To a kid, the only thing better than a summer break is the excitement of the first day of the new school year. The anticipation of a new adventure can make most kids overlook the dread of homework. Here is Christopher Koehler to talk about how some people never outgrow that “first day” feeling.
School’s in the air. I can smell it. I love that smell, but then, I’m an at-home dad and summer is nothing but one long ordeal for me. Summer and weekends, actually. Everyone loves to bitch about Mondays, but since I became an at-home dad—about three years, now—I love Mondays. It’s weekends that are bothersome, because I’ve got both of my men underfoot and looking for entertainment, but Mondays? It’s quiet on Mondays, and quiet in the house all day for four days after that, just me and my laptop and my cat. That’s when the magic happens.
School resumes in my community in late August rather than the traditional post-Labor Day. I don’t know why it’s this early. It hasn’t snowed here since the early ‘90s, so it’s not as if we have snow days to contend with. Oh well, The Kid Himself will be out of my hair in school and daycare, so no more disrupted routine as I try to remember if this week he’s in arts camps or engineering camp, or if this was the week the mister and I are packing him off to his first away camp, Camp Whackadoodle. Or maybe that was me after our family vacation.
But it’s more than that. You see, I live in a college town. The university won’t resume until late September, but the undergrads usually start trickling back sooner. Yep, the beef comes back, and thank fuck it’s so hot around here, because they will be wearing next to nothing. Did I mention my sunglasses are mirrored? True mirrors. You can’t see my eyes.
Of course, At forty-two I’m old enough to be some of these guys’ fathers, and while hot guys with daddy issues are fun to think about, I’m not sure I really want to get any of them on me, besides which, nothing screams pathetic midlife crisis louder than a man coming up hard on middle age chasing someone half his age. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. I may use a frighteningly expensive anti-oxidant made from the ground-up souls of puppies and kittens to stave off wrinkles and age spots, but I do have some dignity left.
Nick and Morgan haven’t been around much, I’m sad to say. Morgan’s been busy working on a combined MA and teaching credential. Not that it’s the best time to go into education in California, but it’s what he wanted to do, and Morgan’s always been the sort to do as he pleases, as Nick well knows. Too many school districts in California are cutting back and firing teachers these days. Oddly enough, administrators seem secure in their jobs.
Fortunately for them both, Nick’s going into a field with plenty of growth potential. He’s currently doing a hospital-based internship in physical therapy. Unfortunately, since his entire class was looking for such hospital-based internships in the Sacramento area, he couldn’t get one locally, so he and Morgan are living apart. Nick’s not lonely, however. Besides keeping busy at work, he’s staying with Morgan’s parents in the Bay Area.
Brad’s finally hitting his stride. There’s no nice way to put this, but he was kind of an asshole in Rocking The Boat, wasn’t he? He just hadn’t figured himself out. Once he did, he started to show maturity and a certain grace that made his friends welcome and appreciate him instead of hide the breakables. He’s still playful and boisterous, he just knows when to quit. Drew helps with that. The two of them, through much hard work, have made their remodeling business a real success.
Drew had a bit of a hard time when Brad not only helped out Owen, a man he hooked-up with once (in Tipping the Balance), but brought him into the adaptive rowing program at the Capital City Rowing Club. Brad smoothed it over for his partner, and helped Owen, who’d been injured in the line of duty, work things through with his beau, veterinarian and rower Adam Lennox, who has some issue of his own. You can read their story in Burning It Down, available from Dreamspinner press sometime in December 2012.
Lastly, Stuart’s life has gotten interesting. Stuart was a year behind most of his friends from Rocking the Boat. He was younger, for one thing, but he also had to work to support himself. Sure, he had scholarships and grants that took care of most of CalPac’s tuition and living expenses, but they weren’t quite enough. Well, he’s finally graduated from California Pacific and found his life at a crossroads.
Guess who he found waiting for him at that crossroads? No, not Jonathan Poisonwood. They broke up, in part because Jonathan was a rich idiot who set Stuart’s teeth on edge. No, he found Philip Sundstrom. Brad may have been so far in the closet that he was the uncrowned king of Narnia, but Philip’s bi and has always known it; his flings with men have been short and sweet. It just wasn’t worth crossing their father, but now, thanks to Philip’s maneuvering and Randall Sundstrom’s own vicious actions (see Tipping the Balance), Randall’s not a factor anymore.
Stuart’s starting medical school soon, and has a burning prejudice against rich people, which is a problem, since Philip’s loaded and can’t keep his hands off Stuart. Philip’s also the only man who’s ever really “gotten” Stuart. Unfortunately for Stuart, he’s not looking for a commitment, having just been dumped by his long-term girlfriend. Check out Settling the Score, available from Dreamspinner sometime next summer, to see how these unlikely boyfriends face corporate machinations and lies, serious illness and a lack of personal understanding, and a fatal traffic accident.
So yeah, school’s in sessions. It’s time to catch up on your reading.
Christopher has added a super-cool swag pack to our GRL Reading Challenge Grand Prize. Remember to post your list for your chance to enter.