Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The New Homeowners

So, we did it. Closed on the 22nd of November.


Finally, the negotiating and haggling is over. We’re in. There are a whole new set of financial issues, of course, but as I stood in the empty house after the settlement, the larger spiritual consequences dawned on me. It is in this house where my child(ren) will be raised, where they will grow up, and where my wife and I will solidify our marriage.  It is more than a house, it will be a home.  


As the contractor’s three weeks of work begin, we are beginning to see the slow transformation of this house from the home of another to ours.  


Daunting, yes. Anxiety-ridden…you bet. Exciting…Absolutely!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Late night spirituality

Some of the most beautiful moments I’ve had as a father are when Calanit wakes up in the middle of the night and is hungry. I prepare a bottle for her and in the dark, sit in the rocking chair which my wife so wisely decided we should purchase, and feed her. As I do that, her eyes are half-closed and she is intent on her soy beverage.  When she’s done, I put her on my shoulder and burp her. She’s gotten much larger than almost a year ago and that’s noticeable, but what’s really special is how still she is. These days, she moves around a lot, but late at night, she’s beat and she just lies there, gently, unconsciously stroking my chin or my face with her little fingers. It’s such a tremendous feeling to have this little person of my own creation connecting with me in such a simple, but profound way.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

From Bolivia to America

Sometimes we forget how damn lucky we are to live in the United States....

I was talking to my contractor the other night. He's got an amazing story. He came to the US from Bolivia at age 35, with $320 in his pocket, a wife and an 8 month old kid. He was a college graduate, with an engineering degree, but spoke no English. He landed a job for $8/hr. That was 15 years ago.

Now, he's got his own company, owns two houses, his kids are in Gifted and Talented programs in high school and he has his eyes set on retirement at age 60. It was completely inspirational. He spoke of setting goals, staying focused, and watching every penny. For three years, he said, they never went out, "not even to McDonalds." Then, they finally allowed themselves as a family treat to go to McDonalds once a month.

After 10 years or so, he took his first vacation.

I'd heard about the immigrant work ethic and sometimes wonder whether being born here has been a disservice in some way to me.

But what was most enlightening was his total intolerance for those who say that America is flawed, for those who say that freedoms aren't really freedoms here, for those who blame America for the world's problems. Here is a guy who sees nothing but good in America. I was getting emotional as I heard his story and his praise and gratitude for all that it means to be an American.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I was completely alone this Shabbat (Sabbath) for the first time in a long time. For the second time in a month, my love and appreciation for my wife has grown. Calanit wasn't home either (they were in Albany for a dance weekend) and I'll tell you, I felt lonely. No, not the whole time. I kept myself busy, but there were those brief moments of clarity/epiphany when I realized or at least thought about how empty life would be without either one or both of them. No one likes to think these types of thoughts, but it's important. [I once read a book by the Dalai Lama called the Art of Happiness and he says that it's important to visualize and think about the things you don't want to happen so that a. you can be prepared if they ever do come and b. you will appreciate what you have right now.]

It was highly apropos as I sat in synagogue on Saturday morning and read the story of Isaac marrying Rebecca. The Torah makes a point of saying that Isaac first married Rebecca and then he loved her. The idea is that you marry for rational and logical reasons (at least according to the commentary I had) and over time the LOVE grows. The key point being that LOVE grows over time as we learn and live together.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Super Bowl in November

Ok, enough with the election. It’s a dead heat everywhere, we know that. No matter what happens, 50% of the people are going to be unhappy. We got it. It’s like the pre-game show of the Super Bowl, which lasts for hours and we’re now at the point where they are telling us about the obscure pre-game ritual of the mother of the kicker or something like that. Let’s just do this thing already.

On a different note, Calanit is making remarkable strides. She’s going to be 11 months old next week and is really progressing in her ability to almost crawl, almost stand, almost not make a total mess when she feeds herself. I guess it’s the “Almost Stage’ of her first year. It’s cool because we’re thinking about what we want to do for her first birthday and whereas before my attitude would have been “why bother, she’s not going to remember anyway,” now I realize that it’s more about our ability to mark the year with those we love than anything else, at least at this stage of the game.

On the other front, the house looks like it is going through. A ton of details to manage, that’s for sure, but it’s exciting. Got to manage the urge to spend a ridiculous amount of money though.