So, what’s new with you?

I know I hadn’t been by my own blog in a while, but I just realized it hasn’t been since January of this year.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say; it’s a rare thing when I’m completely speechless.

A quick re-cap of 2009:

Sonny Boy and I want to ride “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride” together in June, 2010.  I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to fundraise in advance so we can hit our goal early.

Sonny Boy and Girlfriend are still together. They have moments of  ‘I love you, I hate you’, but seem to work it out — or they just ignore the problems, which is bad.  One of his very good friends was killed in a car accident June 12; this sent him emotionally reeling.

Sweet Pea is doing some nannying in Delaware until early August.  She got her birthday present early (cell phone).  We told her it was for her overall safety, but, come on, the truth is I need to talk to her and hear her voice.  We’ve become texting monsters. She misses us, and admits to it, but this will be a good experience for her.

Sugar Bug got busted for cheating on her blood sugar testing logs — she wasn’t testing at all!  I don’t know how we missed that for FOUR MONTHS, but we trusted her, perhaps too much.  She is only 11 after all.  We, no– I, got chewed out by the nurse educator at her follow-up for not being more careful to double-check her meter to the log sheets.  Lesson learned by all involved, and it won’t happen again.  She wants to get an insulin pump, but the application asks her doctor if two months of blood sugar testinglogs are kept.  We do not have that since she was cheating, at least not yet.

Satchel, the cat, has turned out to be a very good hunter, and has caught and killed his keep in mice.  He’s a funny cat, snuggly up to a point and loves to sit on my books, papers or keyboard, or whatever else I happen to be working on.

Lady Bear is now on Fat Dog dog food.  She’s not the best behaved when she meets other dogs while on a walk, so she doesn’t get to go often.  We have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood, and I can’t control her if she starts lunging toward them.  It’s too bad, she’s getting better about not dragging me through the first half-mile.

I have been coaching with Team in Training since January, as a walk coach. I haven’t been sent to any event yet and will likely be staying here for the first-ever TNT participation of the local marathon.  I would love to go back to San Francisco as a coach, but there’s only one first time for TNT to be at any event, so staying here would be pretty cool.  If I keep coaching there’s always other opportunities to travel with the team.  I still do childcare at home, but otherwise am still (un)gainfully unemployed.

My Darling Husband has had some changes with his responsibilities with work, and is now a partner in the shop.  The whole company had to make some drastic changes or risk having to close their doors for good.  He’s busy, the shop is busy, the mechanics and salesmen are busy and that’s all good for the bottom line.  We’re not gonna get rich any time soon, but we aren’t losing the house either.

Well, it’s a sunny, blue-sky July afternoon and the kids are wanting to go swim.  The pool needs a good vacuuming before that can happen, and I’ve just gotten “the look” and “you haven’t even started yet?”.  Flav-R-Ice to the rescue!

Taking a Break to Make Decisions

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a friend who was asking if I’d be using or be interested in selling a science text book we have. She wanted to know if we’d be using it for Sugar Bug when she gets old enough.  I told I was still thinking about sending Sweet Pea to the co-op class that’s starting in a couple of weeks, which would use the book.  Problem: no money to sign her up, or pay the class fees.  She’s a good friend, and would probably let me make installments over the semester, all I’d have to do is prob’ly ask.

There’s a history/Lit/Bible class also offered.  It would be worth 3 high school credits, which Sweet Pea needs to have.  She wants to go to MSU and go through their Veterinary Medicine program and, well.. be a vet.  She loves animals, but thinks she wants to take care of large ones– horses, hippos, elephants, giraffe.  I think she’d cry just as much as any family to have to put a sick or injured animal down.

Sonny Boy has been tolerant of his parents of late.  He’s convinced we’ve screwed up his life, which isn’t entirely true.  We (read: I, me) have made some mistrakes with parenting and schooling decisions, and they can’t be undone.  I need to sit with him, have a long talk and ask for his forgiveness.

