August 29, 2013

Stories from the Halls of a Public Art School

Today Bones had late start. For high school here, instead of a half day where kids get out at noon, the high school starts at 11 or 12, depending on the school.

So today I drove him into school and as we got to the front of school, I saw a girl who was wearing black fishnet hose, black shorts, and she had pink hair.

PINK.

I call it Horton Hears a Who pink, like those fluffy pink trees from the Dr. Seuss book.

Said I, 'Oh. Look... she has pink hair...'

Said Bones, 'Yeah, she's a lesbian...'

To which I said nothing at first and then replied, "How do you know that?"

To which he replied, "Because I know her Mom. And, she's dating a girl whose hair is blue."

To which I said nothing at first and then replied, "Oh. Well then. There you go."

Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (8)

August 28, 2013

Crazy Train

Band has started which means things are nuts here. Our first football game is Friday night, so I've been scrambling to get it up and going since the chairmen take their lead from me and my new football chairman, who is awesome, is a freshman Mom.

T is LOVING school. He loves all his teachers and since he's driving now and doesn't have to wait on his slug-a-bed brother, we leave every morning at 645 so he can just hang. He gets his license soon. I won't be going in anymore.

Only at his high school do you see a big Haitian priest riding his bike down the hallways. It always cracks me up.

Bones had his vocal test today. He informed me the other day that ALL freshman are tenors. I replied, "What in the heck will you then? You can't hit those high notes can you?" and he said, "You just drop out until you hit a range you can sing."

So I figured that was it... he'd be a Tenor 2.

They had a huge vocal meeting this afternoon, the entire vocal department, and she announced who would be singing in what position.

Bones is a Bass 2. He's now in the bass section. He is thrilled. His voice has dropped just a bit more and he's now the only freshman Bass.

Evidently the whole room erupted in whispers and quiet discussion about the skinny little freshman with the really deep voice.

Meanwhile, Ringo is at school and will be coming home for a long weekend on Friday. He's coming home because all his friends are driving to Tallahassee and he had no desire to make that haul. (It's about 4.5 hours to go sleep on someone's floor.)

Plus, his roommate is having a girl up for the weekend... so there is that... he decided to come home.

You know... I'm glad. I can tell from his texts that we are home base. I get texts late at night. That's when he and I talk. And then I wake up sometimes and find a stream of consciousness on my phone... a long text over whatever happens to be bugging him at 1AM.

When he awakens, I usually have answered in turn, making sure he knows I'm listening... my perceptions. I'm in his corner.

It sucks to feel alone. It sucks more to feel alone in a crowd.

So I can tell he's looking forward to it.

He has definitely changed his major to Pre-Med. He is bored in his econ class and actually hates it. I could have told him. There are business minded people and there are business minded people. I am not one of them.

The thought of taking a business class makes my eyes glaze over. Blech. Evidently its an apple tree situation.

And... he just got a bid tonight for a fraternity. We discussed before he left for school, doing things to make the campus feel smaller and networking opportunities. So we suspected he would go the Greek route.

He's excited. It was his first choice. Evidently, last week one of the brothers was telling people his name... the guy with the Announcer's Voice.

I think I've never posted that before, but Ringo has a very deep rich Announcing type voice. He actually sings beautifully, but doesn't. His voice may be deeper than Bones... it's definitely a richer more solid sound.

So all appears to be well. We're taking things a day at a time.

We're riding the crazy train.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:37 PM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2013

And Then There Were Five

Today I bought the fifth vehicle in my life. I'm 47 and have owned five and I would have been happy at three or four... but it was not to be.

Out of college, I bought a 1988 Mazda 323 for $8000. My payments were $187.03.

I put 157,000 miles on that car, kept it when my eldest was born as it readily held a baby seat, and got rid of it when the radiator developed a leak and I was having a second kid and we needed something a bit bigger for TWO baby seats.

I got a 1997 Ford Explorer. I loved that car. Alas, we only kept it for two years, 50,000 miles, as I got pregnant again and it wouldn't hold THREE baby seats.

