Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Tot Spot and Other Adventures

Vacation: This picture says it all

Dad tries to look candid while feeding ducks

Just checked the "monetize" section of my blog, which I still do from time to time even though the revenues don't budge much since I stopped making up stories about famous people and exploiting gossip sites. On the plus side, I still managed to make forty-eight cents last week and I've finally eclipsed the $100 threshold, which means Google should be sending me a check next month. On the puzzling side, according to the "stats" link, people are still reading the aforementioned fiction way more than any of my real or meaningful posts - except the one titled "First Boob Free Night or Best Dad Ever" which I suspect brings in the porn-seekers. And finally, on the most baffling side of all, even though I've participated in writing complete and utter lies about people on the Internet, I'm still just as likely to type questions like "Dick Vitale glass eye?" and  believe whatever answers come up, provided the person sounds knowledgeable.

On to the priceless meaningful stuff...

Spring break has come and gone, and once again we spent the week in Lake Tahoe with my dad, watching the rain and snow, listening to the wind howl, and enjoying tons of awesome Indian food. We don't have the luxury of an Indian restaurant in our town, which means we plan vacations around them when we travel. Spending time with my dad feels like it gets better all the time. I now appreciate the ways we're alike and love just going around, running errands, and being silly.

Amari with Elmo and Babaji 

Three Generations of Fishmans

On one outing, my dad related a funny story which pretty much sums up the paradox that he is - yoga studio owner, Buddhist practitioner, and eternal adolescent. Earlier that week, my dad was in line at the bank to do some weekly business for the shopping center he manages. There was a gentleman in line who appeared to have a lot to take care of, so my dad asked the bank manager, a woman he was familiar with, if she could help him. She said she couldn't, so my dad stood close to the counter and did what he does, which in this case was strike up a conversation with a kid in his early twenties who entered the bank both distressed and smelling as though he'd dressed in marijuana.

In speaking with the young man, my dad learned that he'd come to close his account and withdraw his last $200 from his account because an ATM had refused to give him the cash he needed to pay the cab that was waiting for him outside. My dad jokingly said, "You might need all of it to pay the cab the way this line is moving." When the man at the counter finally finished his business, he stopped by my dad and the young man and said to my dad, "You are an arrogant and rude person."

My dad was taken aback, felt like he had to say something, but didn't know what would be an appropriate response. With years of yoga and meditation in his tool belt, my dad calmly replied, "I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you," pausing, deciding that wasn't enough, he added, "Asshole."

I love my dad.

Other highlights included Amari learning to repeat the words "I," "Lub," "Dada/Bapa," and Dronme (my dad's 12 year-old step-daughter) announcing proudly over dinner her knowledge that Pig Latin was, in fact, not spoken in any country. Priceless.

Crazy, Pig Latin, Step-Sister

Amari and Siobhan

Another hit with the whole family was a place called Tahoe Tot Spot - an indoor play facility for babies, toddlers, and parents. We discovered it on an outing to Rite Aid and gave it a shot the next day. When you walk in the door, you're greeted with a wall of super cool kids toys, costumes, puzzles, accessories, etc., but to your left is a wide open play area with tons of gym mats, tunnels, toys, spring boards, a long giant trampoline that leads to a pool of plastic balls. Around the corner is an art room, a toy room, a wall of costumes, and high quality, fun stuff for parents and kids to play with together. It was awesome. And for just ten dollars, you can spend as much time as you like there from 10 - 2. Plus there are all sorts of classes offered in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. I immediately wished we had one here at home and started to fantasize about starting a similar business here.


After our second day there, I spoke with the owner, Amy, about how she'd started it and how viable it is. She's considering putting together a franchise package or offering her services as a consultant if other parents want to start their own. I got myself on the mailing list, and told her I'd be interested in learning more about the business side of things if she's willing to share. The coolest part for her is that she got to work while raising her kids. She said it was challenging at times, but way better than not seeing them at all.

Sadly, no pictures of the Tot Spot, but a video will be coming soon.

Prior to Tahoe, we stayed in Marin for a couple nights where the friends from my old stomping grounds helped usher me into my fifth decade by celebrating my fortieth birthday. A good time and carrot cake was had by all. It felt nice to spend a solid chunk of time with Jessica, see how Amari took to both her and Bodhi's daughter, Hero. Although they drive me nuts sometimes - it's really nice to have friends who have known me forever.

Thanks everyone. May I be just as blessed the next forty years.

Birthday Wishes

Amari with Poet and Hero

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