Blog Therapy (Or: A day with my 8-year-old)

Well, I am back at it. Not working, per se, but back to blogging. It seems as if I have some…how you say…TIME on my hands, since I left Birmingham (and trust me, there is nothing more satisfying that having Birmingham in your rear-view mirror).   So, for right now, it’s either blog, or that list of “honey do’s” that is ever present on the counter. Paint? Do the laundry? Laundry Schamundry…I’d rather write.  At the moment, though…I am in the middle of one of my “honey do’s”. I am at the local Chevy dealership getting my wife’s SUV checked out. There seems to be a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light that keeps reappearing within hours of the last time we had had it looked at.


Believe me, if I knew anything at all about cars…I’d still be sitting here, waiting for someone wholly more qualified than I to fix it.  I’m pretty well aware of my limitations, and spending hours trying to figure out why the compression in the flux depostulator is 4% low is not my idea of how I want to kill time.  Besides, I am “car-illiterate”.  This means, essentially, that I am the black sheep of the Ballance clan.  Let’s put this into perspective: My father and brothers operate a racing team. You heard me….a racing-freakin’-team. Their (very expensive) hobby is getting a race car to reach the upper limits of its performance, over a ¼ mile, straight line, racetrack. My hobby…is making, and drinking, beer.  Can you see the disconnect?  I thought so…

There is something to be said for sitting in the waiting room at a car dealership. At this time of day…most people are working, except for those in “transition” (like me), and senior citizens. I have personally observed one gentleman, who may have been alive at the time of Grover Cleveland’s first inauguration, ask no less than 4 times to have the volume on the TV turned up.

Watch for elderly pickpockets...

It is now as loud as the front row at a Megadeth show…if only the Megadeth show was being simulcast on CNN.  I can easily hear everything on the television outside, here in the case enclosed “playroom”. To add to this equation, my youngest daughter decided that today would be the day that she regurgitated her entire breakfast and require a day off of school.  So, not only am I waiting at the dealership…but I am waiting in the “playroom” of the waiting room. A utopia of toys and distractions for any child aged 1 to 10. This is a welcome distraction…for an 8-year-old. Me being 42…not so much.  However, since she is in this room of bliss, I have the luxury of writing, while she goes to town on the Duplos (yes…she is “sick”, but miraculously well enough to create a fort).  However, I may have just pulled the ultimate “jerk” Dad move. I brought along a workbook of Second Grade math problems for her to work on, to which she is not happy.  After 20 minutes of joyous play and Duplo construction…she is now as sullen and depressed as a Massachusetts Democrat.  She has ceased all normal brain function…and is mindlessly tapping her pencil on the table.  Every 30-45 seconds, she looks over at me as if to say: “I used to love you…”.  Perhaps I am being a bit harsh with her…especially since she is now using the “I don’t feel good” excuse to try and get out of doing the math.  Funny, when she was building the Burj Dubai out of Duplos 20 minutes ago…she seemed just fine.  A picture of good health.  Now, she is apparently very near death, with a math book in front of her.

She is a great kid. Very smart, and compassionate about nature and animals. She is certainly the more “left-brained” member of our family. But, that also means, that mundane tasks like subtraction is not her primary focus. Her specialties lie in creating pieces of artwork that she asserts should sell for thousands of dollars, running a veterinarians office for her rocking horses, or using her Ninja skills to save China on our Playstation 3.  There may be some real world practicality to that. I often lay awake at night, in fear that we will be the victims of a home invasion…by the Yakuza. If so…my 8 year old has the talent to dispatch them promptly and return peace and calm to our home. So…in that instance…screw the Math book. Let’s go get the car…hurry home…and kill Ninjas.

Their ninja skills were no match for the dog, who thought they were chew toys.