Sunday, July 27, 2008
Obligatory vacation video
I'm perpetually amazed at my cruddiness as a bachelor. Some days, when work beckons until 9 and Mo hands off Hope the moment I return home, I fantasize about weekends like this: Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no alarms to monitor, bottles to mix and nary a chore in sight.
Thirty-six hours removed from Mo and Hope, I have regressed to that Scary Dude. You know the one. The guy who hasn't shaved in a week and smells of body odor and TAG spray to cover it up. The weird one who goes to the grocery store in his lawnmower shoes with no socks and buys three frozen pizzas, a case of beer, two bags of chips and smiles proudly after tossing a pound of ground chuck in the cart because it now contains actual "food."
I tried to keep busy in a half-hearted, layabout way. I mowed the lawn, but convinced myself it was getting too hot to weed-whack. I resumed some long-neglected wall painting. I screwed both up: One is the wrong color; the other is splotchy from a lack of sanding.
Another two days like this and I'll be amazed if I'm not lying in my underwear on a sheet spread out in front of the television, stray cans of SPAM and Easy-Cheese at my side and pet vomit in my ear.
I can't help it. I miss my ladies. I'm a wreck without 'em. In retrospect, I'm glad I figured out "left shoe on left foot, right shoe on ..." for 12 years between leaving home and meeting Mo.
Maine was a blast. Most of our worries about traveling with Hope proved for naught. She's a Grade A traveler who seems to enjoy the distractions and hubbub far better than lounging at home. She was fine on our frantic trip out, which involved waking up at 4 a.m., transferring airlines and terminals in New York and driving two hours to my parents' house.
She's been to the Maine coast at least four times now and seemed to enjoy those uniquely Atlantic sensations: touching sea urchins, grasping rocks, staring at the tides and all their possibility, smelling the sea air and dodging black flies.
I grew up in Bangor, 40 minutes from the coast. My parents still live there. Some of my favorite memories from childhood seem like cliches straight from Robert McCloskey or E.B. White: exploring tide pools, jumping on rocks, skipping stones, wandering just a bit farther out during low tide, muddying my knees looking for shells and generally wasting time by the water.
It was important to me to pass on those experiences to my children. I've talked to Hope a lot about what we would do when we got there and how much fun we'd have. I made the same promises to Will and never got to keep them, so it was profound to take Hope to Mount Desert Island and dip her toes in the chilly waters.
She cried. I knew she would. But I had to do it. It was a moment too long in the making, one of those instances in which you fore sake your baby's needs for your own. Ever the sport, she rebounded well and delighted in touching granite in no time.
She'll never remember. I will.
Now, if I can just find another 15 household projects or frozen pizzas to fill the void for the next 10 days.