Senior!

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He took pity on me since I’ve been doing first day of school drop offs from 1990-2013 and this was officially my LAST ONE! He was oddly in a better mood for a 1st day as well – his schedule was posted last night and he’s (mostly) happy with the results though he still has to visit the counselling office to get himself into AP Physics. Here’s hoping that good mood lasts!

 

A scene from the morning commute

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It was one of those longer stoplights, and the car to my right provided a little snapshot of life with a small child.

A standard issue four door sedan that was, for once, not the usual black or gray but a rather pretty shade of cobalt blue. In the backseat, perched directly in the center was a car seat providing the occupant with an unobstructed view through the windshield. In the car seat was a boy who looked to be pretty close to four years old. His brown hair was perfectly combed over with a side part and smoothed down on his head.

He had that Ready for Preschool look.

And he was AWAKE!

In the perhaps minute of time that our cars were stopped side by side, I don’t think he paused once for a breath during a very animated tale he was telling.

He gestured!

He wagged and bobbed his head!

He leaned forward and was clearly wiggling his legs as his entire upper body shook with the excitement of this story he was telling.

I mean, it was DRAMATIC!

But, it was also a happy tale because he was clearly enjoying the act of reliving this event as he smiled a lot and his eyes were bright and happy.

Then my eyes drifted to the front seat.

Dad was taking the boy to school on his way in to work this morning. He had on a shirt and tie, but no coat and his hair was also perfectly coifed, though showing a few wet ends near his shirt collar.

Dad was not quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the boy.

Dad seemed to be wondering what in the hell was in that bowl of cereal his kid gulped down.

He had one elbow up on the door and was leaning into his arm with that look of someone who didn’t get a decent night’s sleep. He showed not one single ounce of facial expression or reaction to all the chattering wafting up from behind him.

Except that even through the doors of the cars and the space between us, I could FEEL his single, plaintive thought:

“Are we there yet?!”

Don’t lose hope for those teenagers!

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I know, if you have one in the house you experience pretty non-stop sarcasm, eye rolls, laziness beyond belief and bedrooms that would scare a skunk. But sometimes….SOMETIMES….they do show signs of being human.

Por ejemplo….

Last weekend 16 and his dad borrowed my lawn mower to use at a rental property of theirs that had an extremely overgrown yard. After a day of working with his dad (yes, his knee is healing that well!)..they dropped it back off and I asked him if he now knew how to use the mower.

“Yep” he declared. (shock..I figured he would see where I was going with this…)

So then I told him that it sounded like he was ready to take over the lawn mowing duties from his older brother and if that was the case, then could he please plan on doing that Saturday?

“Sure. I can do that.”….(huh? who are you?)

So, Friday rolls around and I reminded him about the yard work and since he had plans to go up to a friend’s house in the evening, then he should plan for yard work time before leaving.

“Yeah, no problem, I’m not heading up there until after 5pm anyway.”…(wow, four days later and he’s still not only open to it, but not even whining about it?!”

Saturday I go for my weekend trail run (moved it away from Easter Sunday to free up the day) and get home around 10am. He’s awake and watching tv on the sofa. I’ve decided that it would be better for me to do my part of the weeding on the hillside while I am still grimy from the run so I grab something to eat and then mention that I’m going to head outside.

“Yeah, good idea, let’s get it done.”…he says without a hint of a grumble and then turns off the TV to go get a shirt…(seriously, who IS this?!!)

Not only does he mow the lawn, but he dumps the cuttings and even helps pull some of the weeds. I really didn’t want him up on the hillside on his knee so I did most of that work but he cleaned up everything after me so all I had to do was pull weeds.

Side note: I take to yard work sort of like I do laundry – I love the PROCESS – but I HATE the cleaning up (or, the folding & putting away). There have been many times when I spent hours trimming bushes and pulling weeds only to leave the debris on the hillside or the sidewalk for the next day because I just COULD NOT face putting it in the trash can.

