Have you watched the movie, "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey? It is PG-13.
My kids watched it the other day. We were in Pop's vehicle driving down for family dinner in Fort Lauderdale and his vehicle has an onboard DVD player. Yes Man was the movie rented and so we watched it on the way down.
My eldest is 14, middle aged 12, and youngest 9. The movie hits smack in the middle of my oldest boys for PG-13 and the youngest will be 10... and pretty much watches and hears what the eldest boys watch.
I figured, eh, language, we'd be OK. There is a variation for PG-13, and I'd not researched this one. Spiderman and Harry Potter are PG-13.
If you've seen the movie, you know there is a scene in the movie that is... just not nice. As I watched this movie in Pop's vehicle, I called up to my spouse, who was driving and said, "WHAT IS THIS RATED????"
Folks, it's not the fact my youngest is 9... the movie is PG-13 and I wouldn't want my 14 year old watching this scene! It's an R rated scene!
It really pisses me off...
The thing is, I am hearing all sorts of stories about Middle School kids and oral sex. I'm hearing stories of High School girls giving blow jobs to any guy and not caring. Both bother me, but Middle School bothers me most.
On many levels.
And to think that Hollywood would think a scene with oral sex, pretty explicit, is OK for Middle School kids (age 13)? Or age 14? Really???
I rented an upright bass today. I walked in just to look, told them I'd be back Tuesday, got in the car and heard my 14 year old say, 'Mom... just go in and rent it. I'm committed. We won't have to come all the way back down here until August then."
It is in a spare bedroom as I'm scared to death something is going to happen to it.
Right now, it is somewhat a novelty in our home. He'll walk in, play it a bit, and walk out. His first lesson is tomorrow. It's an unknown... what makes different sounds, what it takes to play different notes. He finds out more tomorrow.
I have to tell you though, it's so frickin' odd having this big ass instrument in our home.
A string instrument at that. We rented the 1/2 bass and will go to the standard 3/4 bass when he grows. I expect by the end of the summer... he thinks he grows more in the summer because he sleeps so much.
I can't describe it, this odd feeling. Photos to come... I am sure.
Keeping this short as I'm so tired I feel sick. (It's such a bear to get up that early to run, but then by the time I get home, I'm wired for sound.)
When we were in Miami camping, they had fireflies. Now... I'd not seen any fireflies down here. My kids were THRILLED.
Until we saw them up close and personal.
They were the ugliest fireflies I'd ever seen, I mean, turn my stomach, 'please don't frickin' land on me', ugly. They didn't have a butt light, but instead had two tiny lights on the head.
Gray body. It was... oh it was a real bug with headlights, as opposed to some whispy black lovebug type bug with a butt light.
I shudder thinking about it. It was a bad bug weekend.
Every time one got on me I nearly crawled out of my skin, only surpassed by the one time we were reviewing something with a Scout at night and a frickin' Palmetto bug, flew out of nowhere and landed on me.
An event like that scares me so much, that I am rendered screamless.
Ever have those dreams where something terrifying is happening and you can't scream for help?
Palmetto bugs landing on me do that. I open my mouth to scream, and in sheer terror, absolutely NOTHING comes out and when the event is over, I am left shaking, arms crossed over my chest tightly, and muttering over and over, 'no, no, no, no, that did not happen. no, no, no..."
I'm not kidding.
One of the Assistant Scout Masters likes to kid me about it now.
The question is, any of you bug experts out there, do you know what it was that we saw? I looked on the internet and could not find it, then again, I'm tired and functioning on one cylinder.
Gray bug, very... angular, longer, two little green lights on the head.
Creepy. Alien creepy. Blech.
I am alone in the house as my husband dropped my eldest at a friend's and then took the younger two to see the new Terminator movie.
It is quiet.
I didn't go because, 1) I had no desire to see the movie (I want to see UP! and Night in the Museum II), and 2) I have to get up at 5AM to run 5 miles.
And it was a weird week and I'm tired.
I am not good with names. As a matter of fact, I'm terrible with them, and in all honesty, I mostly don't care. It is what it is and some people are blessed with remembering everyone's name and I ... was not.
I can remember every detail about someone, their family, some odd stories, who they are married to, what they do for a living, and on and on; I could probably write books on people whose... name I do not remember.
Three and a half years ago, Bones was in first grade and it must have been close to Thanksgiving as they were studying Indians and parents were asked to come in and help in various 'centers'.
There was a center where we were making corn meal pancakes. (A disaster if I recall...)
A center where we were stringing beads and making Indian necklaces.
A center where some Indian craft was being made.
A Mom and I were assigned to make the horrible corn meal pancakes for the kids. I didn't know the Mom, her family was new to the school. She had a little girl whose name I never knew or maybe knew, but forgot. They transferred from a local school that... well... many children have transferred from.
And we talked all morning as we made these awful pancakes (bad recipe), and after the first five minutes, I'd forgotten her name and I figured, "Whatever."
I don't nee to know someone's name to say hello and have in depth conversation. Plus I figured eventually I'd hear someone say it and then it would stick... for about five seconds and I'd forget yet again.
For the next two years, I would see her in the hall and smile, wave, "Hey! How are you?!"
That was that.
There is an odd phenomena that occurs when you have kids, in particular in a small school. The girl Moms know the girl Moms, the boy Moms know the boy Moms and rarely do those streams cross... as if it would be a bad thing.
Different interests... bring about different sets of parents. Girl Moms just didn't show up to the Boy soccer games. Boy Moms just don't show up at the local dance studio's recital.
It is what it is.
I don't know the girls and I don't know their Moms.
It's not uncommon for me to lean over to one of the girl Mom's I DO know, probably because we either had kindergarten together, they have a son the same age as one of mine, or we were forced to work at length something, and say, "Wait. Who's that girl?" only to hear in return, "Oh she came two years ago. That's Lisa Smith. You've seen her Mom... Tall, blonde, stacked?"
But it happens... a lot. And all the little girls look alike to me.
Anyway, so earlier this year I heard, "Marlene's Mom" had cancer. Marlene's Mom had bad cancer... I heard various stories, breast, brain, something... always bad.
I always thought it was sad, because it is. It's horribly sad. But I didn't know her, Marlene's Mom, who I will call Kathy, I didn't know Marlene, and so it was chalked up to tragic, sad, 'if they need meals, I will DEFINITELY make them."
I knew one of my girlfriend's had been friends with her since they were born. I have been sad for my girlfriend. I can't imagine losing, what the kids nowadays call a 'BFF'. That is what "Kathy" is to my friend.
Her BFF at age 44.
And at the band concert, there was Marlene playing her flute and there were her parents sitting up front and this was the first time I'd seen Kathy.
After the band concert, I was speaking to the band director. Kathy walked up. I smiled, she spoke to him, I spoke to him, we both left.
And something was eating at me.
What was it.
Why did I know her smile? From where?
This bloated woman wearing a hat, with her wig. This woman who looked to be 55... where did I know her?
The next day I was fixing breakfast when it hit me. I knew her. She was my Indian cornmeal pancake friend. We'd strung Indian beads and talked for two hours as we played with the kids.
I knew Kathy.
I remembered her smile.
Other than that... she does not look the same at all.
I called my girlfriend, Kathy's BFF, and asked her. Yes, it was her. Yes, it is not good. And for the first time, I truly inquired about all of it.
