I am back in town, but off again in a few hours to take my boys to Pensacola. I was in DC for business, but it was personal business, not work related, Thank God. Work is tough and I need to decompress. My brain is on permanent fry.
DC is very hot. How weird to think, "Wow, can't wait to get back to S. Fl to get away from this heat..." I walked everywhere if I could, the exception being once when the roads were closed passing by the White House due to some foreign dignitary gig, I was in a formal gown and heels, and the detour was way far out of the way. The other was when a woman I was with could walk no more. And of course to and from the airport.
I met a funny cab driver, who out of the goodness of his heart picked four of us up (formal gowns) and took us a few blocks, even though he was off. One of our women was not beneath groveling. He was quiet, but jovial and funny, telling us how he was off to get his wife and as long as he wasn't late, it was fine. It seems his wife said to him, 'You have such an easy job. All you do is sit all day and drink coffee..."
That was met by laughter from my girlfriend's and silence from me. When they quit laughing and joking with him I said quietly, "I personally think you have probably one of the most stressful jobs around. A cab driver in NYC, DC, or any big city like this... I'd have a stroke." He smiled at me through the rear view mirror, shook his head and said, "Yes. It is stressful..."
We liked him. We made him laugh. We tipped him and wished him well with his wife. He was fun. An intelligence was behind his eyes. He had good.... energy.
Otherwise, I walked everywhere. The 7AM walk was no biggy. The 2PM walk back to the hotel was brutal.
I was sitting in a meeting and a woman from Arizona was sitting next to me. I'd just walked over to the building at 2PM, it was about 100 degrees and DC is humid. I said something about how dang hot it was and she rolled her eyes, "Hot. You don't know hot. Come live in Arizona."
I told my roommates, I wanted to roll my eyes and say, "F*** you. Is this a contest? I'm from S. F***ing Florida, Beyotch".
Look. When you get above 95 degrees, hot is frickin' hot. Unless you're in the Sandbox, wearing fatigues and chemical warfare suits, I don't want to hear someone say, 'Oh... you don't know hot." THEY can say that. Not some twit from Arizona.
And cold is cold. Once it gets below 20, it's just frickin' cold as crap.
Off my soapbox.
It was hotter than three hells in DC. I'd be fit if I lived there as I'd try to walk everywhere.
Two of my roommates were big snorers so I didn't sleep for three days. My other roommate liked the room warm, which was crazy. I was ready to come back.
My one roommate is a lawyer and she wanted to go over to the Supreme Court and try to get in or protest. I thought about it for the life experience, "Hey! I stood outside the Supreme Court during a major decision!" kind of like I can say I saw a President laying in State, but then I thought, "It's hotter than three f'ing hells in DC. No thanks."
I spent as much time alone as possible, if that makes sense. I attended meetings, met great people, but when push came to shove, I was content to grab a book and disappear into my own head.
I walked past the Washington Monument every day and watched throngs of tourists taking pictures. I think most of Japan is now in DC.
I walked past the White House every day (I had to get to D street every day from Pennsylvania Ave) with the long lines of people waiting for tours, dogs, police, and guards a constant presence. I looked for snipers on the top of the White House and didn't see them. I think perhaps I've read too much Vince Flynn. (BTW, loved Kill Shot. Just finished it...)
I think DC is a nice place to get lost. You can be totally alone in a crowd and I'm OK with that.
Every morning, cup of coffee in hand, I made my way to my destination, through the heart of our Nation's Capital, and quietly contemplated what was up in life and in the rest of my day.
The people who run this great Country may be a bunch of self serving jerks (both sides, thank.you.very.much), but they can't take the history away from our Country. Everywhere I walked, it surrounded me.
I think we're the best screwed up Country in the world. And for what it's worth, I don't think there is a country that isn't screwed up. But are very very... messed up.
Nevertheless, it was very cool... and inspiring.
Off for a 9 hour drive to Pensacola. My eldest just informed me he'd drive the first three hours.
Dang I'm going to miss him when he goes away to college...
Did I just say that? Yes, I guess I did...
Sometimes we forget how freakin' huge Tropical Storms are. It's rainy here and was kind of rainy a bit yesterday.
I've not been well today, laid up in bed or on the couch, trying to get my bearings back and get into work. I'm working seven days now.
I finally made my way to the kitchen to pack my lunch eat at work, when my husband said after he'd come home from church with the boys, 'All this rain is from Tropical Storm Debbie..."
Me: No way. It's hitting Louisiana
Hunhead: Bou, it's a stinkin' HUGE storm...
Me: Please. You know how far away that State is from us? I just did that bus drive. 15 hours. It's a long dang way...
Hunhead: I'm telling you...
Holy crap. Crazy. I forget how big these suckers get... and I should have realized it, because when I woke up I thought, 'Dang, it feels all tropical stormy today...'
I was reading an article recently talking about another article regarding this idea that women can work full time, have families, and have it all.
It made me ask, "What is 'having it all'?"
I think that people get lost sometimes in this fictitious happiness that we're all supposed to attain. The American dream has gone far beyond being able to educate your children and owning your own home.
It's moved into you're supposed to be happy, everyone marries for love, and women are supposed to be able to have it all.
Happiness is crap. If you stay in tune with life, there are good days, bad days, happy days, sad days, sick days, well days, tough days, easy days, rainy days and brutally scorching hot days.
Nobody can stay happy all the time without drugs being involved.
And that's not my goal in life. My goal is to strive for contentedness. To be content.
Marrying for love, that's an American/Western European thing and although I did it and my boys might do it (the might being if they bothered to get married), but marrying for love doesn't guarantee its going to last. As a matter of fact, looking at American divorce statistics, I'm going to think the probability is that their longevity is less than those who marry for convenience, out of arrangement, or because that's what you do and 'he's a good guy, can provide, comes from a good family, and he doesn't smell bad'.
Being in love doesn't breed commitment.
