I went to the bank the other day to make a payment on a loan I have. In front of me was a cop from a local municipality.
His personal cell phone went off playing the Marine Corps Hymn. I immediately thought, "Oh, a Marine." It made me smile inside. I'm always happy to realize when someone has served our country.
He answered his phone and then was called to the teller station, where he hung up and paid full attention to the teller.
He left... and as the teller was helping me, I heard humming.
There were probably four or five tellers behind the counter doing their jobs. I looked up and two of them were humming the Marine Hymn.
And THAT made me laugh and smile inside. Very cool. One little cell ring... and the bank tellers had a new earwig. And what a perfect one to have...
A trip to the mall was in order this afternoon. I typically forgo these weekend trips with the boys, leaving it to their father who truly enjoys shopping. During these trips, I can usually be found sitting with the husbands on the benches.
Five or six 60+ year old men sitting in a row… and then me. It is what it is.
I finished purchasing the one item I needed and found the y chromosome bearing humans of my household in… Sharper Image. Surprise. By the way, they appear to be going out of business, at least in our mall they are.
So I sat on the bench outside of the store with a few men folk and waited. It never bothers me to wait as long as I have a place to sit, preferably with a book. If a book is not available, people watching suffices.
Oh the things I see at the mall… good Lord.
Anyway, I sat there people watching, wondering why people don’t look in the mirror before they leave home at times, when out of Sharper Image came a mother with her three sons.
I knew this mother… she used to live in my neighborhood. She actually has five children… they adopted two children from Russia later. I’d not seen them in ages.
She was obviously irritated with her kids, leaving Shaper Image, their following her… but I didn’t hear the conversation, only the aggravation in her voice. I know that tone… I hear it in my own voice often.
She recognized me and said hello. She sat beside me and we caught up on our families. And that’s when… her eldest boy who is around 12 or 13, came up to her and started demanding something of her and when she could not help him, he started yelling at her and verbally abusing her.
I sat there aghast.
Of course to see me, I was simply sitting there, blank expression on my face.
Inside, I wanted to grab him by the back of the head and get in his face and say in my low quiet scary Mom voice, “How DARE YOU speak to your Mother that way! HOW.DARE.YOU…*growl*”
I watched. I listened. I was horrified. It was so tempting though to say something, to step out and say to him, ‘I do not know you, but who do you think YOU ARE speaking to your Mother like that. You should be ashamed.” The temptation was great. Very great.
But I refrained, because to say anything at all would have caused her only greater humiliation… I view it as further abuse… and she needs not any further embarrassment, especially not from me. That is intolerable as well.
I eventually left when my brood came out. Seeing my 13 year old, I wanted to hug him and tell him that it didn’t really matter what we’ve been going through the last few months (none of it has been blogged upon… its not all blog fodder) that I appreciated that he was so respectful, in particular compared to that nasty little ingrate I’d just seen.
He recognized the kids and I told him how rude the boy had been to his Mom. He lifted an eyebrow and said, “Really?” I told him how I had to resist backhanding the boy… which is big since I’ve never even hit my own kids.
Ringo just shook his head and said he didn’t get it. That would be... he didn’t get how that entire scenario was allowed to play out.
We are not saints in this house. We are far from it. I remember often a saying I read when my youngest was born… I found it in a book and it said something like, “Be careful what you say about someone else’s children, because the next thing you know, the principal of the school will be calling you to tell you that your son just drove a tractor through the school gymnasium.”
In my mind, a funnier way of the glass houses and rocks scenarios.
I am very mindful… but still… the day my boys speak to me like that… AND the day it happens in public… well, let’s just say it won’t. It will… NOT.
I question. I really do. My sanity. Based on what goes on around me though, it would seem only reasonable for me to do so.
This is the scoop on Bones and what has occurred the last couple days.
The child got sick on Tuesday night. This is when I realized that he is truly… an eternal optimist and that even Bones, with the active mind he has, gets bored. The boy COUNTED every time he got sick. This is like… bragging rights.
He tells people, “I threw up 18 times.” I’m not kidding. If you ask him how he’s feeling, that’s the response.
Finally I said, “Dude, I was there… did you count every single heave as a vomit?”
“Yes,” came the reply.
Interesting. If I’m ill, I usually consider each ‘incident’. Collectively. He considers any time he had to heave, a strike in the vomit column.
And he counted.
Every…time. All of them… including as he put it to Mr. T, “Even the dry heaves, which is what happens when nothing is left in your body.” Blech.
But it was the eternal optimism that made me realize that only in the fact that I birthed him, is he my offspring. With each bout of nausea, and folks, the kid was sicker than I have ever seen any of my kids, he’d look up at me all wide eyed, grin a bit and say, ‘Mom, I really do think that’s the last time I’m going to vomit…”
And then it would happen 30 minutes later.
Wash, Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
If it had been me? About the third time, I’d have been thinking, “Is it possible to throw up for days and days and days? Could I eventually lose my stomach… throw it up? Is it possible that I could actually DIE from this?”
That is my thought, the eternal… realist. But no, Bones, every time, with a twinkle in his eye, “Mom, I think that was the last time.”
Wednesday he hurt so badly he slept all day long. That is completely not Bones. Bones is the little ball in the pachinko machine. He bounces, spins, and rolls… he is perpetual motion.
I knew that Thursday I had to take him in, because it was just NOT a good scene.
But he woke up Thursday, excited about the day, relatively pain free, munching on toast and ginger ale. By Noon he’d declared himself well.
And this is what he ate for the day:
Turkey and Bacon Sandwich.
Cucumber… WITH the skin, ate it like an apple
Chicken fries from Burger King
Steak tips with tortellini (supper)
And… well, I had enormous respect for his tiny little body at this point. The kid is LEAN. He practically has a 6 pack and he’s just a little thing. We call him Bones for a reason.
Now I’d decided he had a cast iron stomach. Bacon? After being so ill? All that grease? And cucumber skin? Hello? Fried food? Steak? Tortellini?
Good Lord have Mercy. It was amazing.
But throughout the day he’d ask for milk and I’d say, “Dude, stay away from dairy. Just stay away… you aren’t ready.”
I went out for my bike ride that evening and as I left he said, “MOM! Can I have ice cream?”
I told him I’d stay away from the dairy.
It was his decision. It was. He has to learn from his mistakes.
Evidently while I was out (my husband wasn’t home) he ate a big bowl of chocolate ice cream…
…and started throwing up again at 1AM.
I walked into the bathroom upon hearing “MOOOOOOMMMM!” being screamed from across the house, and he looked up at me, and in a guttural tone said, “It… was… the… dairy…”
As if saying final last words. It cracked me up. Fat, vegetable skin, meat… he can take it all, but the dairy is his Achilles.
“It… was… the… daaaairyyyyyyy.” Heh.
He has SO many stories for his buddies in school now. I cannot even imagine...
On the first day of Puke Fest 2008, I was done by 7:30 that evening. I just needed to get out of the house. So I went for a bike ride around the neighborhood, leaving my husband to fend for himself in campaign headquarters with the puking child in the bathroom.
(I waited until there appeared to be a puking lull. I’m not so cold as to just RUN during the height of chaos… although the temptation is always there.)
I left, of course, with directions. Ringo was working on his poster alone. Bones was crashed on a bathroom floor. Mr. T, however, needed help. He is running for Historian and I told him I’d ‘burn’ parts of his poster so it would look ‘old’.
Fire is good. This was a smashing idea according to the middle child, a holder of xy chromosomes.
And so to my husband I said, “Mr. T needs help with his poster. He needs these sections burned around the edges. If you can help him while I’m running away, that would be great.”
I got the OK and moved on.
Thirty minutes later, I re entered the house to find it smelling… burny.
I rounded the corner of the kitchen to have Mr. T bounding at me, “MOM! MOM! MOM! Look what Dad did? Doesn’t it look GREAT!”
His Dad was standing against the counter with one of those long burny things in his hand. Mmm. Loss of word. Lighter. One of those long lighters like you light a grill with. Pull the trigger and a small flame comes out the end, eight inches away.
I looked at him and said, “You burned it in the house?”
He just grinned. Mr. T continued his animated happy dance. There were three parts to his poster… each needing to be burned. Only one was complete.
Me: You burned it in the house? Hunhead, we have SMOKE DETECTORS! Are you nuts?! Walk 10 feet to the back porch and burn it OUT THERE!
He and Mr. T took the other two parts to the back porch, but not before Ringo passed by, shook his head and said, “I told them. I told them about the smoke detectors and how they needed to burn outside. But nobody listened to me…”
I grinned and said, “Taking a peek into my life are you?...”
Oh and the boys are going to lose. Its tight competition and they are going to both lose.
That said, I’m really proud of them for how hard they are working!
As for Bones... he quit puking. Today was the first puke AND pain free day. His stomach was in knots.
