Monday, December 13, 2010

The Adventures that Choose You

Hank, Unafraid
I am still working through the bulk of Florida posts I'd like to share with you all.  It's a huge amount of material.  In the meantime, we've been back in Maryland for about 10 days and things are nearly out of control.  Last friday, the actual busiest day of my work year, came and went with only the tiniest of glitches.  It was overwhelming but okay.  Roan, our 14.5 year old lab-Chessie mix, is having a tough time.  It's been building and we've not been able to dedicate the time towards really comforting him. We made the decision to cancel our travel plans to the mountains for Christmas because we didn't think Roan would necessarily pull through at a kennel for 5, 6, 7 days.  And right now, with an extremely active 14-month old boy and the resultant lack of disposable time and cash, we can't afford any more crises.
Which is exactly why our furnace finally fell apart.  It's been (I imagine) the coldest December on record here in the Mid-Atlantic - hunters are starting to panic that migrating birds will overshoot the Chesapeake Bay!  Our furnace, which is a coal boiler (1946) retrofitted for fuel oil around 1965, and at some point coated in a 2" thick foam of asbestos, has given up.  It's been in the 20s, and we don't have central heat right now.
Amazingly, we were able to line up a loan for a new furnace ($6K - $10K total price), but now our time is being spent with the loan paperwork, numerous HVAC contractors with all different kind of systems to propose for installation, and most of whom claim, "Allmalife I been doin' this.  And here's the only way you can do it." Which is followed by a description of how they do their work.  Convenient.
In the middle of this, I thank God that duck and goose season have been out.  I'm only half joking.  My brothers have been getting out and have been killing birds, which in some ways makes me feel better.  Weird.  But I also thank God for some good quality time I've had to spend with my wife and our son.  It seems like Hank goes faster and faster and faster every day, and some days, I don't even know what to do for him, because for 60 or 90 minutes at a time, it seems like he can do it all for himself.  Of course, then he poops himself or locks himself in a room by accident, and the illusion is over.
I guess my most pertinent thought is that I always imagined that parenthood would involve trying to protect my child from the things he or she was scared of, challenged by, or things that had intimidated him or her.  Now that I'm doing it, it's painful some days to know so strongly in my heart that my job is to protect that little boy from all of the things that he is not afraid of.  Things he knows he can conquer.  Like concrete stairs, walking in the street, pit bulls, and walking down the beach into the roaring surf. 
It is going to be an interesting 20+ years.  Which is probably how long it will take me to pay for the next furnace.


Michael Agneta said...

"Now that I'm doing it, it's painful some days to know so strongly in my heart that my job is to protect that little boy from all of the things that he is not afraid of. Things he knows he can conquer."

Very well written and oh so true.

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks. It's a challenge. The little guy has no fear, and I see no sign of that changing!

He's a wonderful, extremely happy, gregarious little boy. And he's afraid of nothing.

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