June 30, 2008

An Emptiness in Tennessee

It feels... odd... when death strikes the blogosphere. Very often we know not the person, in person, but we feel we know them from having read them for so long. In reading their blogs, we get a peek into their minds, a look into their pasts, and a view of what they hope for in the future.

Bloggers can pull us through their lives, making us feel a part of it, even if in reality, we are but voyeurs. Good bloggers... make you connect with them... feel as if you are sitting in their family room talking and laughing, sharing in their joys, crying with them in their lows. Some may not expose the lows, but you still connect, or feel you do... it is an odd medium this blogging.

When death strikes the blogosphere for me it is an odd emotion. It is a sadness. It feels, puzzling I guess. A void has appeared, a creative void you know never can be filled. You will no longer laugh at their childhood antics, grin at the crazy thoughts that loomed large that day, and commiserate on days that just didn't... go right.

I thought I'd meet him in October and now I know I never will. That is my loss...


WINSTON RAND…HE WAS A PRETTY GOOD GUY.

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June 29, 2008

Motivational Journal Entries

The two older boys have summer homework. They are to keep a journal for school, for two weeks, two pages of writing per day and a 3rd page left for pictures and memory scraps.

The boys are pissed.

This assignment has been met with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, a declaration that this is their summer, dammit, and how dare anyone smacking of school infringe upon it.

It is what it is.

I chose the Southern Tour as the best writing potential, keeping busy as we do. They started writing yesterday. They hated every minute of it and putting every single word on paper was a great Herculean effort.

Or so one would think from the sounds emanating from the kitchen where the writing was being done.

Yesterday was pretty busy and I KNEW they had much to write about, so this evening I had them sit down and write about yesterday. They’d put it off as long as I’d allow.

Upon opening Ringo’s composition book, I found that TGOO had written his own page on their first day here. I grinned and laughed as I read it and then each boy read it. It completely changed their perspective on writing. No longer was it the torturous drudgery of the previous day, but had somehow become a competition of sorts as to who could remember the funniest things of the day.

As I left them to their writing, going for a short walk around the neighborhood with TGOO, I heard the two of them laughing hysterically as they thought of things to write. Today’s writing was infinitely better than yesterday’s. Today’s was light hearted and funny. Yesterday’s smacked of ‘My Mother Made Me Do This’.

And so I give you TGOO’s letter for the boys; his recap on their first day here. Background information… The Gump was a series of stories he made up when my siblings and I were young. Also, Bones has been sick with some sort of coughing virus for a week.

27 June The boys arrived for our annual July gathering of the Clan yesterday afternoon. I was working on the ceilidh program when from the corner of my eye I saw movement in the hallway. At first I thought we were being invaded by aliens, but as it turned out, it was Ringo, schlumping down the hall like the Gump searching for mushrooms. He was followed closely by his two brothers, Mr. T, who crept in like a ghost, and Bones, who hacked his way into the house with a deep, chest-quivering cough that I thought would bring up a lung. It was good to see these lads, all of whom are growing like a kennel of young dogs, hands and feet out growing their lithe bodies, and heads covered with a thick pelt of long hair.

We dined at a pizza café for dinner, resembling feeding three hungry alligators- just throw the raw meat at them and avoid their teeth. In this case it was merely pizza and pasta, but it was a pleasure to watch them hiding the groceries. Mr. T, being lactose intolerant, ordered a cheese pizza. As he was seated to my left, I kept leaning to the right to avoid any reprecussions, as he digested the cheese.

Big Daddy


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June 28, 2008

Fishy People

And so plans are slowly solidifying for my upcoming three weeks in ‘the South’. Morrigan asked me if I wanted to go to some concert with her one Wednesday night… she even coerced Sissy to come watch the kids while we go.

Actually, I’m not sure how much coercion was involved as I’ve heard now that there will be much ‘Wii Rockband’ and perhaps a ‘Guitar Hero’ challenge and rumblings of Texas Hold ‘em.

Meanwhile, Mo and I are going to this concert to hear some guy named Al Green. The following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection.

Morrigan: Do you want to go to the Al Green concert?

Me: Who’s Al Green?

Morrigan: Sissy will watch the boys.

Me: Who’s Al Green? And can I wear jeans?

Morrigan: Oh hell yeah, you can wear shorts. Its an outside concert. It’ll be a BLAST! We saw Frankie Valli last week and had a GREAT time!

Me: Who’s Al Green?

Morrigan: Oh he was REALLY big in the 60s and 70s. You’ll know his stuff when you hear him. He sang that song that goes… “Taaaake me to the riiiiiver…”

Me: Oh My God. The Fish Song?

Morrigan: Yes!

Me: The poor guy that was immortalized by that frickin’ fish? That’s who we’re seeing?

Morrigan, with much enthusiasm: YES! It’ll be a so much fun!!!

Heh. So while my boys are challenging Sissy to all sorts of video games on the Wii and hands of Texas Hold ‘em, Mo and I are going to see some guy sing the fish song. Thankfully we can wear shorts.

Here at the folks’ homestead, all is well, with the boys having seen Get Smart today with their Dad while my Mom and I went shopping.

My folks have a hot water leak under the slab of their home, right under the kitchen sink. Their home is 40+ years old and is actually of the era where it is incredibly structurally sound. They’ve been through so many nasty hurricanes in this house and other than tree issues, they’ve never had roof issues or anything.

After all of us leave, some team of folks will come in, pull out their sink and cabinets, jack hammer through the slab and find the leak.

I’m a bit horrified. I keep hearing the sound of “KaaaaaCHING!”

On the bonus side… I think my Mom is getting granite counter tops now. Maybe new cabinets. Definitely remodeling.

This could be interesting… horrible… but interesting. It makes my mildew issue in the master bath look small time. Which reminds me… my bathroom is almost finished. Pictures next month… but Bones calls it, “A bathroom for King”. It’s come out nice…

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June 27, 2008

Personality Oddities

We have arrived at my folks’ domicile. We arrived just after lunch today, having broken it into two drives, stopping outside I-75 last night.

When I picked the boys up from camp, their clothes smelled so awful, I insisted on doing laundry before we left. No way in hell were their clothes going into my car. They aren’t exactly clothes horses, so they needed all their shorts for this trip.

There were some odd revelations while unpacking their footlockers.

Mr. T confessed to me on Tuesday night that he was officially going to quit eating as the bathrooms were so disgusting he refused to use them. In some ways, sending Mr. T to Boy Scout camp was the equivalent of sending a young ‘Monk’ (from the TV show, not a seminary). The disgust of the bathrooms was more than he could take, top it off with his being lactose intolerant and the Boy Scout cooks adding heaps of cheese to EVERY meal and he was… done.

So he refused to use the bathroom there, taking to peeing in bushes for that particular urge, and was going to go on a food strike so he could try to make it until the end of camp.

Nice.

Meanwhile, I looked at his older brother and whispered, ‘So, have you used the bathroom here?” he gave me that blank stare I have come to know, but not necessarily love, and said, “yeah, why?”

I replied in turn, “Umm… in every way, you’ve used that bathroom?”

Once again the blank stare, accompanied by a *blink* because one does not ask their teenagers if they’ve… well… you know… taken a crap. That’s essentially what I was asking, and yeah, I’m kind of moritified to even put that in print. Finally he gave me the shrug and said, “yeah… ?”

So. Evidently Ringo allowed his bodily needs not be be imposed upon by the filth of the bathrooms… filth not limited to just bodily excretions but also including assorted bugs, crawling and flying as these were pretty much bathroom stalls with no ceiling.