Because now... it was different. Now it didn't feel like gossip. Before it was "Marlene's Mom" and it wasn't my business. It was a stranger who was suffering and struggling and I would offer my prayers and meals, but I would not pry.
But now... I had to know. I had to understand. I needed to know how bad this was and what was going on because... it was different now.
I'd made cornmeal pancakes with her when our children were 6 and now... she may not see our children to 16.
I said to my girlfriend, "Was it breast cancer that started this horrific ordeal?"
GF: No... mmm... the other one.
Me: Um, ovarian cancer?
GF: Nooooo... rrrr... the OTHER one!
Me: Uterine cancer?
GF: Noooooooo.... yet the OTHER one!
Me, running out of girl parts:... cervical? Did she have cervical cancer?
GF: YES! YES! That was it. It started with cervical cancer.
And you could have blown me away because... we women don't die of that now.
Not in America.
There are tests for it and we have technology and... we don't get cervical cancer.
Sure, I have friends who have had pre-cancerous cells of the cervix and got it take care of... but it never turned into 'no kidding cervical cancer.'
She hadn't gone to the doctor in so long... and when she did... she had it.
And now she's playing Cancer Whack-a-Mole. "It's in the lung! Whack! Got it! Oh, wait it's in the brain! Whack! Got it! Oh... now... it's in the bladder! Whack! Got it!" and so the sick game goes.
It is traveling.
And she is fighting. An amazing spirit, she told my girlfriend, "I have too much to do! It's not my time."
I'm left in awe of another tremendous woman fighting.
I'm left praying... for a woman I know.
It's been crazy here. Crazy and rainy...
We're supposed to go camping this weekend, but I've done nothing to prepare. I don't like camping in storms. Been there, done that, it sucks.
Flooding tents is not my idea of fun.
I think raising a teenager is 100X harder than raising a toddler. Single handedly, it's the toughest job I've had.
I'm not sure I like it either.
On a positive note, the whole 'upright bass' thing has taken on a life of its own as Ringo's new Band Director and I spoke today. His taking upright is the way to go.
I spoke to his new upright bass instructor today. He has his first lesson on Monday. It's a 'see how it feels' lesson. That will be Ringo's last chance to back out.
The instructor came recommended to me by three different people. That's a good sign. All music teachers, thought highly of, on their own.
I have an appointment with a store that sells/rents string instruments on Sunday. I am hoping we can rent... because otherwise... well... renting is the way to go.
I don't have the kind of cash we're talking to actually BUY a bass.
Everyone involved with this process of his learning the bass is very very excited. With that much positive energy behind him, he is set up to succeed.
I went running this morning at 7:20, just for 30 minutes and I wanted 20 minutes too late. It was the hottest sloggiest run I've had in a long time. This could be a long summer of training...
... but I have four half marathons planned this season. We'll see how it goes...
Today is Memorial Day.
The annual Memorial Day service I have attended for over seven years appears to have been canceled. The rain would have been a problem anyway, heavy thunderstoms while sitting under a tent isn't my idea of fun.
But it's Memorial Day.
Dying for one's country isn't anyone's idea of fun either.
I'd still have gone.
But I need to find a new venue to attend as mine appears to be no longer, something I wondered about since the woman who has always put it on, died right before last year's.
That doesn't mean I haven't spent most of the weekend thinking about it... what it means.
I don't take Memorial Day for granted. Singlehandedly, it is the most solemn of events annually, for me. It is a day I participate in, think about deeply, and a day where I pray for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so I can be me, in my Country, enjoying all that is... American.
I have said in the past, that I am a direct descendent of 13 people who in some way helped this Country earn it's freedom. As of this year, I can add a 14th patriot, as we found this year my Mother has one on her side as well... and I suspect there are many many more.
From the start of this Great Country, my family has in some way participated.
The Revoluntionary War, Civil War (both sides), WWII, Vietnam, and wars in between.
And from what I have learned, not one have been called to make the ultimate sacrifice.
All came home.
I find that incredible.
I have a good friend whose Patriot was captured by the Red Coats. Held as a POW, they fed him... and embedded in his last meal, ground glass. He died of internal bleeding.
This is not family lore. This is all documented. Her Patriot, over 230 years ago, DIED for our Country... a Country that was not quite... yet.
Odd how I think of this man often. When she told me this story once over coffee, I was stunned. I'm picturing Valley Forge, and groups of men lining up and shooting each other, and forts, and cannons... and stench and frostbite... and... a lone man dying at the hands of his captors, unknowingly, until it was too late.
The Revolutionary War was the first war where we lost Americans. I hadn't thought of it that way until she and I were talking.
And we have had men and women pay the ultimate sacrifice ever since.
I went to Washington, DC five years ago, to represent this same women's organization from where I know this woman. While there I toured the various monuments.
I wanted to see the WWII Memorial. I had to see it.
WWII is... so close, but so removed. I know so many who served, but they came back. I didn't think it would effect me as it did, but I found myself silent, walking, crying.
The Korean War Memorial was haunting. I'm not sure I'm over it yet. I don't know who designed it, but if their intent was to get to the core of your soul, they succeeded.
I could not do the Vietnam Memorial. I could not do The Wall. As I told my friend who was with me, "We can do anything you want, any Memorial, but I know the limits of what I can emotionally endure, and I can't do The Wall."
It is still too raw in my heart. I have tried to put my finger upon it, as they are not men I knew that died there.
But they are men and women that my DAD knew. They are men and women that many of my co-workers knew. They were fathers of friends of mine... friends from later in life. They are men and women that still live in the hearts and nightmares of too many people that I care about.
And so by extension... I ache.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to make it there. I know that I will cry, but it will not be a quiet flow of tears, but an outpouring of grief I will not be able to control, and I'm not ready to put that on public display.
The years. The stories. The men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Country. Unappreciated for too long. Perhaps that is what I cannot get over... the vast unappreciation that the citizens of this Country had for so long... for the men and women who sacrified their lives... FOR US.
These are my thoughts on Memorial Day. The past... the present... and wondering of the future.
Next year I will find a place for me to attend a Memorial Day service. It was Memorial Day five years ago that started me blogging.
Memorial Day was my catalyst.
The holiday that holds my heart.
Current book being read: Three Cups of Tea.
Lately whenever I go to the library, I get a book that has a 7 day limit. I am too crazy busy to read a book in 7 days. I read in pick up line, on a stationery bike at the gym, in the car when I'm riding as a passenger, but 7 days is some serious pressure!
Meanwhile, over at Pam's there was talk of hurricanes and my predictions.
The last couple years I've been spot on, which is nothing like number of hurricanes involved but a dichotomous choice: Good Year vs. Bad Year.
And it is strictly gut feel.
I predict this is going to be a bad year. I do not know for whom, but it is not going to be good. Someone is going to get nailed.
I have a nasty feeling in my stomach about this year and... it's hot. It is so frickin' hot this year. When it's this hot so early on, it does not bode well for those of us in 'cane country. I am nervous.
So that's my prediction. Bad year coming.
I pray I am wrong.
In particular as I still don't have the money to hook up my generator. It's always something... this year it's a bathroom rotting out (poor construction) and subterranian termites (Florida living).
Our children grow and develop tastes and opinions and sometimes you listen to them and wonder when it happened.
