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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Your computer is updating, Ms. Claire

Welcome to Kindergarten

I went to see my son the other day. My mother-in-law made me chili.

Me: This is the first chili I’ve had in years. After Alison died, I pretty much ate chili every day.
Her: Is chili going to be ok?
Me: Absolutely. I can’t wait.

It was delicious, of course. They’re as much family to me as my own. But, then I had to go. There’s never enough time.

Him: I wish you could stay forever.
Me: I know. Me too.

I’m glad that he’s young enough that he’ll probably not remember the virus and everything related to it. But, I wonder how it’s changed the trajectory of his life.

I wonder so many what if things, as you might imagine.

He started kindergarten virtually this week. I was pretty bummed that I wasn’t there with him. All the more so that Alison wasn’t.

Again, as you might might imagine.

I meant to tell you that, towards the end of prekindergarten, his teacher pulled me aside to talk to me. I was worried that it was something bad – of course. She spoke to me in her thick Irish brogue.

Her: Today, your son came up to me and said, “Your computer is updating, Ms. Claire. It will be ready in a moment.” He read that from the computer screen! 11 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never met anyone like your son.
Me: Oh god, I was worried you were going to tell me that he did something wrong.
Her: You worry too much, Mr. Lo.
Me: I have good reason to.

On the first day of school this week, the teacher turned to the class and asked if anyone knew what she wrote on the board.

The boy raised his hand and read to the class, “Welcome to kindergarten!”

She woulda been so proud.

Alison and my dad woulda been so proud of this happy, brilliant little kid.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday morning, getting squashed in LIC
Mood: sore
Music: I loved you right away (Spotify)
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Don’t let damaged people damage you

Do you want a report?

Lviv’s still looking for her person.

Her: This 47 year-old hit on me the other day. People that are 47 look super old.
Me: Wait, I’m 47.
Her: (scoffing) You don’t look THAT old.

ML also dropped me a line. Some guy was super upset he got rejected by her so he wrote her this nasty, nasty email. I find that disappointing.

Me: There are lots of damaged people in the world. Don’t let their damage damage you.
Her: Thank you for that.

Dating’s rough in general and doesn’t get any easier as you get older. On that note, I also got a ring from the ABFF yesterday.

ABFF: One guy wrote me and asked me how my weekend was. I was like, “Do you want a report?!”
Me: Maybe he was just trying to be nice?
Her: Look, Logan, I’m just trying to keep rapists and murderers away from my kids…
Me: Jeez! That should be a general life goal, irrespective of kids.
Her: …and I agree with you 100% on “LOLs.” Like, what are you, a balloon? It’s hard meeting someone normal in their 40s.
Me: Wait, there’re normal guys in their 40s. I’m in my 40s.
Her: Nope. I’m not doing this backhanded compliment thing with you where you get to brag that you look great for your age.
Me: Well, that’s disappointing.

I think the pandemic’s getting on the nerves of single people. A buddy of mine’s getting tired of being cooped up so he’s been hitting on randos he meets on the streets. It reminded me of a conversation I had once.

OK, many times.

Her: Sorry, I have a boyfriend.
Me: Well, good thing I’m gay then.
Her: (laughs)

Interestingly, Lviv, Mouse, and the ABFF are all at career – and personal – crossroads.

After Mouse drove me back to my pad from the Scenic Fights shoot, I invited her to come in to eat and watch a flick.

Mouse: No. I have a headache. Man, that’s the first time I’ve ever used that excuse before.
Me: I literally just asked if you wanted to eat and watch a flick.
Her: Sorry, still trying to get a handle on all my heath things. OK, I’ll come in. We can spin the wheel of misfortune! See where we end up.
Me: Always good to be positive.

We ended up watching a completely innocuous rom-com called Love, Guaranteed. I’m always a sucker for a good passable rom-com.

While very trite, I did like that that they made this guy who was an avowed womanizer a good person. The women he met, he didn’t end up with but they all thought he was generally a good and decent guy.

In that respect, I thought it was rather unique. Also, they had a the main female character drive a Karmann Ghia.

Me: I used to want one so bad. But they don’t run fast.
Mouse: Perfect, neither do you.
Me: So glad you decided to come in, Mouse…

Podcast Version
Location: this morning, getting pressured in LIC
Mood: busy
Music: save all your dirtiest jokes for me (Spotify)
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I’m not saying no

Another Scenic Fights shoot

Chad and I met up early this past Saturday to shoot some more episodes of our Scenic Fights show.

Him: Wake that sexy ass up!
Me: You don’t own me.
Him: Well, I own some shares.

I’ve been on a strict low-carb diet for the past several weeks but I figured we needed all the energy we could muster for a five-hour shoot.

We tried to find a Vietnamese joint open early in the morning that had seating but found nuthin. So, we ended up at a soup dumpling place neither of us had ever been to.

