Hodge Podge

To my dear readers…

The dozens of you…

The B-More Dad has fallen down on the blogging for all sorts of reasons, chief among them: I have some actual work that pays actual money, as opposed to blogging, which pays bupkis.

So here’s a roundup of what’s going on these days:

Winning Essay?

Thanks to the inspiration of my Lovely Bride, I entered Real Simple magazine’s annual Life Lessons essay contest. (The deadline was last Friday, so don’t bother. Plus, you’re not going to win. I am. Well, I hope.) The instructions were to complete this sentence: “I never thought I’d…”

What to write about was a snap: I never thought I’d become an at-home dad. Compared with these blog posts, which leap from my head fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus, how to write a winning entry was a lot harder. It started out sounding whah-wa-wha-whaaaah, like how grownups on Charlie Brown speak. But then Lovely Bride suggested a way to set it up that made all the difference. I can’t remember when they announce the winner. But maybe this will get my foot in the door with freelancing for national magazines.

Business Trip Season

My Lovely Bride is getting ready to jet off to Saudi Arabia for five days to help cement a relationship between the docs and researchers she fundraises for and a new business partnership in the Middle East. She’s been going nuts with the trip planner not doing so much planning. (The person offered to meet her at the airport with her visa if it didn’t come in time. Helpful.) I’ve been giving middle of the night backrubs and making banana muffins to help her stay calm. Her abaya came today, and she’s flying Lufthansa business class. Being able to stretch out flat on the plane (in a seat with built-in massagers) and then taking a shower in the business lounge on the way in Frankfurt is helping make the whole experience not so bad.

Here in Baltimore, instead of hunkering down and holding on for dear life, I’m actually turning it into an educational opportunity for the kiddos. So where is Saudi Arabia exactly? What do they eat there? Why don’t they let women show their elbows? We looked for books at the library yesterday, and for kids, we found two.

My mom is jetting off to Phoenix for the weekend (it’s hotter there than in Riyadh) and is fretting that she can’t come help me while my wife is gone. And friends have offered to have us over for dinner. But I’d just as soon stick to the routine, have supper on my schedule and get the kids to bed on time. I want to keep it as normal as possible. The weekend is the biggest abyss, timewise, but we’ve got soccer in the morning, ballet in the afternoon, church on Sunday and an Orioles game in the afternoon. Plus, our local Home Depot does its free craft activity (supplies and apron provided) this Saturday.

I’m not saying I won’t be stocking up the liquor cabinet, but I’m not worried about surviving while she’s gone. I do this every day.

And compared to my at-home mom friend across the street – whose husband goes to China for two weeks at a stretch – and a working dad pal – whose wife is off to London and Pakistan FOR THREE WEEKS – I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Working (Sucks)

I’m writing a freelance magazine article – due while Lovely Bride is in Saudi Arabia – and it reminds me of two things:

  1. Despite the aggravation of starting with a vaguely conceived story assignment that took a week to morph into I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living but journalism.
  2. Doing it while trying to keep the house cleaned, family fed, laundry done, dog walked, preschool and playdates juggled, and on and on, is a real drag.

I’d Really Rather…

Sometimes I’d just as soon be the happy homemaker and move the butterfly bush to a better location, de-clutter the attic/guest room/home office and clear the mental decks to start on the living room crown molding project – which first requires painting the living room ceiling.

Fantasy House

Goodbye, fantasy house.

I told myself I had set free the big corner house two doors up from mine, after it had blossomed into such a living breathing fantasy that I had moved in my furniture and chopped down the hideous bushes. But I still longed for the great climbing tree in the back and all that yard space to plant flowers and vegetables.

But then I found that wonderful people are buying my fantasy house. Their oldest kid is in my son’s class, and the family lives six doors up the street. It really helps me put my fantasy to rest to know that a nice family is moving in – and that there will now be five second-grade boys on our block.

I went in the house the other day, and more and more, I’m glad it’s someone else’s project, not mine. So the house has more closets on the second floor than mine does throughout, but they’re going to need paint by the barrel. The dining room is brown, the bathroom is “baby barf green” (one of my kids said) and a bedroom is cotton-candy pink. Ick. The basement needs renovating, and the roof and windows need replacement. And some genius who replaced the copper gutters put up a new one that’s six inches too short.

Fantasy house, I set you free!

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