With 16 doing that dreaded final step, we were done with what I wanted cleared out in less than 90 minutes. In the end, there was a teensy bit of whining whle we were working – of course! There had to be right? But it was pretty equally coming from me as much as him! And considering how cooperative he had been leading into it – who cares??!!

Now if only I could find the magic potion that would KEEP him this way :)

May 20th – Mother’s Day redux

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When you have kids, you have to let go of any notion that your day belongs to you. Best laid plans and all that. Same for cats as we learned last weekend when I had to postpone Mother’s Day dinner plans due to Chip’s little bladder adventures.

However, my idea that this weekend would be easier anyway since 15 is with me and not his dad like last week throwing another complication in the family gathering process was not quite accurate.

The first wrench thrown into Sunday dinner plans was 15 suggesting we switch to Saturday since the previously planned 2nd paintball outing had been moved to Sunday. Therefore he wasn’t sure, nor was he in control of when he would be back from that. That looked plausible at first. 26 was planning on helping his dad with a flooring install meaning he would be away from a couple of days but that was planned for Wednesday so he would be home Sat morning. Then Wednesday became Thursday and then finally Friday morning so there was no way he would be back in time. We went with a late Sunday dinner (7pm is late for my mom :-)) and I crossed my fingers that everyone would be back in time.

Meanwhile I had the afternoon blocked out for the usual long run with the girls and then a circuit class at the park.

15 gets word that they will leave at 7:30 this time instead of 10:30 so now we are even more secure that he will be back earlier so I toy with moving the dinner to 6:30.

Day is planned – now GO!

*bing*

Text from Tanja that her young daughter has a fever so there wont be a circuit class.

Fine. That means I just have the 90 min run at 2pm and so I’ll probably be able to get home and shower before picking up 15. Nice.

Drop him off.

Head back home to resume typical lazy Sunday watching Uppers & Nerdland on the DVR. Make grocery list for planned run to the store after and do more ebook work.

Get call from 26 that he is on his way home. Excellent. Now 15 is my only wild card so I change dinner officially to 6:30.

Head to grocery watching the clock so that I can be done in time to meet the girls for our run.

Putting my shoes on and grabbing keys to go when

*bing*

Eve texting to say they are running late and would 2:30-2:45 be OK?

Fine – 2:45 is pushing it and perhaps 15 might have to walk home from the drop off point if they get there before 4:30, but it’ll work.

I sit down to work on the ebook when

*bing*

15 texts to see if I can pick him up in an hour. Not from the high school, but from the paint ball place! 45 mins away! I call him and find out that he’s out of ammo and pretty wiped out and sunburned and that the other kids were not planning to leave until 5pm – meaning he would have been back around 6 – not 4 or 5! Aack!

(good thing Eve was running late eh?)

I let the girls know I was out for the long run and looked up directions to the paint ball place. I figure I can still get up there and bring him back and then at least go for a short run before I had to get ready for the dinner.

Why was I insisting on running you ask?

Well, the problem is that when I looked at my running activities on Runkeeper Friday night I noticed something. I’ve said I wanted to run every other day this month as much as *possible*. I noticed that I had, indeed, kept that up. I had runon even numbered dates all month. Uh oh. Now that my brain has seen the pattern – it is locked and loaded to make sure I don’t break it! That mild OCD kicking in. Good for keeping me in shape, bad for keeping me sane!

However, I did it – got back home with 15 at 4:00, ran for 30 mins, showered, and was ready to go at 5:45 both boys securely in the car with me without any major rushing or stressing. PHEW!

Of course, I rewarded myself by declaring it was “dessert for dinner” night. I ordered a small dinner salad and then had Oreo Madness. TWO Oreo cookie ice cream sandwiches with chocolate and caramel syrup. Mmmmmmmmmm. But I could only eat 1.75 of them! Dang it! No salad next time – took up too much room :-)

No eclipse viewing for us – we were out at said dinner plus it was May Gray cloudy all around us.

And now, pictures from The Boyfriend who is in Japan for two more days for work. His first time there (he’s usually sent to China). I was happy to see he got to do some sightseeing:

Sumo wrestling

Mt Fuji

Sayonara!

