My wife poked me awake at 6:30 a.m. I opened one miserable eye and saw my son smiling down at me.
"It's time for your day with Dad!" Kate chirped at him.
Grunt. I spent Thursday mountain climbing, and so, of course, what do you think I did far too late Thursday night instead of getting the sleep I needed for my day with a 1-year-old who has the energy of an Olympic Decathlete or meth addict on a Twinkie rush, take your pick.
You already know. The cards are right in front of you.
Anyway, I rolled out of bed as Kate grabbed her bags and said her tearful goodbye.
Yeah, it's always rough to leave WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO VEGAS.
Yep. I'm home with the little man for the weekend while Kate goes to Vegas with her sister and some friends for some much-needed me time. They're all staying in the same room. And get that nasty thought out of your head. Shame on you.
So that meant, for me, every minute, every hour, all day, with Jayden, the baby whose batteries run out about as often as a Quartz watch.
Whew. I'm exhausted as I write this, at 10:30 p.m., while playing me some poker and listening to the baby monitor.
Kate deserves the vacation. She's a great mother who sees nothing wrong with getting up five times a night and spending most of her free time chasing him around and picking up the little piles he always leaves behind him. I call it his Path of Destruction, but Kate prefers to refer to it as the "price of exploration." Moms always were more positive.
Plus, in the summer, Dan's usually about me me me with all the climbing I do, even if that has slowed down since he was born. Prime climbing season basically lasts three months, when most of the snow is gone from the peaks, so I need to take advantage while I can. You can go all year, and I do, at times, but of course it's easier without -30 degree weather and snow up to your waist. Imagine getting to play with fish for three months and play with Phil Ivey the rest of the time. You'd pick the fish too. Oh, yes, you would.
One of the things I love about mountain climbing is it forces you to appreciate the small things. You don't really don't love your shower, your pillow and your fatty double cheesburgers until you're force to eat trail mix all day, sleep in a tent and go without showers for a couple of days (hell, even after a day-long climb, that shower feels pretty damn good).
And as I'm sitting here, exhausted and feeling like I just climbed a mountain after the day with Jayden, I've learned to appreciate the small things that I haven't appreciated lately:
• The day was bright, sunny and hot. A typical July summer day. And yet these last two weeks have been crammed with clouds, storms and sort of a crappy, misty cold that made it either impossible to climb or downright miserable. But July is back, and yesterday, I climbed Half Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park with a longtime partner to bright, sunny, blue skies without even a hint of those nasty storms that have made life difficult for hikers this year. I even got sunburned on my neck. Last week, as I slogged through a hike with my 14ers group in Fort Collins in clouds and mist and rain so thick I needed a foghorn, I would have killed and eaten a marmot for a sunburn.
• Wow. The wife does a lot to keep our house running smoothly. Every day, in the summer when she's off from teaching, she watches the little guy every day.
• A pool. Greeley built us a new recreation center, complete with a water play area, a moving river, a baby pool with cool small fountains that squirt up (crack for 1-year-olds, Jayden stood there and stared at it like it was Quad Aces for about 20 minutes) and an awesome slide for, uh, the kids (and adventure-minded Dads who aren't above standing in line with 12-year-olds and even running up the stairs to beat them to ride first, but that's just what I observed, I wouldn't, of course, know otherwise what I was talking about). The city built that sucker just in time. Jayden gets to visit a great pool whenever he wants.
(Side note: I used to DESPISE Adult Swim when I was a kid, but now I LOVE it. That's right, you, the little fucker who's done nothing but squirt me and Jayden with that little gun in the adventure area. Sit your bratty ass down while I stay in, ha ha ha you little shit).
The point is the neighborhood pool when I was growing up was a great place to spend the summer, but I was worried he wouldn't get to experience that. No worries, mate, as Joseph Hachem says. That was the perfect afternoon activity today to keep the Baby from Getting Bored. I actually got him down at 7:30 p.m. tonight. I think it wore the little guy out, which is about the same level as the Miracle on Ice or catching your case A to beat a straight flush.
• Finally, this got me thinking. This is why we really need to defeat that damn poker/gambling legislation in Washington.
I really love online poker.
And I don't, one day, want to be sitting upstairs, wishing I should have appreciated it more while it was still around.
P.S. Any Cinderella fans out there? Hair metal is SUCH an underappreciated art form.