past and future.

big changes ahead.

more on that

in a bit.

on a tuesday

i held my

maddy tight

before work/daycare.

as i made it through

another 25th without

her mom.

that’s 17 of ‘em

now, and it

still feels like yesterday.

the next day,

and the rest of

the week we

spent our mornings

going through

our current routine…

walks, throwing of

downed fruit from

our tree, laughs,

babbling and lots

of stumbling,

before heading off to

work and daycare.

here’s the rest

of the week

in photos:

wednesday.

her shadow is casting a human.

thursday.

wondering if she should throw it at me.

friday.

i don't really want it.

this was a big

week for us…

somewhere around

tuesday we had

our first ride to

and from daycare

without unnecessary

screaming coming

from the backseat.

there was talking

and a lot of interaction

between driver and passenger,

but for the first

time in a very

long time,

i kinda felt like

i was dealing with

a little adult human

rather than a

rabid animal locked in

the car with the

specific intention of

driving me to the

edge of insanity.

so this is

what peacefulness

sounds like…

how lovely.

and like a

play-by-play announcer

watching a

pitcher pitch a no-hitter,

i said nothing

about the quiet

for fear of jinxing it.

it wasn’t until

we made it

home on thursday

that i finally

spoke of my new daughter.

this was perfect

timing because we were

to head

to fresno on friday

for a birthday party for

maddy’s friend, mckenna.

that’s like, a 3.5

hour drive.

last time we

did a drive of that

length, i damn

near lost my mind.

and my hearing.

so friday night

after work we started

our drive toward

fresno, and it was

as peaceful as

the recent drives

to/from daycare.

is it too soon

to believe that

she’s totally

over this shit?

probably.

arrived at mark,

jeffra and mckenna’s

house around 10:30pm.

our kids played

for a bit then

they crashed,

giving us some

time to enjoy a beer

or two and a conversation.

went to sleep

around 2:30.

the next morning

we were up and

headed to lunch,

then to the

yosemite mountain sugarpine railroad

happy.

for a train

ride through the trees.

on the train.

maddy, mckenna, jeffra and mark.

ladies.

the train stopped

for a little

bit and we took

the opportunity to

take a few photos.

back down.

maddy and daddy.

running from the train.

i feel the train a comin'.

then it was back

on the road

and back to fresno

for mckenna’s first

birthday party.

maddy went nuts

in this gym, throwing

everything she could

get her hands on.

dodgeball.

she spent some

time trying to

figure out the purpose

of a hula hoop,

waiting...

then she used a

helping hand

across a balance beam.

a little help.

later she decided

she didn’t need

any help from

anyone, and crossed

back and forth across

a different balance beam,

all by herself.

on the balance beam.

(and for some reason that damn balance beam song by bright eyes got stuck in my head while i watched her).

fun to watch her

become so determined

and independent.

reminds me a

bit of her

mom.

after the party

we were back

to our friend’s house,

where we spent the

evening watching mckenna

open her birthday

gifts and hanging out

with their

friends and family.

a great time

was had by all.

sunday morning we

woke up and

the kids played while

the parents chatted.

we had a nice

lunch before maddy

and i got back

in the car

and on our way

to los angeles.

maddy was asleep

within five minutes

of getting in the car

and i was feeling

the same way

about 35 minutes later.

i pulled the

car over and took a

little nap.

woke up 30 minutes later,

thinking how much

it sucks that

i couldn’t just

turn to

liz

and ask her

to drive for me

while i napped.

but fuck.

who was i kidding?

she would have been

asleep right along

with her child and

would have been

of no help in

this situation.

so i

just thought about how

it would have been

nice for

all of us

to nap together.

back on the road

and my daughter

still asleep,

i tuned my

ipod to the

perfect driving music,

and heard a few songs

that i used to

listen to with

liz

back when we

first started dating

back in 1996.

somehow it made

the drive better.

as we got

to the top

of that hill on

the 5,

we started to see

the smoke from

the fires that

were sweeping through

the forest just to

the north of our house.

