Thursday, June 25, 2009

They Aren't Complete Hicks, I Swear.

My sister was headed into town the other night and asked if I wanted to meet them for dinner. I was on my way back from dropping Flash at the airport and thought company might not be a bad idea.

No sooner had they arrived and George was planted in the booth next to me that this story started spilling out of the boy. It turns out he spied a gimpy racoon on the road in front of their house the other night and had pointed it out to Bear. Bear figured out it was a racoon half stuck in a trap, trying to get to the woods (more than likely to die in privacy). Taking it upon himself to ease the suffering of the poor animal, he and George searched out a large rock, konked the animal on the head and then removed it from the trap. Being nice and all.

Already I was ruling out ribs, steak and even a burger for dinner.

George was delighted with this chance encounter with the dying racoon. My sister began describing the "manginess" of the animal and Birdy simply turned her head away, disgusted once more to have to live with such gruesome events around her.

I survived that story (and even managed to somewhat enjoy my chicken caesar salad) that night, but the story was yet to be over.

I was watching the kids and some additional youngsters the other day at my sister's house and they were out playing in the sprinklers. At one point, George headed to the barn to get a broom for me to sweep off the deck and comes back commenting on how bad it smells over by the barn. I had barely even glanced in that direction when George loudly proclaims with relief, "Oh, yeah! It's the dead racoon that's in the trash!" As if that's what anyone would do with a dead racoon. Apparently the thought was throwing it in the woods in their backyard would just cause it to smell in the heat. There's logic there, I think. You might have to really look hard to find it.

In any case, my sister calls me this morning and is talking about how Bear had left the trash can down at the street and how she went to get it last night and found it was covered in maggots. Let me say that again, covered in maggots. I was immediately thinking of a hundred reasons I had to get off the phone just then, but if you know anything about my sister, you know she's darn hard to end a phone conversation with.

She went on. She said it was hard to even find a place to put her hand to drag the trash bin back up to the house because there were so many maggots. Maggots, people.

She brought the trash can up to the house, got the hose out and sprayed the can down with the highest pressure she could and then sprayed the maggots on the ground with Seven so they would die. She had the wherewithall AND the foresight to not just spray them down (as I might have done, albeit screaming and running around like a grossed-out chicken) but to then kill them as well.

"But the minute I turned around, the trash can was covered again with the maggots," she said. This went on for quite awhile apparently.

I have no idea how this story ends. I had to get off the phone and I had to shiver and make ugly faces and then sing "Jesus Loves Me" six times over in the car to just get the image of maggots out of my head. Even then, I think it was easily two in the afternoon before I put my hand down on anything before checking for maggots first.

I do love the idea of living outside of town at some point in my life, but if that means I'm going to have to deal with killing half dead wildlife and throwing carcasses in my trash only to then deal with maggots, you can safely count me out of that plan.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Had to Share What Was in My Inbox Today

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don' t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.2
6. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Written By Regina Brett - 90 years old "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

His bed is made. The closet doors are even shut. All the pets have food and water. The sink is empty of dishes. The dishwasher not full enough to run. The armoire doors won't be open in the morning when I go out to the living room. The refrigerator will have exactly the same amount of food in it that it does right now and nothing will go missing from any of the cabinets.

The bathroom won't smell like men's body wash tomorrow when I get in. There will constantly be toilet paper on the roll and no wet towels will be sloppily thrown over the shower rod. I'll have to remember to get the mail tomorrow, and to walk the dog more often than usual. I won't have to ask whose phone just beeped, it'll always be mine.

I'll see him again briefly this time next week. Long enough to do laundry, repack and drive him to Ohio to meet the other grandparents. But then he'll really be gone. And while I really thought today, when I watched him board the plane, I really thought that this time, I would feel a sense of relief. A reprieve. A bit of the stress of trying to raise a teenage boy gone for just a bit. But I didn't. I turned and walked back to my car with tears.

He's growing up too fast, this boy of mine. Taller than me and already shaving, he's not my little one any longer. And now, as I reluctantly go to bed, not wanting to face the silence in the space where we usually chatter for a bit from room to room in the dark, what I will miss most is the sincerity in his voice when he goes to bed, passing by my room he always says, "love ya, Mom."

I know he'll have a great time. I know he's surrounded by love and joy. I know he wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now. I'm just so not ready for him to grow up.

The years have gone by in a blink. Faster than that, even. I don't know how he's changed so fast, or how we've come this far so soon. The years fly by.

The summer never does.

I miss you already, Flash.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Last Day

Things to do today:

1. Get medical release notarized.
2. Get Flash a haircut.
3. Get swim goggles, sunscreen and strap on sandals.
4. Go to the library to pick up a read aloud book for Summer School on Monday.
5. Write up a few writing prompts for this week's summer school lessons.
6. Do Flash's laundry.
7. Double check Flash's packing to make sure it includes swim trunks, toothbrush and the sunscreen we just bought.
8. Get boarding pass, copies of important documents and his id's all in one secure location in his luggage.
9. Give Flash a little spending money and remind him it's not to be spent on itunes.
10. Celebrate/mourn Flash's departure for the summer with one last pizza and movie night.

