Suburban Butch Dad Report, 4/16/2010

Airports, home dungeon make-overs, suicide, and Butch Voices…

This has been quite a week in Surburbia.  This past weekend, I hosted the lovely and multi-talented Roxy for a long weekend of debauchery and romance.  More on that in other posts, but I will say here that it was a wonderful weekend, and we squeezed every moment for the experiences it could offer.

Seatac Airport is becoming very familiar to me.  Air travel used to be a novelty, something cool to look forward to, now it’s mostly a pain.  Between traffic, long lines, security protocols and the lack of anything resembling a meal being served anymore, air travel is a means to an end, rather than a treat.   I was at the airport 4 times in the last 2 weeks:  taking my family up, retrieving Roxy, taking her back up and then meeting my family for their late, mid-week arrival.   The airport used to seem large, but I know my way around pretty well now, which does reduce my stress somewhat.  What I’ve noticed is that being in the airport for more than 5 minutes does something bad to my brain.  Time slows, my mental abilities dull and the air seems to take more than it gives.  Airports are weird, time-warped spaces.

Our elementary school community was rocked by tragedy earlier this week when a dad committed suicide.  His daughter is in my daughter’s class, they sit next to each other.  We’ve known her parents since our daughters were in kindergarten together.  He was a consistent Field Trip Parent, and that’s how I knew him.  I remember riding out to one of the field trips with him and two other dads.  I remember them talking about fishing.  Apparently, he’d just taken it up.  He was a really nice guy, always seemed upbeat and positive.  He’s survived by his wife and daughter and a lot of family in this area.  His friends and fellow elementary school parents are stunned but working together to take care of his family.  My daughter was still in Florida, on spring break, when we heard the news.  My wife and I talked about what to do, when to tell her and we decided to hold off until she was home, before she went to school.

I took some extra time Thursday morning, sat her on my lap and told her that her friend’s dad had died.  Little by little, I told her what had happened and answered her questions.  As is typical for her, she took a small amount of information, digested it, then came back for more.  We already knew that the school had brought in counselors the day before and that everyone was being upfront about the fact that it was a suicide.

My daughter told me that she’d just seen  him, that he and his daughter had given her a ride home the week before spring break.  She wondered how her friend was doing.  We talked about how to be respectful but available to her friend.  They sit next to each other, so I wanted to make sure she had some preparation, as it looks like she’ll be returning to school on Monday.

A couple other moms are sending out emails, getting ready to coordinate support efforts as the couple’s extended family members depart in the next few weeks.   Plans for meal delivery, yard work, play dates and nights out are being made.  It’s a horrible thing, for most of us an incomprehensible act, and I’m proud that my community is reacting, for the most part, in a loving and supportive manner.

The week was made even harder by exhaustion.  I was drained and dropping from Roxy’s visit when I heard about the suicide.  A couple of days later my family was home, after a very long day and not making it home until after 1 in the morning.  Yesterday, I was not at my best.  I was tired, cranky, impatient.  I blew up at a co-worker.. he deserved it, but I hold myself to a higher standard than that.  Today, thankfully, after a little more sleep, I’m feeling a bit better, more settled, more patient, more optimistic.

And that’s good because life doesn’t hold back just because you’re tired and grumpy.  I’m heading north to the Microsoft campus for Seattle Code Camp 5.0 tomorrow and Sunday, getting out early to miss some freeway congestion caused by construction.  I’m carpooling with a friend, which makes the 1.5 hour drive a bit less onerous.  The timing is lousy, though, because the weather’s going to be awesome this weekend and I could be working in my yard.  Instead, I’ll be geeking out with a bunch of nerds until my eyes are desiccated and my brain is stuffed full and all the gears have ground to a halt.   Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be great fun 🙂

I mentioned the basement dungeon I created, which Roxy and I got excellent use from.  I took some pictures and plan to post them here and on Fetlife.  It was a simple set-up and easy to take down and ‘sanitize’.

Another thing that happened that weekend was that Roxy shaved my chin.  I’d never shaved before and the thought of her doing the honors was really exciting.  It happened on Sunday morning, in the shower, and it was sexy as hell.  She was gentle and took her time.  It’s been five days and it’s just now back up the stubble it is normally after I clip it short with haircutting shears.  I don’t think I’ll shave very often, but she left me a razor and some blades just in case I want to try it myself sometime.

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Last but not least, I met with Joe Leblanc of Butch Voices fame today to talk about the single-day Butch Voices conference that will be held in Portland in October (one of the four regional events recently announced).  I’m going to be helping to organize it in some fashion.  We talked about the different opportunities that would be available and he sketched out a draft plan for the weekend.  Sounds good and we’ll have more to say about it as the details get firmed up.  For now, if you’re interested, check out the Facebook page for more information and reserve the weekend of October 2nd on your calendar.   I’m hoping to lead a session, and have several topics I’m interested in:  Genderqueer, issues around masculine presentation, the challenges and rewards of long distance relationships and managing polyamorous relationships.   Which one I ultimately do will depend on what other topics are submitted.

And that’s the week in review.  I’m going to go join my wife and Little Bit in the living room now, with a bowl of ice cream.  Y’all have a great weekend.

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