Friday, May 18, 2007


Walking down the hall in front of me at the south Charlotte Hampton Inn with a rolling cart stacked with suitcases was a family of four including two boys about 10 and 14.

The 14-year-old was almost as tall as his father. I thought, God willing, in a few years my three sons will be as tall or taller than I am (which is not unlikely since I am 5’9”). It was a pleasant – very pleasant – thought.

I missed Carter’s bo promotion tonight because I’m traveling through tomorrow afternoon. Bo, for the uninitiated, is one of the tools in kobudo, martial arts weapons training, and is a 1-inch diameter rod about as tall as you are made of Japanese oak (in the case of Carter’s), which he twirls around and jabs and strikes with. I was able to attend his most recent karate belt promotion (to brown belt, two steps below junior black belt) last Saturday. Tonight was only the second of his ten promotions he’s had over two years that I’ve missed. My dad saw me wrestle only once over the six years and hundreds of matches during junior high and high school; I’m determined to let Carter know that I’m watching. And that I’m a fan.

I called home a few minutes ago to get the end-of-day-report. I listen intently to how bo promotion went and am eager to know how K is faring alone with the boys, but at one point my brain sidles sideways while my eyes drift over to the muted television where the Spurs are playing the Suns in Game Six of their series. She tells me that Teak scraped himself on some rusty nails on the underside of the old couch.

But I miss this.

When I miss something she says on the phone and realize that I’ve missed something, I give off a little laugh, like it’s machine gun cover fire in advance of the enemy’s return fire I know is to come. However, this was not a story to give off machine gun laughter. It was a story to “Is he all right?” at. Or, “What?! So what happened next?” at.

I start to sink below the surface.

She knows this and gives me some grief, but I cower enough to be allowed to remove tail from between legs.

The report goes on. So far, our basement is dry – we’ve been flooded twice in the last several years and lost our wall-to-wall carpeting in the playroom. There is supposed to be up to six inches of rain in some parts near us overnight. Help me.

The last time our basement flooded, Mother’s Day 2006, we lost a carpet that had been down only about two years. I remember cutting it up with a utility knife: each stroke was like $50 coming out of my body. Following was the carpet pad. I duct taped about a dozen 4-foot long sections of soggy carpet and padding and set them out on the back patio. Fifteen hundred dollars sitting outside, getting ready to be thrown out during the next large item trash day. Just take my paycheck, please, and chop it into little pieces and blow them into the wind.

Tomorrow morning’s t-ball game for Bennett is cancelled because Buker Elementary School’s field, where they play, is a lake. So the lovely K checked the website and found that the game had been called.

Oh. She and the boys threw me a birthday party yesterday – 44 years of life, the last 13 of them joyous, the last 10 of them priceless.

We ordered pizza and had cheesecake for dessert. K bought three presents, wisely, one for each boy to give me. One was a bag with Triscuits and Irish Cheddar cheese in it, which Teak very excitedly gave me. Didn’t matter if it was on our grocery list anyway…it was a present from my little one. Earl and Ginger sent along a card and a gift. Brother Jim called this morning to wish me a happy one.

I can’t help but marvel at how much I am blessed. I’ll be bummed if our new $1500 carpet gets ruined by yet another flooded basement.

But I won’t be that bummed.

photo: criswatk

1 comment:

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I do love your writing! Happy birthday! Yes, it is nice to take a brief break from blogging!