Miles High Salute

I complained to my wife about having nothing to write about this month, so she suggested the topic of how much I love her. Ehh… we’ll get to that.

She did earn real MVP honors last week taking care of the kids while I enjoyed a three-night trip to Denver with my two best childhood friends. One of them is a rising star in stand-up comedy and podcasting, so we got to play entourage while he headlined and crushed five sold-out shows.

If it weren’t for the average bedtime of 4 a.m. being six hours later than my ideal, I could get used to this: flight and suite at The Ritz-Carlton covered by my buddy, open tab in the green room, girl from a bachelorette party asking to meet backstage. (She somehow remembered my comedian friend from high school even though he didn’t go to hers, and did not remember me, even though I did. I guess fame by definition makes you more recognizable.)

Oh and breakfast buffet in the United lounge, which I know doesn’t require celebrity status, but I’ve been flying Spirit the last couple of years while prices and my family size inflated. Buying four plane tickets with one click is a breathtaking expense. I don’t understand why Spirit is hated on for nickel-and-diming when they essentially itemize the cost and charge for what you actually use versus charge for everything without asking.

I’ve been dying to weave this tip into a blog post as a courtesy, and here’s my chance: There is no need to pay for assigned seats on Spirit when traveling with children. I’ve rolled the dice like three times and concluded they always will keep at least one adult with the child. They have to put everyone somewhere and should be happy to allocate an adjacent middle seat no one wants.

The only issue would be if all window and aisle seats were pre-purchased, but I just don’t see that happening on a Spirit flight. People go to Wal-Mart to get the job done, not for the shopping experience.


Anyways, I shared a thought with my non-comedian friend while attempting to put on a gold chain with a black turtleneck, my self-proclaimed entourage outfit that was intended to be ironic although no one got the joke. He has two older kids and knowingly agreed with my amateur hour reflection.

I said when you’re away from the kids, all daily tasks demanded by their existence are gone. What you’re left with when thinking about them is the essence of it all, a pure and intense love. With the noise and clutter stripped away, you realize how much you love them. I know the idea of absence making the heart fonder isn’t groundbreaking, but I was almost startled by how I felt.

When I walked in the door after the trip, the 3-year-old gave me a coy grin while keeping a side gaze on the TV. After a few minutes, he launched into a patented nonsensical monologue about garbage trucks punctuated with his patented slow blinks. Then he instructed me to carry him outside so he could deposit a trash bag in the bin.

The 1-year-old came down later from a nap and gave me a surprised and delighted, feces-eating grin that stayed plastered on his rosy post-slumber face for what seemed like a full minute. I caught the tail end of it with this pic but swear it was twice as wide in the beginning.


Of course the honeymoon didn’t last long, as much as we all wish you could bottle euphoric perspective in Denver rather than just the gummies that facilitate it. The little one crapped in the bathtub, which might sound funny if you don’t empathize with the challenges of cleaning all surface area touched by contaminated water: tub including sides, plastic boats with unnecessary crevices and ridges, squeeze toys with tiny holes that create festering, undrainable cesspools inside, an eight-page waterproof but not poop-proof Disney book.

It’s such a shocking power move to defecate in a bathtub. Simply no regard for others. The boys combined have only done it a few times, so my brain didn’t immediately process what happened. For a split second, I was irrationally thinking brownie or cookie. Later I had to clean refried beans out of his bib and definitely thought turd.

Thus my Rocky Mountain high gradually subsided into the normal state of contradictions. I love cuddling poop boy so much but rolled my eyes at the 5-in-the-morning wake-up calls and phantom fever that sent him home from school.

My heart lurches with tenderness every time his brother pronounces a dinosaur name — “Iguanodon” out of his mouth sounds closer to NBA player Bojan Bogdanovic’s last name — yet I don’t have the stamina to play Ross Geller and answer incessant questions about what modern foods various extinct dinosaur species eat. (I at least try to stay consistent with carnivores and herbivores, but from there need to take liberties. Brontosauruses eat oatmeal and velociraptors eat hamburgers, FYI.)

I am so proud of his verbal development and Mandarin vocabulary including words I don’t know, but usually by the end of the day I’m begging him to watch TV and give me some quiet. The bonus of my respite in Denver is seeing the full heart behind this ambivalence with clearer eyes.

Also, there was a hot personal trainer at the Ritz, but she was busy and I love my wife.
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