A Day As A Father

Posted on June 24, 2011

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Since 2006, I’ve written about Father’s Day once.

That’s not a great track record.

I’m not sure why.

Maybe they weren’t that memorable.

Besides, it’s just another day.

But, this year it was a little different.

The morning started as my other Minnesota mornings: a run.

Sunday was preceded by nearly 13 miles of running, so I was looking for something a little shorter and easier.  I was also in the mood to put down some barefoot miles on grass.

I found a local community park on the map that seemed to include several baseball and soccer fields.  Those make perfect surfaces for barefoot sprint work.

The only problem was deciding if I was going to run there barefoot, or run there with my shoes and then take them off upon arrival.

Once again, the decision was made for me.  My shoes were wet from “drying out” on the patio during a late-night rain storm.

Barefoot it was.

And so I headed out, my feet gingerly landing on the asphalt road.  Balls first, softly lower to the ground.  Pick up foot.  Repeat.

Running this way takes a lot more concentration and slows me down significantly.  I made the first mile to the park in just under 10 minutes.

The park was slightly flooded.  Ducks made gestures in the ponds that were once fields.  They flew off as my feet splashed through the gray morning.

I made a full round of the park.  I passed a man walking his Irish Setter.  The dog careened through puddles after a high arching ball.

I said “good-morning” with a nod and hand, and the man nodded back.  Fellows in a flooded field.

I ran the second mile through the fields much faster, picking up pace as I found higher ground and drier land.  No longer was mud squishing between my toes, spurting upward with each forefoot landing.

After hitting the second mile at 7:20 pace, I rounded back to the elevated soccer fields for some sprint work.

Ten striders.  Controlled sprint from end to end.  Rest 30 seconds, sprint back.

Focus on form.  Knee lift.  Foot strike.

I was breathing harder and harder, but each one became faster and faster.

The mosquitoes were coming after my bare feet and legs.  They could sense my CO2 output increasing.  Plus, I was sweating enough for them to smell me.

I made the rests between each strider shorter to avoid standing still too long and allowing the mosquitoes a free breakfast.  If I was working hard, they were going to work hard.

After ten striders I made the warm down loop around the wet baseball fields, and back onto the paved road.

I returned home with feet intact and uninjured.

3.81 miles of barefoot running on asphalt to grass to asphalt again.

I checked the bottom of my feet.  The soles were a little dirty, but not like the black mess they are when I run barefoot in Florida.  Minnesota roads must be cleaner.

I stripped and showered and stretched.

I downed some coffee and food.

I checked Facebook and sent off “Happy Father’s Day” wishes of varying length to my friends who are dads.

I’ve realized that limiting my Facebook contacts makes it easier to remember who exactly I count as friends I’d want to hear from.

After some more coffee and online business, I was greeted by The Girl who wore a hair-do that looked nothing short of a wild rumpus.

“Happy Father’s Day, Appa!”

With a hug and a kiss, the day was set into motion.

The family of five (Me, Kokkiree, The Girl, Kokkiree’s Sister and her husband) piled into one car for a quick trip to St. Paul (the other twin city).

Sunday’s in St. Paul are quiet.  Eerily quiet.  Starbucks-is-closed quiet.

That’s right.  Starbucks is closed on Sundays in St. Paul.

We passed what seemed to be a wedding in the making in the downtown square.

We passed several Peanuts statues (Charles Schultz was born in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Paul.  Fittingly, he ended up living out the rest of his life in a sleepy California town next to where I grew up – spottings were reported frequently).

We traipsed through the St. Paul Hotel (one of the original guests was Lucius Ordway – name to be made significant later).  It was pretty amazing to step foot into a historical building that housed Lindberg, Welk, Autry, and JFK.

We ended up back at our original destination: The Ordway Center.

The Ordway was giving two performances that day: Guys and Dolls or Mu Daiko.

We were there for the Mu Daiko performance.

After grabbing a few coffees and few treats ($1.50 for a small coffee…in a Florida theatre a coffee would be $5.00 for a cup of crap) we took our seats.  Kokkiree booked tickets early and got the side box balcony.  We were the only ones up there, and we had a perfect area to camp out and relax and watch.

So pretty much, I am giving major props to my kick-ass wife.

I’ve been to a few Daiko shows.  But, this group was the best group I’ve seen.  The group had a fantastic repertoire and performed with enthusiasm.  They also had far better choreography than I’ve seen elsewhere.

After the show, we had no plans, so we walked back to the car.  There we passed the statue commemorating Herb Brooks and the Miracle on Ice.

We tried to get The Girl to imitate the statue, but she was acting too shy and timid to actually do it.  All I got was this picture.

As we continued down the road, we came to a fantastic view of the Mississippi.

Of course, we only went to see the river because it happened to be next to the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Kokkiree had spent countless days with The Girl at the museum when they still lived in Minnesota.  She had a membership which gave them free admission any time they wanted.

“How long will it take?” I asked, considering that we had yet to eat lunch.

“Oh, like an hour,” Kokkiree said.  “Sometimes we just get through in less than an hour.”

So, we decided to go in and look around and decided to get a membership since it had reciprocity to several museums here in Florida, and several museums in California.

When you first walk in, you’re confronted with the beautifully industrial “Pipedream” installation.  There is also an entire area devoted to the Mississippi River which finds it origins in Minnesota (literal translation means “Land of Sky-Blue Water”).  I asked the Park Ranger if one could kayak the entire 2300 miles of the river, and she said yes, with the exception of a few places you need to take out and walk.

Then, there is also a flying pterodactyl fossil looming over you as you investigate the Mississippi River maps.

Or maybe it’s a pteranodon?

Either way, the museum is fantastic.  It is probably the best science museum geared towards children I’ve seen.  It has a ton of interactive exhibits for children and adults.

There are musical stairs and musical seismograph chimes.  Those were ringing quite a bit, which would mean that there were a lot of small tremors all over the world in the time we were visiting the museum.

Three hours worth of visiting.

I was able to look at a mummy, gross body parts, dead things in jars, and all sorts of scientific finds and, well, . . . stuff.

And, of course, there were things that weren’t really scientific.

The featured image for the post is one of the final things I got to see.  There’s nothing that can prepare you for the puzzlement and sudden sphincter tightening you experience as you come across the prostate gland warmer.

You’re supposed to insert the long black metal probe into your anus.

All.  The.  Way.  To.  The.  Hilt.

Then, for some ungodly reason, you plug it into the wall.  That’s right.  You actually want to electrocute your anus.

Then, for some other ungodly reason, you turn a switch that lights a blue bulb.  This light bulb will warm the the anal probe to a soothing 100 plus degrees.

Doing this will cure constipation, increase blood flow, and improve manly functions elsewhere.  It claims it will “stimulate the abdominal brain.”

Stupid science.  Brains are in the penis.  Not the abdomen.

Anyway, how can you not enjoy a Father’s Day that includes hockey, Japanese drumming, and an anal probe.

It’s just like an All-American Father’s Day.

Except for the hockey and Japanese drumming.

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