27 August 2002

It's a curious age, twenty-four: still young enough to snicker when you get carded, not really old enough to be taken seriously by smug boomer types. And it's an age where things tend to happen, even if it's only waiting for another couple of years to go by so your car-insurance premiums will drop to a bearable level. I even got married at twenty-four, though I would seriously question the sanity of anyone seeing me as a role model.

And now my daughter is twenty-four. She's not getting married or anything like that, but she definitely buys into the idea that this is an age where things tend to happen: she's getting ready to move to a larger apartment, and she retains a back-burner plan to buy a house when she gets a few more dollars together. (On this latter item, she is way ahead of her old man, whose financial planning is dubious at best.)

The mathematics of all this started to sink in a few years ago. When she was two, I was twenty-seven, a ratio of 13.5. When she was ten, I was thirty-five, dropping the ratio to 3.5. Next year she'll be twenty-five and I'll be fifty, bringing it down to 2. "At what point do you start treating your children like adults?" asks every parent. I think the process becomes automatic, once you get to the point where you realize that you're not all that much older than they are anymore, a point that was underscored when last I visited my father (current ratio approximately 1.5) and one bald fact — "This man has a son pushing fifty, fercrissake" — stared me in the face.

Oh, well. Enough of my pointless noodling.

Happy birthday, Becky.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:28 AM)
And now there are two

Grandchildren, that is.

Well, technically, not until April 15 or so, but the groundwork has been laid, so to speak.

For Russell and Alicia, it's their first child, and the mixture of delirium and fear and wonder that comes with being a first-time parent is going to be a constant companion for the next eight months.

And they'll love every minute of it. Just you watch.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:16 PM)
29 March 2003

Please welcome Laney Paige Marie Hill, about six pounds, about nineteen inches, and about two and a half weeks early, to the Big Wide Occasionally-Wonderful World.

Photographs when I can get them. For now, Russ and Alicia are getting some sleep, and it's a good thing, because they won't be getting much sleep for the next year or so.

Please amend all previous utterances of "But I'm too young to have a grandchild" to read "But I'm too young to have two grandchildren."

Thank you.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:14 AM)
11 April 2003
First look

Laney Paige-Marie HillFor all of you demanding a picture of the new granddaughter — well, here's a picture of the new granddaughter.

(If you missed the original intro, this is Laney Paige-Marie Hill, born 29 March at around three in the morning, six pounds thirteen ounces, and 18.5 inches tall. God forbid I should ever have to relearn these statistics in metric.)

(This was edited at 9:50 am Saturday to add the second paragraph and to reshuffle the formatting slightly.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:41 PM)
13 April 2003
The blues, or at least the greens

I figure, I'm a Baltic Avenue sort of guy; I'd like to stay away from Mediterranean if possible — been there, didn't like it — but my aspirations don't rise much beyond Oriental or Vermont or Connecticut.

My daughter recently bought in on St. Charles Place, and while she was here in town this weekend, we somehow wound up doing a brisk impromptu tour of some of the higher colors on the board. We didn't get to Boardwalk, what with the big metal gates and all, but we did spend a few minutes on Park Place, and we hit some of the newer developments on the far side of Free Parking.

"When I see one of these places," she said somewhere around Ventnor Avenue, "I want to go up to the door and ask them, 'What in the world do you do for a living? How can you afford a place like this?'"

I said something like "You never know. Maybe the meth lab finally paid off."

We passed a teardown, where a grand old house from the Twenties was being replaced with something maybe more modern, certainly twice the size, and I pointed out that this was a small but annoying trend: "You'll find this sort of thing in new developments also: houses about twice as big as they ought to be for the lot. There's a whole subdivision full of McMansions that way." I gestured in the general direction of the Water Works.

"They have no yard," she complained. "I gripe about my yard, but at least I have one."

On the far reaches of town, we passed a new development going up. Gated, of course, and the sign contained the following requirement: Minimum 3200 sf.

"Thirty-two hundred!? That's three times the size of my house!"

"Fairly standard for new construction in this area," I said. "You live in 1067 square feet?"

"About twelve hundred. How could you possibly keep a place like that clean?"

"If you can afford the mortgage, you can probably also afford to have someone come in three times a week and cycle the dust."

"I wouldn't have it," she declared. "Seventeen hundred is big enough for me."

"Especially since you don't actually have it, huh?"

"Exactly." This child is way too much like me for her own good.

