years since we were born



now playing: counting crows, “a murder of one”



“…are you happy when you’re sleeping?
does he keep you safe and warm?
does he tell you when you’re sorry?
does he tell you when you’re wrong?

i’ve been watching you for hours
it’s been years since we were born
we were perfect when we started
i’ve been wondering where you’ve gone…”


i just needed a break. really.

i turned off the news for the weekend – no reports of destruction in florida or the murder of hundreds of children in Beslan or wolf blitzers’ smarmy mug on CNN (how can you expect a man who literally owes his career to an overdose of “face time” during desert storm to be impartial in a political discussion that features an identical war as its centerpiece?)…

so i essentially took the weekend off from the outside world.

wendy skipped town for the weekend to go to maine, so it was the kids and i. me n’ the kids. just the three of us.

and ya know, the interesting thing is that it seems like we did a lot of stuff, but as i sit here now – first day back at work – it doesn’t feel like much for three days. i took the kids clothes shopping, for one thing…and that felt good. that’s something that’s typically been hijacked by their mom in years past, but this year, i just took them for stuff, no questions asked. i feel like (by now, anyway) they should be the best judges of what they will or won’t wear, and as long as it fit and didn’t look as though they’d only be able to wear it for half an hour before they outgrew it, we got it.

i have no idea at this point how much money we spent. i didn’t spend any money i didn’t have, but i’m sure the final figures aren’t in yet. i would estimate at this point that it was around $350 or so…but that bought a LOT of clothes, man. my daughter is a bargain hound, and she knew almost by instinct exactly where to go and what she could buy at specific stores.

…and dylan really, really, really wanted the network adapter for his PS2 – so i struck a deal with him. do the lawn work for the remaining days of the year and it’s yours. i was surprised that he agreed to it, but he did. and on sunday, dylan was outside mowing the grass. if i’d had time, i was going to dig in with him and do the weeds around the edge of the house, but i decided to wait on that until i could get some input as to what i’m allowed to destroy and what should be staying.

(i have a third degree black thumb…i don’t know a weed from a tomato plant, an azalea from a marigold, none of that. in fact, at the last house, i would have preferred that the whole back yard have been paved. it was one of those typical row-home back yards, but it resembled a very, very large grave – curved like the top of a pound cake. yeah, the whole thing. and i’m happy to do my part with the yard work, but i lean towards the overzealous – if it’s not in the “to be mowed” category, i’ll rip it the hell out and scatter mulch over the hole.)

i did hit one rough patch with jayda, when i said something that i really had no business saying – at least not the way i said it.

on sunday, she wanted to hang out with her friend marissa, which i was only too happy to be a party to…originally, marissa was coming to our house, but her friend javier called and the two of them decided they wanted to go to his house. OK, no problem – dylan and i were going to pick up his new desk and the new box springs for the full-sized beds upstairs anyway.

so i asked where he lived, and she then asked him where he lived…i knew he lived in mt. penn, but that’s all i knew.

well, apparently this kid didn’t know how to tell her to get there. he ended up telling her to go to the wendy’s on perkiomen avenue (the main thoroughfare through mt. penn) and he’d meet her there.

i was astonished…”how old is this kid?” i asked her. “sixteen”, she said.

i said, incredulously, “you mean to tell me this kid is sixteen and he can’t tell you where the hell he lives?!???”

without getting into too much detail, let’s just say that i said some things that could be construed as an insult to his intelligence.

and i don’t regret anything i said about him, because – as far as i’m concerned – if you get to be that age and you don’t know where you live, you don’t have a leg to stand on to argue the other side of that coin.

further, as it turns out…the kid lives right on perkiomen avenue…the main drag in mount penn.

i’m sorry, man, but you gotta be pretty damn thick…

but anyway, like i said…i don’t really feel bad about what i said about him, but i did say some things that i think she found personally insulting, and that wasn’t my intention at all. thankfully, it became water under the bridge in pretty quick fashion, but i do have to be aware of my words and try to be a little more thoughtful of their effect.

where the kids are concerned, anyway.

it’s probably wrong that i still have no remorse about what i said about this javier kid, but it’s the truth. and i feel like i probably have a bead on jayda’s motivation…because i’ve had a tendency in similar directions, in my life. i always had a tendency to “take in strays” (as blake would say) – to consult with the underdogs. in a lot of ways, there was a sense of purpose in aligning myself with the “strays”, so to speak…in a lot of ways, they were a lot more interesting, from a character standpoint. they spoke to my antiestablishment sense, and being part of that rung of the food chain gave me something to rail against.

now, though, as the protective parent, i have a hard time sympathizing with any kind of bond with a sixteen year old kid who can’t tell you how to get to their house that’s six houses away from the fast-food restaurant they asked you to meet them at.

i guess it could be said that being a parent has sharpened my protective genes, and that i make what could be outwardly safer choices for my children than i would make for myself.

did i mention that dylan’s new desk rocks? he says that it reminds him of the swimming pool. if you could see a picture of it, you’d understand why.

now, though, i have to finish his bed and get him off the futon and into his real bed…then the house will be in order.

well, i’m also gonna reinstall windows on both of the kids’ (and my own) computers and get our network in order. i’m gonna put another PC in the studio that’s going to act as a file server, as well. yep, user directories and the whole nine yards.

i’m such a geek.

anyway, now that i’m back, i guess i have some catching up to do. stand by….


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