Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 49

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The good thing about “unplugging” from Friday night to Saturday night is that all the little naggy things that you didn’t get done from the previous way start to ebb away because you can’t do anything about them anyway.  The bad thing, of course, is that Saturday night punches you in the face with the reality of all the things you screwed up the previous week and now have to deal with.  At around 9:00 tonight I found my wife in the kitchen with her face scrunched up, looking very stressed.  Now, it is the rare occasion in my relationship with my wife where I get to be the steady, reassuring one, so I told her to sit down and tell me what was bothering her.  She explained that our son was way overbooked tomorrow with tennis in the morning which he does want to do followed by three hours of baseball which he hates and three-fourths of a playdate scheduled for when he gets home which he’s really looking forward to even though, ironically, it involves playing baseball, plus he has to do all the homework that he didn’t get to do last week in addition to all the classwork he missed because he was too distracted at school.  On the flipside, my daughter also has tennis which she doesn’t want to do because what she really wants to do is have a playdate which she does not have and does not know yet.  Given this rare chance to be the calming, supportive rock, I of course responded, “That’s why I asked if Sasha wanted to do tennis when I signed her up!  And why doesn’t Caleb get his homework done, what can be so distracting at school, why can’t he focus did you try asking the girl down the block with the handicapped brother for a playdate for Sasha, oh God what are we going to do?!”

I really need to relax.  In college I remember panicking about the notion that I may never stop panicking.  At least while I’m at work I can panic about how a show is going to turn out, but that panic is very focused and will automatically subside at the end of the week when the episode is shot.  Being out of work I get to not only panic about my own life, but about my family’s as well.  My main source of worry, of course, are my kids.  Right now my son, the distracted one, is the easier one because he’s the kind of kid who jumps head first into any situation.  If we go to a friend’s house and there are kids there he doesn’t know he will throw himself right in.  He’s fearless.  My daughter, on the other hand, takes several years to warm up to people– she’s just getting comfortable with me, I think– and I never quite know how to deal with her social issues.  Today she invented an imaginary twin sister, Danielle, who seemed willing to talk about some of the social anxieties that Sasha has and what might be the cause of them.  Shawni relayed the conversation that Sasha had with her about Danielle and how it was good to talk about these things and of course my first thought was, “She has an imaginary twin sister now?!  Jesus, I have to worry about Danielle, too?”  You know, as I write this, it occurs to me that maybe we can get Sasha a playdate with Danielle tomorrow.

For some reason, the mental issues don’t worry me as much as physical maladies.  For some reason, my mind always goes to the Worst Case Scenario.  Recently, my son has been having potty accidents which have been very frustrating to him.  Shawni, calmly said we’ll take him to the doctor this week to see if anything’s wrong physically.  I, of course, immediately jump to a horrific scenario whereby we wind up starting a scholarship in my son’s name.  I know, it’s awful, but it happens!  A dear friend of ours’ child was complaining about headaches for a while.  I, of course, immediately jump to brain tumor.  Most people would say, “Stop it, you’re insane!”  It turns out, the kid had a brain tumor.  I would have been right!  Thank God, the kid is okay now, but still…  Anyway, luckily for us, our friend who stayed with us this weekend whose own child is basically allergic to anything that tastes good and had some serious problems as a baby, has become a “healer”.  In a brief interaction with Caleb she could tell by his muscle resistance that it was an allergy causing his problems.  Obviously, knowing me as you do, you know my reaction to that: “Oh, good!  Phew!”

That’s right, I’m actually a big believer in alternative medicine.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Western medicine; tonight the good folks at Nyquil will help give me a deep sleep while visions of Benadryl and Dimetap dance in my children’s heads.  But I also believe that some alternative medicine works.  A few years ago, our son was diagnosed with the most serious grass allergy his dermatologist had ever seen.  I was devastated, now he would never be a professional baseball player!  Or gardener!  Then, during the Writer’s strike, I ran into an old friend who found a miracle cure for her lactose intolerance and lack of ability to get pregnant.  One year later she was holding a baby and a milkshake.  Caleb and I went to “Dr”. Stein and after a few sessions of finger snapping and holding weird rods and hand waving (I think we may have actually become Scientologists along the way), Caleb was able to run around barefoot in our backyard and complain about having to play baseball.

Anyway, I don’t know what the solution to my son’s little problem will be.  Or if we’ll find a playdate for my daughter tomorrow.  But I know that I can’t do anything about either of these things right now.  And I may not be able to tomorrow, either.  I’m going to try to adapt the Serenity Prayer which I think is used in Alcoholics Anonymous: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Oh no: what if I’m an alcoholic?!


Written by 100daysoff

April 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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