So, I haven’t mentioned the catastrophe of Hurricane Maria that flattened my father’s family island of Puerto Rico. (My other family home of Alabama has also been hit pretty badly by Harvey and Irma.)
Puerto Rico is really, really bad. I don’t want to get into the politics of it all (because, it looks really bad for Washington D.C.) The island of 3.5 million American citizens (!) cannot get basic necessities like food and water. Electricity, which powers the water, communication, and distribution system is largely shut down. The roads are chocked with debris.
After a month.
If, the President of the United States won’t dedicate our nation to supporting the full recovery of this far-flung island of Americans in the middle of the “very big ocean,” how can you count on him for anything?
Please, Mr. President. Help.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that the ONLY reason I bought these cupcakes was that they were on the clearance rack at the supermarket (originally $8, I got them for $2! What a deal.)
But, you know, sometimes, a fella just needs the comforting sweetness that only a purple frosted chocolate Princess cupcake can provide. And, if I should happen to get a cheap plastic Princess crown ring in the process, well, that’s a bonus in my book. To hell with society’s gender norms.
That’s how I always labelled them.
Politics aside (right wing), their chicken is awesome. Though their wings are, mostly, from the right side.
My 10-year-old is desperate for a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. So she encourages me. Beckons me. Nags me the F…. to drive to Pasadena. To get her a chicken sandwich.
I order 8 of them. And, I will tell you: That is some fine eating. Man, those are good.
So, I’m taking my daughter to gymnastics practice yesterday. And we hit a red light. My right arm is on the arm rest, That is what they are designed for. And, suddenly, I feel plucking. On my arm.
Isabella (she’s 10): You have white hairs on your arms.
Me: Yes. probably. But I am driving. I am old.
Iz: You also have them in your nose. White ones.
Me: You know I am driving an actual car., Yes?
Iz: Also, your ears. Long ones. Daddy, Can’t I pluck them?
Me: Good God, No. We are driving. And, when did you become an English waif?
[Re-read that wif an English girl’s voice.]
I’ve lost almost 20 pounds over the last 12 weeks. And, I did it with two simple words.
<clickbait> <clickbait> <clickbait>.
Also, when your doctor says words like: Diabetes. Heart Failure. Erectile Dysfunction. These are words that catch your attention.
(I’m still funny, right? Yes? No? The lady in the back is clapping….)
“They” (children, wife) made me buy a dozen donuts the other day from Yum-Yum Donuts. A dozen in Yum-Yum land is 14. Because, math. Hard.
I’m not saying that losing weight is easy. Because, crap, my life is over when I lose my keys. I mean, “Lite” beer is not beer.
I’ve thought about forming a new religion. Nothing concrete, yet. But, I’m bouncing balls against the wall. I’m sketching things in…
Things we should all believe in:
– Gravity, until someone falls on their face.
– Facts, until my argument is disproved.
– Gender Equality, until she earns more.
– Time, until I am late.
– Peanuts, until someone has an allergy.
– Temperature, not the Heat Index. Bullshit.
– Brazilians, not the wax, but the people. Also: yeah. Ok, the waxing.
– There is no ‘Up’ in space. Except for the DVD on the Space Station.
– I mentioned Boobs, right? And, Bacon. Yeah… Bacon. Also, boobs.
– Puppies. (Still considering kittens.)
– Earth is slightly more than 6,000 years old. By a few billion years.
– I am a dashing young man.
– Avoid the 405. (LA friends know what I mean.)
– Don’t trust atoms. They make up everything.
– Trickle down economics doesn’t work in space. See above. Or on earth.
– Jumping Jack Flash… It’s not a Gas. No, not a Gas Gas. Hang on, no: It’s a Gas Gas… Gas.
Dropping my daughters off at their special “summer intensive” (don’t call it summer school) school this morning, I finally had control of the radio (because both of them are sulking, and hate the world and boys and blah blah blah.)
“Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I turn it up a bit.
Julianna (she’s days away from turning 13): Daaad! Please turn it down!
Me: Honey. You need to know this song. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. Whatever they teach you in school today, this is the most important thing you’ll hear all day.
J: Yeah, but can you turn it down when we open the doors?
Old man music stink.
Me: Yes, Sweetie.
Kids are discharged. Someone else’s problem until 3:00. And, then, after Roger Daltrey does his last Yeah! Springsteen. Born to Run.
My poor Prius. The volume goes up to 10. We are at maximum capacity.
And, then, Boom-Boom-Chick. Boom-Boom-Chick Crap. Because it is not just one song, but two: We are the champions. Who tapped into my brain. Russians?
Let me find the longest way to get home.
Announcer guy: We’re commercial free for 90 minutes. Fuck.
Let me park somewhere. In the Target parking lot.
And, then, Bowie’s “Suffragette City.” Wham Bam, thank you sir.
I manage to find an 11.
Security starts circling. Was there an Amber Alert on this Prius?
And, then… How could I move?
Crap. I have to tell the guy. I’m just leaving.
Sometimes, radio doesn’t suck.
So, I’m down 19 pounds in 6 weeks this morning (Doctor’s orders.) And, then my daughter couldn’t finish her waffles, smothered in butter and syrup. On the kitchen island. On a plate, all alone. Encouraging me. No one would know. Seducing me. Enticing me. Wanting me.
I get enough of that from women on a daily basis.
I had a carrot.
Isabella’s (she’s 10) USAIGC/IAGC World Championship gymnastics competition tournament takes us this year to Reno, Nevada.
Reno. Exotic (enough). Beautiful. Legendary.
Isabella is something of an odds-on favorite. No pressure, though.
For my Los Angeles friends, if you are going to make the drive to Reno, please do yourself the absolute favor and go the Inland route (LA speak: the 5 to the E-14 to the N-395 forever to the N-580) instead of the Central Valley (I-5 to Sacramento, then E-80) route. Your eyes and heart will thank you. (Because, who needs to drive through another Stockton? No offense intended, Stockton.) 20 minutes longer to drive, but absolutely worth it. The drive is part of the show.
Make sure you have enough gas though. Don’t do the Mojave with a 1/4 tank.
The total drive to Reno is 8-ish hours, either way. Gas-fills, bathrooms, McDonalds…
On the 395 tour, you will drive through an ancient river bed for a hundred miles with 5.000 foot mountains on either side. [Site-see at Fossil Falls.] Then, once you get through the town of Bishop, the road turns left, ominously, to the west.
And you will drive toward 13,000 foot mountain peaks (2 miles high). Black rock. Sheer cliffs. Unbelievable. Gorgeous. Towering. Snow capped even at the end on June.
The Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
Then, eventually, you will start to climb those mountains. Gradually. But even a Prius can easily handle it. (I think we made it up to 8,036 feet.) Ears popping, jaws gaping. 43 MPG. Summer conditions, mind you. And it takes a couple of hours.
And, then you skirt Yosemite and go through Toiyabe National Forest. You’ll race the raging river down the mountains. [For my East Coasts friends, a West Coast forest is not just a symphony of deep green; there’s no kudzu here. You can actually see each tree trunk. Millions and millions and millions.]
Hopefully you will get stuck behind a slow-moving pickup truck, on a two-lane stretch down the incline. Because, it’s not about getting there, it’s about the getting there.
These are things my daughters will remember about this even without photos. Even though we had a camera handy, I wanted them to see it through their own eyes.
And, we haven’t even gotten to Reno yet.