Does that make sense? Take the stalls from a bathroom and put them in the middle of campsite, no building, so all roaming animals have free range to walk under the stalls and all flying bugs can fly over the stalls.

Kind of reminds me of a preposition English lesson… the bug crawled under the stall, the bug flew over the stall, the bug flew around the stall, the bug flew in the toilet, the bug flew out of the toilet… you catch my drift.

Anyway, so Ringo was cool and Mr. T was not.

I was able to help Mr. T with his bathroom cleanliness issues by using some rational discourse accompanied with bribery and convinced him as well that hunger strikes were... out.

On Thursday afternoon, I went into their tents to help them gather their stuff. Sidenote… Ringo is a slob. I found a pair of his boxers and two pairs of socks on the floor. Ringo said, ‘Mom, its just these… I’ve been good about keeping my stuff together.”

I noticed that my neat son, Mr. T, other than having his rancid towel in the sweltering sauna canvas tent, along with his wet bathing suit, had nothing on the floor.

Flash forward to my emptying their footlockers into the washing machine at home. Just as he said, Ringo had put his dirty laundry in every bag. Each boy had clothes in a ziploc bag for each day. Sure enough, Ringo’s dirty Sunday clothes were back in the Sunday bag. His dirty Monday clothes were in the Monday bag and so on… with the exception truly being that one pair of boxers and those two pairs of socks.

I got to Mr. T’s footlocker, opened up Monday’s bag and… I said, “Dude, are these clothes… still clean?”

Mr. T: Yeah. I didn’t change that day…

Me, opening Tuesday’s bag: Dude, the shirt is missing, but are these shorts and underwear…and socks…. clean?

Mr. T: Yeah, I just changed my shirt.

And so it went… the kid only changed his shirt the entire week. He wore the same underwear, the same socks, and the same shorts for Sunday through Thursday.

I was aghast!

The kid who won’t use the bathroom, didn’t change his clothes.

The total slob who used the bathroom when nature called no matter what roaches, lizards, dragon flies and beetles roamed and no matter how dirty, changed his clothes and kept them together…

I’m a bit at a loss…

Anyway, we’re here. In Pensacola for the next week, where the bathrooms are clean and the food is terrific and there is air conditioning and comfortable beds... not to mention... grandparents. You can't beat that.

And I have to tell you, nothing quite beats watching my Mom sing Roxanne to Rockband while her grandsons play the guitar and drums. Holy crap. It’s classic…

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June 26, 2008

Fourth Annual Southern Tour

We're off to Pensacola to see my family and to commence my annual Southern Tour.

The boys are back and had a great time other than the extraordinary heat, crappy food, and repugnant bathrooms.

Play nice now...

Ciao

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June 25, 2008

Camping

No bugs. A good uneventful night.

I'm ready for my boys to come home now.

It's time.

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June 24, 2008

He's Got Poker Face While I Sleep With the Roaches

I am off in 10 to go rough it with the Boy Scouts. I’ve spent the last hour scouring the internet for natural deterrents against roaches.

My first instinct is to take a big can of roach killer and spray a version of a satanic circle around my tent, daring them to cross the circle.

Then I remember how that smells and how we’re not supposed to have aerosol cans and wondering if sleeping in a circle of roach killer can cause cancers. Hence my search for natural repellents.

I don’t have boric acid or any of the other stuff I could find and although I am tempted to take a fistful of bay leaves, as it ‘might’ work, I don’t think I own enough bay leaves to offset a campsite of roaches.

I’m not happy.

On another front, I received my first phone call today from camp. One little boy has had to call home EVERY night. Another little boy won’t let his Dad leave… his Dad is sleeping there every night. I didn’t allow my sons to take a phone… they bummed one off of someone else, who calls home frequently.

I had heard rumors my kids hated the food and that I should bring snacks. This is what happened during my phone call:

Ringo: Hey, Mom, its me.

Me: Hey! Do you miss me?

Ringo:

Me: Well?

Ringo: Umm. Yeah.

Me: Was that hard to admit to?

Ringo: No, not really.

Me: Hunh, then what took so long to answer?

Ringo: I wasn’t sure what to say…

Me: Why?

Ringo: Because… well…

Me: Because you don’t miss me?

Ringo: Right.

Me: Its cool. You could have admitted it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings in the least. I WANT you to have a good time.

Ringo: Ok, then, I don’t miss you.

Me: Umm, what about Mr. T. Does he miss me?

Ringo: No. I don’t think so. Hey, Mom, can you bring my poker cards and chips? Its been raining a lot and we want to play poker.

Me: That’s why you called, for your Poker game?

Ringo: Yeah.

Me: OK, then. Do you need anything else?

Ringo: Cold drinks would be nice. Just poker and cold drinks and we’re cool.

Me: Ok then… I’ll see you tonight.

Ringo: *click*

So. There you have it… we seem to be very adjusted…

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June 23, 2008

People I Don't Know

I don't typically mourn people I don't know, upon their passing. I'm empathetic, but its not a... void for me. Its more along the lines of, 'Wow, that is sad."

So it seems even odder to me that I am genuinely mourning George Carlin. He was tied for first place as my favorite comedian... tied with... ready? Tied with Bill Cosby.

Talk about night and day... and I don't mean that in a racial sense... although it surely does apply. Clean wholesome comedy that makes me laugh until I want to cry and some of the filthiest but relevant comedy that makes me laugh... until I want to cry.

I started watching Mr. Carlin in High School. My favorite shtick? I have it memorized... it started with Rat Shit, Bat Shit. I can recite the entire thing here, but won't.

I absolutely loved watching him. His poking fun at society, laughing at the absurdity that surrounds us...

I'm going to miss him. I didn't know him... but I'm really going to miss him.

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Bored, Happy, and ... Phobic

Bones waffles between being bored and kind of sort of missing his brothers and declaring that being an only child would be the best thing in the world, not having to share, never being called names and being able to play any Wii game he wanted without competition.

So intent is he that being alone is wonderful that he asked me today to make sure I tell his brothers when I see them that he LOVES being alone in the house, that he’s having a GREAT time and that he doesn’t miss them in the least.

I’m not kidding.

I hear from the Dad who chaperoned today that it was hot and the boys are finished with ever having to camp there again. I hear they’re filthy dirty and are… done.

I’m sure they’re fine. I laughed when I heard it actually.

Meanwhile, I spend the night there tomorrow night. It’s my shift as chaperone. I’ve been baking all night… as I figure if I’m showing up, I can at least bring something homemade for the boys. I may take Italian Ice as well, if I can keep it cold enough, long enough.

My only concern is… I am… deathly afraid of cockroaches. I mean squeal like a little girl, freaky chest pains, a case of the vapors, stroke/heart attack, pee myself scared.

I am nearly hyperventilating thinking about it. Its full blown phobia… bad, bad… bad.

And yesterday as I was setting up the mosquito nets for the boys in their 'Vally Forge' Boy Scout issue tent, I overheard a boy in another tent say to his tent mate, “… and last year, I got a cockroach in my bed!”

I’ve been shoving that little overheard snippet into the back of my very small brain for the last 24 hours. The thought… is more… than I can take.

I was in 5th or 6th grade and my friend Becky was spending the night. Her Dad was in the same squadron as my Dad and at the time of this incident, our Dads were on deployment, either in Sigonella or Keflavik. We met through squadron picnics and whatnot. At the time we lived in Orange Park, Florida and had a big concrete above ground pool in our back yard with a wood deck. Becky and TN and I spent the afternoon building a big fort of sheets on the back deck, with the intention of Becky and me sleeping out there.

