A Peek Into Parenting?

Do you ever think about what kind of parent you will be? Would you be the spoiler, the punisher, the rule-enforcer, or the go-ask-your-father/mother type? Reynold has been home for about a month now, and with that has come this out of body experience of witnessing my (puppy) parenting skills develop.  “Jesus, I sound JUST like my father” is a common thought, and a scary one. If you ask anyone in my family, they’ll quickly tell you that I’m the crazy one; speaking up and correcting any nonsense that is presented to me in any moment, regardless of who you are.

My father was always more strict than my mother, and was the parent you feared if you knew you were up to no good. Don’t get it twisted though! Because mom would surprise you with some rage – if you pushed her too far – that would send you into an instant frenzy as you hustled to get out of dodge. When it comes to Reynold’s training and development, I’m the parent that’s constantly in his ass; making sure he isn’t eating some random rock, chewing on things that aren’t his toys or bones, trying to potty inside, and worrying about things that probably won’t happen. S is the parent who is more relaxed, and zen in all things puppy. “He’s a puppy! He’s fine” is what he tells me when I’m worrying about something as random as Reynold licking the floor, or vanishing behind the couch. “We have to stay on him so he learns… he can’t sleep with us until he’s been sleeping in the crate throughout the entirety of the night with NO accidents, for two months… DON’T FEED HIM TOO MUCH, YOU’LL MAKE HIM FAT!”

All in all we’ve been having a great time raising our first fur child together. Our parenting styles are very balanced, and in the end, we both spoil the crap out of him. I just ordered his Halloween costume… a handmade Yoda-ears hat from Etsy. Another thing I’ve started doing is making him homemade treats; eventually Reynold will be a paleo/low-carb pup, like his daddies. Yes, we’re THOSE dog parents. It’s been a fun preview into what I hope will be a similar experience when we have human children – minus the fact that human children can talk back, and I don’t do well with that, LOL. It’s only been a month, and I already feel like our lil pup is growing up way too fast. Slow down, mister! Your daddies love you.

Advertisements

Sister and a Puppy

Hello! Yes, yes, I’m still here, and I apologize. I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and that’s not anyone’s fault but my own.  The past few weeks have been filled with fun and excitement, with a touch of busy at the top of my schedule’s cake.  My sister came into town from Alaska – yes, my family is still up there in the way north – and we brought our puppy, Reynold, home! I’ve gotten a few emails, text messages, and comments wondering what the hell I’ve been up to, and where the next post for Gays in the Life was, so here goes; the update you all deserve.

Where do I begin? I’m so happy I was able to take a full week off of work to spend with my sister. The last time I saw her, and the rest of my immediate family, was last summer when S and I visited Alaska.  Tickets to, and from, Alaska are ridiculous – you might as well go to Europe or Australia with some of these prices nowadays – so I was extra pumped to have her come down to Indy for a couple weeks. The first day of her visit (a Thursday), we all just hung out around the condo, and S ended up taking the following day off. V had one single request as we passed through Bloomington, on the way down to the in-law’s and to get Reynold, and that was to stop for lunch at Mother Bear’s. Mother Bear’s one of the most tasty pizza establishments I’ve ever experienced and my Alaskan family agrees; always requesting a stop there whenever they’re in the state of Indiana. A few of my favorite people were able to meet us for that lunch, and it was a great way to break up the two-and-a-half-hour drive down to southern Indiana.

sisandpup

I remember the first time I visited S and his parents, and feeling like it was a completely different world. Sitting on the edge of a field of horses and a lake, is a charming home, complete with a huge garage, and barn for newborn horses. Indiana is flat, but pretty in its own way. The air is still, calm, and you can almost hear the bugs that are hovering nearby; until a local tears by violently down the country road on a 4-wheeler. The way I describe Anchorage, Alaska is if you squished Indianapolis together, surround the city with mountains and ocean, and you’ve got our hometown. V had seen pictures of the farm, S’s parents, the horses, and all the land, but seeing her experience everything I had, almost four years ago, was so exciting and enjoyable for me.  The parents are always so nice and would do anything for any of their kids; myself included.  V would be the first family member of mine that they’d met, because as mentioned above, plane tickets are out of control. The day was hot, clear, and gorgeous for V’s arrival to the farm. I love calling their home the farm because it’s completely different from how we grew up in Alaska as city kids.  We all had a great time together; checking out the local sites, food, and meeting some country friends.

