Sunday, August 31, 2014

There is a Possibility That I Will Not Survive the Next Two Days

Hugh, the Cub and I are leaving for an overnight trip today; we are celebrating Labor Day by hiking to a waterfall, which, since it is a four-hour hike, round-trip, is a fairly good tribute to labor. You know, in my opinion.

I have been working out pretty steadily since last spring, but I haven't been on a hike in years, unless you count the Zombie Apocalypse event that I supervised for work a couple of months ago, and I don't.

So, If you don't hear from me for a few days, you will know why: heights + long hike + exhaustion + my out-of-shape ass = possible recipe for disaster.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Huddle Up

The junior varsity football game this morning was a nail-biter, ending in a 14-14 tie when our boys evened up the score in the last 32 seconds of the game. To say the crowd was on the edge of it's seat would be an understatement; the team we were playing is well known for beating us, usually pretty handily. So, to end in a tie, in such a dramatic fashion, was quite the bit of excitement.

The Man-Cub played pretty much the entire game since he plays on both offense and defense (defensive safety and receiver on offense), and he prevented touchdowns on two plays, with tackles that were quite impressive.

As usual, The Fearsome Foursome provided a wealth of team spirit, and, it felt really good to see them on the field together again.

The schedule for this season is long and full. The Foursome will be playing (or at least dressing out) for all varsity, JV, and Freshman games, so I will have ample time to enjoy their antics. And, I can't think of anything I would rather do.


Suit Up!

The Man-Cub dressed out for his first varsity football game last night and you would think that he was the starting quarterback, given how proud of him we were.

As it is, he is not the starting quarterback, he isn't even second-string, but; he is a sophomore with a lot of heart and team spirit and he was just as proud to be on the sideline in his uniform as we were to see him there.

Today, he plays in a junior varsity game and we will be just as proud to watch him on the field as we were to watch him off it.

As an aside, when we arrived at the football field last night, in the warm and mellowing early-fall sunlight, with the team warming up on the field, the band tuning up in the bleachers, and the cheerleaders pepping up the fans, I was transported back to high school in a way that I had not been for quite some time.

I hope the Man-Cub enjoys this experience. I hope he squeezes every bit of pleasure that he possibly can out of his remaining three years at Petticoat Junction High, and I hope he takes the joy from these years with him, carrying the memory of this time in his heart like a treasured gift, because, that's what this time is; a treasured gift.

Life is a big game, and the Man-Cub is suited up and ready to play. I'm so proud and honored to get to stand on the sidelines and cheer him on.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

And the Hardest Working Employee Award Goes to...

Earlier today, Hugh sent me a text message with a photo of a dead mouse that Otis had proudly presented to him. I had been in the store earlier in the morning and am certainly happy that he did not choose me as the recipient of that little gift.

On the bright side, Otis is the mightiest of the mighty hunters. On the not-so-bright side, there are mice in my hardware store.

Since it's the end of August and the temperatures have been fairly mild, I have to wonder why the mice are coming into the building; me thinks this does not bode well for the winter, as the old farmers insist that mice move inside early when they are expecting a harsh winter.

Is winter right around the corner, then? I don't know. I do know that I am not looking forward to being on the receiving end of one of Otis's acts of generosity anytime, soon.

Gross. I mean, really gross.

I am the mightiest of the mighty hunters.
I am the deadest of dead mice.

It's Not All Dooom and Gloom

After posting my last poor-poor-pitiful me post, I did some research on my condition, and, with the trusty guidance of Dr. Google, I now have a solid plan of action that does not involve hiding my head and living in denial.

Daily stretching, far more involved and time-consuming than the morning stretches I had previously utilized, appears to be the key to allowing the fascia to heal and to keeping it supple enough to avoid future injury. So, I will be spending a lot of time with my head between my knees and with my heels hanging off the edge of our staircase.

I've already noticed a slight degree of relief and I just started the stretches, so, I have really high hopes that this will be the magic bullet.

Fingers crossed.

