Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#104 In which our hero comes home.

Just got back from Atlanta. I was there for the Direct Marketing Association’s annual trade show and exhibition. It was a strange and wondrous thing, and I’ll be writing about it soon.

I was there for four days… not the longest amount of time that I’ve been away from my family, but long enough. My mom came up and stayed with The Scientist for the weekend, but there was still two days when it was just her and the girls. Which isn’t that big a deal, she can handle it. This, of course, is easy for me to say, since I was out eating at fancy restaurants and drinking heavily while she was trying to convince the oldest girl that she needed to stay in her big-girl bed and go night-night, already!

I checked in regularly every night to make sure that the wife wasn’t having a psychotic break or anything, and all seemed to be going fine. But then, the third night I was away, The Scientist told me that Lily missed me. She didn’t come right out and say so, but she apparently moped around and said, “Mama, I sad. I sad.”

Holy shit, does that break your heart? It broke mine.

Now, it’s bad enough that a 2-year-old even has a comprehension of what it means to be sad… but to realize that I was the reason she was sad… well, that nearly pushed me over the edge.

Thankfully, my boss abandoned his plans to stay an additional night and we flew home the next evening. I got home late, so Lily was already in bed. I stood over her for a long time, watching her sleep. I was glad to be home, and I was glad that my little girl would no longer be sad on my account.

And sure, I was happy to see The Scientist and my younger daughter (we started calling Lily “the little girl” and it stuck; we’ve tried calling Macey “the littlest girl,” but it doesn’t seem to be taking hold) but they don’t need me, really. But the little girl needs me, I mean, really needs me. For whatever reason she’s turned into a huge daddy’s girl. Not that I’m complaining, mind.

Now, when we found out we where having a girl (the first time), someone, my mom maybe, said that I would be wound tight around her finger. I refuted this, of course, saying that that just wasn’t going to happen, that we would be good parents, but firm when we had to be, with none of this “wrapped around your finger” crap.

Well, I am here to say that I am wrapped around the little girl’s finger… and I like it.

That morning was like Christmas morning for me… I couldn’t wait for Lily to wake up and see me. As soon as she started to move around and call for her mama, I jumped up and went into her room. Her eyes lit up and she said, simply and quietly, “da-da!”

It was fantastic. I mean, how many people do you know where you can make their entire day just by walking in the room? I picked her up and she stroked the back of my head, saying, “Hi, dada. Hi, dada.”

Later there was some fussing when I made her sit on the potty and then some crying when I got her dressed. But for that one golden moment when I held my daughter in my arms after a four day lapse, nothing else mattered.

I came home, and everything was again right in my daughter’s world.

And mine.


#103 In which our hero enjoys a meal.

The Scientist and I went out to a nice restaurant last night. Just the two of us... and NO KIDS! It's amazing to me that I am now one of those people that has to make elaborate plans to get away for an evening... but I guess that's who I am now.

It was the occasion of our four year wedding anniversary. The actual date was three days previous on the 6th but, again, it didn't work out that we could go out that night, we had to make arrangements first... mostly to get someone to watch the girls. That arranged, we dressed up and headed out.

We went to Hyde Park Grill. We both admit that this place isn't as fancy as we like to think it is, but it's where we went for our first anniversary dinner, and it's become a tradition. Another part of the tradition is for my wife to call and order a special dessert.

Here's the thing: The Scientist likes chocolate mousse. As do I, but it's not like I'd go out of my way for it. When we went for our first anniversary, she asked if they had any... they did not. Now, The Scientist can be a little tenacious when it comes to stuff like this, so she asked the manager if there was someplace nearby that we could get a nice chocolate mousse. He knew of no such place. But, he said that next time we were planning on coming, that we could call ahead and request a special dessert and that they would be happy to make it for us.

Well, that kicks ass, as you can imagine. So, wedding anniversary #2 rolls around, and I make reservations. While I'm doing so, I ask if they can make a special dessert and I'm told no, flat-out. I explain that we were told that it wouldn't be a problem, and I get serious attitude and the "I don't know who told you that, and I don't know why they would tell you that." So this disgusts The Scientist and I and we say, "hey, fuck you downtown location" and we go to a different one.

This time we bring our own chocolate mousses (moussi?). We give them to the waiter and he sticks 'em in the fridge for us until the end of the meal. When he brings them out someone in the kitchen had fancied them up with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit... it was a really cool, classy move. Problem was, it was the most enjoyable part of the entire meal. We didn't dig this location, mostly because they had a smoky bar that was poorly isolated from the rest of the restaurant. Yuck.