So let's move onto this 'having it all'.
I did the career thing, fast track, trying to move to the top of the corporate ladder. I worked the long hours, fought the good fights, knew the right people. And this was back in the day when not many women were doing what I did.
As I tell people, 'If I walked into a meeting, that meant that there weren't any other minorities, no Asians, African Americans, Latinos or other women. One minority per meeting please...' That's just the way it was.
I didn't wear pink because I needed to look like I fit. I didn't bring attention to myself. My skirts were a certain length, my heels a certain height, my hair practical, and jewelry minimal. I didn't dally at people's desks for fear of being pegged as a girl gossip, because we all know, that's what women do... gossip.
I was in a man's world and although I look nothing like a man, I did everything I could do to not draw attention to the fact I was a woman.
I remember once I bought a new dress to wear for my engagement pictures. It was really pretty, very feminine. I usually wore suits or coat dresses to work, but this one day, I wore that one. I had three men tell me I 'looked so pretty'. I was so aghast, I never wore it again. I wasn't angry or feeling harrassed. I was horrified at myself that I'd overstepped my own personal boundry... I'd taken that step to not blend and looked... very feminine.
And then I started having babies. And my husband's job is very demanding and is not one that is flexible so although we worked our schedules so I could go back to work at 20 hours a week, I'm the one that had to miss if babies got sick, pre schools were closed, or anything else that required a parent be home.
And although I will admit, I was resentful that I was having to always be the one to stay home, my job was important too Dammit!, in reality, I felt like I wasn't giving 100% to anyone.
I was giving my best at work, but being 20 hours I was really only giving 50%. That was thrown in my face by many a manager.
When I got home at Noon (I worked from 7-12 four days a week), my brain hurt from thinking so much, I'd been up since 6AM, up all night feeding babies or walking them or up with a vomiting kid (my husband did get up those times too) and by the time I got home, I was absolutely beat, to be faced with little people.
I didn't have 100% to give anymore. I couldn't.
By the time I had my third kid, I felt nobody was getting the best of me. Everyone was getting cheated. I was tired, mentally spent, and physically a wreck.
Then the company closed, I got laid off, and while everyone else was crying, I was doing a big "YAHOOO!" No more interviewing nannies, worrying about missng work because someone caught a stomach bug in preschool, or trying to figure out how to work business trips into the whole mix.
I was relieved. Four years prior I'd been fast tracking it, ready to take the world by the tail, and gladly spilling blood of the incompetent along the way.
Now I wanted nothing more than to play with my kids, fret about dinner, and not worry about what was happening at some far flung air base.
But somewhere, someone thought... I had it all. I'd achieved it, right? I was working that great job in a man's world, I had a handsome successful husband, three great kids... and I 'had it all'.
In someone's eyes.
And the thing is... only the person walking in the shoes can decide what 'having it all is', because it means something different to me than it does to a lot of working women. In the beginning with just one kid, I felt like I did 'have it all', working part time at a fortune 50 company, very well respected and home by noon to play with my baby and hang the rest of the day!
But by baby #2, that feeling was going away and by the time I had the third kid, I didn't feel like I 'had it all'. I had nothing inside at all. I was spent.
Some women are perfectly content in their high powered jobs, working 60 hours a week, never home, missing all the big moments as they travel. In their eyes, they have it all. And THEY DO.
Some women want to be home full time with their kids, never work again, run carpools, be the one who is with the kids when they're sick, be class Mom, and run the field trips. In their eyes, THEY have it all. And THEY DO.
And some women did what I did, working part time, being home as much as they could, and in their eyes, THEY have it all. And... THEY... DO.
There are thousands of combinations and permuations of 'having it all'. And when a woman is content, that's probably when she "Has it All'.
Everyone has to figure out what 'having it all' means to them.
It took me awhile, but 'having it all' to me was a moving target. It continued to change.
And now I'm going to be 47 and I'm back in the work force, and my kids are independent, and we all come and go, but I still run them around, I'm still the person they come to when they're sick, I volunteer at their schools. Life is easier because they're bigger.
But I don't want to run the show at work anymore. I don't want the tiger by the tail. I don't want to be the boss, giving raises, doing performance appraisals, having to take care of people, making big decisions. I don't want that anymore.
I just want an honest wage. Pay me what I'm worth, let me do my job, don't impede my progress, respect me, and I'm happy. Let me be with my kids when I'm needed, vacation with my family if we can, and walk out the door with no worries at the end of the day.
That's MY own personal "having it all" now. It's not the same as it was 10 years ago. Twelve years ago, my 'having it all' was being home full time. And four years before that it was working part time and coming home to sweet babies, and ten years before that, working 60 hours a week in a predominantly male industry was 'having it all'.
Women have to figure that out. Nobody can tell someone what 'having it all' is.
It's not expando one size fits all pants.
So I guess my advice to young women would be, "Don't let society dictate to YOU what YOU need to be to be successful. Don't let society tell you what you need to do to 'have it all'. You define those terms... not anyone else. Definitely not society'.
Listen... to your soul.
Bones is performing in a dance skit tomorrow. He is dressing as a nerd that grows up to be the big man owning a business.
His outfit is a riot. He put it together. He's doing the throw the hips forward, knees bent, shaped a bit like a C walk with the arms away from the body. It's frickin' hysterical. He said to me today, "You know, I think it's funny they picked me for this part. I have the most swag of everyone and I'm the nerd?" to which I replied, "Well, you get to show off your acting abilities.."
So this should be interesting.
My former boss from the early 90s is a co-worker of mine now. His daughter runs in similar circles as I do now, although we've never run into each other.
The other day he was with his daughter who was with a friend of mine, and they realized they both knew me.
He told me today that she described me as 'intense'. I've known her for... 12 years. I've laughed so much with her. She always says, "You make me laugh!' But when she described me she said to him, "I know Bou. She is very intense. And she knows everything. And if she doesn't know it, she'll find out for you..." and his reply evidently was, "Yup. She hasn't changed."
