Memorial Day

It’s early-morning and I’m floating on a surfboard in the middle of a fog bank.  I can no longer see the shore or the opulent beach houses beyond the dunes.  I was using a white post modern one as a visual marker but the soup has thickened and now I’m completely decoupled from terra firma.  It’s a weird feeling.  I could be drifting down to Fire Island for all I know but I don’t hear any Lady GaGa remixes coming from the beach so I think I’m ok. Waves come in from nowhere like phantoms and quickly disappear.  I think for a surfer this is pretty close to what heaven or hell looks like, plus or minus a bikini clad girl to watch your every surf move from the beach.  After catching a few I start to think about Shark Week on Discovery Channel and the fact that Jaws was set in Long Island somewhere.  There’s not a breath of wind and the water is grey and murky.  I start to imagine things from a shark’s perspective, looking up at a big silhouetted oval with four bit-sized protrusions flailing around.  I can’t get back to land quick enough.  This begins what will become a decathlon of activities at constitutes Memorial Day weekend and the commencement of summer in the Hamptons .  I get back to the house and Thing 1 and Thing 2 are slathered up with SPF 3,000 and wearing hats that could be easily turned upside down to serve as nice planters for a hibiscus tree.  They’re raring to go.  Thing 2 is holding a pail and shovel and obviously looking to do major landscaping at the high tide line.  I peel off my wetsuit, which requires a lot of patience, persistence and the ability to dislocate several key joints at will.  Before I  know it we’re back at the beach.  I spent the prior weekend picking the perfect chairs for this environment.  I settled on “The Big Kahuna” for two reasons.  One, it has holders for a cell phone, a beer and a news paper. Two, it can hold up to 250 lbs of displaced weight to accommodate even the most rotund clam bake invitee.  The kids begin to collect lots of rocks.  We have roughly 5 thousand of them in the garage and we’ve only been coming out for a month of weekends.  Maybe we can build a replica of the Berlin Wall.  It could go along highway 27 which is the mythical divider used by real estate agents to garner up to 30% more in perceptual home value.   It’s the first question anybody will ask you when you say you have a house in the Hampton’s.  “Is it north or south?”  There’s qualifying shorthand for everything out here, even down to beach chairs.  “Tommy Bahama or The Big Kahuna?” The Big Kahuna far superior but I digress.

The fog has burned off and the surf still looks pretty good, so I slither back into my damp wetsuit and head out again.  Ten minutes later I glance back at the shore.  Thing 1 and 2 and the nanny I brought along for coverage are frantically waving brightly colored Ralph Lauren beach towels in the air.  I conclude they’ve seen a fin and for the second time in one day I get spooked from the water.  They meet me at the shore line.  Not a shark but something equally as dire.  Apparently I’ve lost track of time and now only have ten minutes to get to the Soul Cycle spin class my wife booked for us in Bridge Hampton.  My phone has been vibrating one arm off the Big Kahuna with my wife’s frantic calls because getting a bike at this high profile flash mob is harder to score than court side at a Nicks game. I’m now barreling down one of many hedge lined streets like an idiot in my maroon Chevy Cruze.  This vehicle is not even on the charts when rating one’s monetary standing out here but it’s light and quick and gives me a jump on larger imported SUV’s at intersections.  The class is starting in 2 minutes and once again I find myself on the wrong side of highway 27.  I commit about 4  moving violations and finally skid to a stop inside the gravel parking lot.  Hooray! I’m just in time to saddle up and prepare to go nowhere on a stationary bike.  I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.  The barn it’s held in is as hot as a native american sweat lodge and perfectly quaffed socialites are already starting to melt like those Germans in Raiders of the Lost Arch.  We’re on the back row, which in the high profile fitness world is like being north of highway 27.  I’m ok with it because my wife and I are playing grab ass and trying to knock each other off the beat.  We finish the class, mingle a bit and on the way home pass a house that has a pee stained mattress out front with a sign on it that says “Free”.  This aberration really puts the whole weekend into perspective for me.  I pull up close and ask my wife to snap a photo.  I’m overwhelmed by the honestly and full disclosure.  It’s a rare quality to find in a place where holding your cards close is at a premium.  It’s like, “Hey, this mattress has a big, ugly, circular pee stain on it.  We’re not trying to hide it.  If you need a free bed to sleep in and don’t think you’ll have nightmares about R. Kelly peeing on you, then this is the bed for you!”   The long weekend comes to a close with a quick dash to the beach for our last “rock run”.  I’m now thinking the Great Wall of China.