i had to pull over

to get a photo of

the intense

smoke that filled

the sky.

smoke as seen from the 5.

as we got

closer to our house,

the smoke got

even thicker

the 210 east.

we called to make

sure auntie anya

and her dog

were okay as we

drove past their house

a few minutes

later we

were home and

running around,

trying to stretch our

legs after that

incredibly long drive.

back home and ready to throw some apples.

madeline.

eventually we both

decided we were exhausted

exhausted and staring at the fish.

so we went inside.

maddy went to her

crib and i

went to the couch.

i was asleep

before 11:00 that night.

we both woke up

the next morning

wearing the same

thing we wore the

day before.

that’s my definition

of exhaustion.

i got changed and ready

for work,

but i left maddy

in the her outfit from

yesterday, mostly

because it’s one

of the raddest dresses

she owns,

and i figured her

friends at daycare

should see her

in it.

not really.

i was just

too exhausted

to change her

out of an

outfit that didn’t

get dirty the day before.

we took

a few photos

before heading

to work/daycare

maddy with apple.

happy.

that night we

had dinner with

the woman

who will be house sitting for

us while we’re

in india

and watched as

the fires burned in

the distance.

fire in glendale.

tuesday morning we

watched the

garbage trucks

drive by

pointing at the garbage truck.

and that evening,

melanie stopped by

to watch maddy, as

she does nearly

every tuesday,

so that i could

have an evening out.

went with bob

and anna to

one of my favorite

restaurants in the neighborhood.

and a great evening,

chatting about

my beard, travel,

wine and cheese.

wednesday morning

was another day,

just like any

other day.

maddy.

wednesday morning.

well, sort of.

i knew that i

had to do something

that day, something

i never imagined

myself doing.

so i went to

work, prepared to

do what i needed

to do,

and when 5:00 rolled

around i found myself

stuck in

my chair,

unable to do that thing.

fuck.

maybe tomorrow

is all i could think.

it has to be tomorrow,

because i’ve been

putting it off

for so long already.

so thursday…

another routine day

morning apple throw.

except for the

fact that i realized

that a dream may soon

be fulfilled.

doing my laundry.

yeah, my daughter

is getting closer

and closer

to doing our laundry.

can’t.

fucking.

wait.

we headed off

to work/daycare

and i knew

that today

was the day.

it had to be.

so i told myself

that 4:00 was

the time.

i tapped

my foot nervously

all day,

listening to

“in the aeroplane over the sea,”

the album that

gets me through

the times,

while wondering,

doubting,

questioning,

my every thought.

i mean,

what kind of fucking

lunatic quits a

job as great

as the one i have

in an economy like

the one we’re in,

so soon

after losing his

wife

and her income?

fuck.

this one, i guess.

so at 4:00,

i did just that.

i quit.

effective oct. 1st,

i no longer work

for the internet.

now i’m

a writer.

never expected to

be one,

never even wanted

to be one.

but in less

than a month

that’s the answer

i’ll give when someone

on a plane asks

me what i do.

gonna be weird

to no longer say,

“project manager for an internet company.”

as i’ve

sort of mentioned

before, i’m heading to

india with madeline

and a nanny

so i can get away

for awhile.

i know i need

to be in a

different place,

mentally and physically,

to be able to write

the kind of

book i want

maddy to someday read.

so…why did

i choose india?

well, it’s a familar

place for me,

a place i’ve visited

five times,

including trips of

six and three months.

liz

was there with

me twice,

spending a couple

of weeks traveling

with me while i

was away for that

six-month trip.

and when i was

on the three-month

trip, she spent

christmas and

new years there

with me.

some of the greatest

times of our

lives were

spent there,

and i really, really

want to bring

maddy there.

i’m compelled to

do it.

it’s hard to explain,

but it’s just something

i must do.

so from october 5th

to november 23rd,

i’ll be traveling

and writing and writing

and writing and writing.

i’m as excited as

i am scared about

the future,

but i can’t let

that fear keep

us from doing

the things that

are going to

help us continue

to move forward.

liz

would want this.

