DINKS Digging Papa T and Daddy-Dubya - a Little Father's Day and a Whole Lot of Coffee

Previously on A&A's Adventures in Cohabitation: Single evenings lead to single mornings; ASICS become the cicadas of domain (W)right domain; our newlyweds take a dalliance in the country after a final hurrah for the PNB 2013 season, only to find kin and cookies; and some very good gossipy reflections with David Lynch's Collaborative Law Meeting. Coming up: Groping in the dark leads to some very arduous race routines; Fathers are Celebrated with only a modicum of swordplay; and DINKS take off again to run away the parental pressures of paternal hullabaloo!




Blinded by the Light or Groping in the Dark?  +Andrew Wright  recently commented that he suspects I'm a bat. This I hope refers to my tendency to leave the lights off when moving through a room, and not because he thinks I have rabies. I  actually have a tendency to turn them off when I enter rooms (as a prospective task to accomplish so I don't forget to do so later). While I am sensitive to light due to my blue-eyed bog creature heritage, it's not necessarily that I dislike the light, so long as it is not that wretched prison-chic fluorescent. I can even go to bed before the sun (stay asleep after it rises, is another issue). During the winter I even use a full spectrum SAD light in the mornings to keep me sane. But I do seem to enjoy turning those damned lights off. 

 Andrew, by contrast, is not necessarily somebody who would be able to navigate through our home without visual succor; at least by self-report, such endeavors would end in death, fire and destruction. I'm told most people acclimate to their physical environments enough to more-or-less do so with some moderate alacrity after a few months, but he remains skeptical. 

He does point out that various bits of clutter come and go (before any recriminations are carted out, I'd add that based on my perception that he has more of his sports stuff and bags littering the floor than I have other stuff, I'd guess we're actually about on par for this little pecadillo).Indeed, the protean contours of our homescape may well confound any natural spatial memories. I've been known to walk into the screen in front of my office after our cleaning person has been here, for instance (she does like to gaslight us by moving everything an inch or two here and there). But aside from natural clumsiness, the detritus factor has not been a huge problem for me when wandering in the crepuscule.

Perhaps it's the product of being a dance-follow for so many years (tangueras often dance with closed eyes on the one hand, but are also responsible for warning leads of potential collisions). There's a way of moving that does not provoke stumbles upon unexpected encounters with objects like your partner's toes. Given other attributes, I'd guess this way of moving also correlates with a less than vociferous mode of motility. At least, I'm told that I have a way of sneaking up on people. 

I find that when moving through less familiar physical spaces or places with people, I do rely on visuals, but much of that is devoted to peripheral vision and incorporates perceptions of air flow and auditory signals (don't get me started to the hairs that raise up on my arms at the sound of footsteps clearly pacing more quickly than mine and coming closer to me). I am, of course, overly sensitive to sharing physical space with others and often find myself cringing not to pull my acquaintances out of areas where they are interrupting the paths of others and so on. But that's a different story... or is it? Perhaps a different chapter to the same story. 
This all came up again at dinner a few nights ago. I think I was commenting that it was fascinating that although Andrew and I used to have about the same myopia, his happened fairly quickly and has remained stable (mine continued to get worse through law school, which was more or less anticipated). I'd always somewhat suspected that my diminished reliance on the visual to move through space was partially related to having grown up with poor eyesight. Andrew's experience would belie that concept somewhat, since he had worse vision earlier than I did. 

Andrew just likes to see where his feet are going. He likes to see what he's doing and gets eye strain if he doesn't have things like the stove light on while cooking. I seem to rely more on muscle memory in routine situations - and a conflagration of sensory inputs in the less routine. This conversation naturally led to several scenarios in which we both attempted to eat our dinners (we were at a restaurant) with our eyes closed or at least looking away. I found it fairly easy. Since my eyes were closed, I couldn't say how Andrew did. 

Since then, of course, I've been occasionally trying out other tasks with my eyes closed. I can get through my entire bathroom routine without seeing. I can also locate my pajamas, the bed and the fan in my room and change without injuring myself. I also seem to be able to navigate the kitchen well enough to at least lay out the coffee and lunch and breakfast makings (I am not ambitious or brave enough to see if I can also clean up after the horrible mess I'd likely make attempting to make these dishes without at least a little visual help). I have definitely used a light hand on the wall to trace myself to familiar objects and sometimes have to lightly palp the space where an anticipated jar may be until I can feel it. Once I've looked at something or located it once, I seem to be able to access objects with my hand immediately. 

