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Thursday, Apr. 04, 2002
I think I'll go a bit off theme today and forgo my typical stream of consciousness rant. This being a journal, a diary, shouldn't it chronicle the more mundane, the more topical and varied puzzlements? Of course it should. And, just because I can, so shall it be.

There. Now I feel like I'm in charge. So here's my yesterday.

9:30 am: Dr. Surfer Girl took out the sample contact lens with a brisk swipe of hand and for a minute, I swear I could see more clearly than I can ever remember. I very nearly jumped off the stool and started in on a raving, kick out the crutches "I'm cured! I'm cured!" moment until she slowed me down. "Whoa there, big dude", she said. "Remember what we talked about yesterday? Your eyes aren't the things that see all these things, it's your brain that does the image processing. And right now your brain is rebalancing, refocusing, and probably giving you 20/20 vision. But only for a minute."

And of course she was right. 15 minutes later it all fuzzed back out to the normal state. But wow. Fun while it lasted. I was tempted to see if Dr. Surf was free to duck out back and fire up a bowl full of Denver inspired goodness and get into a long, pointless discussion about contact lenses and waves that break to the left. But, having lost my bowl, (about 20 years prior, as I recall) and knowing little to nothing about waves, it seemed doomed to failure from the start. So I let her usher me into the scheduler's office for some…scheduling. Yep. Couple of weeks from now they'll be slicing up my eye and pumping me full of laser beams and God knows what else. Maybe some common sense. That'd be a big help.

11 am: So I cruised back home (sadly having none of the visual clarity of the previous 24 hours) to check in on the Spring Break Crowd. The eldest had already left for a softball tournament, the middlest was off to track practice (as a manager, not a contestant) and the youngest, the son, was idling in front of the television. "So what's up for you today?", was my initial volley. Ben is one of the people who are put on earth to accomplish tasks through sheer persistence. He'll work like a madman on any given project until it is done, then shift gears mentally back into neutral until the next big thing. Asking him "What's up for you today?" is akin to saying, "Got anything to do?"

He replied in Ben-speak, which is to say that he shifted from a reclining position to a semi-upright posture while lazily waving a TV remote holding hand. "Nah, but I'll think of something." Good thing, 'cause his vacation time is rapidly dwindling away.

11:10 am: Called Corporate Partner Stu for the purpose of attending aforementioned softball tournament. Any diversion from the less appealing yard work in front of him zoomed right to the top of his priority list so I picked him up at his house, complete with cigars and a cooler and khaki shorts. To the softball fields we went, parked in the lot on the first base side, nose to curb, and settled into our watching-the-game-from the truck mode.

OF: "Well, we're a little late but looks like there's at least 5 innings to go."
Stu: "Good Christ. Check out that tall blonde…"
OF: "Hey, Beth's playing first base today."
Stu: "…how is it possible that a high school girl has legs that long…"
OF: "No, dammit! Not the hit and run with two outs!"
Stu: "Ought to be illegal to be out here with those shorts on…"
OF: "Great catch!" Did you see that?"
Stu: "…oh sweet Jesus I think she's going to bend over…"

12:30 pm: Beth's team lost but it didn't diminish her appetite. She invited the two of us to lunch, which was awfully sweet of her. Naturally she assumed that I would pay. Being a parent gives you certain entitlements, but allowing your child to go hungry isn't one of them.

12:45 pm: Onward, to the Watering Hole. Now, contrary to your mental image, the Hole isn't just a place for overweight and slightly cynical old men to hug the bar and leer at the twenty-something divorcee who schleps your beverage. It's just happens to be what the Hole does best.

But they do a killer lunch too. Why, I've seen entire families stop in there and eat. The fact that they seldom return has no bearing on the discussion.

None at all.

Beth ate her chicken and salad and zoomed back to the field for the afternoon game. I make a self-congratulatory mental note: That having gotten a car for her means ever so much more free time for me. Although the Watering Hole seems to benefit more than anyone.

2:00 pm: The cell phone rings and it's Ben, wanting to know "Are you going to be doing anything with such and such piece of lumber that's been buried in the shed for the last two years?" So I give him the cellular equivalent of hand waving carte blanche and promise to be home shortly, right after this important meeting is over. Hang up.

Stu: "Are we having an important meeting?"
OF: "Why do you ask?"
Stu: "I heard you say something to Ben…"
OF: "Huh?"
Stu: (loudly to barmaid) "Hey! Can we get another libation here or what? We've got important meetings going on, in case you didn't notice…"

3:00 pm: Back at Outfoxed Central, the middlest has returned and is happily engaged in scientific research by measuring the effect of sonic waves upon window glass using old Bob Marley CD's as a test variant. I'm assuming that at some point breakage of glass will occur and the results will be dutifully recorded but for now we're just in the testing stage. Hmmm.

Ben has constructed something. And I'm in the backyard puzzling over just what it might be in its' half finished state. Although I'm also more than a little impressed by the quality of design. 4 x 4 vertical posts supporting a doubled up set of joists and rimmed by a trimmer board, the whole thing about 4 feet by 8 feet. Crisp joints, all lagged together with 4 inch screws. He is wearing a measuring tape on his hip, a pencil on his ear and a Skilsaw lays nearby.

OF: "So, what is it?"
Ben: "It's a skateboard table. See? All I gotta do is put this plywood on top and do a little ramp off the end and it's done. Wanna see the plans for it?

Sheesh, he even drew up plans. In 3-D. Where does he get this from?

heh heh.

6:00 pm: Having squandered most of the afternoon in front of this machine which diabolically saps the hours right out of my life (yeah, it's all the computers fault, don't you know) and listening to the Indigo Girls from the upstairs bedroom and the sawing of lumber from the backyard, I return to the Watering Hole (why? Because I have an important meet…oh nevermind) and Stu and I watch the sky turn black as a thunderstorm rolls in from the west. The wives show up, the crowd swells appropriate to the hour and I'm sitting there controlling the show via cell phone. Hungry children? Pizza's on the way. Materials being delivered tomorrow? Not a problem, thanks for calling. Admonishment (this from Ben) about dull saw blades? Okay, I'll pick one up from Stu's truck.

And the rain falls and it turns gusty and torrential and we're all trapped in the mentality of "We really don't want to go anywhere while this rain is coming down like this". So we don't. And the crowd turns unusually quiet and we all just sort of sit and watch the rain and muse as Todd Rudgren offers up another one on the jukebox and pool balls clack in the background.

Suburbia occasionally doesn't suck at all.

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