Saturday, July 30, 2005

We're Back!

Hey there! We got back from our vacation Monday late. Since then, I've been kept pretty busy dealing with the cleanup from that trip and getting ready to close on our new house. As I type this, we are closing tomorrow. Probably by the time this gets posted it will have already happened. Then begins the task of getting the new place ready; its in fine shape, but will need a fair amount of work done before its ready to handle us. And of course, school starts early this year, at least a week sooner than I can ever remember it starting, and there is no way on earth the place will be ready and we can be in it in two weeks time. So Trish will be ferrying him to school in the wee hours of the morning and I'll have to go and pick him up for at least the first two weeks. I have a hope that a month will be enough time to do what we want, but Trish is thinking October. I fear she will be right.

In the meantime, I can give you househunting tips, trips to Disneyland tips, or highlights of the vacation stories or something of all of them, if you like. Let me know in the comments. Otherwise, I'll just go with what strikes me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Californee-ah's the Place You Oughtta Be...

On July 16, the next Harry Potter book will be out. I pre-ordered mine from Amazon about a zillion weeks ago. We figured that when it came out, we would take Jacob to one of those midnight sale thingies that started up around the time book three arrived. It would be fun.

Well. We are scheduled to be vacationing in California at that time. No big deal, we can go to a midnight sale there (unless as Trish suggested, we just order a book and have it sent to her dad's house, where we will be spending part of the time).

The fly in the piontment here is that we are only going to have one copy of Harry between Jacob and myself (mine is going to be sent to my house, remember?). This could lead to some friction. I know this kid, he'll be reading in between every driving stop and when we're hanging out in hotel rooms or at his Grandad's house. And seven year-olds aren't known for their discretion. He's likely to blurt out something like "It was cool the way the Flortibasts ate the wall in order to save Harry and get the Maguffin back, wasn't it?!?" without considering the possibility that I or others around might not have gotten to the part about the Flortibasts. Or the missing Maguffin, for that matter.

So what this means is I'll be staying up late at night, trying to get far enough ahead so he can't inadvertently spoil me, and so I can read to him (despite being totally able to read on his own, he still likes for us to have a reading time together -- very sweet) for bedtime without being caught unawares. I'm going to be fighting with my own son over reading time for Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.

A note. This shall be my last post for a full two weeks. Our vacation will be that long, and on our return I may be caught up in the details of finalizing the purchase of a house closer in to central Austin, not to mention the effort to move in to said house, and the disruption that will cause. So expect things to be sporadic for quite a while even after August gets well under way and school starts up again.

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Tale of Two Reunions

In the past three weeks I've experienced two reunions. One was a by-product of a wedding, the other was planned. The first was the wedding of my old college buddy Pete. Most of those people I hadn't seen in person (or in some cases, even in email) since my own wedding almost eight years ago. The other was my Twenty-Year High School Reunion. I hadn't seen any of those folks since my last reunion, ten years ago. Some I hadn't seen since graduation.

Both were enjoyable. But I found the impromptu one more satisfying.

I enjoyed high school. It was and is a small place (my graduating class had 65 people in it), so we didn't have the sort of cliques that develop in bigger schools. There were groupings, but you had to work at it if you wanted to be exclusive. There just weren't enough people to create the distance. I wasn't popular, but neither was I unpopular. I was smart, and so had something of a license to be weird. But most of my better friends were older -- they were juniors, seniors or sophomores when I was a freshman. In a way, I had more fun in the hour or so I spent with one of older friends than the 5+ hours at the reunion. I got on well enough with my classmates, but only one of them was really a close friend, and he couldn't make it. So I was left with the standard stuff, where are you, what are you doing now, etc. etc. Oh, and the typical observances of who had sagged the most, held up the best, or had actually gotten better-looking since the last reunion or graduation.

At the ten year, I had received the Most Eligible Bachelor Award. This time, I go the "Most Improved" Award. I dunno what I was to have improved from exactly (graduation? Ten years ago?), but the sense of backhanded compliment was pretty strong. Funny side story: One classmate came up to my wife and related how she and others were so happy that I had "found someone." Apparently she and some others were "worried". Trish just stared at her, and she apparently realized how awful she had sounded, made some excuse, and scurried back inside. Thing is, I'm pretty sure she was one person interested in being "someone", and hadn't exactly been Miss Popularity back in the day. Meow.

Another element getting in the way was answering the question of what I was doing. I've talked about this before. I had a hard time with that question. I'm not sure I ever answered it precisely the same way twice. I didn't want to lie, nor did I want to sound like I was bragging. So at different times I emphasized I was retired, had gotten lucky in the stock market, was a stay at home dad, was busy handling the family portfolio and taking care of the house, and so on. All of that is essentially true. Well, perhaps not the retired part. As my mom famously observed more than once, "Your daddy may have I retired, but I haven't!" I reckon most SAHD's would concur with that sentiment. We may not be working in an office or wherever 8-5, but we sure ain't retired! Anyway, the point is that dealing with that issue was still confusing and uncomfortable and detracted from my enjoying the event.

The wedding was different. For some reason, I was able to be pretty up-front with my old college buddies about events, and did not really care about their reaction. Was it because we had been closer in college, and shared more experiences than most of those who were from my high school? Was it was because I had been able to continue to be around many of them after college, and so they all knew I'd been in the job world and been a working stiff just like everyone else? Was it because I had been voted most likely to succeed in high school and felt I had to live up to that, whereas in college I was just one more bright kid amongst the bunch? Some of whom hadn't gotten a degree anyway, whereas I had, and on time too? I don’t know. They mostly acted envious, while the folks from high school seemed a bit bemused. But that might stem from my own difficulties in settling on a single narrative or take on events.

All in all, an interesting pair of events.