A Birthday Celebration for the Firecracker

Old and Crotchety

Her: One day, someone’s gonna look at the two of us and think, “What is that young-looking person doing with that old-looking person.”
Me: I’ll still think you’re beautiful, even when you’re old-looking.
Her: I was talking about you! You’re the old one in that scenario.
Me: (laughing) Let’s not be ridiculous here. I don’t age. 

It was the Firecracker’s birthday the other day.

Since both kids were around, I just got some ramen for everyone.

She wanted a cake but I’m trying to avoid carbs – yes, I had some ramen, just go with it – so we compromised with a huge cupcake for her and a slice of cake for the boys.

But we were thwarted in our attempts to go low(er)-carb for her birthday when her office gave her a dozen donuts.

I mighta eaten a few before I took the pic below.

It’s gonna be my own birthday soon.

51. What a kick in the head.

Then again, it’s better than the alternative.

Her: Look, when you’re old and crotchy, and complaining about something you read in the papers, the gubernatorial race, or obnoxious kids, I’m still going to be young and vibrant.
Me: I’ll most likely be reading reddit, but otherwise: Accurate.

Location: earlier today, Central Park, playing hooky with the boy
Mood: hungry, what else?
Music: So what, we’re a littlе drunk, let’s go home togethеr (Spotify)
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Travelogue: Winston-Salem Pt. 2 – Thanks, Sugar!

Walking down Memory Lane

The next day, we got up bright and early to meet the Firecracker’s mom at a joint on the same block as our hotel called Heff’s Burger Club.

Me: They have diet Mountain Dew!
Her: It’s the south; we have diet Mountain Dew.

The Firecracker’s sister and BIL were both there and they’re both foodies so they suggested the joint.

Firecracker’s mom: I’ll sit next to Logan.
Me: Good life choice there, lady.

She was very nice, but didn’t like to take pictures so I wasn’t able to really capture much.

I ordered a full burger but I was still pretty hungry.

From my window in my hotel room, I’d noticed a hot chicken place across from my hotel.

Her: You want more food?
Firecracker: He’s always hungry, mom.

So, while they all enjoyed the gorgeous weather – it was close to the 80s – I had myself a medium-spice level chicken.

BIL: How is it?
Me: I shoulda ordered the mild; the first one was fine but the heat builds up and now I’m sweating.

Sweating, but enjoying my hot chix.

I woulda had more though…

…but we had other places to be.

Firecracker: We have to get some Krispy Kreme.
Me: Why?
Her: This is where they were created – Winston-Salem.
Me: Sold!

So, off we went.

The sign that indicated that the donuts were hot was turned off…

…but it turned out that they had just finished making a batch, so we ordered some hot ones.

I brought the peanut butter, knowing there would be a ton of sweets down south.

To say that it was good would be a massive understatement.

But I limited myself to “just” two.

Her: You’re on vacation.
Me: This is you being an enabler.

The Firecracker snapped a pic of me wearing one the paper hats.

I wanted to get her mom some flowers for the next day, so we stopped by a Walmart.

Her: What are you doing?
Me: $5 for two cubic feet of dirt? That’s a bargain.
Her: You’re buying dirt?! To bring home to NYC? From Winston-Salem North Carolina?!
Me: Evidently.

And I did.

We then drove by her old home…

Her: It’s been like 20 years since I’ve come here.
Me: How are you doing?
Her: I’m feeling some kinda way.

There’s more to that, but that’s her story to tell, so I’ll end that part here.

Afterward, we went to her high school, where she snapped the below picture.

Me: Imagine if I went here!
Her: You were already outta law school when this place was built.
Me: That wasn’t really necessary to point out.

Afterward, we met up with her BIL and sister again for drinks at the West Salem Public House, where I tried – and failed – to climb a tree.

See the pic on the bottom.

So, we just drank instead.

Of course, I got hungry so I dashed off to get some soul food but they closed as soon as I got there.

Me: Shoot – is there any place you can recommend?
Her: East of Texas across the lot is pretty popular.
Me: OK, but I just want you to know that I wanted you guys first.
Her: (laughs) Ah, thanks, sugar!

That’s where we closed out the night, with me stuffing myself silly.

All-in-all, it was a good second day there.

I’ll probably wrap this whole thing up in another entry or two, so I’ll see you in the next one.

Probably two more.

I eat a lot.

Location: Warby Parker in the UWS and Columbus, picking up two eclipse glasses for the eclipse this coming Monday
Mood: injured
Music: Something bout you really feels like home (Spotify)
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I eat shadows

and do other things with rainbows

An old friend of mine reached out to me the other day.

