Yes, in less than seven days the Widget starts Girl Scout camp and I get to have a normal work day again . . .for 4 weeks anyway. Then August arrives and my work day gets stupid again. But for four glorious weeks I will be happy. Or as happy as I am capable of being anyway.
Summertime and school vacation weeks (of which there are many) really screw things up for a home-worker like me. Somehow the work usually gets done -more or less- but it’s the rest of your life that falls apart. Time that would have been dedicated to washing dishes, doing laundry, and shopping for groceries gets absorbed into getting your work done so the power company doesn’t turn off your lights, or the repo man doesn’t come take your car away. Add to that an 8yr old who appears at your elbow every fifteen minutes to ask you if it’s time to go swimming yet, or can you please play a game, blah blah blah. The concept that you have work to get done, and that by doing that work this kid gets to eat and live in a house, never registers in the child’s mind. What registers is that you are a jerk who cares more about work than playing with your kid. You miss the point that these precious Halmark moments are slipping away and you are totally missing out on them.
But then again, children are all self-centered little monsters and Hallmark is a company build on peddling bullshit to idiots.
I know for a fact that there are parents who think that I am the monster in this scenario and that my child and Hallmark are in the right. But I also know for a fact that these parents were so immensely boring beforehand that having children was the only way to make their pointless lives even remotely interesting -if only to themselves.
You want to know what I’ve learned in almost ten years of parenting? I’ve learned that kids are like dogs. A shit load of fun in small doses. They are simple and they delight in the attention you show them, and they can be a breath of fresh air in your otherwise overly-complex life of adult bullshit. But caring for them day in and day out is a different story altogether. Constantly picking up somebody else’s shit, and keeping enough of an eye on them so that they don’t chew the fuck out of the furniture, is an exercise in grinding mental boredom.
The fact is that kids and dogs, after about fifteen minutes, are not that interesting. They don’t have any thought provoking ideas to share, they can’t help you hang shelves, and they are unwilling to pick up after themselves.
I suppose that reading this you might think that I hate my daughter. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. As kids go, she’s pretty awesome. She’s well behaved most of the time, she had good manners, gets good grades, and she plays well with others. I couldn’t ask for a better kid. And I do a lot of stuff with her. Soccer, swim lessons, and homework after school. We have a little tradition where I let her “cut school” for the day and we go on an “Adventure”. I’m about 300% more involved that my own dad was. Which I used to really resent as a kid. But as an adult I just accept. Because I’d rather be out doing something else, or just working, than playing my 50th game of UNO or berating my kid for being the shitiest co-op gamer in the world as she throws me under the bus . . . YET AGAIN . . . in Wii Sponge-Bob Squarepants. But when you have sex with pretty girls these are the responsibilities that you may find yourself taking on.
Speaking of doing stupid things that I would never consider subjecting myself to if I didn’t have a kid -we went to Chunky’s this weekend. Which is basically a factory for fat white trash people. Sort of like Northern New Jersey and Queens are were urban hillbillies (guedos) are made. As far as I can tell, Chunky’s is a New England thing so I’ll explain it. You go into a movie theater. But instead of rows of uncomfortable seats there are rows of long narrow tables, each surrounded by eight giant leather seats pulled out of limos, town cars, and Cadillacs. The seats still recline, and they are mounted on wheels so you can face your table or face the movie screen.
I was expecting something cool like out of a 1950′s wet dream. Small booths with tail fins and brake lights, glittering chrome and sparkly naugahyde. The reality was grey and depressing. Giant seats, filled with giant people, slung around a viking longboard that couldn’t have been 15″ wide. I think I was also expecting it to be . . .cleaner. Not that it was dirty exactly. It was no worse than any movie theater. But that was kind of the problem. You accept a certain level of filth at the movies. People spill things, popcorn gets knocked over, etc. But to sit down and eat an actual meal in that environment sort of makes you want to get tested for Hep C.
But instead we just ordered several platters of deep friend bullshit off the menu (even the salads were 3000 calories, battered, and fried), and added a couple pitchers of beer to put out the fire all that grease was causing in our G.I. tracks.
It was (of course) a kid’s paradise. French fries and hamburgers while you watch a movie? What could be better.
On the way out I forced my younger brother to stand between the two exit doors with me as we waited for the girls to make a bathroom pit stop. As a side note, I cannot imagine sitting my bare ass on anything in Chunky’s. From where we stood we had an excellent view of the people coming out. I’m not lying when I tell you that more than half of them waddled rather than walked. Some, too fat to waddle, rode little motorized scooters, their oxygen tanks strapped to the back, little clear tubes running to their noses as they reached for their pack of Cools, desperate for a smoke after being stuck indoors for two hours. It was like the real world version of the space-people in Wall-E.
Speaking of Pixar, we saw UP by the way. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I got really choked up in a few places. But other parts of the movie just bored me to tears.I suspect that like Ratatouille I will have to watch it more than once before I decide whether or not I like it. UP was a movie with a lot of dogs. And as I mentioned just a moment ago, dogs are fun for about five seconds.
Friends of ours saw UP a few weeks ago and told us that it was a perfect metaphor for aging, developing alzheimers, and then committing suicide. I can see that actually. Even if it does completely ignore the end of the film. Then again, my friends are kind of fucked up.
Anyway, with the exception of the flying house (Which I thought was a not-so-subtle rip-off of Howl’s Moving Castle), I didn’t really enjoy any of the fantasy parts of the movie. I was totally drawn in by the quiet sincerity of the opening and the cute ending. But the middle felt really stupid to me.
Like I said though, I’ll have to watch it a few more times before I decide. If I can say anything it’s that Pixar makes films that move on more levels than any other CGI company. I hated CARS when I first saw it. But as I watched it a few more times at home and learned some of the back-story to why they did this or that, my perceptions changed. What had started as a retarded NASCAR hick circle-jerk evolved into a heartwarming tribute that was surprising subtle at points.