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Blog: The Best Laid Plans Go Awry

(originally written 4/17/16)

It was supposed to be a peaceful Saturday afternoon at the park. Josie was going to dig in the sand for about 45 minutes or so (as usual), then play on the equipment for another 45 minutes or so before we embarked on a Daddy/Daughter jog-and-bike session leading up to dinner time.

(Which I know isn’t a great idea, depleting ourselves right before mealtime. But I’m full of ungreat ideas so...why break tradition now?)
I even brought along a book in anticipation of being afforded a long period of shaded leisure. (And it was a book about war, no less—no skimming through that. Especially the 1990’s Al-Qaeda training methods which, if you didn’t know their endgame, would likely incite laughter. But I’m not here to talk about the past.)

How naive and gullible I was...

You see, Josie—unlike me—is very friendly and sociable. She makes friends wherever she goes, whether they like it or not. Last year, at this very park, she made a few that became semi-regular (though always impromptu) Saturday playdates. They became inseparable...until the other kids suddenly stopped showing up.

It had been nearly a year since we last saw “Blaze” and her granny, or “Larry, Neil or Natasha” or their respective mothers. I figured, sadly, we’d never see them again. Today, however, they all unexpectedly returned, and they all picked up right where they left off with Josie—much to her delight. (And by extension, mine.)

Only one issue arose.
Apparently, during the time Josie’s pals were off the city park radar, I somehow took on the physical appearance of a first-grader. It’s the only explanation for why I found myself repeatedly dragged into their fun—despite my best efforts at relaxation.

There’s no other way to say it: those five kids wore my ass out. That anticipated 1.5 hours of tranquility wound up as three full hours of, well, running for my life. I was tackled repeatedly and piled on. I was ambushed with squirt guns, drilled with line drives, forced to chase down obscenely wild frisbee tosses, used as a pseudo-horse, and much...much more. Under a hot sun, of course.

I couldn’t help eyeing the collective guardians of Josie’s friends with unabashed envy. One sat on a bench. The other two laid happily under a tree. “That could have been me,” I sadly told myself, just as a consortium of knees and elbows collapsed into my spine.
At one point, I cried out to the moms “They think I’m six instead of 36!” while “playing” a game in which the sole object of the game was to chase, tackle and soak Joe/Dad indefinitely. Even though I never actually agreed to or approved of my role in this game.

I’d planned to do a lot tonight after the bike/jog. Was gonna cook a meal, was gonna work on TSR, was gonna watch the DVR’d NBA playoffs, was gonna help Josie build a shoebox farm for school. Was gonna, was gonna, was gonna.

None of that happened, including the bike/jog. Those children left me with exactly enough strength to grab a pizza for dinner, come home, eat some, and...collapse in a chair staring straight ahead for an unsettling period of time.  

Hopefully, during this period, Josie didn’t do anything that might be cause for concern later. Like sneak candy. Or crank-call Libya.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive... 

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