May 12 – And peace was restored

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Mother’s Day is tomorrow, but I am declaring that I celebrated mine today.

26 and I had a great day together (along with the aforementioned friend I took in to work yesterday).

I lounged in bed. The vet called to say Chip needed another day on the catheter. He was clearly feeling better but there was still blood in his urine so he needed to stay another day/night and then they should hopefully remove the catheter sometime tonight or in the morning and once he has peed on his own without issue he can come home.

Once we had that news the day was clear for me to do whatever. So, that’s about what I did! Moved from bedroom to sofa and watched a bunch of shows I had on the DVR. Cleaned a little. Knocked out my website tasks for the day. Read a little. Slept a little. Then the 3 of us walked down to the 56 trail. They continued walking and I took off on a run first heading away from them and then doubling back and meeting them out the other end to walk home. Got in 2.7 miles in 26 minutes. Yep, kept it under a 10/min mile pace. It was getting hard to run at that pace towards the end but still it felt good and at least this time I was running TO run vs running to get away :))

When we got home, 26 started making dinner and just as I sat down for that, Eve texted me to come up there and finish up what we started last night. We got a lot done, and I now have a pretty full task list on my plate :)

Oh yeah, 15 took a practice AP test today. I was actually proud of him for a) signing up and b) not lying about being chosen to have one of the limited slots. I texted his dad around 10:30 (test started at 8) to find out if 15 was as thrilled to be there as I expected. He responded ‘tickled pink!’ I told him that I was boldly predicting that when he got done he would state that it was “a HUGE waste of time!” They swung by here after the test was over to pick up some coupons from me and he marched into the house and said “I still hate you for making me sign up for that! It was pointless!!” I laughed and showed him the text I had sent to his dad guessing he would say something like that….he did (at least) have the decency to laugh at himself over being so predictable in his grumpiness!

Amber is very confused about being an Only Cat right now and is clinging to me more than usual so I am glad I was a homebody today and gave her lots of attention. She misses her buddy despite the way he annoys her when he chases her around. Hopefully tomorrow we can reunite them.

All I really care about is that peace and order was restored to the house and its occupants today. Ah, there’s the merry!

May 11th – And you think I run to stay in shape!

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I run to get out of here and clear my head and focus on myself for 30-60 minutes at a time. If it happens to keep my body in shape too – well, BONUS!

(Ok, not entirely true but I have to admit that getting out of here last time was my primary goal)

Chip is back in the vets office. Not constipated. His bladder was blocked so he’s staying overnight with an IV for dehydration and a catheter to get everything drained.

Given that peaceful situation it’s no wonder that 26 and I had a bit of a conflict today right? Yeah. Let’s just say we weren’t communication really well about things especially since I woke up at 4:30am to find Chip listless near my bed and my attempts to give him water were unsuccessful. Then I had to take his friend to work (long story) and THEN I came back home to tell him to step up and call the vet and take Chip in himself because I had to get to work (dammit!). Some defensive freak out attitude later resulted in me snapping and yelling at him and slamming the door and just about screeching wheels to get the hell out of here.

Flash forward to coming home from work – meetings and more meetings but at least some GOOD ones with my staff who truly are the best group ever that I have – squeezed in between that a random complaint from a maintenance manager about one of my staff speeding through the parking garage (clearly that guy was having a bad/stressful day to not only flip out about that but then to confront my employee a second time, get his name and march down to tell me about it all) – where was I? Oh yeah, get home to further clear the air with 26 and find myself barely able to contain composure again. I’m supposed to be heading out to meet with Eve because our website traffic has gone in the toilet thanks to some Google Penguin crap (don’t ask) and I had to take a breather first. Then I go to 15’s room where he is playing Xbox while waiting for his dad to get here. Wanted to tell him I was heading out – all I do is put my hand on his shoulder and say hi “WHAT?!” comes back in return with about as much disgust as a 15 year old can muster. I just said “Hi – bye” and backed out slowly before tears started.

