A Non-Linear System

Checking in

One of my oldest and dearest friends called me the other day.

Me: What’s up? How’ve you been?
Him: (laughing) OK. I heard about your uncle and your anniversary and I wanted to check in on you.
Me: Thanks man, it’s been a rough few weeks.
Him: I know, that’s why I’m calling. (later) I should mention that I was in the ER two weeks ago. They’re still not 100% what happened but I was there for five days.
Me: Holy shitballs, what happened?
Him: I was feeling pain in my stomach like crazy so I went to the ER and told the attendant that I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Like a 7 or 8. He said, “You don’t look like you’re in a lot of pain.”
Me: What did you say?
Him: I told him, “That’s cause I’m not a whiney-ass bitch.”
Me: (laughing) Yeah, that sounds like you.

A large dose of antibiotics cleared him out enough that they didn’t have to cut him open. But he’s gotta go back for more tests.

Him: I didn’t wanna tell you because…
Me: Dude, the past two weeks, I was a whiney-ass bitch. It’s good you didn’t tell me. I absolutely wouldn’t have handled it well.
Him: (quietly) Then I’m glad I didn’t tell you.

He’s been through his own stuff. He’s one of the people that I told you lost his mother recently. He understands grief.

Me: The fucked up thing is that, unlike most people, I understand that life is a non-linear system. I get that. Bad things happen and the life you expect isn’t promised you. But…I never expected my life – and Alison’s – to be quite so non-linear.
Him: It is a non-linear system, yeah. But we have some things like our family and good friends.
Me: You know, if there is a god, he fucking hates us. Or maybe he’s just a racist asshole.
Him: (laughing) Maybe, Logan. Maybe.

Location: today, walking with a friend in the sun, looking for Joe
Mood: non-linear
Music: ah shit, am I winner yet? (Spotify)
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Buzzing

Normal is relative

I brought the kid out to see my sister-in-law the other day, mainly because she didn’t want me to shave his head.

It was the first time he and I ate out together since before the pandemic. We had been to that restaurant before but he didn’t remember it.

Him: I want fries.
Me: Big surprise there.

They had scotch eggs there, and the last time I had a scotch egg was at Johnny’s hotel when he and I were still friends.

He called me recently but I didn’t pick up. Some things in the past should stay in the past.

We went back to her place for a bit and when I got ready to leave, I thought there was something on my boot.

Turns out it was my boot itself; I’ve had them well over a decade and a half.

Her: Yeah, it’s time for a new pair.
Me: Maybe I could repair them…
Her: Get a new pair, Logan.

It’s just my nature. I’m always trying to fix things.

In any case, the boy spent the night there so I gave Mouse a buzz.

Me: Indoor dining’s open again. Do you wanna grab dinner?
Her: Sure.

We ended up going to the same place we always do.

Waitress: What can I get you?
Me: I gotta be honest with you, we just came to get a bottle of wine and drink it all.
Her: I don’t have a problem with that.

It was nice, having a normal night again.

Normal being relative.

Mouse is wearing a Scenic Fights mask above, and we just released another video, this time reviewing the first Jason Bourne movie.

Enjoy!

Location: today, in front of papers
Mood: just okay
Music: baby, tryna fit in them shoes (Spotify)
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The middle place

Clearly, that’s me

I bought my son an instrument because he promised that he’d practice it if I got it for him.

Me: How’s the instrument playing going? Well or not well?
Him: The middle place.

I believe I’ve been tricked.

Still, it’s hard to be too mad at him. He has a way with words – like a 65 year-old Italian man.

Him: What’s for dinner?
Me: Grilled Thai-lime pork and sweet potatoes.
Him: That smells lovely. Thank you for making all the food.

Although he’s probably had his fill with me as well.

Him: I was dreaming…
Me: (interrupting) The past-tense of “to dream” is “dreamt.” Unless you’re speaking about a past-imperfect where…
Him: (rolls eyes, interrupts) In any case…
Me: (shrugging) OK, that’s a valid response.

He’s still a kid, though, which makes me happy.

Case-in-point, I stopped by a friend’s place with the kid for a play date for him, the other day.

Before I knew it, we were watching a play starring the kids and killing 1.5 bottles of wine (the adults).

Her: You brought Moscato? That’s what my mother who’s a 70 retiree drinks.
Me: Clearly, that’s me.

