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personal

All lives end; all hearts are broken

Caring is not an advantage

Met up with my friend the other night.

Her: He’s telling me to not fight and he’ll promise to give me the apartment.
Me: He broke the trust covenant where he stood in front of alla your friends and said he’d love you until one of you were dead. You’re both alive, which makes him a liar.
Her: So, what do I do?
Me: When someone breaks the trust covenant, you can never trust anything he or she says. What should you do? Stop trusting him first. Everything else comes second.

That’s pretty much alla her story that I feel comfortable telling you since it’s her story to tell.

So, I’ll end that part here.

When all is said and done, the price of love is heartache.

After all, what is grief if not love with no place to go?

While grief and loss with horror and death is generally worse, loss is still loss and grief is still grief.

Ergo, I do understand that she struggles, even though her loss is very different from mine.

In Sherlock, Mycroft Holmes says something to his younger brother Sherlock who, compared to Mycroft, is the more emotional of the two.

Mycroft said, All lives end; all hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.

Often think that Mycroft’s not wrong. There’s no advantage in caring about people, in fact, it’s a disadvantage to care.

And yet, we’re all programmed to do so.

Sometimes I think it’s a glitch in our programming and other times, I don’t.

Just wish that, sometimes, I didn’t feel all the things I do as deeply as I do.

But this is the price to be human so I pay it, hoping that I can afford it for as long as I can.

Her: (wiping her eyes) I’m sorry. I don’t mean to cry.
Me: Don’t apologize for your genuine emotion. I’m always just a bad memory from crying myself.

Location: a playground with the Steeles and the Firecracker, eating 20 cheeseburgers and having a diet coke
Mood: pensive
Music: Is this something I should be letting go? (Spotify)
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Making concessions

Not actually doing it

Pez has been busy with life so I’d not seen her in a while; of course, that’s her story to tell so I’ll end here on that point.

But I convinced her to swing by the gym the other day so we could catch up.

There, Chad – who’d not seen her in a while as well – gave her her blue belt, finally.

This was something he wanted to do last December but Pez has just been busy, like I said.

We got lunch after rolling.

Me: I’ve been in the mood for a gyro lately. Mediterrian work for you?
Her: Sure! (watching me order a salad) Wait, I thought you wanted a gyro.
Me: This is essentially a gyro but without the bread – you gotta make concessions at 50.

Later on that night, I met up Chad again, the Firecracker, the NFL Player and his wife, and some others for dinner and drinks around the way.

They were going to catch the second installment of Dune but the Firecracker and I couldn’t make it.

NFL Player: The kids’ll be fine. They won’t even know you’re missing.
Me: Let’s not be ridiculous; I’m his favourite person in the world.
Him: (later) Last chance to change your mind.
Me: This is how Child Services gets involved.

They all left but the Firecracker and I still had a solid half-an-hour before we had to head back so we grabbed a drink at my old haunt Malachy’s, which just went through a large renovation.

Me: I feel like a fatty.
Her: It’s 100 calories!
Me: Yeah, but it’s a 100 calories I don’t need to have.
Her: Do you want me to order the hard seltzer for you?
Me: Nah, I’m pretty secure in my manhood. Hopefully, she won’t grab a pink can for me, though.

It was red.

Like I said, I daydream a lot about living somewhere else alla time.

But I don’t think I’d ever actually do it.

Location: the gym, getting my butt handed to me
Music: been telling everyone I’m fine but I feel like I lost my mind (Spotify)
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Sliding into the weekend

Not no law breakers

Her: You know you’re high when you’re googling “How to plant a paw paw tree in front of your apartment building in NYC.”
Me: This has to go on the blog.
Her: Put in a disclaimer that it’s legal to be high in NYC.
Me: What?
Her: I’m not no law breaker, Lo. (later) This is only funny to us now. We’ll think we’re so lame when we’re sober.

She wasn’t wrong.

The friend that let us stay at her Vienna pad came to the city for a visit so we met up with her at Sarabeth’s for a quick brunch.

I’d had a pretty rough night of sleep the night because we were out drinking and doing all types of (legal) pharmaceuticals, but I rallied as best I could.

Waiter: Can I get you all something to dri..
Me: (interrupting) Coffee.
Firecracker: Lots of coffee.
Me: Lots of coffee.

The kids came with, so it was a treat for them as well.

Him: Do they have burgers?
Me: They have sliders.
Him: What’s a slider?
Me: Like a small burger.
Him: That’s what I want! Slider, slider, slider…

I def needed the coffee.

The Firecracker could see that I was struggling so she offered to take the kids to the playground so I could nap.

Man, did I crash hard.