Her: I thought of you. I thought, “If Logan could survive everything he survived, I can survive this.”
Me: (nodding) You totally can. Even when we don’t wanna survive things, we do. We’re meant to struggle and scuffle until we’re breathless and weak.
Her: (sadly) I trusted him. I can’t believe that he did this. I keep wondering if I…
Me: You didn’t do anything wrong. This is a him problem, not a you problem.
Her: But…he’s my life.
Me: You lived a solid 32 years without knowing he existed. How could someone you’ve known seven outta 38 years be your entire life?
Her: (sighing) You’re right. I know you’re right. (laughing) When did you get so smart?
Me: Sometime in the mid-90s I think.
Her: It still amazes us that you’re still here.
Me: It amazes me too. Somehow, I’ve learned to eat shadows and shit rainbows.
Her: (laughs, takes a deep breath, then sighs)

Location: looking for a Level 4 ballistic plate in a playground
Mood: irritated
Music: Running from your bad decisions (Spotify)
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A year with the Firecracker

Being in it

Her: Are things like anniversaries important to you?
Me: (thinking) Hmmm, not particularly. You?
Her: Very. But I get it if it’s not to you.
Me: If it matters to you, it matters to me.

The thing with dating in NYC is that there are (a) so many options that it’s easy to think that there’s something better out there for you and (b) that fact also means that you’re always questioning if you’re being too picky.

Close to two years ago, my therapist told me that I wasn’t giving people enough of a chance, mainly because I go on a single date and then bail.

So, I tried dating several people for longer than I normally wouda.

Everyone was quite nice and each had her definite strong points but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they weren’t right for me.

Enter the Firecracker.

From the moment I met her, I felt like I knew her.

Fast forward a year and we went out the other day to celebrate our one-year anniversary of when we met.

It was sweet that it mattered to her, so I took her out to eat the other night at a Thai restaurant that we’ve both wanted to check out for a while now.

For me, one of the signs that a relationship is struggling is when you spend more time discussing the relationship versus just being in the relationship.

It’s been a long time since I was just in a relationship versus arguing about it.

Of course, she and I aren’t perfect, we do bicker at times.

But, more than anything, we see the world very similarly.

Her: Can we stop talking about the relationship and just be in the relationship?
Me: That’d be great, actually.
Her: I’m not perfect. I’m gonna make mistakes.
Me: No, you’re not perfect. (thinking) But you might be perfect for me.
Her: (sighs, smiles)

Location: yesterday, a snowy slope with four boys, three sleds, and one Firecracker
Mood: so full
Music: I was making jokes and you politely laughed (I appreciated that) (Spotify)
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Of all the weird things

You’re my favourite

The Firecracker got me a Christmas ornament without realizing how much I value them.

And that’s kinda is why we get along so well – we see the world the same way.

Her: What do you think?
Me: I love it.
Her: Really? It’s true, you know. You are my favourite weird thing I’ve found online.
Me: (laughing) Same.

Location: at a bar with a deadly past – with her and the kids
Mood: so full
Music: I was making jokes and you politely laughed. I appreciated that (Spotify)
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I, the doctor?

My quixotic quest for paw-paws

Been having this peculiar Baader-Meinhof moment with alla those paw-paw fruits that I got a month ago.

I’ve been noticing the tropical variants on sale everywhere – the three below I got while getting some suits tailored in Chinatown with my usual guy.

The big one in the middle is a cherimoya while the two on the side are sweetsops or sugar apples.

Gotta say, the sugar apple version was pretty amazeballs with so much sugar in them that there were actually sugar crystals in the fruit itself, which was both weird and cool.

The cherimoya was definitely good and tasted a lot like the paw paw although slightly less banana-like.

Her: I like this one better – it’s less banana-y.
Me: What are you, a Communist?

Also found some sour sops in Queens when I visited my mom – I’d never had them before and was tempted to buy them but I figured I’d blown enough scratch on my quixotic quest for paw-paws.

Speaking of my family’s home, went to see my mom for her birthday the other day but she was stuck at work, so I didn’t even get to see her.

At least last time I saw her for 20 minutes.

But the kid and I did get to spend some time with his cousins as well as my sister, which was nice.

No one could pick us up from the train station so we ended up taking the bus from Manhattan to literally two blocks from their house. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be BUT the bus itself was 30 minutes late, so that was annoying.

We did take the train home though.

I find that we spend an inordinate amount of time planning on leaving and then leaving the city.

And yet, we always come back.

Me: Would you ever wanna move, kid?
Him: No. I would miss my friends too much.
Me: You could always make new friends.
Him: I suppose.
Me: (laughing) We could always just stay here.
Him: It’s our home!
Me: Yes, yes it is.

The Firecracker cut open her head pretty badly the other night.

She was gonna go to the ER when I convinced her that I could patch her up with some Hibiclens and Crazy Glue.

She was a bit hesitant but I asked her to trust me. After all, I’ve done it to myself a dozen times or so.