So, wedding anniversary #3 comes along, and we decide to give downtown another shot. And this time The Scientist calls to make reservations and order dessert, if possible.

Now, I can't stress enough how many times this has happened to me: I try to do something, and it goes completely tits-up. My wife tries the same thing, and it works like a charm.

So she calls, and not only does she get them to make her a special dessert, the executive chef himself calls her back and says what a pleasure it would be to make us a special dessert for our anniversary, etc., etc., etc.

And what a dessert it was. The waiter brings out these two gigantic troughs of chocolate mousse, each one which would have been enough to choke Fatty Arbuckle alone. But it's good stuff and we eat what we can.

And so, a week ago she calls again about reservations (downtown, all is now forgiven) and dessert. This time the manager remembers us! And at the end of our meal the waiter doesn't even ask about dessert, he just brings out two heaping bowls of mousse. And this year, it's tres fancy! There's whipped cream, chocolate cookie crumbs and white chocolate sauce... all very nice and very tasty.

Then The Scientist wants to meet the chef. I'm not sure why, but she asks the waiter and he sends out the chef. He's a very polite, soft-spoken man that congratulates us on our anniversary and thanks us for the praise we're heaping on him for the kick-ass mousse.

But here's the thing: I notice when he's approaching our table that he's got a kitchen towel in his hand. This isn't surprising, since the guy was just in the kitchen, presumably cooking for everyone else around us. I'm assuming he's just wiping his hands. But we he gets to us, he keeps his right hand covered. And when I extend my hand to shake his, he quickly says, "I'd shake your hand but I have a thing" or something like that. He ends up giving me an awkward left-handed half-shake.

I didn't think too much about it at the time, it could have been a lot of things... maybe he was just handling raw meat and didn't want to risk contaminating us. Maybe he had a big bandage on his hand and didn't want to gross us out with it. Could be a lot of things. He was so nice that it didn't really matter.

But then, on the car ride home, it's all I can think about: what's with that guy's hand? Did he maybe just cut himself, and didn't want to make us wait while he was putting on a bandage? Or maybe his hand was deformed in some fashion, and he didn't want to spoil our meal with his freaky gimpy hand? My god... could he have had a flipper hand?!

And so it goes with me... what was probably a perfectly innocent thing, by virtue of my overactive imagination turns into a bizarre Cronenberg-esque flight of fancy.

But... freak hand or not, the guy made some tasty mousse.


#102 In which our hero wants some stuff.

Have you seen this new iPod Nano? Holy shit... I want one. It's tiny! Small like a deck of cards. No, smaller! Like a pack of matches! Well, bigger than that... but anyway, it's really small. AND. It holds 1000 songs. You have to understand, I'm not crazy music guy, so 1000 songs is basically a lifetime supply of songs for me. And apparently it also stores photos and does your taxes, too, or some shit.

But here's the odd part: Honestly, I have no need for an iPod. I don't even have the regular non-tiny version. I have a Walkman somewhere in the basement, and I never use that. Actually, I pretty much only listen to music in the car... and the radio is just fine for that purpose. So why do I want one of these damn things? I DON'T KNOW. It's just super cool.

This iPod thing has put me to thinking about my desires. And, oh yeah, I got a lot of desires. And more often than not, they are for dumb things that I neither need nor really have a use for. Some examples:

I want this. For you non-clickin' lazy bastards, it's a solid copper mixing bowl from Williams-Sonoma. (Funny aside: when I was looking for an imagine of this bowl I typed in "copper bowel" in their site search engine. Sadly, they no longer carry copper bowels.) So why do I want this bowl? Because I've heard that if you whip cream in a copper bowl it makes it fluffier. And believe it or not, but I love whipping my own whipped cream. Honestly! I think it's just about the coolest cooking stunt I know... taking a bowl full of cream and a little bit of sugar and turning it into this light, sweet, fluffy treat. I've done this on several occasions when we've had people over... I suspect that the general consensus is that no-one thinks it's as cool as I do. But maybe they would if I had a great big copper bowl! No? Rats.

Other things I have wanted in the past, for no good reason:
  • All seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Paper drink umbrellas
  • Bandsaw
  • Rock tumbler
  • The complete works of Wm. Shakespeare
  • Fame
  • Tablesaw
  • Silk boxers
  • Monkey
  • Nunchucks
  • Fantastic Four Vol. 1, #1
  • Radar detector
  • Straightjacket
  • Flash Gordon on DVD
  • An acting career
This is, of course, just a partial list.

Some of these things I actually did receive, and was disappointed (like silk boxers... ugh, too slidey).

Well, I guess I'd better get back to work if I want to maintain something else that tops this list: steady employment.