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Archive for July, 2011

On Saturday night Regina was fortunate enough to attend the U2 concert at TCF Stadium. Her ticket was in a luxury box with great food and easy parking and she experienced the concert with other attorneys from her firm. It was a stormy night in the Twin Cities and despite the rain U2 played a two and half hour set in a steady downpour. Regina said the show was incredible, that the band sounded fantastic, their use of technology was astounding, the stage was great – she came back from the show fairly glowing. I was/am happy for her. Would I like to have gone too? Would I potentially injure another human being for such tickets? Would I sell a lung or perhaps agree to have a toe amputated for the pleasure of seeing U2? To all the above questions I whole-heartedly say, YES. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. NO!!!

But Saturday was great, really. It was great. Allow me to give you a little report:

Regina left the house at about 5:15pm. I set Henry in his chair at the kitchen table and served him a bowl of honey-flavored yogurt. I then turned my back on him to perform other household chores. When I looked back at him, perhaps only moments later, he was lathering his hair and face with white yogurt, apparently under the presumption that yogurt has “lotion-like” therapeutic value. I cleaned him off with a rag but needless to say, there was still yogurt everywhere. We went into the bathroom to take a bath together.

Henry has been doing very well of late with his potty-training. He has been peeing in the toilet about 2-3 times a day. But Saturday night was the first attempt at a trained poop. He sat on his orange duck-themed potty/stool and I sat on our toilet and we watched each other attempt to move our bowels. After some time had elapsed, he said, “Dad. Poop.”

I glanced in his toilet. There to see a nugget of feces not unlike what I would expect from a rabbit. And yet, I was elated. This was success, very clearly. We high-fived and then I moved him into the bath-tub for our daily shower/bath, or what I grew up calling “a shath.” Again, I turned my back on him for no less than twenty seconds. When I looked back at him he was saying, “Daddy. Big poop.”

I looked at the bottom of the bathtub, near his feet where a giant log of crap sat deterioting in the shower water. “No problem,” I said to him. “Next time sit on the toilet longer.”

While Regina was watching Bono and The Edge prance around TCF in the rain, I picked up a fecal brick with my bare hand and tossed it into the toilet. Then we washed up.

This, is fatherhood.

In other news I can’t sleep at all and have been working on my novel in longhand, which prevents me from wasting time on the Internet. I’m still working my way through Louise Erdrich’s The Bingo Palace and looking forward to Moby-Dick, which I will be studying in the fall (a James Galvin led seminar – Yes!)

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This summer has flown by. Even with the withering heat and humidity, the days seem to race by. Everything has been easy and fluid – no forced sorties down to Ioway. No grading papers. No requisite workshop letter-writing. No emails to answer from students. Just pleasant mornings with Henry. Cereal and milk and oatmeal and peanut-butter toast (pop-up). Long neighborhood walks to playgrounds or trips to the pool. Lunches in downtown Minneapolis with Regina. Weekends in Eau Claire. Things are idyllic.

Today my friend Marcus Burke called and he asked whether or not I was dreading the return to Iowa. “Dread” is a strong word. There aren’t many times in your adult life when you get the opportunity to return to school. To meet new friends, learn from great professors, and have all the access to great writing resources that we have at Iowa. And I do miss my friends and my routine down there. But I think the driving will be more difficult this year. The novelty of it (driving) will be gone, and that scares me. I never felt tired behind the wheel last year and I was lucky with the road conditions. By all rights, I should have slid into the ditch about a half dozen different trips – but I never did. I’ve never had a speeding ticket or an accident, and I feel like I’ve been fortunate with those odds too. Above all, I’m looking forward to my next workshop, and pressure to produce on a regular basis. I’m looking forward to reading my friends’ newest works.

The headline of this post is “To Be Two.” Henry celebrated his second birthday in style with pile of loot, some cupcakes, pizza, and a trip to the Children’s Museum in Saint Paul. It was a great day. And I’m pleased to report that as each day passes, he seems to be more and more of a boy. Eagerly listening to books being read, joking, teasing, curious about the world, playing, speaking more, and just generally honing who he seems to be. How miraculous! As a little family, I can’t say that we’ve ever been happier.

Presently reading Louise Erdrich’s “The Bingo Palace.” Just finished John Grisham’s “The Testament.”

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