Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This is the Part Where You Feel Helpless

The Teenager just called me in tears, complaining of not being able to breathe and having a sharp pain in her back. I calmed her down and asked her to take a hot shower, to allow the steam to open her lungs and the water to relax her. Then, she is supposed to call me back to let me know if it helps.

It was good advice, and, the steps I would have her follow if she were home.

But, she's not home.

She's six hours away and she doesn't feel good and I'm not there to help her.

Instead, I am here, consulting Dr. Google to determine if I should be more concerned (Note to parents of recent college-bound teens: DO NOT CONSULT THE INTERNET FOR MEDICAL ADVICE ABOUT YOUR BABY. IT WILL MAKE YOU NEEDLESSLY PARANOID ABOUT HER SYMPTOMS. TRUST ME. STEP AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD).

This is the part of parenting that no one tells you about; the part where you second-guess your support of your child's pursuit of higher education and the part where you forget how very hard you worked to raise a mature, responsible, and capable young adult. This is the part where you seriously consider jumping in the car to rescue that young adult from...adulthood.

This is the part where you remind yourself that you did instill all of those qualities in your child, and that your baby is mature and responsible and capable and that she will get through this with just a little good advice administered in a loving tone over the phone.

This is also the part where you realize that you damn well better get used to providing this type of support and guidance because, yeah...adulthood.

I have loved all of the stages of my children's lives, but, I've got to tell you; I am kind of hating this part.

It Would Appear I am Blind AND Senile

With all the excitement of Homecoming and The Teenager's visit, I completely forgot to mention that I finally went to the eye doctor last week. As expected, my prescription for my glasses has changed and I am now facing the reality of...bifocals.

Wait, did I already mention this?

I did, didn't I?

Yeahhh....losing it. And, I don't just mean my eyesight.

Anyway, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for my new glasses to arrive. Because I am thrifty, I used my old frames for the new lenses. However, because my prescription is so wonky, I also required a pair of glasses for distance and driving, so I ordered a pair for in the car. Then, since I can't drive without sunglasses, I ordered a clip-on visor thingie for the long-distance glasses (which I thought was smarter-and cheaper-than paying for prescription sunglasses). In total, with the exam, my bill came out to jut under $1400, at which point I thought I might also need to throw in some heart medication.

Luckily, my new insurance at Day Job entitled me to some discounts, bringing my total closer to $600, which still ain't cheap. But, you know, neither is good eyesight, so, there's that.

In addition to discounted eyewear, Day Job also provided me with a flu shot last week. This week, the soreness in my arm has worn off but I am experiencing mild flu-like symptoms. Or, I caught The Teenager's cold. Either way, I'm feeling just slightly off my game.

And That's going to be my excuse for repeating the fact that I have to get bifocals.

Yeah, that's it; I'm sick. Not senile.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Homecoming Week 2014: The Dance

When The Teenager graduated, I really did fear that I had thrown my last pre-dance dinner party. The fact that I had to text Mike's girlfriend, just to find out what homecoming activities had been planned further convinced me that I was right. The last-minute nature of the Man-Cub's plans, well, that pretty much nailed the coffin shut.

So, I don't have the words to adequately describe how happy I am that we had the privilege of hosting the Man-Cub and his friends last night. I am just really, really happy.

I think the kids were happy, too. And, I know that their parents were thrilled. In fact, three of them stayed to help with serving the dinner and for nice conversation once the kids were on their way. It was a welcome change to doing it all on our own, and I think the other parents were grateful for the opportunity, so it was a win all the way around.

Dinner consisted of the usual: grilled steaks, loaded baked potatoes, salad and, for dessert, a cheesecake that had been contributed by one of the other families.

The kids humored us through the taking of about a million pictures, and, when the dance was over, returned to the house to watch movies until curfew.

It felt like any other homecoming. It felt right.

It didn't hurt that he Teenager was also sleeping under my roof again, either.

So, I was wrong to worry about not getting to be the go-to home for the Cub and his friends. I was wrong about never getting to watch a group of teenagers circle my table for a pre-dance meal again. And, I was wrong about never getting pictures of the kids before a special event.