As an aside, is there anything that Dr. Google doesn't know?

I think not.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Denial is Becoming My Default Setting

The past couple of days, I have noticed an old familiar twinge in my left heel. At first, I ignored it. When that failed to magically cause the pain to abate,  I talked myself into believing that it is a bruise, and that applying ice to it would ease the throbbing. When that failed to work, I firmly set my mind on the fact that I must have pulled an unimportant muscle-one that will heal quickly and effortlessly-and I reminded myself not to put weight on it whenever possible, you know, to speed the healing.

I don't suppose I have to tell you that that didn't work, either.

I don't want to say the dreaded word, but, at this point, I don't think I have a choice: I have plantar fasciitis, again.

I have absolutely zero desire to dig the orthotics out of the closet, nor do I plan to subject myself to cortisone shots, again. I will lay off the exercise a bit, I will do my stretches before getting out of bed every day, and I will wear sensible shoes until I feel some relief, but that is the extent of my efforts this time. No expensive doctors for this girl.

But, seriously, foot, really? Again?

You bastard.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Is the Reason My Crappy Day Was Salvaged

In an earlier post, I listed the numerous situations and events that conspired to make my day as crappy as possible. Some of them were pretty crappy things.

Now, I can share with you the thing that happened that dispelled all the negativity of those crappy situations and events:

My baby girl made sure that her crazy mother got another First Day of School picture of her. I don't know what I love more, the fact that she thought of doing it for me or the fact that she could care less that the mirror image turned her writing backwards.

Probably both.

And, just like that, my day was saved.

I would still take that drink, though, if someone were offering.

Reasons it Has Been a Crappy Day, In No Particular Order

-I forgot to pack my frozen entrée for lunch and arrived at work lunch-less.

-I discovered that the blueberries that I left in the community refrigerator had gone moldy, thus ruining my plan to have them in my breakfast oatmeal.

-My magical Sephora VIB Rouge card somehow became unregistered through the Sephora site and the clerk at the store informed me that my hard-earned loyalty points would not be transferred to a new card unless I jumped through five million hoops.

-The resulting conversation with Sephora customer service ate up almost the entirety of the lunch hour that I was forced to take because I had to run to the store to pick up a salad, because, in case you have forgotten; I was lunch-less.

-When I finally managed to get to the grocery store after resolving the Sephora crisis (I know, First World Problems, right?!), I discovered that the salad bar was out of order, so no freshly tossed salad for this girl.

-The mixed fruit and nuts that I was forced to purchase as a replacement cost $14. For melon balls and a tiny bag of pistachios (I picked a bad day to start eating healthy again, me thinks).

-On my way back to the office, Hugh called to tell me that the auditor from the company we finance our equipment through had just arrived at the store for a surprise audit.

-I had to sit through a long meeting, followed by a conference call, all while watching my phone vibrate off the table with panicked calls from Hugh, who has never had to deal with the auditor.

-The auditor identified four items that we cannot locate plus five more that I know for a fact I paid for when we sold them earlier this year, so I get to deal with that nonsense later today.

-The client I went to bat for with the Department of Human Services popped hot for methamphetamine on a routine drug screen, despite assuring me that she hasn’t used, you know, like EVER. I look super professional at this point.

-My baby girl doesn’t live with me anymore (Nothing new, just thought that I would throw that out there).

-Fruit and nuts aren’t really enough to keep a tummy from rumbling during an important conference call.

Now, I realize that none of these things, when considered in isolation, constitute a need to run the alarm flag up the pole, but, when taken together, run that fucker UP.

I need a drink.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Facetime is My New Best Friend

I got to see The Teenager today, via Facetime, of course, but, I'll take what I can get. She looked, and sounded, good; I think she is settling in to her new reality pretty well.

I'm doing fairly well, also. I still think that she is going to walk in the door any second, but I figure that I'll stop doing that right around the time that she comes home for Christmas, so I better get used to the disappointment of it not happening at least until then.

