Writer’s note: I suppose the whole point of this is kind of a running diary. Things that happen in my life. I’m kicking it off with a major crisis/turning point that will take place over — I think — 5 parts. You’re about to read the third part. One and two can be found respectively, but understand that in some way shape or form this all will flow together.
In general I have what can only be described as a mixed relationship with being alone. It’s occasionally productive, and occasionally useless, which I suppose is true of most of us. For me over the next two days waiting for my wife to drive through a winter storm and pick me up, the time is… fluid I think is the best word. I spend the first day thinking about baseball with my dad again. Throw, snap. Throw, snap. I wash dishes, pick up my prescription, and eat a lot of grapes and cottage cheese. But after I realize I’ve lost about half the day I know it’s time to put baseball away and do what needs to be done. I need to phone people.
The first on my list is my family, but I’m going to see them for the New Year’s and I decide that if I have the option to deliver this in person, I’m going to take it. Next is my best friend… but my “Mother-Hen” complex (Brother-in-Law’s wording, not mine) gets in the way. He’s going through some stuff and I don’t want to lay on even more if I don’t have to, so he’s bumped off the list. The next is a little more complicated.
A few weeks before all of this I had decided to essentially give up on Social Media. I know, fledgling YouTube channel gives up on social media doesn’t exactly have a good ring to it, but I think I had to. I’ll recount the story at some point, but suffice it to say one of my oldest friends Sarah (yes, the same one) got mixed up in the whole thing, so she’s my first phone call. Sarah and I have been good friends since Junior High, becoming pretty close during college years and remaining so for 10+ years now. Most of my friendship’s I have solid reasoning for, or at least I can trace it back to a moment, but not Sarah. She just is my friend and a close confidant. She asked me to speak at her wedding. That meant a lot. So it was crucial to me that we mend whatever fences appeared to be broken. I say appeared to be because very quickly she let’s me know she wasn’t offended, just concerned. I’m more thankful than I think she knows for this conversation.
Surrounding memories of baseball have been feelings of terror and anger and… a lot of emotion. But over the phone with my squeaky-ass voice she manages to even my keel. What we talk about is special and very personal between us, and while I realize it is again strange for someone to do a personal blog and leave some personal stuff out, I’m going to do that from time to time. If you don’t like it… well that’s cool. We’re still friends. Promise. (kidding, I don’t even know you).
The sense of calm is welcome, and many dishes, toilets, and sinks are cleaned before my wife arrives (not that she notices any of this). The trip to see my brother is filled with a nervous wife who hates winter driving, and a lot of breaks to pee, but we arrive safe and sound. The whole trip I had been trying to determine the best time to talk to everyone and so I immediately and awkwardly insist on talking right away. For everyone in the room — my brother, his wife, my brother-in-law, his wife, and finally my wife — this is the first time they’re hearing it, and nobody really knows what to say. My Brother gives me a hug ’cause he’s a bit of a hugger. My wife cries because she’s a bit of a crier. My Brother-in-Law also gives me a hug, and despite never having been a mushy person, he gets all mushy up in this and I will love him forever for that. Everyone takes it in their own way, kind of seeing how I’m reacting before setting a course of action. My ruling is simple: I want this to be like it was a normal day. “I still want us to treat each other like assholes” is the phrase I tell my brothers, and they happily oblige.
The weekend goes well. New Year’s is spectacular though I don’t make it to the end, and the two days after are even better. Boardgames and jokes and love. Lots of love. I go swimming with my nephews and spend two hours catching Judicator (nick name for my brother-in-law’s eldest) coming down a water-slide that I am certain is not certified safe. Some guerrilla engineers worked on this. Some crazy no-nonsense crazy mothers designed this thing because my nephew comes off this thing like a rocket, and my brothers and I almost kill each other a couple times doing the same. I am certain this water-slide has killed people.
And at the time I’m also certain that if this is goodbye, this is exactly how I’d want to spend it. We cap our time together off with a dinner at Mr. Mikes and as usual it’s stupendous. Mr. Mikes if you’re reading this, I will buy the first gallon of Mikes Sauce if you ever decide to sell it.
Before we go my brother gives me a pep-talk and reminds me that my whole family is here for me. Then we make our long goodbye and we make for home. Actually we make for Costco first because I am suddenly craving a polish sausage dog from their little vendor thing up front. Seriously guys, all beef is for chumps. And while I eat my hot dog I lament with trepidation my upcoming doctor’s appointment.