Yes, I'm alive.
During the last week or so, I've helped my son pack up to go to college, attended by 30 year high school reunion, got my son moved into his dorm, and I am currently in Washington DC on business I do for a women's organization.
My son is settled and although it has not yet been a week, I think he's doing awesome. He took a full accompaniment of kitchen items to his summer dorm and actually appears to be cooking. He really likes his roommates and his classes appear to be OK. He likes his speech class, but he speaks well publicly and speech is actually a major strength of his.
My 30 year reunion was fantastic. I truly went to high school with some of the greatest and nicest people. I hope my kids go to their high school reunions and are able to laugh at that time in their lives.
Bones looks at old pictures of us and says, "You all looked like something out of The Breakfast Club or Footloose." Good times...
It was such a pleasure to see everyone. I'm looking forward to my 40th.
I am in Washington DC, returning home on Thursday. I had the most surreal experience last night, checking into the hotel.
We are four women, sharing a room through Sunday... each of us arriving or leaving at a different time. All of us are to be in the room together on Wednesday only. I was the only one to arrive on Monday night.
As I went to check in, they told me they only had a room with a King bed. And when I said, "Oh, so you will bring in two roll-aways?" he replied, "Oh no. We can only put in one..."
And that would be when the conversation deteriorated into the completely absurd.
Not only did they not have room for four to sleep in a room, although all four names were on the reservation and they knew all four of us were coming, they never had any intent of ensuring that we were accommodated.
And when I said to him, "Wait. I'm lost. There will be four of us. Where is the 4th person supposed to sleep?" I was met with a completely blank stare.
No kidding, no expression, just staring at my face like I was from another planet communicating at him in some space language.
He actually told me that they realized we were with such a large group that somehow, we would make it work. That meant they expected me to find a place for the 4th person on my own.
We went round and round, until finally I said to him quietly, "This is the most illogical conversation I have ever had in my life. I don't think you've said one linear thought since we started to converse. I'm at an absolute loss as to how to respond to you..."
He handed me my key (king room) and had the nerve to actually write on the card the amount I'd be paying for the room, divided by four.
And at this point, I didn't even have it in me not to treat him like he wasn't stupid. I took the key and said in a quiet serious voice, "Did you actually just write on this envelope the amount of money I would pay for a room for four when you have no intention, nor did you ever have any intention, for four to be able to sleep in that room? Why did you not write it for three? Does that not make more sense to you? Do you not understand what is going on here? I am puzzled..."
And I got the blank stare.
What he did not know is that one of my roommates is a kick ass attorney who has no problem raising hell and taking names of those she leaves in her wake. I called her right in front of him and told her what was going on. I took my key and she called their HQ.
Today we're on the concierge floor. With free Wifi. In a room that looks over Washington Monument.
Tomorrow the fun really begins. Today was the beginning... tomorrow speakers, meetings, big energy and opening night.
Hey, I have a place to sleep. That's all that matters.
When my eldest graduated from high school last month, my sister and her eldest, G-Bug, came in town. (That is her new nickname. No longer will it be the Great Flambina.)
They live in Atlanta, so we took them to the beach, Boudicca's way, which is for dinner, when not in the mid-day sun and not fighting the crowds.
She's so dang funny. She thinks she's as big as my boys one minute and the next, she's being carted around on their shoulders. It's like having three uncles.
They love to play with her and when she's gone, they tell stories of things she did and mimic her little speech patterns.
So this is a video of a sweet 4 year old girl who is having a sweet little conversation with her Mama about why she shouldn't really go dunk her feet back in the water, so close to our going to Dairy Queen, and unbeknownst to her, there are rambunctious people that ... well... you'll see.
It makes my sister and me laugh.
You'll notice, she doesn't skip a beat.
I have about 20 kids in my house watching the Heat game. Most are spending the night.
It's been foodfest. There is a girl that's over that has asked to move in. "Mrs. L, I'm going to the Junior College. I'm not going away. Can I just move in?" I assured her that I don't cook like this always.
My husband said, "Sure, you can have Ringo's room. He doesn't use it much anyway..."
The house is loud though. It is REALLY loud.
The guys at work said, "You'll miss this one day". I might. They're good kids and so full of hope for their future. It's fun to listen to, although I do wonder about some of the conversations I overhear. Good grief.
Meanwhile... back to Tebow... Mr. T is very excited that he's ended up with Belichick exactly because of Belichick's ability to shut down the media and the fact there is NO media circus.
Tebow needed that a long time again.
If you've not read this funny post on an interpretation of an interview with Belichick, take a look. It sums it up nicely... HERE.
Did I say it's loud in this house? It's loud in this house. It's going to be a long night.
Tomorrow morning is 2 dozen eggs, one pound of bacon, 2 pounds of sausage, 2 gallons of OJ, and 36 blueberry muffins.
