The Suburban Butch Dad Report, 5/7/2010

My apologies to the fans of SBDR for skipping last week, but I have a really good reason:  I was really busy and productive, it was awesome.  Here’s what happened

My dad and I were chatting about Memorial Day weekend plans and I told him my family was going to be gone for much of it, so I was going to work on projects.  He offered to come over and help me with projects, as a birthday present (usually we take each other out for lunch for birthdays).  We did some brainstorming and decided to tackle a project for the front yard:  install the garden swing he built for me as a Christmas present.  He planned to come over on Sunday, so on Saturday, I did site prep.  That meant clearing turf and transplanting a hydrangea and some other ornamental plants.   I also wanted to trim back about 6 feet of hedge, starting with the portion behind where the swing would be.   He volunteered to take the hedge trimmings back to his place (he lives in the county and can have burn piles).    It promised to be a lot of work, but I have always enjoyed doing projects with Dad, he thinks the way I do (probably vice versa, I learned how to work from him).  Working with him was like working with another me, but with his own separate body.  My dad is a hardworking guy even though his body has been slowing him down in recent years.  He’s probably going to have a hip replacement this coming year and he’s had trouble with his back, but he can still out work men half, or less, his age at nearly 70.  He’s my hero and role model.

Saturday presented me with a not too cool, not too hot, not too wet day and I got rid of took my daughter to a friends house for a sleep-over at 9:00 a.m.  She’d gotten up at 7:30 and already taken care of the neighbor’s dog, all on her own.  She was very proud of handling that responsibility.  I ate breakfast, enjoyed my coffee and newspaper and the blessed sounds of silence, periodically glancing out the window, sizing up my adversary.  Our dining room has a bay window looking over the front yard.   I got outside mid morning and had the turf cleared before I stopped for lunch.  I put in a little time figuring out the line I’d follow to trim the hedge.  I stopped mid afternoon to clean up and get ready to attend a housewarming party.

My dad wasn’t due to arrive until 2ish Sunday afternoon, but I had a pile of errands I wanted to complete before then.  I got myself up and out of the house by shortly after 8 and took myself to breakfast, at a place downtown called Darby’s Cafe which has a long history of serving good food in a very queer friendly environment.   I saw a few friends there, and read a story out of Ivan Coyote’s Loose End while enjoying my coffee.  I also consulted my to do list for the day:  sell back some baby and early childhood parenting books at Orca Books, drop some items off at Sound ReStore, run some errands on the westside and drop some things off at Goodwill.  Oh, and stop at the Farmer’s Market.  All that and I was home by 11:00 to greet my ElderSpawn coming home from her sleep-over.   I spent some time online, some time on a few chores inside and had a moment or two to sit still for a moment before Dad arrived.


We worked until around 5 pm which was just about when my mom got there to join us for dinner.  I cleaned up and got my grill going, then filled it with marinated chicken breasts and asparagus.  Mom and dad brought corn on the cob and watermelon to round out the meal.  I tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than a good dinner after a long day of burning calories.  Dessert was fresh home-made vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries on top… yummmo!

Late that night my wife and Little Bit came home and the next day was largely spent lounging and doing smaller projects inside.  Today and yesterday, I worked on edging the beds around the front yard and spreading cedar chips.  We have a pile of them from a tree we had taken down in the back 40.  I’ve got a double layer of garden cloth under the swing, so that should hold off weeds for a while.  There’s still more to be done, as always, but I’m pretty proud of how things look now.  And next weekend, Roxy and her kids are driving up to visit us and I’m excited to show off the improvements and sit with her in the swing.

In other news, Little Bit is a born hellraiser.  She would be great at product testing for child safety gear or other products, since she invariably zeros in on that product’s weakness and figures out how to exploit it.  She shakes and rattles on baby gates, moves heavy barriers between her and anything we’re trying to hide.  Mrs. Kyle fashioned a outlet cover from a small cardboard box.   This was because the other outlet guard we had didn’t work.  Little Bit was on it in a flash, beating on it with her hands and pulling it apart within seconds.  In response, my wife went shopping last night and returned with a child safety product that can actually live up to the name.   Her powers of destruction are standard by which such products should be designed.   If she can’t take it down, get through it, get over it, pull it apart, it is truly baby safe.

My ElderSpawn was a completely different kid.  If we put a visual barrier up, she wouldn’t cross it.  She didn’t reach for things above her head.   Little Bit simultaneously reaches for things on tables and looks at you to make sure you’re watching.  Her impish smile is at once cute and a warning about the future.   She has no fear, will climb anything, will squeeze her wee body through any small space to get to the other side.  Excellent traits in an explorer, exasperating ones in a baby.

ElderSpawn is really stepping up as Big Sister.  She watches LB in the mornings before school, after I’ve gone to work and while her Mama is still sleeping.  They are wonderful together, LB clearly delights in hanging out with big sister.

Well this is getting long, so I’ll wrap it up.  This will be a busy week, with Roxy’s visit and Olympia’s Pride celebration this weekend.  I’ve got one more soccer game, the championship, this Saturday. And, of course, there are all the normal stuff with ElderSpawn’s summer soccer season starting, end-of-year school activities, and lots more outdoor work now that the weather is getting nice.

Oh, and then there is the work I’m doing for Butch Voices Portland, the session abstract I need to finalize and all the other writing I want to do.  I’d better get on it, have a great week.

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