunno if it’s harder on him or me. But, he had my mother-in-law to give him a hug. And I had Mouse to do the same.

Afterward, we were going to head back home when her brother and sister-in-law invited us over to their pad. Turns out that they live just 25 minutes from my in-laws.

Her: Do you want to go?
Me: What’s their house like?
Her: My sister-in-law’s like you. Very…particular.
Me: Sold.

We ended up having more fish and seafood

Mouse’s Sister-in-law: It was shrimp, and it tasted like…shrimp.
Me: The shrimp tasted like shrimp?
Her: Well, it was very shrimp cocktail-esque

…and talked a lot more about food.

Me: Funny – I just had kebabs last night. The only two options were chicken or filet mignon.
Her: That’s a huge jump between meats!
Me: Exactly what I thought!

It was a full weekend.

Mouse: He asked if we were back together.
Me: What’d you say?
Her: (shrugging) “Your guess is as good as mine.”
Me: (nodding) Accurate.

Podcast Version
Location: Northern Blvd, having Nutella and conversation
Mood: hopeful
Music: It’s all in my head (Spotify)
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First bike ride

I’ll say joyful

Took the train to see the boy last week.

I was on a completely empty train car when some dude got on and decided to sit directly behind me.

Thought it was odd but didn’t say anything. After just a bit, I heard a deep voice say, “Hey, man. Hey, man – yo, back here.”

I turned around to see this huge fella wearing a baseball cap and a Black Lives Matters mask.

Him: Hey, man. I just wanted to tell you that I’m sitting behind you because this is the only seat with a plug near it and I gotta charge my phone.
Me: Oh! Hey, thanks for telling me. I was wondering…
Him: Yeah, for sure. I’d do the same thing. Empty car. I get it, man.
Me: Seriously, thanks so much for saying something.
Him: No problem, man. I get it.

When I got to my stop, I wished him well.

Me: I hope you get to where you’re going safely, homie. Have a good weekend.
Him: (big smile) Hey, thanks, you too, you too.

My mother-in-law picked me up.

The boy was in school (online) so he couldn’t come with her but when we got to her home, he was there on the porch, waiting for me. He started screaming, “Papa, papa!” at the top of his lungs.

If you’re not a parent that hasn’t seen his kid in weeks, I can’t fully express how it felt to see him.

But I’ll say joyful and hope it translates, knowing that it won’t.

MIL: I wanted you to be the one to teach him how to ride a bicycle.
Me: Thanks, mom. That means a lot to me.

I remember riding my first bike.

It was a yellow girl’s bike with flowers on the plastic banana seat and a white basket. I didn’t care. It was mine and I loved it.

I took off the training wheels from the boy’s bike and he began to cry.

Me: Are you scared?
Him: (nods)
Me: It’s ok to be scared. You can only be brave if you’re scared first. But you get points in life for being brave. Be brave for me, ok?
Him: OK, papa. I’ll try.

He was. He did a great job.

Although, to be fair, even if he didn’t, he’s mine and I love him.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday night, home again
Mood: busy
Music: Everything means nothing if I can’t have you (Spotify)
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He’s ambulatory

Seafood in the rain

Chad ended up fracturing his foot in two places the other day. Since he’s as much eat-what-you-kill as me, this was not good news.

Him: According to PT Steve, I’m looking at six weeks at a minimum. Most likely six months before I get full mobility back.
Me: Well, that’s not good news.

Our buddy Cho was nice enough to chauffer him around the place.

Chad: Do you wanna grab some food with us?
Me: I just made lunch so…
Him: We’re going to Queens for seafood.
Me: Heck, yeah!

But first we Skyped with my son, who decided to do math problems for them by adding three sets of three digit numbers.

Chad: Is that right?
Me: How would I know?
Cho: Do all four-year-olds know how to do that?
Me: I don’t think so. He takes after his mom.

Somehow, we all decided to pick up Mouse as well so – after a snack of some homemade ribs and collard greens, we went off to Brooklyn to pick her up.

Her: Where in Brooklyn are we going?
Cho: We’re going to Queens.
Me: An hour from here.
Her: What?! Why would we do that?
Me: Because Cho’s the driver and that’s where he wants to go.
Her: OK, I’m sold.

Because of Mouse’s diet, she’s super limited as to what she can eat. But she can go to town on seafood. Which worked out perfectly because Cho was hankering for some of that.

Chad: I’m not a big fan of seafood.
Mouse: (correcting him) You’re not a big fan of fish. That’s different from seafood. You’ll like seafood.

Just to hedge our bets, we got him some wings and an arepa from the food cart on the street. Because of the lockdown, we sat in a rainstorm on the street under a tent. It was pretty fun, actually.

Cho and Mouse then proceeded to show Chad how to eat lobster, snow crab, raw oysters, and the like.