I was trying to work hard at getting caught up on a lot of housework that’s been pushed aside for a very long time when I got that call. I decided to take a break, grab some lunch and write. Only I haven’t eaten yet.  I think I’m actually making progress– with the housework, but I’m not nearly done.  I’ve decided to save laundry folding for later tonight, after sunset, so I can do it and listen/watch some TV. I’ve got stacks of books that need to be sorted and re-organized into subjects.  That may be a good job for tomorrow, after my walk.

Tomorrow is my next long (group) training day.  We have 14 miles on the agenda, but I may do 16.  Last week was supposed to be 16, but I didn’t see that until after I was home, showered and ready to devour a side of beef.  I wasn’t going to go back out to finish those last 2 miles.  I’ve realized the marathon is just 7 weeks away now! I have fundraising to do still– almost $1500. Any takers!?!  No? well, how about $30 or $50? As much as I’d love for an anonymous stranger to just 15 Benjamin’s into my lap, I know that’s not realistic– well, as realistic as winning tonight’s Mega Millions $134 Million jackpot.

So, to recap, I’ve decided: A) Sweet Pea should take the co-op classes.  I’ll have to find the money from somewhere. B) I need to talk to my son, really talk to him and apologize for not being the parent he needed. C)  Fold laundry during Numb3rs tonight D) Go eat some lunch, then scrub the kitchen floor.  E) Resist the urge to spend $1 on the voluntary tax that is the Michigan lottery.

Must dash off now, hunger beckons, and the cookies are screaming Eat me! so I better find something healthier than that.

Love in the Fast Lane

Not long ago, a teenage MySpace friend –he was the lead in a play my kids were in (I did his make-up) so let’s not even head to the gutter–  posted something onto the Bulletin board and asked this question:

How soon is too soon to tell someone you love them?

After some careful thought, and since Sonny Boy has a girlfriend now too, this was my reply:

You should only say that when you are ready to take care of that person for the rest of their life and put all of their needs ahead of your own, and give up your right to hold a grudge when they screw up.  Before that, it’s not really TRUE love, it’s hormones on infatuation crack.

I had to choose my words very carefully.  If you’ve been reading here, you already know I can get a bit long winded.  This young man is devilishly handsome, a rebel on the outside, but not to his core, and very bright, but also 16.  My words could have been taken as very preachy, pathetic, overly protective, out-of-touch.  Love is a very delicate thing for any of us–but at 16?! It’s the be-all and end-all, over-the-moon crazy fantastic, but very rarely the real true genuine thing. How many high school sweet hearts do you know who are still together, and still in love? I know three couples.

I wanted to add to what I told him, but brevity was necessary, again the “preachy” factor.  This is what I have told my own kids about “wuv..twue wuv” (sorry I love the Bishop from Princess Bride).  Falling is easy, staying takes a lot of hard work and commitment.  Staying in love is a CHOICE, not a feeling. Telling someone you love them should wait.  If it’s really real then you may have the rest of you lives to tell them just how amazingly profoundly they turn your insides to jelly.

This is something else a young man should know about his young lady:  she is a fragile and delicate thing.  Now don’t go sending hate mail about being equal to men. This isn’t about equality in the workplace or society.  This is how we are created, emotionally.  We girls may be tough as nails on the basketball court, or court room, or the assembly line, but when the man we love best of all does something to wound our soul, it’s like putting palm trees on the north pole.  It will kill it faster than you can say POOF!  Knowing this, a young man needs to be very careful.

The other thing he needs know about the heart of the female persuasion: it was designed to be given away– once.  Females were created with a need to be loved. Males were created to be protector and provider of that love.  When a guy tells his girlfriend he loves her, she is inclined to think “he’s the one” and it will last forever.  He more often than not says this to get some quick action, and will move on when he’s tired, bored or finds someone else who catches his eye. That leaves a young lady’s heart bruised, jaded, broken; and she’s less willing to trust the next guy who says “I love you”.  Eventually she may stop altogether, but gets into relationships just so she won’t feel the lonely ache in the pit of her heart.

I LOVE YOU are three of the most powerful words on the planet.  I wish more people treated them that way.  And my mySpace friend sent a reply.  He said it was the best advice he’d gotten back, and then reposted my answer for all his world to see.

