Ok, I’m about to start posting an 11-month backlog of pictures and videos. By way of explanation: I usually am off by about three months, maximum, on posting stuff we have captured with our phones. But, last fall everything came together for us to invest in a Synology DS1517+, a network-attached file server. It took me months to set the entire thing up to my liking, including storing our Photos and iTunes libraries on sparse bundles. In the meantime, posting here was on hold as those libraries were in flux.
Why take all this time? Ok, well Apple devices no longer have upgradeable storage, and the company knows their customers are accumulating vast quantities of pictures and videos, generated by phones. Every computer you have is filling up with your precious memories. So, you have two options if you want to stick with Apple (which I do; their stuff is nice): (1) pay a hilarious premium for large on-device storage or (2) pay monthly for cloud storage. Well I despise the rent-seeking going on in the tech industry so that takes out (2) and I refuse to feel like a sucker and go with (1). So, secret option (3) is to roll your own giant, network attached, locally available storage. Synology, ahoy!
So, that’s all set up now. Resuming picture posting… now.
Last night, there was time enough to go see Eighth Grade with Mykala. Time enough to go home and take the tire off the bike, drive it to the store, and buy its replacement. Time enough to put it on. Time enough to pedal through the dense, warm evening to pick-up Ess from my parent’s. Time enough to visit once I got there. Time enough to pedal us home, singing “This Land Is Your Land” most of the way.
So I was telling Ess that I forgot a library book at work today, and she’s thinking this through.
“So I should’ve looked through my stuff before I left work!”
“Yeah, you should have, Dada.”
“I have to keep track of my stuff.”
“And at work if you are not doing that, you might drop a tooth on it or get it dirty.”
Right now, you’ve been asleep for twelve hours in a row, and your parents are awake and puttering around, kind of wondering what to do with all this sleep we’ve gotten. Wondering when you’re planning on getting up.
It is our nine-year wedding anniversary. The dew points were near 80° today. I worked in Minneapolis, brought flowers home for Mykala. We had a summery dinner of vegan smoked apple sausage sage Field Roast sausages with potato salad and beans and then watched a little of Frozen and all of The Wrong Trousers and some of Chicken Run to stay out of the heat. Essie has awoken this morning and this afternoon with a head soaked in sweat — we assumed it was the heat, but tonight she told us she was scared of having dreams again. She’s becoming a master delayer, but this was clearly a very real fear. Mykala talked and talked with Ess, told her stories, helped her imagine us out together as a family on a beautiful day, riding bikes, having snacks, flying kites. Ess eventually picked out an octopus to take to bed in addition to her usual cadre.
I never imagined a nine-year wedding anniversary like this; never imagined it would be this lovely, sweet, romantic, low-key, memorable.
Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone
like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean
“treating someone like an authority”
people who are used to being treated like an authority
say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and
they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I
won’t treat you like a person”
and they think they’re
being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.
And there I am on the busy playground, looking up at my daughter with her two stuffed monkeys as she is about to put them down the slide. It is still a little cool out, winter into spring, and the clouds blot the sun, making it easy to see her clearly.
Down the slide goes one monkey, this one not quite as precious to Ess, this one the emissary into the world, spiraling down towards the ground. And up the slide charges someone new, one taller and bigger and stronger than my daughter. I had anticipated this: aware that these stuffed toys, so obviously having only spent time indoors, away from rain and dirt and vicissitudes, would attract all kinds of attention.
And so it seemed to go in slow motion, this new person’s run up the slide, and the picking up of the monkey and the taunting of my daughter. This other human, bigger and taller, with an affect neither sing-song nor menacing but rather flat as to almost seem bored, holding my daughter’s monkey aloft and saying “get it. get it. get it.” And my puzzled daughter, knowing she couldn’t reach it, wondering why she was being asked to, watching as the monkey, instead of being talked to, comforted, told what would happen, instead of being set down gently, ice cold water scrubbed away from the bottom of the slide, instead of being treated with tenderness and care, was flung indiscriminately back down the spiral again, not even worth the effort required to hurl it away into the distance.
The interloper drifted away and I picked Ess up, wrapping my arms tightly around her, whispering in her ear “you did nothing wrong” and pointing out other slides, other downward spirals that I thought might distract but I knew carried the same risk. It was all I could do when faced with the world again, this time walking my child through it.