Mouse: What do you think?
Him: Pretty good, actually.
Me: Mouse and I used to eat 48 oysters at a time.
Chad: Get outta here.
Her: It’s true. They’d give us like six forks each and we’d say, “We just need one.”

I ended up having two pina coladas, Chad’s lemon drop – it was Alison’s go to shot drink and he wanted to try it (he wasn’t a fan) – and a beer so I was pretty lit by the time we headed home.

Cho, who didn’t drink, wanted to drop everyone off – me uptown, Chad downtown, Mouse in the middle-of-nowhere Brooklyn, and himself in deep Queens – so Mouse insisted on paying for everyone’s dinner.

Me: I’ll cover half, at least.
Her: Nah, I just got a promotion. It’s fine.
Me: Are you sure?
Her: I had good company, good drink, good food, and good music. I’m sure.

While heading home, our buddy Robinson wrote me…

Him: Have you talked to Chad? Is he ambulatory?
Me: Yup!

…and I sent him this picture.

I generally don’t like last minute anything but they do have their moments.

Especially when they involve good company, good drink, good food, and good music.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday night, eating in Jackson Heights
Mood: busy
Music: I’ve got friends that will fly once called  (Spotify)
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It’s not ideal but it’s something

A Man from Nowhere

Headed out to Queens early in the morning a few times last week to go to a friend’s place and roll.

I’ve been maintaining my weight and such by eating right and doing a little exercise when I can at home but it’s not easy. It’s tough to go from being in the gym four-to-six hours a week to…nuthin.

So, the alarm goes off at 6 in the morning, I straggle to the train station, and head out to roll around with some buddies, including one I’ve known a dozen years.

Him: Lo-lo! Good seeing you, you’re the first one here.
Me: Blargh.

It’s not ideal, but it’s something. Which, I suppose, is the situation for most people in this pandemic.

Speaking of working out and such, Chad and I have a new Scenic Fights, Fight Scene Breakdown – this time, featuring, The Man from Nowhere.

If you’ve never seen it, it’s supposedly one of the inspirations behind John Wick – and I think it supersedes it in many regards. One of the best action flicks I’ve ever seen – on Pac’s recommendation.

Him: Dude, it’s got a karambit in it!

Subscribe, like, and repost please. I need to get some passive income and stop working all together.

Speaking of working, met up with Mouse and RE Mike. Needed his help on a project and wanted to pick his brain on a few things.

Me: I’ll take you out to eat.
Him: You don’t need to do that.
Me: Sure I do. Besides, I gotta eat too.

Because of Mouse’s diet, we went to this place that was pretty paleo friendly. We all really enjoyed our dishes and even had a nice malbec too.

It’s not ideal, but it’s something.

Podcast Version
Location: an hour ago, stabbing two guys in the park – they’re fine
Mood: productive
Music: I’ll be outside, I’ve been cooped up (Spotify)
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Goodnight, Uncle Jay

Thanks for the gifts

Me: My uncle passed away.
Her: (puts arms around me) I’m so sorry to hear that.
Me: You’re choking me…
Her: I’m giving you a hug!

The picture below’s of a Montblanc Meisterstuck 925 Sterling Silver and 18K Gold fountain pen. My uncle Jay gave it to me when I got into law school way back in 1995.

My dad got me something similar when I graduated college. I never thanked either of them for either gift.

I was upset and petty, you see. A pen? Who gets someone a pen? A computer, a TV, cash – that kinda stuff I understood as a fella in his 20s, but a pen?

I tossed both into a drawer and forgot about them. Found them earlier this year – a quarter of a century later.

I’d meant to say thanks to my dad for his pen, but I always forgot to. And when I found the pen from my uncle, I asked my mom if I should call.

Mom: He’s sick. He won’t understand.

Uncle Jay never had any sons. Only daughters. He was always kind to me. I was too young to know what to do with kindness from relatives.

There’s this saying that I’ve always liked that goes, Youth is wasted on the young.

I was so arrogant and immature for so long. I made so many mistakes. It always feels like it’s too late. But maybe, with the boy, he’ll be better. Nuthin would make me happier than if he was better than me.

Thanks for the pen, Uncle Jay. I didn’t deserve it and I wish I said thanks when I had the chance.

Sister: Are you ok? You were close to him.
Me: I am. He got to live a long life and watch his kids grow up. Meet his grandchildren. What was he, 86? I would take 86 right now. I wish Alison got half that. He lived a good long life where he was loved and respected. We should all be so lucky. He’s no longer suffering. He earned his rest.
Her: You’re right, he did. Thanks.
Me: No, thank you for calling. I’ll give mom a call now.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday night, having drinks with a pretty lady
Mood: pensive
Music: I hope everything is gonna be alright (Spotify)
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