Laying Plans

It's that time of year where every blogger worth their salt puts together either an (A) Best of 2014 or (B) Fresh set of goals for 2015.

If you've paid attention to my musings (or lack there of) in 2014, you will probably agree when I sum up the last year by simply saying: "Been there, done that.  Moving on".

So, what is there to look for from MacLoosh Chronicles in 2015?  Who the f#*k really knows?? 2014 certainly didn't go as planned, so I am a little gun-shy on predictions.  I can offer this:  I do have a fairly major goal in mind though.  To get my daughter outdoors more.

Sound's pretty simple, eh?

Uh....yeah, Right....  "Simple".

Having just passed mile-marker 44 on the highway of life, I have learned one or two lessons along the way.  Of those lessons, two stand out consistently.

The first is all about expectations.  It occurs to me that when we set appropriate expectations, we find ourselves enjoying the ride much more than if we have set unrealistic expectations in the first place.  This has relevance in EVERY single thing we do.  (Admittedly, I am better at this than I used to be, but still a work in progress)

The second lesson is actually one that I wear on my shoulder as a constant reminder (a tattoo).  It is to be balanced.  Sometimes this is much harder than it seems as being balanced can occasionally be a minute by minute affair.  Hence the permanence of my constant reminder.

Perhaps I should adjust my expectations about balance???   Geeesch.......We'll have to save *that* discussion for another time (when I have enough whiskey on board to REALLY peel back the layers).

Where I'm headed with all of this psychobabble is that in order to get my daughter outside more (with the secret hope of turning her on to flyfishing): I have adjusted my expectations of how to go about it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect to change her.  I wouldn't want that and she wouldn't accept me trying to do that. Instead, I'd like to introduce more of my love of nature and the outdoors in hopes that she will develop her own love of the natural world.  I'm hoping a balanced approach (give a little / get a little) will be the ticket.

Today, a deal was struck.  She was itchy to burn up a gift card to "Justice", and I wanted to take a hike and scout a trout stream I've not fished yet.  She was to go for a hike, and not mention going to Justice once.  In return, I would endure the hell of sitting patiently in a (pre) teeny bopper mecca while she found the perfect thing to spend that gift card on.

The hike exceeded my expectations.  We had an absolutely wonderful time.  I put her in a pair of polarized sunglasses so she could see the fish in the water, and we set about business trying to scare up and pester every single trout on the stream. It's the off season, so we were safe from pissing off any nearby anglers. Along the way, a couple of really neat experiences fell into our laps.

One was a mouse who had fallen into the water (NOT by our doing).  We noticed him floating along, nearly dead and hoped to see a big trout rise up and take him.  The trout never came, but that didn't stop us from watching carefully and following him as far down stream as we could.

The second was an abandoned birds nest.  It was enough to generate somewhere in the range of 523 questions; which I fielded to the best of my abilities.

In between dead mice and abandoned birds nests, we just had fun.  She is 8, so the question topics ranged from whether or not a recent nick from shaving my face was healing properly?  to whether or not I like waffles?  (and why?)  Most importantly, the conversation was light and fun.

As promised, after our hike we set off for the mall.  The stream was a full 1/2 hour drive away from Madison, so we sang along to the radio and jabbered aimlessly about everything and nothing at all.

Once we hit the mall, we decided that we should get a little bit of food.  Neither of us had eaten lunch, and my wise old soul of a daughter suggested that before she took me to Justice that I should have some food in my belly to keep me from getting crabby.

A smart move on her part.  I can be an ugly SOB when hungry and shopping.  Satisfied, we made our way to the store. To hold up my end of the deal, I dutifully held her coat and found a place out of the way to watch and wait.

While there, I was stared up one side and down the other by multiple pre and early teenage girls.  They hated me.  I could tell by the snotty look, tilt of their head, and snap of hair as they turned on their heels to go the opposite direction.  They didn't hate me because I had done anything, but because they didn't know what else to do.  I suspect they hate everyone.

After one particular shopper had done this more than once, I *might* have given her a dose of her own medicine.  With a single look that told her I know that she is just insecure with herself, and followed up with an almost imperceptible smirk, I watched her crumble behind steely eyes (decorated in too much eyeliner) and whisk away.  She never came back to that area of the store.

This didn't go unnoticed by the other father who had sought refuge in the same area as me.  He congratulated me on having the guts to do what he had wanted to do.  I mentioned that I had been born a little asshole, and had simply gotten bigger over the years.  As we talked, we decided that if Justice REALLY wants to make a lot of money, they should install a bar in the back of the store.  A place where dads (and moms) could take refuge from the Taylor Swift set with a stiff drink.

My daughter eventually found a range of items she needed and I helped her narrow the selection down to the $25 she had on her gift card.

Happy as a little clam, she suggested we head home.  We left the mall and made for the UnForest, feeling pretty smug about having struck a workable deal for the day.

In all, we are off to a good start, even though we haven't officially hit 2015.  Balance and realistic expectations will surely set the tone.

Til later,


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