September 19, 2005

Catching up from last posting

To catch up, since it seems to have been a while, I have passed a very active couple of days, filled with many things, few of them work related, I am happy to report. Let us kick off with Friday.


This day was spent mostly in transit. Approximately six hours or so of travel time in order to attend two hours of meeting. Still, it did not appear to be time wasted, although I did not get to meet Elizabeth, as I had hoped to do. We traded a bunch of messages and had several pleasant conversations. However, the point.

I went to Chicago on Friday for a job interview. I think it went well. I was slated to meet with three people and was told that in almost no circumstance would it exceed an hour and I could plan accordingly. The meeting was at 3. I arrived at around 11:00 in Chicago and took the train into the city. I had scads of time and the train, while slow, was only $1.75. I got out at Jackson, in the loop, right in front of the Monadnock building, the last tall building built only on masonry load bearing walls. By Burnham and Root, if I recall. It was a pleasure to see the old fellow, again. The walls at the bottom are extraordinarily thick, six feet, to support the 11 stories above without a skeleton. I then made my way to the Union League Club of Chicago where I had privileges and managed to hang out, read, prepare, and have lunch before my 3:00 interview. The interview was just a couple of blocks down the street, making the Union League very convenient. The food was excellent, actually.

I arrived at the interview 15 minutes early and had a lovely chat with the receptionist. When her relief came, about 1 minute before my interviewer arrived, I thanked her for babysitting me and she said she didn’t babysit me. I agreed, remarking that she didn’t even tell me a story. So she said that was true and offered to tell me a joke. I assented, of course. Just before the end of the joke, my interviewer came to fetch me and I actually asked him if we could wait one second so I could hear the punch line of the joke and he was fine with that. Set a good tone for an interview, maybe, if you can show how relaxed you are.

I met with three people. We spoke for an hour about my background and about the position. At the conclusion of the interview, they excused themselves and said that they were going to go into the hallway for a moment and chat about me. Ok. Odd, but whatever. After about 5 minutes they returned and asked me if I had any more time free. I did and they asked me to meet with another three people and I met with them for also about an hour. I think it went pretty well. At least, I suppose, I made it to the second round right on the spot. I regard it as a positive development, although you never know.

Made it home by about midnight. Long day that started at 4:30 so I could work out before heading out to the airport.


Started the day exhausted. Mother in law was visiting from Norway. Enough said.

We took everyone to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. The kids had a great time. We saw three five-month old baby Siberian tiger cubs; turtles; alligators; wolves; monkeys; birds; and all sorts of reptiles. We left with exhausted children. The Girl Child, nonetheless, declined to nap. While she declined to nap, I gave my mother in law a driving tour of the area.

Upon our return, I had a brilliant idea. No cooking for me that night. I generally do all the cooking, actually. Pretty good deal for my wife. Instead, we would sally forth, acquire fried whole clams, bowls of lobster bisque, piles of onion rings, and bottles of beer and take them to a small beach near the house where there were picnic tables to be found on a small bluff overlooking the beach and the ocean and we would dine. And so we did, all while watching the storm roll in over the ocean from Long Island. The thunder was loud, at times. The dinner was outstanding, above the waves as they beat against the shore, as the light changed from the oncoming storm. We were pretty much totally alone. After dinner, we ventured down to the sand to collect sea shells. It was low tide. We found some lovely small ones.

The Girl Child and I had an amusing interchange at the picnic table after I remarked on the presence of grills and said next time we could bring charcoal and make our own food. I said that one of the grills I would not want to use as it was too close to a bush.

GC: Why wouldn’t you want to use that grill, Pappa?

Me: Well, it is too close to the bush and I would worry that the bush would catch fire. No burning bushes for us; too biblical.

GC: What does that mean?

Me: Ask your teachers on Monday about the burning bush and they’ll explain it to you.

GC: I don’t think I want to.

Me: Why not?

GC: I think that if I did, it would freak ‘em out.

Might be right, come to think of it.

Then we got back in the car and set off in search of the storm. We drove around for a while and eventually the storm and us found each other. Went home in the pouring rain through very quickly flooded streets. It was delightful.

Even better? No leak at the house.


This day commenced early as the driver came to retrieve my mother in law at 6 for her departure to the airport.

The Boy Child arose shortly thereafter.

After the Girl Child joined him, for a happy breakfast of Lucky Charms – yay, Pappa! - I adjourned with the children to purchase Halloween costumes. The Girl Child having determined that she wanted to be a witch. She was beside herself with excitement as we picked out pointy hats and brooms, robes and other scary things. The Boy Child announced that he was not going to wear a hat at all. “My no hat on, Pappa”. No problem, I assured him.