You wonder when the adult tastes started appearing, when thoughts of various topics were formed, when decisions are made with more adult reflection.
My son plays the bass guitar. Electric. He has chosen the school he is going to based on the fact they have a very well known and good band. His hopes were to play percussion in the Pep or Concert bands with electric bass in the Jazz Band, a band growing an excellent reputation throughout the County.
A no-nonsense band director with amazing talent leads them with a fantastic band team.
It's why he chose the school he's going to and why I'm working extra hours to send him as it's a private Catholic school. He opted out of public again... because of music. His only choice in public schools was a hands on science curriculum where they dig through muck, scuba dive, snorkel, dissect fish, worms, and what not, a program so enthralling to hands on learners, that 300 kids apply for 50 slots.
He was wait listed.
He said to me, "I think it's probably good I didn't get accepted. I don't know what I would have done. I love the music program at one school and the science at the other. The decision was made for me."
He loves science. He loves music. He is going the music route, eventually taking a heavy science load at the Catholic school.
He is excited... excited after hating the last three years. A miserable fit for him at the Middle School he went to, he feels certain none of his choices can compare to the misery of the last three years.
Of course we know... that's not true... it can always be worse. But in his mind, the escape from his own personal hell, taking solace for the last two years in his music, is welcome, and he has... high hopes.
And this is where things took a turn for the odd.
I've been emailing the band director, making sure my son did not miss try outs for Jazz Band, as we missed hearing of the band social. It led to an email conversation as to what my son would like out of band, and it led to the band director asking if Ringo played 'upright bass' as well.
He does not.
And it led to the discussion that musically, if he learned it, he would be even a better fit for their band curriculum and in the long run, would benefit him more so long term in his musical career as big Jazz bands play more upright bass... while the others play electric, and he'd have far more options.
His thought was that Ringo should put aside for now, percussion, and concentrate more on all aspects of bass. Besides, every kid wants to play percussion... he is needed in a bass section.
I was unsure how Ringo would feel about this. He lives on his drumset when he's not playing his bass guitar. Music is becoming his life. So we sat and talked at great length, late last night. His graduation from 8th grade was yesterday morning, with a party with his classmates in the evening.
He is 14 years old. He lives in the moment.
I told him I'd still pay for drum lessons during the week. He could take percussion as an elective when an elective opens up the following year, taking concert band and percussion his sophomore year, Jazz Band in the afternoons. He'd be playing electric with jazz, stand up with concert, and percussion in the class... so he can go into the Pep Band should he so choose.
He wants to travel with the band... something they do in Concert Band.
And he said to me, my kid who loves heavy metal head banging music that makes me half insane, he said to me, "Mom, I love concert music. I love that music too. Yes, I'd like to learn the upright bass..."
And so more emails are going to the band director as I try to figure out how to find an upright bass that is used, where to get him private lessons, and now it appears my son will be living in music in high school.
I just want him... happy.
Nobody will be happy all the time. We will always have trials and tribulations. It is how one handles it that makes the person. If his escape is music, I can think of far worse escapes.
I want him to find a happy place that can settle his soul, some place he can go the rest of his life to be with himself... a place that is HIS place.
I have so much hope for him... I pray this works out.
And... well... his room is going to be full of instruments. And... I like that.
There's a lot going on, but I have no motivation to write.
So there you have it.
Have a good weekend. Hopefully this will pass.
My boys are in Scouts. Tonight we had what they call Court of Honor where they receive all their awards for the last 6 months.
My boys had three rank advances this 6 months, which was a lot of work. They went from Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and now are First Class. They'll be doing volunteer work, taking on a leadership position inside the Troop, and earning another Eagle Merit Badge to try to get their next promotion, Star.
They're working hard, they're enjoying it, and I hope they keep the motivation. My eldest is going to ask to be in the Color Guard to play the drums. That will get him more service hours as well.
Summer camp is coming where they'll earn five more Merit Badges in their path to attain Eagle Scout. This summer they help their first Life Scout with his Eagle project.
On our way home it was so very dark and rainy. I live out in the sticks, the road to my neighborhood long dark and desolate on a normal evening, add the bad weather and it's even darker and feels even more remote.
Off in the distance I saw sparks coming from one of the lightpoles on the right side of the road, as if some sort of generator were attached to it and blew.
I immediately moved to the left lane, not understanding, having a difficult time seeing, realizing there could be more to the situation. I said to Ringo, "I'm driving. You watch over there and tell me what you see..."
I had to slow down anyway as cars around me were breaking quickly. I was nervous as Ringo watched and said, "Mom. A car hit that pole."
"How bad is it? I can't look. I'm driving..., " I replied.
"I think that pole is in the middle of his car. Is that a Ferrarri? It's a sports car. He hit hard...," came his answer.
And even though it was dark and rainy, without taking my eyes off the road, I flipped open my phone and called 911 so they could dispatch the emergency vehicles. I was evidently the first person who had called.
I wonder what dispatch thinks when people call. I said something like this, "There has been a single car accident on Lake Hwy, just West of Bee Hwy. A car hit a light pole. It appears he hit from behind, spun into it, but I can't tell as it's dark and rainy. I did not stop as other cars had. I could not determine if there were fatalities from my vantage point and given the weather, but from what I did see, it's serious."
She said, "Is the pole coming down?"
I replied, "No. It's a cement pole. The car probably took the brunt. Every light is out now, however as they appear to be lit in series."
And she said thank you and that was that.
What a mess. I keep checking my local paper on line to see if there is any information. It's only been an hour... but I want to know if they're OK.
And I wonder what everyone else did. Cars were stopping, it was rainy, the pole was sparking... I just saw it as a potential for all sorts of additional bad. The quicker the rescue crews got out there the better...
I just got home from chaperoning six 14 year old boys at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
I was supposed to run for 30 minutes today for training.
I think that running behind six energetic teenagers from 9:30AM until 5PM counts.
My feet hurt. We had a frickin' blast. And I realized...
... God blessed me with sons for a reason. At the end we ended up merging with a girl group and... they make me insane. All the giggly, crazy loud voices, absolutely made me half mad.
Listening to them... it was like nails on a chalkboard. God knew what he was doing...
I'm up early tomorrow to chaperone five 4th graders at a baseball game.
I'm tired just thinking about it...
Did you know, that if you have an entire lung removed that within one year your other lung, will grow to fill that void?
And it will be functional enough that you can run a mile with it?
Essentially, you become one super huge lung?
I found that to be absolutely frickin' fascinating...
I kind of wish I didn't know it the way I do, but I do. Within the next 365 days, my boss will become... "SUPER LUNG!"
I do not throw rocks.
We were camping and next to us was a Troop from down the street. What is the frickin' probability?
And the Scout Masters knew each other and their dads knew our dads and on and on.
Saturday afternoon, after spending too many exhausting hours doing lashings and knots, I went down to the camp site to find the Scout Master from the other Troop heading our way with a little guy (probably a new Scout... 5th grade?) with their Senior Patrol Leader... looked to be about 16.
My first thought?
Sh**. What did our boys do?
I'm not kidding. And it wasn't just a thought. It was a cold blooded, nasty lump in my stomach "Sh**".
I calmly walked down where the SM informed me there had been an incident.
I have perfected the blank expression that hides my gritting teeth and the seering hot pain that runs through this vein in the top of my skull that I don't think I should know belongs there.