The first food he asked for? What I call... the carnivore sandwich... turkey and bacon. He insisted, I relented, he kept it down.
He goes to school tomorrow. If he can eat bacon and not barf, the kid is ready.
If I come out of this stomach virus Bones has unscathed, my superpower is immunity.
Good Grief... I don't want this. My hands are raw from washing them so much last night.
Long damn night last night. LONG night.
Two kids decided to run for Middle School Student Government... posters said to be due tomorrow. Short notice.
My home has become Headquarters... we are all about running for office here. Treasurer and Historian, eldest and middle son respectively. Dining room table is filled with markers, poster board, rulers, pencils and construction paper.
Duct tape too. Don't ask.
I am a bit structured with my time. This has thrown me a ringer... and has caused much internal stress.
Meanwhile, the youngest decided to get the first stomach virus of the season and has been hurling all night. Laundry is being done as we speak, bathrooms have been bleached, faces wiped and backs patted in sympathy.
It so does suck to watch your kids feel so cruddy. Bones sat hugging the commode, looking at me with residual tears in the corner of his eyes, pathetic he was, and said, "I'm hoping that was the last time I'm going to throw up. Mom... there just isn't anything left."
He is sleeping now. Hopefully healing, although I have braced myself for a long night of... stomach virus chores that include, but are not limited to, sitting up with the sick one and doing... more laundry.
The other two are sleeping as well, with thoughts of running for office stuck in their head.
This has the potential to be a long last 10 days of school...
I'm off to shower... and crash.
My thoughts today have been a bit all over the road. I started the morning by reading the paper while eating breakfast and our paper had pictures of our local fallen heroes from this year, with a brief explanation of how they were killed in combat, as well as who they were.
To me, it was the right way to start this day. Memorial Day is a very somber day for me. I think often of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice as well as their families.
My family has been in the United States on my father’s side since the mid 1700s and my Mother’s came over on the Mayflower. I have had family in every war since the Revolutionary War. Yet when we speak of the various wars, either through genealogical research or through family stories, the ultimate sacrifice is one that is not spoken.
We have been a blessed family. All our men came back… the men I am directly descended from and the uncles of whom I know… they all made it home. Every war.
I think that is odd. Fortunate. But odd.
I said to someone a couple years ago, “I know people whose fathers died in Vietnam, but I don’t know anyone whose dad died in WWII.”
And that is when it occurred to me, it was a young man’s war. Perhaps they all are.... but yes, of course, there were men who were fathers that did not come back. Absolutely. But WWII was SO VAST and required SO MUCH sacrifice, that there were many many young men, who’d yet to have married and had families.
Many men, who had just graduated from high school. Men who were boys. Sons and nephews.
That has stuck with me.
The enormity of it all.
I spend a lot of time thinking of WWII. It is not that the other wars were not as horrific or any less important in their sacrifices, but a generation is dying and they are people whose lives have become intertwined with mine since the war… they are different because of it, I wonder often what their lives were like before it.
I think often of what it must’ve been like to be in London. To live through the strafings and bombings… sending one’s children away to safety. Hiding in the corner of a house or in a shelter, wondering if... luck had run out. Wondering when it would stop. When the madness would end. It is probably not normal how much I think of those things… I venture to say it is daily at most, weekly in the least.
And today, it is a swirl of thoughts. Of the American men and women who sacrificed their lives for us… for the men and women who supported their warriors… only to not have them return.
May we never forget… those who sacrificed in our past and who continue to do so today.
And as I proof this post... it is disjointed. There is no linear flow that I can see... but my thoughts are not linear today either.
On Memorial Day... they never are.
A couple things that made me grin… first from Erica, I was thrown a link to THIS BLOG where there is a link to a math video that I think is pretty damn funny. “I will Derive…” I have enough math geek readers who are going to laugh. I know you’re out there… you always comment. We’ve become kindred souls and you know it!
Second, over at Jerry’s at Back Home Again, he has taken a home movie. Most of you know I love reading about Jerry’s Dad as he reminds me so much of my paternal grandfather. You can extrapolate to realize that in 20 years, there will be stories of TGOO like this, except for driving a Bobcat blind, it will be driving his tractor. There are some personalities that are passed down from generation to generation.
On a side note, TGOO’s intensity to get things done, has been passed down to Mr. T. Just so you know… in 70 years Mr. T will be someone’s blog fodder… “You won’t believe what Grandpa T did today…”
Anyway, Jerry got a great camera from his company for 15 years service and he took a movie of his Dad driving the Bobcat… you know… blind. This just tickles me to no end, but then again, he’s not my Dad!
Another side note, to any of you who read me who worked at Company X with me, can you imagine getting a camera for a ‘years of service’ gift? Remember those mechanical pencil and pen sets we’d get with the tiny crystal imbedded in the clip and the color of the crystal was indicative of how many years service? And I was excited to get mine at my 5 year because that meant… I was vested and I was one of everyone else!
I saw THIS article online. Folks. Hmm. I’m lost. I know a bit about history. Just enough to be a bit dangerous. Sometimes I spout stuff off and wonder, “Wow, how in the hell did I know that, why did I remember it, and from where in my brain did I pull it?” Happens often.
Did you know that in Eastern Germany, there is a nostalgia for nudity and that under the Communist regime… it was encouraged?
Any of you great historians out there care to expand upon this? In all the items I ever read about East Germany, I have to say, never once did the words nude, naked, encouraged not to wear clothes, or anything along those lines ever appear… in print or sound bite.
Am I the only one surprised by this revelation?
And sticking with Germany… odd little side note… I keep telling people that in raising Mr. T, I am raising my Dad. It is a bit surreal at times. Little things like his picking up the trombone to play, without knowing that was the same instrument that TGOO picked at the same age.
Well now, yesterday we were out and about and had stopped by Chick fil a. The eatery is currently giving out CDs about different languages with kid's meals. Mr. T said, “Nah. I don’t want to learn any of these…”
The languages on the CD were Russian, Chinese and I think Italian. I’m not sure.
I have been gently nudging them to learn Chinese… as I think it is the international trade language of the future and being males, I think it will behoove them.
I said, “Really? What language do you want to learn?”
He said, “German. I think it sounds really cool.”
*blink* That is the language that TGOO took at Annapolis. I don’t know whether he chose that language or whether it was chosen FOR him since he was majoring in engineering. Since he is currently traveling, I can’t ask. I’ll have to ask him when he gets home.
But I thought it was kind of odd… and funny… that once again, Mr. T has gravitated towards something his grandfather did, without even knowing it.
I think we all know I’m pretty open with the whole sex talk thing with my kids. OK, not Bones, but he’s not asked. The other two? They know it all. They’ll ask anything.
Well… Ringo won’t. He doesn’t talk. But Mr. T will. Ask. Anything. It’s cool.
Mr. T and I were in the asexual mom-mobile alone today, riding back from a pediatriacian’s well check up. Keep in mind, he is in 5th grade, and I am seeing why someone came up with that show, about being smarter than a 5th grader.
If you recall, he has asked so many questions, he is also well versed in birth control. As he put it so succinctly today in the asexual mom-mobile, as that’s where most of these conversations occur, “You just put something over your weenie.”
He was asking about what this particular form of protection looked like and I explained it just works as a closed sleeve.
So I was driving down the road and he said, ‘I was wondering, why can’t you just put tape over the hole?”
Me, driving with eyes wide open, laughing to myself but still wondering how he always seems to come up with new questions when I think a topic is dead: No, tape won’t work.
Mr. T: Really? Because it would seem to me it would…
Me: Well, tape does fix a lot of things, but preventing babies is not one. For one thing, you could get seepage. But also, it could come off.
Mr. T: Oh yeah. Then you’d leave a piece of tape in the woman.
Me, driving with my eyes just a little bit wider: Yes. Exactly.
Mr. T: Hmm. I wonder what it feels like to be inside someone.
Me, driving faster, my eyeballs on the brink of falling out, and breathing having become very shallow: (very quietly) i… wouldn’t… know…
Mr. T: You know that guy in Dirty Jobs knows.
Me, not breathing. At all: Um. Really?
Now I’m wondering, what in the hell was that guy doing in Dirty Jobs that Mr. T has made this leap from sex to this TV show and how it feels to be INSIDE someone?
Me, struggling: And why would he know this?
Mr. T: Because he had to deliver a calf in the show and had to stick his hand right up that cow’s butt…
Me: Dude. We had this talk… babies don’t come from the butt.
Mr. T: I know that. And you know that. I’m just telling you what I saw…
Good Grief. Needless to say, it was an enlightening trip. I just kind of don’t want him to ever share with me what it feels like to be inside someone… you know… in the event he finds out one day. It might damage me…
And I’m glad he and I had this little talk. I’d hate for him to think that Duct Tape was an excellent form of birth control. Holy crap…
Boy Scouts is on Thursday nights. I guess I didn't post that Mr. T crossed over and that Ringo joined as well. Lots to blog on there, but quite frankly, I'm just too beat.