My Mom walked out there with us, around 9:00PM. It was dark, we’d had dinner, watched some television, goofed around, and she walked out with us to get us all set in our overnight quarters. As we walked onto the deck, no less than 100 roaches scurried from us.

It was like something out of a frickin' horror movie.

Good Lord, the memories of it are enough to make me vomit. It was awful.

Needless to say, we didn’t sleep outside. Blech. But it was in my years of living in Orange Park as a child that I first experienced the big flying hissing roaches that some call… Palmetto bugs. They have been a menace to my mental well being ever since.

Gah!

And tomorrow night… I’m struggling folks. I’m really struggling. There may be no sleeping. I may be up ALL NIGHT. Under my mosquito net.

All Night.

Blog fodder.

Stay tuned.

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June 22, 2008

Down to Three...

It’s been a crazy last few days. My older two boys left today for Boy Scout camp. Its typically one week, but we’ve had to cut it short by two days due to summer plans.

My philosophy about child rearing has been that the goal is to raise children to be independent socially responsible adults, who have good relationships. I want my boys to be able to love and be loved. I want them to pick healthy people for their long term relationships.

Anyway, its one of the reasons I’m such a proponent of Scouting. It helps teach fundamentals for boys becoming men.

That doesn’t mean this week isn’t going to be hard on me. Two weeks ago I realized… my boys are going to have a blast and… I’m going to miss them.

It wasn’t until this past Monday, when I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, that I finally put it all in perspective. Her son is a Marine and is going to Iraq mid July. I’m just sending mine off to Boy Scout camp.

Please.

No comparison.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be kind of depressed this week. There is a lot of noise that will suddenly not be in my home. Just Bones… and me. It will be quiet.

Well, there will be Bones, so it won't be THAT quiet... but it will be... different. There will be a different energy.

I dropped them off today, stuck around for their swim test (they both passed, including the 'floating' part, which for them is 'not sinking so fast') helped them set up their mosquito nets and gave them some basic instructions on how to stay organized and keep things clean… things like, “Don’t stick wet items back in your foot locker…”.

A side note on the swim test… we had 17 Scouts with our Troop. We had one kid included who is not really with our Troop, but what we call ‘ a provisional’. He was put in our Troop because he could not attend the week with his home Troop. Of the 17 boys, ages 11-14, every single one of them could swim, except one, our provisional. Not only could he not swim, he wouldn’t even put his feet in the water. Nothing.

I felt awful for the kid. I don’t know the story, but folks, I am here to tell you, it is a rarity in Florida, especially SOUTH Florida, to have a kid who can’t swim, in particular a TWELVE year old.

There is SO MUCH water down here… everyone pushes their kids to swim by early ages, almost all by age five. When I go to a pool, I can pick out the kids ‘visiting grandparents’. I have never ever been wrong… the only non-swimmer older kids I EVER see at a pool are Northern children. Native Florida kids swim early.

And when I say non swimmer older kids, I mean any child older than five.

And as one of the Scout Employees, an older man who works for BSA, said to one of our leaders who is staying for the week (two chaperones are required at all times for BSA events), “This is very scary. He’d not even put his foot in. We are surrounded by water and he doesn’t know anything to save himself if he falls in one of these many canals or the lake. It’s not the pool I’m worried about…”

And he was right. It’s not the pool. We LIVE surrounded by water. So everyone is on high alert for this boy who doesn’t swim.

But another part that is sad is… this kid can’t participate in any water activities. Its not bad enough that he’s a provisional… a child that doesn’t know our kids, but now his inability to swim has him in a different class during different parts of the day. I’m afraid he’s going to have a miserable time.

I really am.

So I go to stay on Tuesday night; I’m one of two Tuesday night chaperones, and I am going to remind my boys and their two buddies to please include this kid in all their activities. I’m going to remind them to save a seat for him at dinner, to ask him to join them on whatever they’re doing, as long as it’s not near water.

The water thing… I hear they have him signed up for swim lessons next month. I wish it had been LAST month. It would have been so much better…

We were asked to not have our boys have cell phones. My eldest did receive one for his birthday, but we took it away for camp. I told my husband, “I can’t let them rely on me. They have to solve their own problems. The have to ask of other people to help if they need it. Plus, if something goes wrong and they call me… I’m going to feel helpless here as I CANNOT do anything. Let the chaperone call me if something hits the fan… not the boys.”

And so we are disconnected as well, as it should be. They have to learn to do things without me and I think this is a good way. Next year is camp in NC and the year after that is the Boy Scout Jamboree. So this is a good start… camp close to home, but not TOO close.

Anyway, the boys are at camp, I’m minus two boys at home, I miss them already, I hope they don’t miss me, Bones and I will keep each other busy, and… life goes on.

I think they’re going to be crazy busy and I hope they have a blast.


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June 20, 2008

Noah's Left The Ark

I've been waiting to post this since I got the email that Noah had abandoned the Ark and had moved to join us all.

Please go wish Jay and his family the best in their newest edition. What a beautiful baby. If you do nothing else, take a look at the video. The first few seconds... as his little boy, is so excited to hold the baby. His little feet tapping, the anticipation of loving on what he has waited for 40 weeks. Forty weeks is a long time for a little dude...

Congrats to Jay the Friendly Neighborhood Piper and to his wonderful family!

And a special congratulations as well to my blogless reader GEO6 who just became a grandfather for the first time! I saw pictures of that baby too, and he is very very yummy!

I so love the babies... they are so smoochy.

And should all the babies of this world come into it as loved as these two are, the world would be a far different place. Of that I am certain...

Update: I had to watch that video again. Anyone who does not laugh inside at that little guy's excitement at holding his brother... needs to be checked. It just fills your heart with happiness watching his little hands and his face and wanting to be part of this new baby's life. Good Lord. Its so sweet...

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June 19, 2008

Positives With a Leg to Stand On

You’d think the big talk in our house the other day would be about Tiger Woods.

Not so.

My boys are more interested in learning about his… caddy. All the questions today have been about ‘who caddy’s for Tiger’. They wanted to know about the man behind the man.

Yes, they’ve been informed, but I did find it interesting. As of now, I think they’d be just as happy to meet Steve Williams as Tiger Woods.

We don’t watch golf here, in general, but I do read the Sports page as much as I can when it comes to Mr. Woods. I can’t watch golf. I don’t watch TV in general, so I can’t do golf… to me its like watching paint dry. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what they’re doing, but… I just can’t watch it on the tube. I think live would be considerably different.

I’m not big on athletes being held up as heroes to our youth. Heroes are people who have done something good in our society… to be looked up to. How fast someone runs, how many points they can score on a field… that a hero does not make.

But although I do not consider Mr. Woods a hero, he is someone I’d not mind my boys emulating. He works damn hard, he is polite, he keeps fit, and he loves his family… from when it was just his Mom and Dad… to now the new family he has helped to create.

He doesn’t get all political, or hasn’t yet, and I hope he doesn’t. He is the consummate gentleman in a sport that still demands it, and I sense that he’d be a gentleman anyway because… that’s what he is, whereas all other American sports have gone to trash talking and thugs with athletic talent getting paid too much.

He stands out.

I like that.

And I find it amusing he beat everyone pretty much with one leg. As I read in one article, the other golfers were born with the unfortunate distinction of… being human. That made me grin too.

Now let us just hope he heals. The world needs positive role models and I consider him one.

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June 18, 2008

Of Mexican Food, Hats, and Camping

There are days when I think, ‘I got nuthin’’ and have no clue what I’ll blog. And then there are days where it just lands… in my lap. Blog fodder from Heaven.

