I'm flying solo this week.  I've had many solo flights in my life as a UAS flight instructor -- nothing compares to a week alone with my kids though.  It's nearly midnight and I'm really asking myself: "What the hell are you doing, still awake, watching a Seahwawks report and listening to the latest Stephen Tobolowsky podcast?  Go to bed already.  In just about six and a half hours your oldest will wake up from the pile of blankets he set up on the floor and ask for a handful of Junior Mints for breakfast."

Yes, I swear on all that is minty, he'll ask that.  Talk about hitting the ground running.  While I make him some oatmeal, he'll (while standing naked in the living room) ask if he can drum.  I'll tell him he must wait for his little brother to wake up.   I will no sooner have handed him the oatmeal and a Flintstone vitamin when I'll hear a little cry from the back bedroom.  J.J. will meet me at his crib with a large smile on his face and a heavy diaper hugging his hips.  I'll change him, walk out to the living room where Miles will be ready for a second bowl of oatmeal while his eyes are fixed on one of three TV shows or movies (A: The Fresh Beat Band -- think of a really dumbed down version of The Wiggles meets Saved by the Bell...you can't?  Thank your lucky stars.  B: Franklin -- who, for some reason, is the only creature in the show with an actual given name.  Everyone else is Bear, Badger, Crow or Musk Ox.  C: Toy Story -- this I have no issue with.  I'm a Pixar geek to the 113th power.  The only catch with Toy Story is that I end up asking way too many questions.  Not questions like Miles: "What's going to happen next, Dad?" or "Why does Mr. Potatohead keep asking for a Mrs. Potatohead?"  No.  I end up asking more philosophical questions that make my head hurt: "Where is Andy's dad?  Andy's too well-adjusted for him to be dead.  Divorced?  Perhaps--but it would've just happend--Molly can't be older that 18 months.  Maybe he's on business?  No...that can't be it, at the end it's Christmas and he's still not there.  I've settled on the backstory that he's in Delta Force and has been deployed to Somalia.  My next question revolves around Buzz.  If Buzz doesn't think he's a toy, than what does he do when Andy plays with him?  He's surely not talking and walking around on his own accord.  Andy would freak out much the way Sid does at the end of the film.  Maybe it's just his toy-instinct kicking in?  Or maybe, since he sees everyone else go catatonic when a child or adult enters their toy-world, he just does the same as a survival technique.  I dunno.  These are the questions I wrestle with.

At least until Miles asks if now that J.J.'s up, can he drum?  "Yes," I reply, "go for it."

He'll spend the next fifteen minutes setting up his drums and trying to balance a cymbal on the top of a crayon or ask me to hang a steel pan from a shoe-string so he can add a gong to his set.  Like Sid, the demented neighbor kid, J.J. will then try to destroy everything we've worked so hard to create.

This will last for an hour or so, then Miles will want to hit golf balls in the backyard.  Now, this I love.  I could sit in a lawn chair and watch my oldest pound little white, yellow, orange and pink golf balls into the marsh behind the house for hours.  His little swing is as close to poetry as anything I've ever seen, and it's great to see his eyes just light up when he catches one purely.  I'll sit there feeding J.J. and be in my own little nirvana.  In fact, story time tonight with Miles was entitled: "Miles wins The Masters." No joke.  He asks about the Green Jacket, Amen Corner and the Butler Cabin.  The kid is probably dreaming up the acceptance speech he'll share with Jim Nantz right now.

All kinds of craziness will continue through the day: drums, tears, playing in the hose, diaper changes, e-mails from work, phone calls from friends, checking in with my lady, a drive out to the dam to watch the salmon swim up through the ladders, dinner, groceries, drums, golf, Toy Story again, bananas, sandwiches, yogurts, applesauce, watching the Mariners suck, bedtime, story time, website design, post-work on photos, catching an episode of Breaking Bad, blogging, and now...bedtime for me.  This phenomenal, fantastic and exhausting crazy-train just doesn't want to stop.  As soon as Rachel gets back I might go into that catatonic state like Woody and the rest of the toys.

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