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Post-dad-visit reflections

My last post was about my dad's then-upcoming visit.

You know, if it had not been so long since I had last seen him, I would not have been so nervous.

He's an easy-going guy, quick to realize his effect on the moods of others, and generally full of love for the universe. I didn't have much to worry about.

I was so preoccupied thinking of my childhood, when we were both very different people, that it was making me anxious.I was caught up in only remembering my perception of him--dad thru the lens of a son growing up before him.

It seemed strange that, in the weeks before his arrival, I was feeling like how I did as a child, helpless before this giant who could squash me like a bug, who isn't as impressed with my antics as my friends, and whose experience in the world exceeds mine by a long shot. This giant also chose to stick with me, a baby, toddler, adolescent, and teenager, and all the shit I dole out during those life stages.

We loved one another, but it wasn't a way that I understood until I had my own kids and started doing almost exactly what he was doing when he was my age. I realized who he is, who my mom is, where I fit into all that, and who I am as a mixture of the two.

Things were tense in my house for a long time, mostly during high school. Some of it was my fault, some of it was my parents'. Trying to keep score now, to know where to assign blame, is frivolous.

We get along better now that we don't live together. Let's just leave it at that. And they're both great people. And I love them very much. And I owe them my life.

They're leaving my brother and I the house and their assets in their will, did I ever mention that? They'll be providing for me even after they leave this world. Now that's something I'd like to be able to give my kids.

When dad actually visited, it was awesome. He was cool just hanging out, meeting BB, going with the flow. Him, Lucy and I went to the aquarium one day. Another day, we took him to Top Pot, and then to my campus at UW. He got to bond with his granddaughters and leave a lasting impression.

The last night he was in Seattle, he hung out late here at the house. Him, Megan and I sat at the kitchen table and drank Jack Daniel's for a little over an hour. He talked a lot and we listened a lot. It was all truly interesting to hear, and dad told me a lot of stuff that kinda opened my eyes.

For one thing, he was a Detroit and Jersey punk who specifically chose western Michigan to settle down with his family. It gave me a lot of insight into his character.

His process for applying for jobs in that area, while we all lived in San Jose during my first years, was interesting--he sent out letters, by mail, mind you, to various companies. He was going to be in town at such-and-such a time, and if they wanted to set up an interview, they could. He had job offers he could live with in the Muskegon area, and in Manistee. Can't remember why, but he took the Manistee job--there was something about it he liked better.

It was there I grew up, from a five-year-old to my entrance into legal adulthood.

Dad went up to Bellingham after a few days. My family's got a little contingency there--my uncle Guy, aunt Laurie, and their three kids Jared, Savannah, and Tessa, and my brother, live there. Megan and I dragged our kids up there and spent a night in the same hotel as dad. It was fun.

It was a busy time--in addition to my dad's visit, Tessa was graduating high school, and Laurie's parents, cousin, and cousin's wife were all visiting. Hence the hotel visit--Guy was going a little bonkers dealing with everything and constantly cleaning house and trying to retain some composure.

Brother, Dad
So after a good two days with the Smith BHamm Contingency, we left dad in Bellingham and went back to our regularly scheduled lives in Seattle. The next morning he hit road, down to Everett, and from there to highway 2, which took him across the north border of the country, thru the U.P., and back down to Manistee.

After a few days had gone by, I noticed that I had a renewed enthusiasm for, well, life. To be a good father, and put forth that extra effort for my kids, was no longer a trifle for me. Dad gave me some kind of inspiration I didn't expect.

Reconnecting with my family is awesome. You learn so much about yourself.

Also, did I mention that my family is just generally awesome? We don't have squabbles; we don't fight. We're good to one another. I'm a lucky dude.


Grandpa's coming to visit

My dad's coming to visit tomorrow, and I gotta admit I've sorta got the jitters.

He's something else, all right.

A laid-back dude, biker for almost 20 years, self-employed therapist with an MA in clinical psychology from San Jose State University.