I was in the car with my eldest taking him to bass guitar lessons. (He’s really progressing and has surpassed some of his buddies that have been taking far longer. His bass has become an extension of himself.) I said to him, “Listen, you have to wear a hat while you’re at Boy Scout camp next week. Its just going to be too much sun…”

He replied, “Can’t I just wear my visor? My hair covers my head…”

I thought for a second and said, “I’d like you to wear a hat. Think about it. Is there a baseball cap or anything you’d like?”

He sat and thought and then his face lit up and he exclaimed, “YES! There is a hat at the Quicksilver store that I thought was really funny. It said, ‘In Tacos We Trust’!”

Me: *blink*

I nearly choked.

At that point I realized I need to defer to someone a bit more skilled in the ways of society and what things mean vs. what I think they MIGHT mean.

I called Morrigan.

And the following conversation ensued, to the best of my recollection.

Bou: Hey. Its me. So my son wants me to buy him a hat that he saw at a store. It says, “In Tacos We Trust”.

Mo: *gasp!* NO. It.Does.Not.

Bou: Oh yes. So. Does it mean what I think it means or does it mean… someone really likes tacos?

Mo: You understand this right?

Bou: Yes. You mean like I know what a Tuna Taco is?

Mo: Umm. Did you just say Tuna Taco with your son in the car.

Bou: Yes. I did.

Mo: Nice. OK. Well, who makes this hat?

Bou: Quicksilver.

She peruses on line to see if she can find it.

Bou: I’m just kind of struggling with sending him to BOY SCOUT camp with a cap that says ‘In Tacos We Trust’. There just seems like something kind of… wrong about it.

Mo: But if he doesn’t know what it means, it’s innocent. It’s no biggie. Its like the time that Mom let TN buy that little nest at the gift shop at Cedar Rapids, that had a little egg inside with a big grin and a little sign proclaiming, “You’d be smiling too if you’d just been laid.” He was like... 8. He had no idea what that meant. She let him buy it.”

Bou: He will be WEARING this, NOT keeping it on his dresser.

Mo: Yeah, well, Mom and Dad let TN wear that tshirt that said, “Cover your mullet with hot tuna” and it had a big mullet sticking out of a pair of pants.

Bou: How old was he?

Mo: A teenager. Fifteen?

Bou: Exactly.

Mo: I can’t find it… There is nothing crude on the Quicksilver website, nothing like in the surf stores.

Bou: I think I should just explain it to him and let him make the decision, that it could be something different than just liking Tacos.

Mo: You could do that… maybe they’ll have a different hat at Quicksilver he may like more.

And so we hung up and I said, “This hat could mean one of two things. It either means you really like Mexican food or it means… the equivalent of a girl wearing a hat that says, ‘in sausages we trust’”.

He stared at me, started to smile and said, “OH! I get it… oh.”

Bou: You like Mexican food that much?

Ringo: I HATE Mexican food! I just thought it was really really funny!

Bou: Oh then let us think of perhaps another hat…

Good Grief.

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June 16, 2008

Swashbuckling Golfers

We were away for the weekend with my husband at a conference. Sunday was to be spent by the pool to leave in time to get home for Father’s Day dinner with his Dad and brother’s family.

My boys are currently taking a two week golf camp that got them a Junior membership to a local golf course for the summer, one that happens to be in my neighborhood, and one we would never ordinarily get to use. Better still… they get to golf for free whenever they want through the end of summer and my husband can golf with them for… a nominal fee.

I got the great idea that we should see if they had any tee times in the afternoon, and we should zip home if so, rent two carts and have the boys golf with their Dad. Everyone thought this was a GREAT idea!

Father’s Day golfing with his boys. Cue sappy music.

So we ate breakfast and made our way home, they changed into golfing attire, and checked in with the starter… where I was absolutely stunned to find out that they charged my husband $11 for 9 holes and we didn’t get charged for carts and we were the only people on the course.

It could have been because it was 2:30 and most everyone was finished. Or it could have been people golfed early to celebrate Father’s Day. Or it could have been everyone got the hell off the course because it was 100 degrees.

Or all of the above.

But it was perfect, although way too frickin’ hot, as I drove two boys and he drove one and we attempted to play the front nine, we being them playing, me watching and adding moral support, as there seems to be a lot of that needed in golf.

Unless of course you’re Tiger Woods.

And we’re not. Or they’re not. Bones and Mr. T had yet to actually play on a real golf course. This was to be their first time… with their Dad on Father’s Day. Cue more sappy music. At camp, the weather has been awful in the afternoons so they’ve been practicing on the driving range, pitching, and putting and whatever else you do on a golf course.

And this is what I’ve deduced.

Mr. T is truly a natural athlete and will have no problems with the sport if he just practices and sticks with it.

Ringo has a naturalness about him PLUS he’s fun to golf with. He doesn’t take it too seriously. I had those little club cover things on my hands acting like they were puppets. He calls me ‘The Puppet Master’ now.

Obviously I don’t take it too seriously either, although I know the etiquette and do not talk when I’m not supposed to.

Bones.

Bones.

Well. Hmm. It seems that one day last week one of the golf instructors told him he needed golf shoes as he slid too much. We told him he didn’t need them and wouldn’t get them.

Please.

And I figured, how much could the kid slide? What’s up with that?

Right.

This is Bones on the Golf Course, he is big energy… golfing with him, he bounds out of the cart before the cart is fully stopped, landing like a swashbuckler swinging his club like a sword fighting off invisible swordsman, or hitting at swarms of gnats, before finally taking himself to the tee and doing what I call his routine.

It is like watching a combination of Charlie Chaplin and Jim Carrey. He gets in stance, and tap tap taps each foot. Stance again, jump. Stance, tap left, tap right, stand up, stance, jump, tap. SWIIIING!

Holy crap. The kid cannot stand still long enough to hit a golf ball.

No wonder he slides.

But as TGOO pointed out to me, for Bones, it is always about the costume. For those of you who have been reading me these past four years, you remember how he loves to wear costumes.

One Halloween, we had five costumes in the car. He’d change between houses. (We had extra costumes because he was ‘into’ them. No, I didn’t spend all that cash on Halloween. Actually, they were hooded towels that had been sewn to be different things like a bee or a ladybug. He just kept changing hooded towels.)

Then he’d wear a costume twice a week to preschool. I had better things to fight over then whether he was going as Hulk to school.

Then there was the fit he threw when he was to start Kindergarten at the local Parish school all my boys go to, because, he ‘hated those costumes they wear’. I said, “Umm, you mean the uniform?”

So that is what golf is about. He loves to be in his golf clothes. In his head he is big as day. I’ve told him no golf shoes. I’m not spending the big bucks on golf shoes when the kid has just started the game and right now only wants to tee up and drive.

Forget the irons and putters and hitting all over the course to get to the hole. He only wants to see how far he can hit it.

And he wants those shoes. It’s about the costume.

We made it to Hole 6. It was hotter than three hells and Bones was done. We’d maxed his attention span and there was no more swashbuckling to be had. On Hole 5 he had declared when his line drive went 10 feet, “I hate this!” and he threw his club on the ground.

Oh. Big mistake. This is a gentleman’s game and there are no temper tantrums. I set him straight and he went to his Dad’s cart to sulk.

I thought, “That’s it. We may have lost him to the game…”

But we’re talking about Bones.

