A gross weekend

Dinner with my BJJ Coach

This past weekend was pretty gross.

It turns out that the Gymgirl got sick with the Norovirus and the kid got it from her and I got it from him. She was away this weekend so he and I were home together since Wednesday night with him being a mess and, later, me being a mess.

Him: (softly) I don’t feel so well.
Me: (weakly) Neither does papa. And good use of the word, “well” as an adverb describing a verb versus an adjective describing a…
Him: (interrupting) I don’t feel so well, Papa.
Me: I’ll stop talking and get us some juice.

Essentially, we did next to nuthin all weekend except try to not be quite as sick as we both were. He ended up getting a fever as well.

It was shame because I really wanted to start the year off right and hit the gym hard as well try to increase what little work I’d done since Alison passed.

On the former, I did manage to carve out some time to go with my gym buddies to head over to the Hofbrauhaus here in NYC to celebrate my coach’s birthday.

You can watch him in action – and sign up for his Instagram account – here.

Coach: What should we order?
Me: What are you thoughts of ordering this entire section? (points at half the menu)
Him: (puts menu down) That works for me.

On the latter, I just gave an updated GDPR presentation to a buncha lawyers, which seemed to go really well.

But this Saturday night I was just a sick dad with a sick kid trying my best to keep us from being too sick.

Me: Do you want to read something?
Him: No. I want to go to bed.
Me: Oh, thank god. Let’s all go to bed.

Gotta say, as gross as it is sometimes, still the best job I’ve ever had.

Location: two nights ago, my bathroom floor, waiting…waiting…
Mood: gross
Music: Oh, I just don’t know where to begin
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All grown-ups were once children…

…but only few of them remember it

Me: (in LA making an early reservation) We’re the only people of our age that eat this early.
Gymgirl: (laughing) “Our age?!” There is no “our age.” We’re almost two decades apart on age.
Me: Well, this trip is ruined.

Now that I finally finished up my LA Travelogue, we can get back to the mundane day-to-day.

Didn’t do anything beyond try to catch up sleep for New Year’s Eve. Some other stuff happened but that’s an entry for some other time.

There’s a stomach bug going around NYC. Both the Gymgirl and the kid caught it in a spectacular fashion.

Her: (holding the boy) This is number three. We’re running out of clean sheets for him.
Me: I’ll figure out what to do about the bed, can you take care of him again?
Her: (looking down at her clothes, covered in vomit) Sure, I’ve got a whole system now.

She’s been really wonderful with the kid, and with me.

Me: I mentioned Alison a lot in the blog recently, I hope you don’t mind.
Her: (shakes head) I never mind.

I feel Alison would approve; in some ways, the Gymgirl treats him a lot more like Alison would than I do in that she’s strict but kind whereas I’m the softie.

Her: You’re clearly the weakest link. And he knows it.
Me: He’s my little guy!
Her: See! Weakest link…

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whom I mention in this blog quite often, once said that, All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

Me: I dunno if he’ll like that.
Her: He will. You don’t remember your childhood, because you’re ancient. I still do.
Me: That’s hurtful

But I think bullied children, for better or worse, remember their childhoods quite clearly.

Again, the trick is figuring out which parts of your past to bring with you to your future.

It’s part of why I try not to mention the kid too much.

Because I want him to have his own story, separate from mine, Alison’s, and the Gymgirl’s. I don’t wanna give him the baggage of countless pictures and stories that he may or may not want out there in the world.

I remember my mom and dad – who were always proud of me – showing off pictures and stories about me.

I remember hating that, the way all kids hate things like that.

I made my own mistakes and lived my own life and I want him to be able to live his as well, without me trying to live it for him.

Which is not to say that I don’t wanna talk about him all the time. Because I love him like a fat kid loves cake. More, even.

Me: (worried) Is he ok?
Her: Go to sleep Logan, I’ll stay with him.
Me: Maybe I should stay.
Her: I can sleep anywhere, you know that. I’ll sleep on the couch, next to him. (gently) Go. I got this.

Location: last night, surrounded by wet laundry at 1AM
Mood: so tired
Music: Salt on my baby’s cheek
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Days 5 & 6

It’s good to be home

We grabbed some food and coffee around the Avalon Hotel for Christmas eve right before checkout.

Her: The coffee was free!
Me: Why?
Her: (shrugging) Christmas?

And then had some traditional Christmas Persian food.

But we got in one last swim pool before we got ready to go.