I already told them I'll be late to work tomorrow.
The guys said, 'No sweat. Seriously, you're going to miss this one day..."
They're probably are right...
I have a very funny video of what it's like to have a 4 year old girl with teenage boy cousins. If my sister will upload it... I'll post it.
We are evidently now Patriots fans.
'nuff said. If you don't know why, scour the 'net. You'll see why.
My eldest picked up a new song the other day. It's far from perfect, but I think it's funny that he likes to learn songs that are way before his time.
He's taking his guitar to college, but leaving his bass at home. His bass/guitar teacher told me he's going to miss him. It's never a formal lesson. The two of them just sit back and play.
Basically, I pay $25 for a personal jam session. I'm Ok with it, because it's been a huge stress relief for him.
I'm going to miss hearing him strum in the back room as he plays around with different songs.
I have 10 18 year olds coming over Thursday night as a last goodbye for Ringo. The Heat game is a good reason to have them together. Most will be spending the night.
Baked Ziti, salad, and lots of baking are on the menu... lemon bars and pound cake will round it out.
It could be interesting. I'm thinking of cooking and then running away...
Thank God for Summer...
We don't see a lot of my eldest son. He's never home. He either comes home late, is staying at a friend's, is at work or is just out and about.
I keep telling my husband, 'We'll be fine when he leaves. We don't see him much anyway". My husband is still struggling with it. Our first is leaving; he's ready, but not.
I, on the other hand, feel like I've spent as much time as it is possible to have spent, have done as much as I could to help prepare him, I like him as a person, he's only 2.5 hours away. I'm ready.
So the other night, all five of us were at dinner, which is rare because my eldest works or goes to the gym instead.
Something came up and Ringo said, "Wait. When was this discussed?"
Me, to my husband: See? We won't miss him. He's never around anyway. He'll come home for a weekend and we'll be like, 'Oh hey! How ya doin'?" Kinda like it is not. Except we won't have to save the cold food for him to heat up 'cuz we know he won't be coming home.
Ringo: Yeah, but when was this discussed? Was this during one of your secret meetings?
Husband: Yeah. One of our secret meetings. We have a name for them. They're called... DINNER.
Me: Yup. And they're held at a secret place. It's called ... ready? The dinner table. And it's held... get this... in the kitchen. With a big light. It's not even cloaked under the cover of darkness...
I'm going to post pictures tomorrow, but today I'm just too exhausted to do Bones as right as he deserves. Probably one of the worst days I've had at work, I told a friend, "I'm on the look out for drones."
That said, it was a GREAT day for Bones. Today he turned 14. Today was his last day of school.
Today, he is a freshman.
Surprisingly enough, he passed math. For the life of me, I can't figure it out except, "GIFT!" keeps popping into my head. I'm concerned enough that I have an appointment with a well respected school psychologist in a couple weeks. We're going to re-evaluate and come up with a plan. Otherwise, Bones won't graduate from high school.
The deal is, I'm not the answer. I can teach it to him, and he appears to understand it, but it's not sticking so I'm obviously not teaching it the way he needs it to be taught. I've hired other tutors, but I think the answer is that I need help finding the RIGHT person for him. At that point, we'll glom onto them for the next four years until Bones gets to college.
I've posted videos of him lately, showing the difference in just 18 months. It is insane. He is broad shouldered and lean. He laughs readily. He's funny and keeps us on our toes.
Today was also his '8th grade graduation', which was really just an award day. They asked people not to clap, but instead when they liked someone, to just raise their hands in the air and shake them. He was graduating with 436 of his favorite people. Clapping would draw it out to forever and a day.
Bones had half the room with their hands shaking over their heads.
Of course he was wearing a bright lime green shirt, why do you ask?
At his vocal jury the other day, his music director shook his head and said, "Bones, you look like a cartoon". He was wearing neon orange with some tie that went with it. (It did. His Dad picked it out. I'm fashion blind.)
I'm going to rent Who Framed Roger Rabbit, so he can see the real colors of cartoons that his teacher was talking about.
I met his teachers today and they told me how much they truly enjoyed having Bones in their class. I was surprised... because they seemed to really actually MEAN it. I can't imagine having the cartoon in my class.
Seriously, I can only take so much of Roger Rabbit.
Three years ago I was praying he got into the Art Middle School, knowing he would need it and it would be a turning point. I knew that it was the right place for him.
Three years later it is over and it was everything we needed it to be and more. It was a Godsend.
He's been talking about starting to volunteer to sing The Star Spangled Banner for groups. I've offered to have him sing it to one of my women's organizations, just to have him get used to it. But I need to talk to him. I listened to his group sing it today, and it was the most beautiful rendition I'd ever heard.
It was completely harmonized.
