In Charge of Fun

Words written in novel so far: 17,770

Games of Apples to Apples my dad won yesterday: 1 (he was very proud)

Days until Fathers’ Day: 1

When I was growing up, my dad was the Executive in Charge of Fun for our family.

During the work week, he got up early, spent ungodly amounts of time driving to work in downtown Atlanta, and came home hoping to disappear behind a newspaper. Many nights found him asleep on the recliner. Or asleep on the floor. (He insisted he was doing The Sponge as a yoga move.)

But recreation was Dad’s specialty. I mentioned the sailboat yesterday; that was an ongoing treat. But he also took me to the circus, to various and sundry museums and out to eat at restaurants with white tablecloths and shrimp creole.

When it was time to plan vacation, Dad talked to people and researched the heck out of it. And this was before the Internet, people.

We traveled all over the Southeast, touring historic homes, jumping in the ocean and obsessing over the Wright Brothers, his favorite. In the days before digital cameras, we visited Charleston and came home not with photos of The Battery or horse-drawn carriages, but a series of pelicans. Flying. And landing. And flying again.

By the time I was 14, I could correct the tour guide at any antebellum home about why the houses didn’t have closets.

There might have been a bad moment in the Florida Keys when we got out of the boat that took us snorkeling.

I was so excited. “Didn’t that coral feel so weird?”

My dad just looked at me. “You weren’t supposed to touch the coral.”

“Yes, we were. The guide said, ‘be sure to touch the coral.'”

“He said, ‘don’t touch the coral. People are destroying the coral reefs by touching and killing them.'”

“Oh.”

Tomato, to-mah-to.

Anywhoooo, my dad was also the one who worried over guided my college and career choices. When I started getting apathetic in sixth grade math, he took the family on a tour of colleges and quoted SAT and grade point average numbers to me.

When I showed an interest in planning events, he took me out to lunch with an executive who was helping him orchestrate a conference.

When I applied to colleges and considered going to a secondary one because my friends were going there, he said, “Okay. But there is nowhere more beautiful than Chapel Hill in the fall.”

There is nowhere more beautiful than Chapel Hill in the fall. I was there.

And when I started writing in earnest, he was the one person who read every word. Every single word.

Thanks, Dad. Happy Fathers’ Day!

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Lovely Day

Just call me the crazy, flower-loving lady. That, or Queen of No, which I am also loving right now.

Milkshakes consumed today: 1

Answers to faux, fifth grade end-of-grade test I almost got wrong: 1

Perfect temperature outside right now: 68

Do not, I repeat, do not tell my children or my husband that I had a Goodberry’s chocolate milkshake for lunch today.

I do not advocate poor nutritional choices. But seriously. It is a big, puffy cloud day with a gentle breeze and bright sunshine, and I did not have time to create a nutritionally balanced salad with homemade salad dressing. Do not judge me.

I remember back when I was just out of college, and my good friend and her roommate decided to drive six hours and visit me over Labor Day weekend. The weather was just like today… for three days. If you have never been in Chapel Hill when the weather is perfect, you have not yet lived.

We spent the entire weekend outside, drinking margaritas on the deck at Pantana Bob’s, walking around campus, eating good food that I normally couldn’t afford…

And I wanted to say, a la Julie Andrews in Sound of Music, spinning around in a traditional German skirt thing, “Why yes, I have ordered up exactly the perfect weather for your visit. In fact, we Chapel Hillians live in relative perfection 364 days of the year.”

Those three days almost made up for the fact that I was living below poverty level in a brick apartment on the first floor with walls that had not yet been acquainted with insulation. And that the guy who lived above me owned both a waterbed and a shotgun. I didn’t know about that yet. More on that in a later post.

But I digress.

Today is the most gorgeous day. The lilies are blooming outside my office window, and the mockingbirds are fighting each other off as one after another tries to invade the Woodman turf. Our mockingbird is stronger than your mockingbird, dude.

This morning, I wrote an article and then spent an hour “helping” a few fifth graders with mock end-of-grade tests. We read passages about how to construct owl luminaries, why beekeeping is an interesting hobby and how Laura Ingalls Wilder used to respond to every fan letter she received.

I almost missed an answer. But ha! I had the answer key and quickly covered up my adult-ish erroneous response. I explained, in a responsible, teacher-y way, why “C” was in fact the right answer, even though, trust me, “A” would have worked just fine.

Then, I rushed to the library and had 15 minutes to grab “lunch.”

Let me tell you: sitting outside on a gorgeous day sipping gulping a chocolate milkshake may be one of those “what would you do on your last day on earth” things.

And then, because I was on such a sugar high, I didn’t even start crying when they told me my favorite contact lenses, the ones that it took five years for me to settle on because I have that annoying dry eye problem, aren’t being made anymore. And remember, I don’t really have any tears, so…

Better just to enjoy the perfect weather. I’m using all my karmic bank account to try to order up some perfect weather stuff for when my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law visit in June. If they’re lucky, they can join me at the outside seating at Goodberry’s.