Reynold joined the three of us on our trip back to Indianapolis at the end of the weekend. The little dude slept the whole drive back; which was awesome because we didn’t have to stop a number of times for new-puppy-potty-breaks. He’s been such an easy puppy thus far, and has made all my research and worrying seem all-for-nothing in a great way.  I could only take a week off of work, but luckily my sister was still in town for that extra week, and she continued the potty-training and getting him used to his new home. Currently, he’s about ten and a half weeks old, he’s learned how to sit and lay down on command, and we’re working on “stay.” He’s got the whole potty thing down at this point, we just have to keep an eye on him, and he’s pretty silent at night in his crate. I’m also so proud to say that there have not been any accidents while he’s in the crate, and he’s getting good at learning that the night is for sleeping, and I only have to take him out a couple times a night. Eventually we want him to sleep with us, but he WILL be crate trained before that happens. I can already tell I will be the parent that will be the enforcer (of rules) and punisher, but I’ll probably also be the one that spoils him the most.

reynold

Well that’s the update guys! From this moment forward, I will be back to my weekly postings, and plan on adding a new page to Gays in the Life! More details on that later, though. Until then, follow us on Twitter at @gaysinthelife, and follow Reynold – yes the dog has an instagram so I can freely flood feeds with puppy pics and vids – at @reynold_the_1st. Lastly, I’d like to shoutout a blogging buddy of mine for having me as a guest blogger on his page A Guy Without Boxers. Roger asked me to write a little about manscaping, and I was more than happy to share! Thank you for having me Roger!

Until next beaus and betties,

A Glimpse of Growth

Confidence reborn is a curious thing. Like pine covered in fresh snow, only a flash of my true self is visible when I turn on the bathroom light.  It’s 5:23 AM, and the fluorescent honesty is ruthless as I notice changes in the mirror. The hard work I’ve put into my body is finally starting to show. A smile.  I’ve never really enjoyed looking at myself, underwear only, in the mirror.  Is it true what the magazines say? Those who take care of themselves – mentally and physically – are more successful? At the moment, I’m having a difficult time not believing the notion.

My reflection is more than a health and fitness journey. My freshly buzzed head represents the acceptance I’ve embraced in regards to aging and my traveling hairline. My Beyoncé-blonde fade is gone, but I’m at ease; witnessing firsthand that I can rock a bald head, and harboring an image of Stanley Tucci in my thoughts. My posture is strong and upright, and shows the heights I’ve reached from my days of financial struggle – fighting to pay tuition and to obtain my degree – to present day, where I’m making leaps at a job I enjoy, and sense the opportunity to continue growing professionally.

My confidence reborn is a sure and curious thing, and where it’ll lead me is a fact unknown. I welcome its intended path, however, because life will happen despite any plans I have mapped out. Discovered and learned is the status of the energy that lives within the walls of me. Rather than be nervous and worrisome about whatever annoyance is present in the moment, I let go, do my best, and flourish when the time is right. Is this growing up? Have I entered true grown-up status? I leave you with a quote from HBO’s Sex and the City – one of my all-time-favorite shows:

“The universe may not always play fair, but at least it’s got a hell of a sense of humor.” – Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City

Minnesota Wrap-Up

A few weeks ago, S and I traveled to Minnesota to visit a great friend of mine.  Whenever I meet up with ST, no matter where we are, it’s like no time has passed. Immediately we picked up right where we left off, and the shenanigans to be had weren’t far behind.  We would party pretty hard in college, being part of Big Ten marching band (Go Hoosiers), so it was no surprise that the liquor store was our first stop on the way to his gorgeous new house.  S and I had been anticipating the trip for a while, and were excited to hang out with ST and RG more. We don’t have very many gay friends in Indianapolis – we could make more of an effort, but we stay tired, and like saving money – so being able to kickback with another young, fun and professional, gay-married couple was an instant highlight for 2015’s itinerary.

