Monday, June 8, 2009

I have a friend who ran a slew of marathons over a period of a couple months at one point. I remember asking him about it, and I think his response was something like: "It was stupid." And at the marathon expo recently I saw that guy who ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks. He was sitting (well-deserved) behind a little table and signing his book. At one point, he got up to get something and he leapt out of his chair like a deranged squirrel and bolted around, totally energized. I watched. I wanted to ask him something, like "What the hell is wrong with you?" but thought against it, thought it might be rude. Anyway, I am not like that man. I am more like the previously mentioned man.

Who was in his twenties when he did it. I'm at the threshold of 40, and it seems a mighty Big Door. I can do it, though. I can run these things, but the recovery period is a long haul of fatigue. With all the work, last week was a tough week. I'm surprised I didn't fall deathly ill from a diminished immune system (though I suppose I still could), and I feel a certain slowness even now, as I lift my arms up to the keyboard. I may benefit from a higher chair. Oh yes, A higher chair is in your future, read the fortune. (Of course, a vague fortune like that could also mean another baby, which would do me in for sure. These double meanings...)

So I didn't make it to the Camp Pendleton Mud Run this weekend, and left Mrs. Ditchman to her own devices. (When did we become the "running" family?) She did well, and phoned me from the beer tent, proudly bragging about how she conquered both wall obstacles without help from any Marines. My hero.

And then yesterday was a Home Show day, dammit. Hard as I tried, I couldn't get out of this one, and I lived through another day of setting-up and tearing-down our display, of avoiding obnoxious questions from potential customers, and of chasing the kids around in the sun, all while wearing my lamentable business polo shirt. I was glad we did it, however, because we are now more likely to have bacon on the table through August. Good. Very good.

And then last night's unexpected guest: The Winemaker! Hark: the herald angels sing! The Winemaker calls at the end of a long work day when you're atop the ladder and looking forward to full, all-out couch submission, and announces through the crackling receiver "I'm in town! Just a few minutes away! How about a drink?!" which is funny, given that he's been judging wine at some competition and tipping the stuff back for the last 48 hours. But only a damn fool turns down a visit from The Winemaker, so we went full throttle into clean house/feed babies mode, locating a second wind somewhere. "He's coming!" "He'll be here any minute!" Apparently, it is like having over the Bishop, and there is a certain amount of suburban purification that must happen before his arrival. Much to the chagrin of my wife, I wedged in a brief shower. (Incidentally, last week I broke the shower fixture. Lacking muscle control on a Thursday night, I ripped the thing clean off with my bare hand. Now we use an old rusty crescent wrench, which was a laugh in the hurried rush last night.) Also, I lit the barbecue. Put on music. Swept the local mess beneath the couch. The kids were screaming, wailing, spitting up. It's been a long, damn week, but I am not a damn fool.

The Winemaker arrives! He enters authoritatively, carrying a slab of tri-tip under one arm, and bottles of wine in the other. We now look swell, normal, composed yet expectant. The kids have calmed down and have engaged "charm" mode. We eventually get them to bath and bed after a fine meal, clear the dishes, and then sit around the big table like the adults that we are. We pour a few more glasses. I ask him how he does it, all the drinking, for work, (which I always ask him,) and he says, "Allow me to put it into terms you may understand. When you go run a marathon, do you just get up one morning and go run 26 miles, from nothing?"

"No," I say. "You train. You pace yourself." And with that, he clinked my glass and toasted me. We continue to talk, laugh, drink. It's been a while, Winemaker... We share The Secrets of the Small Business, like old corporate professionals, but we also talk of parenting. The Winemaker shows us impossibly cute pictures of his kids. At one point I get up to get another drink, but, surprisingly, The Winemaker has to go. I always brace myself for a long night of trying to keep up with The Winemaker, and this night he let us down easy. So we bade him farewell. Mrs. Ditchman went up to bed. I prepped the coffee for the morning. What a weekend. What a week. What a life.

I love The Winemaker. I think had he not arrived unexpected last night I would have fallen asleep on the couch, miserably considering the week past and week to come, but instead it was all forgotten for a few hours as we enjoyed each other's sudden company. He just blew through, intentionally/unintentionally leaving a couple unopened bottles of his wine, pre-release, (though I doubt I am allowed to report this) and as well leaving us all smiles. Anyway, I say again, I love The Winemaker.

And today you hit the ground running, adapting the schedule as it flies at you. Actually, we hit the ground jogging. You can't run forever. You've got to pace yourself. You get older and you get slower, but this all only means you're enjoying it longer.

At least, that's what The Winemaker preaches.