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

Day 72

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As I mentioned, we are staying in a beautiful cabin with a huge jacuzzi tub, nestled in a hill over-looking the Sea of Gallilee on one side, and surrounded by mountains covered with orchards on every other side. We’re also in wine country where gas stations sell $80 bottles of wine for $10. This rivals our honeymoon hotel room in Capri for romance, except for two tiny differences, aged 9 and 7. The kids have effectively extinguished any potential spark to the point where I have given in to the family bed without a fight.

On the other hand, given the lack of possibility for romance has liberated me to be my goofy morning self. This includes my morning dance– for some reason I wake up with energy every day despite carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My morning dance is usually some sort of “pop and lock” which causes my wife to squeeze her eyes as tight as she can and, according to her, cling onto some image that she once found attractive about me. I ask why it offends her so much– her repulsion is sincere– and she said because it makes me too much of a dork. But I will not relent, I believe my dance is an expression of silliness that we need to keep alive in our house, especially given our daughter who is averse to any sort of silliness, and approaches my dance in the same way my wife does, although when she closes her eyes she’s probably just hoping for a new Daddy. This morning, after my wife begged me to stop dancing, I pushed the envelope by going into a freestyle tai-chi which had even my son cringing.

The image of my early morning tai-chi apparently wore off in time for us to have our daily 4,000 calorie lunch– a full hour and a half after finishing our 6,000 calorie breakfast. What took me 6o-some days to create, I undid in a week of buffets. At breakfast I noticed that a young woman had a board game called “Settlers of Catan”. I excitedly told her that I play that game sometimes on-line. She responded without irony, “Yeah, I used to be a dork, too.” My wife chortled– I hate it when she chortles– and I asked this young woman if she wanted to play after lunch. And that’s what we did. Me and two of her college friends.

I’m 5’8″ which is on the short-side of average height for an adult male. But I honestly never knew I was short until I started playing basketball. In life, I carry myself like a 5 foot eleven incher. I earn like one, and am strong like one and I definitely can dance as well as one. But in basketball, my true height reveals itself. Today, playing Settlers of Catan with the College Girls, my age revealed itself. I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. And the worst thing about college girls, is that they attract college boys like whatever it is in my cabin that attracts mosquitos. And college boys are even more annoying that college girls.

After an interminable game (20 minutes), I went back to my wife who was reading her book with her bi-focals. I asked her if she wanted to play backgammon and she knowingly said, “they killed you, didn’t they?” She meant in the board game, but not only did they make me feel bad about being bad at the game, they made me feel old and I’m guessing they wouldn’t have liked my dancing either (I still believe the tai chi would be a univeral crowd pleaser, but my ego won’t let me test that theory). After whooping my wife at backgammon– that’s right– it was finally dinner time; having not eaten in nearly two hours I was ravenous.

And then after dinner, as I retired to write in my journal, the 62 year-old College Girl’s father sat down next to me to shoot the breeze. We talked about work and politics and jury duty and things I understood. But the problem with old guys is they attract old women who attract more old men and before I knew it, there was a crowd of AARP members surrounding me talking unapologetically about credit card fees and frequent flier programs and which robes were most comfortable. As I was lost in this haze of practical talk, the group of College Kids past by and I tried to give a look like “help, I’m being forced to talk about stuff I don’t care about!” but the truth is, they didn’t even look my way and the deeper truth is, that I really cared to find out how Mildred Edelstein was able to use her miles ANY time of year (apparently there’s a ‘magic date’ when the airlines release their seats and if you call on that date you have a good chance of getting one. Each airline is different, call until you find a nice person who will tell you the magic date.) I had to draw the line when they invited me for Pinochle.

One of the disadvantages of having kids in our late 30’s-early 40’s as Shawni and I did is that most of our friends are people we meet from our kids’ school, and most people with young kids are younger than we are. We have more than a couple of friends who could technically be our children if we grew up in more rural parts of America. Shawni– and I’m sure I– have friends from High School who are grandparents. But I’m not ready to be feel like an old person– I’m in my creative prime and I’m as strong as I’ve ever been (even though I pulled a groin muscle eating today and I’m not kidding). I guess the good news for me, though, is that at the end of the day, I have my wife, who I not only find interesting, but is also my peer. And, as a matter of fact, since it’s almost 11:00, and our last night in our cabin, I’m going to go back and see if I can’t rekindle a little of that old spark. And if not, Shawni can get ready for an extended moondance exhibition. Who’s a dork now? Oh, wait.


Written by 100daysoff

April 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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