And then everything went down with my uncle. Here’s the governor of NJ saying a few kind words about him specifically…

…as well as a nice article written in the local paper.

Like I always say, thank goodness for the good souls.

MJ: What’re you doing Lo Lo? I’m in Central Park near ya.
Me: I’m with the kiddo but you’re welcome to stop by. You have to wear a mask if you do, just FYI. Although I suppose you had it so that’s probably not even necessary for us here.
Him: I’ll come say hi.

Location: in front of my door with a half-gallon of eggshell white
Mood: distracted
Music: I know I always break your heart(Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Not a great 48 hours of parenting

Winter is here

It’s not been a great 48 hours of parenting around these parts.

The snowstorm – and the lack of scaffolding – meant that I was constantly shoveling and adjusting the boiler so that my tenants didn’t freeze or boil. And ensure that the boiler didn’t explode.

But this was the first snow that the boy and I were sharing together, in a meaningful way, so I wanted to go out and enjoy it with him. Luckily, Cappy and his wife dropped off this great snow outfit for him so we could brave the snow. Once we got to the park, however, I realized that we didn’t have a sled and most/all the other kids did.

Him: Do we have a sled?
Me: I’m sorry, kiddo. I totally forgot to get one.
Him: Oh. (sadly) That’s ok. Maybe you can buy one?
Me: I’ll do that as soon as we get home.

Gotta tell you, that ripped me up. He just sat and stared at all the other kids having fun. And I felt like shit.

Tried my best to keep him happy and made him some hot chocolate when we got back, which he enjoyed. Then I called up every store around me trying to get a sled. They were all sold out. So, I bought one via Amazon but the earliest it would arrive was Saturday.

Him: Will the snow be gone by then?
Me: I’m not sure.
Him: Hopefully not.
Me: Yes. Hopefully not.

It was a pretty sleepless night.

The ABFF, though, randomly called me the next day to tell me that she was going out to the park and that she had an innertube.

So my sitter took him so I could catch up on some work and I went to pick him up after dinner.

Him: I was on a sled for the first time today! It’s so much fun!
Me: I bet it was!

While the kids all played, I caught up with the ABFF and her sister.

ABFF: What’s up with you and Mouse?
Me: That’s a whole story right there.
Her: Well, she’s great. You two should figure something out.

It was late when we finally left.

Him: I wish I could stay there. At home, it’s just you and me.
Me: (coughing) I’m sorry it’s just me.
Him: I wish there was someone else.
Me: Someday, maybe?
Him: (sighing) It’s just the two of us. I wish mommy was here.
Me: This is our stop. Let’s go.

Broke my intermittent fasting when I put the kid down and picked up a drink or three.

Like I said, it’s not been a great 48 hours of parenting around these parts.

I don’t want him to be a sad kid. It’s the last thing Alison woulda wanted. Then again, neither of us wanted any of this.

Location: home
Mood: less than ideal
Music: In life, there is lots of grief (Spotify)

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A weekend with friends

Had a lotta visitors this past weekend

Had a pretty full weekend, all things considered. The main thing was that I had a sitter so that I could roll with a buncha friends early on Saturday at a friend’s place in Billyburg.

A new guy gave me a lift back into the city.

Him: You have a lotta friends in this city. I mentioned that I knew you and some guys overheard and came over and started talking about you – good things. That’s cool.
Me: (laughing) I probably owe them money.

He dropped me off at 14th Street and 7th Avenue where Mouse picked me up to head home.

She was supposed to stay over and play Exploding Kittens with me, Chad, Pez and Iron Chef but she had to bail for personal reasons.

But not before she was nice enough to drive me to Koreatown to pick up some pre-seasoned food and then come back with me to help me clean up the place.

Boy: MOUSE! I missed you!
Her: I missed you too – give me a hug!

She also found time to roll around with the boy on the mats.

While she was here, Paul and his wife stopped by with their two-year old daughter. She and the boy got along great – I think he’s just so thrilled to see other kids after spending 10 months with his grandparents.

This is him showing her his tablet, to which he may or may not be addicted to at this point.

After Paul and his family left, Mouse left soon after but then Chad, Pez, and IC showed up. It was the first time in a while that I had people over with the kid and it was pretty great, I gotta say.

Boy: Where can I sit?
Me: You can sit next to uncle Chad.
Him: Yay!

Now, Iron Chef’s an actual chef so, while I grilled up the stuff from Koreatown, he made some shrimp and mushrooms, and finished it off with some Japanese dessert.

