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Lagoon


Harold fell in the lagoon again on Saturday. Second time this summer. Or, well, I guess fall now. I took him for a walk in the park to feed the ducks because it's so hot for this time of year. It's not like Mindy gets him outside at all, I'm sure.

He fell in, and I laughed so hard I nearly followed him, heaving on the grass as he stood their dripping wet and wailing like a soaked cat.

Poor kiddo. But oh man, it was just too good. I guess he'd fixed on a mallard, bobbing around about four feet away from the wall. And he was holding the bread out in his hand, squatting all careful, and saying stuff like, "here, ducky ducky. Come on Mr. Duck. Daddy, daddy, it's quacking," in his little high pitched voice.

So unbelievably cute I could have just about thrown up.

I was looking down at my phone for about half a second too long -- Mitch wanted to trade three draft picks and a injured receiver or something ridiculous -- and I swear to God if that little idiot doesn't find a way to get into trouble in the only instant where I'm not looking at him.

Suddenly I hear, "Oh no daddy!" and then kerplumpsplash. Sweet Christ, you'd have thought the kid weighed a thousand pounds. It sounded like a depth charge when he hit the water. And of course the ducks were flapping and going nuts flinging water everywhere, so there's just this huge scene. For one second, my heart came out of my mouth, like, what if he was really hurt. But the water's only two feet deep and he stood up in a second.

So instead, I guess, relieved and seeing the little guy there in his tank top dripping wet and shocked, I just started laughing my nuts off. Totally lost it.

Of course, he didn't understand, so he just started screaming, "Daddy, it's not funny! Stop it it's just not funny!" Which of course made it worse, because the whole thing was just ridiculously adorable. So I just got on my knees and opened my arms. I said to him -- and at this point, I was only barely holding back my own snot and tears from laughing so hard -- "I'm sorry buddy. I'm sorry. Your dad's a big jerk. Come on, let's get you out of there. and cleaned up."

He came trudging out of the water and just kind of walked into my arms, stinking like a pond, and crying. And I could feel his whole body hot with embarrassment. I hugged his soggy little belly, and rubbed his back, and felt the water squishing, and he started to calm down.

And then the little bugger goes, "Daddy, those ducks are toooOOOOoooooOOO sneaky." He, like, sang it. And I just howled laughing at that, and squeezed, and said "oh yeah boss? You don't say."

I carried him up to North Avenue and we bought a quarter of a watermelon from one of the Puerto Rican dudes selling them out of his pickup truck. Hal loves his watermelon. It's like my secret weapon or whatever. Then we went back down to the lagoon and laid out his shirt on the warm stone to dry, and we ate the watermelon, spitting seeds into the water, and he was just drooling red watermelon juice. It took me forever to get him and his clothes cleaned up that night.

Anyway.

I dropped him off at Mindy's the next day -- thought about trying to get him not to say anything about the lagoon thing, but figured, whatever. If the kid says something, he says something. Later on, I turned on the late game and sat in my underwear on the couch, watching it on mute. I scrolled through my phone, not doing anything, in the quiet of him not being there.

I guess if I had to, I'd say that those were the toughest hours this week. The first few without him usually are.