Here are some things.
-- We were supposed to get a blizzard here in Utah. Instead we got three inches of snow. Still, that was fine with me because it topped off the few inches we got on Sunday and I was able to finally build my slightly off-scale replica of Talladega Superspeedway out of snow in our yard. High banks. Infield with plenty of camping space. Some snow RVs (no, they are not flying Confederate flags). And best of all, real slicked down stretches, front and back, where I whip my daughter down past the frozen grandstands at 198mph/199mph; her grin threating to just swallow her whole noggin, me huffing and puffing into Turn one and out of Turn 2 like I'm three laps down and running on fumes.
Sometimes our driver falls out of the car/orange saucer, and we pretend she's one of those old school drivers who'd show up at the track on Sunday half-lit, straight from some wild moonshiner honkey tonk out in the woods. Those fellows back then could have damn well fallen out of their cars too. I'll bet a few did. Anyway, I go back there and scoop her out of the snow, her little laughing panting body just laying there on the white asphalt in her hot pink fire-suit/snowsuit; i lift her up and put her back down in her frog position and we take off again.
Down the back stretch! WHITE FLAG!
One lap to go!
Here comes Violet Bielanko in the Dora the Explorer Ford alongside Handsome Harry Gant! She passes Harry and she's got her sights on Earnhardt and Wallace!
THREE WIDE INTO TURN THREE! OH MY, THEY TOUCH!!!!! WALLACE SPINS! EARNHARDT DOWN IN THE GRASS! WALLACE IS AIRBORNE UPSIDE DOWN AND CRASHES INTO THE FRONT STRETCH FENCE! RUSTY'S ON FIRE! EARNHARDT IS ON FIRE! HERE COMES VIOLET BIELANKO HERE COMES VIOLET BIELANKO HERE COMES VIOLET BIELANKO! CHECKERED FLAG! VIOLET BIELANKO WIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNS THE RED MAN 600! VIOLET BIELANKO WINS IN ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC UNBELIEVABLE FINISHES IN STOCK CAR HISTORY!
This is the kind of stuff I bellow between gasps for life as we circle the yard on our frozen Talladega. I know my neighbors can hear me now that the leaves are all gone and sound bounces down the street untouched. And I'm glad of that. I want them to know that there is a guy, a renter, over there, who is building a superspeedway in his yard for his two-year old daughter. I have always admired that guy, wanted to be him from afar. Now: I am.
--Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and me and Monica decided that we didn't even care if we had turkey this year. After 38 years of turkey, I'm over it for a year. So then I suggested, with Hope Spears shooting out of my eyeballs into Monica's face, I suggested that I could make my specialty: Eggplant Parm. Imagine my super-nova of joy when she looked at me, with no expression, and said:
"Yeah, I don't care."
Now, that might not sound like a real vote for South Philly Italian for Thanksgiving dinner, but it was goddamn good enough for me! I hooted and did my little jig, did a couple Moonwalks across the kitchen vinyl.
I'm super happy. I can get out there in the kitchen, have a little juice glass of wine, and fill the house with that heavy oily smoke that comes from frying slabs of Purple Turkey/Eggplant. Plus I'm making meatballs too, so people are gonna be going apeshit around here. People walking into their Grandma's house three and four doors down are gonna catch a whiff of the magic garlic cloud hovering over my place and glance longingly at the soft warm Sicilian glow emanating from our steamed-up front windows. They'll hear the mandolins, the lusty laughter rattling the late afternoon, the rustic wood spoon tap-tapping the side of the deep Marinara pot.
They'll say to themselves:
That Serge guy.
He sure knows how to live."
Or not. Either way, we're having eggplants over here tomorrow.
-- Tonight, I'm probably gonna wait til Monica gets home from work and make her watch Elf with me.
-- So far, for Christmas, I have three Dr. Seuss books for Violet. And six plastic dinosaurs from Walmart. A buck apiece. For Violet.
--I'll be watching the Thanksgiving Day parade from NYC at 7 tomorrow morning. I love it and someday before long I hope somehow I can get my kids to Manhattan to see it in person. I always dreamed my kids would wait and wait and wait out in the cold windy New York Streets, waiting for their Daddy, who would appear, high atop the DAYS OF OUR LIVES float, waving down at the plebians and the frozen peasants. I would smile and my ultra shiny choppers would reflect the sliver of unthawed sun cutting down into the canyon, and the light bouncing off of my choppers would warm everyone down there under my float. I was gonna be the soap star who saved Thanksgiving.
But no dice.
Now they'll just have to stand next to Dad, as he sips his bodega coffee and holds them up on his shoulders so they can get a glimpse of Santa when he finally passes by. And Regis when he does too.
-- This year I am thankful for my sweet gentle wife, Monica, and my wonderful daughter, Violet, and my unborn boy, Han Solo Bielanko, and my dogs, Max and Milo even though they make me fuckin' crazy some times, and red wine and War and Peace and all the trout I slipped back into the rushing river and my Zolofts, and my family all scattered around, and my friends, all three of 'em...who I never see anymore all scattered around, and my stack of books for next year, and for the small miracles that blow up my driveway like packs of wild leaves from time to time/usually when I could really use one.
--Yesterday I said something I never in this lifetime thought I would ever say. I was changing my kid's diaper and I looked down and saw something that made me smile; little smooth nuggets, like pretzel nubs. And without an ounce of pre-thought, I swear, I whispered to her:
"You know, you've got the cutest little poopies."
We just stared at each other for a long second. The only sound: her binky popping softly in her mouth. I understood the look she gave me. I was allowed to say what I said just that once. But never again.
That's probably for the best, I guess.