Back at Hole 6, with Bones decidedly sitting out the rest in my husband's cart, my husband, who had been playing a pretty good game, teed up, hit the ball, nice long drive… PLINK! Right into the water. He stood there for a moment, then looked at me and quietly said, “I don’t know why I keep playing this game. I suck at this…”

To which a little blonde head was seen to immediately snap to attention, turn to his Dad, and an animated voice was heard to say, “Really?! Can I have your cleats?!”

Because you know… its all about the costume.

One day I will get the nerve to video Bones in action and post it. I get skittish about that stuff, but sometimes when I see him in action I think to myself, “There needs to be a camera here. We’re missing the video…”

Oh and after Hole 6, against the rules, we drove the carts to the house, got water, drove through our back yard, played a hole near our home and then called it a day.

I can’t imagine Bones playing 9 holes. Let alone 18. Ever. It’ll need more than a costume… he’ll need lots of snacks… and pirates and gnats to fight.

Most definitely.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:56 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 15, 2008

PSA- from Florida

This is going to come across as condescending and I promise you, that is absolutely not the intent. But I hope that at least one person will listen.

This is directed to ANYONE coming to visit Florida, in particular during the summer months which I will list as May through September, and who is visiting from, but not limited to, Northern Europe, Great Britain, the US Midwest and any state like the Dakotas or that gets snow for more than 3 months out of the year, or at least does not see the sun for months on end, or where a touch of Canadian accent may permeate your American accent.

I think that covers it.

This is from a Floridian and one who considers herself a Southerner.

Protect your skin.

There. I said it.

We are closer to the equator than from where you hail and the ozone layer is not what it was. I know that in some cases, y’all haven’t seen a lot of sun in 6 months or more. I get that. Seeing the great fiery ball in the sky is a wonderous feeling! By God, people used to worship the sun!

But. And listen carefully… the sun will kill you too. Not today, not tomorrow, but in 20 years from now. Slowly. It will. I promise.

Skin cancer is very real and very horrible. I’ve already had something burned off my face and I TAN. Right now, due to the fact I forgot to wear sunscreen for ONE HOUR last week, I am officially brown as a berry.

And I hate that.

I don’t like to be brown. To me, white skin is healthy. White skin is like milk… smooth and creamy.

Some of you are saying, “Sure, Bou, that’s real easy coming from a girl who can sit in the sun and in just a matter of days come out looking café au lait.”

The key is… I KNOW for a fact that my café au lait summer skin is bad. It does not bode well for me in the future. That is why you’ll see me wearing long sleeves all year round, big floppy hats or a baseball cap, I don’t go out during peak hours (10-3 for me) and if I do I wear what is called a Rashguard shirt, it’s a nylon/lycra type material that has a two inch collar covering my neck and runs long sleeved down to the palms of my hands. (I buy mine a bit big…)

I take the sun SERIOUSLY. I can enjoy the sunlight without baking my skin. Umbrellas are my friend at the beach or at a pool. The bigger the umbrella the better.

I took my boys to a Florida water park this weekend as they are old enough now for me not to freak at the sight of three of them, one of me, and water. This is what I saw:

I saw… lots of lobster red skin. I saw children slathered in sunscreen and wearing rashguard shirts. I saw Dads wearing rashguard shirts or tshirts.

Including me, there were THREE women I saw that were covered.

What.is.up.with.that?

Three.

Were women so in love with their bathing suits that they had to show them off and could not cover them?

I saw women who were burned red, past pink, the day before, and were wearing a different bathing suit the next day.

To burn again.

The woman in the gift shop, with whom I had struck up a conversation, told me she watches people come in blistered and go out to blister some more. Gah!

I started listening to voices…. the voices of the visitors, not voices in my head! And the accents I heard were MOSTLY British and Northern US borderish, a few German here and there.

It was so prevalent; I said to my sons as we left, “There are going to be a lot of burned British citizens in Great Britain next week… nobody will even have to ask them what they did for holiday.”

No.

I know the Euro and the British dollar are strong. I love people coming to visit. But if the 'not US dollars' are so strong… buy sun protection!!! You can afford MORE of it here!!!

I have spent NO LESS than $200 in sun protection for my kids and me this summer. Sun glasses, visors, sunscreen lotions and face sticks, rashguard shirts. I take this sun business VERY seriously and yet I am STILL beating myself up as I think Bones got too much sun. I don’t think I reapplied to his face enough.

Please listen. The sun is strong. Please prepare in advance or spend the money in the gift shops. I know it feels like you’re being ripped off, but its better to spend too much money on sunscreen, than to have stuff burned off your face, shoulders, or back later.

Trust me. I know. And so does TGOO. And the guys I work with. We all have had or continue to have skin cancer or precancerous lesions burned off our bodies.

We’re serious about this sun business.

You should be too.

Consider this a public service announcement.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:22 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

June 12, 2008

Mini-Vacations and Follow The Bouncing Ball

I am gone for the weekend, folks. Mini-vacation.

Play nice.

But first... I want you to click the link and then hit the play button and don't cheat.

This is a great lesson in focusing... see if you can make an accurate count.... watch this video and learn a great lesson about your eyes and brain.... :)
Watch the entire video counting the basketballs. Don't cheat. By cheating I mean going to the extended entry or the comments.

AFTER you've watched the vid, click on the extended entry and then click the comments as people are going to comment.

Yes. Answer my Extended Entry.

DON'T CHEAT!

I counted. I got 18. Then I thought maybe two of them didn't count as I wasn't sure if the folks in black had actually handed off.

But this was my thought process, "Counting, Counting, I'm counting... WTF is that? Another black person. counting counting. It's a f***ing ape. counting counting. What's he doing? counting counting..."

So I watch and they say that some don't see the ape and I thought, "That's dumb. It was big as day. He was a huge distraction... waving to us. How do you miss that big F***ing ape? Hmmm... how many balls bounced? They never told us?"

I emailed TGOO the following:

I got 18, but questioned two and thought 16. He didn’t tell the answer.
Yes, I saw the ape. Who in the hell couldn’t? Good God.

His answer?

I didn't see the ape. */;-) But I counted 17 1/2 passes. The last one was in the air when the time ran out.

WTF? So I called him and talked to Mom and she assured me he kept saying he didn't see that big black ape. She passed the phone to him and I said, "YOU.ARE.KIDDING! Right? It's a joke?"

And sure enough, not only did he NOT see the ape, but neither did the Naval Aviator friend that sent it to him.

So I want to know? Did you or did you not?

To him, it was just another black person. To me, it was a big distraction.

Yes or no?

And if you cheated, too bad... now you'll definitely see it and will never know your true answer.

Ciao. Play nice, y'all. The House of Boudicca is officially on... vacation.

Posted by Boudicca at 04:59 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

Stocking Stuffers... Or... FOR your Stocking Stuffer.

I realized after Harvey’s comment in my ‘condoms in Antartica’ post that I needed to post this… I can’t believe I’ve not posted it before.

About 20 years ago, Hubba worked for a mental health facility. She was a director there and she saw… well… probably just about everything. According to the ultra politically correct and uber sensitive TGOO, she ‘worked with the crazies’. From prostitutes to drug addicts to people with real mental illness, very sad situations, she saw it all.

Meanwhile, TN and Morrigan were at FSU and were roommates.

That particular Christmas, she bestowed upon my brother, TN, an economy sized bag full of condoms. She said that she wanted to make sure he and his friends were always ‘safe’ or something like that.

Of course we could not quit laughing. She said to the effect, “I just want you and all your friends to be safe…”

To which Morrigan replied, “Wha? Do you think we live in a bar?”…referring to the fact that bars, at least in Tallahassee had big bowls of condoms in them. Or at least a couple did.

