The boys are done. It is officially the worst camping ever. We pick them up tomorrow night at 7 and head out to my folks' house.
I dread the potential smell.
Not only has it rained pretty much non-stop since Monday evening, everyone's tent flooded except for my boys', nobody has had dry feet since Tuesday, the Scout Master has made multiple trips in town to a laundromat to dry clothes and sleeping bags as some kids literally had NOTHING that hadn't gotten drenched. Add to that, that with every Scout Troop you have a couple kids that are just a complete pain in the a$$, don't pull their weight, complain all the time, and cause trouble... and of course their parents are never around. (I've noticed parental participation is the least with the kids who are the biggest jerks. They want everyone else to raise their kid... which his probably why their kids are the way they are.)
And if it was not bad enough with all that, an upper respiratory infection with hacking and vomiting ran through the camp counselors and so 75% of them are on some sort of quarantine to keep them away from the regular campers, which also means that many of the badges don't have instructors which translates to...
... the kids aren't getting their badges. They're enduring the crap food, nasty weather, cold wet feet, and misery of just generally sleeping outside in FL in June/July and they aren't even earning their badges as there's no one to teach them.
It's been a mess. My boys aren't in a great mood, but are attempting to make the best of it.
Last night some parents went for the planned 'movie night and McDonalds'. When we have a week overnight camp, we always pick a night in the middle of the week where parents show up with cookies and brownies, take the boys for a quick dinner and a movie, the requirement being that every boy must have showered to attend.
And according to one of the parents, this is where the funniest part of the week happened... something my son probably doesn't even deem as funny, although he might.
Evidently the parent was sitting in the pavillion with the older boys when my son's buddy, who I'll call Tommy had the following conversation, as my son looked on, grinning. (Tommy is a very big boy. Quiet gentle giant of a boy, his father just died a few months ago. It breaks my heart. He is such a sweet boy. Mostly. Heh)
Tommy: You know Mrs. H, Ringo and I... we're 16.
Mrs. H *waiting to hear what great bonding significance has occurred that it matters that they are 16*: Yes...
Tommy: You know... we drive and everything.
Mrs. H *looking at both boys, waiting to hear why they are feeling this closeness and imparting it upon her*: Driving. Yup. That happens at 16...
Tommy: Well, we're older, more mature. I know the movies are tomorrow night. We think, the younger kids should go their movie, but... Ringo and I, we're old enough for something bigger. You could buy us tickets to Hangover II... or Bad Teacher. We're cool. We can handle it.
Mrs. H: Bwahahahahahahaaa! Bwhaahahahahaa! Yeah, right. Nice try Tommy.
Tommy to Ringo: I tried.
Heh. Sweet kind of. Sometimes... just conniving. I guess... Normal.
As if she'd say yes?!
This has happened to me three times that I remember. But I'll tell you this story first.
I was at work yesterday and I logged on to my systems. I have multiple systems and the passwords have to ping off each other or it's like crossing streams. It's a bad thing.
I log on, realize I need to get a glass of water, lock my computer up, get water, come back to my lock screen and realize... I can't remember my password.
One I've had for... eight weeks. Every day (I work 6-7 days a week), same password, over and over... and it was GONE. I mean... GONE. It was as if someone took a magnet and rubbed it over my forehead and wiped the hard drive slick.
I stared blankly at my screen. Ultimately I had to call our IT department, where I made it sound like I had fumbly fingers and just botched it up more than I'm alllowed before the system screams TILT!
But in reality... it was absolutely gone from my brain and it stayed gone until this morning, when I went to log on and subconsciously, my fingers started walking the keys in the order I'd forgotten yesterday.
It was an AH! HA! moment, but about 24 hours too late.
This has happened to me only two other times. Once when I was in HS, I went to my locker and couldn't remember my combination. I'd had that same combination for years... and had it written down, fortunately, in my wallet and had to look it up. It did seem familiar, which is a bonus...
...unlike the time 25 years ago when I did use ATM machines (I haven't used one in 20 years) and I forgot my code. When I finally found it at home, I swear, it was as if I'd NEVER seen it in my life. It was a completely foreign number, yet it was one I'd been using once a week for a year.
But what happened yesterday kind of bugs me on a deep level. How can you use something 10-20 times a day, for six days a week, for eight weeks... and then for it to be completely gone from your head like never in your life have you used it?
Our assistant said she thinks I have too much crap going on in my head (she thinks I'm the most insanely busy person she knows and scary focused), with this new crazy project I'm working, fielding phone calls, plus my home life... she said my brain ran out of room and had to throw something out. My password didn't get the chair when the music stopped, so it was erased.
I sure as hell hope she's right.
Bone is enamored with Hugh Jackman and all that he can do, sing, dance, act, as well as this accent business. He had me look him up today on Youtube. This is the conversation as I remember it:
*watching Hugh Jackman be really him*
Bones: Mom. What? *looking at me with a puzzled face* What is that?
