Norway is beautiful and we are here. Sounds like a postcard. The trip over was very not very pleasant. The Boy Child was apprehensive. When the Viking Bride got up to change the baby before the plane took off, the Boy Child was hysterical that the plane was going to leave Mamma behind. No reassurance calmed him -- he was certain his mother had to leave the plane to go to the potty and no one would hold the plane until she returned. Very sweet.
Upon arrival, we lingered in a very long line at passport control. The Boy Child wandered about 10 feet or so away from me and called back in a loud clear voice, as only a 3 year old can:
Boy Child: Are we in Norway?
Boy Child: So, where are the trolls?
All the tired people in the line laughed.
More to come when I am less tired. Thanks for all the good wishes.
We leave tonight for Norway and return the afternoon of July 3rd. I anticipate not a lot of privacy to blog so you should equally anticipate not a lot of blogging. I think I can best sum up my feelings about this trip by relating an anecdote, an interchange I had with a friend in the gym this morning:
Me: See you in about two weeks!
Friend: You off traveling?
F: Business or pleasure?
M: Neither. I'm going to see my mother in law.
What more could I possible add to that?
Be good, y'all.
And pax tibi.
PG Wodehouse, that is.
I have been invited, as a guest, to a dinner of a select club of Wodehouse enthusiasts. It happened, serendipitously, as a result of my remarking at a breakfast meeting that if my acquantaince sat at an adjoining table, I would lob rolls at him. He got the reference immediately and an invitation issued shortly thereafter. I should add that I had no idea this fellow had any connection to anything to do with Wodehouse. I have just always felt cheated that I could not be a member of the Drones Club, where you could throw rolls around to your heart's content.
My reaction to spending a whole evening chatting about Wodehouse? Unmitigated glee.
October cannot come soon enough, I tell you.
My son, the Boy Child, has a rather intimate relationship with his poopie. He's three and a half, remember. We had the following interchange I want to preserve. He was sitting on the potty while I was changing out of my suit.
BC: Pappa, the poopie wants me to move up on the seat.
Me: Ok. Did the poopie tell you that it wanted to move.
BC: Pappa. The poopie can't talk. Poopie don't have mouth. [tone: earnest, but thinking I'm an idiot]
Now, while the poopie cannot talk, it does have a keen sense of adventure, as shown by this conversation my wife just sent me:
The Boy Child calls from the bathroom: "someone come wipe me!" I step in to perform my maternal duty. Then he asks "where does the poopie go? does it go to the bushes to get some chicken nuggets? or no, maybe waffles? or does it go to the city to see the dinisaurs?"
but these days, you could call me Sporadicus. I post sporadically. The problem, as I see it, is one of sleep deprivation. Sleep time is when your short term memory is transferred to your long term memory. If your sleep is interrupted, you dump your short term memory and never achieve long term memory. As my sleep is very interrupted, I am pleased when I can simply remember my own name and terribly pleased if I can recall how to spell it. My telephone number, at this point, is regrettably beyond me entirely.
I hope to blog more regularly soon.
Although, in that regard, I am off to Norway on Friday for 10 days. Posting may not be very convenient until my return. We'll see how it goes, ok?
I know, if I didn't know before, that I am terrible creature of habit and when I break a habit or deviate from a pattern, well, it doesn't work so well for me. Proof of concept: I turned from my usual position at my desk to talk to a colleague about an assignment he wants some help with. I put my coffee cup down at a convenient spot during our chat and then resumed what I was doing prior to the chat. Later, when I wanted some more coffee, I looked at the cup's usual spot and, voila, no cup. So, I assumed I had finished my coffee and thrown out the cup. I was just now pleasantly surprised to discover my wandering coffee cup precisely where I left it. Never would have thought to look there. I guess I am officially in a rut.
While perusing the NY Times this morning on the way into Gotham, I noticed an article in the Science Times discussing the benefits of breast feeding. Among the many, many benefits is that breast fed babies are less likely to be obese later in life. I gather that these babies develop a better on/off mechanism in terms of full/not full.
Is it just me or do you also see a new diet craze sweeping the covers of next month's men's magazines? Straight from the tap, my man.
Inspiration, that is. I've been waiting all day.
I just got off the phone with a lawyer in Ohio who is going to instruct his NY client to retain me to handle the winding up of a business. I heart new retainers. It won't necessarily mean a lot of money but right now, I like it a lot. See, its shiny and new and pretty. No muss, no fuss, no annoyances. Just a theoretical retention and a chance to meet new people and learn about their new problems. The ennui will come later, in its own time.
The weekend was so wonderful and wholesome. Really wholesome.
* The Girl Child insisting on going to temple. Staying for only a half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, before leaving. The Boy Child inquiring about the manque de snacks.
* Trip to the library.
* Picnic at the beach on a bluff overlooking the ocean, followed by the kids racing around a huge swath of grass.
* Trip to playground followed by dinner with my father outside overlooking the harbor.
* Sunday starting with a trip to Southport harbor to see the sailboats and walk around:
* Trip to Rye for brunch with my step-grandmother (who attended the Girl Child's graduation from Pre-School and cried the entire time).
* Long visit to Playland (warning, link brings up annoying music) to watch the kids ride and shriek with happy terror on some of the same rides I rode as a child when my grandfather used to take me there.
The whole weekend was delightful, although I seem to have finished it even more tired than when I began it!
Overheard at the table next to us, in the local Irish pub, asked by a 20 something kind of hipster/skate boy cleaned up to be respectable at the office:
To the waitress: Do you have Guinness here?
I expected the whole room to fall silent at that and am shocked it didn't.
So, New York really is a collection of small towns. I grow more and more convinced by this everyday.
