Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hasta

"Turn off the TV!" I yelled.

"Why?" the middle kid yelled back.

"Because you need to pack!"

"Stop yelling!"

"Then come here!"

He stomped upstairs, exhausted and crabby. "What?" he demanded.

"You need to pack," I repeated.

"I can do that tomorrow."

"No," I said. "Your brother has a baseball game tomorrow and you have soccer practice."

"So? I'll do it after practice."

"I don't want to pack at 11 p.m. Besides, I have to pack, too."

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"To the annual conference for work," I said.

"Oh, right. There. Have fun."

"It'll be okay," I said. "It's an easy drive."

"Not as nice as Playa del Carmen," he said.

"Which I'm paying for," I reminded him.

"You're just paying for the airfare," he said. "My friend S. is paying for the room."

"Your friend's mom is paying for the room," I corrected him. "And just the airfare was a small fortune."

"You have a good job," he said.

"I have a great job," I said. "That doesn't mean I'm rich."

"You always say you're rich."

"I am, in the context of people around the world. In the context of people who send their children on vacations out of the country, I'm not."

"So you're poor?"

"No, I'm not poor. I'm tired of this discussion, though. Can we go finish packing?"

"Can we argue while we pack?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"Not really."

"Alright," I said. "If it gets you out of the country, I'm willing to give it a shot."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unknowns

"What is that?" my assistant asked. I was eating lunch at my desk.

"I don't know," I said.

"What do you mean you don't know?"

"It looked interesting, so I bought it."

"Where?"

"A Vietnamese grocery down the street."

"What did the label say?"

"I don't know," I said. "It was in Vietnamese."

"Is it a spring roll?"

"Maybe," I said. "It might have shrimp in it. Or mung beans. It's hard to tell. It's got sort of a Silly Putty texture."

"Is it any good?"

"I don't know. It's kind of weird, actually. I'm trying to decide if it's good weird or weird weird."

"You're going to finish it either way, aren't you?"

"Probably. Waste not, want not."

"What's wrong with you?" she asked.

"I don't know," I said.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

20

On a warm summer night, we walked home after work.

With the city in the background, I gave her a ring.

The champagne popped and the rain came, and we ran laughing to shelter.

We had kids and laughed some more and fought and played and the time has gone by more quickly than I could have imagined.

I love her more now than I ever have.

Happy anniversary, light of my life.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Horsing Around

"What in the name of God are you going to do in Iceland?" I asked my mother.

"See the sights," she replied.

"Give me a couple thousand bucks and you can look in our freezer," I offered.

"Iceland has a temperate climate. You're thinking of Greenland."

"You're trying to tell me Iceland isn't icy and Greenland isn't green? And I suppose A isn't A. Looter."

"Stop being so obnoxious," she said.

"Good luck with that," muttered the oldest boy.

"Besides," continued my mother, "it's on the way to Norway."

"Geographic continuity is no way to plan a vacation. The Slough of Despond is on the way to the Valley of Humiliation but I wouldn't visit either of them," I said.

"What?" she said.

"You'd understand the reference if you hadn't spent your college years running guns and cooking meth."

"I spent my college years in Evanston," she said. "It was a dry city."

"Which gave you a monopoly on the market," I pointed out.

"Be quiet," said the Lovely Bride. "I want to hear about your mother's tour."

"Thank you," said my mother. "He is unbearable. I'm not actually taking a tour of Iceland, however, I'm simply going to spend a day or two there."

"They're letting you run around Europe unattended?" I asked.

She ignored me. "I've heard Reykjavik is very nice," she continued.

"You should go horseback riding there," I suggested.

"Why would I want to do that?" she asked warily.

"The oldest gets to go horseback riding when he's in Australia," I said.

"That sounds like fun," she said to her grandson.

"We even got to name the horse," I added.

"We did not," said my oldest. "He's being stupid again."

"Sure we did," I said. "When we filled out the horseback riding waiver form, it asked for a name."

"They wanted your name," said the boy. "Nobody else would be dumb enough to think they were asking us to name the horse."

"We gave the horse a nice name," I said.

"That was the worst part," my son told his mother and grandmother. "He named it 'Jumpy.'"

"You didn't have any better suggestions," I said.

"That's because we weren't supposed to name it," he snarled.

"We had to," I said. "The Outback's a desert."

"What does that have to do with anything?" asked my mother.

"He can't ride through the desert on a horse with no name," I said.

"Please stop," said the Lovely Bride.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Soft Serve

"Hey," I said.

"What?" my oldest demanded. He dislikes talking on the phone as much as I do.

"Do you want anything from Dairy Queen?" I asked him.

"When are you going?"

"I'm at the ballpark. As soon as your brother's game ends."

"I'm not very hungry."

"Mom called," I said. "She said the tennis team banquet was nice."

"It was fine."

"She said they announced you were going to be captain next year."

"Yeah."

"I thought we'd have some ice cream. Celebrate a little."

"That's stupid," he said.

"Probably," I said. "So, you want anything?"

"A Butterfinger Blizzard."

"Okay," I said.

I'm proud of you, I thought.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010