Monday, September 26, 2005

Shady's Back

A healthy dose of post-vacation malaise around the ol' ranch today. It's always nice to be home, but pending life issues like, say, alarm clocks tend to intrude on embracing the hearth too tightly.

This was the first time we'd been away as a family in almost three years. It's strange what you experience about folks, even those closest to you, when you're in confined quarters with them for an extended period. It's not like daily living, where you have work and school and play and family moments fit somewhere amongst all that. It's 24/7, sharing the evolution of the day, moods and meals. Oh gawd, the meals. I may never eat again.

I didn't exactly learn anything about the dear and patient wife and AJ. Nothing so tangible as that. It's more like a comfort, a meshing. They're wonderful and they make life worth living. The boy, it turns out, also travels pretty well.

"Daddy, your butt stinks."

When you spend roughly one of your 10-day vacation within the close and boring confines of the car, your four-year-old comes up with some pretty funny shit. Mine does, anyway. Our car rides were blissfully uneventful. Once you get into "central" California (it's not really central, but anything north of LA and south of SF is referred to as such), the road flattens and straightens. Drivers become infinitely more courteous than those I usually encounter in the concrete jungles of LA. The fast lane is used for passing only. The oblivious minivan going 60 and blocking traffic is a distant memory.

AJ slept most of the longest stretch (ten hours) and his probing questions were infrequent. Instead of the standard, "Are we there yet?" he preferred "How many more miles?" His response to the answer was always a brief and disappointed, "Ohhhh" and then he was onto the next game of "I Spy" or one of his dozen bug books.

Oh, and although I am not above having a stinky butt, I'm pretty sure I was innocent of the charges at that particular time.

Quick family poll. What was your favorite part of the trip?

AJ: Grandpa
Me: The Exploratorium
Dear and Patient Wife: The two times you fell down at park

Ah yes. We had a few hours to kill after arriving at my hometown this past Friday, so we decided on a tour of the local wineries which have become something of a cottage industry in the Livermore Valley. Nothing like a free Friday afternoon vino buzz to accost the dexterity. After sampling the wares, we headed to the park across the street from my childhood home to let AJ run out some of his pent-up energy. Twice I ended up on my back-side, Otis-style. Once when attempting to execute a classic swing jump; the other when I mis-judged the ground while showing AJ how to (im)properly slide down a fireman's pole.

The Mrs. is still laughing.

Daddy? Like to play a little Omaha?"

Yes, the poker thing is starting to rub off. Not entirely, however. AJ was holding a pack of cards when he asked the question. Baseball cards. I suppose we COULD play Omaha with cards of the A's team. "I've got a pair of underachieving outfielders. You?" (Though I would like to express my thanks to the Home Team for taking a day off from your month of mediocrity to give us an enjoyable afternoon win.)

One of the other habits he picked up on this trip was to imitate sea lions, which we saw the first day in SF.

I tried to play along with him, but I couldn't accurately compete. The one time I gave it my all, I sprained my larynx.

"I'm like the first humans."

He announced this proudly one evening in our SF hotel room. The occasion was his nakedness. He's very much in a nudity phase right now. When we arrive back home, the first thing he does is strip down to his underpants. When he enters a bathroom, his trousers are halfway to his ankles. Must be the European part of him.

I don't have any pictures of that. How about some strange Bavarians in lederhosen at Lombard St. instead?

As I said, I enjoyed The Exploritorium the most (as far as tangible benefits go). It's an interactive museum located at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. A lot of hands on exhibits/inventions for the kids to play with. A lot of the science is way over AJ's head, but that hardly mattered. I have fond memories of the place from my own childhood visits and, in fact, one of my favorites is still there to this day (it's been 25 years since I was last there). It's two concave dishes set 70 feet apart. You sit inside them and can carry on a perfectly normal conversation with the person sitting in the other. I remember being blown away by that at age 10 and it was cool to do it again.

The following photo was also taken there. It's a distorted room that gives off some cool effects. Although the picture doesn't quite capture it, I'm still using it for my next album cover.

I basically laid around all day today, pausing my ennui to do a few things that needed doing. I played some poker--to poor effect--just to pass the time. Vacation hangover stuff. I'm glad to be home. Less glad to be heading back to work. I'd rather just hang out with these two for another couple weeks.

Anyway, hello again. What did I miss?


At 9:02 AM, Blogger Shelly said...

Sounds like a great trip! AJ is funny :)

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Drizz cashed in three MTTs over the weekend.

Somewhere a baby kitten was nuked for this.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Chad said...


Bob Barker isn't dead yet. Stop doing his job until he's gone.

Welcome back, man. Welcome back.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger ToddCommish said...

The Exploratorium rocks! I still take my kids there once a year (they're now 10 and 12). The Jr. Commish dissected a cow's eyeball the last time at one of their science tables. Very cool. When I was in Jr. High, it was my favorite field trip. If you get another chance, make a reservation for the Tactile Dome (if it's still there). It's a maze of different materials you must negotiate in TOTAL darkness. It's a real test of your other senses, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're claustrophobic.


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