I probably shoulda taken pics but trust me that it was all killer. Then we got down to finally playing some cards. They’d never played before so I told them we had to all tell our best three-minute story to decide who went first.

Iron Chef won because it involved him getting naked on the streets of NYC.

Me: (to Pez) To be honest, men look for any reason to get naked. I can’t call Chad without him answering naked.
Chad: It’s true, you gotta be free.
Me: Things have to air out.

We talked about randomness, as people do while playing cards.

IC: I used to go to the jazz club downtown. (pause) Because I like jazz.
Me: Sure, I went there too because I like jazz. Big, bouncy jazz.
Pez: (laughs)
Chad: What guy doesn’t like big, bouncy jazz?

Forgot who won but it was either me or Pez. I suppose it doesn’t matter.

It was a nice innocuous night. What more can you ask for in this day and age?

Location: home, wondering if we’re ok
Mood: tired
Music: She’s gone in the blink of an eye (Spotify)
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Too little is better than too much

We know our own

We had a gas scare in the area that meant we were waiting for an all-clear for a while so I brought him with me to the supermarket.

I dunno why I’m unable to talk to him like he’s a kid. I just…can’t. I’ve never been around kids before.

Him: What does it mean that a banana’s not ripe?
Me: An unripe banana has large molecules called oligosaccharides which are too big to digest. When a banana ripens, those oligosaccharides break down into simpler glucose molecules that you can digest, which manifest as the brown dots on the skin, which – as you can see – are not there.
Him: What happens if you eat something that’s not ripe?
Me: Bad things, kiddo. Bad stomach things.
Him: Oh. Ok, papa.

As I write this out, all I can think is, “Hopefully, he’ll have friends.” Then again, I didn’t growing up and I turned out fine.

Fine(ish).

Mostly fine.

Alison thought I was great, albeit with a giant, giant head.

Speaking of friends, I’ve been helping a buddy with a new hobby; something that I used to do years ago but just stopped doing for a variety of reasons. But he loves it. He gave me a buzz today.

Him: I met one of our kind today.
Me: Get outta here. How?
Him: At the gym. I was just making small talk and I mentioned what I do in my spare time.
Me: And what did he say?
Him: (laughing) He said demons know their own.

On that note, my only friend in that life’s been MIA since COVID. Wanna know the crazy thing? I don’t even know his real name after 20 years.

How’s that for a kick in the head?

Finally, a girl I’ll call Curls is going to start teaching the kid to fight. I’ve been chatting with a ton of people – including two of the highest ranking people in kali – about how to train this boy to be safe.

And the grand poo-bah told me: Remember too little training is better than too much at that age.

He’s the main man so I took his word to heart. Plus, I think the kid’ll have more fun with Curls and Chad than me.

Between the friends and family, I wonder if I’m better with people around or not.

After all, men go crazy in congregations,…

Location: home, making steak for my son, who’d rather have a bologna sandwich
Mood: tired
Music: …they only get better one by one. (Spotify)
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Simple is anything but

Some good reason

Boy: It was unexpectedly warm today.
Me: Man, do I talk like that?

I’m not sure how five-year olds talk but my son looks like a five-year old Chinese kid but acts like a 65 year-old Italian man.

Him: Do you want to listen to Linda Ronstadt or Neil Diamond?
Me: Uh…

I forgot to mention that, when I went to pick him up last time, Mouse was nice enough bring the whip to get him. But we first stopped off in NJ to meet up with Pac and his girl for some Korean food.

I look way too excited to get some food into me in this pic.

The restaurant we went to was actually a branch of the place we normally hit up.

Me: (to Pac’s girlfriend) So, in the Queens place, there’s a sign that says 90+ people eat for half off and 100+ people eat for free. When Mouse and Chad turn 90, we’re going to make them regret that choice.
Her: That’s some long term planning.
Me: Gotta have goals in life.

And in the middle of dinner, someone had a birthday party there. Man, I miss indoor dining and birthday parties – can’t remember the last time anything memorable happened for mine.

Pac: When are you gonna move outta your Upper West Side basement apartment and into NJ?
Me: I will stab you in your eye, man.

Speaking of the Upper West Side, Lviv’s back in town. She was away for a spell and hit me up the moment she walked in her pad.

She’s been thinking about new living arrangements and asked about my building.

Her: I doubt I’d move to UWS unless there was some good reason to.

