Isolation Days 12-16: Organizing digital stuff

Back before it went to hell

The constant stream of images and reports from hospitals is hitting me with so many awful flashbacks.

Between that and the earache, I’m…discomforted.

Still, I thought I was ok enough to finally organize the massive amounts of videos and pictures I have of the boy. And Alison.

Do you remember when I said that I only have two videos of her?

That’s not completely accurate. My brother found a video of her and sent it to me, which brings me to three (good) videos total…before the cancer. Afterward, well, I’ve got a shitton.

They just sat in my computer all this time in a folder called, Alison (Sad, don’t open).

I never listen to me.

In the past three years, I’ve dreamt about Alison exactly one time. Since Monday, I’ve dreamt of her three more.

Just like our real lives, they started off so great. For some reason, I never remember she had cancer in them.

Her: Why are you looking at me like that?
Me: I dunno. It’s weird. It’s like I haven’t seen you in ages.
Her: (laughing) Werido.

But horror happens in each dream and the next thing you know, I’m watching her go. And then I remember.

Fuck. And then I remember. I don’t wanna remember.

Just last week, I joked that I would go to the back bathroom and scream because no one was around to hear me. Actually did that. Didn’t really help.

I’m out of my regular cheap sipping rum.

Time to start breaking out the fancy stuff, I suppose.

I spend a lotta time thinking about alla the people in Alison’s shoes right now. I remember the constant panic every time something happened. We went to the emergency room 11 times. 11 fucking times.

Can’t imagine what those people are going through now. Don’t wanna.

Around 11PM, I wrote someone that helped us. Don’t think I’ve really spoken to her in all this time.

Me: Sorry for the super late text. I just wanted to say, “thank you,” again for everything you did to try and help Alison. I’m using this time to edit videos and a lot of them are you helping her.
Her: Hey Logan, so happy to hear from you! Thank you for saying that. I think about you guys so often. And I miss your whole family.

This is one my shitty videos of Alison. I have more of these types but, as you can see, they barely count.

That first pic above is me almost exactly 19 years ago. It was taken March 29, 2001 by my brother sitting in the back seat of my old beat up BMW.

9/11 didn’t happen yet. I still had my life-savings. I still believed that god and happy endings existed. Man, I didn’t know shit about shit.

I loved that car. I loved my old red leather jacket. I loved that car stereo I installed myself. I loved tinkering with that car.

It’s been terribly isolating the last two weeks. I talk to friends but it’s different than having family in the room with you. So, I sit in the dark with my dark thoughts.

I think about alla the things and people that I love that I can can’t touch or hold any more.

Me: Hey. It’s me. Just wanted to make sure you’re ok.
Her: You called! I’m so happy you called. I missed you.
Me: I missed you too, mom. (sighing) I missed you too.
Her: Are you ok?
Me: (pause) Sure.

Location: Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, waiting for strangers
Mood: gutted
Music: I wish I could turn it off sometimes. Oh, I can’t escape my mind (Spotify)
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Isolation Days 5-6: A gaping yaw

Getting outta Dodge…again

Him: Where are we going?
Me: (as upbeat as possible) To see your aunt!
Him: Yay!

The redheaded babysitter and my regular babysitter have been the only company that the boy and I’ve had the last four days.

Because I manage my building, I realized that – with the possible exception of two people on one of the upper floors – there was no one else in my building.

Right around when I came to that realization, my sister-in-law called to check in on us and said that there was a chance that the mayor would be shutting down all non-essential travel. While I read that this wasn’t likely, I still felt this really cold dread.

You see, if anything happened to me, the boy would be all alone in the building. I could fall down the stairs (again), cut my my head open (again), get sick and pass out (again), or any number of things.

That’s when I hit the grief button (again). If Alison was here, at least it would be the three of us. But I didn’t feel safe being alone with just the two of us so we got outta Dodge (again).

Me: We’re out the door. What do you need from me, if anything?
Her: Just bring some extra clothes and I’ll bring them to my parents. Who knows how long he’ll be there?
Me: OK. We’re already on the subway.

I was about the same age as the boy when the Blackout of 1977 happened. I remember that my parents didn’t seem like themselves that day, even all these years later.

Didn’t want the boy to hear or feel any anxiety as I took him out of the city, so I played a version of “lava” with him to try to not have him touch anything. That was fine while it lasted.