And I realized, Bones has it memorized as a baritone. I need to make sure he has practiced it as a melody or he'll show up to my meeting, singing it as the harmony and people will definitely wonder what is going on in his head.
Peggy U sent me the following slideshow. Holy crap. Slides 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, ok.. just about all of them are him. Please take note that Elf is his favorite movie and he quotes it and acts it out constantly.
And he does dance when he makes a C- on a Math test. Oh yes. We all do...
I'm hopeful. I am. He's a funny kid and I pray now that he's gotten into the new art high school, that he can stay.
This is Bones and his favorite past time... flying kites on the beach at dinner time.
So, Happy 14th 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.
There has been some crazy stuff going on at my boys' schools. That would be middle school and high school. It's all sex related and has had all of us, all five of us, lifting an eyebrow and saying, 'Hunh'.
The boys have informed me that this generation just thinks nothing of certain sexual acts. They, not necessarily including my sons, liken it to being like kissing.
Except I'm not sure when last I read that kissing can pass on HPV which can become throat cancer or cervical cancer.
I've talked and talked and talked, explaining that sex is sex and I really don't give a damn what Bill Clinton defines it as. If sexual fluids are swapped... in any way... it's sex.
A bit more graphic than I intended this post to be... but this has been going on for a few weeks now and has really got me thinking we're all going to hell in a handbasket.
Anyway, so my boys are pretty open with me, but in general, when it comes to the public, they are in a mode of what you say in your home is different than what you say in public. I have preached "Know your Audience" from day one.
It has a corollary that states, "What happens at home, stays at home" and another of 'We don't air our dirty laundry'.
After tonight's conversation with Bones, I think it is taking.
My eldest was at the gym yesterday and a 20 something year old was standing next to him. The guy looked in the mirror, looked at my son, looked in the mirror again, looked at my son, and said, "What size shoe do you wear?"
Ringo replied, "These are an 11".
The guy said, "Wow. You're what... 5'4"?"
Ringo nodded and the guy continued, "I thought it was some kind of trick mirror" an Ringo informed him that no, it was reality.
All the guys were quiet and finally the guy replied, "Well you know what they say, big feet, big meat" to which evidently everyone laughed.
So Ringo relayed this to me shaking his head at the absurdity of the conversation. And this new pair of shoes, do make his feet look abnormally big.
Bones and I were the only ones home tonight and I'd plunked myself down on the couch next to him, surfing the iPad for teenager haircuts because Bones really needs a haircut.
I put my feet on the ottoman, next to his, and I said, "Dude, you really do have some hugely long feet. It's amazing..."
He said, "Yeah, they are crazy long, aren't they?"
I related the previous night's story to him regarding Ringo and the gym and my soon to be 14 year old (Thursday) said to me, 'America is amazing isn't? Americans just have no class. Who says that to someone? Who talks about something so personal with someone you don't even know. Geez."
And I laughed because he really was right. Who does that? Then again it may be a personal issue for him, because his feet and hands are so large, I suspect he's getting a lot of what he deems personal comments.
It's been a busy week. My eldest had his college Orientation. My second son finished school on Friday. Bad Mom that I am, it wasn't on my radar. So when I received an email from the Principal telling us how excited the kids were to be out from school I thought, "Hunh. This was his last day?"
I had the marker dedication yesterday in St. Augustine. It went well with 85 people in attendance. The weather held out and it was really beautiful.
We made the third page of the local paper which was cool. Cooler still was the fact all the last names were spelled correctly.
No, that's not my name on the marker. It was just my job to make it happen.
And about perspective. I sat in my son's orientation, going to seminar after seminar, realizing I wasn't the only parent feeling certain our kids were probably going to end up back home.
Parents are VERY vocal about this; there is no shame.
"Could you explain to me how this tutoring works that you have to offer, because I have a son who has never opened a book in his life..."
"My son never communicates with us. As a matter of fact, I didn't receive this packet about this orientation, although I knew it was scheduled, until the night before. I didn't even know he had gotten a packet. So you're telling me all billing goes to his account and it is a privacy issue, you will not talk to me, because of something called FERPA and I'm paying his bills?"
and on and on it went... and this whole time I thought it was just my kid.
Anyway, during one of the final seminars that was about getting your kid to not only transition from high school to college, but also to actually getting a job when they get out, the seminar speaker said, "And what is your goal at the end of all this?"
The audience is quiet. He continued, "Your son or daughter has their degree... what is the end goal?"
And finally, one of the older Dads in the front, probably 15 years on most of us, says, "To have grandkids."
And we all laughed because none of us were there. We're all trying to get just out kid to be able to thrive, hoping they don't come home, hoping they actually seek help when they need it, and get out of bed when they're supposed to.
His picture was the really big picture and it was nice to see.