I'm at a complete and total loss. If I were going to describe myself to someone, 'intense' wouldn't even be on the list.
Don't get me wrong. I'd not put 'carefree' on the list either, but not intense.
Kind of funny how other people perceive you...
We got report cards and FCAT scores today. Bones got a solid D in math and the highest 1 you can get in math on the FCAT that you can receive.
Nothing is unexpected... still you always kind of hope. One more question right and he'd have had a 2.
Which makes me believe that if he stays with tutoring this summer, he can be in the 2 zone, maybe close to a 3.
So they are going to tell me he needs to take remedial math and this is where I struggle.
I'm paying for tutoring and will keep doing so if he doesn't do remedial math. He'll have a tutor to help him with his homework every week and to continue reviewing old math all year long. If he does remedial math, which I suspect will be substandard with a teacher who doesn't want to be there, and kids with behavoral issues (he no longer has behavoral issues in school), I will not continue tutoring because that's too much math for a kid who hates it. That's torturous.
He has ADHD. I think one of the most important things for him to do is take PE. He burns off the energy. This year he had PE right before Language Arts and teetered on an A a good portion of the year. I want him to take PE again to burn off the energy, preferably before Math.
So that's where I am. In a perfect world, we'll pay for tutoring through the year to catch him up and keep him on pace, while he takes PE to burn off excess energy before an important class.
10:1 says it will not be a perfect world...
We know I can't teach Bones. We know that it's not possible. I can't teach him because he needs a REAL teacher who understands what he needs to learn, a teacher that can pull tools out of her toolbox and shine light in the dark corners for him.
I'm not the person that can do that.
After eight years of working with him, I'm burned out. I don't relate and I'm a hindrance, not a help. And it's not that his thinking is wrong, but we're just so different, that he needs someone who hears that same beat he hears.
I'm deaf to it.
I'm willing to work extra hours, go in on weekends, to pay for tutoring for him, if that's what it will take to give him confidence and get him through high school.
I just know... I'm not it for him. And I'm OK with it.
My Pre-Calc student went from an F to a C. If I'd had more time I think we could have gotten her to a B.
Her grades were not completely her fault. Actually, she should have had an A, but a teacher fired for ineptitude after the first quarter, bringing in a teacher who had never taught in mid 2nd quarter, and then having to play catch up to cover the entire book with 2.5 months lost... was more than her brain could take.
I think at some point, 80% of the class was probably failing. The whole situation pissed me off.
And I know you're probably thinking, 'You only brought her to a C...', but that's not what I'm proud of. Don't get me wrong, we're all doing the happy dance. We are.
But what I'm proud of is after a couple weeks, I had her laughing and she loved math. She loved coming over. There were times that she'd pop by a couple times a week just to make sure she got it.
She cared. When she had the F, she'd given up, hated math, and didn't care.
At the end, she was enjoying it and wanted that B if she could dig herself out of the hole.
I am so proud of that kid.
And I loved when she left that last day that I was able to say to her, 'I know you don't love math the way I do. I get that you don't want to major in it or have anything to do with the sciences, but you need to truly understand, that is a personal choice. It's not because you CANNOT do it, but because you are choosing not to."
And she believed me.
Because it was true and she knew it.
I cannot get that with Bones and that is not my goal for him. Every student I meet with, internally, my goals are different for each and I'm so thrilled when they attain the goals THEY set for themselves. I will bend the world for them to get what they want. Sometimes I think I am more excited than they are.
But I think that's because... they are our future and they give me hope.
Bones too. I can't guide him on his math path, but I can cheer from the side. I think that might be my role in his life...
Bones: You know, Ringo... you're lookin' all cut and all from going to the gym, but you don't look really... you know... fit or buff.
Bones: What you need is some veins sticking out.
Bones: Yup. Listen to your brother. If you want to look buff, you need veins popping out of your arms.
Me, shouting from the dining room: NO! HE DOES NOT NEED VEINS POPPING OUT!
Bones: Shhh. You do. That's a sign you are really cut and fit.
Ringo: Bones. I have never heard that in my life.
Bones: It's true. So here's what you gotta do. You need to do more push ups and more pull ups. You need to work your arms a little more. Get some vein action.
Ringo: You have NO clue what you're talking about.
*we're all staring at Bones lean frame with his jeans nearly falling off, not because it's cool, but because the kid has no hips*
Bones: I do. I do. You just need to listen. It's all about the veins.
Ringo: Go away, Bones. You annoy me...
*walking away* Bones: Fine. You'll see. It's about the veins.
This is coming from the kid who has been telling us since he was about 7 years old that he's going to work out only one side of his body so one side is buff and muscular and the other is not, just for effect.
Who in the world would take advice from someone like that?
"You know Mom, when you understand Math, it is a lot of fun. But when you don't understand it... it just really really... sucks."
That was today after his first tutoring session at a place here in town. I was so relieved. Attitude can be 80% of the battle.
I started by taking him for pizza before hand. His session was at 6:00, and there is a pizza place next door. He ate an entire 12" pizza. I'm not sure where he put it. He actually inhaled it.
Over pizza he said, "You know... I was watching kids arrive last time. Nobody looked like they dreaded it. Some of them looked kind of excited. That's kinda crazy, doncha think? Maybe it won't be so bad..."
I dropped him off and then went back to my car. I had been offered a seat there, but I didn't want him thinking I was hovering, wondering how he was doing. He needs to figure this out without Dear old Mom sitting nearby.
I arrived to pick him up and he was sitting at the head of the table, back to me, sitting straight, focused and working hard. There wasn't any sign of frustration or sad sackiness.
When he was was finished, he practically strutted out.
This is what they're doing right. He is very task oriented. They work at their own pace and they have worksheets. With every worksheet you accomplish, your card gets punched. With every Mastery sheet, you get two punches. Completing three worksheets gets you to a Mastery sheet. Evidently he has 10 punches in his card, and with 20 he gets candy.
