Parenting, The Ultimate Competition

It is frequently amazing to me when something noteworthy happens on Friday or Saturday (after  publish my newsletter) and then the following week when it comes time to write my newsletter I have the tendency to not include the event because it seems like it happened so long ago and “Surely I made reference to it last week.”  Anyway, last Saturday a lot of my extended family came down to visit Leslie and I and to put on Thanksgiving 2.0.  Okay, to be completely fair most of them came down to see Jack, whom they had not met as of yet.  Either way, the end result was that I got to enjoy a deep fried turkey, a slice of pumpkin pie, and the nearly world famous Christmas punch.

On Wednesday, Leslie and I had dinner with a couple that we met during one of her birthing/parenting preparation classes.  They’re a good fit for us because their son was born less than 24 hours after Jack and they seem to have shared a number of our own struggles.  As we talked about how their son (and ours) was progressing I came to the realization that this whole parenting thing takes my competitive nature to a whole new level.  “Oh, your son weighed 13.1lbs on Friday?  That’s cute, Jack hit 14 a couple of weeks ago.”  I’m starting to wonder how many parenting stories I’ve heard were actually just fish stories, i.e. “he was this big,” you know, where “this big” gets a little bigger every time you tell the story.   I swear, my son was 37lbs and nearly four feet fall when he was six months old.  Yeeeaaaah… I might have to keep an eye on that.

My flight back to Brazil was Thursday night and everything went pretty much as planned up until the point where my cab was supposed to pick me up at the house; it was all pretty much downhill after that.  I had called the cab company that morning and requested they send someone to be at the by 1900.  I began calling the cab company again at 1901 and really started getting worried when they put me on hold indefinitely after I gave them my number/address (it happened three times).  By 1920 I had Leslie and Jack packed into the truck and we were on our way to the airport.  Knowing that the McDonald’s in the airport did not serve sweet tea I had originally planned on swinging by Chick Fila for dinner to get my last fix… of course leaving 20 minutes late kind of threw that plan out the window.

Fortunately, as I was going through security the ever vigilant and watchful TSA was able to save the lives of myself and my fellow passengers when they prevented my “concealed” tub of potentially lethal peanut butter from getting through in my carryon bags.  I am aware that there are fairly strict regulations on what is allowed for liquids but apparently those regulations extend to “spreadable substances.”  Good thing to, I was terrified that the terrorists were going to take over my plane with a PB&J sandwich.  Well, there goes my hope of having peanut butter and waffles for my Christmas dinner.  UPDATE: I had dinner with an expat family who, upon hearing my plight, gave me a gigantic tub of peanut butter.  Christmas is back on!

An interesting side note about dinner Friday evening, I almost didn’t make it.  I’m staying at a different hotel than I usually do (whenever I stay in downtown Rio) and it was quite a bit further from their house.  Fortunately it was pretty easy directions, I simply had to walk a quarter of a block north then take a right and go another 20 blocks or so. When I left the hotel I started walking south!  Fortunately, I hadn’t gone very far before I realized my mistake and turned around, however my problems did not end there.  About halfway to their home I hit a patch of construction that I couldn’t walk around so I had to cut up the street a couple of blocks, this meant that the landmarks I had originally used to orient myself (when looking at the map).  As I formed the map in my head I was able to reorient those landmarks and continue on my path while trying to minimize any back and forth I would have to do.  Turns out I didn’t do such a good job on that, I overshot my last turn by about 3 blocks.  Guess that’s what I get for calling this section of Rio a checkerboard layout when that’s not an entirely accurate description.  Those side streets located at half block intervals (don’t argue with me about the concept of a “half block”) and roads that cut diagonal across the grid are killer!


Saturday morning I had the opportunity to go hang gliding and it was incredible.  I’m sure part of it was the build up to the moment; I’ve actually been trying to go since late August but every time I have tried the wind, weather, or some other unfortunate occurrence has prevented me from doing so.  Saturday I had great wind and great weather for it and I had a blast.  For those of you who were concerned about my safety and well-being during this encounter, you can relax; I made it back to the ground in one piece and without sustaining any injuries to my person.


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