Me: That's Hugh Jackman's real accent.
Bones: What?!! He's not American? He's Wolverine!
Me: Nope. He's Australian.
Bones: You're KIDDING ME. I mean, WHAT a GREAT actor? Can you imagine how hard it must be to go from that accent to being Wolverine?
Me: Dude. I don't think it's any harder than going from American to British.
Bones: Of course it is! It's tons harder. He has to get rid of all his accent! Do you know how hard that has to be?
You know, because... HE'S the one with the accent. Not us. It cracked me up.
He is amazingly talented, Hugh Jackman, among other things. I did use the time to point out to Bones, that Hugh's ability to sing, dance AND act has added to his tremendous versatility. I'm slowly guiding Bones down that path.
He's been in drama camp this week and the head of the camp has been quietly trying to get Bones more active in acting. We'll see. He's a funny guy.
It's too dang hot to camp in FL in June/July. Holy cats.
Some highlights and lowlights:
High: Our campsite was between two lakes with a breeze. It was grass... not sand. Sweeet!
Low: Ants. Dang it. There were ants in the pavillion, something we were not aware of it and it got in all our stuff. My sons and I spent a good while cleaning it out.
High: When my eldest realized that the ants had absolutely covered my sheets and pillow (velour type), he grabbed them up and said he'd take care of it. I could do the small stuff. I stood there in the pavillion looking out watching him bang out 1000 red ants off my stuff... never did I ask, never did he complain.
Low: The food is not so good.
High: But it's not offensive.
Funny: This morning I stood in line for breakfast and the Staff went to put a scoop of something on my plate. Said I, "Wait. What is that?" The medic was standing beside me and he said, "Grits." I looked at the Staff, shook my head and said, "MY grits don't look like that. The don't come shaped from an ice cream scoop... I'll pass." Blech!
High: The Lake they swam in didn't have leaches and appeared clean.
Last Year's Low: My kids had just finished their swim test last year when they got out of the water and were drying off. A group of other scouts had been playing around in the water and when they got out, one of them had a leach. My boys were a mess on that one. Blech.
High: The counselors seemed really funny and nice. The boys seemed to genuninely enjoy their instructors.
Low: Waking up at 2AM and finding an ant on my leg.
High: Realizing I'd actually fallen asleep as when I laid there for two hours listening to the ground mice (many), crickets, bugs, and nature in general, I thought, "This is going to be the longest 8 hours of my life..." That's pretty tough considering I had two labors longer than 8 hours...
Low: Hurting. Good Lord, I hurt all night. I was stiff, my hips hurt, my left foot hurts from walking too much and that injury from that stupid marathon and all the stupid half marathons isn't healed and evidently WON'T heal as it's been... what, two years? I still hurt. I just keep moving so I don't think about it. I feel like the tin man. What in the hell am I going to be like in 30 years? Holy cats...
High: Spending time with my boys and watching them as the leaders. Watching them do what they need to do without my input or assistance. Watching them... function as contributing members to a society.
Watching them... not need me.
Oh! Biggest High!: I only stayed one night! They have four more to go! Bwhahahahaha!
I'm off to Boy Scout camp for the evening with my older boys. This is probably the last summer they'll do camp as they're just trying to hammer out their last three Eagle Scout badges. Once those are complete, they won't see a reason.
Unless our Troop decides on a GREAT place to camp next year, that is.
Every year our Troop goes to two places, one that is close for the younger kids to be close to their folks in case they struggle with a week away and one that is far for the older kids. Last year they went to Camp Old Indian in South Carolina and had a really good time. This year, the younger kids of last year decided they wanted to go back.
So my boys decided they'd stay closer to home with the young Scouts. As they put it, "We've done that camp... why would we want to travel that far to do it again. It was fun, but not THAT fun."
Besides, there was a minor coup in our Troop and ALL the Scouts decided that they absolutely would not only NOT go to our local camp that we go to every year with our younger Scouts, but the older ones decided they weren't going to allow the younger Scouts to have to be subjected to it.
You see, the local camp is the hell hole of the Scouting universe. It's not only 100 degrees, but it's all dirt and the bathroom facilities are beyond primitive. My boys would rather take a shovel and go in the woods than use the absolutely disgusting facilities that are 'provided'.
Add to that, they heard that but 2.5 hours from us, in the middle of the State is a brand newish camp that has TREMENDOUS facilities and... GRASS. One of our Scout Masters drove over and 'scouted' it out and deemed it two thumbs up. It'll still be hotter than three hells, but it's scorching all over, and at least if you're going to rot in the heat, it might as be with a nice bathroom and grass under your feet.
And that decided it... my boys decided to stay close, hang with the younger Scouts (never a bad thing as mentoring goes), and then on my way to my folks' house next week, Bones, my husband and I will drive by and pick them up.
