Water And Coal

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Dear Blue,

Your mother and I celebrate our two year anniversary today. It hardly seems like yesterday when we were at The Sportsmen Lodge, saying our vows, sandwiched in between a Homecoming Dance and a filming session for Parks and Recreation. The following story is how I proposed to your mother. It’s a bit cheesy, but she said yes, so…you wouldn’t exist if this didn’t exist. Enjoy.

-Dad

For water and coal, every day for them was a day chock full of fate. In their own special and unique ways, water and coal played their roles in the world. They had purpose. They had utility. They had importance. Then one day, water and coal met. And fate took a different turn.

“Hello,” water said as she danced around coal.

“Hey,” blurted coal.

“Do you know me?”

“I’ve heard you fall.”

“And I’ve seen you smoke.”

Coal was intrigued. This water didn’t look like the sounds he’d heard. Deep in the earth, he’d only heard her trickles and groans as she squeezed her way through the darkness. Here, in the daylight, water shimmered and sparkled. Free in ways he had never known.

For her own part, water was equally intrigued with coal. She had seen the factories and the deep, dark caverns full of blackness where he came from. But here, in the daylight, coal had something to him. A deepness inside the blackness that spoke of a solemnity water remembered from long ago.

“What’s so special about you?” water asked.

“Even though I come from darkness, I can create light,” coal said boastfully. He struck himself against a rock and burned into an ember.

Delighted, water laughed. “I can do that too!” and she carried herself into the clouds. The clouds crackled and then spit out a lightning bolt. A nearby tree burst into flames.

“From my light comes warmth,” coal said. He hopped into a pit, and a small fire began to glow.

Not to be outdone, water laid flat over the fire, and boiled into a cloud of steam. “I can be warm too!” she said.

“I can be powerful,” coal boasted, pointing to a nearby city.

“So can I,” water countered, pointing towards the dam along the river. “But I bet you can’t do this.”

Water rose into the clouds. The air grew cold and a chilly wind gusted. Coal scanned the skies, looking for water. All he saw were tiny flecks of shiny crystals. Each one sparkled like a jewel, more beautiful than the last.

“Water…where did you go?”

“I’m right here!” Water said from one of the falling snowflakes. Coal was entranced. He has never seen anything so beautiful. “What can you do?”

Coal sat there quietly, thinking, before it struck him. “Follow me,” he told water.

He squeezed into the darkness of the earth, in between the tiniest of seams. The heat and pressure building and building.

Water dutifully followed, slinking her way through the darkness.

“Coal?”

“I’m right here. Don’t be afraid.”

There was a deep rumble. Unable to go anywhere, water rose out of the ground, high into the sky.

When she settled and stopped trembling, she called out, “Coal?”

Nothing.

“Coal? Where are you?”

“I’m right here.”

She looked down into the mud and saw something sparkling. It looked like nothing she had ever seen. Colors danced though it. Light seemed to shine from it and though it at the same time. She had never seen anything so beautiful.

“Coal? Is that you?”

“Yes,” coal said bashfully. “But please, call me diamond.”

Water smiled.

And the two danced together forever.

 

One Time I Thought I Lost My Wedding Ring, Then I Remembered I Was Married To Your Mother

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Dear Blue,

When your mother and I were planning our marriage, we decided to get our wedding bands from the jewelry district. Downtown LA is an interesting place. The jewelry district is halfway between the ritz and glamour of LA Live and the tent-lined streets of Skid Row. You can go buy a taco, get a diamond ring, and then get yelled at by the homeless guy peeing on the sprinkler valve by your car.

Bling bling.

We got a combo deal. Your mother, a nice band with diamonds set in all the way around. When she lifts her finger, it looks like a tiny window into a snow globe. For me, a thick band of tungsten. It looks like it was taken off a commercial dryer. The thing is burnished, distinct and manly.

But it’s also slightly big. I first found this out on our honeymoon, when I dove into the water off Playa del Carmen and the ring nearly slipped past my knuckle into the warm November waters of the Yucatan. Ever since then, I always take it off when my hands might get wet, like when I wash dishes or take a shower.