The Gymgirl has an odd way to sunbathe:

Afterward, we met up with my brother and his girl for dinner at a Chinese joint near him.

Him: I think we ordered too much food.
Me: I don’t think so. The Gymgirl and I eat a lot.
Him: Why don’t we see if the food we already ordered is enough.
Me: (30 minutes later) I think we need more food.
The Gymgirl: We need more food.
Me: See?

The owner gave us a calendar for the new year.

The rest of the night was them singing karaoke. Everyone else had a good singing voice so I just let them sing while I enjoyed it.

Me: Sing for me, you singing monkeys!
Brother: (laughing) Why would you say such a thing?

The next day was Christmas. We woke up super late and the Gymgirl and I exchanged presents.

Me: Do you like it?
Her: I love it! No on has ever bought me anything like this.
Me: (laughing) Good. I like to be first.

Her gift to me was at home as it arrived late but she got me some Firefly-related things to tide me over.

My brother’s girl also got us a gift; a tiny waffle maker.

Girlfriend: It’s just a little something.
Me: It’s the perfect size for the kid. Thanks! Shoot, we didn’t get you anything…

Later, the Gymgirl and I went for a walk to do some reconnaissance and see what was open for dinner. We decided on some Thai food, followed by some coffee.

The rest of the night, we all played board games, like Midnight Taboo, which kinda made me realize how much The Gymgirl and I thought alike.

Me: Our friend V is covered in…
The Gymgirl: Tatoos!
Me: Yes!
Brother: What the heck?!

We woke up the next morning and stopped by Lucky Boy, the greasy spoon I went to the last time I was in town, for some brekkie before heading to the airport.

Unlike the trip there, the trip back went completely smoothly. When we landed, we took a cab home that was only five days old.

Me: This is the nicest cab I’ve ever been in. And I’m a native New Yorker. Can I take a picture of it?
Driver: But of course!

We got home and I sighed yet again.

The last time I went to California, Alison ran out to greet me when I returned by shouting, “He’s home, Logan’s home!

This time, as it was so late, it was completely quiet when we got back.

So I turned to the Gymgirl and said, “We’re home.”

“Yes,” she said, nodding, and putting down her bag, “it’s good to be home.”

Location: in front of screens all day
Mood: super busy
Music: Just tell me if you wanna go home
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 4

The girl on the flying trapeze

I didn’t feel great when I woke up that day but we had lots of things to do.

We headed to the Santa Monica pier where we immediately went to the local Micky D’s because I felt pretty rough.

Me: Oooooh.
Her: You ok?
Me: Nope. I’m surprised because usually I have a cast iron stomach.

There was a trapeze class that she wanted to take at 2:15 and it was noon so we decided to rent electric scooters again and head down to Muscle Beach per my friend Lorin’s suggestion.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to make it down to see anything because we only realized after we started the trip down that we were in a “slow zone” – this meant that the scooters went super slow.

One jogger was keeping pace with us for a solid part of the ride.

Me: Man, we’re finally ahead of her.
Gymgirl: I think that’s only because she stopped to tie her shoe.

While we were going, a guy on a bike started filming us and saying some rude things but sped away before we could say anything back.

Me: Everyone’s so brave from a distance. You could kill that guy.

She made it back in time to do her trapeze lesson. She did great in the beginning but when it came time for her first catch…

…she didn’t make it. But then she made all the others, every single one.

I was super proud.

Instructor: (to me) You don’t wanna do it?
Me: Nah. A fella could get hurt.

The truth was that I was still feeling a bit wonky but by the time she was done, I was starving. We ended up going for a walk on the Promenade and ate not once,  not twice, but thrice.

We first went to a Mexican place for drinks, burritos, and tacos…

…but that wasn’t enough so we took a scooter to a Jack-in-The-Box.

Me:: Have you ever had a Jack-in-The-Box taco? It’s the first taco I ever had as a kid.
Her: No. Is it any good?
Me: Nope. I’m gonna get one.

But that wasn’t enough so we also went to get Wendy’s.

We have eating issues.

Afterward, we both went swimming in the hotel pool by ourselves.

This story’ll end soon, promise.

There’s just so much I want to tell you.


Location: earlier today, in the gym on the mats
Mood: busy
Music: caught between a dream and a movie scene
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 3b

A night out in LA

It took a bit longer than we expected to get back to our hotel – and it was probably twice the price of taking a regular Uber cab back, but worth it, in terms of fun.

