Monday, March 15, 2010

Almost Perfect

Road Trip!!

Last weekend I took Amari on her first overnight away from her Mom. My buddy Matt and I recently agreed to co-manage a fantasy baseball team this year and use the on-line draft as an excuse to get together for the first time in nearly a year. I was excited to see him, to see the life he's created for himself since graduate school, and to show off my own adorable little creation. I was a little nervous about the journey, because although Amari has been historically good both in and out of the car, this was about five times as long as she'd ever been car-seated and I didn't know what to expect. I'd cleared the trip weeks ago with Carrie who said she could use the time to catch up on grades and prep work, so Saturday morning Amari and I set out on our adventure.

The drive to Fairfield was smooth an uneventful. In fact, Amari probably would have slept the entire way had I not stopped in Cloverdale to pee and to make sure she was still alive. Not a peep for two hours had me a little worried. I fed her along with my caffeine addiction, then continued south towards Sonoma County. Traffic in Santa Rosa brought a few tears to Amari's cheeks, but to be honest I cried a little, too. It's very disconcerting when you live in a four traffic light town. After lunch with my friend Eric in Petaluma, we headed east and arrived at Matt's by mid-afternoon.

Matt was great with Amari. Although he is opting not to have kids, choosing instead to spend the quarter of a million dollars he will save on an indoor basketball court, I have no doubt that he would make an excellent father. He is an uncle to many and was incredibly comfortable holding, feeding, and soothing Amari. My hope is that he decides to go half court and have one small, uneducated child. Not everyone needs to go to college, Matt.

After catching up, Matt took me for a tour of his house and his neighborhood. His back yard looks out over a man-made lake and surrounding houses. As I descended into Fairfield I thought, "What a shit hole. Who would want to live here?" but an hour later I was looking out over a small lake saying, "Wow - this looks like Tahoe, or...Zurich." I decided then that Matt and I would take multiple pictures of different parts of his yard and tell Amari later that he and I had taken her to both the Sierras and Switzerland.

In touring Matt's neighborhood, he was able to point out a gated community where I could almost catch a glimpse of CC Sabathia's house. Amari was very impressed remembering how I'd almost cheered him on when she was in utero last October during the Yank's-Phill's Series. And by almost cheered, I mean boo-ed. I, on the other hand, remarked, "Wow. Almost being able to see a kind of famous person's house must really drive up the house values."  More interestingly, I was also able to see the location of Matt's on-line video debut, "No Cat," which I highly recommend. We walked right up to the bridge where you could almost see where they did some of the filming. This is now the adverb I use when I name and location drop. Check out the video.

That night, Matt, Amari, and I stayed up trying to figure out the best approach for Sunday's draft. While Matt and I came up with at least eight different strategies that ranged from "Studs and Duds" to "80% Value" to "Systematically Attacking the Integrity of Every Other GM During the Auction," Amari reeled us in with cries of hunger or fatigue and the occasional vocalization that sounded an awful lot like "Draft Joey Votto." She knows her sleepers, and when she finally became one herself around ten, Matt and I continued our fruitless pursuit of last minute fantasy secrets into the wee hours. By the end of the night our sides hurt from laughing, we made it half way through a Bill Burr stand-up routine, and we'd targeted five guys that we had to have on our team. Amari woke up at midnight, four, and seven for a formula refill, but other than that she slept peacefully.

The next morning, we took photos of Zurich, Tahoe, and Matt's yard before casting all of our strategies into the lake in favor of the "We Need Joey Votto" approach. As it turns out, not only did we get Votto, but we also got almost everyone else we'd targeted. I think we might almost win this thing. Amari slept through much of the draft, which had me concerned about how she would fair on the drive home. As soon as the draft ended, I packed up and hit the road.





                 Matt's Yard

On a weekend full of "almost's" it makes perfect sense that Amari and I almost made it all the way home without a melt down. In fact, the first three hours she was awake, making sucking noises, and babbling incessantly. I stopped to feed her and she immediately picked up where she'd left off once we were back in the car. I called Carrie to let her know that we'd be home in forty-five minutes when Amari began to cry. Just a little at first, but enough to get me to stop and offer her more food. She took it and fell asleep an ounce in. We continued and she slept for another fifteen miles, but when she woke up she began shrieking. I stopped where I could to offer her more food, then again a few minutes later to change her diaper. Each time I began driving again, the shrieks grew louder. I tried the white noise on the radio trick. Louder shrieks. I tried singing. Even louder. This is not an uncommon response to my voice. I stopped and held her for a while, but it was getting dark - bedtime - and it felt sketchy to be sitting in my car in the middle of nowhere.

Finally, I put her in her seat and said, "Listen, Amari. I'll pay for the therapy later, but we need to get home now." I hoped that she would cry herself to sleep, but she outlasted the sixteen miles of winding road and carried her tears right up to the front door where Carrie greeted her with tears of her own. All the while I tried to remain calm, saying, "Daddy loves Amari. Almost home. Mommy's there" over and over while occasionally muttering, "Are you fucking kidding? It's been twenty minutes. Jesus." Even though Amari was nearly perfect for 350 of 370 miles, that last leg of the journey will make me think twice driving anywhere anytime soon.

Carrie will also make me think twice. Although she was on board with the road trip in theory, by the time we'd arrived in Fairfield on Saturday she was lonely, depressed, and missed Amari terribly. When I called to let her know we'd arrived safely, not only did she want to catch up on everything as though we were dating again, but she also said I wasn't allowed to do this again until Amari is older and more annoying.

Fair enough, Mom. I wouldn't want to be away from her either. I'm glad we're home.

1 comment:

  1. great story! you are a great dad. I can't wait to meet Amari. xo