And the Fun Begins

Well, that wasn’t much of a summer vacation.  Back to work tomorrow to teach summer classes (in September?) until September 17.  The big news is that Chieko is heading back to work, too.  The double income is welcomed, but I can already feel the stress starting to bubble, as there is nobody to take care of the day-to-day upkeep of the house, get a head start on meals, and take care of all the other little things that Chieko could do during the day while she was on maternity leave while I was at work.  We’ll figure it out, but it’s certainly a new phase of parenthood for us.

It has been abnormally hot this summer, and particularly recently, over 90 every day and nary a raindrop for two weeks.  That’s a lie actually; it rained a bit during the night, but I wasn’t awake to appreciate it.  I never thought I would be sick of sunny days, but fall is welcome to make an appearance any time.  I am really craving crisp evenings and feeling of nature closing up shop for the winter.  I have always loved fall, and it will be particularly sweet this year.

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Ray had his first full day of daycare today, 9:30 to 4.  He is adjusting, though still cries when we drop him off.  But he seems content when we pick him up, and his teacher reports that after he gets over the initial morning trauma he is settling in well.  The only problem is that he doesn’t really eat or drink when they try to feed him.  He eats food here at home, and drinks water and tea by himself, but it hasn’t translated to the new environment yet.  Perhaps it’s his attempt to protest the fact that his parents are abandoning him every morning — hunger strike.

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Chieko is rummaging through her closet trying to find some work clothes that can contain her giant, milk-fill boobs, and not having much luck.  I am thinking it’s time to climb into bed.  If I were Japanese I might lay there and do some image training about tomorrow’s lesson; they LOVE image training.  But I’m not Japanese, and I have a policy of not thinking about anything work related or otherwise stressful once I’m in bed.  So only sweet dreams for me, I suppose.  Of course, the neighbor’s retarded dog just started barking, so that could get me riled up before bed!  Good night.

Locked Out

‘Pay no attention to the tattooed gaijin in a wife beater climbing through the second story window,’ I muttered as I hosted myself first up on top of the water heating unit, then onto the roof of our bicycle port, all the while hoping the local police didn’t happen to drive by at that moment.

Chieko had pulled away minutes earlier, on her way to drop Ray off at daycare and then do some errands until picking him up again at 12:30.  Being a dutiful husband, I had offered to bring Ray down to the car since Chieko had several bags in hand.  Upon bidding them adieux I returned to the front door, only to find it locked. Thank you darling.  I ran out into the street and waved feverishly, to no avail. It was 9:15.

No problem, I thought.  The back slider is probably unlocked, and if not the window must be.  Nope.  Maybe I can finagle the screen of the open kitchen window.  It’s small but I could worm my through and onto the kitchen counter.  Nope.  Shit.  Three hours sitting in the sun did not sound good, not to mention I was missing a Red Sox game and I had a paper to work on.  My cellphone was inside, and even if I could bum a phone from a neighbor I can’t remember Chieko’s number.

I made several feverish laps around the house, cursing my wife and somewhat frantically looking for ways to get back in the house.

Pretty much every window on the second floor, along with the slider in bedroom, was open.  But how to get there?  I might be able to get on the air conditioning unit and hoist myself up onto the sunroom, from where I could pull myself over the balcony outside of our bedroom.  Too sketchy.  Should I just break a window?  Not yet.

I walked around to the bicycle port, a narrow structure with a corrugated steel roof, above which resides a small window.  Next to the bicycle port sits a six-foot tall water heating behemoth.  Promising.

Thirty seconds later I was back inside, with my shoes on.  Take that.

I texted Chieko: ‘Thanks for locking me out of the house, genius.’

In the meantime, the Red Sox have lost, and I’ve realized that I left the printout of the paper I intended to edit in my office yesterday.  Who’s the genius?

Toying With the Gods

I’ve been invited to contribute to a blog called Fatherfolk, where I’ll endeavor to provide the perspective of fatherhood in Japan.  This is my first contribution.  So if you’re a regular reader, go check out Fatherfolk, and if you’re reading via Fatherfolk, thanks!  And thanks to Aaron for giving me the chance to contribute.  Without further ado…

A few years ago I bought myself a Daruma doll.  Daruma is a little, wobbly red guy who is meant to make your dreams come true.

When you buy a Daruma doll its eyes are blank.  You fill in one eye, set your goal, and once it’s achieved you fill in the other eye Throw the sucker into the local New Year’s pyre for proper appeasement.  Traditionally, Daruma has some Buddhist significance, but I would just be copying from Wikipedia if I said anything more than that.

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My goal when I bought my Daruma was to get a better job.  I was teaching at an English conversation school here in Japan at the time, and had had such little success in getting a ‘proper’ university job that I was willing to try anything to improve my fortunes.  I don’t remember how long it took for me to find a new job after I bought Daruma, but when I did I dutifully filled in his right eye, chucked him into a moving box, and hit the road.

Daruma eventually got unpacked, but my superstitions about pissing off whatever gods or cosmic forces had led to my improved condition prevented me from simply pitching him into the trash can.  At the time I wasn’t aware that a fiery New Year’s disposal was the way to go, so back into the closet he went.

Until the other day when I was rummaging through some random drawer in my closet, with Ray attempting to latch on to anything in site, when I happened upon Daruma.  In my 9 months as a father I’ve quickly come to realize the entertainment value my son finds in seemingly innocuous things.  Car keys?  Heaven.  A clear plastic tube filled with Christmas tree ornaments?  Loads of fun until he starts eating the tape that’s keeping the end cap on.  Those foam strips I stuck on the jagged, accident-waiting-to-happen corners?  Rip them off for a good time.  They’re chewy!  Pots and pans?  Fun AND loud.

Daruma also caught Ray’s attention.  One of the doll’s key features is that he is bottom-weighted, so he always ends up upright.  And therein commenced a good ten minutes of Ray picking up and dropping Daruma onto the floor, watching him slowly spin around and eventually wobble back into place.  A muted chuckle now then let me know the boy was amused, and I was able to find whatever I was looking for.

So Daruma, if you can hear me, thanks for hanging around.  I’ll make sure you finally get some heat this year.

Who Brought the Idiot?

The last, and only other time, I uploaded a video to Flickr, it took me several hours and lots of cursing.  When I finally was able to post it here, I wrote this:

More videos to come, maybe, if I can remember how I ever ended up getting this to work.

I should have taken notes, since I took this video on Friday and only just figured out how to get it onto Flickr.  I still don’t know exactly what I did, but hopefully I’ll be able to recreate the necessary conditions next time I want to upload some footage.

So without further ado, here’s Ray drinking from a hose, surely catching all sorts of parasites that will stunt his growth and make him weird, naked.

Other than the continued computer frustration, today was a great day.  Got a lot of gardening done, harvested a butt-load of basil to make some pesto, then went and bought a food processor to churn it all up.  I’ve always made pesto by hand, but there was just too much basil this time around.  I made a conscious effort to plant basil in every nook and cranny of the yard, and it’s paying off.  I already have a bunch of frozen pesto, and I’m sure we’ll get at least one more harvest before the fall.  Speaking of which, summer can be done anytime now.  I have begun craving fall and all that it entails.

I had some notions of getting a bit of work done tonight, but they’re slipping away and I don’t have much desire to rein them in.

Last week of vacation coming up.  We’re taking Ray to see a plastic surgeon about his ear on Tuesday, and I have no idea what to expect from that.  He’s too young to have anything done now, but apparently they like to at least get a file going on kids when they are young.  I’ll let you all know how that turns out.

Good night.