He added, "Your boys didn't do anything. I need to just know what happened... their version."
Long story short, one of my Webelos who is now a 1st Class Boy Scout in our Troop, a boy I view as one of my own sons, came forward and I said, "Jay, just be honest and tell him the entire truth. I stand behind you... all I ask is that you be honest."
And he was... and the other boy had come to our Troop, wandered over, and was not very nice and then trashtalking ensued and... the little guy pulled a knife.
It was a small knife, all of 1.5 inches in length, probably with a 1 inch blade, but it was a knife and was dangerous and scared the ever living hell out of the kids in our Troop.
In all honesty? I think the vast number of boys in our Troop and their size, compared to his very small frame and the only one of him, scared the every living crap out of him, when he wandered over and tried to act like the big man on campus.
I don't know how it all got back to their SM and SPL, but they were PISSED and then I had our SM come over (they knew each other) and I quietly left as they discussed the incident.
The lecture from our end was "Scouts are Scouts... you're all Scouts no matter what Troop you're in."
The lecture from their end? I don't know. All I know is I sat there saying, "Thank you Dear God that I was not the Mother that got the phone call saying, "Your son pulled a knife on another Troop.""
Anyway, at the end, I was up at the Pavillion, letting the men handle it with the boys when the other Troop's SM came up to me and shook his head. The following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:
Me: Seriously, we've all been in your position one time or another for something ghastly. We don't throw rocks.
SM, shaking his head: You know the funny thing? This kid goes to YOUR church.
(Both Troops meet at churches.)
Me, laughing: He doesn't go to MY church. I don't go there!
SM: OH! Well, that IS where he goes.
Me, laughing again: Wait! You're not trying to give him back to us are you? We have enough issues!
SM, laughing: No, no, no, I just think it's rather funny. We both end up in a camp in Miami, we end up camping beside each other, we have a kid pull a knife on the Troop that is from his Church.
I called a girlfriend of mine who goes there. I said, "We had a kid from your church pull a knife on some of our boys..."
Her reply? Without skipping a beat she said, "Oh, was it So-and-So?"
And she NAILED it. First shot. Holy crap.
We took the boys camping this weekend with Boy Scouts. In Miami. In May.
It was hot.
Amazing sometimes how life is just one big long frickin' chain of events.
So we arrived. It was late, daggum close to dark, as I've come to realize that Boy Scouts LOVE to set up camp in the dark.
Or it feels that way.
Even though I do know it's just the time we leave as parents work.
My husband and Bones started putting the tent together while I got things squared away with the Scout Master and... when I returned to the tent, the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:
Me: Hun. Why are you using the gray tent poles in the main tent pole sleeves? You are supposed to use black.
Husband: Because this is what we have.
Me: No we don't. We have two black tent poles, wide, one gray one, and a couple small black ones for the rain fly that we don't use as the fiberglass always breaks down.
Husband: Hun, we only have these two gray ones, no black ones other than the small rain fly poles.
Me: That's not right. Where are the black tent poles?
Husband: You're kidding.
All work stopped.
Husband, pulling out iPhone and looking up Sports stores: We're going out RIGHT NOW and buying a new tent.
Me: No. No we're not. I'm going to make this work. It can work...
And with that, Bones and I threaded the two gray tent poles and had our three pole tent standing, at a bulgey angle, with two poles.
Husband: You're joking. I'm sleeping in the car. None of us are sleeping in that.
Me: Fine. You sleep in the car. I'm sleeping here. It will be perfectly fine. I've had a tent collapse on me... I'm sleeping here.
Husband: We're buying a new tent, Sports Authority closes at 9:30. What if it rains. If it's windy, that tent is coming down. Look. It's not sturdy at all...
And I guess reason set in an I said, "FINE" and we went to buy a tent. His rationalization is we needed a smaller tent anyway. The boys were always out in their two man and we didn't always need to haul around a cumbersome 8 man tent when there were times we could downsize.
We were in the car to Sports Authority when I said, "Last camping trip... my poles snapped. I forgot. When I pack up the tent, I always have the poles wrapped in the center, but the new poles I ordered 18 months ago in preparation for the fiberglass breaking down, were on a shelf... and I didn't marry the two after the last camping fiasco. The black poles are in their new package on a shelf..."
So the mystery was solved.
We bought a new tent, it rained like hell every night and we'd have lost our tent for sure if we'd stayed in the make shift old tent.
The food was good. I learned how to tie a timber hitch, a clove hitch, and various lashings.
It was painful to learn it... difficult. Nobody seems to be an expert.
So I think I've decided that might be my niche... to become the knot and lashing expert and in turn have my boys as the knot and lashing experts so everyone can come to them when it's time for the newer boys to learn this for promotion.
We could be the rope family...
The Scouts had gotten Apple Jacks as their quick pack up and go cereal this morning and it came with a little stuffed Nemo. One of the Scouts took a rope and made a noose and hung it from the rafters.
Ringo came into the pavillion, looked at Nemo and said, "That's a crappy noose. I don't know who made that... but I need to show them how to make a real noose..."
A few seconds later, "Really. I need to teach someone..."
And that my friends, is the making of a potential rope expert.
If you look at those pictures of the tent, the first one is a picture of my feet. I wish my feet looked that good. These daggum toenails are NEVER going to grow back...
I know, comments are hosed again. Yes, I'm going to fix it permanently. Look for a permanent fix on my 5 year blogiversary... coming in June.
Meanwhile, to Peggy... I love John the Penguin and saw him speak in person. He is fabulous!!! Even my kids and husband thought he was great and they're not runners... or whatever I am.
To Mike... snow caps are a candy you get in movie theaters. They're little pieces of dark chocolate with white sprinkles. My fave. A little something stupid my readers didn't know.
Who in the hell goes camping, in MAY, in Miami? Who? Could you get any closer to the equator on the continental United States? NO.
Frickin' us. With the Boy Scouts. I'm off in 30. Pray for a cold front...
Onto darker tones... found out today my house has subterranean termites. Evidently that's where my tax refund is going...
Oh wait. I spent that already mentally... on my Master Bath, that we just cleared out of mold... the shower is rotting out. Love that. I was cleaning the tub when I noticed the adjacent wall felt... funky. I left a message on my husband's voice mail (How in the hell did married couples communicate before cell phones and voice mail?) saying, "Uhhh... we have a problem Houston."
He came home, I was still out, and accidentally poked his thumb through the drywall.
Any good feelings about that bathroom were gone.
So we're off to vacation for the weekend with the Boy Scouts. In Miami. In May.
Bonus for us, we're divided into patrols with all the adults together in the Over the Hill Gang. The parent who stepped up and insisted in cooking happens to be a professional chef.
Eating will be good... even if it's stinkin' hotter than three hells.
Always looking for a positive.
If you can think of a positive on the termite situation, feel free to share, if comments will allow, as I have yet to find one on that gig.
I called my Mom today as I was running errands. I called her as the nightly news was on. I asked her if it was a bad time, and she said no, it was OK.
I didn't think anything of it.
We were ending the conversation and something came up about Nancy Pelosi.
Folks, I have to tell you, how embarrassing for us. Really. She is such a dope.
WHO... IN THE HELL... goes toe to toe WITH the CIA?!
Good Lord. I've been keeping abreast of it via the internet newsources, and I'm telling you, my first reaction is 'Pull up the chairs and bring the popcorn.'
