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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That was unexpected

Frivolous conversation

This cartoonist named Mell Lazarus once said that The secret of dealing successfully with a child is not to be its parent.

Dunno about that but I do think treating a child like a child has it’s limitations.

When I went to see my son, I brought him a marble run game that the ABFF got him. He ended up just loving it.

It was actually really nice to just sit there and play with him, figuring out this this puzzle together.

He’s more and more verbal every time I see him.

Him: (when the toy got jammed for the first time) That was unexpected.
Me: (laughing to mother-in-law) Whoa, where did he pick that up from?
MIL: You, Logan!

People find it funny that I don’t talk to him like a child, but I remember hating being talked to like a child, even when I was a child. Found it patronizing.

Plus, everything I’ve read about child development indicates that children pick up things far better than one might imagine.

So, I talk to him the way I might talk to someone my age(ish).

Then again, I’m starting to remember being made fun of for how I talked when I was a kid. Still, all the things that made me weird then, I think kinda make me interesting as an adult. I think.

Besides, I’m not really one for frivolous conversation.

Me: For what it’s worth, I told you that I couldn’t be trusted in affairs of the heart. I told you that I wasn’t your person.
Contestant: I hoped.
Me: I’m sorry. That’s where you went wrong.

By the time you read this entry, I should have 100,000 views on that video.

I needed a better fitting shirt and to slouch less. Blargh.

Anywho, here’s a song for your Labour Day weekend. And subscribe to my playlist if you want more tunes.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier this morning, waving goodbye to my favourite little human
Mood: pained
Music: in the living room, turn it up until we feel it boom (Spotify)
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

You alright, man?

For the purposes of this conversation

Me: Ow! You punched me in the face!
Mouse: Sorry, I was trying to smother you with the pillow.
Me: (rubbing face) Fair.

Since my last entry about going to CityMD, I went two more times. Once was for Mouse – and that’s her story so I’ll leave that there – the other was for a third infection on my finger.

Seriously, I need some frequent flier miles with them.

Bryson’s wife, a doc, is thinking it’s from the grappling but I’ve not really done it in a while. I’m actually wondering if it might be COVID related.

It’s nuts, but then again, my life’s been nuthin but nuts for years, so why change things now?

The boy and I were Skyping the other day and he randomly said, “Mommy,” and cried.

It was so unexpected and sad that I didn’t know what to say or do. But, when I was able to, I went off to see him. That’s him, doing some chores around the house for the grandparents.

It was great, as always, to spend time with him. Even just holding him.

Then again, the leaving was as awful as it’s always been. I keep thinking that I’m OK and I realize that I’m not at all OK. None of this is OK.

Nothing that’s happened to us is OK.

Him: I wish you could stay.
Me: Me too. We have to be patient.
Him: I don’t like being patient.
Me: Me neither.

After seeing Chuck off, Lviv dropped me a line to tell me that she went home for a spell too.

Me: Probably a good idea to get away for a bit and clear your head.
Her: (laughing) I seem to need to clear my head a lot these days. Just one of these heads that needs constant clearing.

As did another former contestant.

Funny right? Like I said, I keep thinking that I’m OK and I realize that I’m not at all OK.

Him: Logan, you alright, man?
Me: No. I’m not. But, for the purposes of this conversation, let’s just say I am and move on.

Podcast Version
Location: outside, helping a dancer move her bed
Mood: pensive
Music: I don’t think you have the patience (Spotify)
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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Grief-Stricken

Chuck and Chad(wick)

Chuck, Cho, Chad, and Mouse came by on Friday to wish Chuck a safe trip back home.

Me: Well, I already spent thousands this month on my apartment and health so I figured, “Why not blow another $150 on a smokeless grill? What difference’s 150 bucks at this point?”
Chad: Makes sense.
Me: We should invite Chuck over for a last BBQ in NYC.
Him: Let’s do it.

For anyone that’s been to my pad before, they know that the air circulation is low-to-nonexistent. No matter what I try to pan-grill, my smoke alarm goes off and it’s a sauna most days of the year.

I’d gotten the grill a while ago and decided to christen it and wish Chuck a farewell at the same time.

We picked up burgers, kielbasa, kraut, cole slaw, roasted veggies, potato pancakes, and drinks around the way, bringing them back and grilling everything up. We were supposed to start around 5:30.

Mouse: (walking in at 7PM) Wait, you haven’t started eating yet?
Me: We started a bit late.
Her: I can see that.

After we were done eating, we watched an episode of a food channel, an episode of hot ones, and then got down to serious matters, like board games.

We started with SpotIt

Chad: My morale’s deflated.
Me: I gotta put that in the blog.

…before moving onto Exploding Kittens

Everyone: How could you have that many defuse cards and still lose, Logan?
Me: It’s a gift, really.