No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn


It’s really late and I can’t sleep. Too many of life’s logistics buzzing around in my head.  I’ve been trying everything from watching reality TV to doing yoga.  Nothing’s working.  It occurs to me that every time a have an orgasm I get really tired so I  start a prerecorded Survivor episode.  It’s day 15 of the competition and a few of the women haven’t yet devolved into that unattractive emaciated state. Catch them day 30 and you’d think you’re watching a holocaust documentary on public television.  I try to get into it but we live in a New York apartment so I can’t help thinking about my proximity to the family.  Totally kills it. So much for the Al Bundy strategy.  I look in the pantry for some kind of herbal tea but we only have the ones that wake you up.  I go into the girl’s room to make sure they’re covered up.  Thing 2 is completely under the polka dot blanket.  I peel it back from over her head.  She opens her eyes and screams, “Bees, there’s bees in here.” Then she pulls the cover back and goes to sleep.  This wakes Thing 1 up momentarily, “Daddy, are we going to grandpa’s house now?”.   “No, I can’t sleep.” I’m halfway hopping to spark up a conversation to keep me company.   She also returns to sleep.  Alone again.  I wander back into the living room.  I check my email.  Only email newsletters that I haven’t figured out how to unsubscribe from.  I decide to call my old Australian buddy Lachie.  It should be early afternoon in Sydney about now.  He’s answers but I wake him up because he’s in London with a bunch of other Aussie broadcasters inspecting the Olympic preparations.  He does managed to tell me how drunk he got the night before at the Claridge’s hotel bar where he met Roger Waters of the Moody Blues.  Waters is bringing back “The Wall” which is presently the biggest grossing tour out there.  Lachie says Waters is still trying to look cool at 68 in his strategically distressed jeans and tight black tee shirt. I think that sounds a lot like Lachie but I don’t say anything.  He’s much younger and still has an ass, so that wouldn’t be fair.  Why is it that men in their sixties suffer from disappearing ass syndrome? There should be research done and maybe a benefit to raise money for it.  Waters should donate his tour funds to it.  Tragic condition.  I let Lachie go back to sleep and I Google, “best butt exercises”.  I find one called the “Michael Douglas”.   It seems that around the time of the movie Basic Instinct, an exercise was developed to counteract the gluteal sagging Michael suffered on-screen during one of his love making scenes with Sharon Stone.  I do as many as I can before getting a cramp.

