15 April 2010

The Wharf (ii)

It was about time for the kid to be hungry. He said he wasn't - but asked for a corn dog and onion rings just in case I was in a giving mood. I wasn't. I also didn't see a lot of options for when he would be hungry. A lot of the few chain restaurants we have are down at the wharf. There is a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, a Hard Rock Cafe, an IHOP and an In-N-Out Burger. It was crowded that Sunday afternoon and I did not feel like waiting in line for overpriced food. I didn't think he would eat a crepe and when placed in front of generic American food, he said he didn't want anything. So we kept walking.

I showed him the sourdough being made at Boudin. He said it smelled funny. As we walked toward the Hyde St. Pier, hunger hit. The kid wanted crab legs. Maybe that's an odd request for a child to make. I don't think I ever requested crab legs. But Ty was the first kid I'd known to stand in line at an amusement park food court and order a Caesar salad. He was seven then and I guess his tastes have matured. It was a genius idea. We were at the wharf, where the Dungeness were being brought in fresh. I stopped at a stand, got him one ($15) crab (legs & body) and for 20 minutes, he did not speak.

Happiness is crab.

He became devoted to that crab. He picked apart each leg meticulously, digging and sucking on every bit. I could have told him I was going to swim in the bay and he wouldn't have cared. I had some too - it was fantastic. Ty didn't say a word. I called my mom. I sent a picture to my dad. I got my bearings. That crab had given me a chance to reset. Amazing.

Then we hit an arcade museum. There are games in there going back to at least 1925. It's amazing what people found to be entertaining. I mean I know I say that with my 2010 understanding of technology but really - have you ever heard of Laughing Sal? It's a larger than life sized doll that just rocks and laughs. It's creepy. I know, because Ty looked at me and said "that's creepy." We played some of the games, including this magnetic drop for gumballs. It's like any other drop game where you have to scoop your prize, except the claw is operated by magnets. You have to connect two of them to get the claw to close. We watched two people fail and I tried to give Ty a strategy. He told me he knew how to do it. He wasn't lying. He had scooped twice during the time his quarter allotted. The woman behind us told her boyfriend "you just got schooled by a kid." He had.

Hard at work.

On a horse.

With gumball spoils in his pocket, we made it to the Hyde Street Pier. Ty didn't want to go on to any of the ships, but we read little bits about a few of them. I think he thought I was tricking him into learning though, and asked to go play in the sand instead.

At the pier.

In a boat.

Dancing.

We went down to Aquatic Park. I rolled up his jeans and gave him a "do not get wet beyond this point" line. Useless. He danced with the waves and of course the waves won. It was cold, but there were plenty of kids on the shore. Eventually Ty got soaked and I told him we had to leave. I could just see a cold coming. We cleaned him up as best we could, got some ice cream and hit the grocery store.

Best efforts at staying partially dry, wasted.

There were things I knew he'd eat. My plan was to run in and get them. I was not prepared for the success of marketing. Ty knew every slogan to every sugary snack. He told me we should get certain fruit snacks because we would be giving a computer to a kid in Africa. He recommended other fruit snacks because they would give us a chance to win a family vacation. We went through the store like that - with him telling me why we should get something gross, and me explaining why we shouldn't. It was exhausting. I understood the "because I said so" argument my parents used to give me. I asked him why he only ate unhealthy foods. I know it's not his decision but I thought I could inspire some quiet introspection. He told me he didn't know, and that it was my fault for moving so far away and leaving him. Touche young man.

Jesse roasted chicken & vegetables for dinner. This is obviously a pre-roasting picture. I was excited. I mean I was thrilled just to not have to make dinner. To not have to make a dinner I really like it was an extra bonus. Ty would only want the chicken, although Jesse negotiated some potatoes. They spent the night hanging out and I got to relax a little. I told myself that had been the hardest day, because Derek on his way. Together we would split the work and we'd all have fun.

Bonding. "This is what they do in the UFC."