Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The best photo of the kids, ever.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Don't Let Comfort Get in the Way of Progress.

That's the mantra that I've been repeating to myself for consolation.

I made that up by the way, so if you decide to put it on a t-shirt, send the royalties to me.

This weekend, I made another life-altering decision. It will only take a couple thousand dollars, a klepto-centric trip to the zoo, and some exploratory surgery and I will finally realize my dream to become a Centurion. Half-man, half-horse, all Badass.

No, really.

At any rate, it would've been an easier decision to make than the one I had to make, which is to go back to part-time for my primary job. For the record, being a Non-Food Receiving Coordinator is actually not that bad of a job. I think it's the only job in grocery/retail that has 8-5 shifts, Monday to Friday, and holidays off. Plus I get a desk, and a computer. It was pretty tough to give up the position, since I consider myself to be pretty lucky to land it in the first place. But since the weddings that I've shot aren't getting done as fast as I'd like, and my home life is suffering from my absence, I decided that I needed to cut down my workload to something more manageable. I didn't want it to get to the point whereby my kids would only recognize me from the back of my head, since I was always at the computer arranging other people's lives.

I mean, it was the original plan anyway, to slowly phase into videography full time, but I didn't expect the NFRC job to be so comfortable and easy, and enough to keep me busy and challenged at the same time.

But last week, I was in the breakroom and I overheard three girls talking about their college degrees, and I went to speak with one in particular because she did film studies. And she said that it's easy to stay at the company because it's comfortable. Now I've heard that before dozens of times, but this time it resonated probably because the videography thing is piling up on me, and I'm actually making money off of it. And I thought, well, I don't want to be comfortable all my life and be unhappy in the end. A little discomfort and I could be happier with my life, right?

Nonetheless, telling my boss this morning kinda made me sad. I'll miss the deliveries, the books, and the freedom of the position. But hey, videography isn't so bad. I get to go to weddings and stick cameras into people's faces. And I get paid decently. And I'm my own boss.

But most of all, I can spend time with my wife and kids and not feel guilty about not doing work, and vice versa. That perhaps is the most comforting thought of all.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I guess the idea of the whole experience became so blown up in my mind, anything that was going to happen was bound to be some degree of letdown. But doesn't the concept seem sound? Taking my kids to their first real movie - a first run movie in theaters, and at the same time, it would be their first time in a movie drive-in. And the movie they'll be watching? Cars. The idea just oozes with cuteness, doesn't it?

And then there was the reality of it. Having blown speakers in the front and back of my car, and having a tape deck that didn't work meant that going to the drive-in would be a pretty quiet endeavor. Of course, now I realize that we could've just bought a portable radio, but it had been ages since I've been to one. Especially one here here in Seattle.

Having put in over 3 hundred bucks into the car's stereo system on Saturday, (it wasn't that much at first, but one problem begat the other and it was simply easier to just install new speakers) I was pretty keen on testing out my new Sony "EXPLODE" speakers, except it's spelled "EXPLOD" or something, because hip people don't spell things correctly. So I asked my wife if she wanted to go to the drive-in Saturday night, since it was the weekend and it didn't matter if we were out late. She said sure.

I checked the movie showtimes for the Auburn Drive-in, and Cars was indeed playing there, but it was the second half of the double feature, the first being "Pirates of the Caribbean." So I checked Kids-in-Mind, which is a handy and slightly over-detailed website that rates movies according to Violence/Gore, Sex, and Swearing, the three main reasons why I want to be a filmmaker. They not only rate but actually lists in detail the scene and its context, in a unintentionally amusing clinical manner.

After reading about an eye being plucked out by a bird, and a decapitated head looking for its body, I realized that PG-13 was pretty much dead on. In addition, by the time the second feature came on, it would probably be way too late for the kids to even enjoy the movie.

So my wife asks if there were any other Drive In theater showing Cars. And there was one.

Next thing, we're on the freeway with two groggy and slightly cranky kids who were just snatched from their naps, and we're on our way to Port Orchard. Finally now I have an answer to, "How far would you go to see a movie," and that answer would be "76 miles." We were running a little late but I managed to shave 20 minutes off the drive, down to an hour, and we still managed to snag a pretty good spot. Now since we left in a hurry, we hadn't had dinner or brought the right clothes, so we got a lackluster pizza from the concessions and had to pretty move around outside in the dark to stay warm, and to keep the kids entertained. The playground there was described by my wife as something they was build when the drive-in was first erected, and had not seen an upgrade since. There were boisterous and reckless kids that nearly mowed over my todds, and the playground was a little bit of a safety hazard.

For reasons unknown, the staff decided that it had to be absolutely pitch dark to start the movie, so it wasn't till 15 after 10pm until they started the movie. The movie was pretty good for the most part - there were parts when the movie was obscured by a Zoe climbing over the seat into the backseat, only to realize that nobody else was in the backseat, and the part when Zoe decided to honk the horn, and the part when Zoe decided to be tricky and place her blanket over the wheel, and then honk the horn, and the part when Zoe decided to kick the dashboard, the radio, change the channels, turn up the volume, and kick the shade off the radio display, blinding us with the luminous and beautiful new CD/MP3 player display. Alex was a little fidgety, but he was overall pretty easy to sit with. He would sometimes reach behind his head to grab my head, and drum his fingers on my head, before turning around and saying in a sweet voice, "Hi Daddy."

When Cars ended, we decided to skip Click, and headed home. It didn't take more than a couple minutes before they were pushing up Z's in the car. We didn't get home till almost one-thirty, and they went to bed with no problems.

Thus ended their first movie/theater slash drive-in experience.

Lately, my wife and I have had some issues with Parenting, namely having to deal with two toddlers whom I think are much much smarter than us. They just don't know it and I fear that if they ever realized it, my wife and I will be doomed.

Wow, that last sentence is just full of grammar problems.

Anyway, Zoe has been going around lately, occasionally spouting, "Dammnit. Fuck." in her cute little cherubic, squeaky innocent voice - if Angels swore - it'd sound a lot like that. My wife claims she says it quite a bit, and I've only heard it once. It's one of those, "Did she... Did it sound like... Nahh...." things. We've decided that it's my wife's fault, mainly because I haven't been around that much to swear around my kids. But who knows. I do my fair share.

Yesterday, though, I was at the top of my parenting game. I had a relatively bummer day at work, so I decided that when I went home, I was going to just make it as stress free as possible, so I decided to watch some TV with the kids (we try to limit the TV to morning and nights, to just a couple hours. I tend to cave more.), namely a documentary about comic book heroes. Anyway, it's slugging along, and I doze off with Alex on my lap. I woke up a bit later, and my chest is soaked with the little boy's sweat, who has fallen dead asleep in my arms. I thought it was a bit late to be taking a nap, so I try to wake him up, but he's out like a caffeinated Richard Simmons. I place him on the bed, and he's just limp and his head's wobbly. A little later I ever tried nuzzling his cheek, which usually sends him into fits of laughter, but he's asleep. Zoe yells at him to wake up, and he's still asleep. So I just let him sleep for a couple hours, woke up him for Kipper, and then he's back to bed again. I guess it was fine, since he was still asleep when I left the house this morning, but I wouldn't recommend letting me parent your kid. He'll just sleep all the time.

And yeah, I spent most of yesterday telling Zoe "no." Well, if she wouldn't be such a rule bender, I wouldn't be doing that. All that climbing and death-defying stuff she was born to do. So, haven't been feeling like the best parent lately, and I cannot express how glad I am that children have a pretty short term memory, a very unconditional love (at least for the next few years), and a great sense of humor. I could use those traits in my personality right now.