Archive for August, 2010

First Day of School

Posted in hit bull win steak on August 25, 2010 by samsondoggie

Rosie and John started school this morning. They’re both going to be at the same school, George Watts Montessori Magnet Elementary. I like that it is just one block from our home. We can walk there in the mornings. We walked there this morning. We were accompanied by others. There are five other households with kids at Watts on our block, and several more in the adjacent block.

I held Rosie’s hand as walked up the street. It was raining a bit. The air was damp and cool. It felt like summer was over. I hated that feeling as a kid. Even if I was excited about getting back to school, which I usually was, it still felt like an irreversible loss. Summer was over, virtually forever.

Summer: S'Mores

Summer: Racing

Summer: Check out my new pocket knife

Rosie didn’t say much. Mostly, she seemed hesitant. We could see her classroom when we sat outside waiting for the doors to open. I held her up so that she could see, but instead, she just put her arms around me in a tight hug.

Last night, Rosie woke up in the middle of the night. “Daddy,” she said, “none of my friends are in my class.”

“But you are going to make a lot of friends, I promise.” It is true. She has a lot of friends at this school, but none of them are in Ms. Watson’s class with her. In fact, there are only two other girls in first grade in the class. There are supposed to be more girls in the kindergarten class.

Last night, John reached out to Mr. Dodyk, his teacher from E.K. Powe.  Mr. Dodyk moved to Florida. He fell in love and followed her down to Alachua County where he is now teaching in an elementary school. Mr. Dodyk was a great teacher. He mastered the art of getting through to John. John sent him an email last night. His message:

Tomorrow is my first day of school. I feel Continue reading


What Happened This Week

Posted in hit bull win steak on August 7, 2010 by samsondoggie

John wants to see the best in me. “Dad,” he says, “the only reason you can’t play that song [on the piano] is because you’re just seeing it now. You haven’t practiced it. Otherwise, you would play it a lot better than me.” Sure, John. I don’t want to dispel his ideal vision of my musical skill, but John has already surpassed me. He plays fast, and his finger jump up and down the keyboard doing chord progressions. His body rocks with the music. He figures out songs in his head: which keys are minor, how the time should go, all of it. I hope that I have pushed him off into a habit that will give him a lifetime of pleasure. Isn’t that the best that a parent can do? I remember when I was about that age that it was important for me to believe that my dad was a figure of excellence. I remember telling myself how great it was that he had attended Wharton. A key word is “attended.” Six years later, my mind had taken a different tack. “What do you want,” I said, “blind obedience?”

I was proud of Rosie today. We were at Rockwood PArk, which is a small piece of land that sits between two creeks in between two older Durham neighborhoods. They’ve made a figure eight walking path through the grounds, so it is a good place to ride bikes. Rosie brought her bike.  “My stupid bike,” she says. She doesn’t like it because I left the training wheels up higher than normal. I’m hoping to force her to use her balance. That means that the bike is wobbly, though. She doesn’t want to ride it. My first thought is that this is a way in which our children are so different. A friend of hers found a small 4-t size shirt in Rockwood Park.  “I want to take it home,” said her friend. “Noo!!!,” said Rosie. She couldn’t have been more serious about it.

This is a sad poem.

The new roof is still great. The sunflowers are showing some possibility. Another one of my tomato plants has died. The wax beans are showing some life.

No go for Felichea. Next up, Sharnetta.

I’m reading bedtime stories to Rosie tonight.  In the story, the New Zoo, the McGrew Zoo, is a zoo like none other. Even though this is her second Seuss, Rosie is not slipping off into sleep. “I am scared about school,” says Rosie. “It is not going to be the same. I am going to miss having lunch and playing with you [Susie] for three hours.” Rosie is going to George Watts Montessori Magnet in just two weeks. For the first four days, she’ll leave at nine and be home by noon. After that, though, she’s going to be gone until 3:15. This is the end of something, and the beginning of something new. I know that I am going to miss her. We’ve had lunch together for at least two or three days a week for five years. We can pack her some ham and cheese and fruit.I know what she is saying, though. I’m glad that she wanted to tell me about it. I hope she keeps choosing to tell me when she is scared by something.

What Happened This Week

Posted in literally happened on August 1, 2010 by samsondoggie

John lost a tooth. John asked the tooth fairy for a silver dollar. The tooth fairy responded in a letter, “Dear John: a paper dollar will have to do. Perhaps next time.”

Tierra dropped out. Her voucher was reduced from three beds, then to two, and ultimately to one. You have to love the Durham Housing Authority. Enter Felithea, Will and Hannah.

I should have just parked and went to church, but then Clik and Clak opened up the line for one more caller, and it was Christo Jackson.  I am pretty certain that it was that Christo, with that voice. I imagine he was wearing that blue sport coat and folding those gold-rimmed reading glasses into his thick-thumbed hands. “I have an ’86 VW Golf,” he said, “and it will only start if I tap on the fuel pump with a hammer.” Gee, Christo, why not get a new car, then? Why not pick up an almost brand new ’93 Accord?

I still can’t sleep. In the last five days, I have probably slept for about 25 hours. Yet, I can’t fall asleep. During the day, I can’t stay awake.

Susie and I had two dates. On Wednesday, we went to the Federal for sandwiches and a beer. On Saturday, we went to a birthday party held at a friend’s house down the street.

Melinda left. Melinda went back to Platte Cove to be with her family. Her dad, Joel, has a broken arm. Melinda may be sent to Australia in the near future. It is hard to know for sure. She could remain in New York, or she could even go to England or to Pennsylvania.

We fixed the roof. James put on the last round of asphalt himself. I wanted metal. We got metal. We put metal roofing above our kitchen, and above the front porch. The metal didn’t work. John saw it, and he said, “Gee, that is a funny color.” Well said. When burgundy on the brochure is orange on the roof, it is time to think Continue reading

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