Daddy Duties

Halloween always seems to have a really big anticlimactic lead up at my house. There is always talk by the grown-ups of having some really fabulous outfit that is authentic. And, as much as I would like to poo-poo the authentic baloney spewing from my significant other’s mouth, I have to admit that I am a sucker for it as well. See, I really, really want to own Rose Tyler’s outfit from the Doctor Who episode The Idiot’s Lantern. She is wearing a pink ball gown with tulle underneath with this jacket and shoes that just can’t be found. Believe me, I’ve tried. And I don’t want a knock off version, I want the real thing. So the likelihood that I will ever wear that outfit is slim to none.

This year my son expressed some interest in being Bobba Fett. I was leery. He is always a variation on the same thing. He wants to be something scary but not an actual character. Like he would not want to be some movie or TV bad guy but he does like a scary mask and a cloak and a weapon, there is always a weapon. But for some reason, his dad really hooked onto the Bobba Fett idea. I think it was partially because he was really into too. He shopped around online so he wouldn’t be scrambling at the last minute. He didn’t like the helmet that came with the costume so he bought an actual one. Like a collector’s item kind, still in the original packaging. I have to admit that it was really cool. Thing is, is that when our son put on the costume, I could tell that he wasn’t really loving it. It wasn’t cool enough for him. It was too commercial. It was a real character. Not one that just sort of came from his head. I tried to prep his dad for what I felt was the inevitability of our son not actually being Bobba Fett on Halloween. And he took it surprisingly well. So much so that by this past weekend, the two of them went shopping at the pop up mega Halloween store in town.

My son came home with an evil jester outfit. It is sort of like the male version of Harley Quinn if you are into Batman and Gotham but without all the T&A. It was perfect for him. And to top it off, instead of a weapon they bought a staff with a jester’s hat on the top. It was ridiculously overpriced, good thing I wasn’t with them, but our son loves his outfit. And he looks great.

Then today, this morning in the rush to put on sunblock he knocked into the staff which was not put away but instead propped up in the living room. That thing went falling over and it was then we realized that the top, the jester hat, is made of ceramic as it crashed to the tiled floor in the foyer. No wonder that thing is do damn heavy. It just broke into pieced. Dad was in the bathroom and my son was crushed. And he did not want to tell his dad. It made for a very silent drive to school from what I was told.

My son initially was going to use his own money to buy a new staff. His dad told me that he was going to try to glue gun the thing back together this morning. I had no idea how successful that might be. The pieces seemed to be pretty large. It hadn’t broken into hundreds of tiny bits. For some reason my significant other, the father of my child, owns a glue gun. I can’t remember why. Maybe for gluing bitty parts onto fake collectible football helmets. But I digress, he owns one and he knows how to use it.

photo photo (1)

I was the first home today and honestly the staff looks really great. Clearly it was broken but it is not broken any more. I have to admit that coming home to that and the glue gun on the table really just took my breath away. Sometimes my son’s dad is not the most patient of people. Sometimes he is quick to anger. It is never easy being a dad to a boy, I think. There is so much expectation of what to do and how to do it. And there was so much potential for anger and accusation this morning but there was none. And he took that damn glue gun out and actually fixed it. When I picked it up off the floor I could feel the love that went into doing that just coming off of it in waves. I actually got a little choked up as I held that poor mangled staff because now it was perfect. It was the perfect accessory to the perfect costume. Not exactly right, maybe a little off, maybe a little damaged but perfect just the same. Just like my family. Perfect in our own way.

 

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Hypochondriac

Everyone knows that I am not the hypochondriac in my relationship. Unless of course I am. Maybe it is just normal if you are not a medical professional to get on the internet and self-diagnose with the worst possible affliction that matches your symptoms. Because of course you are dying. Always, always dying of the thing that will kill you the most painfully and the quickest. Maybe I am a worse hypochondriac because I am in the closet. At least my significant other makes no bones about demanding an endoscopy. But then there I was at the ER today. Today in the middle of the day when I clearly was not having an emergency. I was dropped off out front and walked in. It was the culmination of two days of symptom madness with contributing circumstances. There’s work, which has been more stressful than usual. There’s the as yet unknown source of the bites I have woken up with the past two mornings. And there’s the fact that it is an off-the-hormones week for pre-menopausal symptoms. All of these things led to me strolling into the ER this morning to discuss the lovely purple spot that appeared under my eye on Sunday morning.