I got my first Toyota Sienna, 1999. And we kept that until June of 2004, to about 130,000. I was nervous to take it too high and I'd had the rat incident.

I should repost the incident about the rat... most of you don't know that story and it was the big catalyst in getting rid of that van.

And so from June 2004 until today, I drove this Toyota Sienna. It's really the only car my kids remember. Ringo was 9, T was 7, and Bones was just turning 5. I had just started blogging or was a week away. It was on my blog it became known as the asexual Mom-mobile because nobody ever sees a van and thinks, "Oh! I wonder whose driving that!" It's a given, "Don't look... it's another Mom." I wasn't working back in the aerospace business yet.

I had JUST been asked to take on Treasurer of the kids little private elementary/middle school... a job that lasted 6 years.

A lot happens in nearly 10 years.

But it was time. I met with my mechanic on Friday and he and I discussed a list of cars that would fit my needs. I don't need to be in a van, but I'm not ready for a sedan or hatchback. It's still too tight.

Since I am VERY loyal to him, VERY, and he works only on Japanese and Korean cars, we narrowed my needs down to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Sante Fe.

I had NO intention of buying. I was just going to sit in them all. I'd done tons of internet research, read through pricing, different reports, looked at what my car was worth, and just needed to sit in them, as a driver and as a passenger.

I have loved my Toyotas, but they missed the boat with this RAV4 redesign. They forgot the families. There are NO air vents in the back and... absolutely not one electrical plug in. NOT ONE. There are two up front, but not in the back seat nor in the back trunk area. NONE. And I know the vehicle isn't huge, but when you have a kid that wants to puke, you have to point an air vent at them.

So we had to cross it off, which was a shame because I really liked the salesman too. I'd refer people to him. And on a side note, the Venza suffers from the same problems... no electrical plug in and no vent in the back seats.

I hated Honda. I just... yeah... nevermind. It didn't click for us.

We went to Kia and it just clicked. The kid who was into sales was sweet, the Sorento has a third row of back seats, that folds in so the car is really no bigger than my Ford Explorer, but when Ringo is back home, we can use that back seat for a trip down to Miami or up to my folks (if not too much baggage is required).

I'm hopeful. I don't care about color. It's a dark cherry color, looks like dried blood to me. The kids are adjusting. They think it's weird not to be in the mini-van. They said they kind of miss it.

The Hyundai dealer... was a disaster. My husband and I walked in, walked around until we found the Santa Fe. We opened the doors, sat in the front, sat in the back, opened the back hatch, played with the back seats, looked for the spare, closed the doors, walked to the Vera Cruze, did the same thing, walked BACK do the Santa Fe, talked about fuel efficiency, cost safety, walked around both cars... and NEVER ONCE did one person come out and greet us, ask us if they could help... NOTHING.

So we left. The place was dead, they were all in a sales meeting, it was 1:00 in the afternoon, and evidently their sales meeting was more important than making a sale. I told my husband, "Don't even take me to another Hyundai dealer. I'm done. I looked at the Santa Fe on my own. I'm good with our decision."

And we went back to Kia and got a sweet deal from a sweet boy, who is trying to get into med school.

So we'll see. My husband took a picture of the van, sent it to Ringo at college and said, "Say goodbye..." to which my son replied, "This is going to be so weird..."

Good memories.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:59 PM | Comments (9)

August 22, 2013

Odd Conversations from the Halls of Public High Schools

Bones and I were in the grocery store yesterday when the following conversation occurred, to the best of my recollection:

Bones: There is a kid in my PE class that has a 4 year old and a 3 year old.

Me: How old is he? You have a senior in your class?

Bones: No... he's like a year older than me. He's just turning 16. He's a sophomore.

Me *having stopped and finding myself near speechless*: I'm sorry. I think I heard you start this conversation that this young man has a FOUR year old AND a THREE year old...

Bones: Yeah, he's about to get his license and is excited so he can drive out to see his kids anytime he wants.

Me: Bones.

Bones: I know. Mom. He was... 12 when he had sex. That was four years ago. Actually, he was probably 11. Mom... who has sex when they're 11?