I was up in the East 50's today, delivering the babyâ€™s passport application to the Norwegian Consulate so that we can take him to Norway as a Norwegian citizen, since he, like the other kids, has dual nationality. I had a funny exchange with the passport guy, by the way. We were discussing the intricacies of Norwegian citizenship law (I will spare you) when he told me that everyone always asks him why Norway canâ€™t do it the way the Swedes do it. I interrupted him in mid-sentence and said: â€śI have been married long enough to a Norwegian not to give a shit about what the Swedes do or donâ€™t do.â€ť He laughed very hard.
Anyway, going up in the elevator, I noticed on the floor listings, the name of a company I sort of recalled. Turns out it was a company that a friend of mine took over after the founder, her father, died. That friend, letâ€™s call her â€śLâ€ť, was someone I met many years ago taking Norwegian lessons together. See, she was also an American married to a Norwegian. We became good friends and also all four of us became friends. We lost touch after she and the Norwegian, â€śAâ€ť, divorced some six years ago.
So, after finishing my business with His Majestyâ€™s Representatives, I stopped by the office, on the off chance my old, lost, friend was actually there. Well, right place and right person but she had stepped out so I left her a note. Nice coincidence, thinks I.
I decided, after the huge lunch I had with clients today, involving a sinful portion of truffled creamed spinach, I decided to walk back to the office.
On the way back, my cell phone rings. I stop to answer it, turning off Park Avenue onto the steps of a random office building to get out of the pedestrian traffic stream. There, who do I spy on the steps above me? A. Lâ€™s ex-husband. I had lost touch with him, too, you see and had otherwise no way to get into contact with him. I had been planning to ask L when I spoke to her, but, no need.
The universe is truly a random place and New York City is a collection of small villages.
My train passes over at least three decent size rivers before reaching NY -- Westport, Norwalk and Greenwich each have one. I look at them with great attention each time I pass over them. They are always different -- be it the tide or the weather or just the way the sun happens to be reflecting off the water at that given moment. This morning I was treated to seeing rowers rowing crew. They skimmed over the water in, from my distance, total silence. The oars rose and fell as if one, coordinated by the same central nervous system. The quad sculls (four rowers) skimmed over the water as if barely touching it; on it but apart from it; existing with it but clearly not of it. The sun was barely up and reflecting towards the water and they rowed away from it, as if chasing tomorrow. It was simultaneously ethereal and the product of great effort.
I love watching crew and I particularly like crew art. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has an outstanding collection of paintings of rowers. Can't find it online at their website, but well worth a visit the next time you are in Philly.
Yup, this is all about me.
I have never felt the demarcation, the boundary lines, the absolute separateness of my life as much as I have this week and at this particular moment. It isn't a dichotomy, it is a trichotomy (is that even a proper word?). At least three separate spheres, all of which are totally different, totally apart from each other. I just got off the phone with my wife to learn that the Boy Child has now officially gone an entire week with no, what exactly shall I call it, premature urination in the bed. The excitement I felt about that was probably all out of proportion to its importance, but still. It brought home, the excitement did, that I lead three different lives.
Life One -- Work. I spend a fair amount of time at work or thinking about work or hating my job or contemplating new career possibilities. Either way, I'm here and for large parts of it, don't want to be. Welcome to being a grownup -- you have bills, you have responsibilities, you don't always have to like it. Although I am in the process of trying to fix that.
Life Two -- Family. I am very involved with my children and love being with them and taking care of them and I delight in watching their brains grow and their accomplishments continue. Totally divorced from work, mind you. Totally compelling.
Life Three -- Me. I have a very involved personal life outside of work and outside of the family. Just in the past two weeks alone, I have: attended a couple of cocktail parties; met and chatted with an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court; had a private lunch with the US Army officer who took over command at a certain infamous US Army Prison in Iraq in order to clean up the place after Military Intelligence made such a huge international hash of it; took part in a private viewing of pattern plates used by the printer/engraver in the creation of Audubon's Birds of America, the single most important work of an American naturalist; and have had several interesting other experiences. This is a rich life and a source of tremendous intellectual stimulation. The blog sort of fits more in here than anywhere else. When I reflect back on it, I am a lucky guy.
But all three of these things are lived primarily in isolation from each other. Very little contact between these spheres. I don't know if it is a natural occurrence but I do know that the lines dividing these things run very strong.
Do others feel this way? Or are other people better at integrating their lives, work, and family together?
The Girl Child is officially no longer a pre-schooler. She graduated in a lovely little ceremony this morning and I only cried at the end when they marched out and I thought I was seeing her march out into life and I wasn't ready yet. This, by the way, from the guy who needed to be warned in advance when the Girl Child was moving from newborn to size 1 diapers, ok, so take that into consideration.
She was the first one called to receive her diploma. It was alphabetical and not, as I posited to her teacher, because they were being called in order of academic standing. She waved her diploma in the air and several people called her name. These people were not related to me. Among the family attending were her grandmother and her great-grandmother.
I am so proud of her and I told her over lunch after the ceremony. The Girl Child, as her teachers pointed out, walked into that class room and didn't know a soul and immediately made three or four new best friends. Every mother I have met, or practically so, has said, "Oh, you're the Girl Child's father. My son/daughter always talks about her." The teachers said that there was never an off day for the Girl Child, that her enthusiasm never flagged, that her good will or spirits never dipped. She was just perfect. I think she changed at this school for the better. She used to be shy and hang back. She's now self confident and eager to jump into the middle of whatever activity is taking place. She grew taller and, if possible, even more beautiful.
As we left the reception, she was busy inviting her main teacher over for dinner.
Can you tell how proud I am of her? Probably.