Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thoughts run semi-wild

Conveniently, Tuesday being my free-form blogging day is lining up with my mind being in a bit of a stochastic mode, so rather than trying to tame everything into a cohesive argument or the like, I’m just going to jump around from riff to riff.

For some reason this card makes me thirsty.
The new computer is still working out well, except for the challenges I’m currently having with iTunes. Not that iTunes didn’t install just fine on the machine, but I had (foolishly) assumed that once I had cleared that hurdle it would be easy enough to hook up the dock, plug in my iPod, and download all the music contained therein to the iTunes library. Apparently not, for reasons I can only assume have something to do with Apple not wanting people to be able to share (read: pirate) music quite that easily. Although there are no such restrictions against using some other kind of storage device besides an iPod and transferring music files from the old PC to the new like so. In my particular case, though, the challenge then becomes getting the old PC to work just long enough to pull off the music files. I’ve tried once and the results were dismal. Fortunately I have friends who are much more capable than I in these arenas, so I’m still optimistic that the whole library is recoverable. We shall see.

The reason why this is something I feel somewhat compelled to resolve sooner rather than later is due largely to my father’s birthday, which has been tasking me for the past six weeks. My Little Bro and I came up with the fantastic idea of assembling some playlists of songs that remind us of our father (not too terribly hard since he is a big music fan and had a lot of influence on our pop education growing up) and burning him CDs thereof and presenting them along with liner notes as his birthday present. We also got Very little Bro and Baby Sister involved in the effort, and everything was going well as far as people picking their songs (with astonishingly little overlap) and drafting the liner notes and then it came time to actually assemble the compilation. Originally Little Bro had volunteered, then had to back out because his home PC is no longer capable of burning CD’s. Very Little Bro is unemployed and Baby Sister is 13, and both of them are currently living with my dad, so they’re not ideal candidates for either buying the MP3s or surreptitiously assembling the CDs. Thus it fell to me, and I was fine with that once I had the new PC up and running and everything. But I hit a minor stumbling block when Very Little Bro had requested a song that I knew I had on my iPod but which I could not add to the new playlist I was assembling on the PC. Frustrating.

There comes a point (probably right about now at the six-week mark) when a gift meant to commemorate a certain occasion is so egregiously late that it simply doesn’t matter when you finally get around to delivering it, because in every meaningful sense it will still be the same subjective amount of “late”. Nevertheless, I do want to get my dad’s birthday CDs finished soon, not only to get the to-do crossed off my personal list but also because he recently suggested that he drive down for a visit around the third weekend in August. I believe his car is equipped with a CD player and I think it would be nice for him to have four new mixes to listen to and help pass the 8-hour drive. So one way or the other I’ve really got to bang them out.

Of course, the entire notion of my dad, step-mother and Baby Sister (and, presumably though not guaranteed, Very Little Bro) coming to visit is something which is challenging to grapple with mentally. My dad hasn’t done anything recently to put any more strain on our relationship than is usual, with the possible exception of not coming to visit all that much. So on the one hand it is an unalloyed Good Thing that he is willing to make the effort and put in the drive-time and venture southward for a couple of days. But at the same time it’s impossible to think about without also thinking of how long it’s been since he came anywhere close to visiting, which by the time of this upcoming visit will be almost exactly two years prior, and then only a stop-in while returning home to Connecticut from the Outer Banks. In the interim we have moved, and he’s never seen the new house, and we’ve had our daughter, whom he hasn’t met. I don’t know how one goes about breaking a streak without being hyper-aware of said streak, so that’s where I’m at. And then on top of that is the constant fear that while he’s visiting there might be awkwardness or unpleasantness resulting from all the personality clashes under one roof. I’m not going to lie, it stresses me out, I wish it didn’t, but it does. But as my wife always says, our kids have six living grandparents and in the best of all possible worlds the kids would get to know and spend time with each of those grandparents, completely irrespective of whatever difficulties their parents and grandparents may struggle with. (Or words to that effect.)

So yeah, those are the kinds of things that bounce around in my head, and will no doubt continue to ricochet for the next month or so, after which hopefully I can look back on the now-impending visit and not see too much wreckage strewn about in the aftermath.

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