i left work,

feeling far less

nervous than i

had been all

week, and headed

to maddy’s daycare.

as i tried

to find a place

to park,

i realized that

today was the

end of summer picnic.

fuck.

i totally forget to sign

up to bring something

to share.

i walked in,

holding my head

in shame for

being so wrapped

up in my own shit

and not

remembering this damn event.

i found myself

amongst the rest

of the parents,

watching our

kids running around

the backyard.

lots of moms,

lots of moms

and dads,

there together,

but not too

many dads alone.

and even if they’re alone,

they’re not really

alone, there wives

likely running late

or out of town

on business.

fuck.

so within minutes

of arriving

i’m getting

questions about my wife

and my life,

questions i wasn’t

prepared to

answer because

i totally forgot about

this fucking bbq.

then i realized

i had an out…

the guy who forgets

to bring something

to share certainly

can’t eat everyone

else’s food, right?

so i scooped up

my maddy and we

headed out.

not the way

i would normally deal

with this shit,

but today…

i just couldn’t.

and fuck it.

i’m allowed to not

deal every

once in awhile.

so we went

home and had

a little dinner

then we were

joined by the

bastard, as well

as andrea and her

kids for a night

on the porch.

exactly what i needed.

friday.

woke up and got

maddy ready

for the day.

no work, no daycare

today, because

he daycare

was closed.

we ran some errands

in the morning,

then did something

i’ve been

avoiding for

a few weeks now…

i took

liz’s

rings in to

a jeweler to

get them repaired.

this jeweler is

the one that

put together

liz’s

wedding band,

the guy who

used to clean

liz’s

rings while she

was on her lunch

break when

she used to work downtown,

the guy who

used to listen to

liz

tell him about all

the jewelry she

wanted me to

buy for her,

while i rolled my eyes.

i was pretty

sure that he

had no idea

what had happened to

liz,

and i didn’t want

to have to tell him.

i tell total strangers

what happened,

but it’s really

hard to bring it

up to someone

who only kind

of knew us.

i mean, shit,

the guy probably

didn’t remember us anyway.

so i brought maddy

downtown, walking into

that elevator

where her mom

used to dance

in place

and clap her

hands together

just below her chin,

so excited to go

look at the jewelry

and to dream

about the gifts that

would no doubt

accompany future

anniversaries, birthdays, holidays.

we got to

the fifth floor

and took a

right and a left

out of the elevator.

and there he was,

i could see him

through the window,

sitting at

his desk.

he buzzed me in

and i explained

the situation very simply.

“my wife’s engagement ring needs to be repaired, and i’d like you to inspect her wedding band as well.”

i removed the

engagement ring from

my pocket,

distracting him

so he wouldn’t

see me pull the

wedding band from

the pinkie finger

of my left hand.

he didn’t even notice.

he gave them

a quick

look under his microscope,

and told me

that the wedding

band was fine,

but that he needed

to tighten up

the prongs on the

engagement ring.

also, he said that

both of them

needed a good cleaning.

no fucking shit,

i thought.

i mean,

i’ve worn

liz’s

wedding band

almost every second

since the moment

i found her

rings in her

purse after she

died.

and the only

reason the

engagement ring is

no longer on my

finger is because

i could hear the

damn diamond rattling around

in the setting.

“give me 45 minutes and i’ll have everything fixed up for you.”

wow.

that is awesome.

i was starting to

have a minor

panic attack just thinking

about having to leave

liz’s

rings with the

jeweler for more than

a few days.

so we left,

not having to

tell him

about what happened.

maddy and i

took a short walk,

stopping to

see our friend,

sasha and have

a lemonade.

then we took a

walk back toward

the jewelry shop,

sasha offering

to take my crabby

maddy to lunch

while i went back

upstairs to

get the rings.

i got inside and

had to wait

20 minutes

while other customers

were helped.

finally, the jeweler waved

me over,

pulling the rings

from a small plastic bag.

he said,

“you really need to tell liz to bring these in every 6 months to a year so i can inspect them”

motherfucker.

he remembers us.

