Russ Siegelman

Russ Siegelman

A weeklong electronic journal.
Nov. 16 1998 3:30 AM

Russ Siegelman

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       Sunday is typically the most exhausting day of my week. Mostly because it is the culmination of two nonstop days playing with and fathering my sons: Max, just turning 5, and Jake, just turned 2. It's fun, but also work, to entertain, discipline, and shepherd around these two. It's physically tiring, yet most of the challenge is emotional and psychological. No one told me that being a dad requires the patience and understanding of a saint--but of course I wouldn't trade it in for anything. Sunday is also the day to pay the bills, organize for the week, catch up on work items, prepare for Monday's work meetings, and more. And hanging over all this is the knowledge that I am going to wake at 5:30 a.m. Monday to start the week with my workout. Sunday is not a low pressure day.
       Today isn't just any "normal" Sunday--it is Max's fifth birthday party. First, Max, Jake, Beth, and I go out for breakfast. In the car we play the guys' favorite tape, the one with the rock stars singing kids' standards. Immediately after Dylan comes on belting out "This Old Man," Jake, a free spirit who knows his mind already at 2, screams, "No this one! No this one!" I think, "What could be so wrong with Bob Dylan singing 'This Old Man'?" but Jake clearly knows this isn't one of Bob's best.
       Next we drive into a gas station to put some air in one of our tires. I put the wrong (and unlabeled, I must add!) hose next to the tire gauge and proceed to attempt to fill it with water. Luckily tire air gauges don't allow pressurized water to enter. There is an air hose, but by then I am thoroughly embarrassed, so we move on. We proceed to buy balloons, snacks for the adults, and juice for the kids, and to pick up the custom ice cream cake--Max's favorite flavor, Mint Oreo Cookie--and head over to the gym that we have rented out for Max's party.
       Max's party consists of 20 4- and 5-year-olds running around crazed in a gym for an hour, followed by 15 minutes of cake eating and juice drinking, and completed by 30 minutes of 4- and 5-year-olds running around completely crazed in a gym on sugar highs. I think the kids have fun. I can't tell for sure, because for the most part they are bouncing off each other and the walls. But no one is crying, which is usually a good sign. Max is having a ball, but it's nothing compared with when he gets home and opens his presents. I don't believe that kids are socialized to be materialistic; it is hard-wired in the genes.
       After we get the kids asleep, I come downstairs and get ready for the week. I am a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Mondays are typically the big day in VC firms, and mine is no exception. In preparation I do some e-mail cleanup, review the business plans of the companies we are going to meet with the next day, and peruse online the new deal log, which has comments from the partners on the companies they are meeting with for potential investments. I try to get to bed by 11, because I need to be up at 5:30 to get to my workout by 6.
       When I was invited to be this week's diarist I paused, because I have never kept a diary and actually don't write much these days, except for short business e-mails written in typically poor e-mail grammar and style. So I wasn't sure how it would turn out. Would I like writing my innermost thoughts for the Internet? Would I be hit with writer's block? But Mike Kinsley made it easy for me to accept by revealing in last week's "Readme" that Slate writers can quit any time--and in fact it isn't out of the norm. So if I am not a happy diarist, I'll just quit! Wonder if I'll be back tomorrow?!