We napped for a bit and then got dressed to meet up with some friends.

Her: What’s the dress code? (puts on a bracelet)
Me: You look nice with your bling and all.
Her: (laughs) Thanks. Where’s your bling?
Me: You are my bling.

We then tried to figure out how to sneak in one more meal before we met up with everyone.

Me: Let’s go to Philippe’s – it’s right by where we need to be.
Her: What’s “Philippe’s?”
Me: They invented the French Dip Sandwich.
Her: What’s a French Dip Sandwich?

So I told her the story while we went there and also pulled up this video for her.

Me: They have sawdust on the floor – that’s a sign of quality in my book.

On the ride there, I put on an audiobook I read before but she hadn’t – Blink by Malcom Gladwell.

Me: What do you think of it?
Her: I like it!

We got to the restaurant and immediately inhaled a lamb sandwich.

We then put in an order for: A bowl of chili – of course – a bowl of cream of brocoli soup, some pickled eggs, a diet coke, and a mug of hot chocolate.

Server: Do you want whipped cream on that?
Me: Do I! (server was confused) That means, yes. Yes, I would like some whipped cream on that.

We were still pretty stuffed from all the chix we had earlier but we don’t mess around when it comes to food.

Afterword, we walked over to see my friend Paul.

I remember that, the last time I saw him, after we parted, I went to bed thinking of Alison and the California sun

I sighed a lot in California when people couldn’t hear me.

We met him at a joint called General Lee in Chinatown.

Me: You can’t miss us – I’m wearing a red leather jacket and she’s wearing a yellow leather jacket.
Paul: So I’ll look for Power Rangers.
Me: That’s the look we’re going for.

He and the Gymgirl really hit it off, which I would have expected since they’re both just great people.

Him: (to Gymgirl) I’m glad to meet you. (thinking) I could tell that he was better after he met you.
Her: Thank you, that’s really nice.
Me: Yeah, I was pretty messed up.

We had a few more drinks before heading over to a party where our mutual LJ friend Lexxy-Pie was.

Me: Cm’here you handsome devil, I haven’t seen you in ages.

This is how I look with too many drinks

Paul – who’s in the liquor trade and just came out with his top shelf Nankai Shochu (which is really a rum in my book) – told me that the hottest bartender in LA was slinging drinks.

He got us a constantly rotating variety of rum drinks all night.

Met some really interesting people and had a lotta conversations but those stories are mostly other people’s so we’ll end this entry here.

Me: Did you have a good time?
Her: Yes. Paul and your friends are really nice. Did you?

Gotta say that I felt a little guilty having such a nice time in LA with the Gymgirl and without Alison and without the boy.

It makes no logical sense, I know, and yet I felt it. But then I reminded myself that no one is promised tomorrow.

Me: (shrugging) Of course. I was with you.

Location: in front of a powerpoint presentation I need to finish
Mood: full
Music: no, we’re not promised tomorrow
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 3a

Grappling with some scooters and Zankou’s Chicken

Actually, one of the first things we did after we checked into the hotel was to look at a grappling school just a few blocks from the hotel.

Me: Wow, it’s only two blocks away from here. Did you plan that out?
Her: (pause) Yes?

We were planning on seeing a few schools but I neglected to factor in the holidays so we only got to visit the one. But  we were fine with that because it was so nice and welcoming.

In fact, the woman that worked at the front desk used to live just two blocks from me.

Her: I loved the Upper West Side.
Me: Correction, it’s the Upper BEST Side.

The main instructor is a pretty famous practitioner named Ryron (pronounced “he-ron”) who was just the nicest guy.

We spent two really enjoyable but challenging hours there early on Saturday before we went back to the hotel to get changed.

Her: That was a lot of fun.
Me: I know! I think we’ve been brainwashed to think that grappling schools are fulla screaming and impatient instructors (because of our old instructor).

After we got cleaned up, we ended up taking an Uber to a Zankou Chicken.

Driver: I haven’t seen anyone read an actual paper in years.
Me: I’m as old as dirt.

Interestingly, while we were there, it was the first time I’ve ever asked anyone to take a picture of us and they said no.

Woman: I’d rather not.
Me: That’s unexpected, but ok.

Instead of taking a car back, the Gymgirl suggested that we take one of the several electric scooters around us. It took us a few tries but we ultimately got two going.