Chuck: I’m going to throw a hairy potato at you. And not one of the cards.

…and finishing up with the classic, Pictionary.

Guess what this is and click it to read the URL of it to see if you’re right (Chuck figured it out)

Note that we were all two-sheets-to-the-wind – except for Cho – because he was the only one driving. Which is why I found the following exchange so amusing:

Mouse: (drawing)
Cho: What is that? An eye?
Her: (nods)
Him: Eye circle?
Her: (shakes head)
Him: Eye globe?
Her: (eyes wild and wide, stabs picture)
Him: Eyeball?
Her: YES! It’s an eyeball! EYE GLOBE?! EYE CIRCLE?! WTF is an EYE GLOBE, CHO?!

Chad was laughing hysterically when he glanced at his phone and suddenly turned sober. “Oh, no!” he said.

Him: Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. He was 43.
Me: What? (taking out phone, reading) Um, I need a second, fellas.

I went into the back room, sat down, and just cried. That’s how it works, you see. That’s how grief works.

One minute with you’re with your fave girlie and good friends, and the next minute you’re in the back pulling up pictures of people you know you love and that you’ll never see again and an actor that you never knew.

You never know when life’s gonna hit that grief button. But when it does, holy shit…

I always knew the word, “grief-stricken,” but I never truly appreciated the etymological brilliance of the word until that moment.

It’s actually so perfect with how it works as a word, you are literally stricken – hit, bludgeoned, injured, wounded, struck – with grief.

That’s what grief-stricken means. Grief hits you like a fucking baseball bat, and you’re left gasping for air.

I was literally laughing one moment and trying to cry as quietly as I could the next. That’s what grief-stricken means.

As for Chadwick, that’s a whole different matter that I need to work through.

Chad: (leaning in) I’m sorry, brother, I wasn’t thinking.
Me: (shaking head) Why are you sorry? It wasn’t you that took her from me.

Podcast Version
Location: alone in my apartment
Mood: Friday, grief-stricken
Music: Sooner or later in life, the things you love you loose (Spotify)
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The beach, a bike ride, friends, and food

Lots and lots of food

I did have a really nice weekend, though. All things considered.

Mouse came by on Saturday and stayed over until Tuesday – for a very NYC reason.

Me: I’m pretty sure you don’t have to move your car until Tuesday.
Her: Are you sure? Double-check.
Me: (later) Yup, you’re good until Tuesday.
Her: Yay! Let’s eat.

I was mainly looking for distractions so, if there’s one thing that girl is good at, it’s distractions.

Her: If the weather’s nice tomorrow do you wanna go to the beach?
Me: Sure, but I think the weather might conspire against us.

It didn’t, so off we went.

She admonished me more than a few times to remember to bring sunscreen. Naturally, that’s the one thing I forgot. So, I ended up walking over an hour looking for some.

Me: (sighing) Finally found some sunscreen. And beer.
Mouse: Did you get lost?
Me: You don’t even wanna know….

Because of Mouse’s health issues, she’s essentially been a vegetarian for more than a half-a-year now? That went away recently so we spent most of the time being gluttons.

Her: I’m eating everything.
Me: Well, I’m still fasting.
Her: I’m eating everything!

We ended up eating, amongst other things, some of Steel’s fish, some Korean bulgogi, several heart-attack sandwiches, and fried chicken. Of course.

The next day, we went down the Hudson River Greenway, me on the electric bike, her on the scooter.

Her: This reminds me of California.
Me: Yeah, that seems like ages ago.
Her: I wanna go to a cafe.
Me: There’s one coming up.

We sat down and she treated me to a diet coke while she had a coffee with what can only be described as a diabetes-inducing amount of sugar.

She left for work on Tuesday and I met up with Chuck and Chad afterward, like I said.

Lviv dropped me a line today too, just to see how I’m doing.

These researchers once did a study about dairy cows and noted that they were happy in the sense that they avoided pain. Pain avoidance and happiness are remarkably similar.

I think that’s true for most animals, us included.

I have to say that avoiding the pain this past weekend made me feel something close to happiness. The company helped, for sure.

And now, I can feel a little bit of relief until the holidays, at least.

Me: Thanks for coming this weekend; you’ve never missed any of these terrible anniversaries and I’m grateful for that. Thank you.
Her: I’m glad I got to spend the weekend with you. Good night, Logan.
Me: Good night, Mouse.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, a bike shop and a cable company
Mood: exhausted
Music: Let’s conquer the percentages (Spotify)
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Modern Loneliness

If I call home

Her: I took Monday off.
Me: Thank you – you’re the best.

Mouse came by over the weekend to keep me company, like always. My dad died three years ago, you see…

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years.

We had a really nice weekend, which I suppose I’ll tell you about later.

Every year it gets a bit easier, which makes me feel guilty that it gets easier. I was angry at my father in the years before he died. Angry about things I suppose sons get angry with their fathers for.