Yeah – I think I will be heading to the doctor next week for a hormonal check up. Been feeling off just enough to see that there is more going on than just the day to day stresses of life and I am taking them WAY too hard for no real reason. Might be time for a new b/c pill to get me over the last few years to menopause.

For the record – I named this the Merry Month of May series – who stole the merry?

Whatever – I’ll sleep well tonight because I know Chip is getting the medical attention he needs, the boyfriend will back me up if the vet wont take a payment plan, 26 and I got our crap out and are totally on the same wavelength again and 15 is with his dad for another day. I’ll settle up with him on the attitude next week. Also? Having friends to run away to for quesadillas and bourbon REALLY helps!

Speaking of quesadillas – Siri impressed the hell out of me today by recognizing that word on the 1st attempt. Smart phones – indeed!

 

May 7th – It was Monday, that is all.

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I woke up feeling every single one of those wheel barrows that Tanja had us do during circuit training. My upper back and shoulders are barking LOUDLY. I thought it would be my legs but no – that will probably be tomorrow. When I will wake up early and run before work. You heard it here first. Now let’s see if I do it :)

I love getting in to work and realizing I’ve been reading a deadline wrong for days. Especially when I find out that I read it as EARLIER rather than LATER. I don’t love when I get an email from upstairs asking if we COULD perhaps meet that earlier deadline because – oopsie! – we forgot to consider preparing for the upcoming Board meeting. I was ready, but the rest of my department was not and it was a scramble for them to finish their tasks by lunchtime vs end of day. Then sure enough I had to start running reports right as someone else asked for some OTHER sort of emergency need information. Such a Monday thing, right?

Thankfully this begins a week with 15 at his dads. So, while I did have to help him prioritize his tasks today, I could tag his dad for supervising the completion of them.

Then I had a minor panic attack that his AP test is in 10 days…..the kid who doesn’t know how to study for tests and never really has..is taking the first MAJOR one in his life next week.

Of course, he plans on taking 2 of these next year so…..get used to it Mom, right?!

After he left I consoled my nerves with some gnocchi in olive oil & parmigiana cheese. (really spell check? fine. I’m Italian now!)

Oh, and a beer. Because once the whore moan headache days pass, every day ends best with beer. ESPECIALLY Mondays:

Today is a lovely warm golden brown – like this:

 

Dear nerves

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I am sorry, but you are going to be sorely tested over the next few months. Be strong! (Actually, he did pretty well and I did too! This was taken as we pulled onto our street on the way home from a workout in the park. He drove there and back and I only had to grab the door handle for dear life once :))

Dear San Diego drivers

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Watch out! He’s on the loose! Ok, not on the loose so much just YET since we need to setup his 1st behind the wheel training and also contact in$urance – BUT – he passed the written test (just missed 3). Actually, he had a harder time with this photo. That took FOUR attempts.

And still he came out looking like a no neck football player from Kansas. How did THAT happen?!!! I blame the Polish genes.

Here come the gray hairs.

Be careful out there!

Love, me.

Dear Shirley

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The weekend did not go as planned. Mother Nature not only didn’t listen to my plea for calm weather, she essentially threw a righteous temper tantrum that effectively canceled the Super Seal Triathlon. No cheering for my friends. No pictures. No cowbell. Just lots and lots of cold cold wind and rain and even hail. Consequently we treated our no running/no racing depression with lots of beer & high calorie food. OK, so that part wasn’t so bad :-)  I just want to say that I highly recommend both blueberry beer (can be found in your grocery store) and the Bloody Mary Brunch at Small Bar.

As an added treat,  I also found a lovely little surprise in my in box this weekend.

It’s been ages since anyone passed on a bloggy award to me. I guess that actually, you know, updating the blog now & then means more people might stumble across it and play along? :-) Shocking eh? I should really pass the award on to 15 since he has largely been the inspiration for writing (for better or worse!) Of course, he might not be so thrilled about that eh?

