Archive for June, 2009

Dispatches from an air mattress …

June 14, 2009

The movers came, packed everything up on Friday and are heading to D.C. I’ll meet up with our stuff later in the week. Gotta clean this place first! House is empty, family is in Japan. Just me, the cat and my harmonica – and the heavy smell of cleaning chemicals.

An empty house is the perfect place to play blues harp. The acoustics are amazing! – I couldn’t resist … I made a recording on the MAC in GarageBand, and uploaded it here: Lonesome Daddy Blues.mp3


Making the last moments last

June 7, 2009

With the moving company coming in less than a week to pack up our entire life and move it to Washington, D.C., one might imagine how busy my weekend must have been.

But despite a long to-do list, I spent most of the weekend playing with my two boys.

hughI have always marveled at how quickly tensions melt when I get down on the floor or ground with a camera in hand and play with my kids. I hope I never forget the wellness value of letting go and escaping the demands of daily adult life by playing and really getting into my kids’ world – if only for a few hours. I hope to never forget for two reasons: One, because it’s a simple fix for a bad day, and two, because someday they’ll be too old for it, and being a kid with my kids will be just a distant memory. I hope I never forget.

They are leaving this week for Japan. I won’t see them again until mid July.

philoI’m glad I could spend some time with them before they go. I am going to miss them terribly. It’s going be hard coming home everyday to a new house in a new city, and not having them there to light up the room when I walk through the door.

I had a fleeting thought last night that I might go crazy not seeing them everyday.

Funny thing about kids. They can bring you to peaks of stress and worry that you never thought possible – and yet they can become sources of deep peace and comfort. Mine have certainly been both.

We spent today outside, around the house and at the park, while my wife packed for their trip. She had been sick for a while – but has gotten much better. I speak for all of us when I say that’s a relief.

I’m going to miss my wife. I know it will be hard, but with the move happening this week and all the planning, I’m suspect it hasn’t fully hit me yet that I’m going to be away from my family for more than a month. It will be pretty lonely, no doubt.

But, I have come to believe that the secret to happiness is not having the luxury of time to sit around and wonder whether or not you are happy. And I think life is balanced in that way. I’ll miss my family something awful – but I’ll have plenty to do to keep me busy until I can join them in Japan.

Until then, I’ll be watching this from time to time, and smiling:

More to follow …


Where to begin ….

June 1, 2009

Actually, the question I find myself asking lately is, “When does it end?”

Most times, we’re in the good in our family. But June has ushered in a ridiculously hectic chapter in our life – and I can’t wait until we can turn the page back to normally hectic.

We officially began our move by holding a yard sale this weekend. Wasn’t too bad. We got rid of a lot of stuff, which, although I veer toward pack rat collector tendencies, I’m always amazed at how liberated I feel when I offload a heap of old things. My mind is somewhat eased.

I wish I could say the same for my wife. She’s been sick this week. We all got sapped by a nasty cold a few weeks back. The boys and I bounced back, but she’s been stuck in the stuff. She’s so sweet – I hate seeing her sick. Cough, periodical fever, kind of up and down sickness. She hasn’t taken much time to rest lately, with the upcoming move to D.C. and family trip to Japan. She’s the type (God love her) who works too hard, rarely asks for help when she needs it, pushes herself, and puts herself last.

I took today off from work, stayed home with the boys and folded laundry. She went and saw the doc and rested for a good part of the afternoon. I sent her to bed tonight at 7 p.m. We’re going to do that for a few days. She and the kids leave for Japan in a little more that a week. If she’s not better then, she’s going to reschedule the flight, and we’ll have to adjust our whole plan. Which is: They fly to Japan in early June to stay with my wife’s family for about three months. I stay back here and take care of the move by myself.

Once moved in and semi-settled in D.C., I hop a flight to Japan in mid-July, meet up with the family, stay for three weeks, connect with nature, read books about Zen, and consume nearly a ton of sushi, Japanese steak, Saki and Asahi beer.

Once rested and as relaxed as invertebrates, we all fly back to the U.S. together in August.

That’s the plan – but we still have many difficulties ahead. We technically don’t have a place to live yet in D.C., and my job requires me to be settled there by the 1st of July. The place we’re looking at renting has an odd five-day window that goes like this: We apply, they assign us the place, and once assigned, we have to accept (move in) within five days. But we can’t accept until we can verify that we no longer maintain residence in our current home, which means I have to have the movers come and pack up this house, I have to clean it, and have someone at the housing office verify it is cleared. Then I can proceed with the next house in D.C. Both homes are furnished by my employer, but the management offices at each don’t communicate directly with each other.

It’s hard to explain it in a way that can give anyone real appreciation for how complicated it is, at least to me. I can say this: When dealing with two housing offices, a chain of personnel within the moving company, trying to get our personal affairs in order, striving to keep my family healthy and preparing to send them to Japan for three months … it feels like trying juggling while standing on a basketball.

And I’m not good at either.

So I decide my theme for June is “Soldier on like a Samurai.”

I know that with every hassle, pain and worry that we face now, it will all be behind us soon – and it will no doubt make our vacation in Japan that much better.

I just keep telling myself, “Self, be glad you have a job and be thankful you’re renting and not buying and selling your homes.”

And so, according to the plan and despite the challenges, I keep looking to the East – the Far East – and moving forward toward it, one step at a time.