Me: I don't know... I don't know what to say.

Today's conversation at dinner got weirder. My husband was filled in.

Bones: Yeah, well, he loves those kids. He talks about them all the time. But they live with their Mom. She's a Senior at BG high school.

Me: She's 18?

Bones: Yeah, she's 18. But when she got pregnant, she was in 8th grade. He said THAT was really tough. At least in the high school, they have a pre-school like daycare. You can drop your kids off and still go to class. But... they don't have that in middle school.

He kept eating, adding to the conversation, and the other three of us had pretty much put our forks down and were staring at him, unable to figure out what to add to the conversation.

Finally I looked at T, who goes to a private Catholic HS, and I said flatly, "Hunh. I don't think we hear stories like this out of your high school..."

Posted by Boudicca at 10:02 PM | Comments (6)

August 21, 2013

Batting .33

Bones has tried to catch the bus six times.

He has succeeded... two.

Let me state that it is a 30 minute drive to his school.

Monday morning- Bus was so late that I had to take him to school.

Monday afternoon- Because he didn't ride the bus in the morning, he didn't know his bus number and missed the afternoon bus home.

Tuesday morning- Caught the bus

Tuesday afternoon- Caught the bus home.

Wednesday morning- Moved too slowly and we MISSED the bus. (Yes, that will NEVER happen again. EVER.)

Wednesday afternoon- He got confused and missed the bus. Evidently, only three kids made the bus. What the hell is up with that?!

So we're 2 for 6.

Not happy.

I told him I'm giving him a bye this week... it's new. But I can't keep burning the miles on the car because he's missing the bus. I'm trying to keep the mileage off the car some because I'm afraid of it breaking down before I get rid of it.

Although my mechanics keep assuring me that it's good for another 50K.

Ugh.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:37 PM | Comments (4)

August 20, 2013

School Daze

Through osmosis, Mama knows football.

T was asking his phone, "Siri, who is your favorite college football team?" to which his phone replied, "I always root for the underdog. So I guess that makes me an Oregon fan right now."

I said, "Hunh. Ask about NFL."

He said, "Siri, who is your favorite NFL team" and I whispered, "She's gunna say the Bucs" to which Siri said, "I always root for the underdog. So I guess that makes me a Tampa Bay Buccaneer's fan right now..."

T said, "Mama got it right..."

For now.

I need to win the lottery. I need to move out during football season...

------------------------

There was a double murder at Bones' high school this summer. A janitor came in and shot and killed two other janitors in the wee hours of the morning.

It was horrific. The killer has not been caught, although they know who he is.

It's shaken the school to its roots. Teachers quit.

At orientation the principal was all like, "Your kids are safe!" and after the first day of school, we all got messages on our answering machines, "Your kids are safe!"

I don't know why it makes me laugh. They aren't any safer or less safe than yesterday. Just saying, "Your kids are safe!" doesn't mean anything to me.

But what's funny is not until today did something click.

Yesterday morning Bones' bus didn't come so I had to take him to school. We were running very late (long story, it was a fiasco) and because Bones was to take the bus, I didn't pay attention during orientation as to how to do drop off.

So now I'm faced with dropping my kid off at a school located in downtown, without knowing the procedure.

I drove around the downtown block and finally found a cop by a school fence entrance. I pulled off the side of the road, rolled down my window and said, "HELP! I have NO clue where to drop my kid off!"

I think I staved off the boredom of the day. He was really funny, laughed with me, and had Bones get out there and go on in, rather than my driving around the block to find the correct entrance.

I remember thinking, 'Wow, I've never seen a campus cop in full bullet proof vest before..."

It wasn't until today that I could hear the principal say, "Your kids are safe!" and I remember now seeing a cop here and there all over campus.

Interesting.

Meanwhile, with my eldest up in college, he and his buddy snap chat me videos of him doing stupid stuff, like eating a burger or wiggling his eyebrows.

I think I see him more now than when he lived here. Granted, it's in 2D, but still...

