For the past several years–actually, for as many years as I can recall offhand–I haven’t had the Monday that is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off. Since becoming self-employed in Spring 2009, I’ve always rationalized not taking the day off by thinking, “None of my employers gave it to me when I worked for them, and if it’s a day of service, I’m serving my clients!” So, I’d sue people and file motions all day, like I would any other Monday. However, this year, I took it off.
On September 5, 2014, I became affiliated (and co-located) with a firm that was (until I joined it) comprised entirely of black folks. They take the day off, so I figured I should, too. I also thought it would offend my 8-year-old if I didn’t take it off, given her affection for the man.
I left the office early Friday to hike 5 miles up to the Hike Inn, as I’ve done the previous 4 years in mid-January with about 40 other dudes. This has proven over the years to be one of my favorite weekends of the year, as I get to meet new folks and hear their stories, enjoy time in nature, see old friends again, get exercise, eat good food, and learn about God. I also like stopping at Big D’s BBQ for a brownie sandwich on the way home.
See that yellow and green star burst to the left of the picture? Yep, it’s co-located with a BP gas station. As good bbq should be.
That evening, my bride and I used gift cards for dinner at Hal’s (where I saw not one, but two friends having birthday parties) and shopping at Lenox.
The weather Sunday was amazing for January–nearly 60 degrees. We met some neighbors at Chastain Park and let the children enjoy the playground. That night, I watched “Searching for Sugar Man,” which I very much enjoyed, but I was sad to learn the Oscar-winning director was found dead at 36. I’ve been listening to Rodriguez’s Pandora station ever since.
Monday was even warmer, so we did more shopping with gift cards at Sid Mashburn (and his wife’s store) and Anthropologie before lunch at one of our favorite spots–JCT Kitchen (not only for the food, but for the proximity to train tracks, which my son loves), followed by our favorite ice cream in Atlanta, Jeni’s.
Then we took the children to the dollar store to spend some of the cash they’d earned for picking up dog poop and learning Bible verses. The eldest elected to save her cash and buy nothing, as she wants a kindle one day. The boy spent $4 on a small stuffed dog, a bow+arrows, a plastic hand grenade, and a styrofoam glider plane; he used a quarter to get a plastic ring for his big sister via one of those machines where you insert a coin and turn a knob for a plastic bubble containing a treat. The youngest spent $2 on a pink stuffed monkey and a sketch pad.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the back yard with the 2 younger children throwing the styrofoam plane and the hand grenade at one another while the oldest picked up more dog poop.
On my way down the mountain Saturday morning, a stockbroker from Gainesville asked me what I liked to do when I wasn’t working. The first thought I had was “traveling,” so I said that, though I don’t feel like I travel all that much (compared to when I was in the Air Force Reserves, anyway). He asked, “What about when you’re not traveling?” so I thought about how I used to answer that question with, “Well, I don’t hunt or fish or play golf…so, I guess drinking is my hobby!” However, I didn’t really think that was accurate or appropriate any more.
I never gave him an answer. I always assume Type A parents are supposed to list all the sports, music, and language lessons their children participate in each weekend, but our Saturdays and Sundays are often spent in the back yard if it’s nice out or on the floor with a bunch of Legos and board games if it’s not.
What do I like to do when I’m not working? Watch trains. Get ice cream. Throw plastic hand grenades and styrofoam airplanes across the yard. Sit next to a pink monkey on stone steps surrounded by grass. Slow down time.
“Slow down time.” Damn, son. Throwing down some TRUTH there.
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