When you’re living in overtime, or extra time, bonus time – whatever you’d like to call the point at which every moment you have left matters (a lot) – you fall in love with the days when everything comes together and the Universe hands you a gift.
Toss in a little luck with an email from a reader of this blog and it becomes the “perfect” day.
With my wife fighting a cold, my 11 year-old daughter and I visited the Renegade Craft Fair, located between Chinatown and Downtown LA. It was our holiday gift-finding adventure on a Saturday morning. And, as a bonus, the weather gods delivered the optimal temperature: 75 degrees, light breeze and crystal clear sky with minimal pollution that we could see.
Now just a bit of back story.
Usually I drag my daughter to early morning flea markets and swap meets in search of reclaimed wood and metal pieces and other unique items I can refinish for the house. Like the time we drove all the way to the Long Beach Flea Market and I told my daughter it might be chilly out and to dress warmly, only to get an 80-degree day. This led to “angry tweener syndrome,” which is a lot like walking the booths with the Tasmanian Devil at your side. It bites. So keep your eyes forward and ignore the snarling noises.
What I’ve learned is my daughter at 11 has a very narrow range in her comfort zone. Tired, hot, and hungry all lead to beating up daddy with “grumpitude.”
But the Renegade Fair, with its jewelry and clothing, was more her style. And though she overdressed a bit, losing the wool scarf upon arrival, she took to the hip, LA cool of the place right away, especially when it’s almost Christmas and I’m footing the bill.
90 minutes later, we left with bags and more bags of soaps, caramel popcorn (peppermint was my favorite, curry, hers), seed bombs, fruit preserves, lip balms, and a hanging terrarium for her mom. We also rejoiced in helping small businesses and scoring great Christmas gifts. Double Bonus.
(Now the story shifts sideways for a moment.)
The best part of writing this blog is the people I’ve met online, from Van Nuys CA, not too far away, to Australia and England, and down south to Georgia. And Texas. And Boston. And Valencia CA. And Minnesota. I fear mentioning just these locations because they don’t cover all of my blog friends. But they’re far and wide.
I email back and forth with many of these wonderful and caring people and they prevent me from being completely hopeless and negative about humanity.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Larry emailed me and mentioned he saw a place TV show with a restaurant in LA called Homegirl Cafe and asked if I’ve ever been there. I haven’t. And it’s in Downtown LA, so I doubt I ever will, I tell him. But I research it, finding out Homeboy/Homegirl helps transform gang members with “Jobs, not Jail,” an excellent cause here in LA. I’m intrigued and put in on my mental bucket list.
So, as my daughter and I drive away from the craft fair, what restaurant do I pass?
If you guessed Homegirl, you are correct. (Larry, my friend, you are a Prince.)
The Universe said: Luck is your responsibility.
Daddy, was that legal?
We skip driving home and park at Homegirl.
Luck had found us thanks to a simple question in a simple email. And my daughter and I enjoy a great memory and brunch – a bacon omelette, in which she removes the bacon strip and tries to eat it all at once. “You eat like a barbarian,” I say. She smiled a big bacon smile.
The Universe rewarded me with an amazing Cucumber, pineapple and lime drink and I enter “foodie heaven” – and feel good about supporting a wonderful enterprise like Homegirl.
I read a theory on time once that stated it feels slow for us when we’re young because we fill it constantly with new experiences and memories. As we grow older, we create fewer new memories and time feels like it goes faster.
I’m not sure if the theory is correct or not, but I can say this: 4.5 hours of airway clearance a day, and three to four hospitalizations a year, are worth the price of admission to a life with days like this one.
It’s only a guess, but losing lung function overnight must be what it’s like to lose most of your money all at once. It’s painful, depressing and takes every ounce of effort to keep going. And you wonder if you’ll ever make it back.
That’s where I am right now – missing my lung function and still in disbelief of how fast it happened. It’s clearly not fair, but confirms what I’ve been telling my daughter for years: life isn’t fair.
Regardless, I’m staying positive. I’m still in the game, baby. And who knows what 2014 will hold? Something good? I think so.
Work sucks. Not in the sense that I’m not happy to have a job in this economy, though by the articles lately it shows the pre-recession wealth has returned to the country, but in the sense the way we work seems . . . unproductive, counterproductive? In fact, I feel like writing a book on what not to do while working for a big company.
Here’s the title of the first chapter: “Put the fire out before asking how it happened.” Or, perhaps, “Yelling at a fire won’t put it out.”
I don’t know, work in progress.
That’s it. I’m a few days away from a long vacation, which means I’ll have more time for myself and family and doing what I enjoy, like writing blog posts instead of emails and PowerPoint slides.
[Here’s a counterpoint on whether the wealth has really returned or not: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-wealth-20131210,0,3027347.story#axzz2n7U8sVI7 ]