My PG-13 life

At least I get to live it


The Gymgirl gave me an (unintentional) black eye the other day in my gym class.

Gymgirl: Do you need ice?
Me: God, yes.

In a nutshell, her foot went into my eye and nose. It was decidedly unpleasant.

Gym owner: You’re fine. You’re not even bleeding…wait, nevermind, you’re bleeding.
Me: Oh, good, that’s a relief.

I’m literally getting my ass kicked by all the women I know in life.

Which leads me to believe that Life itself is a woman because, I’m definitely getting my ass kicked by her.

The nurse that Alison liked the most during IVF called me the other day.

Nurse: It literally took me a week to get up the nerve to call you.
Me: I’m so glad you did. Alison adored you.
Her: (exhales) Thank you. I wasn’t sure how you’d be speaking to me.
Me: Yeah, I get it.

It was mostly admin stuff. But I was glad to hear her voice.

She left me a voicemail before but my voicemail transcribes messages to me so the last time I actually heard her voice, I was with Alison. And we were happy. Then everything went to shit.

Dunno why I always remind you of that. I should assume you know already.

Anywho, I often wonder if it’s fair to the Gymgirl that she’s with someone like me. I come with so much baggage.

Like my friend Somena once said, the key to a good relationship is to find someone whose baggage matches yours.

But I’m not sure I could bear knowing anyone with baggage that matches mine. And I’m grateful that the Gymgirl doesn’t have matching baggage. Suppose she is too.

Another group of friends were talking about television and movies the other day and I told them that I’m not sure I can handle anything beyond PG-13 these days.

Had to have a talk with another friend that didn’t understand why I was so upset by something he said. Casual things that people say mean different things to people like me.

Cause everything reminds me of something I don’t wanna be reminded of.

Wish everything were easier. But life itself isn’t easy so I’m SOL.

Then again, I get the chance to live it so I shouldn’t complain.

Me: Oh man, I missed you so much!
Son: I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding) You have your priorities.
Him: I missed you. I want a cookie.
Me: (nodding)

Location: bhavachakra
Mood: Groundhog-dayed
Music: I’ll let you in on something big. I am not a white teeth teen
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Just a touch

Just one thing?


Came back from some work the other day and I found the below note from the Gymgirl.

She’s not the typical girly-girl, that’s for sure.

Me: (amused) There’s something wrong with you.
Her: (laughing) Just one thing?

Still haven’t done my taxes. Alison used to always do them so I find myself putting it off until the last minute for a variety of causes, least of which is that she did them for a reason: I used to tell her that I personally combat the stereotype that all Asians are good at math.

I’d earmarked today to do them but there was an unexpected snow day – despite a clear lack of snow – here in the big city.

Then, on top of that, he’s been complaining of pains enough that I’ve been concerned so I scheduled a last minute appointment with his doc today.

Him: (excited) Are we going to the park?
Me: (upbeat) We’re going to see the doctor really quickly.
Him: No! I don’t don’t wanna see her! No! No!

Ended up being mostly fine, which I’m grateful for considering he was in the ER just a few months ago.

Me: (after visit) That wasn’t so bad, right?
Him: I like lollipops.
Me: Yes, (nodding) always focus on the positive, kid.

On a different matter altogether, been working again like I used to and I feel – for better or worse – a little glimmer of who I used to be before everything went to shit.

It’s just a touch. Dunno if it’ll be more or less as time goes on.

Not even really sure which one is better.

Location: alone in my Mouse-free home
Mood: relieved
Music: Can we go back? This is the moment
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Trying not to fake it

Went out to eat again

Gymgirl: We’re both human. People make mistakes
Me: Some more than others.
Her: Like when you trusted Pac to watch the place?

Went out to eat with my cousin and her fella, along with the Gymgirl and my buddy, Pac – that’s him making some congee above.

We went to another hot pot joint, this time Spring Shabu Shabu in Flushing.

Me: The wait’s over 30 minutes? Why don’t we go someplace else?
Him: This place has all you can eat sides, veggies, and ice cream.
Me: Sold.

We stuffed ourselves silly. Being on this diet, it takes a long time to feel full – and this time I felt full, finally.

I had a good time. I feel like I’m faking it a lot but there are moments when I think I’m not.

Hopefully, in time, that feeling’ll go away.

Me: I want to have some ice cream but…
Gymgirl: (stopping eating) Say it! Say it!
Me: (confused) …I wish I had some peanut butter.
Her: (reaches into bag and triumphantly takes out a package and hands it to me) Here.

The company helps.

Location: Still at home with a mouse
Mood: still discomforted
Music: I feel like like there might be something that I’ll miss
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She’s stuck

She’s not in Queens

The boy’s at my mother-in-law’s right now.

She’d written down the names of two friends on a piece of paper the other day. Looking at it, he said, “That says, ‘Mike’ and ‘Pat.'”

He’s only three and can read and do simple math. This makes me so proud but it also reminds me that he’s getting older and smarter. And he’s asking questions.

The problem is that he’s asking questions that I can’t answer. Questions I don’t wanna answer. Questions that I have no response for. Because there’s no response. No good response, rather.

