Friday, April 19, 2013

The pro-forma birthday blog

So I’ve done it again. Another birthday and I yet contain mass and volume. I exist in time and space and the government demands financial tribute. I meet or come close to all the standard benchmarks one requires to proclaim, “I am alive!

That’s the good news. On the other hand…

Idaho continues to give me very little love. For three years now, I’ve tried everything I could to make friends and fit in. With anyone. I tabled for the ACLU until Citizens United made that task impossible. (They also didn’t care for the time a guy walked up in Renaissance Faire drag and I went off on a tirade about the Visigoths.) I went to a few NORML meetings, but apparently in Boise, I am what narcs look like. I even took a desk job at the local uni to make friends and influence people which ended up a near-catastrophe. I tried to inculcate myself in The Boy’s school community, but after an unfortunate shouting incident in the school parking lot one day, that avenue closed to me. I’m sure there’s other that stuff I’m forgetting or deliberately omitting, too.

The problem is three-fold. One, I work from home, so there is no one at the office for me to “click” with. Two, Idaho is culturally and politically a backwater. People like me, the bleeding hearts and the artists, and anybody who isn’t a gun-toting fire-breathing conservative is an outlier here. And three, the communities where I might find like-minded folks are pretty goddamn insular, what with Boise being so isolated and our type so unwelcome. They circle the wagons and I haven’t found a point of access yet.

Besides what I brought with me—my family—I can only think of a couple things I’ve enjoyed about my time here. Because I want this to be a positive piece!

My weed connection is great. Great weed and always a welcoming environment. But then I’ve always got along well with the LBGT community. Outliers like me.

The people who run The Boy’s martial arts academy have also been very good to us. Besides what you’d expect from a martial arts curriculum, these people—gun-toting, fire-breathing conservatives that they are—have been extraordinarily welcoming. And they have several families of the “Timmy Has Two Mommies” variety in their classes, so underneath all the God, Guns and Guts bluster there beats an accepting heart. Good people and I am grateful for them.

That’s about it except for family, so let me say a few nice words about The Missus and The Boy.

The Missus feels bad for ‘dragging’ me out here where I have successfully failed to flourish, but she shouldn’t. For one thing, her wedding ring is inscribed “Wither thou goest,” because I thought I could hang out my shingle anywhere and get by. I was pretty confident back then. I was at the top of my game. I had two job offers waiting when we moved to northern Cali. Unfortunately, my game is/was newspapers.

Yah. And that isn’t her fault. And almost all of the other setbacks I’ve enjoyed would have occurred wherever we were living, too—mostly the result of a lifetime of youthful indiscretions finally coming home to roost. It just happens that Fang’s Very, Very Bad Three Years happened to fire up a few months after we moved here, when the dog nearly pulled my arm off my torso and I was in a sling and constant pain for six weeks though the holidays. Also not her fault.

And I have been a misery to live with. If our situations were reversed, I would be despondent. It’s horrible living with that much negative energy in the house, ready to pop off at the slightest real or imagined provocation. I pity her, and I am enormously grateful that she has not kicked me to the curb yet.

She is a star at her job and an amazing Mom. She was everything I ever wanted in a lifemate the day I married her and she still is.

The Boy will soon transition officially to The Little Man. He’s become a voracious reader,* is holding doors, ordering from merchants by himself, taking guitar lessons and becoming damnably more perceptive around the house. Just last night we had our first Birds & Bees talk with him, because all the comedy shows we watch, they talk a lot about S-E-X, and from the audience reaction, he could tell it was a pretty funny something. So we told him the bland, not even just-the-facts version and hopefully made the word less interesting to him.

*One of the things I especially loved this last year was reading comics with him, him aloud on the iPad and me following along in the print version. He seems to have lost interest in that activity, which bums me out, but God it was great while it lasted. And he still reads comics, just to himself, so it is a total net win.

Looking forward to spending the summer pushing him hard. Thinking up new Firsts to conquer, new challenges to be met, more steps outside his comfort zone. The world is not a particularly comforting place, and he needs to be prepared to meet it in kind as necessary. I’m old and I won’t be around forever.

So that’s my job and my joy. The Missus cooks and cleans and nurtures and will one day make damn good and sure he goes to college; and I push his buttons and will one day, hopefully, provide him with enough Daddy Issues to sustain his art through the slow patches.

There’s the report. As I write this, it’s Friday morning and it’s cloudy and gloomy out. TV weatherman (we call him Larry’s Liver because of my opinion that he looks like a bit of a tippler) calls for 80% chance of rain. But I have The Boy here with me, due to another one of the mandatory monthly charter school auto-gratification days off, so if I can tear him away from his book, confidence is high for a pretty good day. Guitar practice, work on some taekwondo in the front yard and scooter around the block (if it’s not raining), maybe watch a superhero cartoon or two, Fuddruckers, Oblivion, then off to four hours of intermittent taekwondo classes. Home, ice cream cone, bed, read, sleep.

I could do this every day.

Addendum: Birthday card from The Boy. Better than hitting the lotto:


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

What’s he building in there?