Bone Dry

 We joined some friends today at Bicentennial Park to experience water jetting up your nose in the hot, summer haze. As you can see, it’s a beautiful day for splashing around, and my six-year-old made the most of it, but the same can’t be said of my son.

He’s three (which I invoke as context, not an excuse) and upon arrival began to whine. I suppose the combination of rushing water and rushing children proved overwhelming, because he refused not only putting on his swimsuit but approaching the water at all despite multiple coercions.

I love my son (which I submit not to justify but to remind myself) and want him to wring every drop he can out of this swimsuit called life, but he can’t do that if he won’t even put the damn thing on.

Now, in deciding not to do the activity for which I brought him, did he instead do something lame like pull out his phone to blog?

No, he had a great time running around bone dry, exploring the park’s other features such as the perimeter of this tree:

 I can blame the kid for wasting the ten bucks I spent to park downtown, but I’m not going to. You see, our time this morning wasn’t wasted. We got outside on a beautiful day, vitamin D was manufactured, sweat moistened out brows, and I got to spend some one-on-one time with my boy. He kept throwing his arms around me from behind, choking me with love, and the only times he frayed my nerves was when I tried to force my agenda on him, so really the only unpleasantness was my doing.

Today Asher taught me to let people be, allowing them to exist as who they are, not what I want them to be. Perhaps I’ll grant the same grace to myself some day.

Discontent

It’s my son’s birthday. He turns three today, and we planned his party for tonight, but there is discontent in me. I read a few pages then toss my book down. I scratch and rub at my body to escape its confines. This waiting is bullshit. I struggle to focus. The poker tournament televised over my shoulder pricks at my ear with exciting commentary, choice phrases, and greed, but I sit six hours from home concerned only with our return. Car troubles forced delay as dealers close on Sundays, so I checked my family into a nearby hotel for the night.

I am not the only one waiting to hear of conveyance. My sister and mother call one after the other to learn of our state, but I have no news, so they express love and concern via voicemail. Laura texts me wondering whether or not to check out, but I have no news and tell her to “hold tight.”

After three-and-a-half hours, we know what ails my Prius: several things. My rear brake pads wear thin, the fuel system runs sub-optimally, a component worth one-sixth of what I paid for the car needs replaced, there’s too much oil in the engine, and the inverter went bad. That damn inverter — why it turned against me I’ll never know, but the culprit triggered a red exclamation triangle of death, forced the air conditioner to kick out, caused the car to pull and jerk, and would have stranded us in the mountains if given the chance. Misinterpreting its message, I overfilled the car with $15 worth of oil, so the mechanic will drain off the three quarts I added and take out the troubled inverter.

With any luck, we’ll make it out of here for less than $500 for which I’m thankful, considering what we could have paid. The Prius’ other issues? We can resolve those after we’re back in Ohio.

Signing off from North Carolina, sharkbite-free, Jake Lees.