Monday, May 05, 2008

The road years

I'm hoping that unlike Kerouac's travels, this phase we're going through doesn't last for years--or involve cross country jags with speed freaks, hopping freights and ducking yard bulls with dharma bums, and misogynists shooting their wives in Mexico. I'm too old for that shit.

I figure that the rest of it--the trains, planes, taxis, subways, and crazy car seat swaps--will be manageable. The hardest part will be missing 3B when the next loneliness whiplash hits...

OK, so what's the deal with the travel?

Backing up a bit, last week, Mama was in Uganda. She would call and say things like, "I'm sitting in front of my cottage, eating pineapple that they just picked in the garden." And, "I'm sipping a beer out by the pool, which overlooks Lake Victoria. The evening is cool and beautiful; everything is green since it's rainy season; I can hear the music floating up from the city."

I would say things like, "My coffee is cold, and my cubicle is particularly gray today."

She came home, said "hello," kissed me, unpacked, packed, kissed me, said "goodbye," and left with 3B for Great Grammy's farm. We've been videochatting every night, so I get to see the boy for a minute or two, before he has to squirm down to play with all the tractors that Great Grammy has, or run outside to play baseball with Grammy, or go ride a tractor, or see cows at the barn. Last night, Mama was able to take the laptop outside and so I could see (a slightly pixelated version of) 3B playing ball with his Grammy. He would run over every once in awhile to check in. When he did, I would forget about all the half-finished chores surrounding me, the strain and fatigue that strains my face into a semi-permanent wince, and I could feel my heart beating and my breath slowing down. 3B's saying things now like, "Be careful, Grammy." And Mama reports on how much he liked eating Great Grammy's macaroni and cheese, and how much she--that would be Mama--liked eating Aunt D's cookies, and how she's relaxing during 3B's five-hour naps.

I report on how 3B napped for 45 minutes while she was gone and how today Barky pooped on a totally different part of the lawn.

Tractor boy smiles

Later this week, I'm headed to NYC to officiate at my best friend's wedding, which Mama is coming down from the farm to attend with me, leaving 3B with Grammy. That will give us one night to get all, like, likkered up like we were in Chicago that one time where Mama ended up aikido rolling me down the aisle of the train. (For the record, it was all her fault, Mama started it, I was just sitting there, I wasn't even touching her seat, I wasn't the one who thought we needed two pitchers of sangria, it's just not faaaaaair!) The next day, Mama and I will return to our respective corners--her to the farm, while I detox on the train ride back down here to home in Dixie.

Mama and 3B fly in the next day, which gives us almost a whole day before we have to head back to the airport to fly down to Orlando, where I have a seminar that happens to be located at the happiest place on earth. (OK, has anyone figured out which is the true happiest place on earth--Disneyland or Disneyworld? They can't both be the happiest. One has to be happier. If none of you has the answer, I'm definitely going to be the grumpiest mouseketeer on earth until I figure that out.) While I'm learning about the intricacies of taxonomies, ontologies, and information architecture, Mama and 3B will be frolicking in the pool, riding the monorail, and enjoying the happiest place on earth. They'll say things like, "We met Cinderella."

I'll say things like, "I learned how to structure term dependencies to improve findability."

Then, we fly back home on the same day that Grammy flies down here. We all converge at our house for almost a whole day before Mama and I fly out to Brussels while Grammy babysits 3B. This is yet another business trip for Mama, and my boss was generous enough to let me go along*. I will actually be working from Brussels since I can, I don't have that many vacation days to burn, I've got a boatload of work to keep up on, and since Mama will also be working all day. Sure, I could go wander the streets by day while Mama's working and scout the best places to go, so when she got out of her meetings, we could go straight there, but I like the idea of discovering the city together. Besides, if I took the vacation days, when Mama got out of her meetings, I would say things like, "I spent the afternoon drinking the most amazing beer while watching this thrilling kermesse." And Mama would say things like, "The coffee was cold in my plenary session in which we strategized on the logistics of commodity delivery."