Memorial Day, observed, is upon us and I received this in an email from my Mom and had to find it on Youtube to share, in the event any of you had not seen it.
There is talent and then... there is talent. Sometimes we are blessed to be exposed to the true talent and to see it so young and honoring our Country, what a pleasure. I hope I can one day hear these young ladies in person...
My blog is down and I'm hoping by posting it will show up.
Update: Yay! It worked!
Update again: Damn. All my sidebars are gone...
A bit more on squirrels, some from comments in my post and some items remembered.
I forgot to post, that when I saw the squirrel fall and twitch, my husband moved over it and BLAM shot it in the head.
I swear.to.God, I can’t make this up.
He’s not a violent man by any stretch, but I nearly gasped with laughter at the absurdity of it. This Italian with the rifle, standing over the body of the twitching squirrel and then putting one between the eyes as if saying, “Die! Bastard! Die!”
I mentioned this at supper tonight. You see, Ringo wasn’t there, so he’s just now getting all the stories from that odd morning.
So I said to my husband, “I certainly was surprised to see you standing over that squirrel’s body and seeing you finish him off with one to the head…”
He said, “I had to! One of your sons said, “You aren’t going to let him suffer, are you Dad?” so I had to finish him off!”
Me: Wait. Who said that?
Mr. T: Me. Mom. He was lying there with a hole in his neck twitching and it was just… wrong to let him suffer like that. So Dad shot him in the head.
So there you have it. It was a mercy killing in the end, although it didn’t start out that way. At least in the boys’ mind it was. There is already great embellishment…
Mr. T: Mom, you know that squirrel you saw fall and die? He actually fell off the roof.
Ringo: Dad tagged him on the roof?
Mr. T: Yup! Shot him right through the neck and then he tumbled off the roof and grabbed onto the gutter, hanging on for dear life, fell to the ground twitching and Dad shot him in the head.
I sat there saying nothing.
My husband looked at me and did a *blink*. Finally he said: That’s not what happened! He didn’t grab onto the gutter hanging on for dear life!
Mr. T: Yes, just for maybe a millisecond.
My husband: No. NO he did not. He just tumbled off the roof and hit the ground twitching.
Mr. T: NO! REALLY! He held on… just for a fraction of a millisecond’s millisecond!
Evidently, this is like fish stories. Soon the squirrel will be returning sniper fire from the roofline as my husband took him down. I see it coming.
Meanwhile, GuyK informed me in the comments that squirrels are carnivores and if I put their little heads out on pikes, other squirrels would eat their heads.
I’d be damaged folks. No way in hell I’d be able to cope with watching that… or knowing it was happening in my backyard.
Also, side note, staying true to the Italian household we are, the garbage men carted the bodies away. I found that very funny. I thought my husband had thrown the carcasses to the side yard, but he said, “No way. I don’t need vultures in our yard!” So… who knows… the squirrels may end up very well with Jimmy Hoffa somewhere.
Shhhh…. Nobody will EVER know. Except it’s on the ‘net.
And lastly, Kris. My bro, TN, commented on this… red butted squirrels. When Morrigan was in high school, TGOO bought one of those 'have a heart' type traps and decided to trap the squirrels and release them far far away… but first, he spray painted their butts red.
Five miles out he and Morrigan drove those squirrels, from what I understand… and at least one of them came back.
There is more to those stories… something about Morrigan trying to release one on a rainy day, over a puddle, and the squirrel trying to stay in the cage… but, I’m not so well versed. Trust me to say, if it deals with Morrigan, its damn funny, throw TGOO into the mix, and you have legendary funny stories. Sandra Bullock and her craziness is a good pick for playing Morrigan in the movies.
I know I did not make this up. Was it Erica? Someone did. I am NOT the only one who refers to those new lights as ‘squiggly lights’. My husband, not reading blogs, thinks I made it up.
I assured him, I did NOT.
But that is what I call those lights now and into Home Depot I went, in search of some for our new lighting in our bathroom. I walked up to the very nice Home Depot guy and said, “Could you please tell me where you keep your squiggly lights?”
He stood there for a second, broke into a grin, started to laugh and said, “Squiggly lights. Sure!”
Evidently the name has yet to catch on.
I tell you what, the light in that bathroom is BRIGHT. (Pictures coming soon...) It’s a different feel altogether with squiggly lights. I’m not sure what to think. We did pick the brightest because of the paint color we chose.
Just for T1G and Erica and their love for all that is fungi… we chose, ‘sauteed mushroom’. Heh.
And a status... lights are up, mushroom walls painted (mushroom = dark taupe), accent walls to be painted this weekend, ceiling painted (white), mirrors still being framed, and hardware picked out and waiting to be installed... pending painting of the accent walls.
And so the squirrels attempted a hostile take over of my birdfeeders.
I’d thrown up my arms in frustration, refusing to even look at the feeders any longer. Every time I looked, there were squirrels feasting and not a bird. The proverbial straw for my husband was when one of the squirrels figured out how to pry the top off one of the feeders and attempted to crawl inside to gorge himself.
And that’s when… some sort of revenge or retaliation or territorial instinct came out in my spouse. I’d like to say it was because he was tired of hearing his wife’s anguished cries over the squirrels having launched some sort of full scale attack, and having apparently won. Alas, I think it boils down to… he was just pissed off… and… he’s Italian.
Allow me to flash back to the beginning of April. My entire family was visiting, if you recall. Also keep in mind that my boys have an assortment of airsoft guns, ranging from handguns to machine guns and there is even a rifle with a scope.
It was 8AM, a sleep in day, and I was in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to get my mind wrapped around what we were going to do that day, when out of the blue I heard a ‘rat-a-tat-tat-rat-a-tat-tat-rat-a-tat-tat-rat…’ fast and repeated, as the screen door slammed shut. I got out of bed and looked out the glass slider of my bedroom that overlooks the backyard, and there ran TGOO, across my backyard, airsoft machine gun in hand, attempting to mow down squirrels.
It was a sight to behold. Truly.
And hearing this story, planted the seed for my Italian husband. We can’t have ‘real’ high powered rifles here… but we can have pellet guns. My husband bought himself some sort of high powered pellet gun with a site that looks like something a sniper would use. It has been sitting in his closet for weeks… until yesterday.
The squirrels were gorging on my feeder, climbing all over the screened enclosure, which is probably what actually threw him over the edge. The thought of having to replace screening because squirrels cut through it climbing it, come to think of it, was probably the final straw.
And so yesterday morning, as I sat at my breakfast table, making my lists for the day, I saw my husband and two younger boys quietly move out to the back porch, ever so quietly move to the backyard and BLAMMO, he nailed a squirrel.
I’m sitting peacefully eating breakfast, spoon mid air to mouth with cereal, when I see a squirrel fall to the ground and start the death twitch.
I’m not kidding.
I ended up emailing Eric about this as he took out a squirrel just a couple weeks back with a real .22 magnum, because you can do that in your backyard in TN, and posted upon it. I said something like, “Eric! They really do twitch before they die!”
He responded to the effect, “…of course…didn’t you read my post…?”
I replied that I had, but I thought he’d used artistic license in describing the squirrel’s death, akin to one pretending they were shot in a game of cowboy’s and Indians, and grabbing one’s chest, gasping, ‘I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!’ as they fell to one knee and slowly died.
I thought he’d made up squirrel death drama.
Those little fuzzy beasts actually twitch before they die when they’ve been shot. Gah! I was finished with breakfast.
Meanwhile Bones was jumping up and down, foot to foot, yelling, “Dad! Dad! Dad! *bounce, bounce* Dad! *shifting of feet* Can we eat them? Can we cook them for supper! *bounce bounce bounce*”
My husband just looked at him as if he were speaking Spanish. Eat them for supper? Visions of watching my husband skin a squirrel so we can have a ½ ounce of meat that I would make? What? Squirrel pie? Fry it up? Squirrel soup?
Funnier still, well… let’s just say that Bones doesn’t know his Dad very well. There is a reason he didn’t become a surgeon. He can deal with blood perfectly fine, he just would prefer… not to.
This killing of the squirrels scenario played out a couple times. I figured the rate we were going, our backyard was going to be littered with squirrel corpses by mid morning.
Luckily… they had to go to church. The killing had to stop so they could go to church. I find that rather ironic… it would have been more so if it had been the day of the Feast of St. Francis.
My husband, dressed in his Sunday best came out as Bones had come rushing into the bathroom, ‘Dad! DAD! DAAAAAD! *bounce bounce bounce* There is ANOTHER squirrel on the feeder! *hippety skippity bounce, bounce, bounce*’
Looking out the window he said, “I can’t believe it?”
