Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's my turn to travel

Note Knuffle Bunny over Dear Alex's shoulder
-a lilscreamie file photo

Knuffle Bunny buys a computer from MacEnthusiast on Pico Blvd.
It was a tough call.

Knuffle Bunny sees the sunset from Santa Monica

I've been away from Dear Alex and Beautiful Wife for the last few days, on a business trip in L.A. to do some of that creative director thing for a TV spot. It's been a long strange trip so far with incidents and accidents that left me wondering how it would all turn out. It started on an awful Sunday afternoon flight to LA - I'm wedged in the middle seat in the far-back of the plane - tiny seat, passengers on either side. Early in the flight there was a bit of turbulence, and one of my seat-mates accidentally spilled a cup of water on the keyboard of my computer. Moments later, the screen went black.

I spent the next day visiting the Apple store in Beverly Hills, and was floored by the damage done and what it would take to get up and running again - lots of money and a lot more time than I would actually be here. It turned out to be faster and cheaper to simply buy a new laptop, copy over my old hard drive, and just get on with it. 
After the drama and delay, it was a relief to get back to work and email. Even with the business of work and the drama, it's been surprising just how much I miss Dear Alex and Beautiful Wife, and how frequently they come up in the course of my days.

It's occurred to me just how important this thin connection by technology is - and how good even a little of seeing the kid can make me feel. It's been a long few days, made easier by that connection and the little bit of home that Dear Alex put in my bag just before I left - Knuffle Bunny, one of the many in her ever-expanding collection. I found Knuffle as I was unpacking and it made me cry. It's funny how you take the daily connection and simple presence for granted, and I've realized that this has been the longest continuous stretch that I've been away from Beautiful Wife and Dear Alex for three years. I've taken to taking pictures of Knuffle Bunny at various places in my travels here in California, to show my girl and share my stories with her when I return. It's a little thing, but it makes me smile.

One thing that I've noticed is that as Freelance Dad, I've had the joy of nearly constant presence with Dear Alex, and I sort of take it for granted just how special that is, but it robs you of the perspective of time and distance that makes you fully appreciate just how fast they grow. We had an almost-coherent conversation at 5:30 this morning, and it struck me that she somehow got smarter over the past few days - "daddy are you in california? I'm wearing corduroys just like mommy. I love you. Mmmmmwah!" (sound of a kiss)
I've been enjoying the work and this time among adults, but I'll be more than happy to get on the plane tonight and fly east through the night and into the dawn to rejoin my life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Dingo ate my baby

Last known photo of Baby Kate - Dear Alex was just dumping her on the hood of the car...

Well, actually it was more like a golden retriever ate Dear Alex's baby. It was one of those weird things, that simply confound and amaze. Dear Alex and daddy are playing outside on this first very-fall-like day in the country, with the girl going in and out of the house, each time taking a toy out, then back to be replaced by another toy. this went on for a while, as anything with Dear Alex can these days as she tests and tries her abilities and my patience with her new skills and confidence. We'd been at this game for a while when she brought out Baby Kate, a non-assuming little blonde-haired baby doll, that Dear Alex has no particular attachment to, other than the occasional ministration and imitation of mommy. While we were out Dear Alex put the doll on the hood of the car so that she could go for a ride - at that moment we were surprised by the rush and tumble of a friendly golden retriever that came seemingly out of nowhere through the trees at the edge of the property, all wagging tail and eager- for-play affection. Dear Alex was delighted, though I was just a little bit alarmed by the dog's sudden appearance, so I stepped forward to see the dog turn from Dear Alex and in in a fraction of a second take the doll in it's mouth and run. Just like that it was over - the dog bounding away through the woods with the doll in it's jaws and Dear Alex standing silently with a look on her face that said something like "what the hell just happened?" There weren't any tears, Dear Alex simply said with something like quiet amazement "the doggie took Baby Kate away". That was it. I told her to go inside RIGHT NOW! and find mommy and tell her what happened, so that I could take off in pursuit - of course, by that time, the dog was long gone. Once Dear Alex was safely inside, I went off in luke-warm pursuit, following the path that the dog had taken. After walking through a few lakefront properties, I came to a home with a bit of commotion, and found the owner of the dog with leash in hand desperately trying to corral the wayward animal. She said she'd seen the dog run by with something pink in it's mouth, and had thought that that meant trouble... well, yeah. I'm not really sure what to make of things at this point, as she's no more responsible for the wayward dog's behavior that I am for my own dear girl's occasional missteps.
If I were I more tightly-wound New-York-City parent, there would have been police and counseling and animal control involved, but as it is, there's really no harm done. The woman promised to try to search the dog's usual hiding places, would be more than happy to replace the doll, etc... I left it at "let me know if the doll turns up. We're a couple of houses down the lake." We'll be sending out search parties tomorrow morning, and with any luck, we'll find Baby Kate. I am, of course, wondering how Dear Alex will process this event, but for now and for me, It's just another weird and slightly scary episode in my learning to be daddy.