Lachie’s story reminds me of a business trip I took to Dublin once where I also got really drunk and passed out in my bed very late before an early morning flight.  I got completed undressed and laid my cloths out on the floor to save time when the wake-up  call came.  I couldn’t have been asleep more than an hour or two when I heard someone entering the room.  I thought it was the cleaning lady and I quickly asked her to come back later but the footsteps kept getting closer in the darkness.  I yelled out again but only heard a grunting sound in reply.  Now I was getting concerned.  I turned on the side table light and was horrified by the unsettling sight of  a 250 pound, sweating, drunk, incoherent, naked, Irishman standing at the foot of my bed holding an ice bucket (that’s 113 kilos for all you metric system readers).  I shouted at him to get the F$#ck out but he only shouted back at me, “Alice, where’s Alice?!”,  I told him I didn’t know where Alice was and to once again, “ GET THE F#$@K OUT OF MY ROOM!”  He wouldn’t budge and was getting increasingly agitated.  I clearly needed to confront  him from a position of strength, not lying down under my covers.  I rose to get out but at that moment I realized that for the first time in over a decade I had gone to bed naked.  I was at an inflection point.  Either I was going take the flight to him or he was going to crawl into my bed and do whatever he and Alice customarily do.  I wasn’t going to tolerate a spooning session with this drunk bastard so I popped up, stood high above him on my bed and roared out succinct directions to the exit, much like the bitchy male flight attendants on the New York to Chicago shuttle flight I often take. I think I even firmly planted one fist on my hip like a capeless Superman.  It must have made an impression because he stopped yelling and made a slight motion for the door.  That was my opening and I leaped off the bed and starting pushing him towards the exit, all the while trying to maintain as much distance as possible between our exposed nether regions.   It must have looked like a cross between a Jackass movie and a cage flight at a nudist colony. I quietly thanked god there were no spectators.  I finally got him out into the hallway and shut the door behind. I would have yelled, “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”, but that would have been too disrespectful to the door.   I looked out the fish eye peep hole at him.  He look bewildered and started calling  for Alice again.  I felt slightly sorry for him.  He was alone, confused and carrying on like Marlin Brando calling out for Stella, and what was I doing besides cowering behind my locked door?  I quickly got over those sentiments and called the front deck to report him as serious security threat.   This was only months after 9/11 so I can’t say  I was surprised by the speed and force he was removed from the premises by the cops.  Later,  in a more lucid movement, I managed to piece it all together.  As best I could tell,  he had been staying with his girlfriend in the room next door and went out for ice…naked.  Upon returning he must have mistakenly entered my room because I’d apparently left the door ajar from when I came home toasted the night before.  Even in his stupor, he must have come to the logical conclusion he was entering the right room.

Remembering all this gives me an idea.  I take off all my cloths and walk into our bedroom and gently call out, “Honey, are you asleep?” She looks up all groggy and says, “GET YOUR CLOTHS BACK ON OR GET THE F#@CK OUT OF THIS ROOM!”  Lets just say I’m not un-sympathetic.

World of Wonders


I guess a rite of passage for all parents is to take their kids to a pop up carnival on some crappy vacant lot somewhere.  A place where you pay $70 to go on a few rides that are a class action suit waiting to happen and eat food that the department of health should put on the most wanted list.  We arrive at 6:30 and the place is pack with kids, euphoric from the bright lights, bizarre sounds and the abundance of sugar products.  We see some friends and the husband tells me to bite the bullet and go for the $100 ticket package! He says they evaporate like drops of water in a frying pan. He’s a lawyer, so I buy the $50 package. My personal philosophy is to always discount anything a lawyer says by 50%.  I purchase the ticket from a woman that looks like a retired troll and the games begin. The kids proceed to have one ride on the dragon coster, one game of “whack-a-mole” and two turns on the super slide. I end up having to borrow 3 tickets from the lawyer to cover the second super slide. We both know its going to cost me.  Maybe not now but later in the summer.  I’ll probably reluctantly call him on the way over to a cookout and he’ll say something like, “Hey, can you be a mench and pick up some steaks on you’re way over? Oh and maybe a nice bottle of Scotch while you’re at it.”  I go back and get another $50 package and loose out on the volume discount.  Thing 1 wants to goes on the “Free Fall”, a tower of death that hoist you high above the vacant lot at an excruciatingly slow pace and drops you without warning 5 stories like you’ve just been release through the trap door of hangman’s gallows.  I ask her if she wants me to go on it with her.  She nods yes… damn!  I’m just getting over this back thing and the ride looks like the ultimate spinal contraction contraption.  This is not going to end well I think.  We wait our turn and finally the carney in charge of the ride opens the gate.  Kids and chaperones scramble for the limited seats like cattle lining up for branding day.  Fortunately Thing 1 and I get a seat together.  We sit and wait for the carney to come pull down the safely harness and strap us in.  This never happens and as machinery winds up, we start to elevate as I frantically reach over to get Thing 1‘s seat secured.  Now I know for sure  that if I’m ever in an airline mishap where oxygen masks are required, I would ignore protocol and help the child first before securing my own.  Good to know.   We keep rising higher and higher.  Thing 2 is on the ground crying because she couldn’t go on the ride.  I would gladly have give her my place at this point.  She looks like a dot on Google maps as we continue to ratchet up skyward.  I look over and Thing 1 is blissfully ignorant to the shock we’re both preparing to endure.  She actually just figured out how close the ocean is for the first time.  I really need to get her to the beach more.   At that moment the release happens without warning and we start to plummet back to earth.  Time is slowing down now and Thing 1’s eyes are as big as hula hoops.  I get a weird unpleasant sensation in my testicles and try to tighten up my core.  My dad was a navy test pilot and he’d be ashamed of my inability to handle even moderate G-force.  I flash to an image of an albino grease monkey I saw on the way in and can’t help but to wonder if he’s responsible for the maintenance of this ride.  What if  the hydraulics fail and we are rendered into a large and small  flat heap on the rapidly approaching deck below?  This abject terror is broken by a pillowy landing and just like that it’s all over.  Thing 1 looks like she’s seen a poltergeist and I think I might have broken her.  I quickly release us from the torture chairs and hold her hand as we wobble back to terra firma on shaky legs.  The exit path takes us pass a line of porta Johns where I finally stop and ask if she’s ok.  She looks me in the eyes and says, “Daddy, do you have any tickets left?”.  Damn that lawyer!