I'm so ready for them to finish this Eagle badge stuff so they can just focus on their Eagle Scout projects. Ringo has his picked out and planned in his head. My second son we discuss it. For Ringo, it has to get done. If he wants to put it on his college apps, he needs to make Eagle THIS YEAR.
So that's the story of the next 24 hours. I'm driving a load of Scouts to camp, staying the night, and coming back tomorrow to get back into the swing.
Hope for a cold front. Please. Heh.
Bones' voice is changing. He's about to hit his first of two growth spurts. Any of you who have small boys, it happens twice... once between 6th and 7th grade (sometimes a bit later) and once around 15 or 16, unless you're like my buddy PT... Then it happens when you're like 21. Bwhahahahaa.
Typically the first growth spurt is when the voice changes, body hair appears, and they elongate. The second is more acne related and their bodies start to grow into man size. The muscles in their necks appear, their faces chisel, the shoulders grow broader. That first spurt is like the puppy with big feet spurt. The second one... they become men.
So with Bones we're in growth One, Ringo is on the cusp of growth Two, and Mr. T is as well. He is growing at a different rate than Ringo and may surpass him. We'll see.
Anyway, all year Bones' vocal teacher has been telling me his voice is starting to change, he can't hit the highest notes anymore, but I've not been able to tell. The only change I've seen are his long skinny crazy ugly feet, that are officially bigger than mine, no small feat as I have feet like boats.
Today I was reading during his lesson when I heard them going through the vocal warm ups. It's been two weeks since our last lesson as we missed last week. I've not posted, but Bones has some health issues that we're dealing with and it's kind of stressing me out. It caused us to miss last week.
So as they went through his warm ups... I noticed that he hit this low note he had NEVER hit before. It caused me to look up from my book, raise an eyebrow at his vocal teacher and say, "Did his voice change?"
She said, "Yup, it's been changing all year, but this week it's more noticeable."
I gather the vocal rule of thumb is the longer it takes your voice to change, as in a prolonged change, the more likely you are to be a tenor. If your voice changes like Ringo's, in what seems like over night, you'll have a lower voice, like a bass.
Bones will be a tenor. His Dad is probably a tenor.
Mr. T is a gravely Tenor 2, possibly a baritone. Listening to Mr. T speak is like wondering if he shredded his vocal cords on a gravel street. There is nothing smooth and warm about it. It took two years for it to change. He'd start to speak very low and then he'd pop into a high voice. This went on, literally, for over a year, when it finally settled. He'll never be called to read books on tape.
Ringo's voice is deep and warm, when he speaks. Talking to him is like talking into a well. The deeper voices tend to come from my side of the family. My brother's voice is pretty deep.
But Bones will be a tenor. He wants to be a bass, but it's not happening. He thinks the crazy deep voices are very cool.
And his vocal teacher told me a few weeks ago, that in the world of vocal, "Everyone wants to listen to a tenor. They make the money. But the bass get all the women..."
I think that's pretty funny. I'm not telling Bones. He'll want all the women...
I didn't know Clarence Clemons nor am I a fan of Springsteen music, but that doesn't mean I don't feel bad for all those folks, Bruce in particular, that they lost a friend.
His death made our local news since he died in one of our local hospitals and his funeral was at one of our local chapels. It's the chapel on the premises where Bones had his first vocal recital. I've been to many a wedding and funeral there.
It's what I call the 6 degrees of northern Palm Beach county. I didn't know the man, but I know many who did, and they're all very sad. I'm sad for them.
We are parched here in FL as I suspect all of the South is. We're not getting rain, we didn't get rain this winter, and now the city of West Palm Beach is running out of water. They're scrambling to figure out from whom to purchase water, and I believe they have less than 20 days and there's nothing left for 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, the irresponsibility of the masses continues to confuse me. We're in drought, we're on 1 day water restrictions for watering, yet I see home after home that refuses to adhere. From where is this self entitlement coming? And I mean ALL generations are guilty... WWII, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y... everyone.
"Don't you tell me how much water I can use! How dare you!"
The state is burning and we lost two fire fighters on Monday. Brush fires are popping out of nowhere and everywhere and the fire fighters are struggling to keep them at bay... let alone under control.
What makes me nervous about the fires is... we're on well... and the canals and lakes are about dried up, so where does the water come from if our land catches fire?
The last time it was this bad, where everything was burning and we were worried, was 12 years ago. I know a guy who actually lost his home to the last big set of big fires.
So Florida is burning, we have no water, the people don't care... and I'm at a loss.
During the small time I did sleep last night, I had a dream that we were suddenly in a Cat 3 hurricane and I'd not bought any water or supplies.
I think people in Idaho don't have those types of dreams...
There is a community north of me called The Villages. I'm sure most of you have heard of it. I know many people who live there.