Him: Papa, mom’s in … Queens.
Me: No…no…she’s not.
Him: Not in Queens?
Me: No. But it’s time for bed.
Him: (nodding)

That was a few months ago. A few weeks ago, he asked me:

Him: Why doesn’t mommy come?

Holy shitballs.

Lemme tell you that nothing – nothing – can prepare you for that question when you’re in my situation (and god, I hope you’re never in my situation). I completely chickened out and choked. Completely.

Me: She’s…stuck. She wants to be here but she’s stuck.
Him: She’s stuck? (nods) She’s stuck.

Told this to my mother-in-law who, to her credit, told me as gently as possible that Alison woulda wanted me to tell him the truth.

Alison and I talked about that years ago and we agreed to be honest with our kids about whatever we could.

Felt like such a coward. Have a hard time dealing with cowards and liars and here I was being both with my son.

After a bath a few weeks ago, he looked at me and said, without prompting:

Him: Mommy’s stuck.
Me: No. (shaking head) Papa…misspoke. She’s not stuck.
Him: She’s not stuck?

And I told him what no father should have to say to any three-year old, or any kid ever.

He nodded but didn’t understand. Which, I suppose, is a good thing. He will one day and that makes me feel sick. As for me, I went to the bathroom and pulled myself together. Kindasorta.

I love this boy and I don’t wanna tell him things like this but these were the cards we were dealt.

Thought about Hobbes and his whole “nasty, brutish, and short” quote. For some, it’s shorter than others. It’s that unfairness of it all that eats at me the most.

A good friend of mine told me that, when you lose someone, you feel this uncontrollable rage that pops up randomly. He said that it never goes away.

Wrote him today and told him that he’s never said anything truer in his life.

Location: stuck in my head
Mood: angry
Music: I can’t believe she’s gone
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Salvaging broken things

The Gymgirl did my family a kindness

Me: What are you doing?
Her: Nothing…

The weather’s been absolutely brutal here in the City. It’s made my injury, which was (kinda) getting better, excruciating.

I was out today because I put in a bid for a portfolio of work that I wasn’t expecting to win and yet I did. So, suddenly, I find myself working again as if nothing’s happened in the past three years. And yet, so much has.

On that note, the boy accidentally broke the little grey ceramic owl from this entry, and crushed a little part of me at the same time.

But you can’t get mad at a toddler for being a toddler.

Still, I remember when Alison bought them for his room, before he was born. I teased her about her obsession with owls.

In any case, I was so busy that day that I didn’t have time to mourn the loss of it, though it stayed in the back of my mind.

The Gymgirl was here when the owl broke and she swept up the pieces. I assumed that she threw them away but I found out that she saved them.

When I came home the other night, I found her sitting at the table with some epoxy and all the pieces trying to glue them all together.

Ultimately, she did and put the grey owl back where it belonged in the boy’s room.

I loved those owls because Alison got them for the boy – because she loved him even before he was born. And now also because the Gymgirl did something so kind for us.

I once said that kindness is valuable because it’s so rare. I value kindness above all other traits because it’s such an attractive quality. It’s why I loved Alison so.

As for the Gymgirl, she has an uncanny knack for salvaging broken things. A boy could fall for a girl like her.

Because, like I said, all good relationships have these secret kindnesses that keep people together.

Me: Thank you. (thinking) That means a lot to me.
Her: It’s no big deal. (shrugging) It’s not perfect but I think it’s good.
Me: No, it’s perfect. Thank you.

Location: Antartica, I think
Mood: freezing but happy with my owls
Music: When they say only fools rush in, then I may be foolish
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You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here

5PM, right?

It was a long weekend, this past weekend, so I brought the boy to my in-laws and stayed for lunch.

MIL: Do you want a sandwich?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: (later) Do you want some pizza?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: One or two slices?
Me: Yes, please.

Because my son was away this past weekend, the Gymgirl and I celebrated her birthday.

Oh, and also because it was her birthday.

I tried to throw a surprise birthday party for her but my coach – god love him – kinda threw a wrench in our plans.

Him: (coming over to the Gymgirl and me) How are you two doing with today’s lesson?
Me: Good, we’re just practicing.
Him: Great! Oh, and for tomorrow’s game night, it’s at 5PM right?
Me:  …
Him: (looking puzzled, turns to Gymgirl) It’s 5PM right?
Gymgirl: (laughing) Yes. 5PM (he leaves) So…game night is at 5PM?
Me: (laughing) Yes. 5PM.

Now that the cat was outta the bag, she helped me clean up the joint that day and we ordered pizzas for everyone.

Me: Should I order two or three pizzas?
Her: Well, the coach and you will be here, so that’s two pizzas right there.
Me: Three pizzas it is.

Lots of people from our old and new gym stopped by for pizza and board games. We actually ended up playing games, including some Jackbox games, for about six hours.

The time really flew. It was 11PM before we knew it.

Coach: Should we start wrapping up?
Me: Well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

Location: home, fixing the window
Mood: coooooold
Music: one of us gets too drunk and calls about a hundred times
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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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