Him: I’m tired of this game.
Me: (sighing)
Him: You’re doing (imitates a sigh) again.
Me: (nodding)

We were the only ones in our car.

I only saw my sister for a moment as I buckled the kid into the child seat and dashed off to catch the train back.

Me: Please try to be good, ok?
Him: OK. Bye, papa! (waves)

Told Pac that I’d support his mom’s business – Noona Noodles – while things were sketch.

Me: Should I head to your mom’s?
Him: Nah, she’s not picking up.
Me: Actually, fuck it, I’m here. Lemme see if she’s open.

She was – place was dead quiet. I was the only customer in the whole joint. Picked up some Vietnamese pho and a 40 on the way back, for no particular reason.

Woulda picked up more food but it’s just me. It was delicious.

Tried to be as productive as I could: Did my taxes, submitted my census form, and finally got around to cleaning up some digital files.

Found some pics of my family before everything went to shit. That’s an entry for another day.

On my last one pound jar of peanut butter to boot. Went through two jars in five days.

I already miss the boy. But he’s safer there than in an empty NYC apartment building with just me. Growing up with no friends, I’m used to being by my lonely. But this feels different. Finding those pictures didn’t help.

It’s a gaping yaw of existential loneliness that only comes with profound moments of grief that I can’t quite seem to explain.

Her: What are you going to do?
Me: Seeing as I’m here in this building by myself, I’m going to go to the back room and randomly scream for a bit.
Her: (laughs)

Location: an empty UWS apartment building
Mood: inebriated
Music: standin’ out there alone. A yearning, yeah, and it’s real
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Roommates

See you tomorrow

Me: I’ve never had anyone in my life that wanted to hang out with me 24/7.
Katsmw: He’s your son!
Me: Yeah, but still…

While I don’t like publicly complaining about any one person, I have to say that the boy is probably the worst roommate I’ve ever had. And I’ve had roommates for longer than you’ve probably been alive.

Granted, I was never a perfect roommate. But I’m still better than the kid is.

He rarely, if ever, cleans up after himself and even something as simple as scrambled eggs transmogrifies to a mess of ginormous proportions. And he just leaves it there because he knows I’ll eventually clean it up.

On that note, he’s never offered to cook – ever – for me, instead he: (a) constantly asks what’s for dinner and then (b) refuses to eat whatever we’ve previously agreed upon.

Him: I don’t want to eat this.
Me: YOU JUST ASKED ME TO MAKE IT!
Him: I just want milk.

On the rare nights we go out, he’s never even made the attempt to offer to pay. I’m not saying that he’s not offered to pay (which he hasn’t) he doesn’t even make the attempt to offer to pay.

Literally, the check will come and he’ll just look at me blankly.

Me: (looking at check) Should I get that?
Him: OK, papa!
Me: (muttering) Not really what I was getting at, but sure…

This isn’t just limited to food. Groceries, utilities, even the mortgage itself; not only doesn’t he offer to help with anything – anything – he doesn’t even say thanks when I cover things for both of us.

Which I do. Every time.

Me: You didn’t say, “thank you.”
Him: Thank you, papa!
Me: I shouldn’t have to keep reminding you!
Him: (laughing) Sorry, papa.

I will say that he does offer to help around the house, to his credit. But this is outweighed by the fact that, he almost always makes more work for me. Cabinet doors are open for no reason whatsoever…

Me: Why is this open?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: YOU’RE THE ONE THAT OPENED IT!

…lights are left on…

Me: Please turn off the lights if you’re not going to be in the room.
Him: Why papa?
Me: BECAUSE WE’RE NOT MADE OF MONEY!

…even the toilet isn’t flushed. Who doesn’t flush the toilet? Oh, wait, I know, my roommate.

Me: Did you flush?
Him: It’s too loud.
Me: Oh, for goodness sakes…

Finally, and this is admittedly petty, he thinks he’s hilarious but I’ve yet to get a single joke he’s made. Not a one.

Him: Why did the chicken cross the house?
Me: I don’t know, why did the chicken cross the house?
Him: To get over the roof!
Me: (shaking head)

Instead of helping around the house, you know what he does? He spends every free moment working on his “art.” Seriously, I could do better than this – what is this even supposed to be?!

