Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yachting

Trip Report

While the girls and I shopped the straw market and I coached them in their negotiation skills, I got a little hungry. Always wanting to try the local ethnic flavors, I asked the vendors where I could find some curried goat. All pointed me to a “lady down the street.” After a few minutes of searching, we found her, selling food out of the trunk of her car. I passed.

Each day we walked the marina to look at the yachts that docked overnight. Intrigued by the interesting names, we decided to daydream about our personal yacht and what we would name them: Me = Writer’s Retreat, Meagan = Born to be Wild, Linley = The Annihilator, and Jill (who can guess?) = Princesses’ Nautical Palace.

We took the girls parasailing. Well, actually, I took them and Jill came along to pray for their safety. I was whooping and hollering and Jill kept saying “Oh my God!” as they went higher and higher aloft. Catching on the mom was terrified, the boat captain decided to have a little fun and suddenly shouted “Oh my God!” to which Jill replied “She’s falling out!” I tipped the guy to slow down and let the parachute descend far enough to dip the girls into the water, then yank them up into the air again. They loved it, and Jill nearly threw me overboard.

Marital Bliss

We planned to connect in Miami on the way back with enough time between flights to go to South Beach for dinner. Turns out my ex and her boyfriend were vacationing there, so we all agreed to meet for dinner (we’re adults and big enough to do that kind of thing). We were diverted due to the storms and landed elsewhere, so I had Meagan call her mom to tell her we wouldn’t make it to the restaurant. She kindly asked if there was anything she could do to help us out. I replied, “Yes, find Princess a good home.” To which Jill opened the SkyMall magazine and showed me a $1200 portable doghouse she thought we just had to have. I passed on that, too.

Kid-bytes

I promised Linley we would go snorkeling while at Atlantis. Because of rain and other events, we were down to the last hour of the last day and had not yet gone when she reminded me of my promise. One thing I won’t do is break a promise to either of the girls, so we ran to the lagoon, rented gear, and dove in. Within minutes we were in 15 feet of water and among schools of the most beautiful fish you’ve ever seen outside of an aquarium. Jill and I followed Linley around as she led the way; all were having a blast. The smile on her face when we emerged on shore an hour later was worth the rush, the last minute stress, and the price of admission in multiples.

Book Report

How do I know its going to be a good year? Yesterday at Wal-Mart I searched for my Father’s Day books, WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A DAD and WHY A SON NEEDS A DAD. You see, at Mother’s Day they stocked the mothers’ version of these books, two shelves deep and two books across. Not finding the same arrangement this time, I turned to leave the book department, disappointed and long-faced, only to run into a center isle display of the books in question, three shelves deep and five books across. Now that’s a natural buzz!

Here’s Part II of the daily excerpt from the introduction of my book, WHY A SON NEEDS A DAD:

As I became a teenager our relationship began to change. Like most young people, I considered myself misunderstood and overtly controlled. I wanted to wear the “in” clothes and stay out late with my friends, shirking my chores and other responsibilities. My demonstrations of rebellion irritated my dad like a pesky splinter under a fingernail. Both being strong willed, my dad and I clashed often. My stormy coming-of-age years were difficult for both of us. At times our disputes were stormy enough that I questioned our love for one another, and I wondered what happened to the man who had shown me how to fish. When I left home I promised myself I would not be like him when I became a man, and most certainly not when I became a father.

By the time I entered graduate school my dad and I had come to a peaceful co-existence. We were different, but we could get along. We would not talk much, but we would not argue either. The emotion between us was warm, but not embracing. I could thank him for the money he would slip into my pocket when he thought I wasn’t looking and for welcoming me as I came home now and then for one of Mom’s soothing Sunday meals. He could tell me he was proud of what I had accomplished. Our relationship was not what it had been, but it was such that I could love him again. “This will be okay,” I thought to myself. I did not imagine then that years later we would find ourselves sharing a deep bond, that I would feel intensely for him, and that I would be giving my dad credit for helping to shape me into the man I would become.

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