A Day in the Life


Matthew wakes up, wanders around the house a bit, crawls into bed with me. He thrashes around for 10-15 minutes, then says “I want to get up, Daddy.” This is a bit difficult, as I got hooked on an on-line CME module last night and was up past midnight. (Scored 98% on the exam, though.) We get up, he turns on the TV to the Disney Channel. After about ten minutes he’s had enough (good taste) and hops in my lap to read. We read a couple of books, look at some comics on my computer, then he disappears into the kitchen.

A few minutes later, I go into the kitchen to investigate. He has carefully broken an egg into a glass bowl, placed the empty shell in the sink, added some water and chocolate syrup to the bowl, and whipped the concoction with a wire whisk. He asks for a cup. He pours some of his mix into the cup and starts to drink it. I warn him about the risks of consuming raw commercial eggs, and he asks me to cook his “hot cocoa” in the microwave. I explain that the result might not be very palatable, and make him a small amount of hot cocoa using a more conventional recipe (though he insists on having both marshmallows and whipped cream on it). We share some toast made from bread that Matthew insisted on baking last Friday. I soak my injured big toe for a few minutes, take a shower, and then realize that I have no coffee in the house.


We head to Peet’s Coffee and Tea. On the way, I notice that my phone was almost completely discharged, so we stop by a local cellular provider to see if they have a charger for it. I know it’s too early for them to be open, but wonder what their hours actually are. I can’t read the sign from the parking lot, so I get out of the car and see that it won’t open until 11:00. I get back in the car, and suddenly the doors lock and the alarm goes off. I can’t open the doors: the unlocking mechanism is disabled by the alarm. Starting the car doesn’t stop the alarm. I’m glad I am in a deserted shopping center instead of a quiet residential neighborhood. Eventually I figure out that the remote-control key fob can turn the alarm off. I hate the alarm, but it came with the car from the factory and I have yet to figure out how to permanently disable it.

Peet’s is crowded but efficient. Alas, they were out of the lemon curd I had intended to buy, and they don’t know if they will get any more. Matthew asks for a cocoa and is cute and polite enough that they give him one. Fortunately, he’d had only a few sips of his earlier one and drinks little of this new one. Caffeinated (me) and sugar-loaded (Matthew), we feel ready to start our day.

We drop by the post office and sort through a significant collection of letters that have been languishing in our mailbox.

When we get home, Matthew asks why they put vanilla in envelopes. Curious myself, I look up manila folder and get a succinct and useful answer.


A few more minutes of TV, then we read the new copy of Your Big Backyard that came in the mail. It includes a little craft project, which we complete. Then he turns on the computer and we spend some time playing various online computer games. We find Mommy’s pager, which has been missing for several days, so we call her to let her know it has been found.


After cleaning the kitchen and starting the dishwasher, I invite Matthew to go to the phone shop to get the charger. We score the charger and go to our favorite Chipotle for some root beer and a couple of bols.


Phone service is now restored. Matthew has been dying for the weather to warm up enough to “ride the bicycle to the American River”, and as it is about 75°F with blue skies and a light breeze, it seems a perfect day. The bikes have been dormant all winter, though, and I have to put a new tube in the back tire, adjust Matthew’s helmet, gather tools that have scattered about, and try to get ready for a serious ride. I convince Matthew that we need a shakedown ride before we actually try to reach the river. It goes without a hitch.


I was concerned about towing Matthew, who has grown considerably since last year. When I actually start riding, though, it is remarkably easy, and I realize that the forty-odd pounds I have lost since last summer more than make up for what Matthew has gained.

We make it to the river before the (new!) rear tire blows out. Unpatchable. Worse, it uses Presta valves and the Presta adapter on my pump is missing. A couple of riders on the trail stop to help, but no one has a Presta pump. We start the long walk home, and my injured toe starts its painful protest. Good thing we got the phone charged! Mommy is in Walnut Creek, well over an hour away, and though she graciously offers to come get us it would be faster to walk. I call a good friend who lives on American River Drive, and she willingly drops everything to drive by my house, pick up a Presta pump, and deliver it to us, and see us safely to Matthew’s house (thanks, Terry!).

NB: I have been biking extensively, off and on, for most of the past four decades. I have been rescued exactly twice. The other time was nearly two decades ago in San Diego after I had given my spare tube to an impecunious-appearing gentleman at the beach who was struggling to put perhaps the fiftieth patch on a well-worn tire tube. Naturally, I had an unpatchable flat on my way home.


Back at Matthew’s house, we completely unmount the rear wheel of the bicycle and carefully examine the wheel, tire, spokes, rim, and tire bead for evidence of what might be causing the failures, as both tubes had large punctures just adjacent to the valve stem. No flaws were found, and the new tube is still holding air as of 17:30.

Mommy calls to say that she has locked her keys in the trunk of her car, and will be late getting home.

Matthew asks for instruction on using an incentive spirometer. He then fashions a functioning trailer for his tricycle out of a rolling storage rack he pilfers from the pantry. In spite of its impressive design, it falls apart during a turn before I can get a snapshot of it.

I empty the dishwasher and tidy the rest of the house. I check the bike tire, and catch my injured toe on a pedal clip, tearing the wound open again.


Matthew rejects the proposed dinner menu (twice-baked potatoes) in favor of scrambled eggs. This will give me some flexibility accommodating to Mommy’s delays as well as give me a few minutes to document the activities of the day.

Still to come: dinner; clean-up; bath time; bed time for Matthew; and a trip to the pharmacy for cough drops, contact lens supplies, and other incidentals.

Tomorrow is another day.

RonRisley – 06 Jun 2005