None of us were the going out types anymore. ST and I have always been partial to house parties, so we talked about going out to a gay bar, but opted for a brewery tour instead. A good beer, day-drinking and gays are always an instant win; even more so when you get to flex your queen muscles with your clique to ward of the hurt feelings of young queens in your tour group.  Long story short, one guy in the group, clearly gay, made a fool of himself with his overly animated reactions to our tour guide, and we may have laughed and poked some fun at him; all in good fun. Surly Brewing Company turned out to have pretty amazing beer, and the tour was very cool for S and I since we do some home-brewing with friends back home.

Minneapolis is beautiful. It reminded us of a more “hip” Indianapolis, but I definitely understood what ST and RG meant when they explained “Minneapolis wants to be Portland so bad.” They have a point there, but the city was cute and chic nonetheless.  Most of the trip was spent hanging out, playing with their beautiful puppy Daisy – a Rhodesian Ridgeback – drinking, and nerding out with a few rounds of Pandemic. Don’t ask me how we cleared a handle of Kettle One vodka and a handle of Jameson in four days, but we did it. We all felt the pain after doing shots, and realized we had evolved when we were all popping multi-vitamins before passing out, to combat the hangovers that would greet us the following mornings. I don’t know if we thanked them for that tip, but we SO appreciated it. August will mark ten years of ST and I knowing each other, and I’m already looking forward to another visit to Minnesota, a couple’s trip somewhere together, or hosting them in Indianapolis. It was fun boys!

My Black Thoughts

I’ve always said that I’m bad about following the news, and keeping track of things that are going on around the world and in my country. “Twitter is where I get my news!” is what I usually say when people ask me if I’d seen some story on the eleven-o-clock news the night before. I’ve never been one to sit down and watch the news on television, read a newspaper, or actively search for developments in current events, but here recently, I’m having a hard time NOT checking the news. The list of unspeakable treatment of Black Americans is growing at an alarming rate, and the deaths of Black Americans – wrongfully killed – was a large list to begin with.  As a black man I have to follow these stories. I have to keep track of stories like this for my own safety, to educate myself further on the existence of racism in America, and to gain strength for my people.

I was extremely saddened to learn about the event that took place in South Carolina, where nine black church attendees lost their lives after a young white male sat in their prayer meeting for an hour before opening fire on the peaceful group of people.  I cried reading this story in my cubicle at work, because, what did these people do to deserve this? Sadly, this is a question Black Americans have had to ask ourselves a lot recently when following news stories to learn of more black deaths in our country. Before the South Carolina tragedy, we lost the lives of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and a more black lives that didn’t make the news. All of these innocent black men lost their lives due to pure ignorance, and nothing else. In the Walter Scott’s footage – and thank goodness for mobile recording technology because now police can be held accountable for wrongful treatment of any individual they handle – we saw the white cop try to create a false crime scene; tossing a weapon near Scott’s already dead, and unstirring body.  What gives?! I don’t not know.

The people in Ferguson and Baltimore lead peaceful protests and candlelight vigils after the loss of their community members, and unfortunately some protest activities turned into violence and riots. Violence is never the answer and Deray Mckesson framed the rioting in Baltimore the best in an on-air talk with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer, excuse me, CNN – because Blitzer was just their sacrificial lamb when it came to talking to the “angry black people” in Baltimore – seemed to be more worried about Baltimore property damage than the wrongful death of Gray. Blitzer kept pushing for Mckesson to say the violence wasn’t necessary, and in response Mckesson stated “There should be peaceful protests, but I don’t have to condone it to understand it, right? The pain that people feel is real.”

A good, white friend of mine – and it’s sad I need to even tell you his race, but in the hopes of promoting good interracial relations, there you go – asked me if the strides the gay community have made in recent years can be linked to the stand the black community is taking in the face of all the recent negativity and deaths. This is was interesting to me. I’m black, gay, and from Alaska. I was always aware of race issues when I was growing up, but I never really faced any racism until I moved to Indiana. There have only been a couple non-violent instances when it comes to my experience with racism, and I am definitely more aware than I ever was when I lived in Alaska. When I think about there being a link between the success the gay community has seen in their fight for equality, and the black community’s current fight, I think there are similarities and differences.