I noticed it after I had gone running. I went to take a shower, looked in the mirror and there it was. Like a bruise. Very purple. It did not hurt. It did not blanch (this is a word I learned at the ER today which means when you press it, the color doesn’t subside, blanch). I kind of freaked out. There had been no trauma to my eye. No poking or prodding. Banging or slamming the day before. Yet, there it was, a giant purple spot. It kind of freaked me out. So I was the second person at the Minute Clinic on Sunday morning. The lovely practitioner was sweet but really had no diagnosis for me. In fact, she did not even log in the visit. She did tell me that she didn’t think it was emergent and that I should just go to my doctor the next day. photo

I called this morning to make an appointment. One of the problems with this, is that I don’t really love my PCP. My significant other asked why I just don’t find a new one but it is like dating. Kind of awful and you have to go through more than one to find the right one. So I’ve kind of given up. I have one. I don’t love her but she is there when I need to see her. I made an appointment and headed to work. And then there I was at work and my head was weird, like it gets sometimes when I am off hormones. And my eyes were feeling sensitive to light. And I was feeling nauseous. And then I left and went home and decided that I could not wait to see my doctor. So I called my significant other and went to the ER. I understand why people like the ER, there is a comfort there. It makes you feel like if it all goes south, you are in the right place.

My ER doctor was cute. In a Daniel Kim kind of way. He was part of the ER team who thought that I was off my rocker. Being there in the middle of the morning and not having an emergency. Today I was part of the problem. I can admit that. It is what it is. The spot on my face is a bruise. It is an unexplainable, not attributed to brain hemorrhage, run of the mill bruise. And, really I am thankful, that it is just a bruise. Because I know people. People who went for something and it turned out to not be nothing. And I am always, always ever so grateful that my hypochondriac something is really nothing. Because nothing beats nothing.

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Stifled

Work has been rough lately. I just have more responsibility at the present time. There is a lot going on. And many people seem to be depending on me. I’m pretty much OK with it. But by the time Thursday rolls around, I’m feeling pretty spent. Like it is all sucked out of me. Down to the marrow. That is today. It also doesn’t help if I do not get out of the office at all. When this happens, by the time I get home I feel like I really need to get outdoors. Lately I feel like this a lot if I have been inside for too much of the day. This is exactly how my mom is. She can’t bear the NY winters mostly because she hates being inside so much. It drives her bonkers.

Maybe because I’m older now but lately I’ve begun to feel the same way. Maybe it is just the cumulative years of sitting about inside an office that are catching up with me. Maybe it is because we moved two blocks. Two blocks further from the freeway and closer to the mountains. And just those two blocks make me want to go out in our neighborhood more than before. It is totally psychological. The air seems cleaner. The neighbors quieter. The waking routes not as ghetto. What can I say? This is how I feel.

Tonight I got home and knew that I had to get out. A boot camp friend of mine introduced me to a two mile loop that heads up into the mountain behind our neighborhood. It is a good ways up and if I walk steadily I work up a sweat and feel like I am getting at least a little work out. I generally don’t like walking. It is too slow. And takes too long. But I like this route. Being up on the mountain offers beautiful views of Diamondhead. And the ocean. It is very lovely. Maybe that is why I like this route, aside from the workout. It reminds me that I live in Hawaii. It is easy to forget sometimes.

People think of Hawaii and think, beaches, surfing, hula and grass shacks. While these things are a reality for many people here (well maybe less so the grass shacks), most of the people who live here are focused on living here. We are working and getting our kids to school. We are cooking dinner and cleaning our toilets. We are living our lives just like any place else. And that is kind of sad since we are in a place of great beauty with a unique culture. It is easy to forget that. So my walk, this new walk, reminds me. Reminds me that I live in a place of volcanoes, oceans and mountains. And this remembering helps me forget all the inside stuff. And for that, I am grateful.

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Noncompliant

You know when you see those people on a show like Law & Order and they kill someone because they are mentally ill and have gone off their medications. And they went off of them because they were feeling fine. And they were only feeling fine because of those medications. And then you sit there so smugly, judgingly thinking how silly they are. Clearly the medication was making them better and clearly going off of it would result in their symptoms recurring. So, so silly. Because you would never do such a thing. Until you do.

