Summer/Autumnal Highlights, with Photos!! (or, "Sorry, I Forgot About July through October")

I have let the past several months get away from me, and I’m not sorry. They were dumb months anyway. I’m better off without them. They just kept me down so I couldn’t realize my full potential, which is getting Christmas presents, preferably the full DVD set of The Wonder Years. I have not had a crush on Winnie Cooper since at least 2016. That is a fact.

Don’t stop believin’. (Fillmore, Utah; Jul 2018)

All that said, I need to summarize the past few months here on the blog so my mom knows what’s been going on. Other people read my blog too — LOTS of people, like my wife once per quarter, to make sure I’m not libeling her — but mostly it’s for my mom. It’s true I could give my mom the skinny over the phone and spare the internet another asinine blog post, but she never knows where her phone is and sometimes struggles to turn it on.

Had to get up at 4:00 am, but got the purple sunrise!! Who’s the world’s best dad NOW? Not Abu Halen? OK, well, that’s cool. (Kolob Canyon, Utah; Jul 2018)

July: We leave India on a 12 hour flight upon which all of the in-flight entertainment is broken. Shannon ditches me with the kids and claims a seat by herself several rows away. She ends up sitting next to a blind lady and has to take her to the bathroom every hour on the hour. I privately feel very satisfied about this.

Told her I was “just testing the autofocus.” Falls for it every time. (Catoosa, Oklahoma; Aug 2018)

Me and Shannon hunt for rental houses in Northern Virginia. We don’t argue very much about which place to rent, but we can’t agree on where we should eat for lunch. Shannon says I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but I don’t want to because they taste like fruits and vegetables. I want hamburgers hand over fist, because I just lived in India where Burger King sells Whoppers with chicken in them, which is offensive to most deities, except maybe Baal, who doesn’t care about that much, really. We eventually split the difference and just have Ben & Jerry’s for lunch, which pleases Zeus. Then we fly to Las Vegas to see my parents and not gamble, even a little, because I’m no dummy. I’ve listed to Kenny Rogers. I know gambling kills you.

Donald’s Populist Punch. Makes you believe you can act however you want with no consequences. I kind of liked it. (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Aug 2018)

August: I buy a motorcycle in Utah and try to ride it to Washington DC, for reasons that don’t make any sense to anyone, including me. The motorcycle only breaks down once in 5,000 miles, and my tent holds up well for two weeks, but my waterproof backpack falls off the bike in Indiana and rips open on the highway. During a thunderstorm. I call Shannon to complain that the universe hates me, and she tells me that this misfortune has befallen me because I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. That is probably true. I am both fat and unpopular with the cosmos. Give me a second here, I’m suddenly depressed.

Here’s our new rental place. Special thanks to Russ and Ellen for moving out for a year so our family of hobos could move in. (Reston, Virginia; Sep 2018)

September: Our children are surprised that the kids in their mega-sized American public school don’t talk to you or express even the vaguest interest in whether or not you are alive. We reveal to them a life hack for forming relationships with American teenagers: when you want to talk to them, just seize their phone, chuck it on the ground, stomp on it a bunch, spit on the mangled remnants, and then look them in the eye and say, “Hey, what’s up man.”

First day of school. We are not sure what this special hand thing is, but so far it hasn’t got them beat up, so. (Reston, Virginia; Aug 2018)

The Foreign Service assigns me to a job in Nicaragua, starting semi-immediately. Two weeks later, after I’ve convinced my family that Nicaragua is not a volatile nation possibly about to plunge into anarchy and chaos, despite the fact that Nicaragua is a volatile nation possibly about to plunge into anarchy and chaos, the Foreign Service tells me just kidding, we made an administrative error, you’re not going. I demand from HR a neck brace to assuage the emotional whiplash to which the past year has subjected me. HR tells me no, on the grounds that I’m fat and unpopular with the cosmos. That’s reasonable, I think.

October: Trick-or-treating is a raging success this year. Grace brings home nine pounds of candy. Her trick-or-treating prowess is directly linked to my superior parenting, or at least that’s what Dr. Phil told me in a dream.

Halloween trunk-or-treat! We are going with the Nebraska/India/Egyptian theme that was all the rage this year. (Reston, Virginia; Oct 2018)

The Foreign Service assigns us to a job in Abu Dhabi starting next summer. I suspiciously accept, wary of having the rug pulled from beneath me again, but conscious of the fact that I have little to no leverage with the Foreign Service, HR, my wife, or most deities, with the exception of Baal, who I find quite pliable.

This is what a small portion of nine pounds of candy looks like. (Reston, VA; Oct 2018)

The daughter of the blind lady from the airplane calls from New Jersey. She tells me how wonderful and amazing and nice my wife is for helping out her mother on that long flight from Delhi to Newark. I listen and smile. Shannon is pretty great, no doubt about it.