Posted by Boudicca at 07:11 PM | Comments (6)

August 18, 2013

College Horrors

I was helping to organize my son's dorm room yesterday when he told me a buddy of theirs, this summer, had all his classes dropped a week before the end of the semester due to non-payment.

His parents were going to pay for his college. If you recall, those of you without kids in college the last few years, all information goes to the student. Nothing goes to Mom and Dad anymore per Federal Law.

The easy way around this is... I have the User ID and Password and I go in and check on everything, paying what needs to be paid and making sure that the financials are all worked out. They tell you to do this at orientation.

Evidently, the kid called home and said, "Mom! You didn't pay my tuition!" to which she replied, "I thought you'd do it!"

And he said, 'Did you want me to put this on your credit card?! I had no idea how you wanted to pay for it!"

And so it went and what a hassle it was to get him reinstated, his Mom paid his tuition, and a lesson was learned by all.

But as my son was relating this story, he said the funniest thing. He said, 'Mom, can you imagine giving ME the responsibility of getting all this right?"

I just sat there thinking about it and he said, 'Mom. I never get anything right when it comes to managing. I'm trying, you're teaching me, but seriously, right out of high school, can you imagine giving ME the responsibility of understanding how all this works and paying it all?"

And I know this may make me sound like a helicopter parent, but the answer to that was... NO.

My son is capable of a lot of things, but this would not be one of them.

I have sent him off to school with the tools required to succeed. He gets himself up, gets his laundry done, cooks for himself, manages his coursework, and gets to the gym. (The gym thing is big in this family. We try to maintain that physical health and eating are both important to keep balanced.) He is learning to manage his stress, communicate with professors, and figure out how to meet his end goal.

This summer we had some successes and some failures in all those arenas. We go over the lessons learned, so that mistakes are not repeated.

But as a parent, I am behind the scenes making sure his dorm is paid for, as well as tuition and fees, and that he has some sort of fall back meal plan since he doesn't have a kitchen this term. Next year when he has an apartment, we'll open a checking account and he'll move into paying HIS share of electric, cable, rent, phone, etc. Next year is the next step, but I'll still make sure that tuition and fees are still managed.

By the time he graduates, my goal is that he is 100% responsible and capable of taking care of himself. It's small steps... and he's getting there.

But yeah, I was surprised when this was how this Mom treated it and more so, that they'd not really communicated.

I bet this semester goes much smoother for them both!

Posted by Boudicca at 02:08 PM | Comments (6)

August 17, 2013

Ringo in College

We took my eldest son to college today. It was a family event.

Some observations:

There was a full fledged moving van in the parking lot. WTH? What were they moving in, quintuplets?

The dude who wrote the Mars Venus book? He could have written a chapter just by sitting on a college campus on move in day and observing the differences right then and there.

Boys move in big screen TVs, sound equipment, and gaming equipment.

Girls move in armfulls of 5 foot long fake sunflowers, pink squishy chairs, and big throw pillows.

Function meet aesthetics... and one day you all will decide to join under one roof, not understand why you struggle to communicate, buy some book about Mars and Venus... a book that could have been written by just watching you as 18 year olds moving into your dorm.

Girls decorate their dorms, obviously from what I saw moving in. I mean... full on decorate.

Meanwhile, we stopped by Publix on our way because Ringo forgot thumbtacks. They are used to hang his Steelers jersey on the wall. That's the extent of the decor in their room.

But hey, those football players look nearly life size on that big damn TV. (His roommate's... Ringo supplied the sound system.)

Dear God, thank you for the invention of Visa. I cannot actually type how much I put on my Visa today between buying a food plan so he's guaranteed one meal a day and putting cash in his account. I dread the bill coming in... because his books will be on that bill too. Ugh.

As I was running down to the parking lot, I came upon a woman who had just hugged her daughter. I watched her daughter leave, and then the woman cried the entire way back to her car.

Full on uncontrollable sobbing.

I was heartbroken for her. I was so sad for her.