These are the kinda weekends that count as winners for me these days: Good food, fun conversation, childcare, and a solid nap.

Her: Feeling better?
Me: Much, thanks!
Her: Anytime, Lo.

Location: Red Farm, with the Firecracker, Chad, and the NFL Player
Mood: Sotted
Music: Cancel your reservations, no more hesitations this is on (Spotify)
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Bumping into Teddy in the Big City

Tough leaving

The kid’s electric guitar has been on the fritz lately so I brought it into this mega-music store here in NYC called Sam Ash, which was located at 333 W. 34th Street here in Manhattan.

When I was a little kid, I remember going with my brother to the one in Queens, so I was kinda looking forward to being in one again – I’d not been since I was like 12.

But when I walked in, there were “Going Out of Business” signs everywhere.

Manager: (seeing me holding a guitar) Sorry, man, we don’t do repairs anymore. We’re…
Me: Going outta business, I see. That stinks, sorry.
Him: It’s fine. Head down to 30th Street Guitar.
Me: I assume it’s on 30th Street?
Him: You would think – it’s on 27th.

So, off I went.

It was right by my old gym, which reminded me of my old life but that’s for me, I suppose.

The guys at 30th Street were also super cool and told me to come back later on in the day, so I went to get some work done and then hit the gym.

Walking around the city, I found myself in front of Teddy Roosevelt’s birthplace on 28 E 20th St, New York, NY.

I’ve always admired him but after Alison died, even more so because he and I, unfortunately, shared some awful life experiences.

Then I headed to the gym where I got my ass handed to me as always and then walked out to see some amazing artwork.

Been daydreaming of the other side and elsewhere again.

But there’s something to be said about living in a town where you can just go about your daily business and end up, randomly, running across the birthplace of a US president, maybe an artshow, and maybe an impromptu concert.

Yeah, it’s tough to leave the big city.

Location: giving HR advice over brunch with two children and two blondes
Mood: tired
Music: Destiny is calling me, open up my eager eyes (Spotify)
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Gonna be a spry 92

That’s what I tell myself

My friends rented out the entire association, so we had the run of things.

The kids went upstairs to the animal/game room; I think I had seen it briefly once ages ago.

As for me, I was mainly interested in shoveling as much food as I humanly could into my piehole.

But as soon as I finished one thing, other things came out, so I probably definitely overindulged.

The Surgeon’s mom gave a really nice speech towards the end.

The Firecracker and I chatted about it in between my aforementioned stuffing of le face.

Firecracker: Can you imagine your baby boy turning 50?
Me: Not at all.
Her: You probably won’t even be alive then – although I probably will be.
Me: I’ll be a spry 92!
Her: (rolls eyes)

We woulda stayed longer but the rain was really coming down and I had an all-day shoot with the Scenic fights guys the very next day so we left before a lotta the other people.

The kid: Do we have to go?
Me: It’s late AND it’s gonna be daylight savings so you’re gonna go to bed like at midnight tonight as it is.
Him: (eyes open in wonderment) Really?! Wow, that’s so late.
Me: (nodding) Yup, and that’s why we gotta leave.

The very next day – with less than four hours sleep – I had an all-day Scenic Fights shoot.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned and I’m now running from the law.

I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

Location: earlier today, watching my son do a hip-throw and then take side control to mount
Mood: busy
Music: I’m lucky I’ve got good people helpin’ me out (Spotify)
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Turning 50 at the Downtown Association

Maybe. Someday.

Her: Wow, this place is beautiful.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. (thinking) This is the first time I’ve been back in like 13 years.

The surgeon turned 50 the other night so the kid, the Firecracker, and I all got dressed up and headed south to the Downtown Association to celebrate.

It was raining cats and dogs when we left the house.

I was actually a member there briefly in 2011 and I mentioned it in passing before.

Then things started going off the rails with me and Alison so that was just one of a million things that changed in my life.

Walking back in, I was shocked how little it had changed in all this time; I suppose that’s part of the allure of places like that.

The Boy: This bathroom is bigger than our apartment!
Me: You’re not wrong, kid.

He’s not wrong.

The party was mostly relatives and close friends so I was touched that I was included in the count.

The Firecracker had a good time as well, chatting with someone else in her profession.

Her: She knew she wanted to work internationally early on. I thought about it, myself.
Me: Maybe we’ll do that someday.
Her: Maybe. Someday.

One of the people I knew there has known the Surgeon for 44 years.

Me: When did you meet him?
Him: (laughing) When I was seven!
Me: (shaking head in amazement) Man, the oldest friend I have, I’ve known since I was 16 (the Professor).