I've never been so happy to be wrong in my whole life.

What a great weekend.



Homecoming Week 2014: The Quest for a Date

Yesterday morning, with still no indication that the Cub was planning to ask Katie's little sister to the dance, I resigned myself to the fact that he was going alone, which was no big deal.

Mom and Dad took us all to our traditional Denny' breakfast, where The Teenager spent the better part of her meal texting with Katie while Katie texted with her sister, until, finally, Katie's sister just asked the most logical of all questions, which was: what if I just ask him?

Well, shit.

No one had thought of that.

So, utilizing an adorable picture and the Snapchat app, that is just what she did; the message came in just after we bid Mom and Dad a fond farewell as they made their way back to Mayberry and just as we entered the Hellmouth for groceries.

The Cub was both surprised and flattered, and, overcame his innate shyness to accept the request with an equally adorable thumbs-up photo via Snapchat (technology, the ultimate matchmaker).

Next, we quickly determined that his date's dress was black and a bowtie and corsage were procured.

It was the strangest Homecoming coupling that I have ever witnessed. Also, kind of the sweetest since Katie's sister appears to genuinely like the Cub. In fact, at some point last week, the Cub asked her if she was going with anyone to the dance, to which she replied she was not. She then asked him if he was going with anyone and he confirmed that he, too, was dateless. And the poor thing actually thought that the Cub was going to ask her, which, for us females, was a natural assumption to make, given the direction the conversation was going.

However, the Cub being the Cub (oblivious), simply wandered off and left the conversation (and, the girl) hanging. I'm sure he was paralyzed by his shyness and I'm glad that Katie's sister finally took control and just made the invitation, herself.

I'm also glad that the Cub (and Katie's sister) has a meddling sister who isn't willing to let his shyness ruin his chance for a good time.

And, they had a good time. They really did. Unfortunately, that will have to wait for another post, as I have fifteen things that I am currently in the middle of accomplishing, and one of them requires my immediate attention. Also, I love a good cliffhanger, so...

...to be continued.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Homecoming Week 2014: Day Five

Did I skip Day Four? Yes? Oh, well; the Cub didn't dress up like a little old man despite my entreaties that he do so. The world, it did not end.

Today was Blue and Gold Day, which was a slam-dunk, as far as the Man-Cub was concerned; he just had to wear his football jersey, which, I managed to forget to wash last night...uh-oh...yeah.

Luckily, I had just enough time this morning to get it laundered and dried before the Cub had to be at the school, so, the day was saved. And, it turned out to be a pretty good day for the Cub.

For one thing, he had his grandparents here to cheer him on at the football game. For another thing, his sister managed to pull off a surprise visit (the planning for which I have been keeping secret for the past four weeks; who says I can't keep a secret? No one, that's who), that left him shocked speechless and teary-eyed (which made me teary eyed, like, seriously). Neither of those kids imagined that they would miss each other as much as they have and it was so touching to watch them together today.

The Cub was on cloud nine for the parade and he even kept a smile on his face after his team lost the Homecoming football game by a fairly large margin; such was the power of having his sister home.

Tomorrow night is the dance, which will be preceded by a dinner that the Cub has asked us to host for a number of his friends. As I type this, he is still debating asking Katie's younger sister to the dance, since he doesn't have a date and neither does she. I hope he does, but, since I have now cursed it by throwing it out into the internet universe, it is practically a given that he won't.

But, I'll let you know tomorrow.



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Unrelated, Or, Possibly Related Topics

The Man-Cub got his drivers license today. That's right, he is street legal and ready to mingle. Daddy's, hide your daughters.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my eye doctor; today, I am awaiting the delivery of a brand spankin' new pair of bifocals.

Bi. Fucking. Focals.

If the Cub wasn't growing up so damn fast, I wouldn't be getting so freaking old.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homecoming Week 2014: Days Two and Three

The Man-Cub's birthday yesterday took precedence over Homecoming, so I am playing catch-up with the weekly event posts. Not that it matters to anyone but me.