Knees

I woke up this morning thinking I’d had a bad allergy attack overnight, but it turns out to be the start of a summer cold. I’ve been keeping a steady stream of decongestant and allergy pills going through me all day, and still I can’t breathe. I think it’s been working its way here for a couple of days. I’ve been dragging my feet, so to speak, and now I know why.

I’ve had random stressors bombarding me lately. Sonny Boy had the rear-ending episode, the car’s been in the shop for other reasons, we got a kitten and Lady Bear has been eating his poo—covered in cat litter (gross!). The kitten, who’s name is Satchel, has to go to the vet in the morning. I have to see an orthopaedist about my knees, one makes a popping/crunching sound when it bends, which you can feel if you put a hand on the kneecap. I’ve been mentoring a group of people for this season’s Team in Training events, and have been trying to train and fund raise for my own. Sonny Boy got a job, and I’m not sure exactly where he’s working. He got it through Girlfriend’s “Parental (something, something)”. I just prefer to call him her “other” step-dad—her dad is gay. Sugar Bug is going to a camp next week, and I’m chaperoning the trip. We have to make sure all of her diabetes Rx information is all with us. Money is tight; gas costs a fortune and I quit my job in March. Sonny Boy and Girlfriend have an escalating situation with a Young Lady who used to be his “special interest”. (Her parents wouldn’t allow her to “date”, and so they just made moon eyes at each other, and talked on the phone, sent e-mails. He chose to end things—a year ago— because it couldn’t go anywhere anyway. Well, now Girlfriend is in the picture and Young Lady thinks Girlfriend stole her boyfriend. Apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg.) And, did I mention I’m getting a cold? Yeah, I think I did.

It sounds like I’m complaining. Does it sound like I’m complaining? I’m not trying to, just stating facts of my life right now. What I should be doing is getting on my knees in prayer, searching God’s timeless and ageless wisdom to get me through. Except if I lay in bed, I’ll fall asleep, and I can’t literally sit on my knees, because they’ll go numb.

I don’t want sympathy. I’ll take donations for my fundraising efforts, and I’ll take your prayers.

Seen of the Street #4: Flashback to My Youth

I got a distressing call yesterday afternoon from Sonny Boy. “Mom, I just rear-ended somebody with the car.” I was tending my flower beds that are starting to get out of control from all the rain we’ve had lately, and the crab grass shoots are trying to take over again.

My parental freedom flashed before my eyes. My head started swirling with thoughts, the first was ‘he’s going to get a ticket and lose his license, then I’ll have to start driving him all over the place again, along with driving the girls because I can’t send him.’ In no particular order came: how am I going to tell his dad about this, was anybody hurt, how much damage was done to our car or the other guy’s. I told him I’d be right there– he was right in front of Girlfriend’s house, which is a couple of blocks away. **Sigh** I’m dirty, smelly, in old flip flops, my hair’s in a bandanna to keep sweat from dripping in my eyes, in clothes which don’t “go together” and now I get to walk through the neighborhood.

I called the non-emergency number for the police as I walked and learned the accident had already been reported and that a car was being sent. It took the dispatcher three attempts before I finally understood his question about gas leaking from the vehicle. [Mental note to self: get hearing in right ear checked. Blast all those loud concerts in my youth. Wait.. that blasting is probably what did my hearing in. Double-drat!] I called Sonny Boy back to say I was on my way and would be there in a minute or two. Just before he hung up I could hear the him and Girlfriend talking about finding the owner of the car, and heard an unfamiliar male voice in the background. Sonny Boy was explaining he had just run into his car…then, nothing. He was gone.

At the scene I find the two of them and the owner of the Unfamiliar Male Voice standing in the street surveying the damage. Sonny Boy introduced me: “This is my Mom.” I may have asked what happened, or maybe not, or he just started talking. “We just pulled out of the driveway, and since there wasn’t anyone parked across from the end of theirs I pulled out really wide because I had room. I looked down to grab my drink and when (Girlfriend) reached for it at the same time I let go so she could have it and looked up and there was the back of the car. I ran into it before I had a chance to stop.” He was saying he was going maybe 5 MPH, and the more he told the story, the faster he got. It went to 10, then 15, then 20. I was ready to tell him to stop telling the story or he’d end up with a speeding ticket by his own admission!

