Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kids, Kids, everywhere I look

Tonight I had a bunch of friends over for a cookout and bonfire. The three couples that came early enough for dinner, all had kids, and as I watched them cut food into tiny pieces and separate portions of chips, cookies, and watermelon onto small plates, I had what has affectionately become known in our circle as a, "Ginny Moment". Ginny Moments are pure, from the heart, revelations of positive feelings that are so strong they must be vocalized, usually followed by nervous laughter at the naked honesty. For my Ginny Moment, I shared with all of them my love for their parenting and how impressed I was with how my once-crazy friends had all become responsible adults.

That probably sounds funny coming out of the mouth of a guy closer to age forty every day, but I still don't always see myself as a so-called, adult. I'm sure the psychological explanation for that has something to do with the fact that I'm not a parent and as such have never had that mental switch that [good] parents go through that transitions them from carefree to careful. When you bring a child into the world, your mind switches from an, "anything goes" mentality to one more along the lines of a, "I need to protect another human life" reality. And being childless, I've never had that switch. But that being so, I am still fascinated and impressed when I see it happen to my friends.

This isn't the first time I've had this realization though. As I've talked about on ELEVEN before, the year Ell and I got married we were one of thirteen weddings. And the way all the weddings seemingly happened at the same time, a few years later the popping of belly buttons and birthing of kids did too. In fact, almost eight years ago, we'd had a party similar to this evening's and ended the night lining up eight small kids on our couch for a group picture. I was much younger then, and I remember being in awe that my friends who seemed as ill-equipped as I to be a parent, were, in fact, parents. What a mind boggle.

All the couples here tonight were married years after the summer of thirteen weddings, so likewise, their journey of parenthood started later. Even so, they are equally close friends, and watching them make the parenthood transition has been fascinating to watch. I may not want to be a parent, but I still love seeing the interplay of mind over matter. These friends are all still the same people they were pre-children, but their minds have gone through the switch and that has caused them to act and react in very different ways than just a few years previous.

And so tonight I did what I like to do best, people watch. I watched guys who used to jump over raging bonfires, redirect children away from getting within twenty feet of the one tonight. I watched ladies I'd seen drink so much alcohol they couldn't talk, try to get their two and three year old's to say the word, "drink" as they filled sippy cups with water. And I watched a game of cornhole stop cold because kids were running between the players, the same players I'd seen throw snowballs at each others' faces so hard they drew blood. It was definitely a turn of personalities; a turn for the better.

I am proud to be a part of these friends' lives, and proud to see the great parents they are becoming. I still don't want kids; I'll leave that for those braver than I. Likewise, I still give made respect to anyone who takes on that role. You have my support and my prayers and it is an honor to know you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Having one of those "perfect evenings"

I'm sitting at my kitchen table.
Hands still smell like dirt from my garden.
Smoking, and appreciating, a bowl of Haunted Bookshop in my Tyler Lane pipe.
Working on a pot of hot Lapsang Souchong tea.
Listening to a wonderful, calm, folk CD.
Enjoying the community of CPS gents.
Happy to be alive.

At peace in my life.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Stolen MeMe

I don't know exactly how these things work, but I'm supposed to link to the person who created this MeMe. I don't know who that is, so I'll instead link to my friend Kimmy who's blog I actually stole it from. Same thing, right? Anyway, here goes...

21. Have you ever had a garage sale?
No. I helped Ell do a couple yard sales with her family, though.

22. What color is your cell phone?
Gray. Or is it spelled, grey?

23. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had?
I laughed when I read this one. Beer, of course.

24. Are you happy right now?
I really am. Really happy.

25. Who came over to your house last?

Last person at my house was my friend Chip. We had steaks, asparagus, steak fries, beer, and then smoked our pipes.

26. Do you drink beer?

LOL! Yes. I do. Often and always.

27. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted?

No. We never did that kind of thing.

28. What is your favorite key on your key chain?

What a great question! I like the shape of my work key, but not a fan of using it cuz it means I'm there.

29. What was the last movie you watched at home?

A River Runs Through It

30.What is in your pocket?


31. Who introduced you to your bf/gf/husband/wife?
I don't have any of those things right now, but I wish someone would introduce me to that teacher lady I got my eye on.

32. Where do you hurt?
My left knee has been a little strained lately.

33. Has someone ever made you a build a bear?


34. What’s something fun you did today?

I'm watching HIMYM Season 4 right now, which is pretty darn fun.

35. What is your favorite aisle at Target?

Not normally a Target shopper, but I like their vintage t-shirt aisle when I'm there.

36. When is your birthday?

August 12th

37. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror?


38. How many states in the US have you been to?


39. What kind of milk do you drink?

Organic, always

40. What are you going to do after this?

Make a giant salad, cuz I'm hungry

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The ugly side of Sam

Did you ever just wish something bad would happen so you could move on? Like pulling off a band-aid... it's gonna hurt like hell, but once it's done the path towards no more pain can begin. I don't know........ that's where I'm at tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A quiet day

I'm in the middle of watching the second season of a TV show Ell and I used to love. The theme of the second season centers around the post-breakup of a long term couple. It's interesting to watch the show and think about the similarities it has to this season of my life. One of the themes is being alone.