The kid had a blast as he’s been hanging with Steele and the Surgeon’s kids for years now.

The Surgeon hired a magician and the kids were enthralled.

The Boy: How did he do that?! I was looking right at it.
Me: (laughing) You got me…

Of course, the kid was pretty interested in the food as well, because he’s my kid.

Then again, I was pretty interested in the food as well.

Me: OK, I gotta ask you something. At your wedding, I overate all the appetizers – after all, you had an entire table of lobsters – so, should I…?
Steele: (laughing) The [passed hors d’overs] are the appetizers and the main courses are [over there].
Me: Oh man, glad I asked.

The open bar was a nice touch as well.

There’s more but this entry’s getting long so I’ll write more tomorrow.

Location: Earlier today, two different guitar stores, trying to fix a broken Fender knockoff for the kid
Mood: exhausted
Music: Everyone tells me I’m crazy. Well maybe, well maybe I am (Spotify)
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Physical education and spite

Oh, yeah

I raise my son like my parents raised me – after all, it’s all I know.

But the one thing that I do differently is to give the boy a sense that physical education is as important as a mental one.

Now, my dad swam every single day for at least 90 minutes a day, for years.

Yet, he never emphasized physical fitness to me, something that I picked up myself after getting beaten up one-too-many times.

On that note, the boy’s really been excelling at his swimming lately.

And he also got his first stripe on his new belt.

Him: Are you proud of me?
Me: Super proud! But more importantly, are you proud of yourself?
Him: Yes!
Me: Good – because that’s really the most important thing.

As for me, I need to work out a lot more because I keep finding myself out and about.

The Frenchman and Bryson swung by my hood the other night, so we hit up my local dive bar and caught each other up on what been going down.

Him: How is deep fried cauliflower any better than French fries?
Me: Because it’s deep-fried cauliflower!
Both of them: (shake their heads)

I also filled in the Frenchman on why I pick my particular types of physical activities.

Frenchman: Wait, is that why you do BJJ?
Me: Yup! Bryson said I was too much a germaphobe to ever do anything like BJJ.
Bryson: So, Logan’s been doing BJJ all these years purely to prove me wrong.
Me: My level of petty spite is pretty spectacular.
Frenchman: And you’re really a germaphobe?
Bryson and me: (nodding) Oh, yeah.

Hey, it works is all I’m say’n…

Location: filming Scenic Fights all day at Paxibellum
Mood: exhausted
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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Square-jawed

Tough food=tough people?

Still waiting to get my ceiling repaired.

BUT the leaking seems to have stopped so I’ll take that as a win.

The Firecracker accidentally made butter the other day while whipping up heavy cream.

Her: Sorry about that! I thought it was cold enough.
Me: It’s fine – we now have homemade butter!

I’m definitely a fan of homemade stuff, regardless of how it happens.

On that note, a buddy of mine started chewing this jaw strenghtener lately.

Human faces seemed to have been shaped by two major things: (a) violence and (b) the type of food we eat.

The classic angular face for both men and women is innately attractive to us because it’s a sign of vitality and strength so when we meet people with soft faces and jaws, it seems “wrong” to us, but we can’t exactly explain how.

That’s why it’s a compliment is to call a man “square-jawed,” and not “round-jawed.”

(c) Someone else

Unfortunately, as the years go on, more and more people will start having these softer features because we:

    1. avoid violence as a whole, and
    2. eat more-and-more ultra-processed foods and a hallmark of ultra-processed foods are that they’re not gritty – as they take out all the fiber – and not tough.

Think applesauce versus a tough piece of steak or nuts.

Was telling the Firecracker that the danger here is that the baseline level of what is “soft,” should be, say, the level of well-cooked chicken but, because of things like whitebread and applesauce, the floor is much lower.

This, in turn, means that what was once considered “soft” is now considered tough because the curve changed.

I’m always fighting the boy to eat more real food; to wit, minimally processed foods like whole raw nuts and fresh fruit.

No less than four of his friends cannot eat normal – non-ultra processed – foods at all.

I know at least one adult who can’t eat something unless a machine made it.

So far, the boy’s been good about listening to me when it comes to food but I’m worried that his peers will convince him that “normal” means “ultra-processed” while actual real food is strange.

What a world we live in these days.

Parenting means that there’s a never-ending litany of things to be concerned about.

Him: Can I have more cucumbers?
Me: You can have all the cucumbers you want, kid.
Him: But we don’t have that much.
Me: I’ll get more. You can always eat as many vegetables as you want and if we run out, I’ll get more, don’t you worry.