We sat in the shade on the sidewalk, and I idly pulled up weeds next to the short retaining berm we sat on. Sonny Boy sat with his face in his hands, and asked “Are you mad?” I wasn’t–honestly, I wasn’t– disappointed, yes; mad, no. My disappointment wasn’t even in what happened, just that it was so much sooner than I had expected. To avoid answering I started pouring water into my mouth and mumbled “My mouth is full, I can’t talk.” Girlfriend started to laugh. ( I have to explain. In our home, if you get caught talking with your mouth full, you get your hand smacked– parents included. To avoid answering a question any one of us has, on occasion, popped something into our mouth.)

“Am I grounded?”

“Yep, probably.”

“Well, it was fun while it lasted–having my license.” (He got in two months ago.) We both were waiting for a ticket to be issued, which would end his driving until his 18th birthday; so says Michigan law. Which made me think again about having to be Chauffeur Mom.

He was going over what happened aloud again and again and he couldn’t figure out how it happened. He had his hand on the wheel still, but we need a front end alignment, and when the rear wheels went over the speed hump slightly crooked it must have lurched the car to the side. That’s the best we can figure.

While I’ve been playing this whole episode over in my head it made me think back to the first accident I ever had. I was 16, a Junior and it was winter. I was driving home from a basketball game still in my cheerleading outfit, and had two other girls with me. They lived near to me and was driving them home. One of them had a crush on some guy, and we decided to follow him home. I didn’t care, there were two ways for us to get home, and this was one of them. We were about 50 yards behind them when I hit a patch of black ice and slide from the left lane across the right lane and into a snow bank. A man in his 50’s, I’m guessing–he looked older than my parents– hit the rear end of Mum’s now snow-bound car. To this day, I can’t say for sure if he even had his head lights on, but I think not. I got a ticket for “Improper Lane Usage” and 2 points on my license. I dreaded calling my Dad.

When I told him what happened, he surprised me by not flipping out, or yelling. He first asked if everyone was okay, if the car could be driven home. Then he asked me something that took me completely by surprise and has stayed with me ever since. “What did you learn from this?” he asked.

What did I learn!?! That was crazy! All I could think to say, and this is still my opinion some days: “Don’t drive in winter in Michigan.” What on earth kind of question is that to ask your daughter after she’d been rear-ended. I could never figure out why he asked me that, ..until yesterday.

The officer arrived. It wasn’t a very long wait, but long enough, like waiting for the executioner’s axe to fall. You know it’s coming, and you know it’s unavoidable. With a prodding of “On your feet sir,” he was up, getting his papers off the hood of the car. Office asked to see it all, asked about what happened. The Unfamiliar Male Voice said Sonny Boy came to find him and then admitted he would have driven off if it were him. Officer lifted his eye brows and cocked his head– he was impressed. He could have driven away, but instead stayed to face his Driver’s License Executioner.

In that moment, I was proud of my son. The Officer found him at fault, but did not write him a ticket. Sonny Boy and I both know he should have gotten one, and deserved to. The dread washed from behind his eyes. He’d received an act of mercy, and he knew it.

We were talking later that night about what happened that day. He’s been waiting for the Parental Axe to fall, too, and wanted to know what sort of trouble he was in. I asked him what my dad asked me: What did you learn from this today? The look on his face must have matched my own all those years ago. He wasn’t expecting that one at all. I wanted him to remember that taking your eyes off the road, even for a split second, can have very serious consequences. I pointed out that it was just a parked car, but suppose it was someone’s child who ran into the street to chase after a loose ball, then what? I’m not sure the gravity of that possible scenario has sunk in.

What did I learn, after all these years? Parents have lessons to give, and a child can learn from them, even 23 years after the fact. And, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, and teach that to our kids, we all shall be doomed to repeat them.