It started as a retirement community, but grew in such size it has it's own zip code. It's crazy busy with stuff to do... crazy busy young people over age 55. Partying, lots of partying from what I understand, and as one girlfriend of mine told me, "It's so dang happy there, even the rocks look like they're smiling."
It's not for everyone. I had a friend, a big golfer, check it out with his wife, came back to work and said to me, 'No f*cking way could you get me to live there..." Then again, he's a grouch and all the happiness probably pushed his buttons. He was my grouch though, and I miss him. (He retired.)
The entire place can be traversed by golf cart and my gf said they spend BIG bucks on their golf carts. Her Mom goes to the bank in her golf cart, goes to dinner in it... all her business. Although I read you can get a DUI while drinking and carting, in the beginning it was not the case. My gf said there were open stands selling mixed drinks and folks would pull up on their carts, pay, get their drink, and drive away.
So my buddy sent me this clip on the golf carts and I thought it was funny.
Florida... at its retirement finest. I'm retiring in Alabama...
Opening segment... golf cart precision drill team. You can't make this stuff up. Only in FL... or Arizona.
I'm struggling with insomnia. It's summer. I'm supposed to be all relaxed and embracing the loungitude of it all.
But I'm not.
And I'm not sleeping, which makes it worse.
I hate this. Very much.
This was a tough Father's Day this year. It is the first without my father in law, so more than anything, the only thing my husband wanted to do was go to the cemetery. Since we never go, it was the least we could do. I suspect it will be a Father's Day tradition.
His parents picked a beautiful cemetery that is 40 minutes from our home. One way. So it is really 1.5 hours round trip. I have talked often of moving them, finding a cemetery near us and just having them put there. Of course I've not looked into cost, but it is ridiculous.
The cemetery in down town West Palm Beach is one of my favorites, dating back to the early 1900s and has some fantastic history. Why not there? Whenever we have to go downtown, we'd be right there... stone's throwing distance. I guarantee you I'd go once a month at least if they were at that cemetery. I'd go just to walk amongst the old graves.
Gravestones change like clothes, fashion-wise. It's fascinating to see the changes through the years.
Then there is the cemetery where we go for Memorial Day and it's 20 minutes away, just down the street from Bones' school. We could definitely hit that on all the major holidays, in particular as it's so dang easy to get to.
I just didn't get it. We're the only ones that go now and even then, we go only once every few years. Although I know that is changing as of this year.
So that's what we did this afternoon before dinner.
The day was spent at a funeral. A mentor to my husband, a surgeon in town, died at age 67 of cancer. When my husband got out of school this friend of his would take him to lunch, talk to him about life, talk to him about business and how to run one. He had kids in middle school and high school at the time. He was in his mid 40s at the time, my age. They didn't do the same thing for a living, but my husband respected greatly his views on life and viewed him as a big brother.
His children buried him on Father's Day. It was a choice I was to respect, although we'd have rather been spending it with our own family, we understood. It was a wonderful service, very touching.
He was too young.
So that's pretty much how we spent this Father's Day, at a funeral and a cemetery. But in my husband's mind, it wasn't a bad Father's Day. He paid respects to his Father, and that was the most important thing.
And... I bought a package... 1 pound Hershey's Peanut Butter cup, 2 cups, 1/2 pound each. I think it's the biggest they make! Since it's his favorite candy, I bought that as a surprise. It was kind of funny.
Happy Father's Day to all of you out there Celebrating. We used to go to the beach on Father's Day. Now we'll go to the cemetery. Times change.
In the car two days ago:
Me: That looks like a Honda Accord.
Ringo: No it doesn't.
Me: An older model Accord.
Ringo: Mom, it's a Mercedes.
Me: I'm aware of what it actually IS, I'm just saying it looks like an Accord.
Ringo: *pause* Mom. *pause* It looks NOTHING like a Honda...
Me: Seriously, if you're going to spend that much money on a car, I'd not get one that looked like a Honda or a Toyota or something...
Last night at dinner:
Ringo: Dad, we're pulling off the interstate and Mom looks at a MERCEDES and says, "That looks like a Honda Accord."
Hunhead: I can't think of a Mercedes that looks like an Accord.
Ringo: That's because it... DIDN'T!
Me: It looked like an older model Accord. And I think it was an older model Mercedes.
Hunhead: I'm thinking... I'm not seeing it.
Ringo: Dad, trust me...
Hunhead: Ringo, you need to understand something about your Mother. This is the woman that mistook an 850 series BMW for a Saturn...
Me: They look the same...
Hunhead: No. They don't.
Ringo: Good grief.
My eldest boy was very blessed this summer as the Julliard came to town and was having a Jazz Camp at Bones' school. Ringo asked to be signed up and since he hardly communicates, I took this as a positive sign.
I think the only real downside was that it was from 9-5 and he was so crazy hungry by 5, he was a real crabby patty.
