Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Shenanigans

The Silver Dream Machine & a younger me
(apparently I wasn't going fast enough to get into shot)
Summer camps are an odd business.  It seems the more we spend on them, the less happy my children are.  Sometimes I think we should just kick them out on the street at 9am with a watch and an instruction not to return till the next meal time... it worked for me...

Well, maybe it didn't.   There were quite a few incidents with a local farmer.  And, I suppose there was that time I got caught riding a motorcycle on the Queen's highway without a helmet, or insurance, or a license (I was only 12)  and the motorcycle was just a little less than road worthy.  Hmm.  I've said too much already, never did tell my parents about that one.

Reminiscing  my misdemeanors has just reminded me of a friend's tale of woe.  His parents went on holiday and for the first time, they decided he was now old enough to be able to stay at home himself.  I think he was 16 or 17.  When his parents returned, his father went straight to the drinks cabinet.  He grabbed his bottle of single malt whisky and immediately turned it upside down...  He had marked how full the bottle was when he left...but he had marked it with the bottle upturned.  My friend had looked for any kind of marking that would show how much whisky remained, but unfortunately had not predicted this technique...  My guess is, that his dad had drunk the whisky the first time he was left alone too!  Not surprisingly, I didn't see my friend for a while after that incident.  But the whisky was very nice... ;-)

I guess I'm just grumpy about the cost of summer camps.  It seems summer is the time for increased expense in Southern California.  There's the cost of running the aircon.  Extra use of water.  Summer camps. Vacation?  Some chance...  But then again, we are living in a veritable giant playground!  That's it, we're off to the beach...

Monday, July 2, 2012


The BBC Scotland cameraman at Brave.
Didn't I used to write a blog once up on a time?  A time when I was the 'at home parent', and Lynn went out every day to the wicked world of late night TV comedy.  Back then I had more free time, but it didn't really feel like I had any, I was so focused on our boys and making our new life in this country work.

Now Lynn and I are both at home, but working.  Not working like a normal job; working mainly to make a success of the YouTube channel or other projects.  It's created an interesting dynamic.  Who's the 'prime' parent?  I've no idea.  We've had to split the parenting jobs between us, usually based on skills, patience or obsession.  Lynn obsesses with the mental torture of American school life and has taken up the role of child therapist.  I am school lunch provider, toy fixer and manager of audio visual technology service provision...;-)

I thought I'd stopped writing this blog, because I had no time.  However, returning to the blogs' dashboard, I noticed that I have often tried to draft new posts.  The issue has been that my obsession with our video work, meant when I did draft something, it became an advert for our videos and nothing to do with being a stay at home Dad.  So I didn't publish.  Perhaps I should have, but I often struggle to keep things simple and so I felt they were too much off subject.

Well, in a few days time it will be July 4th.  American Independence Day.  Perhaps this blog can gain its independence too.  I'm sure that from time to time I'll praise, mention or moan about my position as Father in Residence but actually life is as huge as you can make it.  So I'll try to include some of all of it.

For example, we were invited to the International Premier of Pixar's new movie 'Brave'.  Lynn had helped with some writing consultancy and script polishing and is credited in the special thanks section at the end.  We got to take the whole family and it held a deep significance to us.  Our first truly public outing in this new country.  We walked that green carpet, past all of those photographers and journalists, with our Green Cards in our pockets and our 2 boys who now have American accents.  We didn't see the significance of it at the time though, as we were obsessed with ensuring that the experience wouldn't overly stress our children and would give them a wonderful experience that few people ever get to enjoy.

And today, yet more independence.  Our eldest, Fergus, started a new summer camp at a huge place nearby.  He was all wide eyed and excited to be starting there, but instead of expecting Dad to figure out the way it's organized, he suggested that I just leave him to it.  No way am I leaving my 9 year old without meeting the person who I will hold responsible...  I get him sorted and then say, "Give your Dad a hug then, and I'll be off."  No hug!  Arms kept still by his sides, whilst I grabbed him and laughed.  I wasn't laughing in the car though.  No, apparently I'm an emotionally soft Southern Californian now and my boy is growing more independent and more American every day.