Unfortunately, while mine was pretty zippy…

…hers was decidedly not:

There’s more but you know that I don’t like to write super long entries so I’ll have to continue this tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a video of Ryron (the guy on the bottom) and his brother Renner, doing what they do:


Location: heading out to see some friends with the boy
Mood: hungry
Music: they shine for you and all the things that you do
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 2

A night walk in Beverly Hills

Brother: I have eggs, hash browns, and bread.
Me: Do you have bacon?
Him: No. Do you want bacon?
Me: We’re not gonna say no to bacon.

Rarely sleep in but this day, I seriously slept in. Didn’t wake up until 8AM – but for perspective, that’s 11AM out in NYC.

To be fair, we didn’t go to sleep until 2AM there – which is 5AM here – but still, it was unlike me

When we woke up, we met my brother’s (female) roommate, Vic, who was nice enough to cook two huge plates of food.

Me: I don’t suppose you have coffee?
Her: (takes out five different types of coffee) Here, take your pick.
Me: You’re my type of roommate.

My brother had an appointment that day so the Gymgirl and I took a cab to the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. We got settled in and, before long, it was already time for dinner.

Me: What’s near us?
Her: (after a few minutes on her phone) Citizen? It’s a restaurant not that far from us.
Me: I kinda want another burger.
Her: How about this; why don’t get some food and a drink there and then we can get some burgers afterward?
Me: Done!

It was right next door to Spago. We were kinda still on NYC time so we got there early. There was almost no one else in the joint.

Waitress: Do you want to sit by the fireplace?
Gymgirl: Heck yeah.

Turns out the grill didn’t have any gas so she got a new canister. She was struggling a bit with it so I helped her get it ready.

Waitress: Thanks for the help!
Me: As long as it doesn’t explode.

We ordered some appetizers and drinks. Some really nicely dressed people sat next to us so I offered to take their pictures.

Woman: That’s really nice of you. Sure!
Me: Anytime – we’re always asking people to take pics of us.

I actually forgot to bring my camera so most of these shots were taken with my phone. It’s a shame but better than nuthin, I suppose.

In any case, we were chatting with the waitress some and she told us that it was their very last night in business. It was closing that night.

Waitress: …so you came at a good time.
Me: Evidently.

Afterward, we got up and walked over to the nearby Fatburger, which is actually my favourite burger joint in LA.

Me: Do you want a burger too?
Gymgirl: (confused) Um, yeah?
Me: Right. What was I thinking?

Afterward we took a walk down North Canyon Drive and walked through the Beverly Cañon Gardens, where we took a million pics…

…and through the Montage Beverly Hills where we took another million pics…

…and finally stopped by a drugstore where we bought an inexpensive but delicious bottle of white.

Me: Man, there’s something about being able to buy wine in a drugstore.

We ended up drinking the whole thing in the hotel that night.

Oh, on the way back, the Gymgirl fell in love with a puppy that seemed to like her a lot as well.

It was indifferent to me so, clearly, there was something wrong with it.

There’s a tiny bit more but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Or maybe the day after that.

Location: in front of a pile of paperwork. A pile.
Mood: hungry looking at these food pics
Music: hands up, people, get with the show
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 1b

Making a Corolla look like a Ford Fiesta

While I was up in the air, I decided to get the wifi on my phone – the one thing I had on me beside my clothes and my wallet – to see how The Gymgirl was faring with the bag recovery.

Turns out, pretty well. She somehow got in touch with the person at NJ Transit and convinced them to (a) Find our bags, and (b) put them on to a return train.

Her: The woman said to meet the 5:40 conductor on the platform at the first car.
Me: Hopefully, they found the right bags.
Her: (laughing) I doubt there was someone else that left a blue bag and a red bag on that train.

She took the train back to the platform, stood in the rain, and ran up to the first conductor, who was – amazingly – holding both of our bags.

Her: I literally cried for joy for the first time in my life.

But she wasn’t done yet as the next flight was in 45 minutes.

Her: I have my ticket so I will go straight for security. Running to catch the plane. Wish me luck!

Somehow, on the busiest travel day of the year, she got to her gate in 40 minutes, but the gate was supposed to close 15 minutes before the flight took off.

Me: You gonna make it?
Her: Sprinted from TSA to gate 95 in 4 min…and they aren’t even boarding.
Me: God, I’m so impressed.
Her: Don’t be, I’m sweating waterfalls.

Turns out the flight was delayed a few minutes so she made it – with all of our bags in tow.

As for me, I landed in LAX and told my brother, who was supposed to pick me up, to not come for another two hours so he didn’t have to make two trips to grab the Gymgirl as well.