After I talked to her, The Teenager Facetimed the Man-Cub, so he got a chance to talk to her as well. He admitted that they both got a little teary-eyed, which hurt my heart. I am so proud of the relationship that those two have and I feel blessed to be a witness to it.

Classes start for The Teenager tomorrow, so the whole college experience is about to get very real for her, I would suggest that she turn on Facetime and let me listen in, but I'm pretty sure it isn't considered cool to take your mommy to class with you, so, I guess she's on her own.

And I'm sure she's going to do just fine.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

You Can Run But You Can't Hide

The Man-Cub played in the first football scrimmage of the year earlier today. He did great. He will be a starter on the JV team and will play in all of the C Team games as well, since the Freshman class lacks boys willing to throw themselves in front of a tackle, requiring the Sophomores to round out the line.

The Cub will also dress out for varsity and will possibly see some playing time there, as well. He's going to be very busy, apparently.

Guess who else is going to be busy?

How about the mother who managed to avoid being drafted into the Boosters for an entire four years? Yeah, it would appear my luck has run out. On the bright side, it will give me something to do to help fill in the gap left by he Teenager's departure. And, the Drama Mamas of past years have all moved on, given that their kids finally graduated, and, I really, really like the moms who are left; they are some of the same moms who I planned the Cub's continuation ceremony with and I adore them.

So, I'm a Booster Mom!

Rah, rah!

Oooh! And we are actually going to have cheerleaders this year, for the first time since The Teenager was in elementary school!

And, the only things I have been asked to do so far are to take the pictures of the football players for their booster pins, help with a team dinner, and decorate the halls during Homecoming week. I'm not going to have to do fundraising at all!

Rah! Rah!

I think I got this, is my point.

Also, it was sort of inevitable that this would happen; one can only present a moving target for so long before getting nipped by a bullet.

Campus Life

I'm still not ready to write about the experience of leaving my daughter at college, but I'm getting there. Right now, her absence in the house is a lot like a lost tooth; you wiggle that thing for what seems like ages until it is finally ready to fall out. When it does, there is a sense of relief and accomplishment, but, that doesn't stop your tongue from absently probing the space where the tooth used to be. You know that a new tooth will quickly grow in to fill the space, but, until that happens, you have to live with the tenderness and the empty hole.

That's how I feel about my firstborn leaving home. I'm proud of the growth, I embrace the transformation, but I'm still probing the tender spot.

Like I said, I'll get there.

For now, I don't mind writing about the experience of actually moving The Teenager into her new dorm room, because that was actually a lot of fun. It was also a lot of work, but, the excitement on her face more than made up for the sweat equity.

I think I may have mentioned at some point that The Teenager is rooming with three other girls; one whom she knew from Hooterville, and two whom she met during orientation. They are all nice girls, although I have my concerns about how The Teenager is going to do get along with her friend from Hooterville; time will tell, I know.

The dorm that the girls are in is quite large, it features a common living area, a large three-sectioned bathroom (main area with sinks, separate toilet area, separate shower area), a double room (which The Teenager and Miss Hooterville share), and two smaller single rooms. It is a really nice set-up and far better than anything I saw back in my college days.

On moving day, we arrived to find Roomate #1 already moved in, having arrived at the earliest possible check-in time and with very few possessions, when compared to the other three girls. Roomate #2 was in the process of moving in and we got to meet her mother, which was nice (and, which was the first indication that I do not, as of this moment, have a Mom Haircut, but, more on that later).

Miss Hooterville had not yet arrived but had texted that they were not far behind us, so we set about getting The Teenager's belongings from Hugh's truck and The Teenager's car (Reggie, as you may recall). There was, a lot of stuff. Luckily, there were numerous football players milling about the hall for the sole purpose of helping the freshmen move into their rooms, and you can bet your ass that we took full advantage of them and of the shopping carts that the school had on loan from the Home Depot. Because of that, we made a total of one trip with the entire contents of two vehicles. Football players are highly recommended when it comes to moving, in case you ever need to know.