With the exception of the girl at the gas station this morning saying the words, "forty one dollars" and, "thanks" when I paid for a tank of gasoline and a newspaper, I haven't heard another person's voice all day. The best part about that? I loved it.

This is a fun time in my life. I went to bed at 3:30am, slept in until 8:00, made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, watched Charles Osgood, washed a pile of dishes, scrubbed years of grime from the stove, did the same to the bathroom (yikes), took a nap, had two giant salads with feta and red onion, picked strawberries from the garden, smoked a pipe, trimmed all the shrubs in my landscaping, and spent a couple hours on CPS. No rules. No expectations. No whatever. What an awesome day.

I'm not saying Ell was overbearing or demanding, the opposite couldn't be more true, what I'm saying is that I spent the day doing whatever the deuce I felt like doing without any outside interference. And I spent the day all alone. Both of which were cool and both made me happy. I'm really settling into the contentedness of where I'm at in life, even if it can look a little lonely to the outside world. Lonely is not always bad lonely, though. The lonely I'm at right now is definitely a good lonely. I feel good. And that feels good.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Wedding Weekend

Ohio-Sam arrived in Fort Wayne around 5:30 pm, meeting Indiana-Lyndsay, Minnesota-Becky, and Nevada-Brad at Andrew & Lyndsay's house. Lyndsay and I left to get Andrew from his last day of work and by the time we got back to the house, much of Andrew & Lyndsay's family, as well as many of their friends, had come together for dinner and drinks. While it would be easy to just focus on the so-called, "excess", what I'll remember about that night is having a great time with great people.

We started the morning at the Art Museum for the wedding rehearsal. After that, Brad and I joined Andrew for brunch at Spyro's; just the three of us. We then spent the next four or five hours running all kinds of wedding errands. Of the whole weekend, those few hours were my favorite. I love those two guys and spending those few hours together, just us, were priceless. We eventually ended up back at the house and helped prepare food for the rehearsal dinner/picnic.

Andrew and I drove together to the park where a large crowd enjoyed great fellowship and great food. After that, a much smaller group of friends went back to the house where Mike and Ginny joined us. We spent the rest of the night playing Beirut and just hanging out, getting to know North Carolina-Evan's wonderful new lady friend, Erica. I left around 1 am to go check into the hotel, Mike and Ginny following soon after.

A large group of Andrew's family, as well as Grant & Jess, Mike & Ginny, and me, roamed around downtown trying to find somewhere to eat breakfast. We finally ended up at a nature conservatory eating bagels. A few of us had previously had our hearts set on going to the, "Dash In", a great bar with twenty microbrew taps. My friends Jason, Grant, and I decided we weren't going to be denied, so we bellied up to the Dash In bar shortly after our bagel breakfast. Mike & Ginny joined us soon after.

After a couple good beers, I headed back to the hotel room to follow through on one of Lyndsay's special requests for the groomsmen. A half hour later, I had a killer mustache and part of my chin was looking at the first sunlight it had seen in eighteen years. Weird request, but all of us complied. And we all looked damn sexy. Pictures to follow.

I picked Andrew up at his house and the two of us headed to the museum, meeting the rest of the groomsmen to get dressed in our duds. I completed my outfit with a pair of '80's, yellow striped leg-warmers to match the yellow striped ties. I'm nothing if not classy in my color coordinating. After getting dressed, the guys headed outside into the 96 degree sun to do a half hour photo shoot with the photographers before heading back inside for the ceremony.

The wedding was beautiful. Andrew and Lyndsay are both beautiful people, both physically and spiritually, and are destined to have a beautiful marriage. It was great to see the two families come together as one, and it was an honor that they allowed me and other non-family to join in the union. The ceremony was followed by another photo session, this time with the whole wedding party and complete with bling. Everyone in the party was up for everything the photographers threw at us, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the pics.

A couple hours into the reception, I headed upstairs to plug in my dead cellphone. After it turned back on, I found desperate messages from my Mom that my Dad was fading fast. Knowing there was nothing I could do, the tears flowed freely. Some of my closest friends (including Pennsylvania-Kyle who diligently didn't leave my side the rest of the night) surrounded me with love and prayer. How could this be happening? But I knew one thing, if Dad truly was dying, or already dead, I was too far away to do anything or even be there for my family. Knowing that, I also knew I didn't want any of my personal heartache to crash the happiness that was going on downstairs. So I begged everyone in the room not to tell Andrew or Lyndsay, washed off my face, and went back to the party. An hour later, the same group of friends surrounded me again as I wept in my friend Grant's arms after finding out Dad was coming around.

Despite going to bed at 2 am, I woke up at the call of my usual early-morning internal clock. I got a shower, packed my bags, and left the hotel room all without waking Kyle who was crashed on the bed. I met my friend Steve outside, and after putting my bags in the car, Steve and I walked to a coffee shop where he bought me a breakfast sandwich and some java. We hooked up with a few other friends before going back to the Hilton to check out. With those few people I consider to be my core friends, we enjoyed breakfast at Spyro's before stopping at the Wooden Nickel for driving music for the trip home.

I'm home now, laundry in the washer, cats fed, dinner had. Even though I had a great time in Fort Wayne, it's nice to be sitting in my Lay-Z-Boy after an exciting, albeit emotional (high and low), few days.

Andrew & Lyndsay, I raise my glass to you one more time. I send you all my love and wish you all the best.