Terror in the Sky


I’m riding in back of a speeding cab watching a public service announcement where the Mayor is telling me to wear a seat belt. I can barely hear the little TV because my Pakistani driver is yelling at an innocent cyclist he almost killed and who is now flipping him off.  I try to explain to him how uncomfortable I am with him looking back where we’ve been instead of where we’re going.  A garage truck makes a quick stop ahead of us. My driver slams on the breaks and we come to abrupt halt. I swear he never looked forward. My briefcase and I rocket forward and glue to the plexiglass separator until the our forward momentum dissipates.  I buckle my seat belt and he starts yelling at the garbage truck. I think about how fragile life is and wander back in my mind to another incident that happened to me three years before.
We were all  in the last ten minutes of an arduous 6 hours flight to see my wife’s cousin in San Francisco for Christmas.  On approach the plane got to about 800 feet and suddenly pulled up.  The flight steward got on the intercom and announced we would be circling around and taking another crack at it.  No real explanation was given and everybody who moments before had been complete strangers started chatting like were attending an aerial family reunion.  After two of these failed approaches we found ourselves circling the Pacific, very annoyed, when the captain came on the intercom and started his announcement by saying, “I need to be honest with you…”  While this is a perfectly acceptable opening for a couples counseling session, it is not the best way to address a captive audience of 144 people in a flying death trap.  I mean, for Christ sake, this was the same crowd that almost stormed the cockpit half way through the flight when we were told  the plane had run out of margarita mix. Anyway, he went on to say that the plane’s landing flaps weren’t working and that we needed to prepare the cabin for an emergency landing. This involved removing our personal effects and specifically dentures. Dentures I thought? Under what scenario would wearing dentures be a safely risk? I thought of a macabre commercial for Polident where a bunch of old people die in a horrific plane crash but all their dentures hold strong.  The captain then went on to said that emergency vehicles were standing by on the runway  because we would be coming in a “bit fast” on the landing and we might catch fire from the extreme breaking that would be required to stop the plane at high speed. He said that they had a procedure for ‘this’ type of emergency and that he was trained to handle the crisis.  I was thinking Apollo 13 and ‘Houston we have a problem’ and that if we’d gone to Houston to see my dad for Christmas, there would have been no problem. It was like a Die Hard movie and as I looked out the window on our final decent, the ground moving beneath us in a blur, I expected to see Bruce Willis hanging on to the wing, lifting the flaps up manually. My wife had seen a cryptic movie billboard on the way to the airport which read ‘4 dead’ and was trying her best not to take that on a symbolic level.  The cabin was a flurry of activity and confusion but in the middle of the panic something wonderful happened. People around us, mainly elderly women with dentures, starting tossing airline pillows to us from over the seats to help cushion the kids. It was one of those defining moments in the middle of a terrifying situation when people rise above their own fear and do something extraordinary. Then, only moments before landing there was a dead calm. I looked over our seats and saw nothing. The flight attendants were gone, strapped in their jump seats and every passenger was doubled over in the crash position. The plane look deserted as we all braced for impact. My wife looked at me and told me she loved me and I did the same. Thing 2 was only nine months old then and  got very calm in her mother’s arms.  Thing 1 was three and sobbed… well…like a three year old.  I proceeded to tighten her seat belt like I was securing a precious piece of art for overseas shipment.  We came in fast and extremely low as promised but in the end we rolled to a belated stop unscathed.  Everyone on the plane celebrated like it was new year’s eve in Times Square. We faced death and lived to tell the tale. It was one of those defining moments that eventually became part of our family’s legend. I remember walking off the plane I getting a sudden craving for a margarita…damn!.