We took a run to the opposite end of town, to a development called Rivendell, mostly because I figured she'd be amused by the very concept, and somewhere east of Lorien Way (very much in the spirit of Marvin Gardens) I introduced the very same Monopoly metaphor I've been abusing here.

"I love these places," she admitted, "but I really don't want to live in something like this. It would be nice, though, to get a house up on St. James Place."

"It might at that," I agreed, and we turned around and headed back towards the railroad tracks.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:09 AM)
27 May 2003
Coming up on 60 days

Laney at seven weeksI figure it's just a matter of time before someone asks "Didn't you have a granddaughter a couple of months ago?" Nice to know the archives still work. In the meantime, here's a more current shot of the young lady with stars in her eyes. I should have such a facial expression; it borders on beatific. Unfortunately, I do have the hairline.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:58 AM)
17 October 2003
Welcome Elijah

Elijah, if you're wondering, is the son of Dan and Angi Lovejoy, Oklahoma bloggers, and the story of how he got here is the stuff of legend, with perhaps the occasional miracle.

If you want to read that story, it's not exactly organized into neat little segments, but this is a good place to start.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:22 PM)
10 November 2003
For those keeping score

Nicholas Cole Havlik, first of two grandchildren — let there be no more, at least for a while — reaches the ripe old age of four today.

My daughter is hoping that this doesn't mean he'll be twice the pill he was at two. :)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:19 PM)
21 November 2003

Laney, fall '03Yes, it's time for another Gratuitous Granddaughter Picture, as Laney creeps (or maybe hops) up towards eight months. (This undoubtedly serves as a harbinger of my eventual descent from Large Mammal to Crawly Amphibian or Frosted Toaster Pastry or whatever in the TTLB Ecosystem.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:32 PM)
28 March 2004
Is that all there is?

My daughter (twenty-six this year) complains occasionally of boredom: if you're a certain age, which is to say around her age, there's not as much to do as you might expect in a city the size of Kansas City.

I have tended to dismiss this as an adolescent rant on a delay cycle, but then I started to see complaints in blogdom, some of them similar, some of them hitting quite a bit harder. Here's Bruce:

Tulsa really needs to try harder to find ways to convince younger people to stay here. Without young people with disposable time and income it will be extremely difficult to build a thriving downtown. This will not only mean keeping good jobs here but making it worthwhile to stay with a fun and growing nightlife.

Right now, Tulsa is [a] single person's hell.

And in Kansas City specifically, from Christine:

If I've been down on KC lately, it's only because I came to the realization that there has to be something in the water here. Something that breeds an apathy so thick it borders on suicidal. There's a sick sense of codependancy as well. As if the collective conscious is saying "stay down here with us". Of course I'm not talking about everyone. Some people are perfectly happy here and do well. Unfortunately, there's a demographic that just doesn't belong here. Progressive, creative, free-thinking individuals just don't do well here as a whole. It's not for lack of trying, I know people who bust their asses daily to live here. But it so very rarely pays off. Not in cash, creative, or spiritual rewards. I so envy the few people I know who are happy and thriving here.

We're starting to hear about a "creative class," a group of people, largely single, probably around Christine's or Bruce's age, who demand both reasonable employment and reasonable enjoyment. And indeed there are cities where they tend to accumulate, none of which looks particularly like Tulsa or Kansas City. Dr. Richard Florida, guru presumptive to this demographic cohort, says that this sort of thing is inevitable:

[B]eing able to afford food and decent health care is merely a baseline requirement. Most people, including those on the lowest rungs, have a bigger vision, and it isn't "the chance to get rich," the line Reagan once borrowed from Lincoln. It's Jefferson's idea: the pursuit of happiness. The dream is to reap intrinsic rewards from our work rather than merely be "compensated" for the time and effort we put in.

As observers from the sociologist Ronald Inglehart to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Fogel have pointed out, this is an effect of living in a post-scarcity, post-materialist society. Once a society moves above subsistence level, its members start seeking more than material rewards from their work.

I don't think I'm too old to recognize the validity of this observation, but I do think I'm probably too old to just pack up and move, the way Bruce might like to, the way Christine is going to. Part of this is the sensation that I've probably gotten all the career nurture I'm ever going to get, and I'm disinclined to start at the bottom somewhere else. But some of it is the fact that if I'm bored, I tend to assume that it's because of me, not because of where I live or what I think I'd like to do. Then again, I'm writing this while doing a load of laundry.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:45 AM)