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 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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Fiddlesticks

Random conversations with the Gymgirl and my son

Gymgirl: Man, you look good.
Me: I was just thinking the same thing.
Her: (smiles)
Me:…I do look good.

Feeling a bit run down cause the boy is waking me up at all hours of the night for no real reason.

Need to get some rest cause the Gymgirl and I are traveling together again, which reminded me of a conversation we had while we were staying at that hotel in Boston and I had forgotten to pack some earplugs for the trip:

Hotel representative: (on phone) Yes, Gymgirl’s an elite member, we’ll send that right up.
Me: Great, thanks! (turning to Gymgirl) You’re brilliant! Cm’here…
(5 seconds pass)
Hotel representative: (on phone) Um, I’m still here. You guys didn’t hang up.
Gymgirl: (bursting out laughing) Write this down for your blog!

Speaking of conversations of the inappropriate stripe, I used to say goddammit a lot for obvious reasons. But the kid was copying me so I stopped. The stopping has helped to a limited degree.

Me: Say, “Oh, fiddlesticks!”
Him: Oh, fiddlesticks!
Me: Great!
Him: (10 minutes later) Goddammit.
Me: Noooooooo! Fiddlesticks!! Fiddlesticks!
Him: (laughs) That’s funny.

A very limited degree.

He’s been staying over my sisters or mother-in-law’s at least half the weekends so hopefully that’ll help.

Gymgirl: We’re keeping him this weekend, right?
Me: Well, legally, I have to keep him for the next 16 years.

Still, the hope is that – at least linguistically – we’re all a good influence on him moving forward.

Gymgirl: OK, dude, I’ll be ready in five minutes.
Me: You’re sticking with “dude,” huh?
Her: Yeah, dude.

Well, that’s the hope, at least…

Location: my desk in the bedroom
Mood: tired
Music: no, there’s nothing not to love about me
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Only go up(side down)

Visiting inVisibleNY

Him: Every restaurant is all you can eat if you keep paying.

I’m continuing to sleep well so I’m gonna try and enjoy it for as long as I can.

Might’ve mentioned that I met the Gymgirl through my cousin so we see her and her fella a lot these days.

She has her own Friendsgiving get-together with her high school friends once a year and invited us along out in Long Island, which was fun. One of her friend quipped the above.

Later on that weekend, the Gymgirl told me about #inVisibleNY, which is/was a pop-up art installation in SoHo.

So we hopped the train, went down to Chinatown so I could get a cheap haircut and walked over to it. It was designed like a cell phone repair shop but didn’t actually fix phones; they just had these cool scenes where you could go in and take pics.

The young lady at the front desk played a very dour and irritated clerk but she was really quite nice.

Woman at desk: Are you really here to fix a phone?
Gymgirl: No.
Her: Great! (hands us a token) Have fun!

We actually did have a lotta fun.

Although most of our fun is really the conversations we have with each other.

“Fun” is a relative term.

Me: I don’t want your mom to hate me.
Her: Oh, don’t worry…she already does.
Me: Waitwhatnow?
Her: (dismissively) Look at it this way: You can only go up.

Of course, we know, there’s always room for more down.

Location: yesterday morning, running outdoors in slippers with a pecan pie
Mood: productive
Music: I have loved you like a fool
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Dear Nate… 003: Rain happens

Bearing the weight

Boy: Papa, it’s raining.

Dear Nate;

As I write this, you sleep in your room. You’re almost three. I’ve written you twice before. I should write you more.

I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.

There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.

The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.

If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:

  1. Papa probably made up most of it; and,
  2. I talk about bearing things, quite a bit.

I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.

She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.

I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.

The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.

I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.

You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.

The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.

And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.

We’ve lost so much, you and I.

There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.

I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.

Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.

It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.

Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.

The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.

But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.

And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.

Love,

Pop

Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.

Dear Nate… 001
Dear Nate… 002: Wait and wish

Location: home with the boy
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I love you oh so well
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Halloween 2018

The Nightmare Before New Year’s Day


It’s Halloween.

Thought about my first Halloween with Alison the other day. It was exactly 10 years ago today. That’s her shoulder in the pic at the bottom of this entry. She dyed her hair brown.

When everything went down in 2015, I remember thinking a lot about the movie title, The Nightmare before Christmas. That’s exactly what it was.

Can’t properly express to you the depth of the sadness and anxiety we all felt then. Probably for the best.

I remember hearing ages ago that Vincent Price was supposed to be Santa in the film but his wife passed away and he was “so grief-stricken that the director felt he sounded too sad for Santa.”

Man, I totally get that. I was a zombie for years while Alison was sick and continued after she passed. I was a shadow of myself.