I was gonna tell her that it’s the Upper Best Side but my life is needlessly complicated as it is.

And trying to simplify it is anything but…

Location: home, making ribs
Mood: hard to say
Music: you don’t know it all (Spotify)
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Re-Assembling Things

Projects I didn’t want

After over 10 months, my son finally played with someone his own age the other day; a young girl named Izzy he met at the park.

It was sweet and unexpected; unexpected because he was scheduled to meet up with the ABFF’s kids over the weekend, and I assumed they’d be first. But, I suppose, like father, like son.

I wrote the ABFF before we left.

Me: What’s the food and alcohol situation like?
Her: Pizza. Corona Lite, Sweet Action, white vino.
Me: I’m down. We may be a bit after six but order me a slice or two as well.

One of the very last things that Alison and I did together was build the kid’s nursery.

She was super pregnant but so excited to welcome this kid into the world and have everything be just perfect. I did most of the building but she cleaned and assembled smaller things.

It’s one of the reasons that I was so reluctant to paint.

Alison bought this really great dresser that she spent days researching to make sure it fit just right and got good ratings. Unfortunately, the part that keeps the drawer from shooting out snapped just after everything went to hell.

I vaguely recall calling their customer service to buy that plastic part and the woman I spoke to said that I needed to buy the entire side of the dresser.

Me: So lemme get this straight, instead of being able to buy a dollar’s worth of plastic and metal, I need to buy an entire other side of the dresser, dismantle my entire dresser, and replace the side – which is fine – just to keep the drawer from flying out?
Her: Yes.
Me: Well, that sounds ridiculous. Would you do that?
Her: (laughing) No sir, I would not.

It was fine. This was during the craziness of Alison’s cancer so I was just careful. But, because the kid’s been away so long, I forgot about the drawer and pulled it too hard, causing the drawer to fly out and almost hit me. He was eating brekkie so he was fine but I decided to buy a new one that day.

I ended up just picking out a wider dresser that was the same height. Now, the day that the kid and I were supposed to see the ABFF, the new dresser arrived. Of course.

Unlike last time, I was going to have to put this together myself. I figured I’d head up to the ABFF’s, chill with them for a bit, and then come down and spend the remainder of the night putting it together.

But on the way out the door, Chad gave me a ring.

Him: Hey, I’m in your area and wanted to see if you wanted to get some food.
Me: Dude, I will buy you dinner if you’re willing to help me put together a dresser.
Him: Works for me.

I told the ABFF that I wouldn’t be staying, said hello to all the girls, and then dashed down where Chad and spent the next four hours trying to decipher some seriously bad directions.

It was pretty late so I told him to just go and I’d wrap things up – together, we did a solid 80% of everything that needed to get done so I just did the last 20% myself until late in the evening and then the rest the next day. It took most of the second day to put everything in place and clean the joint up.

The last thing I did was attach the dresser to the wall. Because Alison asked me to make the place childproof.

Her: Promise me that you’ll always keep him safe.
Me: Of course. And you know I never break a promise.
Her: I know, that why I married you and that’s why I asked.

And that’s also why it had to be the same height, so I could use the same mounting bracket to attach it to the wall.

It was super sad. Everything changes on me when I wish I could just have some stability and sense in the world.

On that note, my mother-in-law keeps telling me to take apart the crib and put it away but I’ve been resisting it.

Alison took a picture of me building it on September 13, 2015, at 6:35PM.

Somehow, in my head, I kept thinking that maybe I’d be able to give the kid a baby sister or brother somehow but that seems unlikely. So, I guess that’s my next project.

Soon. Really.

Location: home, sitting in the front room staring at all the changes
Mood: reluctantly accepting
Music: he tried to reassemble it (Spotify)
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It’s spring in January

It isn’t hell

Speaking of FOMO and not caring, last year I threw Chad and Mouse a joint bday party but this year, Chad just swung by on his actual bday and I just got the two of us a massive amount of Vietnamese food.

Him: Somehow, they knew it was my birthday and gave me two cans of coke.
Me: (puzzled) Yeah – I told them.
Him: Oh…

He only recently started getting a taste for good alcohol so I taught him how to make Hemmingway’s favourite drink, the daiquiri. At least, my version of it.

We pounded about four of them each and just discussed his new hobby, which is a wholly different conversation.

Me: I baked cupcakes.
Him: Thanks!
Me: They’re mainly for the kid, but I saved you one for your born day.
Him: I’ll take it.