The other downside was he kept leaving his lunch stuff there, like the first day his lunch box. The second day the tupperware I sent with him. By day three he was getting a 12 year old frozen enfamil bag wrapped in a Publix plastic bag to keep his sandwich cold.
When I said to him in great frustration at the end of day 2, when he'd left it all... AGAIN, "Did you go ask Mr. M?"
He said, 'Mom, I don't even know who Mr. M is. I don't know WHO is running this..."
Exasperated I said, "Mr. M is the Band director here. Ringo. You can't frickin' miss him. He's this HUGE black man..."
To which he said, "Great. And which one would THAT be, because ALL Of them are huge black men..."
Point taken when we were at the final performance and the Julliard instructors got up and performed, some of the finest Jazz musicians in the world... it was amazing... and they were all big black men. Now I know why he couldn't find Mr. M and I nearly busted out laughing when they all walked out on stage.
It would have been so much easier if Mr. M had been a short Italian white guy.
Anyway, so this is the conclusion I came to.
This may not be popular.
I hate Jazz. Sitting through nearly two hours of it being performed made me remember and fully embrace, I hate Jazz. I really do.
And it wasn't the students. They were very good. It is the music and how it appears to have no... path. And it doesn't touch my soul.
It just feels like an excuse for everyone to have a solo and make crap up. That's why I decided by the 70th minute, that JAZZ stands for this:
I know. It's an American sacrilege to hate Jazz. but dang, please, I'd rather take the pot head rock my husband listened to as a teenager in the 70s than sit through Jazz.
I do love Swing. I love Big Band. The rest of it? Not so much.
But it was fun and I will say, listening to the guys from Julliard was a real treat. I fully enjoyed their music and realized what a pleasure and a rarity to hear such Jazz greats.
My son did end up enjoying it and he wants to do it again next year. To improve as a musician, I think you need to be able to appreciate what everyone brings to the table. He appreciates it... and he may even like it.
I sure hope so... 9-5 for five days listening to something you hate... would be torturous.
I'm very fortunate that my husband will completely pick up the slack if he's home. He'll cook, clean, run errands, cart the kids around... as long as he's not working.
So last night when there was a HUGE scheduling conflict, we decided I'd just pick up Ringo, take him to dinner, and he'd fix dinner for everyone else.
I cook by recipe. My husband cooks with recipe, but mostly he cooks by taste.
So Ringo and I went out for sushi, which was quite candidly, an absolutely miserable experience for me as he said probably five words the entire meal, and my husband went to Publix in search of ingredients he thought he'd need for what he decided to make for he and the other two boys... sweet and sour or honey chicken.
No recipe. Fry that chicken up and make a sauce, right?
He decided at some point that flour was just going to be too bland for his batter... so while rummaging through the pantry he decided to use... get this... pancake mix. It might give it that sweet 'ZING!' that he was looking for.
In retrospect, having spoken to Bones of the great "Honey/pancake Chicken" experiment, I realize that eating with a sullen 16 year old may have been the long end of the stick. I made out.
I asked the boys how it was and this was Bones reply... big eyed like he gets when he wants to make a point, "Are you kidding me?! MOM. MOM. He made it out of...pancake.mix."
Me: Well, worthy try. Seriously. How was it?
Mr. T: Well... it was OK if you covered it with lots and lots of sauce. You couldn't taste the chicken.
Me: So you could only taste the batter so you smothered it in honey sauce?
Bones: yes. And in case you're wondering, it tasted like burned pancakes. With honey sauce...
I can't quit laughing. God love him. I'm going to tell him about this invention called the 'internet'. He can look up recipes...
I joined a pool with a summer membership down the street. We don't have a pool in our backyard, one of the few Florida homes without one, I think.
Every afternoon around 2 or 3:00, I take them swimming. I read and they swim and burn off energy.
And this happened at the pool, which in turn made me blurt out my most often said saying, "I live with Clowns."
Bones: Mom! Look at this! It's gum!
Me: OMG. That is nasty! Bones. Throw that away!
Bones: Mom, it's MY gum. I was underwater and Mr. T made me laugh and my gum floated out!
Me: GO... Throw that away!
And mistake number 1 was when I went back to reading my book and mistake number 2 was when I didn't watch him throw it away because Bones is the type of kid that unless you stare him down until he completes your demand, unless you stay on top of him, nothing is ever a demand... it is all merely a suggestion.
Flash forward 10 minutes.
Bones: You didn't! You didn't.
Mr. T: Bwahahahahah
Bones: Mom! He put gum in my hair!
Mr. T: Oh yeah, well he kept touching me with his gum. He put it on my back. So I just put it ON his head, but NO, he had to freak, pull his head under water and squish it.
Bones, big eyed and incredulous: I have GUM IN MY HAIR!!
Good grief. And his expressions were priceless and it was awful and I should have been pissed, but I laughed, mainly because Bones was so over the top Drama.