So he's a task motivated kid, who sees progress and gets a snack.
It's all about the snacks.
Some things don't change. I'm hopeful again...
And the woman who runs it said to me, "These kids need to feel good about themselves. All the studies I've done in education as I got my degrees, self confidence is such a big thing. If a kid leaves here feeling bad, we've done something wrong."
And I think she's right.
About six months ago, my husband realized Pink Floyd was coming to town.
I think he suspected it was... the second coming. He was that excited and he is not the type of person who emotes like that.
Immediately he asked me, 'Do you want to come?!!!' to which I replied, "Absolutely not. Take the boys..."
So he bought four tickets. Tonight was the night for the concert. Bones has been waffling back and forth, not really being the PF fan my middle son is. (Mr. T is a huge PF fan. He looks so dang conservative and studious, but he was the one who waited to have Ozzy sign his book and he's the one that listens to what I call "pot head music".)
But I knew Bones would have a good time. He loves people. He loves the energy. He loves the experience of ... all that it promised to be. I knew he'd like the laser show and completely get into it, even if he's not a PF fan.
He asked me yesterday, "Mom, why aren't YOU going?" as it to find the perfect excuse to get out of it.
I looked over and said, "Dude. It's a concert. There are crowds. I don't do crowds."
Bones: You used to come to all the UF homecoming games with us...
Me: You glossed over the big two words there, "used to". I don't anymore. I just don't enjoy it. I think I'm... just too tired all the time now and I find fighting crowds and all the noise just very draining.
It's not that I can't do crowds. It's not a phobia. It just has to be something I REALLY want to see and Pink Floyd ain't it.
Besides, work is stressing me out so bad, I'm perpetually exhausted and my brain hurts. I'm starting to turn into a zombaloid again.
So I'm waiting to hear how it went. I did send a txt to my husband saying, 'Any flying pigs?' because someone told me that sometimes there are flying pigs at their concerts and he txt'd back simply, "Wrong Album".
Who knew you had to have a special album to make pigs fly?
I had my yearly women's physical today and I took great inspiration from Mrs. Who, who went to her doc's earlier this year and said she wasn't going to get on the scale.
I thought, "Why? Why do I step on it? I know how much I weigh and quite honestly, it's nobody else's business." It had never occured to me that I could actually say... no.
So I walked in and she said, "Go ahead and step on the scale" and I said, "No thank you. Not today. It always makes me feel bad, no matter the number, and I just decided... I'm not going to do that anymore."
And she replied, "OK. I won't argue."
And that was it. Simple. So I won't do that ever again. I don't see any value added.
But this is a post... where I want an opinion on something. I've already called my Mom and a couple girlfriends about this, but something odd happened and I want your take.
No judgement from me. Just your opinion. And should someone comment and you don't like their comment, you can't be nasty. I'll delete the comment. A modicum of civility is required in my home.
I've been going to him for 20 years. I know his wife, I know of his kids, it's superficial, but we've known each other long enough that we know what questions to ask when we see each other. He delivered all three of my babies and was really amazing. He's a really really good doctor. He has an outstanding reputation.
So today I was sitting there waiting when he came in and on his lapel was a button endorsing a candidate for President in 2012.
I was so... taken back.
To me there is a delineation as to where politics belong and where they do not. Social etiquette... no politics or religion.
I just expect that when I go into a place of business, that their political affiliation is not going to be thrown into my face. To me, politics is private. My beliefs are not up for discussion nor do I pry about someone else's. We all come to our views based on life experience.
I had to really burn down to think... would I feel this way no matter the political figure? I don't particularly like either, but I do dislike one much more than the other. Would I feel so strongly if he was wearing the one I disliked less?
The answer is yes.
Because this is what the deal is to me... when you are so finatical about someone in politics that you are willing to declare to everyone in your business, KNOWING you are going to alienate people who truly cannot stand that political figure, where does it end?
When you have crossed the line of social niceties and you've chosen to bring your political beliefs into your office, where is your new line?
And this is how I put it to my one girlfriend... he was wearing an Obama 2012 pin and if I'd walked into his office wearing a "I heart Romney 2012!" tshirt (if there is a such thing, blech) would he have given me the same quality of treatment?
Would his first thought have been complete and total revulsion and would I have gotten lesser treatment because 1) he was too distracted by his thoughts on what a moron I must be or 2) he just couldn't get past my political views to render the proper care.
You see, in my view, his putting his political views out there for everyone to see IN his office, have tainted the relationship. It now has me questioning... would he give me the same quality of care if I was a Romney Girl? Would he have been capable?
He has created this questioning.
Politics belong at home or with your friends who enjoy talking about it. Politics belong at rallies that you choose to attend. Politics belongs at the voting booth when you show up and vote...
My Mom and I were processing this today and she brought up a valid point, 'Maybe he has seen so many women who are not getting the care they need and he thinks this Obama care is the solution?"
And it was a very valid and good point. But I had to answer, "yeah, but he's not working in any free clinics to help these women" and as one of my other friends said, 'And none of those women who have no money and can't afford care are in his office with all of us with insurance."
My husband said to me, 'I think he's just excited about the candidate and has had too much of the happy kool aid to drink' to which I said, 'You don't know that. You are speculating.... you are guessing. He could be a complete freak with nothing but disdain in his heart for anyone who thinks differently. You just don't know..."
Because the bottom line is... I DO NOT CARE what his political belief is, but I feel that by his showing his political view in his place of business he wants to make sure *I* know his and there is a pretty good probability that he may actually care what mine is.
And he shouldn't. It's none of his business.
So I'm debating going back. I've realized I would feel this way if he was wearing a Romney 2012 button. I would. Anyone who is willing to completely alienate a portion of their business just by politics... I must question the thought processes.
What say you?
I refer to Bones as "the black hole of math", he sucks math out of everyone and makes it disappear.
