Oct 21

Last night was tough

When I got home last night, it was around 7:30 and I was hungry and tired. My sweet baby made me some damn fine soup that she learned about from a friend, and she spit fired a chicken in the backyard, so that I could have a nice, hot chicken on a kaiser with it. I was thinking about how lucky I was, when the phone rang and Mrs. Birdman had to speak with a client. The girls bedroom door then opened, with two bored little girls holding a handful of tattoo markers. So, seeing as their mom was on the phone, I allowed them to give me some new ink. They actually did a pretty good job for little kids. Awww, who am I kidding? They did a better job than I could have done, I totally suck at art.

Look out, Kat Von D...she's gunning for your job

We decided that it was time to tell them that I was going away for a while. Not because we were just waiting for the right time, but I guess it just never came up before. It is two weeks away now, so I guess it might have been a little late, but what do you do? There was a lot of asking “Why?” and  tears welling up in the eyes, but that was just from me. T didn’t think it was fair that I was going to be gone for Christmas, and when I told her that I was coming back for the holidays, her eyes dried and brightened up and she said, “Are you going to bring us something?” That brought me back from the edge, and we all had a laugh and some hugs. After that we went out in the rain and lit a bonfire, and we roasted wieners and s’mores, while telling ghost stories and reliving the past ten months together. Ten months. It seems like we’ve been together far longer than that. I have a hard time remembering when I wasn’t looking out for them, or fixing something up, like the luge track down the snowplow pile, which had been dug out into a fort.

I explained to them that I don’t like leaving for work before they wake up, and coming home when they are in bed, or getting ready for bed. I told them that I want to eat breakfast and supper with them, and that if I go out for the winter, it will afford us the option for me to look for a better job with better hours. A job that I can be happy at. Can you imagine? I know some of you can, I’m living with one. I actually feel pretty selfish about wanting that for myself, partly because I don’t think that I deserve it more than anyone else, but mostly because it’s me that wants to be here with them. I didn’t once ask if they would like me to be here more. Maybe they are quite happy with me showing up for an hour or two each day, and every other weekend we’ll maybe do something fun. I guess it is selfish, but I don’t even care. I hate when they are already in bed when I get home, and I know I won’t get to see them until the next night, if I get done early enough.

I always think about when I was a little kid, and my dad would go out for a few beer after work, and he’d come into our rooms and wake us up to say he loved us. I never cared that he woke me up, I liked seeing him, but he was my father, and that kind of thing is acceptable when you’re a dad. It seems a bit creepy if a step-dad is doing that, no matter how innocent. It’s too bad that the world has come to that really, but I totally understand. I’ve taken the girls out on several occasions, and I’m scared shitless. I am constantly watching everyone that goes near them, looks their way or breathes upwind of them. It totally freaks me out, because you never know who is lurking, or where. I know the odds are slim, but every other parent that has had a child snatched has probably said the same thing. I think it’s worse if they aren’t your children, because then there are two or more people that can’t live with themselves.

What a fucked up world we live in. I remember being a kid, and the whole community looked out for the kids there. We were told what houses to stay away from, and who we weren’t to talk to. If we did what we were told, nothing bad would happen. I rarely did what I was told, and when I would get home, my parents knew where I had been, who I was with and what I did. I was usually sneaking a smoke that we stole from Bugsy’s parents or maybe shooting bottle rockets at the ducks with Joe. It didn’t matter, I would get spotted, and promptly ratted out. I’m glad I got caught, because that meant there were people all over the place that cared about me, and I have no doubt that if any harm was befalling me, those same people that were telling on me, would be right there helping me.

So thank you Wally Young, Shorty Sandercock, Clara Drope, Nancy Houston, and the countless other people who gave a shit about what happened to me. Even though most of you are gone, you are not forgotten. I don’t know if there is a saying about community shaping the children, but there should be. Someone make it up, so I don’t have to. Ah, what the hell, I’ll try a few. “A person is only as good as the community that they grew up in.” or, “A person with no community, is not a person, they are a fucking savage.” Maybe I’ll leave the quote making up to the professionals. Anyhow, I loved where I grew up, I loved how I was raised, and I love who I’ve become. I guess it doesn’t get any better than that, does it? Oh, maybe a good job to come back to, but whatever, I’ll make out okay, I always do.