Halloween fills me with a dread. Cause it’s the start of the holiday season.

My son was supposed to be born around Halloween but he wasn’t so Alison took a walk around the neighborhood that day.

She took these pictures in this entry.

She was so happy that day. She was in love, pregnant, and about to be a mother. Everything she ever wanted. And it all turned to shit a week later.

I worried for a while that the boy would feel my grief but I wear my painted faces in front of him to hide it as best I can.

Time’ll tell if it worked.

In any case, today, I’m going to dress up the boy and myself for Halloween. The Gymgirl’s coming too.

At the end of the day, I’ll take off my costume but I’ll keep my painted face on until New Year’s Day, so the kid doesn’t know how much I hate the holidays.

And I do so hate the holidays. Dunno if that’ll ever change.

Location: 2015, in my head
Mood: crestfallen
Music: Painted faces, fill the places I can’t reach
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You sold me out, kid!

Happy places


Went out to Queens twice this past weekend. The first time was with the boy and the Gymgirl when we stopped by a Chinese joint in Flushing.

Waitress: Does he speak Chinese?
Me: About as well as I do.

Then, on Sunday, my buddy Pac took the Gymgirl, my cousin, her fella, and me out to Korean restaurant out in Queens. (Eating’s a big thing for my friends and me.)

Her: There’s a great place in Murray Hill, Mapo.
Me: That’s one block from my childhood home!

The Gymgirl and I got there a little early so I walked her to my home and showed her my old digs.

Me: Alison was the last person I brought here over a decade ago.
Her: I’m sorry.

I looked where we were heading and saw the train tracks from my youth and crossed the street. Was gonna mention why to the Gymgirl but decided that was too dark for the day. Not that we didn’t veer dark.

Me: I can show you pretty much every place I got beat up.
Cousin: You remember that?!
Cousin’s fella: We never forget getting beat up.

That’s mostly true. We all have our scars. It’s always sad, that we have no scar to show for happiness.

In any case, we ate a ton of food…

Cousin: You’re ordering more food?
Me: You’re a Lo; you’re supposed to be able to eat.

So afterward, my cousin got us some shave ice – I can only think, as penance for her inability to keep up with the rest of us.

While there’s no scar for happiness, it is still nice when your mind wanders to some happy place; as I write this, I’m reminded of when the Gymgirl taught the kid how to put on his own shirt:

Gymgirl: (suspicious) Did papa help you?
Him: Yes!
Me: Wha?!
Gymgirl: Was papa supposed to help you?
Him: Noooooo.
Me: You sold me out, kid!

Location: In Queens, picking up my son
Mood: wistful
Music: the only living boy in New York
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Mae West and my friends

A busy but nice weekend

Her: I’ll watch that.
Me: What?
Her: That film you just mentioned, “Hans Solo?”
Me: HAN! It’s HAN Solo. He’s not Swedish.
Her: Han? Well, that’s a dumb name.

It was an oddly busy weekend. The Gymgirl and I stayed in and watched a film on Friday and my buddies Bryson and Steele were both supposed to come by early Saturday morning but Bryson was stuck in DC.

Him: It’s the grand opening of our DC restaurant and we’re running into issues so I’m gonna be stuck here.
Me: These are the types of things one can’t make up.

So Steele, his wife, and his kid came by and met the Gymgirl and also got to know my kid now that he’s talking.

Steele: (laughing) And you were worried he’d never speak.
Me: Well, that’s long gone now.
Him: I brought a greek lasagne with a bechamel sauce.
Me: You had me at lasagne.

Afterward, the Gymgirl and I went to the gym for a few hours. While we were out, I had a roast going in the sous vide machine that Steele gave me a while ago, which was a lucky thing because my cousin and my comfortable pants buddy came by after dinner.

Him: Your girlfriend invited me to your home for dinner. Be prepared.
Me: I’ll put a stop to that. Serving at 5:30PM. Don’t bring more carbs.

We ended up playing Pictionary and the Gymgirl and I were doing ok when the Gymgirl started drawing that picture you see above…

Me: (five seconds in) Mae West?
Her: How did you get Mae West!? How did you possibly get that?!
Him: He only knows that because she was probably popular when he was kid.

Then the very next day, went with the boy and the Gymgirl to my friend’s Bagman’s house in Westchester this past weekend where we were served a ton of amazing food.

And there was also some stupid human tricks, which really made the trip.

All-in-all it was a great weekend with family and friends.

Wouldn’t mind a few more of those if I could get them.

Location: around my dining room table, attacking ants
Mood: rested
Music: Bet on the winners, worst of you’s born to lose
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