Quite honestly there is no one in our government I'd like to see crash and burn more, than Nancy Pelosi.
Now I know how my folks feel politically, and I know they aren't a fan of Nancy Pelosi's any more than I am... and my folks are extraordinarily well read and my Mom is exceedingly intuitive and well grounded, so when she speaks of her societal opinions, I listen.
She hears and sees things that some of us don't... at least we don't at first. It's interesting.
So as we were hanging up, she asked me if I'd been keeping up with this Pelosi fiasco and I was telling her how aghast I was and she was telling me likewise and then she informed me... that I had called just as the nightly news was covering the Pelosi story and that she'd TiVo'd it so she'd not miss it.
I don't know why, but that cracked me up. You had to hear our conversation, which I can't quote because we were bantering so much about it back and forth, I would not do it justice.
It was the way she said it. I think we're both just completely fascinated with the horror of it all.
So to all of you reading this, as fascinated as my Mom and I, I say, "I've got the chairs pulled up and I have Snow Caps. You bring the popcorn..."
OK,I'm loving this visual lesson at Pamibe's... seriously.
I had to laugh...
I'm perpetually amazed out how humans must find... a way to feel superior to someone in nearly every avenue of life.
Surely this must be some Psych Phd student's dream thesis. Perhaps a Sociology student as well.
Kids on the playground, what kind of car people drive... even where my father in law lives. In his assisted living community, the residents look down their noses based on what your capabilities are.
I kid you not.
Imagine my surprise when I truly found it in training for this next half marathon.
If you ask me, I'll flat tell you, "I'm a walker." I sign up for the walk team, I have no ego when it comes to it. I want to enjoy the event... running the entire time would not be enjoyable to me, in particular as I appear to be permanently prone to a foot/ankle/calf injury.
My coach will tell you that I'm not really a walker. I'm an interval athlete. I walk and run. Both... fast. (But not as fast as a true runner, which is why I say I'm a walker. I walk more than run... although I'm working towards inversing my ratio.)
This walker, the one writing this right now, beat over 1/2 the run team at the marathon. I'm hearing I might have beat 3/4, but I definitely beat 1/2 and that was INJURED and having what my coach says, "a really bad race".
I found out Saturday while talking to a Phd in PT, that the symptoms I had during my race were caused from my taking Advil. To prevent the inflamation I am so horribly prone to in my post tibial tendon, I took Advil before the race and then four hours later. He told me the vast swelling I had on the left side of my body was indicative, he guessed immediately I'd taken ibuprofen and also said my kidneys were struggling.
That explains why I felt like such complete and utter crap. It also explains why my coach and I were pacing me finishing it a full 30-45 minutes before I did, until... I started to swell, overheat, and felt like... utter crap.
Anyway, it's neither here nor there, it is what it is, I completed it, and it's done.
But this is leading me somewhere.
I am on the walk team. I beat most of the runners.
Tells me... they weren't running too fast.
Flash forward to this past Saturday, my girlfriend and I were trying to get to know everyone, as that's our job, and we came across a pair of girls that were 'running' at about a 16 minute mile.
Picture, a walking pace with a bounce.
That's cool. They'd have to stop to walk a lot and we thought it would be a good time to get to know them, encourage and talk to them about intervals.
And that's when my girlfriend said something about walking and one of the girls got all snooty and said, "OH. I am NOT a walker. I am a RUNNER."
I wanted to bust out laughing and say, "REALLY? You THINK so? REALLY?"
Instead, I just ignored it and did my own thing, more slow as I was trying to meet everyone.
I decided, as of now, I go at my own pace and if people can keep up or want to pass, so be it.
Today I did 13 minute miles. That's with walking and running, both (4:2). And so, if I can stay injury free for just two more weeks (I'm not training with the team this week as we're camping with Boy Scouts... in Miami... in May... let's not really go there...) I intend to show them how a walker can so completely smoke a 'runner'...
... and the temptation to smack my ass as I pass them and to say, 'kiss this', will be ever so great.
But I shall resist.
Afterall, I hate to come across as self righteous...
It was so much easier having toddlers... when you picked your kids' friends.
Typically they were kids of friends of yours. You kind of guaranteed the 'good family' commonality.
They get to school and it starts to become more of a crapshoot.
In Kindergarten it's a bit easier still, other than not wanting your kid to hang out with the kid always on Time Out, for the most part, you still have your fingers on the pulse of who they hang with.
Get to middle school and groups have shaken out. Jocks are hanging with Jocks, cliques have formed and next thing you know... you're seriously unhappy with the kid your kid has chosen to bring home... too often.
The unmotivated kid who has parents that you'd not hang out with as an adult.
The kid always doing stupid shit and getting in trouble. Not big trouble, but trouble nonetheless, trouble that only grows with age.
You grit your teeth as their parents say to you, "Your son is such a good influence on my son..." as inside you're thinking, "I'm not raising frickin' Ghandi here. I need my kid to be with like kind."
Then you start to think, 'Wait... if my kid is hanging out with such a slacker, then what is that saying of MY kid?"
We have such high hopes for next year. Really. New kids. Different classes. New surroundings.
I told my husband, 'I didn't hang out with one dirtbag in high school."
And I didn't.
You look at the kids I hung out with and they became nutritionists, teachers, neuro-radiologists, nuclear engineers (Phd), businessmen, physical therapists, CPAs, artists, research scientists... and on and on... every one of them becoming successful in their own right, whether it be in business, family, or both.
And quite frankly, when I was in high school, I never doubted that any of these kids would succeed.
And I'm not saying it because a few of them read me. I'm dead on serious.
So I'm left wondering what type of kid my son is going to hang with. Is he going to hang with the kids who are smart and shooting high? Or is he going to hang with the slackers who are OK to do nothing but screw around, get in trouble, and shoot for gross mediocrity?
It's left my husband and I a bit frustrated tonight...
Today being Mother's Day, I thought I'd post on some new experiences here... and some old.
I've been pretty beat lately. I'm fighting a respiratory infection, and there is just a lot on my mind, a lot of which has not made it here. I try not to dwell... pushing most out of my mind if I can't change it.
Watching my children grow is something I can't change. I joke about it, joke how I blinked and suddenly I have kids who are older.
Y'all started reading me when my kids were in Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade.
Next year will be 5th, 7th and 9th. I'll have a kid in high school. In 9 months he'll be getting his learner's permit to drive.
Normally, it doesn't phase me. Like I said, I joke about it, but I don't... look back too much. Life is too short to spend one's time looking over their shoulder wishing for the past.
Besides... it was a lot of work having three boys so close in age.
But on Friday, I was working, working late as we are swamped; the Bookends have decided to cut their hours, because even though my Boss, who has lung cancer and is having part of his lung removed next week, didn't receive the 'life is short' wake up call from his diagnosis, everyone else in the room did, and so now everyone is doing some sort of reassessment.
One long sentence.
So I was working late with my Tech Lead when I realized, "Oh shit!" I had forgotten to drive up to the pediatrician's and pick up Bones' new prescription since we got the all clear from the cardiologist for a new stimulant.
I quickly called, they know me well, and she said, "Oh we're going to be here all night. Drive on up, Bou. I'll have it here for you."
And so I made the trek up to the office, deep in thought, listening to the tunes, picked up his script, and as I was walking back to the elevator, I saw a sticker on the ground.