Once we had everything in the room, putting it all together went pretty quickly. Miss Hooterville arrived shortly after the football players left and between her mom, her mom's boyfriend, her dad, her dad's wife, Hugh and me, there were more than enough hands, too many, in fact (Miss Hootervilles's dad and his wife tapped out fairly early. Her mother is still there as I type this, but that is a story for another day).

So, in no time at all, the room went from completely empty, sterile, and institutional-like to homey, warm, and inviting. Also, colorful, fun, and functional.

After we got the room set up, we accomplished the other chores that needed to be accomplished in order for The Teenager to start the semester without stressing over having to handle them on her own, things like picking up her books at the bookstore, picking up her parking permit and adhering it to Reggie's windshield, paying her tuition (on the Disney card, which we will pay off immediately, thus earning enough points to possibly take the children back to the Magic Kingdom while we are all still young enough to enjoy it), purchasing last minute supplies and making sure that her computer was working, that her printer was connected and that her television had channels.

While we were running several of those errands, I had the chance to see a large part of the campus, and it is really a nice place. I know The Teenager is going to love it.

It was also while we were running errands that I noticed that most of the other mothers sport a very similar haircut-an asymmetrical wedge-cut that is longer in the front and on the sides and shorter in the back. I must have seen that haircut on at least a hundred mothers, twenty of whom we stood in line with at the bookstore, which, was where I first started to notice the phenomenon. It struck me that the moms all looked suspiciously similar to Roomate #2's mother, and,  for just a second, I had second thoughts about keeping my hair long, but, then I thought about having to get up every day to wrangle hair gel or mousse or a flatiron or whatever the hell it is that those women have to use in order to get that look and I realized that I am not a short-hair kind of gal. Plus, life without a ponytail would not be worth living.

And, that tangent was really off topic, where was I? Right, touring the campus...

...of course, no trip to Hugh's alma mater would be complete without a stop at his old frat house. Oh, it would have been complete for myself and for The Teenager, but, we like to humor the man on occasion.

In the end, it took us less than a full day to get The Teenager settled. We stretched it out, naturally, but that had more to do with the reluctance to leave her behind than anything else. Of course, eventually we had no choice. On the bright side, she was smiling when we left, so, there is that, at least. And, as I've said, I will eventually get around to writing about the emotions behind the move, but, for now, that space is just too tender, the nerve just a bit too exposed.

I'll give it a bit more time.

In the meanwhile, I have Facetime and Skype and text messaging and good old-fashioned phone calls to keep me connected to my baby and I intend to take full advantage of all of them. I also vow to do so in as reserved a manner as possible so that the child has a chance to spread her wings a bit, because I have faith that we have raised her to do so without going all wild-child.

We did good, I think.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The First Care Package

Leaving The Teenager at college yesterday went as well as one might expect it to go. There was excitement. There were tears. We left a fabulously decorated dorm room and an anxious/super-excited teenager in our wake, which, is a post that will come just as soon as I am capable of adequately describing the experience.

That may be later today. Then again, it may not be, see above: there were tears.

Anyway, prior to leaving for the school, I put together the first-of what I am certain will be many-care packages for The Teenager. I wanted to leave something behind that she could open upon our departure, to remind her that we are still here for her and that we love her, despite abandoning her to party with her new friends live amongst strangers.

I had a lot of fun pulling together the items for the package; I wanted a mix of things that were both practical and enjoyable, and, I think I hit a very nice balance. Apparently, The Teenager thought so, too; Hugh and I weren't three hours down the road when she texted me to tell me how much she loved it.

As an aside, my daughter lacks patience. I have no idea where she got that.

No idea, whatsoever.