There were major strides made in the original civil rights movement between the years of 1954 and 1968. Things were made fair(ish), everyone could move on with their lives, everyone could be somewhat comfortable; and I use that term loosely. The gay community was different in the sense that most people in this community remained in the closet and watched silently as the AIDS crisis played out across the nation. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. There were a good number of people who were out, proud, and fought for equal rights for the gay community, however, there were many who were afraid to join the fight, and for good reasons. The gay movement’s fight was slow, steady, and has finally reached a point where people can have open conversations regarding gay-straight relations across many platforms and topics.  We, as a nation, are JUST now attempting to have an open – and ongoing – dialogue on the topic of black and white relations; any color and white relations, really.  Show’s like ABC’s Black-ish do an incredible job illustrating everyday situations between black, white, and other races in today’s society.

It’s extremely easy to be ignorant and afraid of the unfamiliar. Being gay has always been a huge stigma in the traditional Black American family, and I know this because it took my own father eight years to say, out loud, that he had a problem with me being gay. My dad met my husband last summer when we visited Alaska, and things went really well, and quite honestly, it shocked the hell out of me. I have an uncle who is gay, and I’m still not one-hundred percent sure that side of the family has dealt with it openly. When I think back on S meeting my dad, I have to wonder if Black Americans can draw some inspiration from the gay community, and start sparking smart, honest, and real conversations with people of all colors.

Equality is a work in progress, and I feel that it’s something that will always be under construction, but it is with communication that we, Black Americans, can invite others into our world, and grow together.  The presence of video technology, the internet, and the ability to share what’s going on in any given area of the country – sharing events like the McKinney pool party incident – should be used as tools for learning for those who respond inappropriately to a situation. The journey through race relations has never been easy, and won’t get any easier, but the fact that people are talking about these problems is a great start. Not all black people hate white people. Not all black people hate gay people. Not all (insert community, race, gender, etc) hate (insert community, race, gender, etc). So what now? Let’s give this an honest try, and fix this.

You Take Out the Trash, and I’ll Do the Dishes.

“Who’s the girl in the relationship?” is a popular inquiry among curious heterosexuals I’ve met in the past. Like a gust of wind, the gender roles within my marriage lean towards societal normativity, but depending on the day will quickly whip in another direction. Society has programmed most of us to think that men and women have specific roles when it comes to households, jobs, and various other avenues of life. I always have to laugh when the questioning of roles within my relationship comes up in conversation, because you’d think that here in the year 2015, that there would be a better sense of freedom within any relationship. Relationships and marriage are both partnerships, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who did what chores. Views of how a relationship should work will vary, and not everyone will agree. I believe this disagreement is important because not only does it encourage learning, it promotes individual growth that could can potentially be shared with other relationships and marriages.

I’ve always joked that – stereotypically speaking – I’m the woman within my marriage. Pinterest is one of my most used apps on my iPhone, and I’ve known how to crochet since I was twelve. I’ve never liked getting dirty, I enjoy a good outfit, and I absolutely love a good bag. My mouth waters over a good-looking messenger or weekender-styled bag, and sports have never been my thing ever since I could remember. I only learned how football truly worked when I joined marching band at Indiana University – Did I mention I played football one year in high school? Yep, now read back those last couple sentences, and collect that laugh.  Over half of my work experience was spent in retail stores, so I’m cursed with the ability to organize any closet, and I actually enjoy it. Every outfit and accessory has a place, and when things get cluttered my mind nearly explodes; there’s instant stress when I come across clutter in my home. When we moved into our condo, I told my husband not to touch anything that was going to a closet. All the traits I’ve mentioned above – things I love about myself – would typically be matched with the gender labeled “female.”

My husband does not mind getting dirty, and this is a result of growing up on a horse farm.  He had real chores: cleaning horse stalls, moving haystacks, breaking horses – the act of socializing a horse to the point of being able to ride it – and various other farm chores that would make most city kids cry. I believe my husband to be the most handsome man in the world, but his wardrobe can be pretty plain – nothing against the plain and simple types.  It’s easy and refreshing most of the time. He’s a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, and I love any opportunity to play dress-up with him before going out with friends, or heading out to a dinner. I watched him change the oil on his own car some months back. I ended up retreating to the house, and probably ended up playing on Pinterest, but returned to the garage to find quite the mess. Outside of the dirt and simple manliness that makes up my husband, is his love for Indiana basketball. He can talk college basketball like no one I’ve ever heard before, and gets completely into the games. He’s most emotional during an IU basketball game, and when players from the team make the news because of some coach drama, or team scandal.

