Bacon, ham, pineapple, and something a little bit spicy.
I’m become a bit of a sap in my later years. Having a kid does that to you. There is this gush of unconditional love that blossoms forth from a six year old, the kind that you didn’t know could even exist until you find yourself as the recipient of the absolute focus of awesome emerging from your kid as they plan for your day together.
I was feeling selfish, too. I hoarded this day to myself: I discovered that those once-so-frequent but now-so-rare days together was due on the Monday stat following Easter — she had the day off, I had the day off, but Karin had to work — and I was keeping it to myself.
We had plans. Sorta.
Swimming at the local pool, we were basically the first ones there when the place opened, save for the presumably-standard crowd of retired folks swimming slow laps in the deep pool. We owned the place for about twenty minutes, going round and round the “crazy (lazy) river” and hitting the water slide sans line up. I can imagine that place was crawling by the time ten o’clock rolled around, but by then we were already long gone.
Back when Claire was a lot younger we did this thing where I would take her for breakfast at Ikea. If you’ve never been for breakfast, then I’ve got two words: crap and cheap. You get what you pay for. It’s something resembling food, some kind of flaky white stuff that may be scrambled eggs and some brown, salty sticks of possibly meat. The potatoes are probably real. But it’s only a buck. A dollar for breakfast. We both eat, with drinks and a cinnamon bun on the side to share, for less than five dollars. It’s like winning the food lottery. And I can eat a crappy meal now and then, especially when it feels like “our thing” and she’s the one who requested it.
Then we went shopping. Some landscaping supplies, first, filling the back of my little car with a few bag of topsoil for the flower beds out front, and choosing some of this years vegetable garden seeds. Done-and-done. Next we hit up the grocery store and made sure to get everything that was on the list we’d been left — and few extras on the side. Spoilt!
Back home we had a light lunch. The dog was a little stir crazy because she could tell the weather was nice and we’d been gone for most of the morning. Not fair, huh, so we spent about twenty minutes spring-tuning Claire’s bike before going for a dog-walk-slash-bike-ride to the park. Claire rode laps around the one-klick perimeter when the dog and I moseyed at a more leisurely pace, sniffing and scratching at the dirt… or at least she did that. I took some photos on my phone.
I had pre-purchased movie tickets. We don’t get out to movies as much as we would like. It seems odd, especially now that they’ve built an awesome new mulit-plex theatre right near our house, a five minute drive away. Unfortunately, the movie I’d promised wasn’t showing THERE. It was however, showing at the slightly larger, slightly older theatre in South Common.
She’d been giving me the gears about taking her to “The LEGO Movie” for about a month. Apparently it was a hit with a bunch of her friends at school, and everyone was singing the “Everything is AWESOME” song that plays over and over throughout the show. At some point I’d said “sure… we’ll go…. sometime.”
We killed some time at the book store prior to the show, because little-miss-impatient just couldn’t wait to get there. And then, popcorn in hand –because what’s a movie date with daddy without popcorn, you may ask– we watched the show… finally…
And dad was serenaded all the way home in the car with the aforementioned only-awesome-for-about-five-minutes theme song from the movie as sung by a six year old pumped up on Fruitopia, M&Ms, and lightly buttered popcorn.
We’d bought the ingredients for homemade pizza. Not the crust… we buy that. It’s not worth the effort for just an everyday pizza night. But lately we’ve been making a double deal: the grown up pizza which has all those yucky vegetables and spicy salami, and the kid pizza which is loaded with cheese and pepperoni. It’s a make-your-own night, kinda. She loves it.
But around the time the pizzas were emerging from the oven and slices were finding their way onto plates, mom came home from work and the normal, back-to-reality routine settled onto the house for the evening once again.
This daddy, dazed as expected, crashed on the couch by nine o’clock… mission accomplished.
It seems like there should be more of these days. Has it only been six weeks?
Yesterday marked a small change from routine: we skipped the library. (GASP!) Well, due to circumstances slightly askew from my control, I have another of these flex days coming up just as soon as Monday. It seemed a waste to go twice in such quick succession, so In favour of other activities, were opting to go Monday instead.
So, what did we do then?
Act One: Cleaning Time. Because as much as I would have liked to be an all-work-and-no-play kind of dad, it ain’t gonna happen. Thus, Claire “assisted” in the sweep and spit-polish of the upstairs, for an hour or so in the morning, just prior to her nap.
Act Two: Gross-ery Trip. Lacking any sort of Halloween treats to give away tonight, a trip to the grocery store was a definite must. Of course Claire is always happy to ride in the cart and wonder aloud at the marvels of modern shopping. She even got some treats out of the deal.
Act Three: Hiker Fun. After lunch we packed up the carrier and camera and teh two of us sought out to climb to the highest point in Edmonton. Rabbit Hill? McGrath Hill? I don’t know what it’s called, but it is apparently the highest elevation in the city limits — though the view isn’t too much to write home about being covered in trees and all.