So, yesterday was Colorado Pride Day, and the Man-Cub didn't dress up because he didn't have anything Colorado-related to wear. This is ironic considering his sister's summer business venture consisted of making a million tie-dyed shirts featuring the Colorado flag...

...none of which she gave to her brother.

So, Colorado Pride Day, total bust.

Today, however, the Cub more than made up for his Homecoming slacking by dressing head to knee in the color assigned to the Sophomore class for Color Wars...

...the color was red, in case you, like the Man-Cub, happen to be colorblind.

Also, please excuse the crappy quality of that picture; it was taken by Hugh because I had already left for work by the time the Cub got dressed and Hugh is not exactly interested in photography as a hobby.

Tomorrow is Senior Citizen Day and, despite the fact that I supplied the Cub with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses (with the attached nose, naturally) and a cane, he is reluctant to dress up simply because he is scheduled to take the test for his driver's license, which, I mean, really? Would it honestly be that embarrassing for a sixteen year old boy to wear a cardigan and trousers to his driving test? Pshaw.

So, I may have to resign myself to the fact that the Cub will never be as active a participant in school festivities as his sister was. At least I know he will rock out on Blue and Gold Day since his football jersey is required apparel for the day.

I'm really starting to appreciate the small victories.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear Man-Cub

You are sixteen years old, today. I'm not entirely certain how that happened since it was just yesterday when the doctor handed you to me for the first time, yet; here we are.

I've learned a lot about you in the moments that have taken place between that day and today; I've learned that you can brighten even the darkest day with a smile and a genuine belly laugh, because, you, my son, are the best belly-laugher in the world. You don't giggle, you seldom chuckle, you aren't one for a politely quiet laugh-while-hiding-your-mouth-behind-your-hand, no; you are a head-thrown-back, hearty laugh-from-the-belly, laugh-as-loud-as-you-can, laugh-until-tears-roll-down-your-cheeks kind of laugher.

There is simply no way to be unhappy around that kind of unbridled joy, and I know this for a fact because, you were born during a challenging time in our lives; your Nana was recovering from cancer and there was a lot of uncertainty and sadness in our home.

Then, when you were two months old,  I was changing your diaper; I tickled your naked little tummy, as I always did, and you rewarded my efforts with a belly-laugh. Everyone said that laughter was impossible at that age, so I tickled you again to be sure and you laughed harder. I called for witnesses, I video-taped you, I wrote about it in my journal, and I told everyone who would listen, because, clearly, you were a genius. But, mostly, I thanked God for giving you the ability to create joy where before, there had been sadness.

You have continued to bring me nothing but joy.

You are, in many ways, a typical boy; your room is always messy, you disappear for hours at a time behind your video game remote and headphones, you procrastinate when I ask you to take out the trash, and you are easily embarrassed by questions concerning girls and your interest in them.

You are in no way typical when it comes to your capacity for compassion and empathy, however; your kindness toward others both humbles and gratifies me. You have never met an animal that didn't immediately love you and want to follow you home (including too many lizards to count) and your patience when it comes to your elders is admirable.

I am constantly amazed at your good nature and the ease with which you handle the minor catastrophes that naturally befall a teenage boy-pimple on your chin? No biggie. Coach get on you for missing a tackle? Eh, you'll do better next time. You don't sweat the small things and that is a gift that you won't begin to appreciate until you are much older, if ever (It's ok, your wife will appreciate it for you).

You are, by no means, one of the typically moody teenaged boys that I run into at my day job and I cannot express enough my pride in you for getting good grades, being polite to teachers, participating in sports, volunteering in our community, and generally just being a person that I would like to know, even if you weren't my son.

But, you are my son, and I am so very grateful that you are.

Sixteen years-gone in the blink of an eye.

And it seems like just yesterday.

Happy birthday, Man-Cub. I love you infinity and beyond.