I got my load out of the car and took it upstairs. I said to Ringo's roommate's Mom, 'I just saw a woman crying in the parking lot. I was so very sad for her... there was nothing I could do...'

And his roommate;s Mom said, 'She'll be OK. When we moved 'Luke' in this summer with Ringo, I cried for a week. I'm not kidding... I full on cried for a week. I'd be washing dishes, and I'd be crying. I'd cook... and I'd cry. Finally my husband said, 'Honey, you have to quit crying. I can't take it anymore..." and I just kind of pulled it together"

I wasn't sure what to say. I never shed a tear. I feel like such a frickin' heel. All these Moms...

As I left today, I pulled Ringo into a hug, kissed his neck and whispered, "Just because I am not crying, doesn't mean I don't miss you..." and we left.

So many sad mothers tonight. Sometimes... I think I must be broken. Or maybe I just worry about so many other things... I don't have time to cry.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:53 PM | Comments (10)

August 15, 2013

When Football Sucks Your Soul Dry

I couldn't start a Fantasy Football league because there is so much dang drama.

Both my boys are on the phone playing intermediary because people are pissed. "That idiot did nothing but choose receivers and now he only wants to trade his bench players for one of my top of the line..."

"Joe Blow didn't show up for the draft and so the computer picked his players and he got a great team, beating people out, that he'd never have gotten if he'd picked his own."

And on and on.

Bones came in and said, "It's 11:30 and they're both on the phone talking football..."

I replied, "Too much drama. I don't need that crap in my life..."

Right. So we'll see how this goes.

Meanwhile... we are getting ready for school, winding down the summer. Every summer there is a little paint your pottery place that we visit. My boys have been doing this since they were little, so now it's a tradition.

God forbid should be break with tradition.

So it was deemed that today would be the day that we went down there. My 18, 16 and 14 year old boys... going to paint your own pottery.

Whereas before we all showed up in my minivan, a tumble of boys pouring forth, this time, they show up in their car, and I show up in the mini-van, which by the way, will not make it to 250K but more on that later.

And whereas before they painted little animals, clocks, and masks, now they are painting... big ass ice cream bowls, the color of their favorite college teams.

Whereas before they talked about friends, pokemon or school, now they talked Fantasy Football and what player got hurt, who's getting traded, and how their teams are going to fair.

I had my laptop and did work, listening to them give each other hell while painting ice cream bowls they could be using in 30 years when they have their own kids.

Crazy.

-------

The asexual Mom-Mobile. It has served me well. It will be 10 years old to me in June. It currently had 228000 miles in it.

It has been all over the south, taken kids to their first day of kindergarten and their first day of college.

It is has a crack that runs the entire length of the dash, the catalytic converter quit (again), the cruise control doesn't work, and the driver passenger door has to be manually unlocked. The electric lock doesn't work at all.

I remember when I was helping to field the C-17 out at Charleston AFB. I went with a co-worker to gather Mission data from the C-141 pilots. A series of questions were asked and answered while we took notes.

Finally, one of the -141 pilots said, "Flying the C-141 is like being in the flight simulator. You know there's going to be an in flight emergency, you just don't know what it's going to be..."

And that's about where we are with my mini-van now. Every dang week it's something.

I've made peace with the fact it's happening this year. I'm going to end up getting a SUV as I still want something on the large side with kids to haul to college and two kids still learning to drive.

I'm just aggravated as hell as I don't want a frickin' car payment.

It's been nice. But I think this chapter is closing. I just hope to make it to February so I can get a good deal on this years models if I don't buy used.

GRRR.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:39 PM | Comments (6)

August 14, 2013

Week in Review- HS, College and Hedgehogs

Bones starts high school on Monday. I am hopeful yet again that people will help us get him the help he needs in math.

We got his schedule and they did NOT sign him up for a vocal class. If you can't pass the FCAT, you can't be in the art classes.

It has forced the school to get him the help required to make it through high school math and I think we're seeing why this is the 4th best school in the State.

So he's in a remedial math class, with a teacher that has tutoring every day at lunch. Plus he's in Alegbra I and I'll be hiring him an after school tutor.