I looked up from the paper and replied, “Hun, surely you did not believe there were a finite number of squirrels…”
He sat there thinking, “I hadn’t thought there were this many…”
Me: The problem is, you keep disposing of the bodies. If you’d cut off their heads and put them on little pikes all around the birdfeeders, warning off their little buddies, the squirrels might stay away. The problem is… the little buddies don’t know what is happening to their friends.
You see, this is the difference between an Italian and a Celt.
An Italian disposes of the bodies. The Celt will use the bodies as a warning to ward off others.
As for my feeders? There are noticeably fewer squirrels, and many more birds. I surely didn’t see that coming…
I was going to put this in the comments, but I wanted to make sure y'all saw it.
For those of you who answered you do have tankless water heaters and you liked them... how many of you have gas? We have electric.
I'm hearing not so good things for tankless water heaters that are electric driven. So that's my next question... gas or electric?
I'm currently researching solar water heater. If I have to spend the cash, and for a bit more I can get off the grid, that may be what we do. I'm still hunting...
Do any of you have a tankless water heater?
I need a new water heater and am doing research... I have time still to do the research.
One of the guys at work said he'd go tankless if he had to do it again. So I'm looking into it and see that it supposedly saves on water heating bills by as much as 60%. That last part may be bogus.
I'm just wondering... if anyone has one and what their opinion of it is.
Meanwhile, my big push for the next five years is to save enough money to get us off the grid. We live in S. Florida where half my roof is southern exposure. As power gets more and more expensive, it just seems like the prudent thing to do, to not depend on the government or any private company overseen by the government to provide my power.
Solar is coming up strong. There are huge rebates being offered, cutting the cost in half, for people who go solar. It's also supposed to immediately increase the value of one's home.
So there is much discussion between me and the guys at work as there is a pervasive thought with all of us to take this next step in the next five years... going solar and getting off the grid. We'd have power after hurricanes and not have to rely on... anyone really.
We shall see...
Anyway, back to the original... do you have a tankless water heater and if so, do you like it? If not... why?
My 13 year old is going to his first concert tomorrow.
A right of passage, I suppose. His buddy, Paul, called and asked if he could go with him, his aunt was taking them. My first question was, "Paul... how old is your aunt?" The answer differed if his aunt was 18. Hearing she was over 40 made the decision easier. Talking to his mother about it made it even easier.
And so I'm excited for my son... but left somewhat bewildered. Life. The universe. The hands it deals out.
My first concert was... Loverboy.
His first concert? The Police.
There is something so very wrong with this picture. One of my all time favorite lead singers, Sting, is reuniting with a band that was so hugely popular when I was in college and high school that I can probably sing every daggum song...
... and I have yet to see them in concert and its going to be my son's first.
And he doesn't fully appreciate it. He can't. He's 13. He is just briefly 'aware' of their music. Meanwhile, my 11th grade Enlish teacher taught poetry using the lyrics to The Police and some Sting solo songs.
Something just ain't right...
I got an email today from my brother asking me if I eat Ben and Jerry’s. I confirmed that I do in fact like their ice cream, however, I try to keep it out of the house as its difficult not to eat the whole container in one sitting and I’d be fat.
Do you know what he said?
This is a quote.
“Be strong and go by what the container says -- 4 servings. I usually stretch it out to 5 or 6.”
Until this point, I had no idea my brother had ‘issues’. WHO in their RIGHT MIND, can stretch out a small container of Ben and Jerry’s to FIVE OR SIX servings?!
And, *channeling Valley Girl*, Like Oh My God, four servings? Who is B&J foolin’? Am I the only person who has never had a container of Ben & Jerry’s make it to four servings?
Holy crap. Any of those containers… Ben & Jerrys, Dove, Godiva… they were meant to be eaten with a paper towel folded in half lengthwise and wrapped around them, an iced tea spoon… and in two sittings.
OK. Maybe I had one make it to three.
Absolutely NEVER has one made it to four.
P.S. This started by his writing me to announce their new flavors… Cake Batter (that sounds icky) and Cheesecake Brownie (Yum!).
I haven’t blogged on my fight to get birds into my yard in a long time.
I have been remiss.
I have a reason.
It’s because… I got mean birds.
I bought great seed, moved my feeders to where the birds appeared to be prevalent and… I got mean birds. Crows. Woodpeckers. Nothing sweet like finches or these Titmice things of which SWG speaks.
Let me tell you, crows will bow to a woodpecker. Squirrels will STAY AWAY when the feathers start flying.
I kid you not.
I have a squirrel problem, but when the mean birds go at it, the squirrels do a big ‘Oh sh%%’ and they stay far far away. Watching feather’s fly is one thing… potentially losing fur in the free for all is another.
Do they have squirrels in France?
I asked that once. Yes, they do.
Over the last few months I have moseyed on over to my buddy, Eric’s, humble Southern blog, to read of his foray into bird feeding. He started AFTER I did, mind you. He didn’t have a frickin’ feeder back when I was praying for birds, planting flowers, scrubbing bird baths, buying great seed and essentially creating the Ritz for birds, under the guise of ‘If you build it they will come’… only to get essentially tree rats with better attire than their cheesy plague ridden brethren.
I posted on it. I had become a frickin’ squirrel oasis. No birds.
Eric puts a feeder out there? He gets SCADS of birds. Flocks. He lost count of the variety. Finches, titmice, cardinals, blue jays… he got himself a damn book and started counting. He goes through a bag of seed a day… to LOTS of birds. He writes wonderful posts and even gets rather territorial and takes out a squirrel with a rifle.
Not only do I not get the birds, but if I took out anything with a rifle in my neighborhood… wow… I think I’d be in jail.
But still. I can dream.
So I moved my feeders.
I got mean birds. Sure, I have an occasional cardinal, but mostly, I got the birds with ‘tude.
My sister, Mo, she and her husband get birds like Eric. (For the record, TGOO and Hubba do too…)
I was on the phone with Mo yesterday. They have birdfeeders all over their yard. They probably spend more money on birdseed than cat food. (Her cat’s name is Espy.)
The following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection.
Mo, in a whispered voice: hwolcish aoucochs whoche
Mo: wcholoec dhasoipo doweknc paoi aoiucou
Me: I CAN’T HEAR YOU. What?
Mo, in a louder harsher whisper: I’m being quiet. You should see this bird we have coming through while it’s in its migratory path… it’ll be here only for a few days.
Me: Why are you whispering? Are you afraid Espy is going to hear you?!
Mo, still whispering: No. I don’t want to scare it.
I did a *blink* on that one. I wanted to say, “Umm… Mo, are your windows made of tissue paper, because mine are made of glass and it’s OK to talk.”
But… she’s bird people. All of you with great birds who talk about them… you’re bird people! And I am GREEN!
I have tried. I have tried. I wanted to be bird people. I did.
Alas, it is not to be. I get mean birds.
Mean birds and squirrels.
I got a new birdfeeder for Mother’s Day. Their hope for me springs eternal.
Meanwhile… I know the truth. I’m a mean bird woman.
I’m off to feed… the mean birds.
And water my newly replanted garden. I had to dispose of the bodies. I’d murdered yet another batch of plants. It wasn’t pretty…
Those of you who are regular readers know of our saga to keep my 83 year old father in law off the roads. The State of Florida has been no help. His doctors, besides one, have been no help. We essentially have our hands tied… and so a man who cannot move his head from side to side, is legally blind in one eye with glasses and who has a touch of macular degeneration but is still able to pass the vision test, who is crippled and walks with a walker, has had intermittent TIAs, and who has Parkinson’s disease rendering his reflexes not bad enough to pull his license to some doctors, but still not what we feel, as family, they should be, continues to drive along the Florida roads.
I want everyone to understand… it is not one singular thing that makes us feel this way. I know Pete is perfectly fine to drive and that Denny is an excellent driver too. It does not matter that Pete has Parkinson’s or that Denny is crippled. It is the combination of ALL the factors, so please, there is no intention of offending, in particular Pete and Denny, who I have the utmost respect for. This weighs on my mind and heart at times when I write these things.
A couple years ago Pop got in three wrecks, blowing out a tire in one when he hit a curb.
If I will not allow my children to ride with him, why would I want him on the road with cars carrying others’ children?
Yet… even though he and I have gone toe to toe, my husband has tried logic, yelling, and every approach, he still drives.
He has season tickets to some shows at our local theater. There is a woman here in town, just a friend, who goes with him, probably out of compassion. She was a friend of my mother in law's. She is around 70, vibrant and full of energy.
We know her kids and her grandchildren, her eldest grandson going to school with my oldest boy.
There is a show they are going to see tomorrow night, off Broadway, Sweeny Todd. It occurred to me yesterday, “Who is driving to this show?”
Now perhaps it is none of my business, afterall, she is a grown woman. But this family does not know of what we have been going through, as we don’t exactly scream from the rooftops, “Pop is a belligerent asshole and has no business driving!”, as tempting as it is at times.