When he finally came to pick us up…

Me: I’m starving. Where’s the nearest burger joint?
Him: Carl’s Jr, right outside LAX?
Me: Let’s go.

I got a half pound burger and wolfed it down as I chatted with him. This is where I mention that he’s an iPhone snob.

Me: I wanna show you something. (taking out phone) This is Android skinned with a Windows launcher. So it’s like what Windows woulda been had they made their own Android phone.
Him: Why would you do that?
Me: (shrugging) Just to piss you off.
Him: (shaking head) That’s like taking a Corolla and making it look like a Ford Fiesta.

The Gymgirl finally touched down and I picked her up a half-pound burger – animal style, of course – for her.

Me: God, I’m proud of you.
Her: Eating. No talky.

We both finally arrived at my brother’s pad, some 12 hours after we first left our place in Manhattan. We’d only just arrived and already had a full adventure.

I thought about the last time I was there. Alison and I said she’d come with me the next time I went. I sighed but then my brother made me laugh.

Me: (to brother) What do you have in the form of diet Coke?
Him: (handing me one) A Diet Coke?

Location: on my white couch
Mood: rested
Music: over love and over hate, through this iron sky
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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 1a

Not a great start

Me: I gotta say, your problem-solving abilities never cease to amaze me.
Gymgirl: I’m great under pressure. It’s regular life where I’m a disaster.
Me: This is true.

The Gymgirl and I headed out to California to see my brother for the holidays. It was kinda last minute cause she had some vacation time to use up and I always wanted to see my brother over the holidays because he’s often away from family then.

We left pretty early with the kid from NYC to Newark in order to meet up with my mother-in-law out in NJ so the kid could spend the holidays with her and Alison’s family.

This ended up being a good choice because, with alla our attention focused on the kid…we left our bags on the train.

Her: Wait, where are our bags?
Me: Holy @#$@balls! (turning back towards train)
Her: (turning to the boy) Ignore that. Papa’s doing stuff. Let’s go get something to read over there.

When I say our bags, I mean all our clothes, three computers (long story), my fanciest camera with my fanciest lens, plus our Xmas gifts for each other.

The Gymgirl sprang to action and immediately got in contact with the station manager at the train terminus.


Gymgirl: OK, here’s what we’re going to do – you’re going to get the kid to your mother-in-law and get on the plane. I’m going to head down to Trenton and either get a later flight tonight or book at hotel, get a car, and get a flight tomorrow.
Me: That doesn’t make any sense, why should you do that versus me?
Her: I’m the one that suggested we put them on the top rack instead of keeping them on us. Plus, you need to get the kid to your MIL and it’s weird if I stay over with your brother while you run around.

Ultimately, I got the kid where he needed to be and got on the plane to see my brother. The Gymgirl was off to fix things. It was all nuts.

Spent the flight wondering if the entire trip was ruined.

Guy sitting next to me: Sorry, there’s no room in the overhead.
Me: (shrugging) No worries, I got nuthin to put there.

Location: back in NYC
Mood: tired
Music: the sky is a hazy shade of winter
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Logan discusses philosophy with toddlers

Making Choices

Me: (over dinner) It’s getting late. You can either take a bath and no TV, or take a shower and watch TV.
Boy: I want both.
Me: You have to choose.
Him: I don’t wanna choose.
Me: (putting down fork and leaning in) One day, you’ll wonder what life is all about. It’s this: Being alive means making choices. Only things that are alive can make choices; it’s what defines life.
Gymgirl: (laughing) I should write a book called, Logan discusses philosophy with toddlers.

The boy is getting bigger and smarter – he can count to 40 and can read about 70 words. And he’s always the happiest kid in the room.

I keep wondering what life for him would be like if Alison was still here. I don’t doubt it would be better, what I do wonder is if I’m doing a good enough job on my own – even with the help of the Gymgirl, Alison’s parents, my sister, and my mom.

It’s almost Christmas. So everything is simultaneously bright and dark. I’m trying to choose the former when I can but it’s never quite so easy.

Still, I’m here because I serve a purpose. I’ll stay until that purpose is over.

The requirement that one must choose is one of the taxes we gotta pay for being alright.

Me: (picking up fork and shrugging) Life is making choices. The sooner he learns this, the better off he’ll be.

Location: in an argument
Mood: sad
Music: oh, we’ll be a sight to see, back in the high life again
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