It's always with mixed emotion that I send Flash away for his summer. I know he will be loved and safe everywhere his journey takes him, but I know I will miss him, too. I'm excited about his summer plans; a week in TN, time in Pittsburgh with grandparents, a week at missions camp with his church youth group and then off to see his dad for several weeks in Philly before he flies back home at the very end of August. We will celebrate his return home then as well, and kick off the school year - his last as a middle schooler - but for now, we'll do these last minute preparations and I'll pray that he is spiritually ready, that his manners are ingrained, that his intentions are good and grounded and that his attitude is one of joy and cooperation. And tomorrow I will send him off.

Sigh. Our last day. We'd better get started!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We've Come a Long Way - But Not Really

Flash has had some issues in the past few months. Mainly a lack of tenacity to see a job through to completion, and a lack of a good work ethic. He has little desire to actually do a job well. The computer has been the main culprit, as he'd like to watch Netflix while he cooks dinner (causing many issues). And he'd rather be on the computer than edit his journals for gifted class, etc. So I added some parental controls on his computer until he can demonstrate in various ways that he can actually put his whole self into doing a good job, and he could see it through until the end. Flash has a week until he leaves for the summer and is trying to earn his full computer privileges back before he leaves. Nothing like a deadline to help motivate. But he still only tries in spurts to earn it back. About the time his computer boots him off for the night he is reminded that he should have demonstrated hard work and thoroughness to earn it back.

He's recently taken on cleaning the car. I thought it was a good way to show hard work and thoroughness. Only he got it half done and quit. Until he just remembered his computer is about to boot him off again and won't let him on again tomorrow until after 3. So, here it is, Sunday night and Flash is out "finishing" the job. (I have come to learn to use that term loosely.)

I'm in the house doing laundry and picking up the living room and I get an instant message from Flash. He's no more than 10 yards out the front patio door, but I get an instant message. And I respond and we go back and forth a few times until I realize, he's instant messaging me from the car. When I asked (through messenger) just why he took his computer with him to clean the car, he said, "because it has music on it my ipod doesn't."

Seems to me when we used to wash the car, we just took the ol' boom box out in the drive and played the radio. Now you apparently take your computer out, set it up in the back seat and play tunes. The bonus? You can still instant message through the wireless.

And he continues to wonder just why it is that he can't seem to do a job thoroughly.

(Note #1: Flash's latest IM - "Did you know you can erase super idelible bird poop with a pencil eraser?" Um, no.)

(Note #2: The neighbor just stopped by and told Flash he could do his car, too. Then commented that Flash had wireless out there and acted like that was just the most normal thing in the world. Of course this is the neighbor that allows his dog to torment Eli to no end. We don't put much stock in the intelligence of this neighbor.)

(Note #3: I had a good chuckle yesterday when I was talking with my Dad about Flash's visit next week. My dad was reminding me that they have plenty of computers there so Flash really doesn't need to bring his. True, if only you had his itunes and all of his games. I'm not sure you want Flash for a week without his technology nearby. He starts to twitch after about an hour. Although if he doesn't earn his privileges back, it might be a moot point.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Last and a First

Today was the last day of school. My first last day in any real sort of teaching capacity and I found it to be hard. It was filled with hugs and "I'm going to miss you's" and lots and lots of love for the little ones in my building. And while I will miss terribly some of the second graders moving on to the next building, and I am not ready for the summer spent without the kids I've grown used to seeing every day, it was the absence of Pam that really made the day difficult. She was there to set up her class and to just barely get it started when she had to leave us all. And today I waved goodbye in the pouring rain to kids that might not even remember the five short days she spent as their first grade teacher.

Today was also a first. A dinner out with a new friend. A dinner that has been scheduled and canceled and rescheduled and postphoned and tonight, finally happened! And it was really wonderful. Full of good natured laughter and stories. Full of talk on every topic and while we are only just beginning a friendship, a feeling that we've known each other a very long time. It was a wonderful evening. One that we're already scheduling to repeat very soon.

Tomorrow I will be back to school. This time gearing up for summer school. I'll be busy with that and watching a hand full of kids this summer, including trips to the library, the park, the playground. I can't think of a better way to earn a buck.

If I'm not back to blog anytime soon, don't worry. I'm just out enjoying relationships in person this summer and not just over the internet. Sooner or later, however, something is bound to come up that is blog-worthy and I'll be sure to note it here.

In the meantime, I wish you all the bittersweet joy that comes when you know school is out for the summer. And all the bliss that comes from spending time with people that make you laugh and make you feel loved.

Happy Summer!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What a Monday

And to top it off, out of Flash's mouth came this gem tonight:

"Mom, if I wanted to be around people that were nice to me all the time, I wouldn't be here."

(Not exactly what he meant to say, but it seems to go with the day.)