Another friend stopped by this week; she was just in the city to train but the gym wasn’t open that day so I invited her to come here to shower and clean up.

Me: Do you want brekkie?
Her: Oh, I couldn’t…
Me: (rolling eyes) You’re a guest, are you hungry?
Her: I could eat.
Me: A heart-attack sandwich it is then.

Like I said, I have no shortage of friends. It’s the shortage of family that weighs on me the most.

Speaking of family, do you know the Roman/Greek myth of the seasons centers around family?

Essentially, the goddess Ceres – from whom we get the word “cereal” – was the goddess of grain and harvest. Her daughter, Proserpina, was kidnapped by Pluto and she refused to allow anything to grow until her child was returned.

Eventually, she was, but Proserpina had eaten six pomegranate seeds and, because of that, had to live in hell for six months out of the year.

During this time, Ceres despaired and so came winter until her child was back and spring could return again.

The boy came home this week – after all this time – and it was spring once again, at least in a tiny UWS apartment.

Me: He’s home!!!
Him: (inspecting the house) The bathroom’s dirty. Grandma’s bathroom is cleaner.
Me: (laughing) Everyone’s a critic. Also, to be fair, no one’s bathroom is as clean as grandma’s…

Ridic easy daquiri
One shot of light rum
1/2 a lime, freshly squeezed
1.5-2 TBS agave
Soda water
ice

Squeeze half a lime into a highball and mix in the agave and shot of rum until it’s thoroughly blended. Fill the highball halfway with ice and then the remainder with soda water. Gently stir to combine. Pound.

Repeat until every person of the opposite sex looks beautiful.

Location: home, without any rum but plus one boy
Mood: tired but content
Music: It’s so cruel what your mind can do (Spotify)
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I’d be ok with that

We know our own

This is a video of my son on Xmas morning. He was a bit excited.

Cappy came by with his wife and two kids, like he said,  to drop off a ridic amount of clothes and toys for the boy.

Cappy: Heads up! Planning on stopping by your place Saturday enroute upstate so we can drop off some more clothes and books.
Me: Thanks for thinking of us!

It was nice seeing them, even if it was just for a moment. We’ve known each other since we were 16.

On that note, I had dinner with a friend the other night. He told me that when 2020 started, he was worried about his future. But, in many ways, 2020 was one of the best years – if not the best year – of his life.

Him: I feel like I’m seeing the world for the first time, on my own terms.
Me: Picture Athens. And other parts of Greece. There are statues everywhere. What colour are they?
Him: White?
Me: They’re white now. But when people were contemporaries of them, they were all coloured. We see what they look like now, not what they were originally. That’s the thing: People will look at you and think this is how you’ve always been, when it’s what you made yourself.

It’s like that story I told you about the colour of the sun.

We don’t see the full picture of what someone or something is. Only what makes it through to us.

I told him that the person he knows now as Logan, wasn’t the person that Alison knew. It wasn’t the person that my other friends knew. I’d changed so much throughout the years.

Or, rather, the years changed me so much. In some ways for the better, in some ways not. Not at all.

Every once in a while, I remember who I used to be, the life I used to lead. Before Alison. With Alison.

I’ve been thinking of an old friend of mine who’s not on any social media and he just disappeared after 2019.

He was someone that saw me and helped me change. I suppose I wonder where he is because certain people bring out certain things in us that only they can bring out.

He remembers me when I was…colourful. I miss being colourful, at times. This is what I looked like when we met.

Minus the colour.

Him: Most people live their lives of quiet desperation, Logan.
Me: And you?
Him: I live my life without anything or anyone controlling me. I could leave in an hour and be in a tuk-tuk in Cambodia tomorrow and no one and nothing would stop me.
Me: The girl I’m seeing…
Him: (laughs) Heartgirl?
Me: (nodding) Heartgirl. I’d go where ever she was.
Him: What happened to Dresden and Berlin, Logan? I know you. You’d never be happy with just one girl.
Me: I would be. With the right girl I’d be happy. I’d give everything up for my person. Dresden and Berlin are just cities. She could be my person.
Him: She would control you. Love controls people. The moment someone controls you, you wouldn’t be safe.
Me: I’d be okay with that.

He was right about not being safe.

I suppose demons know their own.

Location: home, with daiquiris
Mood: very drunk
Music: my past now, like my house, was always made of glass (Spotify)
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