One square sticker.
From the sticker box in our pede's office.
Just sitting there as some little person had dropped it.
And I have no idea what in the hell happened, but suddenly I was frozen there, transported back in time in my mind, to a little kid holding my hand, wearing sandals and shorts, hop hop hop to the elevator. Bounce bounce bounce down the hall. "Mom! Mom! Mom! Let me push the button!"
Happy sounds. Hopping. He hopped everywhere. All of them did. It was like having rabbits. Hop, bounce, skip, tiny legs and feet, hands, happy energy.
And when I'd gathered myself out of wherever my mind had transported me to, I cannot even remember what child it was that I was staring at in my head, I found myself with tears streaming down my face.
I don't cry that much. I don't consider myself a crying type of girl. I think my husband has seen me cry... he could count on his hands. If I cry, I cry alone.
But here I was standing outside the elevator, staring at this sticker, crying.
I quickly put on my sunglasses, and made my way back to my van, where I proceeded to cry, for the next couple miles. It wasn't a sobbing, but heavy tears rinsing off my make up... as I wondered, "What the f*** happened? Where did it go? How did it happen so quickly?"
How did I end up a middle aged Mom?
How did I end up with a kid going to high school next year?
Wasn't I just holding the hand of a little person, hopping down the hall of some building... whether it was a hotel, a doctor's building, the grocery store?
Wasn't I just telling the cashier at Publix, in a whisper, to please not offer a balloon to my son as it will get caught in the ceiling fan?
Wasn't I just buckling up a carseat? Singing stupid songs in my car? Kissing skinned knees to make them feel better... and it worked?
I don't know what happened.
I got a call from my cell phone that broke me from my despair. A deep voice said, "Mom. Dad was wondering if you could stop by Publix and pick up some veal. They ran out where we were... he's making veal and peppers and we need another half pound."
"Sure," I replied. "Did you get your new shoes?"
We no longer shop at stores like StrideRite. He shops in the mens' department.
He got in my car on Saturday morning to go to Bones' game and I looked at his new shoes.
A size 10.
I told him he looked like a Clydesdale. He's got these big 'ol hooves.
He thinks that's funny.
He's 5'1" and he wears a huge shoe.
Bones gets braces tomorrow. He'll be my 2nd kid in braces... and I wonder...
... where is time going?
I woke up this morning at 5:30, so I could get to our 7AM training in time. I was in charge of 'water stops', which meant I had the bins with water, gatorade and cups and had to get the to the appropriate stations on our route so everyone could stay hydrated.
We were all moving by 7:15, after announcements, sign in, and what not.
We finished at 7:50, where I told one of the coaches, "We can't start this late. It's too damn hot and I'm dying here..."
Everyone agreed and start time is bumped now to 6:30, and we all feel certain that within the next month, our training times will start at 5:30AM.
And... I'm OK with that... because it was SO frickin' hot and humid this morning.
At 8:15 it was 85 deg with 90% humidity. I was toast.
I got home at 9, where my husband had already left for Bone's last Lacrosse game, a game I did NOT want to miss, but which was an hour away. I quickly showered, grabbed my eldest who was still sleeping, and made our way down to watch his 10AM game, which started at 10:15.
They defeated the undefeated team in the league in both a stunning upset and comeback.
Unfortunately... it was 95 degrees, 90% humidity, and we were all roasting.
And it was supposed to be a double header with our team playing two different teams... an hour rest in between.
They shortened the game to four 10 minute quarters... but hot is hot and it was a mess. (The 2nd game started at 12:30. Blech.)
They won both games.
But in between games, my husband left with my two older boys because we had offered to assist the church's Food Pantry that feeds the local homeless. This big Post Office food drive... food goes to the church's food pantry.
My boys each needed one service hour to make First Class in Boy Scouts.
They were there from 2PM until 7:45, unloading food, sorting, boxing and putting boxes where they needed to be.
I joined them after Bones' game at 3.
I think we sorted through over 25,000 pounds of food.
Sidenote: When giving food away, please don't throw in food you know is bad. If the can is swollen, throw it in the garbage can. If you know you've had the can for 6 years, check the expiration date. If it's expired, please throw it out. We don't feed bad food to the homeless and families in need.
Second sidenote: I'm perpetually amazed at the weird crap people eat.
Third sidenote: If you need help with something, seriously, call the Boy Scouts. The boys we had with us realized we were under staffed to do this big job. The church just didn't have enough people to step up. With hundreds and hundreds of mail boxes full of grocery bags of food to sort through, they got on their phones and started the Troop phone chain, and suddenly there were more boys, more hands, more help... and we finished ALL that food in ONE HOUR. It would have taken us twice as long without the reinforcements. Keep in mind, at that point, we'd all been there for 4 hours, on our feet, hauling cans of food.
I love Scouting.
Anyway, we took the boys for take out as we're all tired. I can hardly keep my eyes open and I have a pounding headache.
I don't even think I'm bothering to say good night to my family tonight. I think I'm just ending this post and crashing.
I'll be sleeping in... for sure.
Training officially starts tomorrow morning for the Half I'm doing with Team in Training.
5:30 AM wake up call.
My partner of "Run! Paula! Run!" fame and I are in charge of water stops this training. I have gatorade, power bars, water, cups and buckets in my dining room to take tomorrow. (All supplies are supplied by Team in Training. We just have to get it out there.)
I think we will not be stocking Goos and any power food in the water stop buckets. Last season when I was training, a homeless person stole them all.
I don't do 'goos'. I don't think my digestive system can handle them so I do Sports Beans. Goos, from what I understand taste like icing, but not good icing. Nobody really likes them. It's something endurance athletes tolerate.
As I said to Paula, "Man, you gotta be really really hungry to want to eat all those Goos."
And most power bars, in my mind, should be used by Poison Control to induce vomiting.
Here we go! We're off! Pray for a cold front! I already feel like a fish... I'm drinking air.
Oh and thanks to my loyal reader, George, I now know where I can buy goat locally. I'm looking for goat recipes.
I'll keep y'all posted... I'm all about life experiences and if goat is the most eaten meat in the world, then I need to see what I've been missing.
And to think I just thought they were... pets. My grandaddy had a bunch of goats in the backyard. I swear he never ate goat. He just fed them.
I actually think, his goats served no purpose other than to be fed and watered and... to entertain the grandkids. TGOO will set me straight if I'm wrong.
This school year needs to end... yesterday. If I get called to the principal's office one more time, I'm going to stroke.
I read today that in America, the most consumed meat is chicken.
In the world.... it is goat.
How many of you have eaten goat?
And if this is the most widely eaten meat, why don't we say, "Tastes like goat"?
Although, to be honest, if someone said to me, "Tastes like goat" I might be apt to say, "Umm... I'll pass."
Tell me, if you've eaten goat, how does one eat it? Sauteed? Fried? Baked? Grilled? Blackened? Raw? Is it Kosher? Fatty? Gamey? Do you prefer dark or white meat? And what kind of wine does one serve with goat? Red?
I was in the school clinic today, hanging out with my friend who is the school nurse.
In the clinic sat a little girl, mocha colored skin, dark silky hair, very sweet. She'd smashed her finger in a door... bad smash... she was waiting for her Mom, and her sister came down to comfort her. (It was the end of the day.)