But I feel a sense of responsibility, knowing what I know, that this family should realize that we have been trying to get his license pulled. If something were to happen to this woman while he was driving, I would be forever sick and wracked with a guilt that would never be overcome.
I called the son. I called her son and told him the whole thing… how long we’ve been fighting this, how the state has not backed us nor two of his doctors (the one doctor is aghast he is driving, but the other two do not want the responsibility of taking his license... that is what it comes to) and I told the son, ‘I am going to call my fil and tell him that if your mother offers to drive, he needs to take her up on it, it is the right thing to do.”
So I did. And he was horrible, and argumentative and wanted to know who in the hell thinks he should not be on the road.
Nobody thinks he should be on the road. The son even told me his mother had been questioning Pop’s driving.
And so I told him, “If she offers to drive you MUST take her up on it as it is the RIGHT THING TO DO.”
He said he’d ‘think it over.’
I have another call into the son, telling him to tell his mother to tell my fil that “Your daughter in law called me and said I should drive.”
Put the onus on me. I don’t care. I don’t care if he curses me until the day he dies. Or I die. The rate he’s going, I could very well go first.
But I do not care. If I am considered the biggest bitch daughter in law in South Florida… I do not care. I can sleep at night. I can look myself in the mirror. I’ve done what I can do and will continue to be an obstacle to him when it comes to being on the road.
Just because the State and the doctors won’t help me… I won’t back down.
I can’t believe its coming down to me calling the children of his friends. Incredible.
Side note: I was told the State road test required him to pull in park, make a 3 point turn, and turn right. He got dinged for not using his blinker.
Bones said to me yesterday, “Do you know what you do best? You’re the best cook and the best at math.”
I thought that was rather funny.
Tonight I came home from a meeting and my husband said he had the following conversation with Bones today at supper:
Bones: My teacher said that if we don’t get something in our homework to ask our parents. If they don’t get it, then we are supposed to circle it and we can talk about it in class. I told her, “Phht, my Mom is a mathemagician.”
Husband: What? A mathemagician?
Bones: Yup. That’s what I told her.
Husband: Bones, she is a matheMATICIAN. I know she appears to do magic with math, but it is matheMATICIAN not MAGICIAN.
We can’t quit laughing about that…
On Mother’s Day, I woke up at 6AM in pain, which is becoming normal for me. It comes and goes. Obviously its here again. It had not been a good sleep because of the pain, so I lumbered into the kitchen to get some ibuprofen, which seems to help, and crawl back in bed.
I knew then that I’d not be up early enough to get to the beach.
I got up at 8:30. But I also got up knowing I could not stay. I had to get out. I brushed my teeth, ran a rake through my hair, and made my way to where my two younger boys were watching TV. I found a ¾ eaten jelly doughnut lying on the floor of the rec room, a room where eating is forbidden. Food is eaten in the kitchen or dining room only… to eat in other rooms makes me near insane.
I looked at the doughnut on the floor and said, “Whose doughnut is this?”
Both boys looked at me blankly, but not for long as Mr. T was quick to give up his brother. “It’s Bones’,” came the reply.
Bones looked at me and said, “I’ll pick it up…”
I looked at the doughnut and noticed he was not moving to pick it up immediately. I took a deep breath and said, “I’m leaving…”
And with that, I turned on my heel, grabbed a book, my shoes and a hat and walked out the door.
Bones came running after me, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Where are you going?”
Said I, “Out.”
Bones: But when will you be back?
Me: I feel certain I will be back here when you come back from church.
Bones: But where are you going?
I walked away calling over my shoulder, “Away.”
And I left.
I stopped by Pineiro’s and got a bottle of water and a chocolate chip muffin. It was too late to go to the beach. At 9:00 it was already 85 degrees and 90% humidity… miserable stinking weather. The dog days of summer are upon us and I don’t have a leash. So I decided to go to a park on the Intracoastal that also has a small stretch of beach… I figured I could do the beach or sit in the shade as the park has large Banyan trees that take 20 degrees of the temp, my leash for those dog days.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I was speaking with VW, and I said, “NO! There is a woman here with the same idea I have! She has her beach chair and a book! That Bitch!”
VW laughed and I said, “I have to go! *click*”
I grabbed my stuff and made my way down to the small stretch of beach, separated only by mangroves from the park. The woman was laying on her chair soaking up the rays.
She did NOT have the same idea I had. I don’t like the rays. I shun them. I put my hat on and sat in my chair reading. Two women had their dogs in the water, the smallest dog drenched and looking like a rat. It ran over to me and jumped at my knees as the women tried to stop it. I smiled knowing that it was truly not intentional, but realizing this was a sign from the Gods that I needed to press on… beaching it at 9:30 was not for me.
It was too damn hot.
I stayed a bit longer… their big Lab came up to me and I held up my foot and said, ‘NO!’ and the women pulled their dog away.
I read for about a half hour, realizing I was baking and it was too hot. I’m on some meds that make me photosensitive, so it was time. I’d gotten my Vitamin D for the day.
I made my way back to the park and found a bench under a Banyan tree. Whereas on the beach the water was lapping at the shore lazily and the air was stale with no breeze, sitting 20 feet away in the park, a cool breeze blew, prompting me to take my ball cap off so I could feel it blow through my hair.
I could hear the water as it did its in and out from the shore, I could hear the small children playing and laughing in the park adjacent, and with the cool breeze and me curled up on the park bench… it was a perfect last 40 minutes of reading.
This is my deal… I’m not spending enough time alone. I’m spending too much time with other people. Before I had children, when I worked at Company X, even when things got bad and the stress made my chest tighten and made the nights sleepless… when I arrived home, locking the door behind me, the world was out there and I was… not. No music, no TV, no nothing.
I need down time.
Being a parent and a working parent at that, does not give you that. There is always light and motion, there is always sound. There always is… always.
For people like me, it is too much. I am extraordinarily high strung and driven… but I need alone time. And I’m not getting it.
I’m looking at what is around me… the new quilt book and appointments at the quilt store for Thursday as I’m renting their long arm machine to finish a quilt. I’m realizing it is time for me to make another quilt or two. It is a craft of solitude… just me and the fabric and the hum of my machine.
For me to reach out to the quilt shop last week was instinctive… my seeking alone time.
And this goes for my signing up for the marathon in January as well. I can tell that I’m looking to burn off energy and to get lost in my head. I have a girlfriend I’ll be training with at times, and she and I are both feeling this need. (More on her later… very cool story.) But overall, training will be time I must carve out for myself. It will be every day that I must guarantee an hour alone… or with my training group.
So this is where I’m going. Seeking time for me. It will all work out… it will… it always does. But sometimes we have to hit a BIG low before we realize where we need to be.
I’m looking forward to summer… very much.
The boys were talking to my Mom on the phone and she asked each of them individually how my Mother’s Day went. Bones is talkative, Mr. T is catching a cold, and Ringo… he is very honest, funny, and was more talkative than usual.
My Day According to Bones:
Bones: Well, she wanted three more beads for her bracelet, but then she decided they were too much money, so she said she didn’t want anything. She said maybe something small for outside. I’m like, “Come on, she does our laundry and stuff. We HAVE to get her something”, so we got her a birdfeeder. She likes it.
Real story: I did want three more beads for my Pandora bracelet, but the beads I want symbolizing each of their initials are a lot of money. The refurbishing the bathroom ate into any extra cash we had, so I told my husband last week, we’d pass on anything. They got me a very cool birdfeeder so I can continue feeding the mean birds my yard attracts. That is a post in itself… Mean Birds.
My Day According to Mr. T:
Mr. T: Yeah, she had a nice day. Happy Mother’s Day. Hey, what are we going to do at your house on the 4th of July?
Me, whispering in the background,: We’re wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day, not talking about July!
Mr. T: Happy Mother’s Day. I love you. Bye. *turning to me* Here *hands me the phone*
My Day According to Ringo:
Ringo: She had a good day. But she walked into the rec room and found a jelly doughnut on the floor, so she just left. It pushed her over the edge, so she grabbed her book and went to the park to read.
Yup. More on that tomorrow… he told my Mom, “Ask her about the saga of the jelly doughnut…” Niiiice.
If you're surfing the 'net today, go HERE. Funny emails from people's mothers. I'd never do something like this, forward my Mom's emails, but I read some of these and thought, "Oh I could see my Mom saying that..."
Or better yet, "Oh I could see me sending an email like that to one of my boys."
Heh. 10 years from now... a global email from me to my three sons, "Boys, STDs are on the rise. Wear condoms. Love, Mom".
I guaran-damn-tee you. Its going to happen. And I can't quit laughing! Although I don't know if I'm laughing more at the thought that I WOULD send an email like that to my boys or if its the thought of my boys' expressions upon receiving something like that.
Potential future IM conversation between my boys:
Ringo: Sh**. Did you just get that std email from Mom?