Location: A dive bar with Bryson and the Frenchman, enjoying $5 mixed drinks of questionable quality.
Mood: fatty-fat-fat
Music: I find that old habits don’t die (Spotify)
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Nothing like sewage in the kitchen

Grossed out

Do you remember when I told you about my upstairs neighbor’s toilet leaking into my kitchen some 14 years ago?

Never told you details about it but one thing that drove the workmen at the time crazy was that the original builders that first put in that toilet seem to have stuffed greased up newspapers into the gap between the waste pipe and the cement because there was a gap there.

The second set of workmen “fixed” the issue some 20 years later, sealed up my ceiling, and that was the last that I thought of it until about two weeks ago.

And the reason for that is that two weeks ago, I wrote in this entry that I climbed up to check out the same spot and was on “top of my refrigerator, looking at a huge crack and some mold.”

Well, it turns out that the workmen were, among other things, hypocrites.

Note the grossly stained stuffed plastic bags to the right of the pipe.

Because instead of removing the old, incorrectly seated flange – the part that connects a waste pipe to a toilet – pouring fresh concrete and then reinstalling a new flange they ended up stuffing plastic bags into the gap themselves and installing a toilet over the whole thing.

You can see a bit of the light from my kitchen shine up even with the plastic bags in place.

Welp, the plastic bags finally deteriorated enough from 14 years of water and waste such that sewage – urine and fecal matter – soaked through my ceiling and came pouring down.

It was precisely as gross and as nasty as you’re imagining it.

Worse, actually, because I keep my cookware – pots, pans, Instant Pot, food processor, etc – on top of my fridge.

Me: Clearly, I have to burn my entire unit to the ground.
Plumber: (laughs) Well, maybe just toss all your cookware?
Me: You think!?

After the plumber removed the plastic bags, you can see the light from my kitchen shine up.

The unit owners, though, are friends of mine and sent a plumber to come by yesterday and he did what he could but he said that he could only do a temporary fix since the floor was uneven and that was outta his skillset.

Him: Do you have cardboard?
Me: Sure, why?
Him: Well, either I have to seal it to keep critters out or…
Me: Nope, nope, nope, nope – here’s some cardboard.

After he left, I slapped on double gloves and double masks and cleaned the whole thing.

After about two hours, most of the most disgusting stuff was gone but the smell of urine was palpable even after scrubbing everything.

My fear is that some dried under the fridge and I’ll need to empty it out, have the whole thing pulled out, and then clean under it.

So, home ownership hasn’t been the best this week.

Here’s hoping twice in 14 years will be the limit of my ceiling caving in.

Location: Another basement apartment on WEA and W 80th Street, avoiding two dogs.
Mood: grossed TF out
Music: I’ll keep waiting, and, someday (Spotify)
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Swimming in the UES

Definitely a winner

Me: This is amazing!
Him: Yeah, well, I probably paid more than double what I would anywhere else just for the amenities.
Me: I’m not gonna lie, I’m definitely gonna try and take advantage of this.

My buddy Steele’s been living in the same apartment for well over a decade-and-a-half, which for his wife and him was fine but when their kid arrived, their apartment rapidly shrunk.

They spent a solid few years looking around for a suitable replacement but homes are tricky things because it’s gotta fill one’s need for the time being as well for the future.

But they managed to find a place with some crazy amenities so the Firecracker, her kid, my kid, and I all went out into the pouring raining this past Saturday to go check it out.

Him: Do you want a tour?
Me: Heck, yeah!

He wasn’t kidding when he said that the place had amenities.

They had a gym…

…a library……a lounge…

…a dance studio…

…a spa…

…and a pool.

The kid: We’re going swimming!?
Me: Yup! Looks that way.

The three boys spent a solid three hours in the pool while Steele made everyone cocktails.

So. Many. Cocktails.

Oh, they also had a theater room too. The Firecracker got the porters and doormen to try, unsuccessfully, to put on Scenic Fights.

Doorman: Wait, I think I’m already a subscriber.
The Kid: Papa, he’s a fan!
Me: (laughs) That’s great! I’m always worried that it’s mostly just my mom subscribing under different names and accounts.

Afterward, we ordered from Dave’s Hot Chicken and stuffed ourselves silly before we started heading home.

Because of alla Steele’s serious drinks, after we got back, both the Firecracker and I crashed hard; the kids crashed hard because they spent so many hours swimming.

So, as rainy weekends go, this was definitely a winner.

Him: What are we doing next weekend?
Me: You’ll just have to wait and see, kiddo.

Location: earlier today, a karaoke joint on West 32nd with the kid and alla his classmates.
Mood: beat
Music: gettin’ drunk in the mansions with you and you look so classy (Spotify)
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