Most Epic Procrastination Ever

This is a story that I documented years ago, because it was frustrating and funny at the same time. Someday, David will be famous for his ability to turn a situation around for his benefit. After reading this, you will probably understand why!

In 2009 David had some homework to complete on a Thursday, because it was due on Friday morning. He was not yet 8-years old.  At the time my work schedule allowed me to pick him up at home and take him out to look for trains – along with doing his homework. Generally this method worked well; we both love trains and it was a way to keep him engaged. I tried to help him work at his own pace, while setting the goal that the work needed to be completed. The key with him is to maintain his flow rather than forcing my own. But on one particular Thursday, his flow became so funny that I started taking notes. It started when we got trackside in Seattle, at 2nd Ave S. and S. Horton Street at around 5:30pm.

Kurt: “Okay, now that we’re trackside let’s do some homework.”

David: “Not yet. I want to eat first. I want Burger King.”

BK is a mere block away from where we were shooting video. So we watched trains for awhile, went and got our food (Angry Whopper meal / Kid’s Plain Cheeseburger Meal) and went back to Horton. After eating our food and watching a few more trains, it was time.

David: “Not here. I want to do homework at Holgate.”

So we headed that direction, just in time to have a massive freight train go through the crossing. We parked along the side of the road and I shut off the truck.

Kurt: “Okay let’s get started.”

David: “No, not here.”

Kurt: “Why not?”

David: “Because we’re not at Holgate.”

He was right. I had parked on South Lander Street by mistake. So we headed north to Holgate and parked.

David: “I can’t work. The sun is in my eyes.”

Kurt: “Turn your back to it. This is where you chose to do homework.”

David: “…But I need to go to the bathroom.”

There isn’t a public restroom for miles in SODO. No parks.

Kurt: “Then we’ll need to go to Georgetown, mister. There aren’t any public restrooms around here.”

David: “Okay, I’ll start working on it. Can we play at the park after I do homework?”

Kurt: “Yes we can.”

So we headed south to Georgetown.

David: “Where’s my board?”

He was referring to the piece of wood he uses as a tabletop while sitting in the truck.

Kurt: “It’s behind the seat.”

David: “I can’t work without my board.”

We were almost there, so we parked the truck near the Georgetown Playfield. on a side street. I dug out the board from behind the seat. David looked down there and saw something else.

David: “I’ve got Hot Wheels down there.”

He tried to dig a bunch of stuff out.

Kurt: “It’s not time for Hot Wheels; it’s time for homework.”

He managed to dig something out anyway.

David: “Look…what’s this?”

He pointed a Potato Gun at my head.

Kurt: “I’ll tell you after you do homework. DON’T point that at people, mister. Even if it’s a toy.”

David: “Why? It’s not even real.”

Kurt: “Because it’s still not okay to point toy guns at people. Bad habit.”

David: “Where’s my pencil?”

He had managed to lose his pencil between Holgate and Georgetown.

David: “I don’t see it anywhere, Daddy. Did I throw it out the window?”

Kurt: “I really don’t know if you threw it out, mister. Here’s another one to use.”

I pulled another pencil from the visor.

David: “But my pencil had a Tiki eraser on it. I want that one.”

Kurt: “There are no choices here. That pencil is lost and I have another one.”

David: “Okay. What are you writing Dad?”

Kurt: “Nothing mister.”

I documented some more of our conversation on the back of an envelope. Then I went silent and looked out the window for the next 15 minutes, while David completed the three final pages. Total time involved to finish that last 15 minutes worth of homework?

1 3/4 hours.

Most Epic Procrastination Ever!

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The Picture I Didn’t Take

June 2003

Sherwood Oregon, June 2003

For some reason I didn’t take a picture of David’s birth parents on the day I met up with them.

In 2003 Jacob had been forced to leave his old apartment and, due to non-payment, also lost everything he had in a storage unit. The reason for my visit to Sherwood OR that day was to bring him a bicycle, so he could get around for work or job interviews. David’s birth parents were no longer together as a couple but, as I suspected, the birth mother was still hanging around his new apartment.

“She has nowhere to go,” he explained after answering the door.

There happened to be a car show three blocks from his apartment, so the three of us walked around the event – talking and looking at cars for at least a couple hours. Like me, Jacob was a gear head. Unlike me, he was completely at ease in a crowd and would approach a complete stranger to ask for a cigarette (he was charismatic, and strangers always gave him one). To him there were no strangers – only people who didn’t know him yet.

Jen just liked being around Jacob.

A person could tell that her mind was a constant whir of ideas and thoughts. Equipped with an 8th-grade education, she was clearly intense and street smart. She spoke with emotion, intensity, and regret over losing parental rights of their son – David’s bio brother. Jacob produced a file folder crammed with documents that he was going to present in an upcoming court case – which he said would prove that Ryan should come back to him. And as he talked, I looked behind him at the railroad tracks stretching through Sherwood and into the distance. I snapped the picture you see here, instead of getting a picture of them.

I think back and realize that was a mistake.

How easy it would have been to say “Let’s get a picture of you two together,” but somehow that didn’t happen. Sadly, it was the last time I saw either one of them in person. Walking around the car show with them was actually quite fun; what I enjoyed about their personalities then is coming out in David’s personality now. Like Jen, David’s head is always thinking, connecting, scheming, solving. Like Jacob, David is quick to approach someone to ask a question – even if the person is a stranger or someone he has never met. Our son exhibits the best parts of his birth parents’ personalities. So when I see him, I think of them. And when I think of them, I think of this picture.

And that image of them together remains a permanent memory.

I Took Care Of It

David Nike Base-

“So did you have fun at the Kid Zone today?” I asked one day in April 2010.

David – 8 years old at the time – and his little brother Jack were playing in the kid’s room at the YMCA while I worked out.  It was a big room that housed a two-story structure on one end with climbing and slides.  Inside, there were all sorts of nooks and crannies where kids could hide out and do stuff outside the sight of room leaders.

“Yeah,” he said. “But some kids were making fun of Jack’s legs.  One of them pushed him down.”

Jack has a disability, and wears a prosthetic leg.

“That’s not nice.  Did you tell the teacher?”

“No,” he said calmly. “I took care of it.”

You WHAT?

David is part Sicilian, so I immediately had thoughts of bully kids “sleeping with the fishes,” or being wacked and hidden between the play structure and the wall.  Of course, neither were true.  But it was funny to imagine a TV Version of the story.

“What you do you mean ‘you took care of it?'” I asked.

“I told them it wasn’t okay to make fun of people,” he replied.  “And they stopped.”

Phew.  Good job David 🙂

Miracles Through Determination

David Fun Dips July 2011

On July 3rd 2011, David asked for candy all day long.

Never mind that we had candy; he wanted nothing to do with the sweets that the stunning Mrs. Clark had packed for our camping trip. No, his request was specific: Fun Dips – the candy sticks that you lick and then dip in pure sugar.

He badgered us all afternoon, but never got his Fun Dips.

Later in the day Sherry noticed an Easter Egg under the tree next to our tent at the camp site; the KOA conducts egg hunts at Easter time so it’s not a surprise to see a few stragglers. David picked up the egg and inside he found a dollar. My thought is that he would have packed it away, but David had a better idea.

He headed to the clubhouse and got Fun Dips.

He wore a green sticky sugar smile for some time afterwards. There is something to be said for determination!