Give a kid shit tomorrow,

Birdman

P.S. The cooking the chicken in the backyard, and the bonfire thing might be bullshit.

Oct 14

Eighteen more days :(

I’m really not looking forward to this. I know it’s the best thing for us right now, and I know it’s not the end of the world, but I dread the fact that I’m not going to be tucking anyone in , getting spontaneous hugs or being there to answer geography questions. Well, unless I end up in camp with Doug, but what are the chances of that? I am really going to miss these girls that are now such a huge part of my life. I am going to miss their smiles when I finally get home from work, the groans of displeasure when they don’t get what they want and the way they fight tooth and nail, and then make up immediately after and say “I love you” to each other. It makes me realize what I was missing all of those years, and I wonder where I’d be now if I had had children when I was younger. Divorced to be sure, and probably working lots of overtime at some factory job to give my kids as good an upbringing as possible, while trying to be as big a part of their life as I can.

I always figured I’d be a good dad, because I had two fathers to learn from. I’m not saying they were perfect by any means, but they did try, and they grew up in a different time, so they were just doing what they had learned. You have to give people credit for trying, right? I mean, times are constantly changing, and what was right yesterday, may not be right today and surely won’t be right tomorrow. Some of the hard-ass things that were taught by their fathers, were certainly softened by the time it was their turn to carry the torch.

When I say that I learned from them, I mean what to do, and also what not to do. I learned that speaking to children like they are idiots, will only create feelings of inadequacy and resentment, but if you allow a child to help with something important, while telling them that you couldn’t have done it without them, it will make them feel like a million bucks, and there isn’t much that they can’t accomplish if they try. Another thing that I picked up as a child is that there isn’t much that a hug and an explanation can’t fix when you’ve just gotten a blast of shit for something. There are few feelings worse than being told you’ve done something very bad and sent away, while never being told why it was wrong and what you could have done instead. That just creates anxiety by making them wonder what they did that was wrong.

One thing that always made me feel as though I was really special, was getting to do something fun, without any of the other kids. That was something that we had, it was something that we bonded over. It didn’t even matter what it was. A walk in the woods, throw a ball back and forth, or fix up an old Ski-Doo.

Oh right, we were talking about going to camp. Like I said, I’m not looking forward to it. I’ll be gone about six weeks for the first stint, and they might forget who I am. I’m hoping they remember me, and that nothing will change when I get back for Christmas, but there is always that feeling in the back of my mind, that I won’t be as important to them as they are to me, because I wasn’t there every night to say sweet dreams, or to help them with a project. That thought really scares me, even though I know it’s only six weeks, and I’ll be able to send and receive videos on the phone and if I’m lucky, the camps will have better wi-fi than last year, and I’ll be able to Skype every night.

Shit, that would be so sweet to be able to see those faces before I crawl under my thin wool blanket, with the sounds of loud TVs, and the asshole that always seems to be having a fight with his girlfriend every night at ten o’clock. When I was gone last year, I hadn’t been more than their mother’s friend, and they didn’t understand that I was going to be such a big part of their life, and neither did I.

I guess we never know how much we are going to love someone, until it happens, and even then it seems that there is no limit to how far it can go. When I met Mrs. Birdman, I knew I liked her, and I thought I could fall in love with her, because I admired, respected and adored her, but I honestly never thought it could be like this, and every day that we are together, she shows me new depths to her personality, and in so doing, she’s shown me new heights within myself that I hit, and others that I aspire to.

I do dread going to camp, but I know that what we have is strong and deep enough, that a month and a half will fly by, and then comes the reunion cocooning. I happen to know from experience, that it’s the best type of cocooning, and other than a bit of dehydration and some friction sores, it will make you forget that you were ever apart.