He loved me, though, so I’m sure he forgave me and my petty nonsense. I’m not sure if I forgive myself, though.

I wasn’t with my dad all that much in the years before he died – cause I spent so much time with Alison trying to save her – sometimes, I feel that if I call home, he’ll pick up.

Even though I know he won’t.

Home. It’s a odd word.

Chad and a buddy Chuck just walked out the door. They came by because Chuck’s heading home after a decade-and-a-half of NYC living. That’s his story, not mine, so I’ll end it there.

I envy him, though, in a way. He has a home to go back to.

The thing with me’s that I am home. I have no place to return to because I’m already here. The only home I’ve know for the past quarter of a century is this one.

My mom and sis still live in my childhood home but it’s not home to me. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Then again, in a lotta ways, this place doesn’t either, I guess. Alison isn’t here. My son isn’t here.

Harold’s still here but that’s besides the point.

In any case, this singer named Lauv has a song called, Modern Loneliness that opens with the lines:

I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout my father lately
The person that he made me
The person I’ve become

And it ends:

Modern loneliness, we’re never alone
But always depressed, yeah

For some reason I found it very apropos this past weekend the past three years.

Man, dad, I miss you. You woulda loved the kid. He’s so great. I’m sorry he didn’t get to know you and you didn’t get to know him.

He’s so great.

Podcast Version
Location: home
Mood: gutted
Music: all my demons, if I could cleanse my soul (Spotify)
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Sweet Dreams

I’m sorry

Luciano’s mom reached out to me over the weekend and filled me in on some more information.

I didn’t know what to say. What does one say, but, “I’m sorry?”

The truth is, you want to say, “I’m sorry that the world is so fucked up and people like Luciano and Alison are gone but shit-heads like Trump and his progeny still exist. There’s no God and if there is one, he’s a giant asshole and he can go fuck himself.”

But in the end, all you can ever say is, “I’m sorry,” and hope it’s enough.

Speaking of which…

Me: I guess I should take these letters off.
Chad: Do you want me to help?
Me: No. I’ll do it myself. Just…distract me will you?
Him: Sure, I’ll do a dance. (thinking) You should take a picture.
Me: (starting the process) I already did, but thanks.
Him: I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: (nodding)

When Alison moved in, she wanted to paint the boy’s room but I convinced her not to. It was too much trouble, I said. We had already agreed on painting the master bedroom and living room so she relented on what was the guest room.

I kept the paint cans for those two rooms, 11 years after Alison and I got them.

It’s hard letting things go.

The boy’s room, though, was painted by a lovely girl name Abbie in September of 2004, almost exactly 16 years ago. That was the last time it was painted. Abbie painted it when patterns were all the rage but it now made the room look dated.

To the point that, when Mouse lived here, she also asked to paint it, and I said no again. This time for a slightly different reason.

You see, Alison and I put up these stickers that read, “Sweet Dreams.” It was just a random idea that Alison had and she surprised me with the lettering. I still remember her, pregnant and carefully measuring and adjusting the words so that they would be perfect. Which they were – perfectly balanced and exactly in the center of the crib.

That was her in a nutshell.

Now, she always had meant for them to be temporary but once she died, I couldn’t bear the thought of taking them down.

But the boy’s growing up. And he should have a room that he can have for the next 16 years if he wanted, not the room Abbie wanted 16 years ago.

So, this past Sunday, I took the lettering down with Chad. Then Mouse came by and the three of us painted the whole thing.

While we were waiting for it to dry, we went out for food.

Me: Are you two tired of Vietnamese yet?
Them: Nope, not yet.

We ran into an old friend of mine while we were out but I suppose that’s an entry for another time.

Then we came back and we marveled at the room.

Neither of them had ever painted before. It wasn’t perfect but we were happy with it afterward – we didn’t do any of the molding as I figured we’d do that some other time.

But it was good. I think Alison would have liked it.

Hopefully, the boy will.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, at 84th, asking for Ariel
Mood: much better
Music: Hold your head up, keep your head up, (Spotify)
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Heartgirl was Queen of my Heart

Except in reverse

Speaking of sad stories, I finally told Lviv mine before she went home for a bit.

Her: Can I ask what happened yet?
Me: I suppose you earned my sad stories. I’ll need some rum. (deep breath)
Her: (later) I’m sorry, Logan.
Me: Yeah, so am I.
Her: (wipes eyes) Man, I need a drink now.
Me: Yeah.
Her: I’m glad she had you.
Me: Yeah. (sighing) Lucky her. She was Queen of my Heart and I was her guard.

Lviv’s heart is in NYC but her home’s somewhere else.

I understand that all too well, except in reverse.

I took that pic of Alison/Heartgirl the second night I ever met her. Told her that, if she was my Ship in the Night Girl, I’d marry her someday. I never said that to anyone.