Then again, perhaps I should take them as vacation days.

But seriously, I can't afford the days off for a number of reasons, and so if I seem a bit absent or absentminded, now you know why.

(And yes, creepy innernets stalker types, our house will be protected--this time by our neighbor of the military persuasion. If you try anything, here's hoping you know a good battlefield surgeon. Also, we have only two requests: please, no sucking chest wounds in our house--take that shit into the hallway (or just toss yourself off the balcony), and if you do feel the need to bleed out, please do so in the bathroom. We need to redo it anyway.)

*Not that I'm saying this because my boss' wife reads this blog, although she does. He really is a great guy to work for and with...what's that you say? Mid-year reviews are right around the corner? Really? Who knew? Hey, hi there, Christy.

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  1. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Holy Toledo! I need a five-hour nap just reading about all that. And to get over the incredible envy that's overtaking me right now. Because I've never been anywhere. Well, nowhere outside the US. Not even Tijuana. How pathetic is that.

  2. okay---go to my blog. scroll down. you'll see the beaten up mini cooper on my blog. it will be very familiar to you.

  3. Amama: Not pathetic at all. You've been to amazing places and done amazing things.

    L-P: Weird. I swear that I left a comment on your post last night...but it appears that I didn't post it. I'll repost, but in case you're checking's a picture for you. Explanation on your blog.

  4. We will miss you while you are gone. Do come back sometime, after you find yourself.

    I get time all by myself in the car, and when I am at your mother's house, which is usually without my kids. Any other time, someone wants me for something.

  5. Anonymous7:58 AM

    LOL. Don't worry, we're too busy saying things like "when did he get that new bruise?" and "how many pieces of dog food did he eat today?" to kvetch too much about your lavish vacations.

    Of course, if you can get 3B to give Jack a few "sleeping past 6am" lessons, it might do wonders for your boss' mood during those reviews. I'm just saying.

  6. I think that the paint colors, choice in toys....all these similarities...well, they just mean that we are two families with exceptional taste.

    ....lavish vacations....and 3B in a big tractor...or truck...or, something big with wheels...we're jealous. GREEN with ENVY.

  7. CAGirl: Barky is doing his best to make up for the lacking neediness by following me everywhere and nudging my hand with his nose any time I stand still.

    TBW: We have the same bruise thing here. We ask 3B all the time, but he never fesses up to knowing anything about what happened to his body. Also, Barky now has no toys to play with thanks to 3B. Barky only plays with toys that drop food, and as soon as 3B was mobile, he started shaking the food out and eating it whenever he found a toy. Sorry, Barky. Maybe we'll give them back to you when 3B goes to kindergarten.

    L-P: If you were green with envy, that would be a John Deere. I wasn't there to see this picture being taken, but from the color of the tractor, I'm guessing that was a Caterpillar.

  8. Wow, I knew you guys were going to be traveling a lot this month, but I didn't realize exactly how much! Good thing I read your blog to stay updated on your shenanigans.

  9. I almost spit my cold coffee out my nose when I read your comment back to Mama about cold coffee and cubicles. I think you two are living in opposite universes right now. Here's hoping you can all sip some beer, relax by a pool and make the happiest place on Earth wherever you happen to be.

    FYI, I don't know why they call it that anyway. I've never seen so many tantrum-throwing kid and miserable parents as when we were at Disney last. It's all a marketing ploy. ;-)

  10. It should be easy enough to break in since it appears you have a revolving door on your condo. I've got military ID so access should be granted easily enough. I don't plan on doing any bleeding when I am there, but I am smart enough to get it over a tiled floor if I choose to. Now getting the kids to think the same way I do..... Doug did decide the other night when he had stomach flu that throwing up in the toilet was much easier. I was away at the ballet with his sister at the time, so he was cleaning the bucket out himself. Funny how his brother or other sister or father didn't step up to help him in his time of need. I guess I am truly the only one here who will.