As an exception, I am an extremely visual interlocutor. I feel disarmed and deaf over telephones, because so much of what I "hear" in a conversation is garnered from body cues and facial expressions. There's a distinct connection for me between the visual process of somebody else's face and posture and an instinctive mirror that occurs in my body. When any of that is thwarted - say because I can't see them or just as frustratingly if I am constrained from physically responding by say dental equipment or hot irons - I feel incapacitated conversationally to a certain degree. 

And sometimes, as perhaps befits my highly sensitive individual mantle, I prefer to focus on sight after I've muted some other sense. A pure crystalline image when the sound is muted can resound through my neurons for hours and I'm able to visualize scenes and concepts vividly (I make no claims on the accuracy of those as relates to memory, but that my brain may fill in the blanks with composite scenery doesn't diminish the brightness involved).

Naturally, I may not need the light as much as others, but then again, I rather like the fact that it shows off my pretty bursts of footwear...






This morning was a bit quirky in (W)rightlandia in that despite being a Saturday, we started off with our ordinary morning routine. I woke up the loris 



- or rather George the alligator braved that rise-and-shine with some increasingly invasive acrobatics - and left him some coffee while breakfast manifested in the kitchen. 


Andrew eventually stumbled downstairs. 


We ate. He fondled his kindle a bit, inspiring the inevitable insistence that he entertain me by telling me the blow-by-blow of the internetz that day. We sat down to eat. We chatted about female promiscuity and - as is only fitting as I now compulsively document the mundane details of our domesticated lives on a public forum - perhaps touched on the NSA uproar with that sort of complacency one expects of a member of the electronically exhibitionist generation (in a world where my self-worth is intricately intertwined to the number of "likes" "plusses" followers and blog-hits I get, it's odd to suddenly mind that anything I am doing is being possibly seen by another set of eyes... not that I am comfortable with this feeling, because I'm not, but it is there... incidentally, you know... you can toooootally feel free to share this blog with ALL YOUR FRIENDS PLEEEEEAAAAASE LOOOOOVE ME! Ahem, I mean, my privacy is very important). 

But then we veered off into weekend territory for a spell. Instead of truncating the emerging conversation and leaving at 6:15 as I usually do, I stayed. Andrew stayed. We sat on the couch with our second coffees and I trawled the Bar Journal to comment on especially disturbing law-firm adds, the murky employment situation depicted in the classified section, and current outrage over the Journal having defanged its disciplinary section (the juicy bits were condensed to a list of violated rules, which is no fun at all and apparently every other attorney in Washington feels this way too!). 

Another hour and we veered straight off into race prep. See, the quirky routine this morning was because Andrew is trying his once-every-three-years venture into road cycling. Roadies are different than other kinds of cyclists. I don't really know the specifics, except that they are the ones most likely to have negative body fat and no upper body. I have come to understand that roadie culture and racing is quite a particular one. There's minor overlap with track, but not really enough to make them interchangable. Andrew is a mountain biker being born again as a track cyclist. Road-cycling is not something that uses his particular skill set, but certainly more convenient logistically. They do not, however, appear to award golden banana orangutan points, so forget road-cycling I say! Also, it seems to be the particularly dangerous form of racing from all the reports of injuries I hear. And, well, I've seen the Tour de France. One bike goes down and twenty go down... all at speeds exceeding your average in-city-drive. 

This morning, Andrew expected to cycle out to the race, and finish about an hour and a half afterwards. I was going to meet him at the end with his car. Turns out, he got dropped earlier in the race after an accident in front of him slowed him down, and he quit about twenty minutes in. Naturally, he came straight home and uploaded all of his information to the fifty odd training sites he maintains (GPS tracking, of course NSA... please note how fast I went at this hilly area and look at that heart rate data!), and then hopped back onto his mountain bike for a bit longer indulgence on Galbraith. 

I think we're back on track (har har) for another Road Race hiatus... Bring on the golden bananas!






Because it is Father's Day ... ok ok there's that obstreperously contrarian part of me that finds these gender specific segmented holidays suspect; I always wonder if such days are a little harder for those with bad relationships with their (gender-specified) honored parent, those estranged from their children, and those whose relationships maybe don't fit the mother/father proscriptive manicheasm. AND, ok most of the tropes of what we do, and the cards we give for mothers/father's day are pretty uninspired 1950's caricatures of any modern family or the roles that either parent plays. (I think a card making some kind of uncomfortable Rigoletto reference would be more applicable to my father than some baseball-fishing card featuring hammocks and golf clubs talking about how he was always tinkering on automobiles in the garage...) Yadda yadda yadda

BUT then again, I do have a pretty great dad, and while I believe both of my parents deserve my praise and honor daily, our shiny-thing brains are certainly helped along by little markers that force us to stop and be grateful while gorging ourselves on gastronomic brunchstrosities. So, on those grounds, Happy Father's Day to me. I have a great dad, and in my line of work, I'm constantly reminded of how fortunate I am in that regard.