Act Four: Pizza Party. Following the remaining afternoon play session, wherein I only got smacked in the face by board books a couple of times, we opted for an easy dinner option and ordered a couple pizzas. Claire is a particular fan of a pepperoni pie, gnawing the topping from the soft crust in a state of closed-eyed, contented bliss.
It may be noted that I’ve not been writing much here lately. I’ve been busy with a variety of things, not the least important both (a) a certain little girl’s birthday preparation, and (b) a slow, painful recovery from (a now confirmed diagnosis of) food poisoning. I recommend the former, but stay away from the latter if you can help it.
On an upbeat note, today marked not only Claire’s actual, factual, official-as-writ birthday, but also day two of the daddy-daughter experiment. We made particularly good use of our short time together and accomplished a number of tasks, both fun and not-so-much-fun.
I’ll skip over the boring bits about meals and nap time. If you want to hear about that, too bad.
Task 1: Take the Girl to the Toy Store for her Birthday
Far be it from me to impose some kind of consumerism crush on the poor thing, particularly on her first birthday. And what better way to spend your birthday than at the toy store with your dad? So around eleven in the morning we braved the rain, climbed into the car, and drove to the local Toys R Us, where after wandering the aisles for half an hour, little hands trying every button on every eye-level item, we left with a small package of “Little People” to go along with the play set that she got from Grandma and Grandpa on the weekend.
Task 2: Get the Girl a Library Card
Did you know that any kid under the age of two who signs up for a library card (and it’s free by the way) gets a FREE book. I didn’t, though we cashed in on that particular deal as Claire and I spent an hour at the Riverbend branch of the Edmonton Public Library this afternoon after lunch. And, to boot, Claire (along with her dad) now has her very own library card. She had quite a time picking through the toys and bookshelves there, and I think it might become part of the weekly routine: stop by the library and pick up some new books for the week.
Task 3: Those One Year Needles
I mentioned “not-so-much-fun” right? Claire’s mother was kind enough to schedule her immunizations for her birthday — and dad got to be the bad guy and take her to the clinic for three — count ’em, THREE — shots. The good news is the little girl is right on track for her growth-chart-dealies (75th percentile) and took the vaccinations like a trooper, giving dad a big hug and patting him on the back when it was all over.
Task 4: Birthday Dinner with Mom
We got back to the house just a few minutes before Claire’s mom got home from work and after a grueling ten seconds of debate, opted to invite her out for pizza with dad and Claire. The three of us enjoyed a quiet dinner at the local pizza place, and Claire devoured a kid’s size cheese pizza of her very own, and even saved room for a cupcake when she got home. Don’t believe me? There are photos in the gallery!
St. Patrick’s day is a suck of an anniversary for us. In 2003 we came home from work, had a light dinner, and tried to figure out where I’d left my digital camera. Two hours later we were relaying a list of stolen items to a friendly police officer, and pondering yet another cog in the orchestration of our flight back East-ward. Two years later we ignore the fact, I pocket my digicam — somedays almost wishing it would disappear so I could have an excuse to get a new one — and fly south-ward.
Steve is tending a quiet show-home and he’s even more talkative than normal. We end up discussing the nuances of contractual labour and the advantages of the housing market in Alberta over British Columbia. And he hands us the first key to our house.
It’s little square-ish, gold-coloured strip of metal: typical, with the regular jagged edges. I’ve gotten used to the microchipped car keys, smart cards, or three-dimensional, security hyper-keys. This is just a plain, brass key.
A loaner. But our house, it seems, is now locked.
We take pictures, of course, sneaking around in that space between daylight and darkness when it seems darkest of all because your eyes haven’t adjusted to the light and you’re tucked into newly sealed spaces that are meant to have electricity and light fixtures for these circumstances.
The ducts are installed. I take some photos. Electrical cables are strung throughout the house. I take more photos. Cable TV and telephone lines are snaking between floors. The camera flashes again. Vacu-flows are roughed in. Snap, flash, process.
Karin is cold. I lock the door. We go for pizza. The apartment is secure when we get home.
#78 :::: Two and a half days of work until, well, I’m no longer here.
#96 :::: Karin has officially given notice. Odd how that feels, too.
#97 :::: It’s Ryan’s birthday, today. Twenty-two? I think.
#154 ::: We made it back from Portland late-ish Monday night. Long drive.
#834 ::: The org-site keeps returning a 504. Modern frustrations.
#921 ::: We played Nitro Cart last night. It’s not as good as Double Dash.
#1278 :: Once I was the King of Spain. I love my iPod.
#3800 :: Moving one’s office is very time consuming.
#3801 :: My site got spammed again. How rude.
#9104 :: I think I’d like pizza for dinner.