Between all of it, his tutoring at lunch twice a week, our pulling a 504 plan to get him assistance, and all the other things... we think he may actually pass math in high school and may end up in his vocal classes early.

Until then, he does not sing. He was pretty horrified, "I'm going to an art school for vocal and I can't sing?" to which I said, "Your voice got you into this school, which will get you one of the best high school educations in the Nation. I don't care if you sing one note... ever. I just want you to get the education."

We'll see.

--------------

Football season is starting. The boys are in multiple fantasy football leagues. T said to me the other day, "So Mom, ya gonna get all your girlfriends together and get a league together?"

I'd call him on it and do it, but I'm in the process of putting together a 100 page information packet for a group I'm in and I'm planning a conference for 400 women.

Fantasy football league ain't happening...

--------------

I went to a funeral the other day where one priest punted it to another... and I feel pretty certain the family thought that the first priest was going to do the funeral.

It started off kind of shaky when Priest #2 said, 'Well... I didn't know so and so..."

It brought back memories of my grandfather's funeral when the Pastor said, "Well, I didn't know Robert, but I knew his cousin Mary..." and proceeded to eulogize Mary. That was surreal.

Anyway, unlike my grandfather's funeral, Priest #2 saved it and after we were done I felt like I'd been through group therapy for grieving. It was good.

-------------------

Shrub. Bones loves this little guy. He is a night kind of animal... and he's no longer afraid.

The funny thing is that whenever Bones holds him he poops. I told Bones, "Well... maybe you only THINK he's no longer afraid. Maybe you are still scaring the sh-- out of him".

shrubII.jpeg

Hunh. We own a hedgehog.

----------------------

Ringo goes back to school on Saturday. He's not excited. College is work and he knows it. His friends are all home from FSU for another week, so he's bummed he's got to go back when they're all going to be home still.

I said, "Wait. You aren't wanting to stay home because of me?"

To which he smiled, gave me a big hug and said, "Oh. You're right! It's because of you Ma!"

Right.

School starts next week. I guess we're ready for the crazy.

As usual... I'm hopeful.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:00 PM | Comments (7)

August 07, 2013

Fantasy vs. Reality

Ahh... yes... I found it. A friend of mine sent me this quote, from a book by Douglas Adams. It's his detective book. My friend said the quote goes like this:

There is a huge difference between not liking someone, even disliking them a lot, and shooting them, strangling them, and dragging their body back to their house and setting their house on fire. It is a difference that keeps most of the world's population alive on a daily basis.

That shooting house burning list... yeah... there are names in my fantasy world.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:46 PM | Comments (5)

August 06, 2013

Hedging our Bets

It's been a busy week here.

Bones got his braces off. He said his teeth feel big and slimey.

We got a hedgehog last night. His name is Shrub. We had to drive out into the sticks to pick him up. Way out. Way. Out.

I walked into the house, having traveled backroads for 30 minutes (T drove since I, evidently, don't drive anymore), and they had a kangaroo in the living room.

Who has a kangaroo as a pet? He was a baby... about 2 feet tall. What's up with that?

"Come to my house. We have hedgehogs, kangaroos, ..." Odd.

Anyway, he is home and the boys are very happy, bonding with him. He's not exactly warm and fuzzy.

It's been busy for me at work and in my volunteer life. I was about to beat my head on the desk the other day over something so amazingly absurd when I said to a co-worker, 'There is a tree outside that he needs to be hanged from...'

And that is when he told me this amazingly funny quote that I have to get from him again, something about there being a difference between disliking someone and disliking someone so much you want to strangle them, stab them, drag them back to their house and burn the house down around them and it was that difference that saved most of the people in our society.

Holy crap.

So lately I've been saying, 'That strangling, stabbing, burning the house list is acquiring names..."

I have to get that quote and I'll put it out. It's my new favorite saying.

Ringo is home from college. He seems to be content to sleep, eat, and go to the gym. He's good. He leaves in 10 days to go back.

He's not dreading it... but he's enjoying being home.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:39 PM | Comments (3)