I'm not saying we were always tight knit. I don't have a lot of strong memories of him from before my parents' divorce except as an abstract concept. I do remember my first opera, weekends of sitting on blankets by poolsides watching him race, and secretly fondling the magical (and highly expensive) vases and artifacts that turned most of our home into a highly unplayable area.

When I was a bit older, we had our predictable clashes. I can imagine these were distressing to him, given how close and natural of a relationship he'd had with my older sister when she tiptoed into the teens. My brand of passive willfulness must have taken him entirely by surprise.

 On the one hand I was obstinately independent and wanted my final decisions to be my own uninfluenced inclinations derived from uninterrupted consideration; on the other, I was also paralyzingly terrified of disappointing, and this meant that every new talent or ability that was discovered created a new potential for letting others and myself down. Oh I'm reading five grades above my level? Crap. Oh, I might qualify for a talented and gifte- oooooh that's going to be embarrassing. Oh, I have a lovely singing voice and can study oper- ... just wait until they realize I sing like a toad at high-C! I hated the idea of getting my own expectations up only to crash against natural limitations, but seeing that disappointment in the eyes of my greatest fans was even less appealing a proposal. 

 My father, by contrast, had a knack for discovering potential, a Protestant ethic that all potential was wasted if not used, and a tendency to worry, particularly when he was unable to control the outcome. He may not be a pessimist per se, but perhaps at times the glass is more "half full... of water from some unfiltered stream that probably has a lot of deadly bacteria in it and should be washed out immediately!"

Our tendencies were not necessarily complementary. He saw brilliance and - afraid that it be left to die a lonely, uncultivated death - advanced. I - sensing the mounting pressure of new potential failures to avoid - withdrew. My withdrawing made him worriedm and he advanced. I withdrew some more... in sort of an ongoing circle of backing up and peering forward.  

This dance, in a sense, fed the measured and quiet autarchy that persists in my conduct today. I so thoroughly insisted upon breaking that cycle, that I entirely derailed from the requisite trajectory of us upper-middle-class children of a certain sort, so as to crush all pesky expectations before edging back onto that course on my own terms. After much ado, and a few very prodigal (in our family) years of being a college drop out and shiftless factory worker, I rather insisted on paying my own way through undergrad part ... three by that point. I may not have been quite so stubborn about law school...

During my second stint in college, I realized that my father could respect me and see me as an adult, but still would have to bite his hands not to desperately make a grab for chief navigational officer of my life. I realized what love it took to inspire that desire, and how much more love it required to resist it. And I realized how terrifying it must be to have children whose happiness shapes your own, and yet whose lives are not in your control to steer towards the happy shoals you see for them. The patience that parents must exert as they watch their children make those necessary mistakes to discover their own truths is infinite. I hope that after having determinedly forced him to cut me some slack, I also learned to cut him some slack. It seems like we have done so and, in the doing, really discovered a priceless connection.

I am so much like my dad in parts - I pity Nathan whenever he has dance lessons with us, because I am handful enough but the two of us in stereo comprises one sassy sarcastic, laser-focused roil of impudence. We are both introverted with gregarious streaks that lend themselves to theatricality and unexpected social tendencies. We're both just a touch curmudgeonly, indiscreetly impatient, and truly quite mad, while being quite the soft touch to the softest strains of a plaintive melody. 

So, golf jokes aside, it's a nice chance to realize how blessed I am to have this "father" creature in my life. To laugh with (and occasionally at), to confide in and - now - to be confided in, and of course to DANCE LIKE EVERY ONE IS WATCHING (because when the two of us are on the floor, absolutely everyone will be)







Peachy Kinvara DinkaSundayRunday and Other Athletic Adventures of the (W)right Sort - While yesterday was Father's Day, we did not actually spend the entire day in secret reveries of paternal adulation. I only know a few solemn chants and prayers, and my dad didn't want us interrupting his nice deep-tissue-torture massage anyways.

Andrew did, of course call his father. I passed along a "hello" and received a few hopes that Andrew soon would be celebrating his own Father's Day (no comment, except that one of the first times I met him, my father-in-law gave me an XXL t-shirt that was big enough "to wear should any life events take place "). I am not certain what the father's/mother's day etiquette is for in-laws. Should there be a separate holiday for this? Maybe, so as not to take up a whole 'nother Sunday, it could just be a Wednesday afternoon in June? In-laws, step-parents, and not-otherwise specified relationship day?