Then we went home to get my wife. At that point, I announced a general nap amnesty coupled with a desire to do something fun. We set off to visit the Railroad Museum in Danbury, about 45 minutes away. The Boy Child was the perfect picture of excitement. He could not stand still when we arrived and discovered we were just in time to join a vintage train ride. He literally began to jump up and down. “My up-I toot-toot”, he announced. Yes, I agreed, you are going to go up in the train and take a ride. His smile was infectious and practically beatific.

After the ride, including a visit to the last turntable still operating in CT, where we got to watch an engine get spun around, we were able to explore the yard and some other vintage trains. Then, a visit to the gift shop where we procured a Junior Engineer Train Set for each child, consisting of a blue and white stripped hat, a red bandanna, and a whistle. I told the Boy Child that he was going to wear this for Halloween, complete with overalls and he could be a Toot-toot guy.

BC: Pappa, my no hat on.

Me: Not even this blue toot-toot hat?

BC: Blo toot-toot hat?

Me: Yeah, you don’t want to wear the blue toot-toot hat and be a toot-toot guy for Halloween?

BC: My wear blo toot-toot hat. My blo toot-toot guy!!!!

All objections to the hat disappeared with the excitement of the realization that he was going to be a blue toot-toot guy for Halloween. He spoke about it off and on for the next five hours. Oh, to be 2.5 again.

After the museum, we wandered back along Route 7 for a late lunch at a small outdoor shack advertising homemade ice cream. Oh, the joy. The masses ate fried things while I virtuously consumed a salad, filching the odd onion ring now and again. After buying the three of them two scoops of ice cream, the banana was declared the best flavor, I had exactly a nickle left in the pocket.

It was a good day. A really good day.

I made them all eat grilled zucchini with parmesan sprinkled on top and grilled asparagus for dinner later that night. Clemintines for dessert, with the Boy Child greedily stealing all the sections that my wife peeled for herself.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Tomorrow, by the way, is the Boy Child’s first day of school.

I’m not ready. He’s too little.

Don’t look for a posting tomorrow. I take the Boy Child to school and then rush into the city for a deposition.

Pax tibi and y’all keep your fingers crossed for Chicago, ok? I mean, I’m not sure I’ll take the job but I’d rather have it be my decision, ya know?

Posted by Random Penseur at September 19, 2005 04:38 PM | TrackBack

Fingers definitely crossed for Chicago!

Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us, too!

; )

Bueno suerte!

Posted by: Christina at September 19, 2005 04:49 PM

That is a very good sign, getting to second base that fast. Fingers crossed. :)

Posted by: Jim at September 19, 2005 05:20 PM

Sounds like a great weekend, mmm ice cream.

'tis definitely a good sign to make it to second base that quick. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: phin at September 19, 2005 05:31 PM

Christina took the words right out of my mouth, RP!

Thinking good thoughts about Chicago!

Posted by: Mark at September 19, 2005 07:12 PM

Sounds positively brilliant, from beginning to end. You've been missed, but your time away seems to have been good to you. I'm all for that.

Crossing appendages as deemed necessary for positive news. Chicago is fantastic town.

Posted by: Jennifer at September 19, 2005 07:35 PM

How can you recount a visit to Beardsley Zoo and not mention the free-range peacocks? They're everywhere!

What a great weekend. Here's to the Boy Child's first day at school tomorrow; **glugglug** Aaah!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at September 19, 2005 08:23 PM

With that kind of weekend, I would have ceased blogging, meself! I agree that BC is too little. Of course, I consider my baby son too little (and he started high school this year *sob*).

I'll be crossing fingers, eyes, legs, toes and whatever else I can get crossed for ya, hon. But truth be told, methinks it's not necessary since you obviously passed to the lightning round on your first visit. ;o)

Luck and love to ya (and your darling, most beautiful family),

Posted by: Margi at September 20, 2005 12:57 AM

I have all moveable parts crossed for you! You're so wise to savour every minute you can with your children...they really do grow up too quickly.

Posted by: Jocelyn at September 20, 2005 11:42 AM

Yes, yes, by all means move to Chicago! Much, much closer to the Twin Cities than New York! This way we could actually meet!

I am sure, of course, that this is a pot sweetner ;)

Posted by: Kathy at September 20, 2005 12:52 PM

Good luck! And, as always, the BC and GC stories bring tears to my eyes.

Glad you had such a nice weekend. :-)

Posted by: Amber at September 20, 2005 02:12 PM

I really enjoy reading your blog... although up until this point I've been somewhat covert about it. Not purposely, of course, I just don't leave as many comments as I should. Anyway, I live in Chicago and flirt with New York, so your bog is always good "city life" reading for me. Sounds like you'd be working in my hood if you decide on Chicago! Best of luck!

Posted by: Turtleherder at September 20, 2005 03:43 PM

I love your recounting of family times! Do you realize how special they are while they are happening, or does it sink in when you're writing about it?

Posted by: GrammarQueen at September 20, 2005 05:30 PM
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