So here I stood with my friend talking, the sisters were in the back corner waiting for their Mom when the Vice Principal walked in and said, "How's everyone doing? Are we ok?"
And smart ass me replied, "We're peachy. No swine flu here!"
To which I heard the little girl in the back quietly say, "My uncle has the swine flu..." and the following conversation occurred to the best of my recollection.
Me: Holy crap. Are you serious?
Smashed Finger Girl: yes.
Me: Was he in Mexico?
Smashed Finger Girl: yes. That is where my father's family is from.
Me, feeling... pretty awful: Oh my. I am so sorry...
The VP had exited at some point, probably as horrified as I was...
The mother walked in and was hugging her daughter. As I left, I said quietly to the mother, "I am so sorry. I had no idea your brother in law had swine flu... I feel awful. I hope he's better..."
And with that I left.
Five minutes went by and my friend comes running out, "Bou! Bou! Wait! When you left the mother looked at me and said, "Was she... talking to ME?" and when I said yes, she said, "Nobody in our family has Swine Flu!""
I said, "She lied to me?! That little girl sat there straight faced and lied to me? I felt terrible!" and with that I could not quit laughing.
My friend shrugged and said, "It may have been a misdiagnosis, but I immediately said, "I have to go run tell Bou! She feels terrible!""
Holy crap. I thought I'd die... Whoda thunk it?
Lest you don't believe that I don't watch TV, the following conversation happened with Bones tonight.
Sidenote: My husband is a Republican, pretty conservative. (I'm an Independent.) He watches Fox News every night, and Bones can hear it from his bedroom when he sleeps. So when my husband is out, Bones asks me to turn on Fox News so he can sleep.
My husband was out tonight.
Bones from his bed: Hey, Mom.
Me, from the kitchen: Yup.
Bones: Can you turn on the news for me...
Bones: Take that black channel changer and there is a big green power button. That turns the TV on. Then take the silver channel changer and punch in 44.
Bones: No problem...
Hey, at least my kids are aware.
We were driving home from school today when the following conversation ensued with Ringo.
Sidenote: I am wondering if I'm starting menopause. I'm just frickin' hot all the time. Or... maybe it's just summer...
Me, cranking the a/c in the car, pointing it at my face: Is it me, or is it hotter than three hells?
Ringo, looking up from his book: It's Hot. *looks back down at his book*
Me: It's only 86 degrees. I think I'm going to die.
Ringo, looking back up: It's really really humid, Mom. It's miserable.
Me: Ok, I just needed a sanity check. Because... holy crap... summer is coming. I hate this.
Ringo, looking very philosophical: I'd rather be cold than hot.
Me: I'd rather have four even seasons. I don't mind if it's 'I'm Mister Freeze Miser" cold as long as its only for three months. Same with this heat. I want a fall and a spring...
Ringo: You know... I think I'd rather freeze to death...
Me: I think no weather related death would be best.
Ringo: I mean, really, you just go numb and die.
Me: No really. I'd rather not do either... really.
Ringo isn't going to settle down here. He hates the weather as I do. The extreme heat for 8 months is more than I can handle, add our horrible humidity and I'm down right miserable.
I don't intend to stay down here either, once Bones is in college.
Meanwhile, my husband is struggling with the thought of permanently leaving S. FL. That is not an internal struggle I relate to.
My answer to him may be, "Two words, baby... Conjugal Visits".
I hate this heat...
Summer is here which means my kids are playing outside more at night. From after dinner until dark, my kids are gone, throwing open the sliders after dinner yellng, "Bye, Mom! We're going next door!"
Next door is one teenage girl my eldest's age and two smaller children that my kids have a love hate relationship with. (Kindergarten and 2nd grade.)
I have no reason to suspect my own are not part of the problem. I suspect it takes two... although I do think the incessant crying of the one little girl over anything and the kicking and biting of the one little boy, carries more weight than just about anything my boys do.
But, really they go over because in general they all run around like crazy and my eldest... is a bit sweet on the girl next door.
I didn't look like she does... not in middle school and not in high school.
She is an athlete so her body is trim, she has beautiful long black hair, dark eyes and olive skin, that betrays she may have some Latin in her. She is sweet as can be to me, always, "Hi, Mrs. L! What can I do for you, Mrs. L?"
She takes on a lot of responsiblity at home with her younger siblings.
I have heard stories of adults and parents who don't like her, they see her in her element at school, but here, in my home, in our neighborhood, she is a good kid.
But she is boy crazy. I hear the stories, I know of the revolving door... she is the girl that in middle school and high school we rolled our eyes at.
The girl who had a different boyfriend every week.
She'll be going to one of the larger high schools and I suspect that will fit her just fine.
But for now, I know my son... is a bit sweet on her and it bugs me. It bugs me because I know, that if during the summer she decides he is the boy of the week, that he is going to be crushed when he is... no longer.
He and I need to have a little talk because girls like her break hearts. My son is going to think that HE will be the one that she'll stick with and then he'll be broken when she moves on, wondering what is wrong with him...
... when in fact nothing is wrong with HIM at all. It's just how SHE IS.
Meanwhile, we are approaching the time when I swore I'd tear down the fort in the back of the house. I always said when my boys were old enough to have girls around the house, I'd make it very difficult for anyone to be alone.
The fort would go.
However, the fort is used right now to play war with their airsoft guns, usually a sniper sits in it while the enemy holes up in a bunker made of my old porch cushions.
So I'm in a bit of a conunudrum... I think what I need is a big honkin' spot light to shine on it from the house, one I can just flick on and keep it lit.
That should be my next step...
VW and I have struck some sort of deal. Oh she would have just done it because she's been a dear friend of mine for... well... 50% of my life, but that didn't feel right because...
On her end, she is going to TRY to get new commenting on my site I suspect it's going to be a real pain in the neck.
She has a crazy schedule, so give us a couple weeks...
Let me state first, I think I'm the only person in America who still pays bills by... check. *gasp!*
It is true.
Other than my powerbill, which I do pay online, because I play this weird game "How low can she go?!" where I'm constantly comparing my monthly power bill with the previous two year's... same month.
I know. I'm a freak. Numbers... always looking at numbers.
And a sidenote here, my power bill was $200 less than the previous two year's for April, and I think it's a combination of solar water and the fact I upgraded to a NEW digital thermostat. The biggest factor is the digital thermostat, so if you've not looked into one, I'd do it now. Big savings... BIG.
Anyway, so I pay my bills by hand still. I sit down once or twice a month, balance my checkbook in my ACTUAL checkbook and write out all the bills.
Very old fashioned of me.
And when I went to pay the bills a couple days ago I realized... Holy crap! I didn't have enough checks!
Fortunately, I have a savings account that my personal paycheck is deposited into and I do have checks, so I paid the rest of the bills out of our savings until I could get more checks for our real account.
Ack! In the 17 years we've been married, in the 21 I've been on my own, I have NEVER run out of checks.
You should have seen me going through everything, for certain there was a book somewhere I misplaced as I certainly don't remember pulling off that last reminder to order more checks.
Flash forward to this morning when I ran to the bank to quickly order some, knowing I have a few weeks until the next month's bills come in.
And the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:
Me: I realized yesterday that I am completely out of checks. I need to order two boxes of checks.
Me: Please start at 6000. This is my account number.
