Hands

Tonight was my bi-weekly dinner with Lil’B.  When I picked him up, he was bundled up in more layers than I ever remember seeing him in; with a fleece hoodie over his shirt, a thick puffy vest over that and a knit cap on his head, he looked like a longshoremen on his way to the docks.  I was informed he had been sick and was still getting over it. He told me he didn’t go to school on Thursday and Friday while he was sick and I asked him what he did during that time.  He, of course said, “I don’t know.”  I asked him if he played video games and he said no. Then he told me that he watched movies.

I said, “That’s a good way to pass the time while you’re sick.  What did you watch?”

“On Thursday I watched Elmo in Grouchland,” he told me, ” and on Friday, I watched Rio.”  The boy has watched Rio a thousand times so I didn’t spend any energy on that, but I was amused because he watched Elmo.

I told him, “That sounds like fun! I really like Elmo.”

“Me too.”

We went to this little restaurant in Alameda, called The Red Onion (It claims to be “The Original The Red Onion”), which sadly didn’t turn out very well.  The food wasn’t too bad, but the service, location, service, ambiance, service, and prices… and service, were not great.  Plus they don’t take credit cards which I didn’t know until we were already seated and looking at the menu.  They take cash or ATM (with a $.75 service charge.)  That’s just ridiculous.  And Shifty.  Anyway, we had a lot of downtime while we were waiting for anyone to notice that we were in need of some sort of service or other.  (It happened multiple times.)

There was a plasma screen TV on the wall which was showing Space Jam and he was entranced.  This is the reason I enjoy hanging out with Lil’B.  I like kids movies and with him, I get to watch them.

Lil’B had spaghetti which, for a while, he was eating one noodle at a time, getting the end in his mouth and then slurping in Lady and the Tramp style.  I watched him do this a couple of times and chuckled.  I’m pretty sure that, as an adult influence, I was supposed to tell him to stop and eat the spaghetti properly, but, you know, I fail at adult influence…  At least I do when the kid is being funny.  The thing is though, as I watched him slurp the noodles, I also noticed that they were hitting the front of his hoodie.  There wasn’t nearly enough sauce on the noodles for my taste and the noodles were fairly clean, but I spoke up anyway, telling him that he was going to get his shirt dirty.

He put his fork down, picked up a napkin and looked down at his shirt front.  He couldn’t see any sauce, so he pulled the front of the vest apart more so he could get a better look.  Then he pulled the front of the hoodie, where the zipper was, apart so he could look at the metal.

And that’s when I saw it.  Something I hadn’t watched for.  Something I hadn’t anticipated, though, I should have because it was inevitable.  This little boy, who watched Elmo and Rio while he was sick and was so engrossed in Space Jam while we ate…  This little kid who still doesn’t ask for what he wants and just goes with the flow…  The spritely young thing that doesn’t even stand as tall as my chest…  Has grown up hands.  I don’t know when I last really paid attention to his hands, but I know they were tiny little things with bad hang nails and gnawed, ragged edges; scrawny, clumsy, short little things.  And now, his fingers are long and slender, controlled and strong. His hands are grown up hands and it seems like it happened over night.  It’s just one more sign that his “little boy” days are numbered and before long he’ll be a young man.  I can’t believe it!

The End of The World As We Know It

I’m continuing this habit of going to the gym during the workday in order to make sure it happens.  So far so good, but on my way back to the office today something unexpected happened.

As I walked up the tree-lined sidewalk across from the park next to my building a strong gust of wind blew down the street.  The gust of wind is not particularly unusual.  The far end of Harrison Street begins by emerging from an underwater tunnel from Alameda, serving as the primary means of reaching downtown Oakland from the far side of an estuary.  In other words, the street begins at the edge of a body of water.  Alameda is a relatively small island, and beyond it is the San Francisco Bay.

Incidentally, the beach on which I spent my afternoon yesterday, flying kites with Lil’B and, as it turns out, getting a rather unusually shaped but bright red sunburn on my right forearm and backs of both calves, which, naturally I was completely unaware of until later in the evening when I randomly scratched an itch on my arm with my meant-to-clip-those-a-week-ago too long finger nails before crying out in pain and looking down to see my glowing red flesh with the half inch wide pale strip where my LiveStrong bracelet had protected my skin, was in Alameda and the waves that rushed upon the shore were in fact from the San Francisco Bay and not the Pacific Ocean.   (Was that really all one sentence?  Heather Armstrong would be so proud.)

Lil’B spent more time with his kite in the air and looking at the ground collecting Sea Shells than he did actually paying attention to his kite which only prompted me to reprove him, I don’t know, A FEW HUNDRED TIMES.  “You’re getting too close to that tree, you’re gonna get tangled up.”  “You’ve got to keep your distance or our kites are gonna get stuck together.”  “My kite is not coming after yours, but that’s why you’ve got to keep a little distance between us.”  Finally, I reeled my kite in and followed him around as he wondered up and down the beach looking for more shells.  He told me, though how he would know I have no idea, that he’s going to have to collect sea shells for his class next year in the third grade.  I’m not sure what was behind that statement, but I told him I guessed we’d have to make some more trips to some more beaches then.  So all of that is to say that you can potentially look forward to more beach pictures that are of the actual Pacific Ocean in the future… Maybe.  Also, that my skin really hurts.

But I digress.

This wind tunnel affect on Harrison Street is not an unusual thing especially since there is a “lake” on the far side of the park and my building is surrounded by wind causing bodies of water.  So as I walked up the street, it wasn’t the gust of wind that caught me by surprise; I’m used to that and it felt kind of nice after heating myself up in the gym.  No, what surprised me was the considerable number of dried or drying leaves that fell from the trees.  It is still July, isn’t it?

I am not a fan of extreme heat; it’s the reason I moved away from Oklahoma, after all.  I don’t mind it so much in the evenings when I’m at home and I can open up the doors and windows and wear fewer clothes to keep cool, but during the work day when I have already had my work-out and showered and I’m heading back to the office, I sure don’t want to be getting sweaty all over again if I can help it.  So with that in mind, I know better than to complain.  But I’m a bit surprised because while it is still July, it is also July and we haven’t had summer yet.  We’ve had only a handful, maybe a child sized handful, of days this year that have gotten into the 80s and many that have gotten just barely into the 70s, but most days it is in the 60s.  Being anti-heat (anti-sweating) as I am, I’m truly not complaining about this.  It’s just that, well, it’s rather like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You know its coming.  It should have already happened, but it’s not.

A lot of the continent is experiencing summer now.  Places that are farther north than I am are having blazing hot, humid weather.  Even the southern half of the state I live in is having high heat, but here in the bay area…

And now we’re starting to experience autumn?  Are we skipping summer altogether this year?  Is this the end of the world as we know it?