While most of these gender role stereotypes are entertaining and fun to identify within any relationship, they’re not the norm anymore.  Sure, back in the day women had their roles, and men had theirs, but in today’s world, you can identify ALL gender roles within a single gay relationship. So what does this say about gender roles in general? Like sexuality, these roles within a relationship are fluid and ever-changing. One person doesn’t have to do one specific chore, or act a certain way because of their sex. For S and I, all that matters is that our condo – and life – isn’t burning down. I imagine this to be a similar and common thought when it comes to other relationships and marriages across the globe. There are plenty of straight, uber-masculine men that can sew, cook, and clean, and a great deal of women who enjoy getting their hands dirty, and who could teach any man a thing or two inside a garage. The traditional views of the inner-workings of a relationship are slowly fading, and my hope is that by acknowledging the fluidity of gender roles – across any type of relationship – we can stop answering a question like “So, who’s the girl in the relationship?”

The Last Slice

“NO! You have to save that piece to eat on your first anniversary!” M’s voice filled our kitchen with both protest and excitement. The gluten-free, red-velvet, cream-cheese-frosted cake she had made for our wedding day was beyond delicious, and I wanted nothing more than to take another bite out of the lonely slice of its remains. This Saturday is my husband and I’s first marriage anniversary, and that last piece of delicious memorabilia – that’s been hiding under alcohol and frozen meat – has survived the year and would meet its end come May 16th.  I wasn’t familiar with the cake tradition at all until M shared it with us that day in our kitchen, and the pending arrival of our first anniversary has me wondering if holding on to that one, last piece of cake means something. Out of sight out of mind is the notion that comes to mind almost immediately. “The first year of marriage is the hardest” is what every tells you when you tie the knot, and much like our frozen slice of wedding cake, married life blinked right by us in a time-warped state of reality. Has it really already been a year? I guess this slice of cake will be even better than tasting it for the first time, because it’s serving as some kind of reward for getting through our first year as husbands. Our relationship has always been smooth sailing; crossing choppy waters here and there, but never truly rocking the boat. As I think about eating this cake, exactly a year from when I tried to finish it off, a dormant excitement is awakened. I haven’t taken the time at all to note, or keep track of anything we’ve done during our first year of marriage! We did move from our one-bedroom apartment to a lofted condo, AND we are expecting our first fur child – a rat terrier puppy we plan to name Reynold, and who’s a direct descendant of S’s family dog. This first year of marriage has been out of sight and out of mind. It was a good year, and eating this cake will give us a great excuse to reflect and really honor our first year of marriage. I want to thank M for sharing this tradition with the both us, because come this Saturday finishing the cake we started a year ago will mean so much to both my husband, and myself.

Every Man for Himself

I’m cheating on my husband with Matthew McConaughey. Can you believe it? I don’t really go for lighter-haired men, but in this case I can most certainly make an exception.  My husband and I started HBO’s True Detective several months back – last summer, I believe – and we just kind of fell out of the show after a few episodes. There was nothing bad about the show, but our problem was having too many shows to keep track of, so True Detective was dropped from our active queue.  S has a habit of starting a show, and not wanting to finish it – which is more than fair because, sometimes you just can’t get into a show – and Game of Thrones was a casualty after I’d got him to watch the first three seasons. “You can’t just stop the series after the red wedding!” What was this man thinking?

Last week I was listening to a new favorite podcast of mine – Last Name Basis, hosted by married couple Patrick and Franchesca – and they were discussing what shows they watched together, and which shows they watch without each other. Most of the time they watch the same shows, but because of work schedules, traveling for work, and other life factors, they can’t always watch them together. Depending on which show it was, they would either wait, or go ahead and watch without the other. There was a moment where Patrick faked having finished Netflix series, House of Cards, and Franchesca – taking the bait – almost went into a how-dare-you type of rage. I thought this was absolutely hilarious, and that moment popped back into my head today, at work, as I was restarting True Detective’s first season. “There’s no way he will ever find out…”

I realize that by sharing this topic with the blogosphere that I may, in fact, tell on myself if S decides to read my recent entries. I will laugh so hard if he brings up the fact that I restarted the show without him – because then I’d know he’s reading Gays in the Life. Whenever I ask if he’d like to watch something we haven’t paid attention to in a while, and he answers “no, not yet…” I have to follow up with the question “…am I going to have to watch this one without you, too?” He’ll usually answer “no, don’t!’ and then months go by with no attempts made to watch the program. I couldn’t help myself this time. The trailer for season two of True Detective is completely mesmeric, they’re making amazing additions to the cast – Vince Vaugh, Rachael McAdams, and Colin Farrell – and my interest is fully engaged, once again. Come June 21st, I will be present and ready for a new episode.

