I have 15-20 women coming to stay in my home next weekend for a big retreat. I'm in the process of cleaning.
I've gone into closets I've not gone into in... 10 years.
It is easy to clean when you just say, "I'm throwing it all away..."
I'm going to have 15 bags for donations and big trash day is this week.
I'm not sure what's gotten into my husband and me. We're about to start some home renovations as well. I'm getting us on city water in the next month. We're redoing the back patio in a concrete stamp so it doesn't just look like a slab. The boys bedrooms are being repainted the first weekend in August. I'm starting to save money for renovating our last bathroom.
I have a long term and short term goal list that I keep on the fridge. We've been saving for the short term list and some of the old long term goals are now here.
So this is the year.
Next up... picking a color to repaint the inside of the house. I would love to do that next year.
Tip of the Day.
When you go to a Catholic HS and they don't allow facial hair in their school pictures...
... and when it is the summer before your senior year...
... it would NOT be the time to grow humongaloid mutton chops for the summer...
... for if you go to the Keys for the week with buddies, go to the beach a couple times at home, just in general hang out side when you live in S. FL...
... when it comes time to shave off said mutton chops for school pictures, there will be huge mutton chop white spots on the sides of your face.
In case you have wondered, the accident report is out for Lex's death. I found it and nothing about it makes me feel better. It makes me feel more ill...
Let me know if the link doesn't work and I'll provide the path.
In Scouts, we have Scout Masters and Committee Chairmen, at least in T's Troop. Our Committee Chair finally left, all his boys having graduated from high school. I think he had the job for nine years.
He was awesome. He was kind. He had a good heart. He made us feel good. He made the boys feel good.
We have a replacement and I went to the meeting tonight. I ended up having to leave, because he was the biggest jerk, I was going to call him on it... in front of everyone.
And no good can come of that.
Our Treasurer called me and said, "I think he sucked the life out of me." I've already told the Scout Master he may have a mass exodus of volunteers. The key is, we're volunteers. If you don't treat your volunteers well, they leave.
I have one more year.
Meanwhile, our band director quit at T's high school. It was just in time as the boys were all sick of him and had gone to guidance (led by Mr. T) to get pulled out of band. This was in March. Fortunately, guidance, realizing what a trainwreck this would be for the new band director, showed their hand and said to the boys, "Don't leave. Just don't. We promise... change is coming."
And the boys kept it quiet until it was announced. I was proud of them. Instead of doing a happy dance or in your face act, they quietly went back to class, and never said a word, however smug they felt inside... and they were feeling quite smug!
I was going to step down as Band President. I'd had the job for three years and I was done. As a person, I liked the band director. As a teacher, he hated kids, he hated his job, and it was stressful for me. So I was going to be a background helper and groom someone to take it.
But when the band director put in his notice, I realized the new band director would need continuity, so I stayed.
I love this guy. He LOVES kids. He loves teaching. He is enthusiastic, BIG energy, and has wonderful ideas.
I'm just... really really excited. More excited about anything that has happened at their school and I like their school.
This will be a fun year.
We are in the process of repainting and redoing the younger boys' rooms. Bones' room is currently done in Super Heroes and he's 15. He's done with the Super Hero bedroom.
He said to me today, "I'm so glad you're changing it. I hate it. I hate the super heroes. It's embarrassing. I mean, what if I had a girlfriend and she saw it?"
I looked at him and replied, "I'd hope that there wouldn't be a girl in your bedroom..."
He said, "Oh yeah. I mean, when she passed by..."
I ended it with, "I'm thinking we need to keep the Super Heroes. I'm concerned about this girl stuff..."
My second son met a girl at a music camp last week. He was a counselor. I'll call her Karen.
Karen is a musician at Bones' school. He says she's great and T, I think, thinks she's pretty great too. I'm finding that T is starting to hang out with a lot of people at Bones' Art school, but interestingly enough, not because of Bones.
So Karen and T are going to the beach tomorrow.
My fair skinned blue eyed boy who has never really loved the beach (he'd rather go boating or fishing) is meeting up with a girl at the beach.
A group of them are going and Karen is bringing one of her friends, who I will call, Susan.
So we're at dinner tonight and Bones said, "So what did Karen say Susan is like?"
T replied, "Well, I hear she's tough. She's kind of judgmental and she really hates sarcasm..."
And before he could finish the sentence, all four of us said at the same time, "Uh oh, she is going to HATE YOU."
It was so dang funny. Susan would hate our family. At dinner we can be the worst and we all laugh hysterically.
Mo says we invented sarcasm. It's bad. After dinner tonight, Ringo who is still home from college, said, "Man, I missed this." Heh
I showed up with Bones at 8AM. I rang every buzzer and knocked on every door to get inside the school or to get someone's attention. I called the inside phone every 10 minutes, knowing someone was inside.