I have been on hormones since the peri-menopausal monster reared its ugly head causing me to go through fits of depression, anxiety and a general inability to focus. And the hormones totally worked. They ironed me out. No more deep valleys. No more roiling anxiety. And it was good. And it was so good, I decided to stop taking them. Part of it was based on my feeling better. Part of it was based on the unfortunate effects the hormones had on my menstrual cycle. Part of it was to see if I miraculously lost a whole bunch of weight. But, to be truthful, it was really more along the lines of a science experiment. Maybe I am better? Maybe I don’t need them and I just don’t know because I am always on them.

So I stopped. I stopped for months. I stopped and I was OK. Until I wasn’t. Until the day I was at work and had to leave because my brain had a mind of its own and I could not focus enough to do any tasks. Beginning just about a week ago, almost every day my anxiety level was off the charts and my depression so inescapable that at some points I was almost crying at my desk. I kept saying to myself, tomorrow, tomorrow I will start again. And then I finally did. It has been less than a week but I am already more myself. I can still sometimes feel the pull of it all, the slight sadness or a tinge of uneasiness but I am able to function. It is muffled. In the background. And the ability to put that in the background makes me want to do things. Makes me remember that there are still things that I want to do. And that is important.

So now I know that I am just like those people on TV. Those people who stop taking their meds because they are better. That what is seemingly ridiculous to an outsider makes perfect sense to the person doing it. I’m just glad that I finally bit the bullet and went back on my medication. I am relatively certain that I will not be engaging in a like experiment for quite some time.

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Tea Ceremony

After school class selection has become a battle at my house. Ever since our son started school, we tried to keep him in on choosing the classes. One of the other parents told me that they never even let their kid know that there was a selection. They just made it for him. I thought that was mean and undemocratic. In hindsight, they may have been brilliant. They just pick whatever they want their son to do. No choices. No debates. No arguments. Divine.

We have a very different process. It involves cajoling. And give and take. I usually want some type of sports activity. My son usually wants to sit in the cafeteria. I lobby for drama. He wants to sit in the cafeteria. We argue and bicker. We negotiate. And ultimately I usually pick a class and he picks a class. I was going really strong for JV Volleyball this year. It is the first year he is old enough to do it. The school is really small so the sports activities on behalf of the school are limited to volleyball and basketball. I thought that it would be good for him and that he would like it. We were at the office before school started to register for classes and he adamantly refused to sign up for it. He even started getting a little teary eyed. I gave in. I didn’t want to but I did. So in the place of volleyball, I got tennis. And his choice, my son’s selection, was Japanese Tea Ceremony class. I continue to be fascinated by this choice. My first thought was that it would be all girls which he would not like. He tolerates girls and is sort of friends with some of them but generally speaking, he wouldn’t choose to spend an afternoon with roomful of them. And I almost said that he might be the only boy that day we were registering. I almost said that he might be surrounded by girls. And then I didn’t. I felt like, first of all, I was bringing my own gender bias into it by thinking that it would be all girls. And if I did say this, was I then saying that only girls should take the class? That seemed wrong. And if I did say it, there was a strong likelihood that he would change his mind. So I just shut it. I said nothing.

He has been in Japanese Tea Ceremony class for about two weeks now. He is one of two boys in the class and he loves it. They wear kimonos during the class. They start out by having Japanese candy and then partake in some tea drinking. Grape, unsweetened tea apparently. His only complaint is that there are too many girls and not enough boys. But it is a small complaint. And I feel good that I didn’t make some comment to change his
mind. And that my thoughts were not his thoughts. I hope that it stays that way. That he doesn’t choose to do things or not do things because they are labeled as “girl” things. Maybe that will happen as long as I continue to keep my mouth shut.

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Unstill

I hate the weather that we are having right now. Ever since we have returned from NY it has been so still and humid. When I go out for a run at lunch time, yes lunch time in Honolulu, I get out of the elevator, fresh from my vacuum packed chilly-to-the-point-of-wearing-a-scarf cubicle and my first thought is “ugh, it is hot.” I wonder if it is because I have yet to reacclimate to Hawaii weather. I wonder if it is because I am denial that I am back. Or maybe it is really just hot. I suppose that could be the case.