Worst. Roommate. Ever.

Him: Papa?
Me: Yeah?
Him: (quietly) I love you. And mommy. To the moon and back.
Me: (sigh) I love you too, kid. Go to sleep. When you turn 14, you better start bringing home a paycheck.
Him: (sleepily) OK, papa. See you tomorrow.
Me: See you tomorrow. (shuts door and smiles)

Met James Lipton at a shindig with RE Mike a dozen years ago.

He was a super nice guy and we chatted briefly about Phobe Cates, a crush I had growing up. A woman overheard and said that she set up Phobe Cates with her now husband, Kevin Klein. She tried to set me up with her kid but that didn’t work out, as told in the link above.

Anywho, I thanked him for the chat and he said he enjoyed it. Dunno if he was just being polite but I appreciated it.

93 – that’s a good number. I’ll take that today if I could.

RIP, James. You were a nice fella.

Location: Our pad, with open cabinets, egg on the floors, and the cutest damn kid on the UWS
Mood: tired
Music: I’ll help you if you’ll help me

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Treasured things and people

Spamgourmet

The girl – COB – from this entry wrote me recently:

Oh. Hi. Just popping round to say that I love you, you’re a most treasured friend. [My boyfriend] and I were talking about when you helped us and how much you’ve always been such an influential part of our lives even when we do not see you.

She’s a treasured friend of mine as well.

While COB and I never dated, every woman that I did date and still keep in touch with, except two, donated to Alison and me when they heard she got sick. That says a lot, I think.

When I was dating a ton, there were a certain set of rules I followed, which were essentially my rules on life in general.

But alla them can really be subsumed into one:

Leave people better off having met you than not.

My brother introduced me to a service ages ago called Spamgourmet. Essentially, it allows you to create a limitless amount of email addresses for websites to avoid spam.

It was created by a fella named Josh and was completely ad and payment free. If you donated, great, if not, you could still use 100% of the functionality.

If you click that link above, you’ll see almost exactly what I saw decades ago because it was never updated. It just worked. Why fix something that’s perfect?

I used it a lot; my brother used it voraciously.

He told me recently that Josh was diagnosed with GBM, the same cancer that took Alison. He just passed away.

Before Alison, I never even heard of this fucking thing. And now I see/hear it everywhere.

So, this rando guy out there in the world, created something that thousands of people use and enjoy and he asked for nothing in return. He made my brother’s life, and mine, a slight bit better. It wasn’t life changing, but it was nice. It was kind.

Kindness is really everything.

Anywho, I wanted tell you that today would have been Alison and my ninth anniversary. As I write those words, I’m filled with equal parts love and sadness.

Alison gave me so much. I can honestly say that no person has been a more positive influence on my life than she.

She left me a far, far, far better human being than when she met me. I will forever be grateful to her for that and my son.

To Alison, I say simply, thank you. For letting me be your fella. It was and remains an honor.

And don’t worry about the boy. I take care of him and he takes care of me.

You’re both my most treasured things.

For the past two years, I’ve looked at my anniversary with dread.

I’d pangs of suicidal thoughts that I worried would overtake me that day and I’d do something rash and stupid. Mouse was there in some fashion each year to make sure I didn’t.

We’d not really seen or spoken to each other since her birthday but she came by again this weekend.

I took her out to eat and then she took me out for a drink in a bar hidden in a department store. Think she just wanted to make sure I was ok.

Good souls are innately valuable treasure because they’re kind for no reason.

You should keep them around at all cost – if at all possible – because the world is shit and you need as many good and kind people as possible to help you weather it all.

Thank goodness for the good souls.

Mouse left on Sunday mainly because she believed me when I said that I don’t feel any thoughts of self-harm, at all. Just the normal level of sadness one might expect.

That’s good because I have no plans to leave. I need more time with him.

You see, if I left now, he’d be worse off and I can’t break my rules. If I could, I’d never leave him alone.

Him: Will you be stuck?
Me: No. (shaking head) We’re a team.
Him: We’re a team!
Me: (nodding)

Location: in my head, 2011 when we were so very, very happy and hopeful
Mood: fucking gutted
Music: I will never not think about you

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The Madison and Jollibee

A nice girl

Opened my door early morning on Valentine’s Day to find that Mouse had dropped off some fried chicken for me and the boy. She just wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Logan Lo.” I thought that was nice.