As good fortune would have it, I bought one of them a big popcorn bowl for Christmas. It was a Looney Toons bowl that had that Pig guy and in script it said, “That’s All Folks!” They filled that bowl with the condoms and set it by the front door.

And… the inevitably turned into balloons at parties. I’m not sure any of them were used for sexual purposes by anyone. I’m not asking for information… but I know for a fact, there was a big party that involved blown up condoms.

So, that’s out family condom story. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 10, 2008

Fiiiiiive Goooold Riiiiings... I mean Meeeemes

I was tagged by Dave of The Real Dave with a... meme.

The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

Wow. That was June 2003. Good grief. Who can remember that far back? Bones had just turned 4… so my kids were going into PreK4, 1st grade and 3rd grade. Mr. T and Ringo were doing a one week morning art camp at school. They were helping the incoming Kindergartners. I was trying to stay sane, a perpetual theme in my life.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1) Take the boys to golf camp.
2) Pick up the bathroom mirrors from the frame shop.
3) Balance the school’s books for the month of May, as I just got the statement today.
4) Take the boys to the pool and teach them stroke technique and work on floating.
5) Go to Publix and pick up ingredients for tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s since I work all day tomorrow.

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Baked brie with pear.
2) Chocolate with fruit.
3) Cheese and crackers
4) Guacamole and chips
5) Ice cream… Dove makes one with this genache on top that you poke through and then there’s some vanilla chocolate yumminess. Also Moosetracks… can’t keep it in the house, but I do love it.

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1) Buy my brother a new car and a place to live permanently in LA.
2) Give money to my alma mater’s math and IT departments, enough that they could attract some GREAT brains to go with the great brains they already have, and hopefully do some tremendous research… I’d make them a mathematical and IT powerhouse.
3) I’d quietly anonymously give money away to organizations I think are worthwhile.
4) I’d take my entire family on one big vacation and then my husband’s entire family as well. Separate.
5) I’d invest it to make sure that my family was secure for generations… but with provisions that they’d have to give back to society in some way. Everyone should contribute.

What are five of your bad habits?

1) I chew the skin around my thumbs when stressed and I pick at my fingers.
2) I curse. A lot.
3) I eat too much food that’s not good for me.
4) I quit exercising like I should… I’m getting lazy.
5) I’ve been told I push myself too hard and since I do feel like I’m running on the edge too often, they are probably right.

What are five places where you have lived?

1) Oahu, Hawaii
2) Taipei, Taiwan
3) Monterey, California
4) Pensacola, Florida
5) Baltimore, Maryland

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1) waitress at a Chinese restaurant
2) waitress at a steakhouse
3) waitress at a Shoney’s
4) engineer in an aerospace company
5) Mom

Five people I tag:

VW at One Happy Dog Speaks
Tammi at Tammi's World
Jay at The Extended Table
Kris at Reflections By Kris
And... my blog father... Harvey of Bad Example!


Posted by Boudicca at 09:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Someone Did the Math... I Feel Certain

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t. I read this article and felt compelled to do the math.

The just shipped 16500 condoms for the US Antartic base, for 125 scientists and staff. Its supposed to be a year’s supply.

If you assume everyone is acting responsibly and using birth control and that 120 of the 125 pair up, that’s 60 couples. That’s assuming there is a 50/50 split male to female ratio. And if you assume 10% of the women are on the pill… then you get 54 couples that need condoms.

Divided into 16500… that’s 305 per couple to last 365 days. I’m sorry, but I think that’s not enough. Everyone is different, but there are going to be twice a day couples and once a day couples, and then of course, crazy all the time couples.

Then again, eh, assume that of the 125, you truly only have 25 couples whiling away the hours getting to know each other in the Biblical sense and assuming 10% of the women on the pill… leaving 23 couples, that’s now 717 condoms per couple and that seems… more likely.

Heh.

That should take care of the crazy all the time couples, the twice a day folks and the once a day folks… as well as the once a weekers.

No clue why I felt inclined to do the math. Hand me numbers, and I will create scenarios. It’s a sickness I tell you…

And these people are scientists. There had to be some sort of algorithm used to decide how many to send. There HAD to be… I refuse to believe that they pulled this 16500 number out of a hat. No.

As for me, I am a very goal oriented kind of person. I'd be bound and determined to use my entire allotment... no matter the number. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:51 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

Family Updates

Today my folks celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary! Don't let TGOO fool you. I am 43 this year and he will tell you they've been married for 42 years.

NO.

So.

Happy 46th Wedding Anniversary to Hubba and TGOO! And look what those 46 years have produced... Heh.

As for Bones, its day three and no yellow junk coming from his eye. He must be fine.

And today was their first day of Golf Camp. Mr. T had what I call Sad Sack attitude and was giving us crap about going. He had a GREAT time.

Bones... good Grief. He's the one who wanted to go the most.

I rounded the corner to pick them up, the three of them standing there waiting. Bones gave me a wave so I'd not miss them, something I could not have done... three sweaty boys with golf bags. Hard to miss.

I pulled over and he grinned and gave me a two thumbs up.

I popped the back hatch and he strolled over, ever so cool, and said, "Mom. I went to camp this morning and didn't know anything. I couldn't play golf. And now?! Now... I'm GREAT! You should see me!"

I couldn't quit laughing. He is such an optimist. His zest for life... his joy... may it stay with him always.

Ringo slid in the front seat grinning and shaking his head. He looked at me and whispered, "Yeah, he's a real pro now... ready for the circuit."

In Bone's Mind... he is. The life of Bones. Some days its GREAT to be Bones.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:48 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

The Agony of Defeat

The elections are over and my 2nd son placed 2nd, giving him a place on Student Council as a Member at Large and my eldest boy did not place.

Yes, he is disturbed, but he’s getting over it. He ran against 11 other kids and I told him it would be a long shot.

He got in the car rather bummed out and I told him that there is a reason that they announce it the way they do, five minutes before school lets out. Those that lose have only five minutes to have to face everyone and then school is let out and it’s off everyone’s minds and then there’s the summer and then come fall… nobody will even remember there was an election, let alone who ran.

It’s a good way to handle it. It really is.

I told him, “I am really proud that you threw your hat in the ring. I don’t want you to be a spectator. I’m not a spectator. I participate in life. If I think I can help, I volunteer. I don’t bitch about how things are running, if I can step in and lend a hand. You ran for an office… you were choosing not to be a spectator and I am proud.”

He was rather sullen. Finally he said, “It just sucks because I worked so hard on everything for three days. I worked SO hard and I lost…”

I gave him this last long speech:

“Someone is always going to lose. Sometimes they are good people. Listen to me, NOBODY is going to remember that you ran for middle school Treasurer and lost. There were 11 of you. You are in a group of nine… nobody is going to remember. And absolutely this is not going to follow you. This will never be linked to you… its over.

Let me take it a step further though. Hillary Clinton just spent MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars running for the Democratic nomination for President of this country. MILLIONS of dollars. She has spent years of her life prepping for it. She has absolutely worked her butt off for years and the last nine months, or since she announced, and she has traveled and worked and fund raised. And she lost…

… and for the rest of her life its with her. Every time they mention her name they will say, ‘Hillary Clinton, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President…’ over and over and even when she dies, when Hillary Clinton dies, the news commentator is still going to say, “… she ran in 2008 unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination…”

It will follow her… forever. This will not follow you. It sucks to be you right now… but everyone will forget. That is a bonus.”

He said nothing really, keeping to himself. My heart hurt for him as it does for every parent when their child works for something and does not attain it.