It is that bad.
He barely passed math this last year. He remembers nothing from 6th grade math. He can add and multiply. He can do division, but not willingly.
It's a struggle.
I have a tutoring place for him this summer and they started his assessment today.
How bad is he in math?
He was asked to convert 3/11 to a decimal and he put... ready? You'll never guess. 3.11
I told Ringo about it and he said, 'Mom... that's not even logical. It's a FRACTION. That mean's it's a part of something. It's small. Three... is just too big..."
When Bones and I were in the car I said, "I think you will remember some of this when you sit down with your tutor. It'll come back. You've had this before."
Bones: I don't think I have.
Me: Bones. I assure you. You have. For instance... you put 3/11 is the same as 3.11. When they tell you to convert it, you just need to divide the 11 into the 3, you don't think you'll remember doing the 50 problems we did last year? And the year before?
Bones: Wait. That's it? Just divide the 3 by the 11?
Bones: But... HOW was I supposed to do that? I didn't have a calculator!
Me: *blink* The garage. You use the garage....
Bones: *crinkling his face* Oh. Yeah. Those
So. They actually think they may not be able to help him. They are going to tell me at the end of this month if he's beyond them. We may be finding his learning disability is so great they can't help him at all.
I suspect they will say they can, and he'll learn it all and since his retention is non-existent, by October, it'll all be gone, drained out as it does every year.
I liken his learning math to taking a magnet and wiping it over his forehead and 'POOF!' it's all gone. It's like erasing a harddrive.
We will see...
Bones had his first day of Drama Camp today. This is a camp he elects to attend, a bunch of free spirits such as he, are all in attendance. Said camp would make me bat crap crazy, but he loves it.
As I've said in the past, Bones and I don't have a Mars/Venus thing going on. We have a Earth/Pluto thing going on.
We stood in line for check in and he looked at me and said, "Shoot. What's his name?"
Bones: The counselor checking us in. He's a teacher. Great guy. Wasn't here last year. Dang it. It has to do with feet...
Me: I dunno. I don't remember...
We got up to the counselor and he said, "Bones! It's good to see you!"
I looked at the name tag and kind of shook my head. After he walked away I said to Bones, "Feet. How did you get feet? His last name is... Barfield."
Said Bones, "Yeah. You know. Bare Feet. Barfield... "
So evidently the musical theatre teacher took all the kids aside in groups by age and had them sing. The teacher thought that Bones was a drama major at the art school, and that he'd just never run into Bones. He didn't know he could sing. He didn't know... yet... that Bones is a vocal major.
Bones said all the kids were so nervous, "Oh no! I have to sing!" and he was doing this mimicky high pitchy girly voice. I said, "Yeah, but dude, so unfair. You do this all the time. THEY do not..." to which he replied, "True."
So the kids did their notes and he passed through all the kids, where Bones was last and this would be the part where the musical theatre teacher was stunned, because Bones belted out his note... and then another... and another... and as the teacher pecked them out on the piano, Bones pegged them each time.
Which you do when you're a vocal major.
Which thrilled the teacher and evidently he spent the next few minutes playing with Bones' voice, doing combos on the piano, having Bones hit as many notes as he could, in play back. You do this in vocal lessons. The teacher plays three notes with a pause between each and the student sings it back.
It's like... that Simon toy where you repeat back the sounds by hitting one of four colored buttons, except you use your voice.
But the teacher was having a good time, adding more and more notes and eliminating all spacing and Bones nailed it every time, but once. To Bones, this is no big deal. It's what he does. He has pitch perfect hearing. He has been imitating crap like a parrot since he was two. Plus he can sing.
He sees it all as an aggravating non-event. "I don't see what the big dang deal is, Mom." Everyone else thinks it's kind of fun to play with.
So I said to him in the car, "Listen to me. If Dr. X wants you to do some musical theatre this week, oblige me and do it. I think you're going to like it... "
Bones: No. I'm going to hate it. I want to juggle.
Me: You KNOW how to juggle. You LOVE theatre and you can sing. This so totally combines it. You will really like it. Do it...
Me: Bones. Look at Hugh Jackman. He sings AND acts. I love watching him do musical theatre. He's wonderful! And he dances! You could dance. You'd be GREAT at it!
Bones: Mom. We've been through this. I'm not dancing.
Me: Hugh Jackman does it all. And *conspiratorially* the girls LOVE Hugh Jackman...
Bones: Really. Really? Mom. You're playing the Hugh Jackman card on me? Mom, the girls love Hugh Jackman because... he's frickin' HUGH JACKMAN. He sings, he dances, he acts... but he's HUGH JACKMAN. He's this great looking guy, with like... 64 abs... and big muscles...and... this British voice that girls dig... and I've seen the magazines that say he's like the sexiest man alive. Mom. The singing and acting aren't what make the girls love Hugh Jackman. HUGH JACKMAN is what makes them love Hugh Jackman.
Looks like I need a new card to play...
He took the ACT yesterday. I asked him how it went and this is the conversation that ensued:
Ringo: It wasn't hard. But... the Science. It's weird. It's not like the practice tests I took. It was... bizarre. There was... too much stuff.
Me: It wasn't like the practice tests?
Ringo: No... it made you want to poke your eyes out. It was like, "You have three apples and I have four oranges, how many pancakes does it take to shingle an igloo? And the answer is purple because ice cream melts in the Fall..."
Me: Did you just make that up?
Ringo: yes, it truly was that bizarre.
Me: Ok then. If you did that poorly, we'll get a tutor for the next time around so you can figure out how many pancakes equals ice cream melting.
Ringo: Thanks. Hey, other than that, I think I did OK.
... my parents were married.
However, if you ask my Dad how long they've been married, he'll look at me and say, "How old are you?" and then he'll subtract a year. It's his big joke. In reality, I was born at the end of their 3rd year of marriage. Since they waited two full years to start having children, there was wondering amongst Dad's family if they'd actually ever really HAVE children. I think you were supposed to get married and then just immediately have kids.