Always been a tree-hugger and a hippie. Raised us in Eastlake, a small village just across Manistee Lake. For all intents and purposes, I tell people that I'm from Manistee.

And indeed, my parents are well-known there. They still live in the house I grew up in, are happily married, and basically have their shit really well in order. I'm proud of them, really. From humble, middle-class backgrounds they both came, and they both rose further above them.

Dad took us camping a lot when we were kids, something I didn't always appreciate then, but I sure as shit do now.

Raised my brother and I in the church, something my brother and I have since left, and my mother and father still struggle to reconcile this. It's the elephant in the room with us, so to speak.

But they both know they raised good boys, albeit a little crazy. And I've given them granddaughters, two beautiful granddaughters. Can't complain about that.

My mom and dad are both really nice, cool people. For that I am lucky. They still love each other too, for which I am always thankful.

My dad's riding his fucking Honda 1100cc Shadow out here from Michigan. He called on the phone tonight, from Spokane. Tonight he's staying in a hotel, as, apparently, the drive thru Montana today was windy, rainy, snowy and cold, and kicked his ass.

Or he kicked its ass. Whatever.

He'll be on his way tomorrow morning, and then book himself in a hotel here for four days. Then up to Bellingham to see his other son, the jerk, and his brother's family of 5. The Bellingham Smithold, if you will.

I've got "ammunition," as his cousin calls it, of a certain exchange student he took to prom. I know nothing, but I think Caryn wishes she could be here when I spring it on him, don't you, Caryn?

So yeah, I've got the jitters. For no good reason, other than that it won't be a long enough visit. And I miss my dad, and yet he will always eternally annoy me, simply because he raised me, AND I have his dna, and (mostly) I'm an uptight guy.

Dad's never met Beatrix before, and he's only seen Lucy twice--at two months, and one year. It'll be a big deal for him, and he's been excited about the trip for a long time. Packed and ready to go about two weeks in advance, my mom said.


Gritty Detroit documentary by Loki Films

I come from Michigan. I was raised in Manistee, and went on to live in Ann Arbor for four years before moving to Seattle, where I am now.

This is only so you know that Detroit is a very important city to me, and Loki Films is telling its story as no one else has the courage to.

The link below will take you to a site that has a short video preview of the film that follows an introduction by the two Loki masterminds.

They're asking for donations, but don't click out of an obligation to give money. Click because you love Detroit.

DETROPIA - We're Releasing our Doc Independently by Loki Films — Kickstarter:

'via Blog this'


kids are small

So much to say and only a limited time to say it. Henceforth this entry will probably suck, and read like a hurried, overworked and undersatisfied dad with a 3-year-old leaning on his arm shaking a Wiimote around.

But you know what? I like my 3-year-old leaning on me. Cause then I can put my arms around her and bury my face in her hair, close my eyes, and feel her life force surrounding me, and I'm calmed. The intense vibrations of stress cease, and I am at peace.

The baby sleeps in her room, mama's at work, the weather's nice, it's mostly quiet around here, and life is good.

So much has happened since and before the Racer shootings that I've wanted to blog about, but haven't had the time. Let's see if I can shoot out a quick list without going into much detail:

  • Lucy is peeing in the toilet like a champion, and she even poos in there sometimes. And she wears underwear now, not diapers.
  • BB can take five or six steps all by herself now.
  • I'm done with school for the summer.
  • My dad is driving his motorcycle out here, from MI, to see us and meet BB for the first time. He'll be here Monday.
  • Megan is taking a week off for the occasion.
  • I saw Sleep a few nights ago. Legendary.
  • Lucy has a belly button and I like to put my finger in it.
  • Lucy can now point the Wiimote at the tv and push the A button when the proper thing is highlighted.
You know what she just did, as I was typing that last sentence? She put the Wiimote on the couch, started pulling her pants down off her ass, which is incredibly funny, and started walking towards the bathroom to go pee all by herself.

I have to get up and wipe her now.