But she did and I patched her up. A week later, most of the Crazy Glue had broken off and the super deep gash on her head was completely gone. Barely a scar.

Hmm, I wonder if my brother shoulda been the lawyer and I, the doctor?

Location: the kid’s room, asking why there are always pencils everywhere
Mood: super beat
Music: I see you; do you see me? (Spotify)
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You’re kidding me


Me: Did you pack your lunch?
Him: Yes.
Me: Are you sure you packed your lunch?
Him: Yes!

The boy got strep throat the other day. It was a comedy of errors.

I’d dropped him off at his summer camp and I just arrived home when I got a call from one of the camp counselors.

Her: Your son said he left his lunch on the bench.
Me: You’re kidding me. (walk over to bench) Jesus Christ…
Her: It’s ok, we can buy him…
Me: (interrupting) No, it’s fine. I’ll come back and bring him his lunch. (hang up) *grumble*

So, off I went again to drop off his lunch.

An hour later I get another call.

Her: Your son said he doesn’t feel well.
Me: You’re kidding me.
Her: He said his head hurts and he has a sore throat.
Me: OK, I can be there at 2PM.
Her: Great. We’ll tell him.

Managed to get a doctor’s appointment that afternoon and we saw the doc less than 30 minutes after I picked him up.

That was a bit of good news/luck in an otherwise unlucky day.

Her: Yup, he’s got strep. It’s pretty common. He’ll be fine after 24 hours but you gotta make sure he continues to take the meds for the full 10 days.
Me: Got it, Doc.

What stinks is that that the very next day, we had three orchestra tix for a show that he was dying to see – and they were ridonk expensive for just an hour show.

Him: I can’t go?!
Me: Sorry, kiddo. We don’t wanna ruin other people’s summer vacation, do we?
Him: (sadly) I guess not.
Me: I’ll make it up to you, kid. Promise.

Then, the Firecracker and I started feeling off so we managed to get a doctor’s appointment for ourselves that same day.

There were two funny things about that doctor’s office – the first is that it was the same office I went to when I got into that scooter accident. They turned me away because I had a head injury.

The second funny thing was that there were pictures of TV and movie doctors everywhere.

Anywho, it turns out that neither of us had staph, we were just being waaay too cautious – I had stayed home with the kid for a couplea days until we got the results back just so as not to get anyone else sick.

After we left the doctor’s office, we walked around looking for my favourite bottle of rum.

The kid’s fine now, and back in camp.

As for me, I’ve been pretty good lately, although both the kid’s and my not feeling well meant that the pad got a little messy.

Her: Logan, can’t you clean up? Go put your nuts against the wall.
Me: (laughing)
Her: Your can of nuts, sitting in the middle of your countertop!
Me: Phrasing, Firecracker, phrasing!

She sent this to me recently on IG. I’m gonna assume that means she wants to keep me around.

Location: The gym, for the first time in days
Mood: headachey
Music: I ruin good things ’cause I feel guilty when I’m happy (Spotify)
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My soul is lemonade

Make me write bad checks

Me: What makes a proctologist decide to be a proctologist? I mean they have to look at assholes all day.
Firecracker: (shrugging) I’m sure that you lawyers deal with just as many, if not more, assholes every day.
Me: Fair.

I find the Firecracker pretty funny, mainly with her earnestness in life.

Because the funniest things come from a place of honesty.

There’s something refreshing about having someone that is relentlessly upbeat and positive, especially considering my recent past.

In terms of the big three buckets of health, wealth, and relationships, relationships seem to be the one that my friends talk with me about the most.

With that said, I’m not the only one whose life seems on the upswing.

Ran into a friend of mine the other day who was with someone new. Afterward, she and I chatted about it.

Me: I didn’t realize you and [your ex] broke up. Was there any particular thing?
Her: (thinking) It was weird. I told him – straight-up – things like, “Could you let me know if you’re running late, “or “Could you drop me a line to make sure I got home OK?” Nothing. Ever.
Me: That’s weird.
Her: Yeah. Basically, that relationship was: “He knew what I wanted but he never did it.”
Me: Jesus Christ, can I relate to that…

Of course, for every person whose life is getting better, there’s gotta be at least one person whose life is getting worse.

Or two – see, two friends of mine just announced that they were divorcing each other. I didn’t wanna pry but it seemed that things mainly come down to issues in communication.

Have you ever actually read the story of the Little Mermaid? The original story is…dark. Waaaaay, dark.

Essentially, the mermaid saved this prince’s life but couldn’t speak so the prince thought some other chick saved his life and married her, and she died.

The end.

Think the loneliest people in the world are the ones that aren’t actually mute but can’t communicate.

I feel for them. After all, communication isn’t what you say, it’s what the other person hears.