Homeland Insecurity

Just got this email Thing 1’s school:

Dear Families:

Today a nonhazardous white powdery substance was found in an envelope in the main office. As an immediate response, NYPD was notified and an investigation ensued which involved several law enforcement and emergency agencies.  

To allow the investigation to take place, the main office and the hallway outside of it were closed off.  Students remained in classrooms supervised by teachers and school staff, while our amazing staff worked together to put student safety first and assist in keeping as normal a schedule as possible.  Upon receiving clearance, the end of the day proceeded with its usual dismissal routines.  

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact me.

I know we live next to ground zero but for the love of god, do we really have to keep baring the blunt of all the potential terrorist attacks? I mean, hasn’t the whole area been pre-disastered already?  Thing 1 comes home from school having seen some strange stuff and has lots of questions.  Rumor had it her principal was walking around the halls in full bio hazard gear complete with helmet, mask and tank.  She must have looked like the government people that came to take ET away.  “My snails died today.”, she says sadly like they were a canary in a coal mine.  This is unrelated and I tell her so.  Snails can survive anything short of a french oven. All the kids were confined to their classes while the police, fire and homeland security departments scoured the building for clues about who might have sent what turned out to be a baggy of detergent in a FedEx envelope.  This package might come handy if real terrorists had of attacked with hard to remove spaghetti sauce.  The incident prompts my wife to figure out an emergency plan if a real anthrax attack occurs.  She says, “what’s our plan?”.  I say, “I don’t know, depends on the threat…..anthrax…stay put. Airplane into someone else’s building…. meet at my work.  Plane into our building…meet in heaven ”  We agree that if an evacuation does takes place, we’ll all meet up across the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo at Bubby’s pancake house.  From there we would be able to catch a cab or highjack a car at gunpoint.  We would then head out east and hold up at the beach house where I’d need to become a better gardener because I’d have three hungry mouths to feed and very little access to home delivery services.  Thing 1 asks what was in the package that came to the school.  I tell her it was wake up power.

Fitness in the City

I’m rushing to try out a new exercise class called Surf Set.  This is the latest in a string of crazy schemes I’ve been trying to break up the monotony of working out.  First was Bikram yoga where I got dehydrated to point of having hallucinations. That lasted until a realized that it takes me at least 30 minutes to stop sweating after a lunch class. Not a great look when I get back to the office.  I then switched to doing Yogaglo, a site that has online streaming yoga class but it started to feel like I was watching soft porn and it messed with my focus.  Next I moved to Soul Cycle, I stationary spin class across the street where disco music and the lower Manhattan mom mafia rules.  Now it’s on to a pilates class on a surfboard.  I’m late and I throw the car into the closest and the most expensive lot.  I run into the class, throw down my water bottle and take the only surfboard left.  I like the atmosphere.  Everybody’s having fun trying to balance on boards perched up on little air-filled-rubber-bladder-looking things. There’s an old surf movie being projected on the wall and  I just want to sit and watch it quietly with a big margarita.  The instructor is central casting from that teen surf movie where the girl gets her arm bitten off by a shark and still goes on to love and live with purpose.  They haven’t quite thought out all the moves yet with this discipline and I tweak my back something fierce. I suffer through the rest of the class, trying not to loose face and I only make my back worst.  By the time I get home I’m frozen stiff, like the Hudson river in February.  My wife’s a trained chiropractor. Maybe I can get session after she finishes watching Survivor. I have at least one other posting about my back going out. I need to pay attention to this trend.