She knows me so well.

Speaking of the boy, spent the day running around with him and met up with his teacher for parent/teacher conference. He scored the highest academics for his class, which I kinda expected. What made me much happier, however, was what she told me after:

Me: I’m more concerned about him socially. I didn’t have many friends growing up. (pause) Any, really…
Her: Oh, he’s very popular! Other kids seek him out. Because, he’s kind.
Me: Aren’t all kids nice?
Her: (laughs) No, not at all. He doesn’t seem to have a mean bone in his body.

I loved him so at that moment.

I thought, “Alison would be so proud.” It’s what we always wanted from him. Kindness floats, after all. It is it’s own armor.

My brother was in town with his girl, Q, who met the boy for the first time.

Her: He’s a great kid!
Me: I’m legally required to keep him for another 12 years.
Her: (laughing) Then you’re one lucky person!

The next day, we went to see ABFF for her kid’s birthday party. Despite having a full brekkie and lunch, he still managed to eat a slice of pizza and a full bag of gummi somethings.

Him: I want more!
Me: God, you’re so my kid.

Then the next day, we went to The Madison along with the SIL.

I told you once that Alison brought me there early in our relationship. While eating, I saw two old co-workers – each walking separately – that ended up getting hitched with each other. I remember waving to Anita who didn’t seem to recognize me but is such a nice gal that she waved back at us.

Alison said, “That’s nice of her – to wave at someone that she doesn’t think she knows.” She always thought the best of people. We said we’d meet up with them one of these days but never got the chance.

That was a nice day. Fuck.

I called the entry where first ate there, Batter Up, because Alison told me that the first baseball game ever was played right there. What’s funny is that the SIL told me the exact same thing.

Ended up getting a salad for myself as I’ve been cheating on my diet all week.

Didn’t help because I ended up eating half the SIL’s food AND half of the kid’s.

Plus I had a White Russian and a Bloody Mary as well.

Think I’ve developed a thing for white Russians.

Afterward, we were supposed to go skiing at American Dream  but decided that the kid would enjoy Uban Air in NJ; actually, a friend of Mouse’s had mentioned going there during her birthday party but they didn’t have room for him in the car and I was sick so I figured I’d make it up to him.

Man, did the kid have a good time.

Me: We have to go.
Him: Noooooo! One more minute! Please!?

It was really nice hanging out with the SIL and the boy.

He ended up staying with my SIL overnight and I went home and slept for thirteen hours. 13. Hours.

If you’re a parent, you know that’s like the equivalent of winning the lottery.

It was the afternoon when I woke and I dashed off to see my mom, who was just discharged, and family for dinner.

Me: How do you feel?
Her: Good. Tired. (wistfully) I wish you’d meet a nice girl like your brother.
Me: Stop calling him a nice girl, mom.
Her: What?

There’s more, but it’s getting late and I have a night of tossing and turning to start.

Location: four hours ago, my childhood room, looking for some chocolate
Mood: seriously full
Music: I don’t want it at all if I can’t have it all

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Another day, another hospital

Making it out unscathed

My mom just had spinal surgery. tl;dr: She’s fine. Went through it with flying colours.

It’s been on everyone’s mind for a while and we’ve all just been waiting for the day of the operation to roll around.

My brother flew in to make sure everything ran smoothly. It pays to have a doctor and lawyer in the family.

The day of, she was recuperating longer that expected so I didn’t even get to see her because I had to pick up the boy.

The next day, woke up early to make sure I saw her. She was tired but happy it was all over. My sister was there when I arrived.

Me: How do you feel?
Mom: Pretty good. Everything went well. (later) You look old.
Sister: Mom!
Me: I’m 46, I am old.
Her: You should do something about that.
Me: What can I do about time, mom?!

Speaking of time, I could only stay for 15 minutes. I told them that it was because I had a meeting, which was kinda true. But the real truth is that I can’t be in hospital rooms and be sane.

I could feel it: The sadness and cold self-hatred I used to feel alla time. Every second I was there, I could feel it spreading, like cold paint over a rusted wreck.

I’m nuthin if not a rusted wreck. Stopped off at a bathroom before I left and dry retched.