At any rate, I would like to send out a huge thanks and hello to new blog friend Scott at Raising a Realist for passing this along. He’s one of those YOUNG parents with an adorable daughter but he also has the added JOY of being a high school teacher. IOW, he really gets to spend his days with the likes my own Mr 15. Poor sap :)

So, the rules for accepting the award are:

  1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post – DONE!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself. HAH – since my about me already has a few more than seven this might be difficult but for the newbies I will figure it out.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 other bloggers. 15?! Ack!
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. Will do!

Seven Things About Me

  1. I absolutely cannot handle violent movies. Images stick in my head way too easily and way too long. Why then, you ask, do you watch all the CSI’s and Criminal Minds and Gray’s Anatomy? Easy – at home on my TV I can look away easily and those are still somewhat tame compared to an HBO type show or a movie in a theater.
  2. Speaking of the theater… I have a very hard time NOT typing spelling that as “theatre” I learned how to read and write at a Montessori school where the teachers were all from Sri Lanka and had learned proper British English. Consequently there are still a few words in my brain that are spelled differently. I am not always aware of them, it’s just something that comes up as I am reading or writing now and then.
  3. My summer/early college jobs were a) Wild Animal Park food worker (traumatized by the site of maggots in a particular side dish has ensured that I will never eat that side dish again) b) Avon sales gal (HATED IT!) c) Office assistant at a periodontists where I filed charts and insurance forms. Just as boring as it sounds and convinced me I wanted nothing to do whatsoever in the medical/dental fields. IOW – all of those early jobs taught me exactly what I would NOT want to pursue as a career. Good process of elimination there considering I didn’t just automatically know what I DID want to do.
  4. (This is a lot harder than I thought to some up with these!) It’s been 12 years since I last made a car payment.
  5. I am the rare girl who does not like to shop for clothes. I’d estimate that the majority of the clothes in my closet are over 5 years old. Some are easily 10. There may even be items that I still wear occasionally that are pre-15 :-) Same with shoes. Sure, some of it is money but even when I might have had a more generous clothing budget I still didn’t shop much.
  6. Home or garden stores though? Oh yeah – let me loose!! There’s a frustrated interior and landscape designer inside me, I swear! Maybe that’s why I have no trouble doing content writing for a DIY pergola site :)
  7. (dear gawd, how happy am I to see that 7 pop up finally?!!) I’ve reached the age when, if I don’t write it down, it aint gonna happen. Well, it *could* be age, or it just could be the nature of how much I have to juggle but whatever – it’s my reality. And I’m talking some incredibly basic things too. Like remember to pick UP the dry cleaning you dropped off. I have to make a To Do list every Saturday morning for the upcoming week or I am lost. I love that my new phone has Siri because I’ve already asked her while driving to remind to do something when I got home (Put new pack of gum in car, take chicken out to defrost etc etc). Without Siri or my own To Do list notes I am pretty sure I would just sit in front of the computer reading and writing and watching videos and then wonder why my gas tank is empty, I have no clean clothes or food and for gawds sake why are the cats howling like that?!

And now, paying it forward:

The following bloggers are in my Reader or Subscription list so that means I liked their writing enough to not want to miss a single post, ok? OK! So give them a click please.

  1. Diatribes and Ovations
  2. Be Gay About It
  3. Child’s Play x3
  4. Juggling Life
  5. Mel, A Dramatic Mommy
  6. Miss Music Nerd
  7. museikchik
  8. My Imperfect Truth
  9. Old Blue Socks
  10. Broken Condoms
  11. The Unintentional Mother
  12. Dinosaurs Can’t Eat Pizza
  13. Visionary Gleam
  14. Three Cat Yard
  15. The Journey

Hey, it was easier to come up with the 15 than it was to come up with the 7!

And if you read all the way down to the bottom of this letter Shirley, I applaud you. Also? Cross your fingers for me OK? This is the afternoon that we go to the Dee Em Vee to get both 15 and 26 on the road to being fully licensed drivers.

I am still not entirely sure how I feel about that!!

But I am sure I will need a blueberry beer when I get home.

Love, me