 

You look extremely sexy in spandex,

Birdman

Oct 12

The Circus Was In Town

mindofbirdman

First of all, I want to let you know that I’m probably embellishing this story, so if you know the story, don’t get all pissy because the details are off. I heard it in camp about 8-9 years ago, and we all know that sometimes guys lie. That being said, I’ll tell you about Mumbles, his son-in-law (we’ll call him Cletus) and the fucking circus, because Dennis reminded me of it today, and it’s pretty funny.

Mumbles was an operator with us a long time ago, and I don’t know if he’s still around or not. I didn’t know him very well, maybe rode to work with him a few times, or saw him at dinner here and there, but you wouldn’t say we were buddies. I think the only reason I remember him is because of this story and the fact that his nickname was Mumbles. I am not going to explain how Mumbles got his name, and if you need me to, I want you to walk out your front door, find the first person you see, and ask them to kick your ass until you cry.

Doot doot doody doo do, doot doot doody doo do....

Doot doot doody doo do, doot doot doody doo do….

Anyhow, Mumbles’ daughter was with a real asshat, who wanted to borrow some money for a vehicle or a house payment or something like that. I don’t even remember the exact amount, but $2000 seems to stick in my mind. So Mumbles got out of camp and lent this dude the money, thinking it was going to help his daughter out of a jam, even though he was less than excited about her choice of men.

When he heads back to work, Mumbles finds out that his idiot son-in-law took his daughter to the circus while it was in the area. A LOT. It seems that they spent all of the money that he lent them, minus $200, going to the bloody circus.

How the fuck do you do that? It’s a goddam circus for Christ’s sake. (Sorry for the taking of the names in vain.(not really)) I find it hard to believe that two people could spend $180 at six circuses, let alone $1800 for however many they went to. (I’m guessing three). Are they twelve year old kids in the 1920’s?  Two crazy kids, falling in love with the romantic, nomad life of the circus, losing their money in a con game played by a one-eyed roustabout who promised he would let them run away with the rest of the filthy transients. Perhaps they paid a lion tamer’s assistant to have a three-way while he dressed up as a clown, or maybe the handler got the elephant to give him some sort of trunk job. How else could you blow a large wad of dough at a circus? The possibilities are truly endless if you ask me.

How the hell could you be sad at a time like this, Mr. GreenFingers?

I can’t say whether or not Mumbles really knocked Cletus out to get the two hundred bucks back from him, but I want to believe he did.  I like to think he was whistling that old, familiar circus tune while he did it.

“Doot doot dootle ootle, doot doot dootle, doot dootleootle, doot dootleootle…”

Kick that dumb bastard once for all of us Mumbles.

 

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,

Birdman

Oct 11

Do you know what I really enjoy?

Seeing Indian couples holding hands in the street. It makes me proud to live in a country that allows them to do that. A lot of people are down on immigration, and go on about the government letting all of these people in, while we don’t have enough jobs for the people that are here. I know our system needs a lot of work, and I’m not here to argue for or agin, but I always feel happy to see people enjoying freedoms that they wouldn’t have in their homeland.

I couldn’t imagine all of the horrible things that go on in some of those places. I know I wouldn’t want to live in a place where women aren’t allowed to drive. How the hell would I get home from the bar when it’s my turn to drink? Jesus, I’d have to drive Mrs. Birdman’s drunk ass around every time we went out. No thank you, not in my lifetime. I like the fact that we can take turns realizing how annoying we are to each other, it makes things seem more fair somehow.

That’s why I don’t begrudge anyone the chance to move to a place that allows them to live with the same liberties that we take for granted on a daily basis. Most of us don’t live in fear, we aren’t dying in the streets or in sweat shops. Sure there are exceptions to every rule, but on the whole, we are a relatively lucky society. Well, except for Christianity and global free trade, that’s still a fucking pile of horseshit. I dare all of you to find some locally made products to give out this Christmas. The people who are making the stuff will thank you, and maybe they will be able to put a nice dinner on their table this year.