Finally, I saw a woman going in and I said, "Do you know Mrs. ABC? She was supposed to call me yesterday and I need to speak with her."
She looked at me like she could not care less if I dropped dead on the spot and said, "I'll tell her someone is out here asking for her" and she walked inside.
I waited five minutes more and now I was PISSED. I called down to the other high school to find out if he was supposed to take it there instead... trying to find any information. Was he on their rosters?
After speaking to a very nice secretarial type person she said, "I promise you.... I *WILL* call you back."
And on a side note. The black community gets a bad wrap for being difficult to work with in these types of jobs and let me state for the record, by the sound of every voice I'd spoken with over the last three weeks, every single person had a white accent and they all could not care less what happened to my child and this secretary who had a definitive black accent was the MOST helpful and the KINDEST woman I had spoken with in three weeks, perhaps beaten out only by her Latin boss who not only called me back, assured me that my son was important to him (I never implied he was not), but then called me back AGAIN an hour later to make sure it had all been resolved.
I was brought into a room to sit and wait. Mrs. ABC never came out to greet me. She never came out to find out what was going on. The rude emotionless woman who I saw at the door informed me that Mrs. ABC never called me because she didn't have an answer.
I said to her in exasperation, "But, that IS an answer. That is communication! Do NOT keep me in the dark. Tell me there is an issue..."
And she literally repeated to me flatly, "Mrs. ABC did not call you because she did not have an answer." As if I'd never said a word... it was crazy and unimpressive.
Finally, a man came out who was the testing coordinator. I take it back. He was the kindest man we worked with. He was awesome.
We found out that many many people had dropped the ball. He was horrified as he pieced it together and then said, "Wait here, please."
He went to his office, called the School District, got hold of some IT guy, and had Bones placed on his list for testing.
So Bones took it there.
I thanked the man profusely for helping me and I intend to write some letters.
But the best part was, after Bones finished taking the test, he said he went up to the man and said, "Thank you again for everything you did so I could take it here today."
I'm not sure how much he gets thanked. I'm hoping my son made a positive impression because that man made one on us.
I'm also calling back the man at the other school and thanking him for his time and making sure that the woman who answered... is thanked as well.
This whole time I thought the Assistant Principal was trying to make us feel good that 'Bones just missed passing by a couple questions'.
Seriously. I thought maybe he'd gotten a 25%.
No. We got the scores today. He seriously missed passing by THREE questions.
He's been studying today. He actually thinks he's going to pass it and if he takes his time, I think he might.
My only issue? For THREE weeks, I've been working to set up his test date. I've gotten conflicting dates and un-returned phone calls. I've left messages, called repeatedly, and gotten non-descript answers.
Finally last week I got hold of someone at the local high school, confirmed he was signed up, and was told the test was on Wednesday.
This morning I called just to make sure one more time, since I have not much faith in anyone in our public school system and was told, "Yes, he is signed up, 9:00, room 3101. He will text you when he's finished as it's work at your own pace."
An HOUR later, I got a call from the woman with whom I've left numerous messages, but have never spoken with. She runs the testing for the EOC at the local high school. It seems that Bones can't take it at the local HS because his HS is designated to take it 30 minutes from my home. The local HS is 5 minutes from where I work and 15 from where we live.
The day before, I finally get a call, undoing everything we've done through phone tag and subordinates.
I was appalled. We ended it with, "Mrs. L, I am working hard for him to take it at this HS. I will call you at the end of the day."
Come 3:00, I had not received a phone call. I started to call... and got NO ONE.
So now, I have NO IDEA where he's supposed to take this exam. Socialized education at it's finest.
We are driving down to the local HS at 8AM tomorrow morning in hopes of finding someone, giving us enough time to drive down to the far away HS in the event he has to take it there.
What a cluster. I get so sick of incompetence.
And... these people... vote.
We are home. I've been gone for three weeks and have decompressed so much that I can't remember my passwords for work. Hmmm...
We were talking at dinner tonight and something came up about Bones being a senior.
He said, "OH.My.GOD. Can you imagine me being a senior in high school?"
My husband looked at him and said, "It will go quickly. That's just two years."
T and Bones were laughing.
I was sitting there thinking, 'OH.My.God. Who cares that he will be a senior in two years? He is going to be driving... THIS.YEAR!"
He takes the Algebra EOC on Wednesday. He will fail again. I'm waiting to see what the School District does next.
There was talk last night of Typhoid Mary. It started because I have had a respiratory issue that's been going on for over two weeks, and random people get it. I actually thought I had something like asthma, for awhile, and was set to call my GP.
It is literally, just a cough. But, it appears it is some weird cold and I gave it to my Mom and my niece. (My niece has since recovered, while I still struggle.)
So that was the discussion, with my sister, Mo, telling Bones and T that I was Typhoid Mary.
We were standing in the kitchen talking and then Bones said, "Who would name their kid typhoid?"
He said it in such a way, I thought he was joking.