It’s Sunday and yes my back still bothering me.  I decide to do something low impact and unpack a bunch of CD’s that I haven’t used since iTunes was invented. Last time I played them I didn’t need glasses to read the covers.  Human eyes are like a car batteries, they last a long time but they loose their charge over time. I put on an old Cure CD and sit down to write.  In an effort to remain in a blissful state of denial about aging, I choose to keep increasing the font size while I’m typing. Thing 1 sits down next to me and is memorized by the act of typing.  “Do the keys go in order of ABC’s?” she asks.  “No, they threw them everywhere. For instance A-S-D-G are all next to each other. It’s craziness!”
“Then how do you find them?”, she asks.
Then I start to question what skills I have that are of worthy of passing on.  Time for another list:
1. I can type but I don’t know if I can teach it.
2. I can surf and can probably teach them how but no one can teach a little girl how to love cold water.
3. I know a great oatmeal cookie when I taste it but that’s not a life skill.
4. I could teach them all about social media marketing but I’d like for them to contribute to the world in some meaningful way.
5. I’m good at telling people bad news but I don’t want them to be morticians… even though “Six Feet Under” kind of made it cool to be a mortician.

I decide to teach them some yoga.  It will be good for my back and it will be like playing twister.

Playing With Pain

Instead of calling my girls “the four year old” or “the six year old”,  I think I’ll call them “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”, like in the Dr. Seuss book.  Thing 1 (T1) for the six year old and Thing 2 (T2) for the four-year-old.   I just tweaked my back as I was putting T2 in time out.  How shameful.  My wife says that coffee weakens the support muscles around the lower back. I’m looking for another cause that doesn’t require sacrifice.  I still think of myself as a vibrant extreme athlete but my body is telling me to reference Joe Namath’s new HBO documentary and recalibrate my expectations. Non-sense! I start chanting my anti-aging mantra:

“You’re only as young as you feel”,
“kids keep you young”
(and my favorite quote from Billy Crystal imitating Ricardo Manitoban)
“ it’s better to look good than to feel good”

I decide to think of my body as a house rehab project.  First I’ll start with the foundation (core), then the kitchen (abs), followed by the wings (arms and legs) and end up with the HVAC system (cardio).  I plan to do all this in 30 minutes.  I’ll go to the gym downstairs, crank some U2 through the earbuds and try to snag a elliptical machine in the fitness rush hour. So many people here today.  Pregnant woman with trainers, former Lehman Brother’s broker without trainers, an effeminate guy with American Apparel neon-ball-hugger disco shorts….you name it.  Everybody’s here. What a party I’ll been missing out on. I should have brushed my teeth.  I find an empty stationary bike  and start pumping the peddles.  It’s hard to focus.  Two of the pregnant woman are talking about hemorrhoids or something.  I turn the iPhone volume up to 11 to drown them out as I plow ahead… well as much as you can plow ahead on a stationary bike. I close my eyes and pretend I’m Lance Armstrong scaling the Pyrenees mountains as the military beat of “Pride in int Name of Love” marches forward with a defiant homage to MLK.  I’m inspired and I start to invent different moves to enact a full body workout.  Touchback stomach crunches, handlebar-push-up-tricep-burners, Side-to-side-oblique-rhythmic-strengtheners.  Now I’m putting them all together in one glorious choreographed total fitness sequence. I’m sweeting, breathing, moving, ascending.  I open my eyes and several people are staring at me but not in a good way.  More like pity. The way you might look at someone having a seizure.  Thank god my face is already red.  I sit down from the climb and slowly start my warm down.  My Lance fantasy is in shambles, although think it might be a good time to get a testicular cancer screening.  Back home T2 has reset and back to her cheerful self.  She’s home from Montessori school today because Montessori school has more days off than the Vice President. I actually think they recognize Maldivian Independence Day.  I’m ready for work and T2 is at the door ready to give me a goodbye hug.  Very sweet.  I hold my core tight and get a good bend in my legs as I cautiously start to lift her. She knees my in the nuts on the way up. My back tweaks again as I react to the pain of being racked.  She mistakes my acute wince as a funny face and starts to laugh.  If I put her her in time out for that we’ll never break this cycle.