so i said,

“well, i don’t really know how to tell you this, but liz died last year, the day after our baby was born.”

i could see the

shock on his face.

i started crying,

tears welled up

in his eyes,

and he said some things

i barely heard

i kind of thanked

him as i spun,

turning my head

away from

the other customers,

face pointed to

the ground.

i made it outside

without making eye

contact with the

60 or so shoes

i passed from the

elevator to

the lobby.

i walked outside

and found maddy

in sasha’s lap,

smiling away

as she saw me

walking toward her.

they finished

lunch as i tried

to keep from vomiting

on the sidewalk.

soon enough

we were walking up

hill street toward

the car.

we dropped sasha

off at her place

and then we

headed home.

maddy passed out

within a minute of home.

got her inside and

in her crib, and

i immediately went

out to the couch

and took a nap.

that night,

we had dinner with,

and hung out with

andrea’s kids

while she unpacked.

we were back home

by 8:00.

maddy went to sleep

and i spent the

evening shaving my beard.

the next morning

maddy fixated on

barbie’s hair

(something that would have brought great excitement to liz, something that brings great disappointment to her auntie deb).

by 10:30 we

were visited by

our old friend, desiree

and her family.

spent sometime catching

and playing in

the backyard

before heading to

griffith park.

we took a ride

on the merry-go-round

mmgr

and shared some snacks

playing with her friends at griffith park.

sharing a snack.

before heading toward

the playground.

on the way

there, my big girl decided

that she wanted

to walk all by herself.

actually, she decided

that it would be

more fun to run.

but she’s not that

great at

running yet,

and took a header

into the sidewalk.

she instantly started screaming,

and when i picked

her up i saw

the scrapes

and blood on

her knees, as well as

the dirt on her

upper lip,

and said,

“how the hell did she land on her upper lip and not hit her nose”

that question would

be answered later…

but first we played for

about 30 minutes

in the awful heat

of the afternoon

before heading back home

to get ready for

tonight’s party.

maddy took a

short nap,

and when she woke

up, i noticed

that her lip

and her knee

were not the

only damaged areas

on her body…

her nose

was swollen and bruised,

and the area

under her eyes

was starting to resemble mine.

add this to

the lovely scratch

under her eye,

a scratch she

acquired at daycare

on thursday,

and she was

looking like she went

into hand-to-hand

combat with

one of her stuffed

animals as her only weapon.

awesome.

i’m about to have

a houseful of people,

all suspecting me

of child abuse.

thankfully there

were some mothers

over, who helped confirm

that maddy’s nose

was not broken,

while sharing stories

of their child’s injuries.

had a nice turnout,

with lots of

old friends and

a few new ones.

it was a lovely time.

party.

maddy hung out for

a bit

party.

before finally getting

tired and heading to bed.

the party went

on without her

party.

and ended rather late.

the next day,

maddy woke up

early despite my

hope that

she’d have a record

night of sleep,

and sleep until noon.

so we hung out

for a bit before

my future house sitter

arrived and spelled

me by watching

maddy while i napped.

after a nice

nap we had

a late lunch,

then said

goodbye to our friend.

the rest of the

day was spent hanging

out in the house,

climbing.

resting and enjoying

maddy’s toys.

she went to bed

after 8:00

and i was up until

1:00, working

on some writing.

monday was

another day off,

so we had brunch

with auntie anya

and spent the

afternoon playing

in the yard

"what?"

and running across

bubble wrap.

had a nice

dinner in the

backyard, eating

up some of the food

left over from the

party on saturday night.

maddyinchair

today is

tuesday and

we had another morning

of our routine.

ready for the day.

tuesday morning.

it’s a routine

that will soon be replaced

by a new one.

it’s gonna be

strange to not

be heading off to

an office everyday,

like i have almost

everyday for

the last 7+ yeras,

but my idea of

strange is a little

skewed because

of what we’ve

lived through during

the last 17+ months.

all i know is

that i’m way

fucking excited

to be heading

to india with my

best girl.

and after that?

who knows…

maybe paris at

the end of january?

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