Playing with Fire

A handful of months back, I asked my husband to help me with one of my entries for Gays in the Life. I had the crazy idea to write a blog entry where we shared our pet peeves, and talked openly about the things that secretly drive us crazy when it comes to one another. He let out an incredulous laugh, and then proceeded to ask “is that a good idea?” I believed deep down that it was a good idea, but perhaps my inner artist was feeling a little too hungry. Writing a blog entry like this with my husband could offer a fun, real, and honest peek into our marriage and everyday life, but I wondered if my ambitious spirit was approaching an edge that we – because I’d have to consider his feelings, along with mine – weren’t quite ready to dance upon. Would I be taking a bite out of something we couldn’t quite chew? Issues we couldn’t quite swallow?

Almost all of my friends were in and out of relationships before I met my husband. Having a front row seat to every argument, scolding, and various other quibbles helped me realized that, depending on the couple, the smallest annoyance could cause a relationship to crumble, crash, and burn. Remembering those couples and scrolling through memories of their successful, or failed, relationships ignited my current thoughts on whether or not our relationship – our fresh marriage – could survive knowing each other’s hidden pet peeves. Obviously I would say my marriage could survive, but we have to keep a realistic view in regards to our relationships with ourselves – inside the marriage – and as one unit; because every moment isn’t peaches and cream. At this point, we know what sets each other off, but these triggers were discovered as our relationship developed over the years.

Knowing if, and when, the truth is too much, is another factor that should be considered. Initially when I was playing with the idea of doing this joint piece with my husband, the spirit was light and fun, with no thoughts of potential darkness in mind.  Couples can be one hundred percent open, and still have things they keep to themselves. S’s questioning whether or not the unborn blog entry was a good idea bred life to this notion, and invited a small amount of darkness and negativity into my well-intended burst of creativity. Surely we, of all couples, could survive knowing what makes the other tick like a time-bomb, right? The answer to that question would depend on what each trigger was, and the only way to obtain the answer, is to actually move forward with my plan – for the joint blog entry – and discuss them. It’s a devilishly hilarious thing, and the answer remains unknown.

Bored.

Tuesday nights he has class. Any other night, he gets home about an hour after I do, and the usual weeknight routine of hanging out and decompressing on the couch together commences. Best Coast plays in the background as I sit here at the kitchen table; trying my best to think of something to do, or decide which band I should listen to next on Tidal. Boredom hits me pretty hard every once in a while, and most of the time will guide me in a very unproductive and lazy direction. This was almost one of those instances, but some nagging energy from within managed to place my ass in this chair in front of this computer screen.

“What to do, what to do?” Tonight was the first night I went walking, solo, on the trail near our condo. The weather was too charming for me not to get an extra workout in, and despite violent winds, I enjoyed my hour stroll around Eagle Creek. “Now what?” I’m glad we canceled our cable, because even the streaming services were failing me, and YouTube was not piquing my interest in the slightest. “I guess I’ll shower.” I showered because I was bored, and continued to avoid cleaning the refrigerator; something I’ve been meaning to do for the past few weeks. The intensity of my walk was no more than that of walking a dog, so a shower most definitely was not a need, but it was something to do. “I wish he were home… then at least he could be in charge of picking what show we watch… or we could play Mario Kart… Do I want to play Mario Kart?

Significant others, boyfriends, or girlfriends make the time pass easier during these bored moments. I can’t stand being bored and alone, because I can never decide what I want to do.  “What do you want to do?” is a common response to him asking me “What do you want to do?” At least if he were here, being lame and bored with me, I’d have someone to interact with while scrolling through Netflix listings. No activity, show, or chore sounds remotely appealing at the moment, so sitting here listening to music and attempting to write something seems to be the best way to battle boredom’s persistent energy. I have one hour or so until S walks through the door. Let’s see if I can finish this post by then.