And then... seriously... three minutes later, gum in the hair was forgotten and he was doing his thing in the pool.
Yes, peanut butter takes gum out of hair. When I looked it up it said, "Don't use Chunky Peanut butter."
Really? Someone really had to put that? It's not bad enough my kid has GUM STUCK in his hair, but now I'm going to mix it with chunks of peanuts? Really?
Anyway, I thought this was something that happened to little kids... getting gum stuck in their hair. And happened to girls.
I was evidently... wrong.
I live with Clowns.
I think the hardest part of having a teenager, other than the sullenness and the fact that words must surely cost them serious cash because they use as few as possible, is teaching them to drive.
I absolutely do not have the stomach or heart for it. If I live through this teaching to drive phase, I've accomplished no small feat.
And it's not that my eldest is BAD at it... he's just NOT good at it. Yet. There is so much that comes with driving, so much intuition, so much learned from bad experiences. And he's got none of that so it's a clean slate.
If anyone can figure out why he hugs the right side of the road, I'd appreciate it, because he does. He rides that right side like he's pulled to it magnetically. And of course he blames my crappy asexual mom-mobile as the problem. And of course my husband never noticed. So I quit saying anything. If he wants to ride in the gutter, go for it.
Until this weekend.
I had business north of here and I rode up with a girlfriend while my family drove up on Saturday to join me for Saturday night and Sunday. My son said, "Can I drive home?"
I figured, "Let my husband deal with this..." and I took the backseat to be chauffeured and decided to try to sleep the whole way so as to not have to think of what laid ahead for us all.
He's been driving for nearly a year. He took Driver's Ed and has just a couple more hours left. In my mind, the 50 hours he's banked isn't enough to get the license. He needs more. Yet I know for a fact I had less than that when I got my license.
I closed my eyes while my husband directed my son onto different highways and then onto the Turnpike. Overall I think he did GREAT. (I'm alive, right?)
But...I heard it... I heard the 'dun nunt din nunts'. That's what we call them... those little knobby things on the side of the road that make noise when you run over them to tell you, "You're off the road!" or "Wake up!"
I heard the dun nunt din nunts (that's the sound they make) and I kept my eyes shut.
Flash forward to supper time when I heard my husband say, "I don't know why you ride the right side of the road."
Yes, I felt vindicated, in particular because we weren't in my piece of crap car. But mostly, I felt horrified that I have two more kids to teach. I keep telling him, 'You can do anything you want, but you're not allowed to kill me. There are two more of you at home."
Dear God, I hate it. It has truly amped up the stress in my life 1000 fold.
And people do this for a living... teach driving. No kidding.
Not blogging as I'm in a bit of a funk. Work is like being in a crucible. I spend a lot of time gritting my teeth.
It's never a good thing when people stay away because they can tell you are over stressed. I've never snapped at anyone. It's not my co-worker's fault when there is too much to do in my cube, but nobody wants to tempt pushing someone over the edge either.
Bonus for me, I'm not working THIS issue. The folks working that one, aren't seeing much of their families.
So in an attempt to find something that made me either laugh, *blink*, or think, "Really? WTF?", and finding nothing, my brother fortuitously sent me the following video. It was the 'Really? WTF?" response. And *blink*.
When it got to the mustard man... yeah, it was a gross laugh. I'm not sure what I would have thought if my kids had received any of these as a gift...
I don't know how he finds this stuff. I should start a weekly post "Weird Stuff My Brother Sends Me..."
Work is very stressful again. I told someone the other day, "This whole Wonder Woman invisible airplane was great in theory... until you have to maintain it."
That's where I am. Kinda stressing me out...
I've been visiting Joe every day. He looks fantastic. But I know what is really going on inside him and I suspect it will ultimately be the end of him.
There is no way they'll be able to control this infection. I know what he has, I've researched it to the nth degree. I've damaged myself having seen pictures of what this disease/infection does. I'm not in medicine. Stuff like what I saw in the pictures completely skeeves me out. There are people with iron stomachs. They become surgeons.
Note I do not have Dr. in front of my name.
I sit with him and we laugh and joke. We carry on like always. I have him talk to me about his family, what it was like in the 30s when he was growing up. Every now and then I meet someone who has known Joe since he was a kid and I can get them talking about their past. I listen.
I feed him supper when I'm there. I brought his favorite dinner the other day.
But I know what is going on. I know there really is no way he can win this... that even if he won this battle, there are more battles to come and how much can one body take?
It is wearing on me. Not him. He does not. The future for him... it wears on me. I put on a happy face and we have some serious talks, but I am the cheerleader with him.
And I txt his family up north and I let our local priest know what is going on so he can come when is needed, beyond his weekly visits.
But deep inside I know. And Father G knows. We know.
It causes me... anxiety I guess. I am anxious to realize the inevitability that is before me... a storm brewing that cannot be seen. Knowing I know... knowing he does not.
