now playing: marty higgins, “california”


the big news, today, for me:

weekend movie grosses:

dodgeball: $18.5 million on 3020 screens.
white chicks: $19.6 million on 2726 screens.


fahrenheit 9/11: $21.6 million on…868 screens.

a word to all the detractors of this movie: go on…call all the theatres you want to, rant all you want about it…you simply can’t make the truth go away.

the kids went to see it with me on friday afternoon, and then i took wendy later that day. dylan, specifically, had a very strong reaction to the movie. as we were walking out, i asked him, “do you still think you might want to go into the military someday?”

he didn’t even look at me, but shook his head no as we were walking…and as i moved up to walk beside him, i could see by the expression on his face that he was on the verge of tears, so i stopped him where he stood and just held him for a minute or two while he let it out…

i asked him much later what it was about the movie that caused him to react that way, and he said that it was the combination of the footage from post-liberation bagdhad and the cockiness and arrogance of some of the soldiers who were doing all this…i think he had a really hard time trying to understand how it is that we could do something like this.

i’ve got 25 years on him, and i’m still having a hard time with it myself.

wendy didn’t fare much better – she cried through most of the movie.

her nerves are pretty close to her skin. dylan (not unlike his father) seems to go with the “measuring cup” reactive method…meaning that all is held in reserve until it reaches the top lip of the internal cup, and then it comes pouring out.

i don’t know that this is ever healthy, but that’s the way it seems to happen.

i returned the kids to their moms’ after the movie on friday so that they could get ready for a (later pre-empted due to rain) pool party, and wendy and i went about the task of packing…friday night spilled over into saturday morning without any opportunity for sleep on my part. wendy managed to squeeze an hour in, but the only sleep i got was on the sofa waiting for the movers to arrive. after that, i got a short nap in between 4:30/5:00 and 7ish, and then went out to the village tavern gig…stumbled home at 2:30 and collapsed on the sofa. i don’t think i even moved for the next ten hours.

our prior estimates for our move were, as i suspected, far short of reality. bless his heart, man, jamie and the two guys who he brought on for the day busted their asses, but there’s still another truckload of stuff to go. we got the first truck unloaded at the new house at a little after three in the afternoon, and i told them that we didn’t have to do this all today, and they were tired enough to agree with me. so we’ll have this week to get things squared away and they’ll make the final run this saturday morning.

looking around me at this house, i can scarcely believe that i live there. the neighborhood is amazing, the house itself is wonderful, and it’s going to be perfect for everything that i’ve planned for it. i can’t believe that i get to live there. little things have made impressions – like having the kitchen table placed where it is makes it really easy to bring the groceries in from the car and plop them down there without having to even go all the way into the kitchen, for instance. the placement of light switches. the layout of the laundry area. the back porch/patio area.

it’s just a million little things, ya know…

i find myself thinking, as this move progresses, about my first solo apartment quite a bit lately, in a nostalgic kinda way.

this place was a dump, mind you…it was two rooms and a bath, with a kitchenette built into one wall. at the time, i wasn’t even able to fill that up. i really didn’t have anything. i had just split up with the kids’ mom, and i was starting out by myself for what could be called the first time…i had gone into the navy after high school instead of college, and when i came out, i went straight into cohabitation with her. i had never really had a place of my own, unencumbered, ever…and that was it.

i’ve been remembering things like buying my first bed and carrying the mattress and then the box springs up three flights of steps and falling backwards onto it, exhausted from the move…about how i could leave the window next to my bed open even in the driving rain, because the screen outside it was covered with ivy, and i loved hearing the rain on the leaves. i also heard the verve’s urban hymns album for the first time through that window, and i still think of that night and hearing that music over that particular circuit every time i hear those songs.

i remember the toy basketball hoop that hung from the closet door, and how i used to sit in my chair and shoot baskets at it…i remember mark magwire’s 62nd home run on the tiny TV that i had, sitting on the wall unit behind my desk. i had a headset that i used to talk on the phone that would reach to the sink so i could do dishes and talk on the phone, which i thought was the coolest thing. i remember taking my bike downstairs and riding around the streets of reading at hours that you shouldn’t really be out on the streets of reading – and finding it very peaceful, overall…in fact, that was one of my favorite things to do during that time…ride my bike around town at night. it worked wonders for clearing the senses.

it kinda represented starting over, for me…going back to square one and building up from there. i’ve moved several times since then, picking up roommates on occasion, other times dropping them…but that apartment (and that time) seems to symbolize a simplicity to me that i don’t really have access to anymore. i don’t know if i could do that again…give up everything i have and go start over on the top floor of a tenement in the city. i don’t know if i’d even allow myself to consider that an option – i’m too tied into my life as it is.

but i’m glad i did it once.

on the refrigerator in our new house, justin left a fortune from a fortune cookie from what must have been a pretty important meal some time in his not-too-distant past. it reads:

“now is the time to try something new.”

i think that we’re both doing that right now. while moving is old hat for me by now, this feels very much like something new to me, for reasons that i think are still revealing themselves.


yesterday, i drove to kutztown university to deposit my ninth grader into their capable hands for a five week college prep program called upward bound. i feel like i was thrust ahead a number of years, moving my daughter into a college dorm…i mean,high school hasn’t even started in earnest for her yet…but there we all were – myself, wendy, jayda’s mom, brother and stepsister, all conspiring unconsciously to make the whole process as nerve-wracking for jayda as we possibly could. we got there and jill and chelsea immediately began wiping down everything in the room with damp rags, and jayda’s mom set right to work dictating to jayda where she should put this, how she should set that up, et cetera, until the annoyed look on jayda’s face seemed obvious enough to me that i got up and went out into the hallway for a while. dylan decided to go check out the rec room in the basement of the residence hall, and wendy followed me out. we stayed out of the way until her roommate showed up, and we went inside to help them get things squared away…not too much later, a little after an hour after we arrived, dylan, wendy and i were on our way home.

i don’t think i’d have felt like such a hopelessly archaic human fossil if i’d taken her to summer camp, or the dropoff for a girl scout trip…something of that nature. this is college, man…friggin’ college.

sometimes i honestly couldn’t begin to tell you where the time went.

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