My parents were ahead of their time...
It is hard to believe it has been 50 years. I remember when my grandparents were married 50 years. They were old as crap.
My parents aren't old at all. And so suddenly it seems really weird to say '50 Years' because EVERYONE thinks that's a really long crazy time, but my parents are so young... so how does one come to terms with that mentally?
I don't post pictures of my folks. But I do have one from their very first date... and I think this would be 53 years ago. It was the summer of 1959. They were married in 1962.
So this is the gig on how it happened; I don't think I've chronicled it before and I may get part of it wrong.
My Dad had just finished his Plebe year at Annapolis. He and his friend were on their summer cruise in the Great Lakes area. My Mom had just graduated from high school and was about to start college at their local college, Toledo University. She was still living at home with my grandparents.
When my Dad and his friend were around town, Dad's friend met a girl that he wanted to go out with. The girl surely wasn't going to go out with some strange boy, but told the Midshipman, she'd go out if he could find a date for her friend. They would double date.
So Dad's friend had my Dad go and the girl called my Mom.
As the story goes, as the two young men came to my grandmother's door to get my Mom, my grandmother said to my Mom that she hoped her date was the short one, because he was really cute.
And it was.
They went out a couple times when he was in town and then he finished his cruise, going back to the Naval Academy and Mom started college. They wrote letters back and forth... but probably not many and not for long.
Then two years later, right before the summer of his Senior year, she received a letter from my Dad, asking her to come for June week and to go to the Ring Dance with him. My grandparents took my Mom to Annapolis and the story goes, my Mom was afraid that she wouldn't remember what my Dad looked like, but my grandmother assured her that SHE remembered.
My Mom spent the week there, evidently in a dorm environment with other girls, while she went to the festivities with my Dad.
And then in October, I guess, she got a letter asking her to come to Philadelphia to the Army Navy Game. My Mom took the train and met him. They went to the game and then to dinner... and my Dad asked her to marry him.
So. Let's think about that.
I think there was June week and a couple dates. It is probably the most impulsive thing my Dad ever has done. I asked my Mom why she said yes. I think she said she was just so surprised. It surely wasn't because she didn't have any suitors. She had plenty.
And if you ask Dad what he would have done if she'd said no, his answer is, "Buy a Corvette..."
But she didn't say no, and a wedding was planned, she flew down to Alabama at Christmas to meet my paternal grandparents, then there was my Dad's graduation from Annapolis and then they got married in Toledo.
So. How many times had they physically seen each other? How much time had they really spent with each other? Not so much.
And here it is 50 years later. They grew together.
Now... I cannot imagine them apart.
I'm going to break a major rule here and post a picture of my folks. Hell, they're off on the beach honeymooning. They aren't here for me to ask for permission, so I'm not going to. I have the keys, you know...
This was taken 5 years ago at Bones 1st Holy Communion.
And for the record, no, my Mom doesn't dye her hair. And yes, five years later, it's still that dark. Crazy. Mo and I are greyer than she is. Dad's beard is trimmed differently now, more of a Sean Connery look. It looks very classic and distinguished.
So Happy 50th Anniversary to my Mom and Dad. I cannot put into words, the depth of my love for you. Thank you for everything you've done for us... so much laughter, so many wonderful memories. I had the best childhood anyone could ask for. There was never any doubt in my mind I was loved, that we were loved,and that you loved each other.
Some of my newer readers may not know this, but I didn't always blog here. I blogged elsewhere, back in June... 2004. My kids were much smaller, there was much more blog fodder, and at times things were really really funny.
VW and I went to dinner tonight and she had me watch the funniest dang video I think I've seen in a long time. So if you've not seen it, you need to watch it in its entirety because you will laugh.
And from my old blog, I have resurrected my post, about having THE talk witih my then nine year old, who is now 17.
Video first, old post last. Have fun.
THE Talk... Yes... It Happened It was inevitable. He is 9. Yes… it happened. He and I… Had.The.Talk. I know, ladies and gentlemen, we've suspected it would happen soon and I told you I would blog on it... and it did happen. Good news is his siblings were not in the car. The other good news is I wasn’t barreling down I-95 at 75MPH only to nearly have a heart attack, crashing us into a canal, killing us both from impact or drowning. Yeah, I consider that a bonus.
We were in the parking lot of KFC, having just pulled in when he tells me of this word he heard. It was F*ck and he’s heard it before, but I believe he heard it from a kid or something and now he was questioning. That’s cool, I want him to question me. I can tell him what is appropriate vs. not appropriate. So it went something like this:
Me: Do you know what it means?
Son: Nope. But I want to.
Me: It’s a nasty trashy word for having sex. (pause as he has this totally blank look on his face) Do you know what sex is?
Son: Yeah, I know what that is.
Me: (Trying to figure out if he read it, figured it out, or if someone told him.) Ok. But I need to know what you think it is.
Son: It’s when a man goes into a restaurant and takes off his shirt.
Son: Yeah, you know takes off all his clothes.
Me: Son, that is called getting naked in a restaurant, which is illegal btw, that is not sex.
Now… I COULD NOT allow my 9 ½ year old to walk around thinking that getting naked in a restaurant was having sex. Of course I wanted to laugh. How in the hell did he assimilate that?! So… I had to tell him. I just said no, that’s not what it was and I was very scientific as I tend to be, explaining how men are different, women are different, mating, sperm, eggs, Voila… baby.
I don’t know what he was thinking. He wasn’t embarrassed, but his face was kind of blank, like it took, but didn’t make sense. Finally he said, “Did Dad do this?” to which I replied, “Yes he did.”
That was his big question: Did Dad do this? Which reminded me of when my Mom told me and I looked at her and said, “You did this THREE times? You must really love us” and Mom feeling worthy of more hero worship said, “Oh, yes I did!” Of course we all laugh about the story now, of how she sacrificed herself three whole times just to have us. What a riot.
