Getting It

I went on a march this weekend.  It was the annual AIDS Walk Austin; perhaps you saw an earlier post.  For those that donated, thank you very much.  The event raised some $212,000 for prevention and care of AIDS and HIV patients in central Texas.  It was a big turn out and apparently this year was the first year they were able to hold the event in a park instead of a parking lot or sidewalk.  I was glad I was able to take part.

I was by myself and listening to music so I was just able to watch people walk around me.  For the most part there were a lot of groups or at least couples participating.  It was a big mix of age and race and orientation.  I saw some of the most fantastic tattoos and outfits.  It was a pleasant day, the walk wasn't that long and the party before hand was very warm and inviting.  Even being by myself I didn't feel out of place.  Well, that much anyway.  The mac-n-cheese BLT went a long way toward making me feel better.

Despite the reason for the event, despite the need to raise money and consciousness about a disease that destroys lives, the folks at the park were full of life and happy to see each other.  It felt like a family reunion.  So many people knew each other from past walks.  You could tell that they knew each other outside of this event as well.  They would meet later.  I can't believe it's only been a week.  Call me when you're back home.  People had come in from all over the country.  I overheard a couple from New York talking about how nice the weather was here.  The main speaker was from San Francisco.  Dozens of people up from Houston.  It was friendly and it felt safe.

It felt right being there.

Last week while at a local bar participating in trivia and karaoke, I met a couple new people.  One guy sat and talked with me for a while after the trivia ended.  He was with a group but they left; he was waiting to meet up with his boyfriend later.  During trivia they were giving me a hard time because I was beating them.  They kept saying I should join their team so we'd all win bar money.  It was good playful banter.

So after a while of making small talk with this guy, I realized that I can't make small talk without telling someone the last 15 years of my life.  It's really awkward for people I'm sure, but I just seem to figure out how to talk about my family without giving an intricate blow-by-blow of at least the last decade.  And, I mean, it comes up.  You meet a new person, they aren't a pyscho, you seem to hit it off and you want to get to know them.  You ask questions like, "How old are you?"  "Do you have any kids?"  "Are you married?"  "What do you do for a living?"  Basic questions.  Most of those lead to me explaining what I was doing in 1996 and how it led to me being in this bar on a Thursday.

This guy was pretty stunned.  Most people are.  But he asked something no one has yet.  When I told him about how I knew Cheryl was gay before we got married he asked, "Why did you do that?  Why did you set yourself up to fail?"  It was my turned to be stunned.  I really didn't have a good answer.  I fumbled about a bit saying things about the timing being right, her having previous relationships with guys, us having a connection neither could explain, etc. etc.  But I couldn't shake the fact that despite how seemingly good our weird little family dynamic seems to work, someone went all the way back to the beginning to ask why I would even go down that path.

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets.  (Well, maybe a couple, but not in regards to this.)  Even in light of the events of the past couple months, I wouldn't consider the last 15 years a failure.  There have been hardships and heartaches, but there have been moments of real happiness.  The kind of happiness that makes you focus on the moment and become hyper aware of your surroundings so you can use that memory later.  What happened recently was devastating to me, but that doesn't change what happened the four previous years.  There were times when I was so happy, so in love with life in general that I didn't think it was possible.  I thought it was a joke.  That kind of joy can be found again.  That kind of warmth and happiness is always just around the corner.  All you have to do is be open and willing to see it, even if it's small amounts.

Those people at the march had it despite the losses they may have had.  My family has it despite dealing with the day to day tragedies.  To me there's no setting yourself up for failure, there's taking a chance.  Sometimes those chances pay off.

Carry on.


Snail's Pace

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Just a quick update for things going on at the S.S. Minnow. (That's what we've named the house on Facebook so we can invite people to things. It's technically listed as a karaoke bar.)

Scooter #1 is running okay. The colder it gets the worse it runs so I'm getting a little stressed about when it gets really cold. Scooter #2 still isn't starting. I have a few more things left to try but I might just call a mobile mechanic for help. It's not that I don't like working on it, it's just that I'm not a mechanic, I don't have ALL the right tools and I'm always worried I'd do more harm than good. We'll see how it goes.

The kids are progressive along standard parameters. Rowan is exerting her pre-teen sensibilities, which means she's getting into trouble a lot lately for having no empathy for her fellow human beings in general and specifically when in regards to her little brother. Still, she's getting straight A's and is one of the top students in her Kickstart class and is still doing very well with her oboe.

Gregory is still a Webelo and just earned his Bobcat badge. He and I went to Webelo Woods last weekend to learn about all the Boy Scout troops. It's a little like a Job Expo where there might be activities or swag to give away but you're basically just getting info and being pitched to by all the local troops. Still, we had fun.

What I like about G's level of commitment to scouts is that it fits my level of wanting to be there. After a little while he just goes, "Hey, I'm done. Let's go home." And I ask if he's sure, and remind him there are activities later. But he declines, saying he's had enough. I don't push, mainly because I'm right there with him. Plus, I don't want to be that parent that keeps their kid in an activity (baseball, football, band, theater, etc) that they may not like. He's still just 9 and has a lot of life to check out.

The ladies are doing well. No major illnesses or injuries. School is going well, though a lot of work and stress involved. Everyone's jobs are okay, so nothing really to report.

We've got some activities coming up over the next few months and I'm excited for them. The first is Halloween. I'll be dressing up and going out, maybe to a couple parties. The kids will be trick-or-treating. I believe soon we may even have a pumpkin carving party again. We've already broken the seal on the chili and the wassail for this year, but I'm looking forward to sharing that with friends.

I'm planning on taking a trip to CO to see the family for Thanksgiving. That should be pretty cool. It's been a year since I've taken the kids up there. (Sadly, the reason for the last trip is no longer relevant and that didn't hit me till just a few days ago.) It might be snowing, but likely not. It'd be neat if the kids could see snow.

After that we have some choices to make about big trips next year. Rowan has band trips, but also a school trip to NY and DC. We've been weighing the costs of just sending her vs. the whole family going and it might actually be a better deal if we all went but not with the school. If we saved enough than we'll be going to DC next summer.

Finally, I'll be walking in an AIDS/HIV walk this Sunday. If you haven't, please consider donating. The money goes toward supporting the care of AIDS/HIV patients in Central Texas.


I'm still trying to write more (that book about my "interesting" life) and do more Lego projects. I haven't had a robot drawing in a while but I'm trying to find some muse to get me behind the desk again. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks.

Carry on.