Bones: Which one?
Mr. T: Did you get the package of condoms in the mail? I live closer, I got mine first.
Ringo: I'm damaged.
Bones: You were already damaged.
Mr. T: You were damaged the night you asked about condoms because your class found one on the playground. She explained all about barrier contraceptives to you that night... remember that? You were 12. Looking back, you were lucky she didn't break out a cucumber and one of Dad's condoms to show you.
Bones: Dad had condoms?
Ringo: Please. Before you were born. You were almost named Trojan. Remember the story?
Mr. T: Better send her an email when you get the 'package' from her, or we'll get another global email on STDs and a link for condom usage.
Ringo: What planet is she from?
Bones: Whatever planet it is... Mo and Mimi came from it too. Its genetic...
Heh. Happy Mother's Day...
My husband is back late tonight, having pretty much been gone for two weeks. Two weeks is nothing compared to how long TGOO was gone when he was in the Navy and Mom had us three kids, but it was enough for me.
I am not of the fabric that could have been a military wife.
And add to the fact I’m essentially working two part time jobs, plus the Treasurer of the school, and I’m a bit fried.
I wanted to skip all of Mother’s Day altogether. I’m in sensory overload… I need a sensory deprivation tank. You think I’m kidding. Not so much. I’m that much on edge… feeling as if someone has used a wire brush all over my skin. I feel all nerves and… as if everything is just on the surface.
And add that it’s not been a good couple weeks with some other things that occurred… not blog fodder. It has been enough for me to want to hang it up or as I told someone… walk away and keep on walkin’ ‘cause the weather is nice and eventually I should hit Nova Scotia before it gets too cold.
Perhaps that is how the Appalachian Trail really got started… Southern Moms feeling too beat up and unappreciated… started a trail to Maine to get the hell away.
So the plan for tomorrow is… if I can wake up as I feel like I have terminal exhaustion as of late… to get up and go to the beach alone. Morning time… get up, eat, grab a bottle of water and my beach chair, my towel, my hat, and just make the 30 minute hike and sit there and read.
That’s the plan. Then again, I may sleep too late and then I’m stuck because it is already hotter than three hells here in Florida and I’m not going to the beach after 10.
I got the below in the extended entry today via email. It sums up a lot of how I feel, except I’m not building cathedrals. I’d settle for cottages. I’m in survival mode.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world willmarvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
I like brownie corners. I made a batch of brownies as my husband’s Aunt Glo, a woman I ADORE and wish was my own aunt and lived nearby, came for supper. That reminded me, I like the corners of brownies.
Lemon mint toothpaste tastes like crap. Mint is good. Lemon… maybe in a pinch. Lemon mint is icky. My husband brought some home the other day. I’ll use the kids’ toothpaste, thank.you.very.much.
I'm the Treasurer for the school for two more years. I have a replacement lined up at the end of the gig. Scary that four years into it, I'm still learning the software. Something is wrong with that picture. (Odd scenarios keep popping up...)
I have a Math Illness. My boy Alg II student had two problems last night I could not readily get, dealing with 3rd degree polynomials and factoring, finding asymptotes and holes. I promised him I'd figure out what to do and email him the answer. I got them both after I had time to sit down and REALLY look at them.
The scary part is I LOVED doing it. I emailed him with the answers and the Mom sent me an email back telling me she feels guilty for my spending so much time when she knows her son isn't putting that much time into studying. I tried to explain this LOVE of math and solving problems.
I don't think she gets it. Her son thinks its funny. I think its an illness... bonus for me... I know some of YOU have the same affliction. I KNOW IT.
I think I’m officially a pain in the ass to the IT department at work. Our printer has not been working for several months. Irritating doesn’t even begin to describe the situation.
A month ago, a form came out asking what we’d like to do for our group lunch. The guys didn’t seem to care… if we even had one. So I took the form polling us and wrote at the bottom, “None of the above. We would all be perfectly content if we could have a new printer instead of a group lunch. We have been fighting this printer for months with great frustration. Get us a new printer. It’s the simple things…”
I was asked by management if I was serious and I said I was dead on.
Nothing happened. One of the bookends was threatening to go to HP maintenance classes. The HP rep started to live in our office. We decided that my coworker could actually TEACH HP printer maintenance.
Then I was told that HQ said we couldn’t have a new printer until they had a record of all our calls and we were NOT to fix our printer ourselves, but call our IT call every time it broke.
And so I did and they have caller ID. Every.time.it.broke.I.called. “Hey, Joe, this is Bou, our printer is broken. We’ve been told to call you…” When he refused to answer my calls, I started to call his IT co-workers.
They all have caller ID.
We have a new printer.
Funnier still, I opened my email Wednesday to see an email from the IT department… one they have to send out when they fix a trouble call. *I* am the one on the sheet as the customer, not my tech lead, not my boss, not any of my 20 coworkers that utilize said printer, not my manager, but ME.
That cracked me up. I suspect I have called in all my chips now for this printer, but it annoys the crap out of me to sit there and listen to people bitch about something. So… I got it fixed.
And now everyone in IT knows who I am. I’m not sure that’s a good thing…
But as I was leaving the building I saw IT Joe and said, “Thank you for the printer. I’m serious… thank you. I wouldn’t have been such a pain in the ass if management hadn’t threatened to not let us have a new printer if I wasn’t."
His reply? “Bou, we don’t mind the nice people calling. Anytime…”
Heh. Funny. I’m the nice people. Just a nice pain in the ass. I did notice though… they did quit picking up my calls. Still makes me laugh, but I can do that because… we have a new printer.
Perhaps it is the great love of Monty Python, but this post over at GOC absolutely cracked me up.
Someone is very very clever...
The kids are home and I’m cleaning and surfing the ‘net. I ran across this article on MSN today.
Liquefying one’s body upon death.
You know. Hmmm. I know when we’re dead, we’re dead, but that just pegs the skeevy meter.
So many options, really… burial, vaults, cremation, and now liquification to be poured down a drain, if desired. We’ve come full circle, lye being the chemical of choice for burial in old times and now coming back to do a more modern version.
So much for ashes to ashes.
Good Grief. It truly is all mental, though, is it not?
Did y’all read about that volcano that erupted for the first time in 9000 years?
Folks, that is a long damn time ago. Christ hadn’t been born, the Roman civilization wasn’t doing its thing, the Egyptians hadn’t built their pyramids (only around 3000BC)
I looked up what was going on in 7000 BC. There were 5million people in the world and the big accomplishment was… the cow had become domesticated. That had to be a tough one because you know… cows are so mean. Pottery was becoming common place.
Essentially from this Scottish website, it was the Stone Age.
Interesting. Or I found it to be so…
Sometimes I wish I’d become a paleontologist or an archeologist.
I may be back.
Jury is out.
Just to start with our knowns before I go into the conversation, I have a 7th grader and a 3rd grader. Because of my 3rd grader, all the 3rd grade girls know my 7th grade boy. Evidently, as I learned tonight at supper, a few of them think that Ringo is sweet and a real cutie.
His brothers disagree.
I have taken to calling him Mr. Dreamy, which he rolls his eyes at. The rolling of the eyes requires no verbal communication. We’re all about being non-communicative. Time to break out the hand puppets.
So the following conversation occurred today at supper, to the best of my recollection.
Bones, bouncing in and out of his chair, settling on standing on one leg, while sitting on the other, it makes me nuts, but it is what it is: Ringo! Today Valerie said, “Howww’s Ringo?”
(He did a spot on imitation of this little girl.)
Mr. T: Heh, she likes you.
Ringo *rolling his eyes*:
Bones: Yeah, well that’s nothing. Missy LOVES him. She thinks he is sweet AND cute.
Me: Mr. Dreamy.
Ringo *rolling his eyes*: Tell her she doesn’t know what she’s getting into. I’ve been to prison five times.
We all laugh. The kid is 13 and his biggest offense in life so far is going on homework strike twice this year and answering in monosyllabic words.
My husband, laughing: Oh that will only make it WORSE! The girls LOVE the bad boys.
Me: They so do not. No way. I NEVER dated a bad boy. Please.
My husband grinning: Yeah, well, I dated the bad girls.
Fully understanding what he was trying to imply to my boys, who might or might not have caught the joking slam, I replied: Sure, but who did you bring home to Mom? You brought home a NICE girl.
Turning back to the boys I said: Boys bring the nice girls home to meet Mom. Stay away from the bad girls.
Bones: Who would want to hang out with a bad girl anyway?
My husband and I glanced at each other.
Bones: Not me. I won’t go with the bad girls.
Bones: They’ll just punch you in the face and run!
Me and my husband, collectively: *blink*
Mr. T: Yeah! Who wants to hang out with a girl who’s going to punch you in the face?
Ringo said nothing.
My husband and I laughed.
