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  • Andrew Casteel

The Best Frozen Song


A typical Tuesday with my son:


I'm always up a little before the alarm goes off at six for our work out. First thing I look at is the Purple Air map to see if it's going to be clear enough to go out that day. The smoke is bad today, except for at Ocean Beach. Looks like we'll be driving today.


I head down to the kitchen and pour us two cold brew coffees while she's changing. Then we both head to the garage to lift weights, which is the best thing that shelter in place has done for us. We used to have to schedule one date night a month to get some time to talk together, but now we have each morning. I ask about her day. It's performance review season so the meetings are a little thicker today, just like the smoke.


We're just getting to the shoulder presses when he comes down to join us. He picks up his "weights" really just an old industrial wifi antennae that's five feet long and very light. He swings it up and down over his head in several quick exaggerated swings and declares it is mama's turn next.


We finish our workout and I make him some cereal for breakfast and turn on an Adventure Time for him to watch while I shower and change. He always wants the one with the evil piglets who are allergic to ice cream.


Once I'm changed and breakfasted, we get in a little time on his latest Lego, Rey's speeder. This one's a little easier than the others so he's able to do most of it without too much help. He starts to lose patience after about a half hour so I tell him we need to pack up to go out today.


We grab some snacks, a shark shaped squirt gun, a change of clothes and a towel in his bag. I quickly duck into the garage to find a dowel to repair his kite and cut it down to size. Then I cut a length of Oakland A's ribbon to give it a longer tail to try and stop it from spinning out of control (I misplaced the SF Giants' ribbon the last time I had the idea to fix the kite but didn't). Once the tail's stapled on, we head out on our adventure.


We stop at the market where his favorite premade california roll is. I'm just relieved he wants to eat something resembling real food for lunch. Then we head to the hole in the smoke at Ocean Beach.


We get there and meet his Auntie for a socially distanced picnic. Before we bust out the food, it's time for the kite. For the first time since we bought it, the kite actually flies. I'm even able to tie it to my backpack so we can watch it fly while we're having lunch.


After lunch it's right into the freezing cold water on an overcast day like a true San Franciscan. We try to skip sand dollars on the water between the waves, mostly they just splash right into the murky water.


We wander down the beach to see what the big thing in the waves is. Turns out to be a bunch of freshly washed up seaweed. We spend a half hour popping all the air bladders like bubble wrap.


Then we find a big hole somebody dug and he decides he wants to be buried in the sand. Each time we get close to finishing, he pushes his toes out, laughing.


He wants to wander along the tracks left by the beach patrol truck. I say fine but he says he just wants to go with Auntie. I'm more than happy to oblige. Some parents don't take this kind of rejection well. I'm happy for the break. I get out our sketch book and do a couple quick sketches of the cliff house and a feather in the sand.


He returns with Auntie and we all play the drawing game. One color per person on the same drawing until we run out of colors. Both pictures end up as kites (Surprise Surprise).


Then it's time to leave to do our errands on the way home. We stop by the brewery to pick up two more cases of beer to donate to the volunteer firefighters in Ben Lomond who saved our friend's house. He almost falls asleep in the car (damn!).


For dinner, he eats the top layer of noodles and cheese off of a lasagna (I get the rest) and some cold chicken (he complains that things at room temperature are "too hot"). He doesn't want to go on a family walk for ice cream. We try to convince him, but he starts to have a tantrum so I volunteer to stay with him so my wife can get out for a walk after being inside all day in meetings. We do a little bit of a puzzle and watch another Adventure Time (the Card Wars episode, my favorite).


We head up for bedtime around 8. It's my turn to do bedtime tonight. We brush our teeth. We watch the Cupcake Gemma video about making rainbow cupcakes...again. I don't really mind. I love her English accent. The video finishes with "your flatmates will love it" and I tell him to pick out a book.


I tell him we're not reading "I Spy" because that's not really reading so he picks out Mother Bruce which we both love. It's about a bear that was trying to cook eggs when the eggs hatch and decides he's their mother, which leads to the greatest line in storybook history: "Bruce was stuck with them. Goslings always follow their mother even if she is a he and he is a bear." It all works out in the end as they leave to spend winter on the beach wearing tacky shirts and drinking lemonade.


Then it's time to sing him his 3 favorite songs. Tonight it's "God Bless the Child" followed by "Baby Just Cares for Me" wrapping up with "Paper Moon", which is usually first. Then I read to myself until he falls asleep. I go upstairs and read a little more. My wife turns off her reading light we turn to each other for a kiss. We both say goodnight and I turn off my light.

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