She laughed. But she was.

She had the most beautiful green eyes and happy laugh.

There’s no sin I wouldn’t commit to see and hear them again.

Podcast Version
Location: my hot, hot, home
Mood: drunk
Music: Your love is a secret I’m hoping, dreaming, dying to keep (Spotify)
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No new contestant

A nice touch

Meant to meet up with a new contestant last week but I bailed and saw the most important woman in my life after Alison, instead.

Her: You don’t have to come, it’s too rushed.
Me: It’ll just be for a bit and I’ll keep my distance. I miss you, mom.

But I did get to see ML for a hot second.

Me: Sorry, I’ve been busy lately.
Her: It’s fine. Every time a guy is with me, their status goes up.
Me: Man, and people think I’m vain…
Her: (shrugging) But, it’s true. (later) Dating in NYC is awful.
Me: It is. But, I think you exchange your sad story too early. People should earn your sad stories and you should earn theirs.
Her: Why?
Me: I want people to like being around me because I’m cool as fuck. Not because they feel sorry for me.

Mouse stopped by along with Chad on Saturday for just a bit to train with us again but then bolted to take care of her family.

It’s a shame because we all just ordered some more Vietnamese food.

She came back on Sunday with sunflowers for me and to say hi to the boy over Skype, again.

They miss each other and it’s mad sweet.

The sunflowers were a nice touch so I picked us up some Indian food. We ended up watching The Gentleman, because of a massive food coma.

The film was really excellent.

Her: (settling down) Don’t get any ideas, Logan.
Me: Heavens, I would never.
Her: (laughs) Suuure…

Podcast Version
Location: my hot, hot, home
Mood: happy?
Music: Don’t tell me to go (Spotify)
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Cutting it Close

Dreaming of family

Finally got a replacement car-rental service and woke up early on Monday to see my mom for the first time in months.

I’d rented a cheap Civic but because of a whole mess of issues, they gave me a BMW instead. While that was nice, there were even more issues with the BMW so I ended up leaving an hour later than I wanted to.

Made an executive decision to see my son first. Chatted a bit with Lviv on the way there.

Me: I have to keep you safe from COVID.
Lviv: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I figure I can’t make out with anyone for three days before I see you.
Her: (laughing) I appreciate it. You’re sacrificing a lot.
Me: It’s cause I care.

My mother-in-law told my son to keep an eye out for “workmen,” so he kept a watchful eye on the front windows. When he saw me, he started screaming, “Papa! Papa!”

It was really something. I can’t explain it to you unless you’re a parent.

After a quick lunch, helped my in-laws set up a new router that I brought over because their old one was giving them spotty service.

MIL: How much do we owe you for the router?
Me: I think I owe you more for childcare.
Her: (laughing) Grandparents don’t charge for childcare, Logan.
Me: And I don’t charge for tech help, mom.

The kid and I spent the day together, including going for a drive around town. He sang the Rolling Stones the entire time. He’s not a fan of Paint It Black.

Every time I leave, it seems to get harder and harder.

Him: I wish you could stay.
Me: Just a little bit longer. Promise. Once you come back, you’ll get sick of me and miss your grandparents.
Him: (nods)

Then I dashed off to see my mom and my sister and her family.

Because of the rain – and because I wasn’t feeling all that great – only saw them for 15 minutes. No hugging or anything. Goddamn COVID.

Mom: Here’s some money.
Me: What? (laughing) You don’t need to give me anything.
Her: It’s for your birthday. Buy something nice for yourself. And here are some 粽子.
Me: Man, so many carbs.
Her: It’s tradition!

I took the Belt Parkway to get home because I wanted to check in on Mouse. Her family’s dealing with stuff that I’ll let you read about yourself.

Me: Your dad ok?
Her: He wasn’t getting better and we had to get lawyers involved.
Me: Shoot, I’m sorry.

We only got to chat for a little bit, which was interrupted by fireworks going off literally 10 feet behind us and people knocking on our windows.

Stranger: Bring her to a hotel!
Me: (puzzled) We’re just talking.

She and I almost slipped into an argument before we checked ourselves. It was nice seeing her.

It was late when I headed home. Drove by BrightBea’s pad but we don’t know each other well enough for me to just show up unannounced.

Besides, I was cutting it close, returning the car.

A lotta people don’t know, but NYC’s traffic lights are timed at 25 miles an hour, which makes sense since that’s our speed limit.

Here’s me hitting every green light around Park Slope.

Got back to the garage in the nick of time and then picked up some packages from the doormen next door before calling it a night.

Him: I’m glad you finally got to see your family.
Me: You and me both, man.

Podcast Version
Location: home, cleaning and still dreaming of family
Mood: homesick
Music: I can’t resist (Spotify)
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