Joe is a simple man. We, the adults in the family, are more open about it now. My brother in law and I speak every day now about what needs to be done as Joe has no family down here and my brother in law understands the legalities and loves Joe as his own. We finally admitted to each other that it is the simpleness of Joe that we love. The simplicity that is him... it is a sweetness.
There are times I go to visit and he is more childlike. It's not that he's lost his mind... but this is the way he has always been.
I am hopeful. But I'm bracing myself... and I realized today after getting more of an understanding as to what's coming next week... that I am going to seriously grieve for Joe. I will grieve for him like I would have grieved for a father in law that I liked and loved... not just loved because of who he was.
Joe has always been good to me, always worried over me as I cooked for the family, always cleaned my dishes or brought fresh fruit for dessert. He laughs with my children and swears I am the best mother on Earth, although I know it's not true. He swears it to be.
I met his niece and the first thing she said to me was, "I know so much about you and I am SO happy to finally meet you!" And she said it with a sincerity that I knew that all the things Joe says to me when he hugs me good night, he tells his niece.
He is a sweet man.
I'm off for a few days on business. I'll be missing 2-3 days with him and it hurts my heart. I know he'll be fine... but it bugs me.
There should be more Joe's in this world. It would be a better place...
I remember when I first started to have children, a guy in my group was telling me about another guy I worked with whose son never came when called, who never did as he was told, and you never looked up when being spoken to.
In a fit of frustration, he took his son to an audiologist and had his hearing tested, only to find out that the son had perfect hearing. It turns out the kid just suffered from... being a kid and living in his own world.
I'd love to say this was uncommon, something that only happened to his kid, but if that were the case, Bill Cosby wouldn't have made millions on just that scenario.
What I did find hilarious, is that our engineering co-worker's mind was completely boggled by the fact that his kid was absolutely not listening or doing as he was told. He absolutely could not comprehend this thought process and thought for sure the cause had to be physiological.
I'm living a similar life to that... with teen boys.
For the last two years, as my eldest boy's voice when from a tenor to a bass, from talking like a normal 'kid' to talking into a well, I've struggled to understand him. When my second son's voice changed, the struggle began there as well.
I found myself starting out patiently, "One more time?" "Please repeat..."
Add to the frustration that Pop's Parkinson's was getting worse and the fact I absolutely could not understand or hear him... even though I knew he had issues... everyone else seemed to cope with it, whereas I found myself feeling like I was living in a cone of silence.
Everyone else could hear them all, but me.
Finally in a snit last week, I made an appointment with our ENT for him to check my ears and my hearing. My husband kept saying, 'It's not you, it's them' to which I would reply, 'Then why don't YOU have them repeat themselves over and over like I have to?'
The result? My hearing is normal for someone my age. The hearing loss is very normal, at jet engine noise, which is not from my job as I work with the prints and I'm not in the field. Its probably from some song I listened to too much, too loudly, when I was training for that crazy marathon. Those crazy years...
So I have normal hearing which means... my boys mumble and now I feel vindicated if you will.
I no longer get all pissy. Now if I can't understand them I say, 'You have one more time to get it right for me to understand you and then the conversation is over."
Pretty soon I'll put them on notice that they have one time to get it right and I walk.
What is with the mumblers? Am I the only one? Obviously in their head they are speaking clearly, but they're not.
It makes me bat crap crazy.
Today is Bones' birthday. He turned 12...
Bones' recap for this year... things I might not have posted.
He rarely calls me Mom. He calls me Dearest. I found it odd at first, but the part that is nice is if we're in a group of kids with Moms... I know when he's looking for me.
His feet are bigger than mine. The kid has some seriously ugly feet. They look like flippers. They're long and boney and the second toe is scads longer than the big toe. I laugh every time I see them.
This time last year, we were celebrating his acceptance to the Art Middle School. There was anticipation and trepidation. Trepidation for him at the thought of going to a new school and making new friends. Trepidation for me that it would not be all we needed it to be.
It was all that... and more. For the first time in two years, Bones bloomed. He flourished in his new school. He made friends, did well in classes, and had teachers that actually liked him and coaxed him along. I received personal email from teachers when he wasn't handing things in, from teachers who cared enough to let me know as they could sense this was his struggle. Forget this computer automated 'log in and check your kids' grades' crap, they actually took the time to let me know when there were issues, before I saw it in his grades.
We had highs... like the most amazing math teacher known to 6th grade, who taught math from not just doing and talking, but having the kids visualize and key in on things. For instance, he brought a wizard's hat in and named the wizard PEMDAS for the order of operations, explaining them as well. When the kids who needed a visual cue saw the wizard's hat they remembered... "PEMDAS".
When they went to two step equations, where the order was reversed, he taped the hat upside down on the ceiling so the visual cue would be... the opposite... SADMEP.
