Looking Back, Looking Forward

fathertimeWhat a portentous title for a blog post! Someone stop me before I start posting “top ten whatevers of 2012” or “new year’s resolutions for 2013” lists. So, no: not looking back, nor will I make promises I won’t keep. Load of bollocks, all that.

What’s up today, New Year’s Eve? Later this afternoon I’ll start making a big pot of Dad’s clam chowder. In past years we invited friends over for clam chowder on Christmas Eve (extracting payment from them by asking them to help trim our tree). This year we spent Christmas in Las Vegas with the kids and grandkids, so our Tucson friends missed out. By popular demand we’re having them over for clam chowder tonight. It’s gloomy and rainy at the moment, but if it dries out I’ll visit the woodpile and set up the fire pit on the patio.

When we host parties on winter nights I’m in and out, alternating between the kitchen and the patio: first with the crowd inside, then out back by the fire pit for momentary quiet. Donna says I’m anti-social. No, if I were anti-social I’d never come inside in the first place. And I certainly wouldn’t cook all afternoon for friends.

I suppose all married couples say things about each other that aren’t so but contain a grain of truth. Donna says I never eat leftovers, for example. I eat leftovers all the time! What’s true is that I think dinner should always be something fresh … leftovers for lunch are fine, but slops for dinner turn me off. I say that if Pretty Woman or The Princess Diaries are on TV Donna will always watch one or the other … and between the two one is always on TV. Not true: there are some nights when neither is on. Such nights are rare, but real. We shouldn’t stereotype, but we all do it.

Our daughter Polly’s finally moving into her own place, a little duplex a few blocks south of here. Moving day is tomorrow. I think we’ll be passing Donna’s old Lincoln on to her, but am not sure how soon. Donna started talking about looking for a newer car just yesterday; usually a few weeks will lapse between first mention and deed. That’s one thing we agree on. So we’ll see. I hate to think of Polly being entirely dependent on a motorcycle for daily transportation, but on the other hand, keeping a car maintained and insured is a burdensome thing, and she doesn’t make very much money.

I don’t often share deep personal fears & reservations on my blog, but some worries keep me up nights, so I’ll be frank: the last time we gave our daughter a car she failed the responsibility test. She didn’t maintain it, she didn’t insure it, she didn’t even pay her annual registration. She was living in Las Vegas and we didn’t know the extent to which she’d let things go. This time she’ll be nearby and yes, we’ll be keeping a close eye on her affairs. But she’s 37, you say. Well, she was 34 then, and making a hell of a lot more money than she’s making now. We have learned to trust, but verify.

Anyway. Donna wants an SUV-like vehicle. She hauls her heavy sewing machines all over town and does the grocery shopping, so she needs something with a waist-level cargo compartment in the back. She also wants power, something there’s not much of in the Chevy Trailblazer SUV we already own. I don’t want to buy a Tahoe, because gas will be back up to $4 a gallon and more before we know it. Whatever we buy, it’ll have to accommodate a big & tall person (which would be me). I hear Subaru Foresters are roomy inside, but don’t know how peppy they are or if they have tiny doors … our Lincoln is huge inside, but the door openings are small and I have to fold myself like a circus contortionist to get in and out. Subarus are all four-bangers, but one model of the Forester is turbocharged, which should make up for a lot. The Honda Crosstour appeals to me, but as with the Subaru I need to first try one on for size. The Chevy Equinox is supposedly big inside, but isn’t it just a newer version of the Trailblazer and wouldn’t it suffer from the same lack of power? Well, I’m sure once we start looking, we’ll find something we agree on.

Hmmm … a fairly domestic post, I see. No politics, no burning social issues. For today, at least, I’m a male empty-nester senior citizen version of a mommyblogger (and just as frank as some). It’s time to start the chowder. Party responsibly tonight, and I’ll see you again in 2013!

© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.


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