Without getting too sappy, I'll just say that spending the week with BossLady and the Peanut in the mountains of Colorado was amazing. Living in Manhattan, I often find myself getting caught up in the day-to-day cycle of urban living. And being surrounded by so many type-A workaholics, it's easy to lose sight of the more important things in life. A week of decompressing in the great outdoors with the family was the perfect antidote.
The Peanut is almost 2 1/2 years old right now and it's an unbelievably fun age. We have the goofiest, funniest conversations with her and she cracks us up on a continual basis. As so many parents have told us, you never get these years back. So for BossLady and I to spend so much quality time with the Peanut was a luxury that we not only cherished but also will remember forever.
Here are some quick thoughts from the trip...
FEAR OF FLYING
What childless people often don't understand about traveling with kids on a plane is that, despite our best efforts, there are good plane trips and there are bad plane trips. Unfortunately, we never know which one we're on until we're on it.
Up until this past week, our recent plane rides with the Peanut have been a living nightmare. Screaming, crying, kicking...you name it. Heck, on the way home from Palm Beach at Christmas, I must have bought drinks for the entire plane (never underestimate the forgiving powers of free alcohol!)
In general, my philosophy on bringing kids on airplanes is similar to my philosophy on giving a speech at a wedding. You don't need to be good. You just need to be better than everyone else.
Thankfully, on both legs of this journey, the Peanut proved to be a varsity traveler. Despite long delays and crowded flights, the Peanut behaved so well that several fellow passengers remarked that they had never seen such a well-behaved child on a plane.
Of course being the cynical pessimist that I am, I jokingly cursed them for jinxing us. But I guarantee that, on her next flight, the Peanut will be back to being a hell-raising terror. So if any of you are on a plane and see a stressed-out Asian dude with a screaming baby and a stack of drink tickets, feel free to say hi!
THE BRUTAL HONESTY OF THE YOUNG
The weather in Colorado was amazing. Classic spring skiing at its best. Nice packed powder with clear, sunny skies. It was so gorgeous every day that I just wore sunglasses and no hat. The downside is that my face got completely sunburned and now I look like a fucking raccoon. Or possibly a burn victim clown. I shit you not. I look absolutely ridiculous right now.
The great thing is that everyone in my office is super-nice. For the most part, they're all in their 30's or 40's. And sure, they couldn't help but notice my absurd-looking face but thankfully, the only comments I heard were on the level of "hey, looks like you got some great weather!" or "sun was pretty bright, eh?"
I was just starting to feel less self-conscious about my face until this afternoon when I ran into a guy in our office who's in his early 20's. He immediately took one look at me, screamed out, "Holy shit, dude! What the fuck happened to your face?" and then started laughing hilariously!
Seriously, he laughed so hard that he let a fart slip out. That's how much of an idiot I look like. One look in the mirror and I started laughing so hard, I think pieces of my face started to fall off!
Thank god for the frank candor of today's youth, eh?
PARDON ME WHILE I SHOVE THIS CHOPSTICK UP YOUR ASS!
I don't think it's my racial paranoia speaking when I say that ski resorts are predominantly populated with white people. During our entire week on the mountain, I think I saw about five people of color. Hell, even the maids at our hotel were white! (Seriously, have you ever heard of such a thing? White maids! In this day and age!)
All kidding aside, I bring this up because about 10 times during the trip, BossLady and I held a door open for someone struggling with their skis or snowboard. At least five of those times, the person walked right by us without even saying "thank you." BossLady and I were completely and utterly shocked. Finally, we got to the point where we'd get in their faces and say, "you're fucking welcome, asshole!"
You should have seen the looks on their faces. First, they were clearly startled that we even spoke English. Then, they'd duck their head sheepishly, mumble an embarrassed "thanks" under their breath, and shuffle off.
What the fuck? Do we look like we're fresh off the fucking boat? And even if we were, what would prevent someone from saying "thank you" when a person kindly holds open a door for you? Were these people just rude motherfuckers? Or do you think that they were just racist assholes?
Want to know the worst part? A few of these people were with their kids. Nice way to set a good example.