It is all the perspective of the gender you are, so that was his thing… had his Dad done it. Damn, if the boy only knew.
Of course I explained about being older, wanting children, and NOT talking about this to his friends and siblings, all topics I will keep open and continue to add to… but I needed to add levity so I said, “Do you remember the time we went to visit Aunt and I took you to that farm and you showed me that donkey giving that other donkey a piggy back ride?”
He said, “Yeeeeaaahhh.”
I replied, “They weren’t giving piggy back rides. That’s how animals have sex.”
He laughed hysterically and then I said, “And do you remember when we were at dinner and you said to Big Daddy (their name for TGOO) that you saw a donkey giving a piggy back ride to another donkey and he raised his eyebrow, looked at me and said, “oooooohhh, reeeallly?””.
Then I said, “And do you remember last spring when we went to Lion Country Safari and you and your brothers kept talking about how all the animals were playing giving piggy back rides to one another and Mimi and Big Daddy and I just sat there? Well, they weren’t playing piggy back ride… they were mating.”
So now he is laughing so hard, there are tears nearly streaming down his face as he realizes all that has been happening and what he thought. I’m laughing too.
But honestly, I think I am laughing the most at the thought of one day, his sitting around with a bunch of friends saying, “Oh yeah, and how did YOU find out” and his replying, “Well… I was in our mini van with my Mom in the parking lot at Kentucky Fried Chicken, wondering what the word F*ck meant…”
And to add a sidenote to this, an update if you will, my sister, Mo, and I were talking shortly thereafter and she said, "You do know that he's going to think that people do it doggy style, that everyone does it like animals..."
To which I replied something like, "I don't care. I did my job. Let him figure out like the rest of the men in the world do. He can find Playboys or something..." and I washed my hands of it.
Now that he's 17, I haven't the guts to ask him, "So, Ringo, tell me, do you think that people only do it doggy style?"
There are some places you just...do...not... go.
Last day of school was today. Thank... God. I made it.
All day long... this song ran through my head...
And T made Life Scout today. This will be the Eagle badge summer as the boys finish up the Eagle badge requirements, Ringo works on his Eagle project and T tries to figure out what he wants to do.
So as of today, I have all teenagers. No more pre-teens or toddlers or preschoolers or adolescents.
I now tell people, my children are 13, 15, 17.
It's been a tough academic year for Bones. He spent the last half of the year on academic probation. He seemed to have pulled it out, but he is having tutoring for Math over the summer. We think he passed math... we think.
His voice has changed and is nearly an octave lower than it was one year ago. Working with a vocal coach every week, you can see the vocal change literally week by week, whereas with my othe two boys, it was just something that happened.
Ringo woke up one morning and it was as if his voice changed over night. Mr T's voice broke and sounded like he was talking over sand paper for about 18 months. Either way, we weren't keeping track of it. It was a part of our lives.
But this year, as we've gone in for his lessons, every week she listens to how he sings and there would be a week where he would hit one note lower than the week before and one week... it was a full three notes lower.
That was crazy.
So this year has been an odd year of listening to his voice change.
He's also growing. Last month I noticed the tendons and muscles in his neck and shoulders starting to form like his older brothers'. His face is starting to thin. He's going to be as tall as me probably in the next 18 months.
I will soon be the shortest person in this house. The shortest and most feared... heh.
I pray a lot with him. Or rather about him.
This is a conversation I had with our assistant at work yesterday:
Her: So how is Bones?
Me: I have never ever in my life met anyone who makes all of their decisions based solely on emotion or impulse. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. There is not one logical or linear thought in his head.
Me: Not one. Not one. I've never met anyone like it. I have nothing in common with him. Our decision making skills could not get any polarized...
Her: Well and you work here, and everyone here thinks more like you.
Me: Exactly. Seriously, I've never met anyone who makes their decisions based on emotion or impulse...
Me: *walking out of the breakroom with her as I carried my flower scented trying to de-stress myself tea* You know, maybe if I hung out with homeless people or... went to visit a prison. Maybe those are the kinds of people that make decisions like he does. That's why they end up in those messes...
Her: *bwahahhaha* He is not going to end up homeless or in prison!
Me: From your mouth to God's ears...
On the positive... Bones is the master of connecting with people. That is his knack. And it's not just one group of people. He loves people.
His latest thing for the last three years, is his absolute love and adoration of my nieces, Mo's babies. That is all he talks about, is how much he loves them and wants to be with them.
I was sifting through pix from this year and I found this one from February. This is The Great Flambina with Bones on the couch, using Mo's new FSU quilt I made for her out of all her FSU college Tshirts.
They are pretending to be asleep, which is a family joke.
So, Happy 13th 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.
My brain is absolutely fried. I have spent most of this evening coaching my son and one of my students on the rest of their Alg II and pre-calc information before their exams.
I am swimming in logs and natural logs, solving for X using them, change of base, ellipses, hyperbolas, completing squares, sequences, series, and a touch of trig for good measure.
And this is going to be honest, but it blows me away how much I remember, consistently, and the kids just think it's me. I finish sometimes, thoroughly mentally spent, trying to remember tricks my teachers taught me, reading their books, taking it that next step... and inside there is a voice in me doing this big screaming happy dance that I was able to do it and convey it... and it's lost on them.
Mr. T seriously thinks that I just pull this stuff out of my head like I use it every day.
Today though, he was struggling with ellipses and I said to him, "Really? I remember it not being hard. Let me look at it... I think I remember there being this easy relationship between a's, b's and c's... and axis" and WHOOSH! it all came back from 1982 like it was yesterday.
Some of it comes back. Some of it does not. Logs always take me awhile to brush up. I'm an expert today, but next month... I'll have to relearn that crap....
Our good news: Bones got into Chorale. Chorale is the top tier choral group at his art school.