Bones, who failed math in 5th grade, made As and Bs. Bones does not have a math disability. He just needed a different teacher that could relate in different ways. It was amazing.
We had lows... like his getting a detention in PE. WHO gets a detention in PE? WHO?!
And his recent crash and burn during an important audition for the elite chorus at the school. He didn't make the cut, being the only 6th grade boy who tried out that didn't make it. He was crushed, but has moved on. He knows what he needs to work on now.
He will not ply his trade by singing. He doesn't have an amazing voice with an amazing talent. He has a good voice with good enough talent to warrant him being in the school he's in... which is all we needed.
We needed enough to answer prayers.
He had some sad times this year, like when he realized his friends from his last school were not really his friends. He cried for days.
But we had mostly really happy times, like all his new friends... he had his first girlfriend and I found out through the grapevine, his first kiss. (Loved finding out about that one a few weeks ago... did I blog that?)
And... and some "only Bones" times... that turned out OK, like his buying a condom from a friend and the Assistant Principal calling him in to cough it up... or like the time he made the bus driver stop so he could get out and keep from puking and a cop saw him and stopped him outside the front doors of the bus, as he was bending over trying to not be sick, the cop wondering if he was being bullied on the bus. In reality, he'd just gotten 'car sick', but that would only happen to Bones.
He's been into skinny jeans, some days wearing only red which makes me shake my head... the red crayon. Red skinny jeans, red shoes, red tshirt, red hoody. Who? WHO dresses like that? WHO?
And the kids at his school love it and joke about it.
It has been a good year for my bright shiny light of a kid. My star shaped peg has found a hole big enough that he can fit through it no matter the shape he is that day. My bare bellied sneech has fit in with all the star bellied sneeches... and nobody cares he is different.
Yesterday when we were visiting Joe, he grabbed my phone and took a picture of himself, went through my addresses and txt'd it to anyone he knew, including but not limited to, my sister, his brothers, and Son#4.
I took a quick picture of him today with my phone... he is getting bigger, his face thinner. He's still shorter than me, but I give it two years. I tell people all the time, before Bones, I saw the world in Black and White. With Bones... I see Color.
He requested a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream icing... lined with chocolate dipped strawberries.
So, Happy 12th 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… We love you so.
And if you want to see how much he's changed in this one year... go HERE to the bottom and look at the photo.
This week has been full of 'mosts'.
Most uncomfortable thing I've done in a long time... telling a young Italian priest a man had his testicles removed.
Most stupid thing I've done... tell a girlfriend I'd meet her to go walking at 2:30 in June in Fl... when it's 91 degrees with 60% humidity. We never walk less than 5-6 miles.
Most thankful I have been that I have a son that is driving... I called him and said, "I know you only have a learner's permit, but I'm just down the road. Come get me..."
And he did.
Holy crap. I just need to get him his real license... my life will be so much easier.
I told my girlfriend before we parted ways and I wussed out (at mile 5), "For now on we walk at 7. I can't do this..."
My husband and I went to see Bridesmaids tonight and we laughed. Very hard.
It is crude humor and usually I roll my eyes, but for some reason I couldn't quit laughing...
... or thinking, 'Holy crap... that would happen to me...' or "I've met someone like that..." or 'That DID happen to me..."
For the record, let me state, I have in fact thrown up in a girl's hair as she was throwing up too.
In my defense, it was puke fest on a dive boat. Wretched awful. I threw up so much that at one point the Dive Master said, "Is everyone ready, but Bou, who still appears to be puking?" as I grabbed my tanks, lurched to the side to have him yell, 'Dive! Dive! Dive!' I threw myself over the edge as he yelled after me, "I swear you'll feel better under water..."
Puking in her hair as we both hurled over the side... was just a highlight.
Or Lowlight. I wonder if she remembers. I didn't ever catch her name.
And yes, I felt better under water.
There is weird crap that happens to me ALL.DAY.LONG, that never makes it in this blog. Who in the hell has time to write it all when you're busy living it?
So weird is some of the crap that happens, that I have a coworker that actually waits for me to come in for some weird story from the day before. She knows I'm game and she's sure there has to be one and rarely do I disappoint.
As I told her of the incredibly awkward situation that happened to me in the hospital the other day, running into our young Italian priest, straight from Rome, who asked me quite candidly exactly what had happened to Joe... and I, in utter horror, tried to tip toe around how to explain to a man, who talks like Father Guido Sarducci, a man I hardly know, about another man having his balls cut off... and as I fully acted out the situation for her, including when he almost crossed his legs and appeared to wince, she said to me, as she laughed hysterically, "I so want to just follow you around with a movie camera sometimes. You get yourself in the funniest messes. Nobody has the stuff happen to them that you do..."
Seriously, it's what keeps life entertaining.
And I'm telling you, Saturday Night Live would have loved that as a skit...
And with Bones in my life... seriously, Hollywood would have a field day.