Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Single Parent

Diana sent me a comic via email with the title, “Week as a single parent.”  In five panels that begins with a mom doing dishes, working out and caring for a child.  Over the course of the panels, the scene devolves into a giant pile of clothes in the middle of the room while the mom drinks a big glass of wine.

Diana has been trying so hard to be positive when I call.  But I can tell she’s exhausted.  She had Hannah come over today to watch the kids, at $13 an hour, so she could take a nap.  Which Grover ruined by jumping on her.

Did I mention I took a helicopter tour of the south island?

Friday, October 26, 2012


I was standing in dark parking garage, next to a tiny, abandoned disco bar underneath our hotel.  The disco bar was serving as our wardrobe stylist’s work place.  This all makes perfect sense if you are in advertising.

Anyway, I looked at my cheap Nokia phone on loan from the production company and did the math.  Add six hours, add one day.  It was 8pm.  Perfect.

Diana answered with a surprisingly cheerful, “Hi!”  Just a few hours earlier, she had written this on facebook:

“Day six of Rick in New Zealand and I’m already suffering the full-blown exhaustion of the post-partum. We taught our early bird, Luca, that nobody gets up until “the first number says seven.” As of 6:20 this a.m., he was in my room with our clock radio on his lap, watching that first number and chatting away. Which might have been charming were he not also sitting on my head with a full, wet dipe. Rick: please come home.”

So I was more than relieved that things seemed to be okay 8189.1 miles away from the abandoned disco bar.

The boys screeched and fought over the phone.  They shouted, “Hi Dada,” and, “I miss you Dada,” and, “We broke the bed, Dada!”

Wait, what?

Diana shooed the boys away so we could talk for a moment and, yes, two little monkeys were jumping on the bed.  Instead of one falling off and breaking his head, our bedframe was the casualty.  To make matters worse, she couldn’t lift our mattress off the wreckage, so this was causing a seesaw like action when she tried to sleep.

Ugh.  I told her I loved her and missed her and instructed her to tell the boys I loved them and missed them. 

I could hear Elijah call from the other room, “We also broke the closet door off!”

p.s.  This is the last photo I look of Luca before I left.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Phone Home

I raced out of a meeting this afternoon to video chat the family.  It was bedtime yesterday.  Or tomorrow.  Or in an alternate dimension.  Nevertheless, I managed to catch them.

The video chat crackled to life and my speakers were immediately blown out by the shrieks from the other end.  Luca and Elijah began jockeying for position on Diana’s lap to get a better view.  Luca, wanted a better view of me.  Elijah, wanted a better view of himself in the preview window.  Glass houses, though.  I spent most of my time watching myself in that box as well.

I shouted over them to ask how everyone was doing.  Luca and Eli began shoving and Luca burst into tears.  I talked directly to him, saying he was okay and I missed him very much.  Through his tears he moaned that me missed me too. 

Trying not to cry myself, I asked how school was going.  They responded by saying their Halloween costumes had arrived.  Both boys left the screen to fetch their costumes and I was able to have 33 whole seconds to ask Diana how she was.

She was fi___ .  The boys interrupted her and showed me a great Star Wars mask and an equally great Power Rangers thing.

I decided not to mention the fact I’d be gone for this year’s Halloween.  I instead took great delight in watching Diana as she tried to convince Luca not to stuff his costume in our file cabinet.

“No Luca.  Don’t.  Not the file cabinet. It wont fit in there.  Oh.  Yes it will.”

A fluffy black bear walked by, but Grover didn’t seem to hear me.  Dog ears must not be able to accept a voice from the future.

With sad eyes, Diana said they had to go to sleep.  I could also read in her eyes that she was about to crack open a bottle of wine and try her hardest not to be mad that I was sitting in a luxury biding my time until I went out to a fancy dinner.

Man, I miss those guys and gal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

First Parent Teacher Conference

Last week, I was anxious.  Really anxious.  I had a ton of stuff to accomplish before heading out to New Zealand, including a couple big presentations.  I felt like I needed everything to be perfect.  So I did a lot of pacing and a lot of wringing my hands and doing that thing where I aggressively scratch my beard like a dog.

The night before I left, I was preparing a lovely meal extracted from takeout boxes when the subject of Elijah’s first parent teacher conference came up.  I immediately prepared for the cavalcade of hilarious antics.

“His teacher says he’s really sensitive,” Diana said.

Hmm.  Not exactly the hilarious opening I had hoped for.

“She said he gets really anxious in class if he misses a question or when he doesn’t do things perfectly.  He cries if he doesn’t complete his assignment on time.”

I began to feel the double helixes tighten under my skin.  Once again, one of my worst character traits had been passed onto my son.  Like his eventual shoulder hair issues.

I scratched my beard, aggressively.  Like a dog.  And asked what we were supposed to do.

His teacher said we should tell him it’s okay not to be perfect.  He can miss a few questions here and there.  And that he should learn to relax a bit and try to enjoy himself, especially when he’s headed off to New Zealand for a shoot and those presentations will turn out just fine.

His teacher also said that he’s a great, smart kid who gets along with everyone and loves to laugh and have fun.  And he genuinely cares about other people.   Maybe he got one or two of those from me too.  But most likely from Diana.