Contents of the package:

-Cheddar flavored popcorn
-Goldfish Crackers
-Flaming Got Cheetos
-Thermal Care Menstrual patches
-Gilette Razor Blades
-Mango scented shaving cream
-Mango scented shower gel
-A shower puff
-Dayquil Capsules
-Tylenol Sore Throat Liquid
-EOS Lip balm
-Burts Bees chapstick
-A pedicure file
-A gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings

Working with a general theme, in this case, the color of the box and items, was a lot of fun and presented somewhat of a challenge. I will probably try to build The Teenager's packages on a theme whenever possible going forward. It makes it fun for both of us. Not as much fun as I'm sure she is already having at school, but, at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Driving Miss Crazy

Hugh and I are making The Drive with The Teenager today. Her car has been packed since Saturday, her room is empty (not of stuff, but of her energy, of the life-force that she brings into a room with her, everywhere she goes), her books have been purchased online, and we are prepared to part with the largest chunk of money that we have spent since we bought Hugh's last pickup truck.

Because she and I want one last chance at a mobile mother-daughter gab-fest; I will be riding with The Teenager in Reggie (have I ever mentioned that she christened her car the very first day she got him? Or, that the car was known by that name by every student in The Teenager's class as well as the school faculty? Or, that even Hugh refers to the car by name? Well, now you know).

We have always had the best conversations while driving together, whether it was a short trip to Neighboring City or a longer trips to a volleyball tournament in another state, and I have learned that the car is where it's at when it comes to learning the most about your teenagers (take note, parents of pre-teens, tweens, and grade-schoolers).

I'm looking forward to whatever it is that I will learn, today.

Not so much looking forward to reaching our destination, as that signals the end of an era, really. After all, The Teenager and I have been having these conversations in the car since she was an eighth grader and suitably past her Emo phase, having ditched the skull earrings, dark eyeliner, and surly attitude in exchange for a sunny disposition and a new tolerance for her ridiculous mother.

And, while I realize that I still have the Man-Cub to chat with in a vehicle when the mood strikes, boys are...different, there are not nearly as many car confessionals when riding with a male.

I guess, if all else fails, there are always those friendly OnStar operators; there's bound to be a female who's willing to chat with a mother who is adjusting to having a half-empty nest.


Shit. I am screwed.

Yeah, you are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A First and a Last

The Man-Cub started school today. It's hard to believe that he is old enough to be entering his sophomore year in High School, but so it would seem.

When I asked him to pose for our annual first-day-of-school photos he was happy to oblige, but, a little sad that he would be taking them alone this year....sister to the rescue! The Teenager humored us with her last appearance in our annual shot.

If I haven't mentioned it lately, I am completely in awe of the fabulousness of my offspring.

They're kind of good-looking, too.

Not that I'm bragging or anything...ok, totally bragging.

Anyway, here is photographic documentation of the first day of school for the Man-Cub and the last day at home for The Teenager.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Go Jump in a Lake

Tonight is The Teenager's last night in her own bed. Are you at all surprised that I would rather be doing anything in the world other than thinking about that? Of course you aren't.

Hey, I know! Lets talk about the awesome day that we spent on the lake yesterday! Yeah, that's much better.

Hmm, let's see, so, we went to the lake with Chris and Jana after enjoying an awesome pancake breakfast at their house.

When we got to the lake, we discovered that the level had dropped since we were there on the 4th of July, in fact, it had dropped enough to allow the children to play in the dam spillway and for us to jump from the rocks that The Teenager is so fond of jumping from. These things made The Teenager very happy and it was hard to convince her that Mother Nature hadn't arranged for that turn of events totally in her honor.

The weather also cooperated, giving us sunshine and warmth and not a dark cloud in sight, which was a nice break from the monsoon rains that have soaked the area in recent weeks.

In fact, it was such a nice day, I'm having a hard time thinking that The Teenager was wrong about it being in her honor. But we can keep that between the two of us, deal?


This gives the saying "go jump in a lake" a whole new meaning, and one with which The Teenager is happy to comply. So, she better plan on coming home quite often, because I'm sure there won't be a lake for her to jump into at college.

Or, you know, anything else that's fun to do.

(I know, I know, let me have my last moments of denial in peace, please)