I told him there was a something I wanted him to read. A few years ago, a man I think highly of, a retired Army General who rode with Patton when he was but a young Lieutenant, said to me, “The Man in the Arena. Bou, you are in the Arena. You do not watch. You do.” It has stayed with me… and I hope it stays with my son.

From Teddy Roosevelt, his speech known as The Man in the Arena, the famous passage:

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

And my favorite line:

“…so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

May my son know many victories… and defeats… in his lifetime. But as his mother, I do hope for more victories! Absolutely.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 08, 2008

To Be File Under: Loser Mom OR Long Summer Ahead

I have told you, I have to be careful. I live in a glass house. I should not throw rocks.

Case in point.

First day of summer, my two younger boys get in a nerf fight and one shoots the other in the eye. I hear it was intentional. I believe it was intentional.

The anger within me could not be quelled and it is a sheer miracle the Earth did not split and suck this house down, inhabitants and all. That is the depths my anger took.

And when it subsided, I realized, OMG, I need to do something about this. He got shot in the eye!

And so I called my husband’s opthalmologist, a friend of the family for 30 years and a man I’ve known for 19. He did not answer. He was not on call. His partner was on call. A man who does not know me, of me, or anything about me.

And he’s got a heavy foreign accent, of what country, I am not sure. I could not place the accent to save my life, but it was distinct and heavy.

Where he is from originally is of little consequence to me. If he’s good enough to be Tom’s partner, he is good enough for me. And so I called…Bones was complaining his eye felt like it had sand in it and you all know I’m an eye phobe. I wanted to vomit. I knew he had a corneal scratch.

Or something.

And so I called. It took about 15 minutes for the doctor to call me back. I explained who I was, that my husband was a patient of Tom’s and that we knew him well, and I decided I needed to call as I know nothing about eyes.

I explained it was red and hurting. He had me go back and check his eyes again. This time, his eye was completely clear and he said it didn’t hurt at all.

The doctor questioned me again of the incident.

And THIS is about the time I felt like the biggest loser Mom in the world. It was not enough shame for me to have to say my one son shot the other son in the eye.

No.

He had to ask what… Nerf was. “What ees theece Nehrf?”

Me: Umm… well, you know… Nerf. Kids shoot at each other. Nerf balls, Nerf guns.

Silence.

Doc: I do not know of theece Nehrf.

Me: *blink* Well, they are sponges. They are spongy things they throw or shoot at each other.

Doc: Spongy?

Me: Yes, well, yes. He got shot in the eye with a sponge.

Good Grief. Put like that, I felt like the biggest putz ever. Jerk. Stupid. El Lame-O Mama.

Doc: So, eet ees not a hahrd object?

Me: No… except it was traveling at a rather highish speed. It got shot at him.

No matter what I said from there, I could not make it better.

Finally the doctor said, ‘OK, you call me back if you see yellow mucous coming from hees eyes. That means infection.”

Great. At that I almost lost my lunch. If my son gets yellow mucous coming from his eyes, I’m going to flat lose it. I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.

I can do vomit, nasty poop, blood, broken bones, concussions, surgery… but no. I don’t do yellow mucous coming from the eyes.

This has the potential to be a long damn summer…

And his eyes are fine. And everyone has been put on notice... about eyes. The fear of God is officially to the core of their souls. There will be NO MORE eye incidents.

Blech.

Sidenote: Yes, I am a freak about eye protection for their other games. In the house, with Nerf, it has not come up. It has now...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

June 07, 2008

Just Keep Swimming...

I feel like I’m outside looking in at times… if I were, I’d surely say to the person next to me, “Did he just say that?” or “Did that really just happen?”

Bones.

Ringo and Mr. T are in Scouting, Boy Scouts to be exact. I have held in my heart firmly what The Confabulator said, about how Scouting was such a positive constant in his life. That is what I want for my boys and so far, I am seeing it already.

Their very first Boy Scout camp is in three weeks, a local Scout camp, sleep away for a week. We will be cutting it short to go on our ‘annual Southern Tour’, and I am sleeping over one night as our Troop needs two parents each night to sleep over and I volunteered for one, so it is essentially ‘almost a week sleepaway with Mom being there one night’ Boy Scout camp.

Hey, I was thinking of y’all. I’m all about life experiences and blog fodder. Doing a night at Boy Scout sleep away camp should provide both.

Anyway, the boys will be earning Merit Badges and one of the first is for swimming. I took two of the boys swimming today with Mr. T saying to me, “Mom, you have to teach me how to float… I can’t float.”

Now some of you may be saying, “Oh come on. Everyone floats”, but I knew this to be true because TGOO could never float and my husband doesn’t float. He who has no body fat does not float.

And for the record, I float AMAZINGLY well. I float so well, I hardly touch the water… I’m right there on the surface.

So I decided today to teach Mr. T how to ‘scull’. He needs to learn how to keep his body above water. Meanwhile, Bones declared exuberantly to us, “I CAN FLOAT! I CAN FLOAT! I CAN! I CAN! Mr. T doesn’t float? Wow. I’m a GREAT floater. I can float!”

Now, folks, if Mr. T is 3% body fat, then Bones is 1%. That leads us to the deduction that if Mr. T can’t float… than neither can his boney fat free brother. Y’all saw his birthday picture on the beach. He looks FAT in that picture. Clothes add weight to his impish waiflike body.

And he can float?

Right.

We got to the pool and I got Mr. T in the water and I said, “OK, show me how bad it is” and he got on his back, stretched out his arms… and his toes sunk, then his spindly legs, then his hips, all dragging down his chest and head following. He looked like a slow sinking torpedo.

We worked on sculling and will work on his strokes and treading water for the next three weeks. He must feel comfortable. He must relax.

And then I looked at Bones. Bones who was standing at the side of the pool laughing, bouncing from foot to foot. The sheer excitement of his being able to float and his brother struggling, was more than he could take.

“Show me how you float, Bones” and he hippity skipped in, as he does everything, big energy and flailing, got on his back and…

… sunk like damn rock.

His entire horizontal body sunk immediately 3 inches and then his toes quickly fell to the floor of the pool with his body quickly following after, until his body was completely parallel to the y-axis... arms outstretched along the X.

There was no slow torpedo-like dive here. It was quick. Blink of an eye quick.

He quickly pulled himself so his head was out of the water and he said, “SEE?!”

It would appear, that floating to him meant that you are not lying at the bottom of the pool.

Mr. T said, “Bones! You can’t float! You have to be ON TOP OF THE WATER to float!”

Bones said, “I do?”

Mr. T replied, “You sunk faster than I did!”

And so I have ‘boys that don’t float’ and for some reason, I think that should be the title of a rock group or a song. It just has a ring to it for some reason.

Now you know what I’ll be doing the next three weeks… after I review the requirements for the swimming badge. We cannot possibly be the only family that has to study for the Boy Scout swimming badge.

Cannot possibly be…

Update: When looking through their manual they had pictures of the two ways people float. The first picture was like me... parallel to the bottom of the pool. The second way was 'similar' my boys... head above water and everything else perpendicular to the bottom. Similar in the fact that the head stays closest to the surface. Not similar in... theirs likes to be about 3 inches below.

This should be interesting...


Posted by Boudicca at 09:22 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bones

School let out today so it’s been a bit insane. I’ve been trying to get things squared away with the school budget, work, be there for my kids and… today is Bones’ Birthday.

He is 9.

He has told everyone, this has been his best birthday ever. He says he ‘got everything he asked for’ and this coincides with this being the best year he’s ever had. He’ll recite everything we’ve done so far and all that is coming.

He does this every year.