Yup. That’s what those bad girls are known for… punching you in the face and running. Best to stay away from them…
That’s what it boiled down to last night… the slope intercept form of a line.
My son is smart mathematically. He is not brilliant, but it comes easy to him if he applies himself and listens to me, listens to me in the sense that he will show his work.
For a couple years, I’d look at his math homework and he’d crush it all together, one problem NEXT to the other, forget vertical on the paper, the kid works horizontally, not showing the work and in a fit of frustration, I have been known to yell, “RINGO! Have I EVER yelled at you for using too much paper? Is there a paper SHORTAGE in this home?! Have I ever said to you, “NO! NO MORE PAPER!”? No. I have not. USE MORE PAPER! SHOW YOUR WORK! BE ORGANIZED!”
He makes me nuts.
But something is taking as he’s showing his work now. Progress. We are making progress. He tanked on his last test and when I got it back he said, “BUT, *I* showed my work!”
Yes he did. And for that he got gold stars.
Last night he came home and said to me, ‘I don’t get it, I’ll never get it. It doesn’t matter how much you explain it to me and how you explain it to me, I’ll NEVER understand. I’ve read the book, I looked at my notes and I will NEVER understand this.”
I looked at the page and in big blue letters I see the cartoonish print of his book’s title writing, ‘y=mx+b’ and I thought, “Good Lord… what does he not get?”
It was about an hours worth of work to get him to understand it. (More on that in a minute.) I took the equation of a line and plotted it on graph paper and showed him how y=mx+b worked, taking it apart and analyzing it for him.
I can never tell when I am getting through. I get a lot of blank looks, some picking at his nails, some tears of frustration, which is usually a GREAT indication that I’m NOT getting through.
I’ll take tears. It’s a sign. I know then I’m on the wrong path and need to change gears.
I told him in the beginning that I would take as much time as he needed, stand on my head, and use a red crayon, that I would not judge, think he was stupid, or think any of it is ridiculous, that I’ve been doing this stuff for 30 years and I can literally SEE the answers now and in 30 years, he will be able to as well.
I found really that his basic algebraic skills are lacking. Over the year he’s been telling me he understood his homework and getting in the 80s. I chalked it up to stupid mistakes, not reviewing it, and that was MY mistake.
Little things like not truly understanding that y=-5+x is the same as –y=5-x and why it’s so. That was crystal clear last night, so we spent a lot of time going over that… basic skill for solving for x. He has trouble getting a variable alone.
We will work on that more this summer.
But as much as we are alike… we are different. His questions are just always different than mine.
I remember when he was in 2nd grade, he had math homework that contained a graph. Stan had 20 calculators. He gave 5 to Beth and 2 to Susan. How many calculators did Stan have left?
And so I explained it and I still got, “I don’t get it…”
And so I drew the chart and I still got, “I don’t understand.”
And so I broke out colored crayons and every kid got their own color and we drew charts and I still got “This doesn’t make sense.”
So I got out 20 objects and we divided them up and a fit of tears and drama he yelled, “I DON’T GET IT! I DON’T GET IT!” and finally I said, “Son. What EXACTLY do you not get?”
And his reply was… “I don’t understand why Stan would want to give away his calculators!!! Wahhhhhh!”
That was my first lesson on Mom is from Earth and Son is from the Moon. And it was my first lesson of asking early on if there was some slight indication of what he truly did not get.
Narrowing down the field is a good thing.
And so last night I started with, “Son. What is it you don’t get?” and I received the 13 year old shrug and a “None of it.”
And that’s where I thought demonstrating how taking something set in the form of y=mx+b works.
He listened. It was 30 minutes into it that we got to the root of the problem.
He didn’t understand why they picked ‘m’ for slope and ‘b’ for the y-intercept. That’s what it boiled down to. Just as he didn’t know why Stan would want to give away his calculators, he could not get past the fact that ‘m’ and ‘b’ were ridiculous choices for slope and y intercept.
So we spent the night calling slope ‘s’ and the y-intercept y sub i (it doesn’t type out) and he seemed to get it.
By this morning he had it cold.
But that is what it came down to, ultimately, it should not have been written y=mx+b, but y=sx+ysubi.
I was not a cheerleader in high school. I’m not that type of personality. I am not perpetually up, have no desire to get other people up, and am not the type to cheer from the sidelines in life.
I am in the midst of everything… I do not cheer.
This is not a cut on cheerleaders. If you were one and it comes across, no offense meant. I just am not the happy get people stoked personality.
I view myself as a realist, while others view me as a pessimist. I’m not. I’m a realist.
And so that brings me to the hardest part of my job of being a parent.
Being a cheerleader.
Folks, it leaves me with no energy. There are days that I have spent so much time cheering on the young people in my life, that I feel empty inside. I need the sleep just to try to fill the empty ‘cheer’ reservoir, so I can spend the next day emptying it.
The perpetual happy attitude… it absolutely frickin’ exhausts me.
From the minute they get home from school, grousing about who did what to whom, how much homework they have, and how much they suck at *insert subject here*’, I am on the sidelines with a big cheery smile saying, “YES YOU CAN! YOU DON’T SUCK! IT WILL ALL WORK OUT WITH *insert name of pinhead classmate here*!”
Tonight… I’m done.
This a typical Monday night conversation with Bones:
Bones: I can’t do this spelling. I can never find the misspelled word and I can’t fill in these blanks.
Me: YES YOU CAN! You are GREAT at spelling. I think you may be one of the all time great spellers! Let me help you… you show me what you think…
And we’ll sit down and I’ll have him teach ME and he’ll walk away saying, “HEY! That wasn’t so bad!” and I walk away muttering to myself, “Holy crap… I’m drained.”
Repeat this EVERY Monday.
Now at Mr. T.
Mr. T: I have ANOTHER book report due and I have to read *insert name of class book here… this month its Holes* I hate reading. I suck at it. I read too slow and I hate these books!
Me: You are a GREAT reader. You’re not going to like every book you read, but I bet you get something out of it. Why don’t you tell me what is going on with the characters and we can talk about it because there isn’t a better reader than you, and WE CAN DO THIS!
And we proceed to talk about the book and come up with a game plan to get all the reading done and he walks away saying, “HEY! I can do this!” and I walk away muttering to myself, “Holy crap… I’m drained.”
Repeat this EVERY Month… sometimes twice a month. Or more.
Ringo, this actually happened today: I don’t understand my math. I suck at it. It doesn’t matter HOW MANY WAYS YOU EXPLAIN IT, I will NEVER get it. NEVER.
Me: You are wrong. You are GREAT in math; you just need to be patient. I will find a way, if it takes me standing on my head and using a red crayon, I will find a way for you to understand. I PROMISE you. I PROMISE. You are GREAT, you just need a little light shed in the corners.
And so, two hours later, many problems later, many tears shed (his not mine), I found a way to get through to him, the entire time talking in soft tones, hugging him, giving him little pep talks, drawing pictures, finding weak links in his math skills and reteaching, over and over until… he said, ‘I get it now. I’m going to bed… we’ll try more tomorrow. I really do get it.’
And I walked away muttering to myself, “Holy crap… I’m frickin’ drained. I’m done. There is nothing left of me to give.”
I really feel that way on some days… today in particular. It is more happiness and cheering than I have in my body. I feel… God, I hate to say it… but I feel fake.
The cheery face when I want to scream.
The “YOU CAN DO THIS” happy voice when I want to walk away.
The prodding and pushing, trying to find the right balance when… GAh! I’m done!
And it doesn’t end with school work, but add in the personalities from school, the injustices they may witness and are trying to make sense of, and… just their lives.
And I didn’t know of all the jobs that mothers have, that cheerleading was such an integral part and of all of it, I find it truly the most exhausting for my type personality.
I’ve put away the pom poms for tonight and realize… that in but seven more hours, I’ll pick them up again. “Wake up! It’s a beautiful morning! School is going to be GREAT! What a GREAT day!”
And inside I’ll be thinking, “Can I crawl back in bed now?”
I’m ready for summer.
I am a fair weather camper. I don’t like to sleep when it’s too hot. I don’t like to be in a tent when there is bad weather. I don’t like to camp with bugs.
I tolerate raccoons.
Bears are out of the question.
Camping with three boys has become completely doable, a non-event mostly, as I’ve created a process, refining it at every trip, that is getting better and better. I’m all about taking into account potential bad weather and pesky animals who want to drink your tea and eat your cereal.
Camping when there is a vehicle involved is easy. Food can be stored in the vehicle and the vehicle can be used for shelter or… to drive away in when the weather is bad. When supplies are forgotten, one gets in their vehicle and… DRIVES to replace.
Didn’t bring enough water? Drive out to the grocery and get it. Forgot a sleeping bag? Drive in and buy one. We evidently don’t camp in places far from civilization and I’m cool with that.
I know. I know. As The Straight White Guy likes to tease, “Bou, you don’t camp. You sleep outside.” But I’m completely cool with sleeping outside in a tent and pretending. I’m not a Marine!
