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Posts Tagged ‘family’

H*(Rα/Υ)=ς

Or, in other words,
A Home, when multiplied by a Renovation raised to the power of the Affected Area and divided by the Unity factor, equals the perceived level of Serenity.

As I sit down here in my basement, above my head Thor is wielding Mjölnir in a fierce battle against giant angry wasps.

Or so it seems.

And yet, I am at peace.

We are having new windows installed, replacing our old 1960 single-pane aluminum frame rattletraps (emphasis on “rattle”) with updated double-glazed, gas-filled, smooth-sliding jobs. Three windows, two sliding glass doors, and the pièce de résistance, a bay window in the bedroom, overlooking the gardens. It is a huge job, by our standards, and the saws—reciprocating, circular, oscillating/elliptical—plus hammers from small to monstrous and compressors and sundry other tools of destruction/construction are creating an acoustical landscape that makes one think of banshees, murder hornets, and alien warfare.

It’s the kind of chaos that would stress me out, worry my wife, and send Portia (the cat) running for her panic room (my closet).

And yet, my wife is happily alternating between watching her reality TV and napping, Portia is comfortably settled up beside her, and I am taking a break from my workday to compose this blog post.

It’s our being together, an island of mutual strength, that allows us to weather the storm that rages above-stairs. Though planets are being torn asunder, down here the clock ticks, the walls remain firm, and though the lights flicker each time the massive chop saw kicks in, we are surrounded by warm and comforting light.

Unity, reaffirming familial bonds, is a powerful tool. When we separate, we are weak, but when we join together, that makes us mighty. In a crisis, unity is crucial, but our ability to join forces against the world is made even stronger when we practice it, be it in running errands, making decisions, sharing a meal, or planning an event. Sharing the little agonies improves our technique and readies us for when the big agonies come along.

To be sure, this isn’t a big one, but it isn’t a small one, either. Seeing us here, though, calm and unruffled, gives me confidence that when a big one does land on our doorstep, we’ll be better prepared.

k

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Today, I married my sister.

I’ve been to many weddings, a good few more than you, I’d wager. As a musician, I’ve been to scores, suffering through endless repetitions of Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. As a groomsman, I’ve been to a handful, often a bit green in the gills, sweating vodka and swaying with my fellows in a shared hangover that hung around us like a fog. As a guest, there have been at least a dozen, some where I just sat and enjoyed the spectacle of hope, and others where I read remarks, made a toast, or simply helped with setup and tear-down. My sister and I were in a wedding before—my first—with me as groom and her as bridesmaid. (more…)

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All Peopled Up

Welcome back, folks. I hope you missed me (or at least the words I put up here), and I hope as well that your year-end was festive and full of enjoyment.

My end-of-year breaks are usually a grab bag of have-tos and must-dos mixed with a large amount of cocooning at home, trying to avoid both. For the past five years or so, they’ve also been bittersweet, tinged with grief and drama over the losses of family and friends.

The end of 2018, however, was a radical departure from that.

I actually socialized.

On purpose.

Voluntarily.

Yeah, I know. That’s crazy talk!

(more…)

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Life always has the capacity to surprise. Sometimes the surprise is delightful, and sometimes it most definitely is not. This past weekend, life did what it does best, but thankfully this surprise was of the delightful strain, as I’m pretty sick of the other type. (more…)

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This past Father’s Day was not the type of day I’d envisioned, wanted, or was pleased with. Sick with a head cold, one hand wrapped up in gauze from a deep sheet-metal cut, facing major changes to my work and domestic patterns, I spent the day at the veterinarian’s office, saying goodbye to our seventeen-year old cat, Mouse, euthanizing her after she’d suffered acute kidney failure.

Not a good day.

But it did get me thinking, specifically about my dad. Apropos.

At heart, my dad was a taciturn country boy. He was born in the small, rural town of Point Reyes Station in west Marin County, California. His parents were a truck driver and a housekeeper, his grandparents were gardeners and charcoal burners and boarding house matrons, and the town he lived in was quiet, remote, and full of independent, practical-minded, deeply conservative folks.

Dad’s rustic, back-country upbringing during the 1920s and ’30s was the source of many eye-popping tales of cultural dissonance. I’m pretty sure Dad told us kids some of his stories purely for their shock value. He took pride in his pedigree, his gruff, hardscrabble roots, and much of his identity was tied to a story arc anchored on the picturesque shores of Point Reyes and Tomales Bay.

With this as preamble, it’s not surprising that Dad’s philosophy about pets was . . . different than mine. They were animals, like livestock. He would tell of neighbors who put unwanted whelps in burlap sacks and disposed of them in a cruel and despicable fashion. When it came to the cats and dogs who shared our home, he cultivated a facade of casual disinterest. They were just animals, he’d say.

But it was a lie. (more…)

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I’d heard of them long before I saw one in the wild. Rare, elusive, they were things of power and legend. Sure, I saw them in movies, but I knew those were fakes; we all did.

The C-note. The Benjamin. One hundred smackeroos.

I was nine years old when I saw my first one.

We were at Tiburon Tommie’s, the Chinese restaurant of my youth, a place where the drinks menu was long and fixed, and the food menu was short and subject to change. (more…)

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