EVEN MY FARTS SMELL LIKE EUCALYPTUS
Mother Nature has been dropping a few hints lately that my 38-year-old body ain't what it used to be. Hair is starting to grow in weird places. Hangovers last for two days. I can never find my keys. But the biggest reality bitch-slap came after a day of some hard-core skiing. I seriously felt like I'd been hit by a truck. Every single part of my body was in some sort of pain. For the past two days, I've been lathering myself in Ben-Gay and I'm starting to smell like an 85-year-old man. Boo yah! Who's bringing sexy back?
HOLY CRAP, I'VE TURNED INTO MY FATHER!
When I was a young boy, my father would give me homework assignments outside of what was required for school. And even though I was always a good student, he'd often hire me private tutors to ensure that I always stayed ahead of my classmates. Now, as anyone who understands the high value that Koreans (especially immigrant parents) place on education, this might not seem so unusual.
Truthfully, I didn't mind the homework so much. What fucking killed me though were our family road trips. While spending hours driving, my father would grill me about foreign capitals, economic statistics, and politics. I'm pretty sure that I was the only 9-year-old who could reel off the line of presidential succession or tell you all the member nations of NATO.
Naturally, I swore to myself that this was bullshit and I would never do the same thing with my child. Instead, we'd play fun car games like "I spy" or license plate poker.
Well, lo and behold, parenting hypocrisy smacks me in the face again!
On our way back from the mountains, we learned that our flight back to NYC was delayed so we'd have to spend at least 4 hours in the airport. Thankfully, a very cool rep from Continental Airlines gave us a private conference room in the first-class lounge.
The room was equipped with a giant white board, markers, and erasers. Immediately, the Peanut started demanding that I draw pictures of horses, moons, and fire trucks. But after a few minutes of this, I decided that I'd use the time to work on the alphabet with the Peanut and started writing various letters on the board. I'd write a letter, say what it was, ask her to repeat it, erase it, and then start all over again with a different letter.
Naturally, the Peanut got bored with this pretty quickly and thought it was much more fun to torment me by saying every letter I drew was an "A!" She'd see me shake my head in frustration and laugh her little head off. Meanwhile, the lovely and beautiful BossLady was doing the same thing every time I turned to her and yelled,"Good lord, woman! Aren't you concerned? THE PEANUT WILL NEVER READ!"
That led me to go online in a panic, where I started maniacally researching educational guidelines and developmental growth charts. I quickly realized that I was a fucking idiot and that it was perfectly normal for two-year-olds not to know the alphabet (FYI...it seems most kids learn the full alphabet between the ages of 3 to 4.)
Elated to know that my daughter would eventually learn how to read, the two of us then proceeded to spend the next few hours in the conference room throwing cheese at each other, making funny fart noises, and spinning around in the office chairs until we got dizzy.
Good times, yo!
QUICK AND EASY BOOK REVIEWS
Is there any greater luxury on vacation than staying up late and reading? Knowing that you don't have to get up for work the next morning? Since a few of you asked, here are the latest MD book reviews...
"Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl...I'm only halfway through this but it's turning out to be one of the most impressive first novels that I've ever read. Comparisons to young peers such as David Eggerts and Jonathan Safron Foer are probably inevitable (and well justified) but this highly ambitious book is greatly entertaining. Although Marisha Pessl is clearly brilliant and not ashamed to show it, the book is uniquely innovative and unlike most anything you've probably read.
"AlternaDad" by Neal Pollack...With the release of this book and all the ensuing hoopla over grups and hipster parents, it's easy to overlook the fact that this is a genuinely hilarious and poignant memoir about one man's modern journey into fatherhood.
"Theft: A Love Story" by Peter Carey...The book revolves around a nefarious art scandal and alternates between the narrations of former art boy wonder Michael and his mentally-damaged brother Hugh. Honestly, I was expecting to a much better book. While it's certainly readable, it's probably not for everyone (unless you're a big Peter Carey fan.)
Meanwhile, I need some new books to read. Anyone got anything interesting to recommend? What else is going on with all of you?