So that was my Wednesday. Good times.

Took the bus back because the hospital is so far from the subways. Gave me a lotta time to think. Had an awful night the night before; didn’t sleep for a number of reasons that are unimportant.

I’ve seen things, horrors you can’t imagine. You don’t wanna. Hope you never see them. Me? I can’t unsee them.

If there is one thing I’m proud of in my otherwise unremarkable and shitty life, it’s that I spared her parents what I saw. I’d do it again for them, but I’d drink first. A lot.

Was busy the entire day with meetings and kid so I didn’t really have time to check social media when I found out that yet another friend I spoke to a number of times died. He was always supportive and positive regarding my dad and Alison. He always made time to talk to me. Until he ran outta time.

Cancer’s a fucking beast. No one makes it out unscathed.

I’m sorry, Don. I thought you’d make it.

Anywho, speaking of shitty…

Him: How are you?
Me: Tired. I’m tired of feeling shitty, of being told by people that I’m shitty. (exhaling) It’s so lame but…I miss having someone that thinks that I’m made of awesome, even when I’m not.
Him: You’ve been through enough and helped enough people, I think, to say you are. Or, are at least close.
Me: That may be just you.
Him: No. Really. (later) I bet the kid thinks you’re made of awesome.
Me: (laughing) To be fair, if you showed up with a ripe banana and an open jar of peanut butter, he’d be your biggest fan.

Her: What’re you two doing for Valentine’s Day?
Me: If you mean me and the kid, probably just watching some Daniel Tiger and having some rum? He likes rum and I like Daniel Tiger.
Her: (laughs) What happened? (later) You once said that there’s no relationship if there’s no work and no forgiveness.
Me: Yeah. I forgot so much of who I once was before everything went to hell.

Location: yesterday, another fucking hospital
Mood: tired
Music: it’s such a shame that we don’t talk

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Hacking it

Seeking efficiencies

Been sick for the past week or so. Damn, that party really took it all out of me – prob more the setup than the actual party, TBH.

Coughed so hard that I blew out a blood vessel in my eye the other day.

But it’s also given me time to think.

When I was a kid – 11, maybe? – there was a store we all called Angie’s that sold these flying saucer type toy guns for, say, $2.00. But they were always sold out of them.

One day, found a store that sold them for $1. Figured I’d sell them for $1.50, a 50% markup but still 25% less than Angie.

So I took all of my savings, bought every gun I get my hands on, and brought them back to Queens.

Took me a while, but I ultimately sold alla them. My dad asked me where I got all the scratch I had and I sheepishly told him.

Afterward, he smiled, reached into his pocket and gave me double the amount I made.

Him: You made an honest dollar and you helped people. You get rewarded for doing things like that.

That was my very first business deal and I remember it to this day.

I bring it up for two reasons. The first is that I was chatting with my buddy Cable. He asked me about my past.

Him: Is it true?
Me: You really wanna know?
Him: Yeah, tell me.
Me: OK, make yourself comfortable. (15 minutes later) …and I did what any good Chinese boy would do; I sunk it all into real estate.
Him: I’ve always wondered about that. That explains so much.

I call it hacking: I hack my life.

Another example: The program that I use the most is something called Dropbox – my buddy Rick told me about it…10 years ago?

It’s free for 2GB of space; the next step up is $120 a year.

I did the math and figured out that if I used the free referral link they had, I could buy ad space on Google to advertise my referral code. Some rando would get an extra 500mb, I would get an extra 500mb, and Dropbox would get a new customer. Win-win-win.

Even cooler, I had a $100 credit for Google cost-per-click buys, so I used that, and netted…well, check out below:

So, for $0 across a decade, I’ve had 28.2GB of Dropbox space. The max is actually 16GB, but I hacked that too. That’s another story.

I’m not so much bragging – ok, I am, but it takes me 10-35 years for me to brag/talk about stuff – so much as I’m trying to explain what fascinates and drives me.

In The Godfather, Vito saw the world as two groups: pezzonovante or puppets.

Don Corleone: … I refused to be a fool dancing on the strings held by all of those big shots. That’s my life, I don’t apologize for that. But I always thought that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone, something.
Michael: Another pezzonovante.

But I’ve always felt there was a third option: Someone in the margins of society, exploiting inefficiencies while maybe making life a little better.