I told my husband tonight, the best part of having an ADHD child is the enthusiasm. There is a zest for life… the perpetual motion and energy, the energy for us is mostly positive. As exhausting as he is, his full embrace of life is heart warming. He is the child that wakes to every morning, excited at its prospect.

When I first started blogging four years ago (my blogiversary was last week) he had just finished pre-K4 and we were looking forward to Kindergarten. Now he is going into fourth grade, has asked to go to golf camp this summer (he is), got a new bike so he can take off around the neighborhood when he wants, and is trying so hard in school.

He wants to succeed. He truly WANTS to do well.

He is the child that stresses my heart with worry, but he is also the child that makes my heart grow three sizes in a day.

Happy Birthday, Bones.

Should all the children be so blessed to be as loved as you are… for if they were, I suspect the problems of this world would be so very different…

happy birthday Bones.jpg
Picture Taken Christmas 2007

Posted by Boudicca at 09:47 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

Food is #1... but Girls Are Closing In

Obviously we were not eaten by piranhas. It turns out what he was afraid of was… barracudas.

Evidently that little lagoon he of which he was speaking, has some small fish with ‘little teeth’ as he put it. He thinks they are barracuda, but they are not. I don’t think. Next time we all go to that little island, I’ll talk to one of the guys big on fishing as to what the probability of that is, although loyal reader George may know.

Today, I chaperoned the 7th graders on their end of the year field trip, which was to a gaming place. I had four 7th grade boys. This is part of a group I've blogged on before... field trips. I had five boys that time... this time it was just four.

I’m not sure where the hell I’ve been this year. I must be so completely ignorant of my surroundings. A good spy I would not make. Because… as the boys came to my car, I realized, I had some men sized people.

When did they grow? When did the friends of my son start making me hobbit sized?

I’m not kidding, some of these kids have grown a full six inches since I saw them last. Or remember seeing them.

Upon seeing one of them this morning, I said, “You grew!” and he said, “Yes, m’am. It’s been a lot this year.”

No kidding.

But they are boys in men sized bodies. The same goofy things continued in my car. Good grief.

I think the highlight was when the four boys realized their buddy, who I will call Jeff, was behind us in a following car. Jeff had another boy and three girls in his Mom’s car. The boys with me started talking amongst themselves, “It sucks to be him. He’s got all those girls in his car.”

Now honestly, I think they wish I had girls with us. I really do. But there was this bantering about how it sucked to be Jeff.

I looked in my rearview mirror and the four boys were turned around, banging on my rear window, yelling at Jeff who was riding shotgun, as if he could hear, and waving to him.

Jeff sat stoically looking ahead.

The boys banged on the back of the car, waved, hollered, and jumped around… and still, Jeff sat stoically looking ahead.

Nothing.

This went on for about five minutes, with the boys in the asexual mom-mobile acting like the village idiots and the boy in the car following, looking ahead… no response.

Nothing.

And then, from my rear view mirror I saw… Jeff ever so slowly, raise a box of munchkin Dunkin’ Doughnuts, off of his lap, raising it up to face level, so the my boys could see.

They started screaming, “Wait! He has doughnuts! OH.MY.GOD! He has doughnuts.”

And then Jeff, ever so slowly, placed the box down, took one doughnut and stared straight at them as he savored the very first bite.

It was a big production, this doughnut eating… and I laughed my ass off as the boys in the back of the asexual mom-mobile, at first feeling sorry for Jeff as he had ‘girls in his car’, went absolutely nuts because… Jeff had doughnuts.

They are 13. It is still all about food… although I strongly suspect girls are coming into play.

I got voted ‘the Coolest Mom’. I think they are kiss ups and full of crap. They kept swearing it was true. I have to say though… those four boys are a funny group of kids.

I’m going to miss them after next year… when they all go their separate ways.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 02, 2008

Fish Bait?

Bones' end of the year field trip is to a little island with a beach just off the coast. We go camping there frequently. I’m chaperoning. No way in hell am I letting my kids go without me where there is the potential for great chaos while surrounded by water. I got my certification for Water Safety Instructor when I was a senior in high school. Bad thoughts come my way when thinking of lots of kids and water… I’m going.

For the record, I went when Mr. T’s class went and its not chaotic at all. We hire two life guards, there are a lot of parents, and its very organized.

Still.

There is potential, so I'll be there.

Anyway, there is a little lagoon which is the only place the kids can swim. Bones has been preparing tonight for his trip. He came in to see me and the following conversation occurred to the best of my recollection.

Bones: Mom, will you help me get down my snorkel gear.

Me: OK… give me a second.

Bones: Where are we snorkeling?

Me: In the lagoon.

Bones:

Me: You know… that little lagoon.

Bones, practically shrieking: MOM! I’m not snorkeling in there! There are piranhas!

Me: *blink*

Me: Son, there are no piranhas in the snorkeling lagoon. That’s what the lagoon is for…

Bones: YES! YES THERE IS! I’ve seen them!

Me: Bones, you can talk to the Life Guards about it... they’ll be the people standing in the Lagoon with all the piranhas, because you know… that’s what Life Guards LOVE to do….

Bones: I’ve seen them.

Me: Piranhas live in the Amazon Basin. We live in South Florida. There are no piranhas.

Bones: Are you sure? What are those little fish with pointy teeth I see?

Me: I have no clue son but I assure you that A) They aren’t piranhas and B) they aren’t dangerous or we’d not have Life Guards in the water with you.

Good Grief.

Piranhas. The kid thought we’d take his class to piranha infested waters to go snorkeling?

What.Is.That.About?

Posted by Boudicca at 08:24 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

June 01, 2008

Blank Look

Nothing. I got nothing...

I'm thinking.

Hurricane Season is here. I have a bad feeling. Last year I felt certain we were fine. This year... it got too hot too fast. We were scorching by the 1st of May. I have a bad feeling.

Umm.

Obama finally left his church. Do people truly believe that his church JUST NOW, these last couple months, got controversial? Please. Give.me.a.break. He is so not right for the job... yet people are blindly following. I find it amazing.

My husband makes GREAT pizza. You should envy me that he makes pizza and we don't have to go out. He puts the pizza places to shame. Really. (We had his pizza for supper tonight.) His nickname when we first got married was Pizzaman.

Bones is going to school tomorrow. He seems on the mend, but you can count his ribs through his back. He is thin. We realized today that he actually thinks 'cows milk' caused him to get sick. We had to explain to him that it was a virus. As of now he thinks... stomach viruses are transmitted through milk.

His brain and thought processes always amaze me. He is so... all over the road.

It is still compaign HQ here as both older boys ramp up their campaigning for their Thursday election. Speeches are being written. I'm having to go over Ringo's, who is running for Treasurer.

Saying things like, 'I count pretty well so I won't lose money' or "I know I don't seem organized, but with some things I am..." aren't going to garner votes. He is the king of disorganization. I'm glad he can count... he's in 7th grade afterall.

We are working on it. I hope he'll listen...

A guy at work had a tattoo put on his arm of an American flag and some stuff underneath. He showed it to me. I said, "OH! Cool flag! Does it have all 50 stars?" and I proceeded to count. Before he could say 'no!' (small flag), I said, "Dude, it only has 36 stars..." to which he replied, "Bou, of all the people I've shown my new tattoo to, you are the only one who's counted..."

At first blush I think he's insinuating it is weird, but I think everyone else is weird for not wondering and not doing the math!

Ok. That's it. Random thoughts on a random Sunday. We got rain. I'm happy. School ends on Friday. Bones is turning 9 on Friday. Wow...

Good night.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:18 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack