Shade Friday

The beast. A bit too relaxed. On the couch.

I didn’t go shopping today. In fact I don’t know anyone who did. But that could just be because I stayed close to home.

I rolled out of bed and made some coffee. We have three different coffees available. I knew it would be a volume day, so I used the grocery ground. It is too fine for the french press, but so be it. It was the first of three pots this morning. Know well that I shared.

I finished the book that I began a few weeks ago. Remind me to never again read a dystopian novel around election time. I think I read too much into it.

I went to the post office. I asked the Big Guy if he wanted anything there. He said, “some stamps.” And then doubled over with laughter, as if he would ever use a stamp.

I mailed my niece her birthday present. Her birthday was in July. She’s a baby. She doesn’t know any better. I told the woman at the post office that I bet she’d get her Christmas present by her next birthday. We both thought that was funny.

I held the door for a man as I was leaving the post office. He wouldn’t look at me. I motioned for him to walk through. He looked away as he told me he could hold the door for himself. I let the door go. As I walked down the steps to the sidewalk, a man on the other side of the handrail told me that I could hold the door open for him, any day. I took that as a compliment.

I ate a piece of pizza. It had more things on it than I generally eat. There was pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, olives and sausage. Truthfully? It was excellent. After all that I ate yesterday, you’d think I would be full, but I just wanted to eat more. I stopped at one piece, though. Seems like I was exhibiting moderation.

I drank a can of Dr. Pepper. It wasn’t even diet. Full-sugar baby. I love Dr. Pepper. And the sweet effervescence encouraged a most amazing belch, from the depths of my belly, traversing my esophagus, out of my mouth and through my nose at the same time. Baby Bear looked up. He was quite impressed.

I decided it was now the Christmas season. I asked Alexa to play some Christmas music and she obliged with Charlie Brown’s Christmas and Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and Brenda Lee rocking around the Christmas tree. Damn that Alexa, she totally gets me.

I tried to get The Beast to relax. Wait. No. He was relaxed. Me too.

And that’s how I do me some Black Friday. Easy.

Fish Story

Looking over the scrub oaks, past the pond to Tom Nevers head. ACK.

I smell bacon.

It’s unmistakable. It’s the smell of a workingman’s breakfast. It’s the smell that makes many a vegetarian yearn and even fall off the wagon. It’s the smell of something so bad that is so good.

There was a period when The Spouse was all about big breakfasts. He dubbed it the “hearty sailor breakfast.” I believe that term originated from a trip to the whaling museum combined with his summer obsession of reading Moby Dick on Tom Nevers beach. Slap me silly and call me Ishmael, but I don’t think he ever made it beyond the first third (I’m being very generous here) of his library-stolen, tattered black-bound volume with the fabric cover frayed, loosened and then separated from its spine. Me? I read the Cliff Notes.

So the hearty sailor breakfasts started at the beach house, where we’d cup our mugs of hot coffee as we surveyed the scrub oak and the annual shrinking view of the pond from the kitchen of the upside-down house. Beyond the pond, across a span of beach that ebbed and flowed according to the severity of the winter storms, was the big, wide and deep Atlantic.

It was sometimes blue. It was sometimes gray. It was sometimes green. It was often blue-gray mottled with green-blue tipped by shifting white caps with the deepest blue lapping at the horizon. I can see why Tom Nevers stood at that beachhead looking for whales. We did, too.

At night, the moon would laser its beam to light up a black-blue sea, whereupon the ocean would reflect it right back up, keeping some of the glow for itself to spread like a blanket that it cozied under. On some nights, the moon would creep up behind the ocean. On those nights it would magic itself into a giant glowing wafer and slowly, slowly, ever so slowly rise, so as not to tip off the waves. It only did this when it was a full moon. A crescent didn’t have the heft for this trick. But the giant sphere was so big it could hide in plain sight.

The morning after a moon like that, eggs and pancakes with blueberries, butter and real maple syrup and bacon would hit the long wooden table. There would be pirate talk, but mostly the boys vacuuming their breakfasts before a bike ride or beach day.

One year, the hearty sailor breakfasts continued at home. The Spouse would get up and start cooking a few strips of bacon to the delight of boys not anxious to get up and go to school. Much better than the cold cereal that The Doc offered up. There wasn’t always eggs and pancakes and bacon. Some days it was pancakes and bacon. Others eggs and bacon. But always bacon.

The smell of bacon soon permeated the morning routine. It began to greet me when I came home from work. It seemed to seep into the couch, the rug, the draperies. It hung in my coat, my gloves, my sweater, my t-shirt, my hair. After two-weeks of waking up to the smell of bacon, of coming home to the smell of bacon, of brushing my teeth to the smell of bacon, of going to bed to the smell of bacon, I felt like I lived in a greasy diner. The ones you recognize from a half-block away because of the smell of bacon. Always the smell of bacon.