Those are my people: The Devil. Rain. Sheridan. We’re the hustlers that eat-what-we-kill. There’re few of us left. The grey men.

This is all prelude to the second reason I’m walking down nostalgia lane with you: A business associate recently presented me with a problem for which I think I have an elegant solution. It’s a gamble. But I believe in my power to hack things. So does she.

In some ways, it was that belief that crushed my soul the past few years; I think I felt the weight of Alison and my father’s death even more heavily because I felt I should have figured it out.

“It” being cancer. How fucking arrogant is that?

That’s what I’ve prided myself on my entire life; seeing things that other people didn’t see. I consumed every medical article I could get my hands on to try to hack that fucking thing.

In the end, I bought Alison and my dad a few more months/years, but at such a cost. Yet another bit of guilt for my soul to enjoy.

Him: You can’t hold yourself responsible for them dying of cancer.
Me: (drunk) Yeah? (laughing) Watch me…

And I hated myself so much for being able to figure out alla these meaningless bullshit things like Dropbox and toy guns, but not figure out the things that might have saved the people I loved.

I’m only now able to take solace in the fact that it was a fool’s errand, but at least it was borne of love. And I’m nuthin if not an arrogant fool for love…

In any case, I have a new puzzle to fill my otherwise dull and vicious life.

The stakes are more than toy guns but less than cancer. If I figure it out, I’ll tell you all about it.

In about 10-30 years.

Me: There’s actually a lot more. But that’s enough for today. Every day, we choose the life we’re gonna live. I choose to set myself apart. In my head, I’m in the world, but separate from it.

Location: bed
Mood: coffee/cough-y
Music: Staying in my play pretend, where the fun ain’t got no end

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Chad and Mouse turn 30, Pt 1

Can’t be trusted

Friend: You’re throwing her a birthday party? Why?
Me: Because everyone deserves a kick-ass 30th birthday party, especially her.

Haven’t really seen nor spoken to Mouse since we got back from the Bahamas for a variety of unimportant reasons.

But she just turned 30 recently and I tried to throw her a surprise birthday party. Basically sent a bevy of out-of-the-blue messages to her friends and family asking them to get me in touch with everyone she knew.

The whole not seeing nor talking to each other didn’t help.

Didn’t matter – what mattered was pulling this off for her.

For me, this was bordering on stalking, but I figured that she’d be ok with it and everyone she knew already intensely disliked me so…sunken cost, if you will.

Besides, I did it because, even when she was super mad at me and we weren’t speaking, she always came through to help me, and keep me company – even when I didn’t expect or want her to. Think she knew that I needed her, despite my protestations to the contrary.

Plus, she did the same for me.

Unfortunately, she found out, which wasn’t ideal but still ok, as you’ll see.

It was actually a combo party with her and my coach, Chad, who also turned 30 a bit earlier.

Me: Are you ok with a combo?
Him: With my schedule, I kinda prefer it, actually.

Her co-worker Drea was a big help and picked up all the party favours and also two huge balloons that said: 3-0.

We started out at the same restaurant where we celebrated his getting a black belt.** It was all you could eat – both hot pot and BBQ.

After a while, two full tables couldn’t eat anymore while three people – me, Curt, and Chad – were still, somehow, eating.

Felt bad that everyone was waiting on us to finish so I asked them if we should wrap it up.

Chad: (waving his hand under his chin): Yeah, I’m done. I’m tapping out.
Me: I’ve never been so disappointed in you.
Curt: I’m not done!
Me: No one cares about you, Curt!
Curt: Shut up, Logan!
Me: You shut up!

So, Curt and I cleaned off the second-to-last plate. While everyone else got organized, I went over to Solas to make sure everything was ok with our reservations.

Mouse’s friend was there with his date when I walked in so I sat with them as the waitress walked over. He was supposed to bring her to dinner but because she found out – and he’s a vegetarian – I’d told him to just meet us there.

Her: Hi, I’m Janet and I’ll be your waitress tonight.
Me: Hi Janet – that’s Cha and his girl Jane. I’m Logan. (moving over) Take a seat and tell us about yourself.
Her: (laughs, shrugs, and sits down)

The rest of the the party meandered in and the whole party spent most of the night there as a number of people cycled in and out.