When this happens, your mother enjoys distracting me with fresh batches of cut kiwis and oranges. When I’m chowing down, she sneaks in behind me, steals my ring and hides it somewhere around the house. Sometimes it’s in a cup. Sometimes a mason jar. One time it was at the bottom of a fruit bowl, buried under the kiwis she had just used to distract me. It’s somewhere between an Easter egg hunt and the mad scramble for unfound car keys.

Last week, I was washing dishes and went to the bathroom. When I came out, my ring was gone. I immediately suspected your mother, who had been “napping” in the bedroom.

“Hey, where is my ring?”
“I don’t know,” she replied from underneath her cascade of blankets. “Where did you leave it?”
“You’re a terrible liar. I know you have it.”
“I don’t.”
“Where did you put it, Michelle?”
She grinned, and in her special teacher singsongy voice, said, “The fourth finger is the most important. If you lose it, it will never be found…”
I pulled her hand out of the blankets, and there, on her ring finger, was my ring. Riddle solved, ring found, I went back out to finish the dishes with your mother’s laughter echoing in the hallway.

She’s an adventure, Blue. We’re lucky to have her.

-Dad

12 Things Learned In 12 Months Of Marriage: Part 2

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Dear Blue,

Your mother and I have been married for a little over a year. By absolutely no means are we marriage experts, but I figure that by the time you have your first date when you’re 25, we will have mastered the principles talked about in these next few posts. So, here we are: 12 things we learned in 12 months (+1) of marriage:

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 can be found here.

2. Fight like Italians

People are shocked when we tell them that we fight. For some reason, people think that nice people are quiet people. Calm people. Every newscast about the gunman that ends with an interview of the next-door neighbor who says “He just seemed like a nice guy” screams in the face of such logic.

Well, we do fight. And loudly. We use our hands and scream and get really dramatic like Italians in commercials. Which, for me, is surprising considering the closest we are to Italian is the frozen pizza in our fridge.

Truth be told, we could do much better at learning to speak calmly rather than scream, but considering that avoidance of conflict is a harbinger of divorce, I like our way better. It’s better to be lions learning to whisper than to be mice trying to roar.

3. Take showers together

Save water. Get close. Other things to follow. Forget killing two birds with one stone. This is as good as killing two words with one stone, and then having the stone turn into a dump truck full of jellybeans.

4. Live your memories

We just saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and one of my favorite scenes –spoiler alert!- is when he finally finds the elusive Sean O’Connell atop the Himalayas. He’s sitting there, quietly perched with a telephoto lens in an outcropping of rocks, waiting for the even more elusive snow leopard, the ghost cat, to appear. When it finally does stroll through the frame, Sean sits back from the camera and doesn’t take the picture.

Walter Mitty looks at him perplexed, to which he responds, “Some moments I like to keep for myself.” Or something like that.

Everyone should have some of those moments. Airplane window views of silver-lined clouds on a full moon that aren’t on Instagram. Scooter rides through monsoons that don’t make it on Vine. Eruptions of laughter when your cousin tries to do pushups that didn’t make it to youtube.

The internet is a cool place. Life is cooler. Live it. Tweet about it later.

5. Play more chess

This is smarter, more positive way of saying watch less television. Not only does television shrinkwrap your brain in stupid wrapping, but it takes you away from quality time with the people you love. It’s better to yell your mate, checkmate. Better even, for your immediate future, to hear her say it.

6. “Yes, dear” are the two most important words you’ll ever learn

Seriously. These words are life. But be careful. Anything that brings life can also bring death. Use these words wisely, and know that they are so powerful because they are directly attached to action. Using “yes, dear” as a substitute for “I love you and I am on your team and I’m going to do the dishes right now” is the way to happiness. Using “yes, dear” as a substitute for “Yeah, I’m just saying filler words and want you to not be talking anymore” is the way to the couch.

7. Always remember to never say always or never

There is no such thing. Black and white characters are reserved for Disney movies and fables. You and your partner are neither. Don’t say they are. It will lead to more of the previously mentioned Italian fighting, and less of the showers.

-Dad