This is a BIG deal for us. BIG. Last year he failed his audition miserably.
This time he nailed it. I suspect his audition for the other group went similarly, which means this could be the year of singing...
And his birthday is tomorrow. More then...
This is the group that he just got into... two years ago.
Everyone is kind of done here in this home. The boys are absolutely mentally checked out. Every day has become a struggle with Bones, but I think I received some good news today that may offset some of the bad feelings as of late.
So hopefully tomorrow, some good news.
Mr T is so ready for his freshman year to be over, it's just not even funny. He has been plagued with two terrible teachers and it's taken a mental toll on him. I paid for these bad teachers. Yes, I'm a little pissed, why do you ask?
But his freshman year has seen him really buckle down with study skills and he's launched himself pretty much into the first chair trombone position. He was asked to change band classes, but couldn't fit it in his schedule. He got an award this year for it at the Band banquet and he's pretty proud of himself.
Ringo has had some GREAT teachers. I paid for these GREAT teachers and I think they were worth every damn penny. Too bad we had to suffer through some aggravation to get there...
He pisses me off. He has such a gift and doesn't see it.
I came home from San Antonio at 10:00 one night, had to pack and leave at 5AM the next morning for Tyndall AFB. On my flight home from San Antonio, during my 7PM lay over I got a text that said, "Mom, I have my pre-calc final tomorrow morning. When you get home, can you help me study?"
WTF? How long had he known about the test and now at 10PM at night I was going to try to cram Pre-Calc into his head?
Bonus was he sent me a txt saying, "I promise I've been studying and I only have a few areas I'm struggling with..."
He said that because last year we spent ALL of Memorial Day weekend with my trying to cram an ENTIRE Semester's worth of Geometry into his head. I think we spent 21 hours studying.
I tell him often that there must be some way for him to put this on my tombstone. "Here lies Mom, she once spent 21 hours teaching an entire semester of Geometry for an exam".
Anyway, I was still stressed. I got home at 10 and immediately we hit the books for an hour where there was quite a bit he didn't get. Probably only five or eight questions out of six pages, but... all a different area.
So I sat down and went through every area, and each time he said 'OH! That makes sense. Easy."
The kid pulled a B+... he got a 90 on the test.
And he doesn't realize how much of a blessing it is.
Anyway, it's done. He finished his Junior year, he made Honor role for the first time ever, every single quarter and he did pretty well.
Bones... well Bones is Bones and Bones stresses me out, so until tomorrow, we won't go there.
As for me, there is a small chair in my boss's cube that they call "Bou's Jump Seat". Nobody sits there but me. I ask the most questions, but then again, I was told by one of my co-workers the other day that he thinks that my job absolutely sucks. I pulled him in to help me the other day and after it was done he said, 'I hate this. Your job sucks. It stresses me out..."
So today I sat in the Jump Seat and my boss looked at me and said, "You... smell like flowers..." Which startled him because I don't wear pink, I don't wear perfume at work, I don't do flowery at work.
I looked at him and held up my big coffee mug, "It's not me. It's the hot tea. I'm drinking a honey ginseng tea. I'm stressed..."
He said, "Does it help?"
I replied, "The peppermint gum helps sometimes, it makes me not want to vomit so much, but it's not doing much lately. This tea seems to keep the burning in my stomach at bay..."
To which he replied in kind... "Maybe I should try the tea..."
That's about how we roll right now.
It's been a long week. Work is starting to ramp up and get ugly. You know it's bad when at the end of the day your boss's phone rings and you can tell he doesn't want to pick it up and when he finally does, and hears his wife's voice you hear a whispered, "Thank God it's you..."
To me... it shows just how bad it's getting where we are, massive stress, to how good a relationship he has with his mate. When things are seriously sh!tty at work, I enjoy when she calls so I can hear the change of his voice and I can hear him relax.
It's a good sound sometimes amidst the chaos. Of which we have much as of late...
I will forever laugh at this conversation between my boss and I today at work.
It is very casual where I work. I wear sandals and jeans every day. I'll get out of the shower, towel dry my hair, throw on quick make up, and slide into work with my hair still damp.
At company X? No. I was always in hose, heels and a suit. When I was out at Tyndall? I may have been in jeans (I was in the shop), but I always had a collared shirt, tucked in shirt, belt... and of course my steel toed shoes.
And so that was our conversation later this afternoon... my saying how much I had to think about what I was going to wear when out in the field.
I walked into work today and I noticed that my boss looked really nice. The khaki pants he was wearing fit better. Sometimes he looks too thin. (Big stress at work... Big.) But these khakis had a flat front and hung better. He looked fuller and I thought it was a nice look.
Boss: I don't think I wore jeans the entire time I was there.
Me: d'oh. I wore jeans or khakis, but I don't own that many pairs of non-jeans and I wasn't going to buy more khakis. I'd already had to spring for steel toed shoes...
Boss: Yeah. Well... I sure as hell didn't wear THESE khakis.
Me: They're new...
Boss: I picked up a size 10 this morning.
Me: But... they fit. You don't wear a 10?
Boss: Let me repeat that. I picked up a size TEN this morning...
Me: OH! Crap! Those are your wife's pants!
Boss: YES. *shaking his head*
Me: OMG. You cannot tell her. You cannot.
Boss: Are you freaking kidding me? I'm just slipping into the house and quietly putting them in the laundry. Nobody will know...
Me: Holy crap. It's a peeve of mine when I think I'm getting bigger than my man. I've always been a small person, so if I'm bigger than my man, I suddenly feel this need to starve myself. It makes me feel bad...
Boss: I hear you. That's why I'm saying NOTHING.
Me: Holy crap. I can't quit laughing.
Boss: not... a dang... word.
So this is what I find humorous. HE isn't telling her that not only did he fit into her pants, and he had room to spare, and he didn't realize it until he was well into work, but *I* am not telling him that he looked better in woman's pants than the man's...