Monday, September 22, 2014

They May Be Small, But Lord, They Are Mighty

The JV played earlier this evening and, as usual, the boys gave the game their very best effort. Unfortunately, their best wasn't quite good enough to secure a victory, but, they demonstrated a ton of heart in the effort.

The Man-Cub had a couple of really good tackles, carried the ball for a number of yards, managed to single-handedly block an extra-point kick, and prevented a safety. He had a good game.

I spent my time on the sidelines, taking as many pictures as I possibly could. You know, like usual.

The final score was 6-14, but the boys left the field smiling, so, they were winners despite what the scoreboard might have indicated.

Homecoming Week 2014: Day One

I'm about to share a nugget of wisdom that will leave you breathless with admiration, are you ready? Here it is: Boys are different from girls.

I know! It's like I'm a genius, right?

Here's the thing, though, you never realize just how different the two are until you are forced to parent one after having become used to parenting the other. Another gem, I know.

The differences in this boy-only parenting gig have become glaringly obvious with the whole Homecoming thing. For example, I actually had to text the girlfriend of one of the Fearsome Foursome just to learn what events are scheduled for the week; the Man-Cub couldn't be bothered to relay such silly details.

I also had a rather embarrassing situation arise when not one, but three other mothers approached me (individually) to ask me what the plan is for the Homecoming dance and I was like, "I have no idea, the Man-Cub didn't ask anyone, so, I'm not even sure he is going", only to discover (YESTERDAY) that the Cub had kind of-sort of-invited several couples to our house for dinner and pictures before the dance, which, the other mothers had kind of-sort of, known waaaayy before me (because their daughters had told them, naturally).

Have I ever mentioned how much I love looking like an uninformed moron? So. Much. FUN!

Anyway, I think I am finally on the same page as my male offspring. You know, today.

And, today is the first day of Homecoming, which means that the kids will be participating in donning some form of costume, unless you are my kid, that is; he is uninterested in today's theme, which is Impersonate Your Favorite Teacher Day. I....can't say that I blame him. I have no idea who came up with the themes for this year but they are lame (and I am being kind).

I do have pictures for today's post, however, because I spent three hours at the school yesterday, assisting the other five mothers who comprise the Athletic Booster Club. Together, we decorated the hallways as well as the lockers of each athlete (including football players, volleyball players, cheerleaders, and cross country runners). When the general decorating was done (I was in charge of streamers, I became quite good at monkeying up and down a ladder, thankyouverymuch), we were able to concentrate on our own kids' lockers and I was touched when one of the mothers of the Fearsome Foursome whipped out enlarged copies of a picture that I had taken of the boys last year for each of their lockers; my copy was a sweet addition to the Man-Cub's locker and I appreciate her thoughtfulness.

So, that's it for the first day of Homecoming 2014. The boys have a JV game later today, which will kick off the week in style, and the Man-Cub assures me that he will participate in at least a couple of the upcoming themed days, so, more to come, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Popular Trends: An Observation

While at the Hellmouth today, I saw three different brands of popular candy that have added a limited edition caramel apple flavored item to their line-up; Jolly Ranchers, Blow Pops, and Laffy Taffy. This amused me for reasons that even I cannot decipher.

For the record, I did not purchase any of the caramel apple flavored items.

I did, however, purchase a bag of the limited edition salted caramel flavored candy corn. I'm only human after all.

Autumn on the Porch

This has been a pretty odd season so far, the trees are only just beginning to change and, during my trip over the mountain for my conference earlier this week, I didn't see nearly the amount of color that I would typically expect to see at this time of the year.

But, that hasn't kept me from decorating the porch for autumn, in fact, I have probably managed to top my most over-the-top decorating of years past, because, I'm an overachiever like that. But, I love this time of year so I make no apologies.

I do make a killer pumpkin bread, which is also a staple of the autumn experience for me, but that is an entirely different post.*

*As an aside, am I the only person in existence who doesn't pee her panties in excitement when Starbucks breaks out the pumpkin spice lattes? Seriously? That shit is nasty. Salted caramel is where it's at, people. Salted caramel. That is all.