Monthly Archives: January 2011

Cross My Boys, Cross Me

from XXX
to Ken Wilan
date Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 9:11 AM
subject Playdate

Hi Ken. Thanks for the invitation. However, XXX has a sleepover on the 12th. Let’s find a different date.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

Adam and Jack are at a new school so I am doing some social engineering, trying to get them more integrated into the class. The teacher is helping me and recommended I hook up with the father of one of the boys in the class. I gamely introduced myself to the dad and sent him an email follow up proposing a playdate. Well, 13 fucking days later, I hear back from him. 13 days. Well, fuck you, too, Mr. Dad.

He apologized, saying the email had gotten lost in his in-box. OK, Mr. Powerful-in-demand business-guy.

He adds to this lapse by explaining that his little Special Boy already has plans for that date, and a sleep-over at that. And he didn’t even suggest an alternative date. That was left to me, the designated supplicant and suitor.

This brought out a protective emotion in me that I had always associated with Jessica engineering playdates for the guys and arranging enriching after-school activities. Now I felt it, too. It wasn’t just a date being rejected, it was my boys. My perfect lovely boys.

Well, now I’m pissed. Cross my boys, cross me.

Family Addition

Introducing Basel (orange) and Roxanne (black and white). We got the kittens from a family outside of Zurich.

A rare moment of inaction: Basel and Roxanne.

Pink Eye, or A Star is Born

Inevitably, I caught Jack’s conjunctivitis. Jack is on the road to recovery, and I am on the road to squinting, itchy, swollen, crusty, watery pain. And my eye hurts, too.

On the tram ride to school with the guys, people looked at me and did a double-take. This was especially noticeable because in Switzerland nobody looks at anybody. The eye was freaking them out.

At first it was annoying. I felt like a pariah. Walking off the tram and to the school, double looks continued and I became empowered as Somebody Different. Screw them if they couldn’t deal with it. But after dropping the boys off and walking back to the tram, I tried something different. I was a star. The looks were because they thought they recognized me. I gave people a little nod and smile, letting them bask in my star glow.

But waiting for the tram, all the stardom became a little much. All I was doing was waiting for a tram, but how could I be myself with all these people around? I was always on. To alleviate the pressure, I got lost in my thoughts, which probably made me look even star cooler — a bit aloof and cerebral.

I should have about a day of stardom left. I’m seeing the doctor later and will probably start antibiotics. In the meantime, try not to stare. And call my agent if you want to consider me for your next project. My type? I’m a John Malkovich meets Jeff Goldblum with a little bit of Tom Hanks thrown in.

My Headshot

Investors Welcome

We saw a woman riding a recumbent trike (reclining bike with three wheels) on the street today, and Adam said “Cool, she can sleep and have her legs still ride the bike.”

Which brings me to today’s Big Idea: For people with restless leg syndrome, stop medicating in an attempt to end leg movement. Instead, let those legs move and harness them to an exercise bike wheel. Lose weight while you sleep. No meds, better sleep and outstanding exercise. Patent pending.

Embracing the Moment

A false spring descended upon Basel, the temperature in mid winter hovering at 50 degrees. The boys and I were walking back from our favorite bakery near the train station, the boys picking out their chocolate treat as part of my incentive program for not bitching too much about having to learn German (they are at a new school which is bilingual: three days English, two days German).

We also visited the pet store to admire the rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, tropical fish, albino snake, python (which, disturbingly, the boys thought was cute), and scaly lizards which frustratingly did not fear my predator stares through the glass.

Walking across the bridge that shoots over a river and the zoo, the sky turned a wondrous blueish-purple, the air was soft, and with my beautiful boys and their sack of chocolates, on our way home to Jessica, all was right with the world.

Twilight. Crane in background is at zoo to build the new monkey house. Our friends live in the apartments at right.

Pothole Begone

We were walking across the street and saw something we had never seen in Switzerland: A pothole. By Boston standards, it was more a divot than anything else, but technically, it was a pothole. The whole family oohed and ahhed at the novelty of it.

The next day, we were crossing the same street and Adam pointed out: “Daddy, the pothole is gone!”

The Swiss seem to monitor every aspect of their road system. An alarm must have gone off in central headquarters, triggered by in-pavement sensors, overhead video, street-side thermal imaging and satellite topographical analysis. And the PHERT (Pot Hole Emergency Response Team) must have been immediately dispatched.

For contrast, here is a quote from a Boston Globe article about potholes in and around New England: “My advice to people is, if you see a bunch of hubcaps sitting by the side of the road, slow down and be really careful,” said Chris Oxner, mechanical quality assurance coordinator at Sullivan Tire.

In Boston, it is taken for granted that potholes are inevitable. Talk doesn’t focus on how they should be fixed faster, but rather how to live with them. In fact, on the residential streets in Brookline, people rationalize the potholes’ existence as positive in that they act as speed bumps to make the neighborhood safer.

Come on, Boston, wake up and smell the new pavement. Demand your own B(oston)PHERT!

Beauty in the Unhole

Thought of the Day

Something to ponder, from Adam and Jack:

Slugs don’t pray (their brains are too small).

Electrocuting My Physical Therapist

I was stretching my knee and did something Very Bad Indeed. Not Horrendously Bad, but not good. It’s my ACL knee, and it’s still healing and sensitive. So when I next went to the physical therapist, I mentioned the pain.

My current PT is in India for a month lecturing, and so I had his colleague, a young, perky woman. She speaks German, French and decent English. She took a look at my knee, told me it was swollen, and then brought over an exciting looking wooden box filled with metal, electrical wires and rubber gloves. Sweet things were going to happen.

She had me lie on the table and handed me a metal rod, which I took to be some grounding device. She then connected a wire to her foot, put on the rubber gloves and started massaging my knee. A pleasant vibration emitted from her hands. She explained that the electricity went from the large battery in the box to the gloves. She also told me that we couldn’t touch, as this would give her a shock.

“Has it ever happened?”

“Once.” She kicked her leg back and bounced her body into the air with a smile.

Ahh, I said. I put my head onto the table and relaxed into the massage.

I got so relaxed that I sat up and without thinking brought my hand to my knee to show her the area that was in the most pain. Well, my hand must have grazed her exposed arm. Her entire body launched backward and her left leg kicked back in a violent reverse Rockettes motion. No smile on her face this time.

I quickly realized I had electrocuted my substitute physical therapist.

I apologized profusely and after she stopped jiggling, she told me “no problem.” I wonder, though, if I will ever again see that magic box of metal cylinders, wire, and rubber.