Besides, what is life without someone to talk to?

Then again, some things might be best left unsaid.

Me: Can you do me a favour?
Her: Sure, what?
Me: Can you walk on my back? I’ve had a rough day at the gym.
Her: (laughs) Sure!
Me: (10 minutes later, groaning) OMG, hurt me, call me names, make me write bad checks!
Her: Umm… you…Mad Hatter!
Me: (laughing hysterically) MAD HATTER?!
Her: That’s all I could come up with! Now write me some bad checks!

I feel like I’m finally past my lemon days, maybe? That’s the hope, anywho.

So, here’s to some lemonade…

Location: day-drinking with her in an empty bar on 80th and Amsterdam
Mood: completely exhausted
Music: Everything’s just fine, I’ma be just fine (Spotify)
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Catching lunch at the Hudson Yards

A last-minute get-together

Her: At least you can drive.
Me: Drive? I’ve been driving for 35 years.
Her: (laughing) I was barely alive when you started driving! (laughing harder) I’m dead, I’m dead.
Me: (grumble)

My brother was in town again with his new girl…

…so, the Firecracker and I met up with the two of them at Hudson Yards, along with KTO.

It was a very last minute thing since we weren’t planning on meeting up until later in the week but everyone just happened to be free that day so off we went.

Haven’t been to Hudson Yards in a while for a buncha reasons but I was looking forward to going for the first time in a long while.

We met up at Mercado Little Spain there and had some tapas, again.

I’d never been before but it was essentially the entire basement area in one of the buildings so that was surprising.

Ended up having some mussels

…and a killer mushroom, onion, and date sammie.

Afterward, we all piled into a bus that brought everyone to another restaurant directly across the street from the Firecracker – which was totally by happenstance.

Later on that week, the Firecracker had a small celebration of her own for personal reasons and my brother and his girl came out for that.

But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

May’s almost over. I’m relieved.

Location: My basement, taking measurements and hoping for the best
Mood: hating today
Music: I will love you until my dying day (Spotify)
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A trip to Queens, Pt 2

Five Tomatoes

My mom drove the three of us back to her place.

The Firecracker explained she grew up in places that looked very similar, although every home was on an acre of land.

Boy: How big is an acre?
Me: 43,560 square feet.
Him: Is that like 10 miles?
Me: Do you know how many feet are in a mile, kid? 5 Tomatoes.
Him: 5 Tomatoes?
Me: Yeah. 5, 2, 8, 0. A mile has five-thousand, two-hundred, eighty feet. “Five Tomatoes.”
Firecracker: I’ve never heard that before!
Me: And…now you have.

Once we got back home, I introduced the Firecracker to my sister and her kids.

Everyone seemed to get along pretty well as my sister and she chatted for a bit, while my mom cooked.

My sister got a bouncy house as a gift and asked we could help set it up for the kiddos.

I figured out how to inflate the thing and set it up while the Firecracker hammered the stakes into the ground.

Afterward, we borrowed my mom’s car for a drive but we only made it two houses when the Firecracker noticed an open house just a few doors down.

Her: Let’s check it out!
Me: Sure, I’ve always wanted to know what other houses looked like inside.

We stepped in and checked it out. Since she’s from the south, she’s much more about big houses with yards than tiny apartments in the concrete jungle.

It was a pretty house but I’m still hoping to stay in my apartment, somehow, despite the massive increase I pay every month.

We got back into the car and we took a drive out in Long Island because the weather was just perfect.

Ended up at a Barnes and Noble that I used to go to every single day to study for the LSATs.

I think that was one area where Alison and I differed on what a perfect day was. She always liked to keep busy while I liked to sit and read in cafe.

Used to spend entire days there reading and having coffee but haven’t done that in over a decade.

Me: Are you ok with sitting here, having a cuppa coffee and reading for a bit?
Her: That’s my love language!

Afterward, we took a slow drive back. My mom had made a bunch more Taiwanese and Chinese dishes, which the Firecracker also loved.

Mom: Do you want to take some home?
Her: Yes! If that’s ok.

We stayed for a little while longer, just lounging around the house, while the kid continued to play with his cousins until it was time to go.

The Firecracker found the note above the aquarium ridic funny.

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the station to catch the train back to the city.

The trains are rarely late but this time, they were delayed some 30-40 mins, so it was pretty late once we got back.

The Firecracker got out at our station but immediately walked home because she had work the next day and a lot to do at home.

So, the kid and I went home.

Me: Did you have a good day?
Him: Yes! What are we doing next weekend?
Me: Not sure yet, I’m sure we’ll think of something.

Location: Koreatown, with some of my oldest friends and a crapton of food – alla which I ate
Mood: stuffed
Music: we should jump right into the personal facts (Spotify)
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