And for the record, I'm a HUGE list maker, so RARELY are things forgotten. But... it does happen. Like this trip, I forgot my bras. It wasn't on my list. I came home... and there they sat, on my bed. I ended up wearing the same damn tank top for the weekend. Ick.
Anyway, when we camp on Peanut Island, we can’t forget anything. A water taxi takes me, the boys, and all our crap, out to the island, where we have to load the boat, unload the boat, schlep it to our site, and do it all in reverse on the trip home. There is no forgetting stuff, no quick trips out for more ice, no place to hide other than the park bathrooms if there is a bad storm and no way off the island when the water taxi isn’t running… which is after 6:30 at night, until 9AM.
I hate that. The feeling of being trapped.
Last year’s experience made me realize I had to put some sort of system into place to prevent our belongings getting soaked in the event of a squall coming through. I can’t keep my tent from being leveled, but surely I could keep our belongings dry and THAT is a BIG deal.
Ziploc has these XXL bags, that I swear to you, could be used by funeral homes to store bodies or a cheap way for burials. Don’t want to spend cash on a casket? Just bag the body and toss it in the hole. Plastic takes 20 years to decompose. After 20 years, who gives a crap what container the body was in?
Anyway, every boy has their own, what I’ll call ‘body bag’… because I think its funny, and hey, I amuse myself at times. Each body bag contains their sleeping bag, a pillow, their beach towel, and their blanket. Each boy is responsible for getting their own body bag packed, in the car, in the boat, and to the campsite. In the event bad weather is imminent, the body bags get repacked and thrown to the middle of the tent to endure the weather.
Friday night’s weather kind of sucked. It wasn’t stormy, but it was windy as hell and rainy. We were camping on the beach. Our tent was being buffeted around like… well, like I was glad I’d really staked it down or we’d have been rolling down the beach.
Saturday morning, we awoke to dry weather, but dark clouds in the distance. I called the boys from the beach as they were up at 7AM to fish, and said, “Hurry, get your bags packed! Bad weather is coming!” and fast as hell, we were rolling sleeping bags, shoving them in the body bags, folding blankets, looking for beach towels and as we frantically moved to make sure we could keep our possessions dry, I heard a small boy voice quietly say,
“I guess this means we aren’t coming back next year, doesn’t it?”
And in my frustration and panic and anxiety of seeing a replay of last year I replied, “Let’s just say, the forecast isn’t looking too good right now.”
Luckily, the weather did not roll in and it was a good drill for us. The weather held out, although it was still too windy at night for me to be comfortable… sleeping the last two nights did suck as our little tent got battered in the wind. The boys slept GREAT, but I did not.
Tonight I will…
And to end this post, the expression, “Do not sh—where you sleep” is something learned and not innate to humans. One point does not make scientific evidence, but after this weekend, I feel strongly, that this is something taught or learned, not instinctual.
We could hear the raccoons fighting or mating all night. I’d bought a mess of bungee cords to keep my coolers shut and to keep raccoons out. I knew they were there.
This morning I was rolling up the tent and behind our tent, RIGHT BEHIND OUR TENT, in the sand, was something smelly, urine smelly, with a lot of flies. There were bushes all over, yet this was right next to the back of our tent. As I unstaked the tent and had to pass this spot, I’d work quickly, as the flies were disgusting and the odor was pretty nasty.
We were at home talking about the trip and Bones said, “Hey, did you see all those flies behind our tent? They were there because that’s where I peed!"
I stopped what I was doing and stared. *blink*
He kept laughing and finally I said, “YOU peed behind our tent? RIGHT BEHIND our tent? I thought it was the raccoons from last night. But it was YOU?”
Quite proud of himself he said, “Yeah, I woke up this morning and really had to pee, so I walked behind our tent.”
I said, “Bones. There were bushes. You couldn’t pee IN the bushes? You had to pee RIGHT BESIDE OUR TENT?!”
Good God. I could not believe it. Folks, he was inches from just hosing the tent down. Centimeters maybe.
What is up with that?
And he was PROUD! He was proud of all the flies his pee brought in.
I don’t get it. I’m never going to get it.
Boy Brains. Good Lord.
I took the boys to the Gander store yesterday as I had a couple camping items I wanted to look at. I told them as we walked in, “DO NOT ask me to buy anything. DO NOT. You are going to piss me off. I’m not spending the big bucks in this mega store; I’m just looking.”
Well they didn’t have exactly what I needed, but I met a great sales person named Mark, that reaffirmed to me, whether they have what I need or not, I’m going back.
They have some awesome tents. The store is so big that the tents are set up and have stuff inside them, as if someone was living there.
Mr. T and I looked in one tent and the first thing he said was, “OH! A Potty!” I guess they sell little portable potties… it looked like the potty I trained my kids with except theirs was blue and had a smaller hole. I guess adults don’t need the blue color to entice usage.
I personally would rather go in the woods. Cleaning out a plastic potty repeatedly is not something I’d want to add to my camping chores. That can be remedied by… acting like a bear.
As Mr. T and I continued to roam (Ringo and Bones had taken off together to go look at something), we found something called Anti Monkey Butt Powder.
It had this picture of a monkey on it with a BIG red butt.
Folks, what in the heck are people doing that they have to worry about their backsides becoming red and bulbous? I clicked on their website HERE and they even sponsor a race car. You can see it in the video. (Frickin’ GREAT website.)
It says it’s to prevent chafing. Hunh. And it lists all the activities that could cause such… butt chafing. Truck driving, motorcycling, biking, horse back riding, and extreme sports are all mentioned.
I just had… no idea… that this ‘monkey butt’ was an affliction let alone such… a problem.
I shall definitely file this away in my data bank. I didn't know Truck Driving caused this. When I drive long distances my butt just usually falls asleep. There is no chafing. Chafing... I see occur with a lot of motion and I'm not moving in my seat when I drive. Maybe I should stop while I'm ahead...
Anyway, I did not leave empty handed. Of course not. I got conned into buying a little fishing net for our trip and a bag of beef jerky, which Mr. T swears smells like poop. It is rather smelly.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my food not to enter my body smelling like it will when it exits.
Maybe that’s just… me.
Then again, I didn’t know anything about Monkey Butt being what it is. Maybe all this is just this big rock under which I live…
There’s just a little bit of stress here.
I left work yesterday telling the guys, “Don’t plan any outdoor activities this weekend. I’m going camping.”
It’s become the running joke that if I’m going camping, its going to rain.
My husband is gone on travel again as of this afternoon, and camping on a local little island with Cub Scouts is the plan, sans him since he will be out of town. If you recall, last time I did this camping on the island with just the boys and Cub Scouts, it stormed and was a fiasco.
I’m not sure how I got conned into this. I know I told the boys “NEVER AGAIN”, yet here I sit with my lists as I plan it all out and rethink my strategy in preparation. One of my friends, who has four boys, said, “Come on! The boys LOVE it!”
And somehow, I acquiesced, something I do somewhat regret. As I tell people, when we camp on this island, I am dependent on a boat captain to schlep all our crap over there (I schlep it onto the boat and to our campsite, but he is the water transport), and his mood seems to be directly dependent on how much he had to drink the night before and whether or not he got laid.
The boys of course will love camping at this place. Fishing poles have been rigged, beach toys found, and rash board shirts pulled out of winter storage. It’s a weekend with them playing on the beach, from sun up, until sun down, no computers, TVs, video games, nothing.
I’ve changed my packing strategy since weather becomes an even bigger factor, potentially negative factor, when on this island. It is not as if we can just keep stuff in the car. I’ve gotten enormous Ziploc bags with each boy having their own to which to be responsible. Sleeping bag, pillow, two towels, and their clothes will be in each boy’s bag, with their name on it. The plastic bags stay packed until items are needed.
I have not the energy to do what I did last year. That was a once in a lifetime deal. I’m watching the weather and I’m seeing that scattered showers are expected on Sunday, but that’s when we’re leaving. As long as no fronts come through, I can manage.
I can actually manage just about anything… I just have no desire to try to manage weather while living out of a nylon tent.
Last year with the weather fiasco, one of the Dads is a Deputy with our local Sheriff’s Office, and when it was over, he’d received a phone call from one of his buddies ‘playing dispatcher’. It was pretty funny. When he listened to the message it said something like, “There is rough weather in your area. Please take cover in your tent. Once again, heavy wind and rain and hail are expected, please take cover in your NYLON tent.”
So… fingers crossed please. I’m tired already and I’ve not started packing. I just have list after list after list, ‘to do’ list, shopping list (Target), meal list, grocery list, packing list. I have a bit of a headache and a bit of anxiety, but I know once we’re there it, we will be fine.
I just wish I could take my car… if anything, it for sure keeps the raccoons out and works for great shelter during those stupid storms…