My first entry for 2014 and it’s long overdue. I’ve been so inundated with daddy chores I scarcely had time to complete the editing on the second book. It continues to float in purgatory while being ravaged endlessly by revisions. But there’s news. A splinter of light is piercing the dark of the tunnel.
Being a stay-at-home dad to three small kids is no easy task. Many years ago I used to work on a Kibbutz in Israel. The kibbutz had a sod farm and I ended up spending the majority of my time there. It was fun but physically challenging. I had to stand on a narrow strip of metal on the back of a moving tractor while hauling freshly harvested slabs of sod from a side conveyor and stacking them as fast as I could without dropping or having them disintegrate in my muddy paws.
And these slabs were heavy–maybe 20 kilos each if I remember correctly–and they only got heavier as the day got longer. I would stack them until the heap was high enough to unload, which was usually 1.8 meters–sometimes higher. The tractor would stop and the onboard hydraulic lift would lower the teetering stack to the ground where a forklift would whisk it away and we’d be on our way again, building the next tower of
The tractor would stop and the onboard hydraulic lift would lower the teetering stack to the ground where a forklift would whisk it away and we’d be on our way again, building the next tower of sod, and the next, and the next, and we would keep working until the sun dipped behind the horizon.
This was almost twenty years ago and back then they didn’t have fancy turf cutters like we do nowadays. After months of doing this, of gripping and hoisting sodden blocks of turf, the texture of my hands had become like old driftwood. They were chipped and rough and for a while, I even lost some sensitivity in my fingers. A similar effect to having wood glue dry on your fingers.
As I take my mind back to those physical days, reminiscing on how durable I was back then, and I look at what I’ve accomplished these last three months, I can say, with unequivocal certainty, caring for small kids on a full-time basis is by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.
Even my days as a lawyer don’t come close. It made me miss the sod farm. I’m still not used to the unholy miasma of a shit-filled diaper, but at least I’m able to change them now and at speed, but I sound like Darth Vader when I do, and I still use half a box of wipes in the process. Don’t laugh. Think crunchy caramel with the resilience of tar.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. My life would be meaningless and empty without them, but they siphoned all of my time and energy, leaving precious little for writing, and the times I did attempt any writing I almost always ended up smacking the keyboard with my forehead. Because sleep.
But enough of my misadventures as a daddy daycare. As I’ve mentioned above, there is news. There is at last a breeze in purgatory. A gentle, almost unnoticeable movement in the air, but it’s there and it’s pushing my floating manuscript, correcting its meandering ways and setting it on course again. And so, to celebrate this wonderful change, I’ve decided to stop toying with you and reveal the cover of the new book along with its new title. And I shall do it, not next week, but tomorrow.