Now, this next bit’ll only make sense if I tell you that I took a hit to my mouth that looked like a cold sore.

Vazquez: (walking up to me) Were you making out with that girl in the corner?
Me: (shaking head) We were just talking – I left cause she was being handsy. What am I, an a_____e? I’m gonna make out with someone else at Mouse’s 30th? Plus, you think I’m insane? Mouse’d kill her, and then kill me – I gotta raise my kid and jail’s no place for her. Plus, I have this (pointing at lip). No, I’m just chatting up randos because I’m doing everything I can to avoid Mouse.
Him: Why, is everything ok?
Me: (takes him by the shoulders, incredulous) Have you seen her tonight?!? On a normal night, Mouse has my number. She’s insanely hot right now. I need you to stay until I leave cause I can’t be trusted around her. Full stop.

He did not stay.

Here’s a blurry shot of Mouse and Chad because this is mostly a family-friendly blog.

I’d like to say I made it blurry on purpose but really, it was because I was two sheets to the wind by the time I took it.

I’ll finish this up tomorrow or something.

Gotta find out where I left my liver. Wonder if there’s a lost-and-found box fulla livers.

Mine’d be one stinking of rum.

** Yes, I know I wrote that a co-worker got a promotion in this entry when really it was about Chad getting his black belt – I try to stay as truthful as possible in this blog without hurting other people. The latter bit’s why I lied.

See, our old coach was/is such a jealous nutcase that  we all knew he’d flip out if he knew we were hanging out without him.

Which he did, of course. It’s a major reason why we’re all not there anymore.

Location: our home
Mood: accomplished
Music: when you look at me like that, I don’t know how I feel

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Food is an interesting trigger

Rock in a Stream

Food’s an interesting trigger.

When I had the mutton curry in the Bahamas, it reminded me of the very first time I ever had any curry.

It was actually one of my dad’s favourite dishes. He made it at least once a month. I remember that I thought it was disgusting the first time I had it. But it grew on me.

Fast forward to earlier this week: I’d been talking to my mom a lot for various reasons and I remembered the curry and thought of my dad.

While at a Korean supermarket near my pad, I came across my dad’s fave brand and bought it.

Sleepy Logan spent a good part of the night chopping up some goat, onions, and carrots to make it. My dad loved goat but only made the curry with chicken, otherwise my mom wouldn’t eat it.

This whole night, my pad smelled like my childhood home and – if I closed my eyes – I could imagine him making it downstairs while singing a Japanese song.

Boy: What’s that?
Me: Curried goat. My dad liked it.
Him: Can I try it?
Me: Sure! (gives him some)
Him: (makes a face, shakes head)
Me: (laughs) Maybe in 42 years, you’ll have it again and think of me.
Him: (putting food on plate) That’s a long time!
Me: It happens just like that, kid. (snapping fingers) Just like that.

Don’t have the words to express how much I miss my dad.

I’ll just simply say that my heart aches in a way I hope you never feel but know you will one day. For that, I’m sorry.

Because it’s just awful. It brings you to your knees.

On a related note, my mom’s been dealing with her own stuff recently but that’s her story so I’ll leave it there.

She told me something once years decades ago that I used as a guiding principle of my life prior to Alison getting sick and I was reminded of it recently.

When I was a kid, got upset one day over something that was probably nuthin.

Her: You let the world affect you too much. You should be like a rock in a stream.
Me: What does that mean?
Her: Imagine a rock in a dirty stream for a 100 years. You take it out and smash it open, you’ll see that the inside is dry. It’s unchanged. Nothing from stream got into the rock. It’s in the stream but unaffected by the steam.

There’s a power to being in the world but unaffected by it. Of course one should change and grow but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about having hopes and goals and pursuing them, unfettered by the whims of the world.

People ask me how I’ve done so much in my life and my mom’s comment to the teenage me is a major reason why.

To me, things are either productive or just mental masturbation (OK, I watched Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker recently but that’s another story). More on that later.

My 20s and 30s were best described as living a pretty blissfully uninvolved in life. I went to or threw parties (and invited 2,000 of my closest friends), worked, traveled, washed, rinsed, repeated.

I was in the stream of life but unaffected by it. Even when I met Alison, it was the two of us separate from the world. We were in it, but separate from everyone else. That was nice in its own way.