The teller took my information and came back: But I have you should start at 6130.
Me: Hunh. I just used 5999. That means I should have another book or so in my house... right?
Another teller: A whole box!
Me: Damn. OK, well, I've scoured the house and can't find them. Please start at 6130.
Teller: But you have a box in your house.
Me: I might.
Me: Order me two more please. Starting at 6130.
Teller: But you have a box in your house.
Me: I have run out of checks, I don't know where that box is. Please order me two more, starting at 6130 and I'll figure it out when I get home.
Teller: Ok then...
And she actually was miffed she had to order me new checks when she KNEW I had a box in my house...
... which I didn't, because when I came home and checked my old registry (I keep them all too... all the way back to 1990, I swear) I saw I accidentally used the two boxes out of sequence.
I told my husband this story as I'm trying really hard to make a case for leaving this POS bank and since all his business holdings are there, he ultimately makes the decision.
He said to me, 'Upon hearing you had NO checks left, did they even offer you any free checks, blank ones to fill out and use?"
Me: Phht. Of course not...
I'm slowly chipping away for my cause...
I stood at the entry way greeting people.
He came in, in his wheelchair, his mother pushing him, his inability to walk due to the surgeons shaving off his femurs to rid him of infection.
When he's better, he's going to have hip replacements. He hopes that's next year.
He appears, by the length of his legs, to be nearly 6 feet tall. A tall gangly boy/man is what he should be, all of 21 years old.
It was the first time I'd been able to meet him, his mother I have met a few times, we all know of him, our Hero, but it was the first I'd seen him in person.
We know his story.
His skin is red... all of it, as if sunburned. Arms, face, neck, legs, all of him, so red, lobster red, and peeling. He wore a hat and sunglasses. His skin flaking white even more noticeable against the deep red skin...
His niece sat on his lap. She is one. This is how she knows her uncle, in a chair, in a bed, fighting.
He gently blew on her cornsilk white hair as she giggled to get down and run.
At one point he slowly took off his hat and scratched his head. His hair, it was the same length as his mother's and that is when I knew for sure, she had shaved her head the same time his hair fell out... again. I was torn as to whether she kept her hair short or if she'd shaved it recently.
I got my answer.
His hair came back a mixture of black and dark gray, with patches of white hair mixed throughout. I wondered what color it was when he was 14. I suspect it was black.
He looks so much like his mother.
He took his sunglasses off and rubbed his eyes. They are dry and his eyelashes have yet to grow back. I think his eyes are irritated... perhaps by whatever treatment caused his skin to be so red and dry.
So many steroids. So much chemotherapy. So many painkillers.
So much love.
A smile and a way about him that is infectious... you don't want to shy away from him, but rather engage him and get to know him.
We know of him, as he's our Hero, but I had never met him, today I think he stole my heart.
21 years old.
For the last 7 years he has fought Leukemia. It is what he knows. He never went through what my eldest boy will grow through, crushes on girls, holding hands, a first kiss, going to the movies with buddies, learning to drive.
His life has been a Leukemic prison, a life his mother has fought to make as normal as possible.
And he fights.
I am not sure what I was expecting. I'd seen pictures of him at 14, but not of him as a man. Not of him having fought this disease into adulthood.
My training starts again for Leukemia Lymphoma on Monday. I'll lace up my shoes and start training again... I've not done any running since the marathon in January.
And with every step I take, I'll be thinking of him. And his fight. And wondering of the human spirit and perserverance.
I meet my new teammates next Saturday. I will be mentoring them and I'm excited.
It is a good cause... we are all committed.
Although I have my personal Honored Hero this go round as my cousin fights chronic leukemia, I will also be thinking of him.
If what we do, running these marathons, cycling 100 mile events, completing triathlons, will do what needs to be done to find a cure... then it's all worth it.
No other 14 year old should ever have to fight to be a man.
Not like that.
I am aware that commenting is getting worse on munu. I try to comment back in my own comments and cannot.
I'll be getting with someone to try to install Haloscan comments sometime in the next couple weeks. I tried once and failed miserably. It's beyond my ability.
As a matter of fact, in the process, I kind of messed up my template... and I'm not completely sure where yet, so bear with me.
And an unfortunate side effect, when comments are down like this, I want to quit blogging altogether.
So. Hopefully. Soon.
I was asked to be a chaperone for seven 14 year old boys on an end of the year field trip for 8th grade to Islands of Adventure in a couple weeks.
It seems that my son's group needed a chaperone and upon hearing it, my eldest said, "OH! My Mom will do it."
It's nice that he wasn't mortified at the thought I'd be going.
It's nice that he was confident I'd help out.
It's nice that I looked at the list and with half the boys said, "Oh, they practically live at my house. No sweat." One of them even calls me his other Mom.
But I said to my son, "Good God. You owe me, my friend. There are seven of you... teenage boys. And me."
I continued, "You know, whoever you marry is going to have a tough gig when you have kids. I have... been a Cub Scout leader, taken you boys camping when I'd never even been camping before, been the only parent camping with you when we got caught in a storm and lost a tent in 8 inches of water and all the crap in it, been caught in a storm and had to take shelter in a car... only to find the tent had collapsed, driven you all over the south, took karate with you, let boy bands practice in my garage, and I'm sure there is more."
He just grinned.
Seriously, if you had told me 20 years ago I'd have done half the crap I've done with them, let alone gone through half the adventures, I'd have told you that you were out of your frickin' mind.
Islands of Adventure.
With seven teenage boys.
I'm not sure whether I'm going to have a blast... or ask to be shot.
It's all blog fodder anyway. Heh.
Everything turned out fine and ended up being quite the science lesson for Bones.
It turns out the EKG just showed an anomaly that happens... it just happens... and he's fine.
The doctor also caught on first listen an innocent heart murmur, that didn't alarm me as my Mom had one too. I found it funny over the years the number of doctors that have listened to his chest and never caught it... but the heart doctor, who listens to hearts all the time, picked up on it pretty quickly.
Just to make sure all was well, the doctor ordered an echocardiogram. I had one a few years ago (where we found a benign leaky valve that happens with age) and I promised Bones he'd enjoy it.
Sure enough, he had a blast, watching and listening. The tech was great about explaining it all. I only started to freak when suddenly the doctor took an active interest in something and came over to where the tech was, and had her do some things, had Bones move around, and they were very very intent.
I think I may have stopped breathing for awhile.
It turns out he has something called PFO, which is essentially a little hole in his heart that we are ALL born with, but with 70-75% of the population, closes up. For the rest of the population, including Bones, it does not.
He said it was no big deal, not to worry, it might still close up as his heart grows, and to not even think twice. It wasn't the cause of anything on the EKG and we'd never know about it if we'd not had the echocardiogram done.
For me the relief was... that nothing was wrong, that he can do stimulants if he needs to... but what was really important to me, besides his being fine, was that he can exercise without issue.
An ADHD kid banned from exercise? Good God. I have the kid in soccer and lacrosse and it's not uncommon for me to throw him out the door sometimes to run around and be crazy. As the summer months approach, the days growing longer, it's not uncommon for my boys to play outside from after dinner until 9PM.... running around like madmen.
The thought of THAT going away... was daunting.
So all is well. Thank you for the good wishes. A special thank you to QW, who provided me much wisdom with arrhythmias, as that's what we thought he had. An atrial arrhythmia.