Where Food Comes From

I’m out with the kids for the weekly scooter run on a nice Saturday afternoon. The penned up energy is out of control as they weave in-between the unsuspecting crowd on the sidewalk.  I run after them apologizing to anyone who will listen and see two “at risk” demographics right in harm’s way.  One is an arthritic old lady pushing a walker with Bed, Bath and Beyond bags hanging from the brake and beyond her a group of three waify model types, drinking Diet Coke and looking like pairs of long tooth picks stuck into little baseball bats. I figure a direct blow to either could snap a femur. Thing 2 crashes into an ill-placed recycling bin before she reaches the old lady and Thing 1 pulls a serious G-force turn around the models barely missing a little rat looking dog one of stick figures has in tow.  She just makes the entrance to Washington Square Park where she hits an unanticipated wall of water from the park’s elaborate sprinkler system.  By the time I get to her, she’s sobbing and drenched.  We sit on a park bench in the sun waiting for a recovery and I notice the gardens in the back of the park, all raised organized and just starting to sprout.  We get home and I google “Garden Planning Tools” and find a great virtual garden planner called that rivals Farmviille.  It lets you drag and drop lines of crops in the dimensions you give it and then texts you when it’s time to plant, water and harvest.  I print out the final product and call the handyman who does odd jobs at the beach house.  This will be an odd job.  He’s there already filling a sink hole in the back yard and is more than willing to take some old lumber, build a rectangle border and fill it with pungent, moist soil. I take my plans down to the local hardware store on Chambers St. to get some seeds. I see the kid who always screws up my key copy orders and move right pass him to the father.  He’ll know what I’m after.  He looks like he probably grew up in a commune and I’m sure he’s got three thriving pot plants back at his apartment. Even though ganja is technically a weed, I’m told it’s extremely hard to grow.

It’s Sunday morning and Thing 2 and I drive two hours to the house, armed with seeds, seedlings, a spade and some fancy fertilizer that the guy at the hardware store swears by.  As I suspected, he says he got choice buds with it last year. Thing 1 has a pirate themed birthday party to go to, so she’s staying back with my wife. We pull up and the bed is a thing of beauty, although it’s a bit light on the soil.  I put it in reverse and we head straight out to the nursery super center on the highway for a top soil top up.  We return and get to work. It’s amazing that a big bag of soil only cost $4.  That’s less than a large bottled water.   Thing 2 needs to wipe her hands off every 3 minutes.  She thinks the soil is poop. It kind of is I guess.  I explain that it’s natural and good. She asks if we can eat it.  This is going to be harder than I thought. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that all kids naturally like dirt, grass and sand.  I grew up with three brothers and no sisters so I might have a blind spot in this area. Slowly she gets into it.  We’ve laid down rows of carrots, beets, rocket, cucumbers and onions.  When I was buying the seeds, I just selflessly though of a salad I might like to eat. I might have to get something more entertaining next time, like strawberries, corn or watermelon.  Thing 2 likes dropping the seeds in the little holes. I think it makes her feel powerful.  We planted them too deep the first time and had to dig them all up again.  The half wit at the nursery told me only a half inch under and I forgot, so what does that make me… a quarter wit?  I only put them down 2 inches but apparently that’s like an ant being held down by a tsunami.  We water the bed,  clean up and head back to the city.  Now we go to the waiting place, like in the Dr Seuss book.