That is, until November 8, 2015. Then I felt every bump, bruise, and papercut. Because she suffered. And I felt all of it.

Mouse once said that, in some – not all – respects, it’s harder for the caregiver than it is the cared-for. That’s true, although my dad and Alison suffered more than I would wish on anyone I didn’t despise. Even then…

Speaking of wishing:

Mom: I wish…I wish things were different for you.
Me: Me too. But wishes are just that: Wishes. I’ll be ok. Honest. I survive things. It’s what I do. Even when I don’t wanna.

I’m still affected by the world but – gradually – less so, I think. Maybe in time, I can be who I was once before? One can only hope.

I wouldn’t mind, actually, if it was just me and the kid – in the world but unaffected by the world. But I don’t think that’s possible anymore.

Cause I want the boy to be in the world, more than I want not to be.

Little girl at the park: You want to be my friend?
Boy: (nods, laughs, and spends the rest of the afternoon with her)

Location: Chatting with new old friends around the way
Mood: affected
Music: Mama don’t cry, long as we try. Maybe things change?

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You didn’t know this?

Still done

Been bringing the kid to tests for a little while and speaking with other parents. Literally, every time I speak to another parent, I find out something I feel I shoulda known.

Gonna condense about five or six different conversations into just three for clarity.

Her: (breathless) Were you stuck on the train getting here too? I was worried we’d miss our test slot.
Me: Oh, I live right down the block. We kinda rolled outta bed and ended up here.
Her: You live right down the block?! We came here from Staten Island!
Me: Staten Island?! Why?!
Her: (confused) Anderson’s the gifted and talented school for the entire city. People from as far away as the Long Island border commute into the city for hours to get in. It’s like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science for middle schoolers. You didn’t know this?
Me: (slowly) Yes?

For a different test:

Him: If we make it in, we’d sell our home in Douglaston and try to squeeze the four of us into a one-bedroom in the area.
Me: You’d move here just for a music school?
Him: (puzzled) Special Music School is the only free music school in the city, maybe even the state. The lessons are valued at $10,000, per year, per student. AND it has the highest academic rankings in the city because they only accept 24 students a year so – even though it’s a music school – they were ranked number one out of every school in the city for common core, three years in a row.
Me: Wait, it’s ranked even better than Anderson, PS 87, and PS 199?
Her: For grades K-to-3, yes. Each child is essentially privately tutored for 12 years. You didn’t know this?
Me: Yes? (laughing) Now I feel I shoulda prepared him for these tests. I bought my place decades ago and kids weren’t on my mind at all. (later) My wife would have known this but she passed away a little while back.
Her: Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that.
Me: I’m sorry to say that.

Then it got weird:

Her: Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your other conversation. Are you single?
Me: (amused) According to Facebook, yes. But it’s complicated. Why?
Her: My cousin’s single and she’s an educator working with special needs kids. She’s always dreamed of living in the Upper West Side.
Me: (laughing) I’m both flattered and slightly insulted.
Her: (quickly) Don’t be! Your son’s adorable and I love your jacket!
Me: Good to know…

On the topic of interpersonal relationships, with my last entry, my female friend admits that she might be catching feelings for one of the two guys that she’s seeing.

Her: I dunno if I’m ready to jump into anything serious just yet but…
Me: Is he on your side?
Her: What does that mean?
Me: (thinking) When we first started dating, Alison’s best male friend once said something rude about me. I think he loved her. She told him to knock it off. He did it again one day on the phone, so she hung up on him, blocked his number, and stopped hanging out with him.
Her: Whoa!
Me: (laughing) Yeah. The kicker’s that I didn’t know for months. She just handled it totally on her own, I wasn’t involved at all. When I asked her about whatever happened to him, she just said, “He said something rude about you.” That was it. When I found out about it later, I figured she was my person and we married just a year later.
Her: That’s really cool.
Me: (nodding) If you find hidden kindnesses and love – meaning he’s secretly on your side – then, bam, you’re done. Take it and go. Unfortunately, if you find out he’s secretly not on your side…you’re still done. Just not in a good way. Either way, you’re done, though.

Location: 9AM yesterday, W 67th listening to him sing
Mood: freezing
Music: I’m secretly on your side

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