Me: I think I ordered us too much food.
Him: Oh, I’m finishing this.

Mouse offered to pick us up and drive us to the shoot because she happened to be in the city.

Me: You really don’t have to.
Her: I put on makeup. I’m picking you two up.
Me: (to Chad) She’s picking us up at Mott and Canal.
Him: See, this is where a bright red leather jacket comes in handy.

We ended up at the studio train on time.

Mouse only stayed for a bit before she had to jet. But not before she insisted on running out and getting some makeup for me because I’d scratched my face.

Her: Look, I know you. It honestly doesn’t bother me that much but I know it’ll drive you crazy for years to come if I don’t fix it.
Me: Fiiiine. Do it.

The shoot was long and we only did two outta the five scenes we planned on, mainly because of all the noise from the street while we were shooting.

Director: You both did a great job. Well, Chad did…
Me: You’re all against me.

Afterward, Chad and I got some tortas at a local cafe before Mouse came back to pick us up.

Him: Are you sure you two aren’t…
Me: (interrupting) You know as much as I know. Besides, I’m not saying no to a hot chick driving us around town and putting makeup on me. Wait…

Podcast Version
Location: this past Saturday, the armpit of Queens
Mood: carbed-out
Music: What could’ve happened if we kept going? (Spotify)
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In the gutter

My little human needs me

For reasons we don’t need to get into, I had to head to midtown just before 8PM the other night.

So, I hopped onto my scooter and zipped down 9th Avenue to the Penn Station area. I did what I had to do and then headed home.

Was going down West 33rd Street when there was a slight dip in the road, which I hit it perfectly.

And by perfectly, I mean that I went flying through the air – I was literally weightless for a moment. I crashed down into the street gutter, right next to a cop car.

I swear the two cops in the car both looked at me as if I had just messed up their drink order. It was a combination of puzzlement and wonder. They never left the car, and instead just turned away from me and waited for the light to change.

I got up and did a quick visual and mental check of myself. Most of my left side stung; nothing insanely painful but still pain.

I put myself back together again and started to head home as the cops slowly pulled away. I’m guessing they figured I woulda motioned to them in some manner if I was hurt?

It was late enough that I didn’t have to worry too much about a car hitting me. If it was before COVID, I woulda had to worry about a second impact.

When I got home, I realized that my bag was ripped, a chunk of my thigh was scraped open, as were my shoulder, and a solid part of my left palm (click here if you wanna see my hand – which is how my leg looked as well). The rest of my body looked like my elbow, above.

I think nuthin really bad happened because I was wearing a helmet and managed to breakfall correctly.

The thing that bothered me the most was thinking that if I got hurt, the kid would be left alone in the world. That, and my stinging palm, kept me up for a while.

Need to be more mindful of things. My little human needs me.

Podcast Version
Location: at Verdi Square, ranting to a man of God
Mood: still ouch
Music: Maybe it’s in the gutter? (Spotify)
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Naked Chinese Man

Scattergories

In addition to the health issues that Mouse’s mentioned in her blog, she’s also been dealing with some other issues that were out of both of our wheelhouses.

Luckily, we had a friend Hawk that knew what to do and helped point us in the right direction.

As a thank you, we got him a fine bottle of rum and invited him and his girl over for some food this past weekend.

Him: I’m essentially a pescatarian.
Me: I am so sorry to hear that.

Mouse picked up a side of salmon and I made this super easy AIP salmon dish that was honestly delicious. While I did that, Mouse helped me cleanup the pad.

Mouse: I didn’t know what to do with a lot of it so I just put it on your desk.
Me: Makes sense. That’s where it’d probably end up anyway. Thanks for helping!
Her: (laughing) Well, thanks for cooking.

Hawk and his girl H came by with two bottles of wine and we all had a fine dinner. I think.

H: He told me how old you were; I didn’t believe it.
Me: I literally look for any excuse to take off my clothes. I’ll take them off now.
Her: (laughs)
Me: No really, I’m serious.

Afterward, we settled down for some board games.

Her: We like Scattergories.
Me: Oh, that was one of Alison’s games. We always meant to play it. I suppose tonight’s as good a night as any.

Mouse and I dug it up and we played it. I could see why Alison liked it. She always loved word games like that and Boggle. Essentially, you have to make up lists of things that begin with random letters.

For “N,” one clue was, “Things you find in a home.”

I just thought of something when the buzzer went off.

Him: What were you going to say?
Me: I was going to take off my clothes so I could write, “Naked Chinese man,” but I ran outta time.

It was a fun night. In some ways, it made me miss the boy more. I want all my friends to meet him because he’s such a joy.

Soon, I hope.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, near Penn Station, cleaning off my blood
Mood: ouch
Music: just another lonely night (Spotify)
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