Since the weather is so still, I feel like the bugs are more active. I know that this is the case when it comes to termites. When it is still they swarm and are attracted to light. There was one crawling on my son’s ceiling the other night. I also feel like the roaches are really enjoying this weather as well. We have seen a few in random spots in our apartment and have managed to terminate them. But the stillness, it just makes you lethargic, sweaty and grumpy.

I think I was particularly grumpy today because I had too many meetings. For quite some time, I have been left alone. It is really spectacular and I highly recommend it. I sit at my desk and I answer questions from people throughout my building regarding health care reform. I am like the Dear Abby of the ACA. And I like it. I like trying to find the answer to a policy question. I like researching the rules and going through the 500 pages of FAQs and searching IRS Bulletins. I know, this mostly makes other people want to run and hide. But this is why my job is good for me. Except when I have to go to meetings. I feel like meetings distract from my work.
Today, in the midst of my meetings, on my schedule there was a bridal workout. Now, I am not getting married but my co-worker is. She invited me to attend her bridal workouts at the fitness center onsite. And I have been going. And it is so fun. I have used more fitness related equipment in the past few weeks than in my entire life. I love it. I feel tired and sore afterwards. But in a really good way. Plus my coworker and I laugh so much while doing our workouts. They are hard. Our trainer is young enough to be my son and we have decided that he thinks of us as the crazy old ladies that he trains. He is always laughing with us and keeps our workouts interesting. We even finally got him to put on the alternative punk rock station for us.

So there I was in the middle of my very grumpy day jetting down to the fitness center. I did not want to. I didn’t feel like it. But I went anyway. I had a meeting immediately after our workout. I think that I had some endorphins going or something because I was a little wired. Someone even asked if I was hopped up on caffeine. And then I realized that I felt so much better after the workout. And then I started thinking about people who just don’t work out and how much better they might feel if they actually did something. How they are just stuck with their stillness. And I was so thankful for the ability and opportunity to work out. To run and jump. Lift weights. Go for a walk. And that is how I want to be. The opposite of still. Unstill.

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Back Where We Belong

We leave to go and fetch our son from NY this week. I marvel at how long we have been without him. I remember our trepidation as we took him and my friend Annie, his traveling companion, to the airport. We were very nervous during the traveling times and were so happy when we received pictures of the JFK meetup with my NY family.

And then we started having this life. This weird temporary child free life. For some reason, I had thought that I would begin staying at work all the time. That since I didn’t have to come home and cook dinner, that I would just work late every night. I would get every large project that was lingering at the bottom of the list done. But it was just the opposite. Instead I joined a two night a week boot camp group and every Thursday I would go walking with LKY around Ala Moana Park before partaking in Taco Bell Thursday (it’s a thing). I blocked off time during my day for running and I joined my soon to be married co-worker for her bridal workouts at the fitness center at work. After all of this working out, you’d think I’d have lost ten pounds. Unfortunately, due to all the drinking and my lack of cooking which led to too much eating out, my weight remained pretty static.

And while I have drank too much over the past few months and eaten on the wild side, I’ve done good things too like hiking on Saturday mornings with one of the boot camp gals (Gigi). She somehow continues to talk us into getting up and being at her house by 7:00 a.m. every Saturday. We hate getting up. We complain and moan but when we are done with our hike and it is before 10:00 a.m. we are loving it. She thinks like a lobbyist because she always exacts our commitment to go the following week when we are in the warm hiking afterglow. That feeling you get from just being outside, walking around and trying not to fall in the mud or break any bones.

One of the best parts of all of our adventures has been the camaraderie we have with the women who participate with and run the Try Fitness boot camp. LKY has become almost like a mascot to the group and has even earned himself a nickname. This was based on a comment he made to Coach Suz when she asked him if we had looked like we were getting a good workout out in the lagoon as he watched us from the beach. His response, “you guys just looked like you were drifting around.” So now water workout is “drifting” and he is “the drifter”. And of course, boot camp would not be boot camp without Coach KC’s workouts, encouragement and good-natured chiding (especially about eating fruit). We really feel blessed to have come to know these women.

But, the kid is coming home. And our lives right now are not our real lives. So when I am asked to do something or go somewhere or commit to something. I can’t. I have yet to determine how, or if, the new fake life can work with my real life. I figure I can make parts of it come together but I just don’t know how yet. So for now, we are in vacation mode and plan on figuring it all out when we return.

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