Did I mention that I don’t care for bacon in the morning? I’m not big into breakfast. A bowl of cereal or a yogurt and some fruit or toast and coffee? I’m good. I mean, I’ll eat a waffle occasionally, but omelettes and hash browns and breakfast meats and toast and butter? No thank you.

Two weeks of the descent into The Great Bacon Diner, and I had enough. Enough bacon every single morning. That was it. And to this day, a dozen plus years later, I am still ridiculed for my bacon hatred and the moratorium I supposedly instituted.

Except that is obviously not true, because today, like many times in the past decade, I smelled bacon. And like many times since the purported bacon-ban, the eyes of the Big Guy and Baby Bear shone with an impish gleam. Like the sneaky moon, getting one over on the ocean. Thar she blows!

And for this, all of it, I am thankful. Happy Thanksgiving, Loyal Reader.

There’s No Place Like Home

I texted the Baby Bear this morning.

Don’t miss your plane.

I included that smiley face emoji with the hearts for eyes. It was mostly to annoy. Our children get very annoyed when us Olds use emojis. It’s best–regarding maximum annoyance–when I use them inappropriately, like using the pile of shit emoji as if it’s a beehive. But even appropriate emoji use is an affront. You know, parents trying to be hip. They hate that. So I do that for my amusement.

Seven hours later I texted him again.

You on a plane yet??

I wasn’t thinking that he was late, but there was no emoji.

We had to change busses on the way delayed us a bit. In security now.

Seemed on target.

Thirty-five minutes later my phone rings. Guess who was standing at his gate with the door to the jetway closed in front of him and no Southwest staff to be found? Yup. Our hero. As I was telling him to find an open counter, I switched from the primary conversation to talking to myself as he engaged a guy. It was like when you get butt-dialed from someone in a bar and all you hear is muffled words and clinks. Until the line goes dead.

I went online to see what was coming out of Denver into one of the three Washington airports tonite. Yeah, it’s good to have options. That said, it’s less good to be looking for afternoon options when you’re flying east.

Baby Bear swore that he left with enough time to get to the airport. He knows exactly how to miss a flight, and those hard lessons have prodded him to always take the earlier bus. I believe him. The problem was the early bus was driving into a blizzard.

Of course, the first snow in Boulder would occur as he’s trying to get to the airport. The roads were a mess and they were further delayed when they had to switch buses. The security lines were long at the airport and he was getting antsy. He texted.

Wish I could barge to the front

That’s where I lost contact. Adding insult to injury, when he finally made it to the security screening area, the puffer picked something up. He was moved to secondary screening. Mild panic was beginning to seep into the corners of the reptilian part of his brain. No reason to get huffy with TSA, though. That never goes well.

The Bear offered that he was pressed to make his flight as the burly man came up to him. The agent explained that he was in training and they needed to wait for his supervisor for the grope. Baby Bear was deflated and nearing distraught.

Can’t your boss just do it?

Of course not. The agent took off his blue gloves and pulled on a fresh pair. As he snapped one rubber glove on–latex free mind you–it broke. He removed that pair and walked over to get another pair. The clock in Bear’s head was ticking at greater and greater volume.

The agent pulled on another pair of gloves. He once again snapped the left glove on and broke that one, too.

C’mon, man!

Third time being the charm, he started the pat down.

Sir, I am going to put my hand along the top of your pants.

Fine!

Sir, I am going to touch the inside of your leg.

Really? The guy is going to insist on getting affirmation for each step in the process? YES! YES! YES! Said Baby Bear who simply wanted the guy to hurry up and pat his junk so he could make his flight.

Of course, his flight was in C. Translated that means the far end of the large airport. He hustled to his gate–risking breaking his swag–to that closed door. He could see the plane. So close. A man opened the door and told Baby Bear that he lost his seat ten minutes ago to standby.

But there is an empty seat on that plane!

There was indeed a seat on the plane. And, also indeed, the plane door was secured. They were not going to open it up. No way. No how. No matter the pleading of a young man who was just trying to get home. No matter that his solution was just beyond a closed door.

Sheesh.

Baby Bear pulled himself from the abyss of his disappointment that was flirting too closely with anger as he walked to the counter to see his options. He relayed his disastrous TSA delay to the airline staffer who nodded vehemently.

I don’t know what it is, but they’ve been really bad.

Baby Bear got rebooked through Nashville, which has the nonsense airport code BNA. He’ll be an hour later than originally scheduled, but, most excellently, he still comes into DCA versus IAD or BWI, two options much further from headquarters.

Call it National. We don’t call it Reagan in this house.

What a day of travel. Blizzards. Bad buses. Security delays. Poor customer service. And a door slammed in his face. I can’t wait to see him!

I’m thinking that Santa may put some TSA Pre-√  in somebody’s Christmas stocking.