I mean a window seat, above the Gulf of Mexico, en route to Playa del Carmen. I’ve just read two chapters of “The Sun Also Rises,” followed the mighty Mississippi River to its delta, and am reasonably sure to have spied a colony of Men O War drifting in the Gulf.
So, excuse me if I’m a bit full of it.
You’ll get a different version of Go Ask Daddy than had I written this from the reasonably comfortable Charlotte Douglas Airport, eating my $4 Burger King breakfast sandwich, unable to connect with airport Wi-Fi (100% operator error).
So, I have a job again. No more leisurely mornings playing disc golf or schlepping around the running track at the park. No more resumes cluttering up my desktop. No more avoidance of updates on my LinkedIn profile.
No more DSS, no more indeed.com, no more thought to whether I could work overnight shredding paper for eight hours (I decided that I could.)
I’m not exactly rolling in dough, unless you count the cookie variety. I had to step back out of the middle class when I traded my benefits check for a bonafide paycheck, but that’s the American dream, right?
I’m good with it, even though my disposable income now goes to pay past-due bills, and my fun money is what I call the running total it takes to gas up my car.
An entire Andrew Jackson, to spend frivolously on funnel cakes, roasted corn and impossible-to-win fair games. (We’ll stay away from the livestock and friend Twinkies, I think.) So many of our fair trips have been spent watching perfectly happy middle-class citizens riding rides and eating fair food, and for the love of Paula Deen, I intend to be one too. And not just nose-shop.
2. Register for a 5K, and bring any kid of mine who wants to come run it with me
If you’re going to spend an Andrew Jackson-plus on a T-shirt, it’s best if it’s one you earn by running 3.1 miles. (Why don’t they make 3.1-mile car magnets?)
I’m nearly finished with the Couch-to-5K plan, and the girls who’ve run figure-eights around me at the track would love to slow their roll with dad for 35 minutes on race day, wouldn’t they? For a T-shirt and snacks, I guarantee they would.
3. Buy some worms and go fishing with Grace
The Child of Impossible Kinetic Motion slows to a crawl when there’s a rod and reel in her hand. It’s like a marvel of science to see Grace cast, wait, reel in, think, cast, wait … she’s playing this patient game with her friends with gills, and winning. It’s definitely worth the cost of a bowl of night crawlers to spend an afternoon re-baiting her hook and losing track of the fish she catches and releases.
4. Take Marie to All You Can Eat Crab Legs Night
It’s cool when her rich friends take her out, and treat her to fancy things like regular movie tickets and crab legs. It’s almost as cool when Obama’s generous EBT plan allows you to buy some on sale and make them on your own. But I feel funny buying such an extravagance as a poor man, so I will hope for the day we can hit Red Lobster together and eat like cash-paying royalty.
5. Buy some food and bring it straight to Loaves and Fishes
I’ll write about my visit to a food pantry for the first time. Overwhelming. The lesson I learned is that I’d been unable to provide for a family of our size for years, and didn’t know it. Grace even went with me the last time, and asked, “where does all this food come from?” I told her it came from generous people who want to make sure others have enough too. Like we used to be.
And hope to be again.
Even when things are more comfortable, when I can work hard and take on more projects and contribute the way I hope to at my new job, I’ll want there to be balance.