Thursday, May 22, 2008

melbourne beach memoirs

we are relatively fresh from five days in melbourne, florida, my wife's hometown. the following is a random snapshot of some standout memories...

"dad, look at that bald guy!"

for those of you who don't know me, i am bald. there was a time when i obsessed about it, but eventually i realized that i pull it off nicely. for those of you who are balding, i pity you, but trust me on this one - the destination is generally better than the journey. balding sucks, but once you get here, and assuming you don't have an oddly shaped head, its fine. still, i have a real appreciation for hair, so it's only half a joke when i tell people i intend to live vicariously through my sons' hairstyles. enough back story.

recently i explained the whole concept to the jackal, and he embraced it so much that on the flight to and from orlando, he pointed at several bald or balding men and exclaimed "dad, look at that bald guy!" or "he's bald!" for a fleeting moment i empathized with these guys since it can't feel good to be called out by some 3 year old with a lush head of cascading hair, especially if you are self-conscious about it in the first place (most guys are). then i snapped out of the empathy and laughed my ass off. sorry fellas, sort of.

fear of flying cured

to me, flying is a necessary evil. generally i'm a basket case on a plane and can only be pacified with pills and booze. when traveling with kids, a completely different fear trumps that of mechanical failure and plane crashes. i'm talking about the horrifying prospect of your kids melting down and causing an unnerving scene. i think i have mentioned this before, but i used to be that guy scowling at such scenes on planes. since washing down a xanex with a jack & coke won't fly (no pun intended) with the parental responsibilities, you have little choice but to face the music and hope for the best. somehow we managed both flights without incident, save a couple of milk projectiles on my shirt, but i was always on high alert, ready to make a complete fool of myself to turn a frown upside down. when it all boiled down, i didn't have capacity for panic and sweaty palms for a change.

recently run into the ground

inevitably on any trip some object or phrase becomes a theme that you and friends/family run into the ground. this time a mcchicken sandwich filled that role.
looks tasty, yes? it all started at the mcdonald's drive-thru where after too much sun my eyes were bigger than my stomach and i practically ordered the entire dollar menu. the original purpose was to score a happy meal for the jackal, but i went overboard. when my brother-in-law clint returned from the beach sunburned, he was in search of lotion. i recommended that he rub the leftover mcchicken sandwich in the refrigerator on his skin in lieu of aloe based moisturizer, and the lame immature joke was on. not only did the mcchicken sit out on the counter the rest of the trip like a demented sculpture- clint and i would act completely offended if one of our wives attempted to throw it away when cleaning up - it made its way back to dc in one of my backpack's obscure pockets, courtesy of cint. oddly enough, with no one watching to appreciate the gesture except myself, i double bagged the sandwich and stashed it in the bottom of the freezer. i guess you could say the joke is in a cryogenic state right now and will resurface when the time is right. by the way, i'm months away from 35. what the hell is wrong with me?

scenes from disney world

yes, we rolled the dice and took a shot at the magic kingdom. it was a good way to break the monotony, not that hitting the beach and kicking it poolside was a real drag. still, a month or so ago we promised the jackal we'd take him and he sort of held us to it. no regrets, no apologies, but definitely some lessons learned. for example...

- judging from their behavior, for kids in the 3ish age group, there may as well be a gas chamber, dentist, or barber at the end of the line, not some fun ride with their favorite disney characters. the good thing for parents is your kid is definitely not the only one melting down in line. instead of being irritated by the frightening redhead kid shrieking in my ear, i actually took solace, knowing that mine was not the only one with a short fuse that day. literally, at the ticket counter, they should hand parents some sort of chill pill. hell, the tickets cost enough, so why not?

- asians and white trash love them some disney world. in fact, i think i found evidence of crossbreeding: asian americans walking around gnawing on turkey legs. asian american trash? sure, why not?

- mickey mouse is a high class whore these days. i'm no cheapskate by any stretch, but the $230 cover charge for wifey, the jackal and i to enter seemed sort of extreme. on our exit route down main street usa we hit the souvenir shops, which are completely obnoxious. the jackal was too overwhelmed by the selection and maybe a bit distracted by the lady screaming at her daughter to get really into it, because he didn't seem to be feeling it. thankfully he had zero interest in the cliche' mouse ear hat. when he spotted a matchbox mickey mouse tour bus, he was sold. my wife's clever line on the way out the door resonates: "don't lose that bus, it's worth about $250."

lasting memory

on our last day i woke up early and took baby cole with me on a coffee run to give wifey an extra hour of sleep. as usual we'd put off packing until the morning of our flight, so i had some angst in my stomach. wifey commented several times when we passed the blueberry muffin diner that they have, what else, the best blueberry muffins, so i stopped with cole to grab some on the fly. at the counter sat a couple of red necks who looked like they made it through the night on piss, vinegar, and maybe a little crystal meth. while waiting for the half dozen blueberry muffins i ordered, i couldn't help but overhear their conversation: man, my old lady asked me to go out with her the other night - i said no and went out with the guys - when i got home round 2am she was real wasted - i could tell because it took her a while to throw the rubber to me - but i took care of business and she puked after.

i'll close this diatribe with a quick fuck-off to the washington examiner. before we left town i remembered to put a stop on the washington post delivery while we were away, thinking that would eliminate the dead giveaway that we were out of town. when we pulled up to the house, what else littered my yard but 5 or 6 rain-soaked examiners. i never asked for this half-assed paper and want nothing to do with it. so like i said, fuck off. you are wasting paper and never asked if i wanted to be part of it.

okay, back to real life. bring it...