Screenshot from HBO's magnificent "Band of Brothers."

Or rather, Tuesday, since that’s when I’m writing this. Three minutes to midnight.

Up in the morning. My wife’s working this week, so it’s me & Gnat, who doesn’t like Mommy to be gone. A year ago it was see ya later; now she’s used to Mommy being home, and we get little sulky episodes in the morning. She shut her door. “I want to be alone,” she said. I tried to tempt her downstairs with some cinnamon bread. “No.” Even though she loves the stuff: no. So I toasted a slice, put it on a napkin, went upstairs, and slid it under the door. Then withdrew it.


“Come on out, honey, and you’ll get the bread.”

“With honey?”

“Uh - no, that’s a term of endear - nevermind. Come on -”

“I want honey.”

“We don’t have any honey.”

“I want to be alone.


I didn’t have all day to wait her out; Tuesday is the dreaded FOUR COLUMN DAY. Have to finish the Newhouse column in the morning, polish the Thursday column in the afternoon while she’s at preschool, write the Sunday column at night and then, if there is any life left in my fingers, write the Bleat. So I went downstairs and started work on Newhouse. Pecked away for the next hour and a half. (She came down, eventually, and requested “Jojo’s Circus” - it’s a new Disney channel show that features claymation clowns. I repeat: CLAYMATION CLOWNS! Talk about your mixed blessing.) According to the all-most-holy-schedule, I should finish the column by eleven thirty, at which point we have lunch and get ready for school. Somehow I screwed up. Somehow I lost track of what version I was saving, and where I saved it, and for reasons I still do not quite grasp I lost half an hour’s worth of tweaking. So I frantically rejiggered the thing while she ate Easy Mac, then fired it to the DC office, got her dressed for school,, and bundled her into the car.

“We can’t be late,” I said.


“Because you can’t be late for school,” I said, deeply implanting my own neuroses, or guaranteeing she will reject them; time will tell. “The teacher will say ‘oh my, we can’t be late for school every day, can we?’”


“Because . . .” I’m trying to get her shoe on. It won’t go on. Go on, shoe. “Because then the principle was ask ‘well, who was late for school?’” I’ve never mentioned the concept of the principle before, but she got it right away:

“Will I go to jail?”

“Heavens no, honey. There’s no school jail!” Big grins and tickles and all is forgotten. I hope. Note to self: shut up.

Back home. Polish & relax a little. Pick her up at 2:30; off to the grocery store. En route she announces that she wants the big grocery store, with the carts that looks like trucks. Also, she has to pee. I do a logistical scan - we have a better shot of free & clear bathroom time at the computer store a few blocks away from the grocery store, so that’s where we go. She heads right for the Apple section.

“There aren’t any computers for kids,” she says. Deep disappointment. “There aren’t any games.”

Welcome to life as a Mac user, I think. But that’s not entirely true. One of the joys of the new G5 has been playing last year’s games with all the settings pushed to the wall. Say, here’s "NOLF II" - is this worth playing? I look at the box. There are mimes. A first-person shooter that includes mimes. How wonderfully satisfying. But still: mimes. Eh. We do our business, then head out; she stops at the cellphone section and tries every unit. These are great phones, dad. Question: how did she know they were telephones? They don’t look like any telephone she uses. Perhaps it’s the keypad. Perhaps it’s some odd phone-centric vibe the display area gives off. Perhaps aliens are overhead in vast undetectable ships imprinting our fetuses with DNA-level familiarity with telecommunications devices for reasons we can only guess. I don’t know. Grocery store, now, please. She rides in the truck cart for a few minutes, then clambers out and runs around - grabs a box of Oreo ice cream cones and runs into the produce section screaming with delight. Annoying? Slightly. But every alternative is empty and barren; really, there’s nothing I’d rather do than chase her around the store.

Home. She watches a 1934 Mickey Mouse cartoon downstairs (hey: they’re all contemporaneous to kids. Seventy-year-old Mickey, JoJo’s circus. It’s all good) while I make supper. Wife comes home; huzzah; burritos, walk to the park, home to play with Jasper and his new stuffed hedgehog toy. Then work.

The end is near. When I’m done with this I’ll go downstairs, transfer the Sunday column to the office laptop, which is different than my personal laptop; I’ll log on to the ancient Wintext program, edit two columns, then come upstairs and upload this around two. No fun for me! I watched "Carnivale" last night - oy. (Does anyone on this show bathe? Don't care; love it.) Watched the premier of season two of “The Office” the night before. (Excruciating.) I have no rewards awaiting me except the last half-hour of four TiVo’d movies I watched only because there was nothing else on, and I needed to bask in TV’s lobotomizing glow. Tonight: the thrilling conclusion of "The Three Amigos!"

Yes, this has been nothing but blather stem to stern, but it’s better than nothing.

Right? (Hands laced together, eyes pleading.) Right?

12:23 AM. Back to work.

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