Incidentally, I have decided on differentiating designations for our respective fathers to be used on our mutual calendar events. I feel like "Adella's/Andrew's Dad" was kind of impersonal, so I thought some common appellations would add something. Currently, our g-calendars refer to Papa-T and Daddy-Dubya (in reference to their last names and their future rap careers). If said imaginary grandchildren ever manifest, I am thinking these names will be far superior alternatives to "grandpa" and other such nonsense. 

Ah yes, but the non-holiday events were something of a paean to it not being Father's Day for Andrew just yet. In other words, we charged forward in full DINKosity along our weekend workout routine.

 I used to run pretty regularly. I'd get up at five, plunk out a good hour, hop in the shower and scooch on to work. I even had a training calendar that varied the run almost every day of the week - choosing from such classics as "hill intervals" "speedwork" "recovery run" and "loooong run"... and yes the loooong run was looooong enough to include Cliff Bars and the occasional gel. It's been a while since then, and in my post-law-school career, running has mostly been a haphazard social endeavor.

When Andrew determined to conquer running about a year and a half ago, I joined him... when the weather was alright. I even participated in his first 5K (ascertaining that my predictions that I genuinely don't care for racing were entirely accurate, but that I'm no slouch in my current "categories" anyway).

When he first started getting more serious about running, I actually backed away from it a bit. It was initially meant to be kind of an easy fun thing for us to do together, and I really didn't want to start racing up cliff-walls in the pouring rain and lightening. He gets a tad gung-ho about things, so my prediction of being pushed into a bush on the final stretch weren't unfounded. But they also haven't panned out!

He's been gradually increasing his weekend run up to about an hour. Actually 53 minutes. There's a reason for this number. It involves his magical training watch and involute training calendar. That's as much as I can give you, but if you've got forty minutes, he can elaborate for y a. He's also been working with pace guides to edge towards a long-run pace of just around 9.5 minute miles. This is awesome, because that's sort of where I used to put mine.

 I tend to still take off near the end - my body warms up around the twenty minute mark and starts revving up for charging around the forty minute mark. I think my natural pace for these medium length runs may actually turn out to be just a bit faster than 9.5. I have been known to run convoluted little extra loops and switch backs to avoid my previous pattern of running off and getting lost. At times I may literally run circles or at least a circle around my husband, who is so shockingly disciplined that he manages to not take the inadvertent bait, but instead to stay within his prescribed pace guides. I have yet to see the interior of any trailside foliage, in fact! And this is quite impressive. 

Our run on Sunday fit the above qualifications. We wandered down Railroad Avenue doing Andrew's warm-up routine, which involves some rather fascinating "silly walks" that entertain the folks in Woods Coffee to no end. We ran for our allotted 53 minutes. We walked on either side. We ended up at the YMCA.

The Y was a huge relief to me. I've had this stupid muscle "thing" in my right rib cage for years.  I strained it attempting to impress Mr. (W)right on our "easy" Mountain Bike ride through the Arroyo Ravine of DEATH a few years ago. And every once in a while, something tweaks that same area again. I think this time, it's a product of my proclivity for inappropriate mid-rep hanging from one of the girl-machines. There's a bicep machine that has a little padded table around chest area and I may have enjoyed hanging off of it with my feet dangling beneath me... just maybe. And I definitely felt something snap a bit during one of those dangles.

The rib-cage area seems fairly important for almost any motion made by the upper body. First, my entire back seized up from various muscular compensations. Then I felt twinges every time I tried to lay on my side, extend my arm over my head, twist my body... you name it. So I took a week off from my upper body exercises and was a little nervous about attempting them again yesterday. Turned out that the impromptu rest week worked to my advantage. I managed to do all my sets (gingerly and with lots of rest) just fine and did more reps of all my exercises than usual. That whole training-less-means-more-results thing is still so counter-intuitive, but it can really seem to work magic. And, although I had to eliminate one of my usual exercises, the others seemed not to aggravate my side. 

But back to running - while Mr. (W)right has his menagerie of running shoes, I've been comfortable with the one pair. My forward strike style is pretty low impact, and the Kinvaras are nicely equipped to just add a little padding on the front of the foot. Since I haven't been running that much, I also haven't put too much wear and tear on them. But after a year, they actually are starting to wear down a bit, and it might be time to add to my own collection. Andrew, needless to say, has already started looking up deals on Kinvaras and suggesting color schemes to me... in between market research on the new suspension bike he probably will be buying (three days ago, it was a time trial bike, but so far the mountain bike seems to be sticking a touch more). Did I mention we're DINKS?




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