He continued, 'I mean, what a name. Like anyone would want to date someone named typhoid?....'
At this point, conversation had stopped and we were listening to him carry on. "I'd never MARRY someone named Typhoid."
I started to laugh an uncontrollable laugh, as I realized he was serious.
Mo looked at him and said, "Wait. You thought that was her first name, Typhoid?"
He said, "Yeah, the family name is Mary, right?"
Good grief. We could not quit laughing. I will never think of her the same way.
I am in Atlanta babysitting my nieces as my sister and brother and law both had to go out of town.
I am... beat.
Holy crap. They are busy. I'm laughing hysterically, but they are busy.
So many things I'd forgotten about. We are up before the sun comes up. They are up and full of energy.
I haven't wiped a bottom in over 10 years. Now I've done it and have had comments on my toe nail polish while doing so.
They got me in a swimsuit, something I hate doing, and the youngest made sure I knew I had to swim WITH her. So I swam. She is three and I think she may have me wrapped around her finger.
I made tacos for dinner, something I heard they liked. I don't make them like Mom. They had me add black beans.
The little one looked at me quizzically and said, "This doesn't look right". She opened it, looked at her sister, and pretended like she was going to vomit. I said, "OH! Wait! I forgot to cut it!"
I cut it into five pieces and suddenly it was fine.
I read stories, sang songs, played Princess Candy Land, built a Thomas the Tank engine puzzle, played with dominoes, swam, kissed boo boos, and spent more time than is imaginable looking for very important stuffed animals that ended up in odd corners of the house.
In essence... I am happy. They are so sweet.
For the last eight years, we have come up to see my Aunt and Uncle and then driven over to a little town called Crossville, AL. In Crossville are distant cousins, cousins found through the internet and DNA testing.
My male cousin, who is 90, shares the same revolutionary patriot as my father, but not until great great grandfathers. We come from different grandchildren of the Patriot.
It is odd to see this cousin with my Dad. It is my Dad who found him and established this relationship. There are so many similarities, it is uncanny.
They are one genetic marker away in the DNA testing and... let me see if I can get this to make sense... with so many similarities, yet they're not sharing a genetic ancestor until the child of our Patriot, I have to think that my father and this cousin are probably the ones that resemble our Patriot the most.
Over 200 years later, I could be so very wrong, but I suspect they probably look like our John Crumley.
My two younger boys and I made our way to my cousin's house today for our annual visit with him and his wife. Along with my Aunt, we made our way through the Alabama towns to Crossville.
This trip was different, however. This trip was different because our cousin's wife of 69 years died 10 days ago.
We would only see him and not her.
I've posted pictures of my boys when they were small in their barn loft. Our cousin owns a farm and it was my Dad that had us go visit early on so my boys could see what farm life was like, unlike city life in West Palm Beach.
It was on this farm my boys drove a golf cart through vegetable fields, rode in the back of a pick up truck through cow pastures and got up close and personal with their first cow. They churned ice cream by hand, picked apples, and saw pea hens.
It was in this old home on this farm that I would spend hours looking at her quilts. She was a master quilter, known nationally for her beautiful handwork and artistic quilts.
This morning I made a banana pudding just the way my cousin likes it and took it over as an offering of solace, unsure of what I'd find.
And what I found was a farmer, hardened hands, and humble heart, quick to hug us, tease the boys and tell me, "There is nothing I can do. I can't change any of this. We gave her a good burial. I can do this."
He can cook. He has a cleaning woman. His memory fails, but overall is very sharp. He is lonely and he is sad, but he said he can do this. He has the farm to keep him busy, two cats and a funky dog.
It's not the same as having his wife, but it will be enough to get him by.
I told his daughter when we left today, "This is where he belongs. One day, you will call and he won't answer. It will have been his time. This is where he'll want to be when he goes."
An end of an era for us, it is coming. But these people made great memories for my boys.
For that I am forever thankful.
I just got to Alabama and finally had time to sit down and write.
Today, July 6, is my Mom's birthday. We just spent a week with her. She had all her grandbabies under one roof, with her kids and spouses
We had a fantastic time and spent yesterday celebrating since we knew we'd all be leaving today.
The babies were a blast. They are 5 and 3 now and their expressions and choice of words made us laugh.
Drama. Always drama.
I think the highlight for me was watching my Mom play Barbies with the girls. That is not something that EVER occurred with my boys, so I had to laugh.
The big surprise when we walked in was how much Bones had grown since last they saw him, Thanksgiving. He is long and lean and the most changed.
And all the little kids love him. He's like the pied piper. I never saw him play Barbies, however.
I'll be writing every night now. It is quiet in the room I'm staying in and it'll be easy for me to reflect.
We are blessed. We had an amazing 4th of July, spent so much time with family, ate well, and laughed hard.
You cannot help but laugh when surrounded by people under 5.
Happy Birthday, Mom!!!