Archive for August, 2010

Seven

Friday, August 27th, 2010

My baby is seven today. SEVEN. When you were six, I could still think, I have babies. The baby is gone now. I look at you now, and remember what you were like as a baby, a toddler, a preschooler.

rollieflam.jpg

But he is seven now, and seven is no longer baby.

This has been a good year. You started Kindergarten this time last year:
All Smiles

and now you are in First grade. What a difference a year makes!

firstgrade
You are still in the Magnet class and it is fun to see you with your friends. You started riding the bus last year and you still like the bus. Daddy drops you off in the mornings, though, because it means that we get a little more time together before you go off to school and he heads to work. I get you from the bus stop in the afternoons, and you are usually a little grumpy with me. I guess you are tired and hot (it is still August and buses don’t have AC). You did great in Kindergarten, really progressing with your reading now. You still read with Tiller and Daddy before bed, but you also read chapter books after you go to bed, and we are worrying you don’t get enough sleep because of it. You are currently reading, “The Guardians of Ga’Hoole” with Daddy and Tiller, and on your own, you are reading “The Magician’s Nephew.” Just last night, you argued with me about whether you can read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” first, and then go back and read book one (Magician’s Nephew), or whether you are supposed to read One first. I say you can do it either way. Not you. You like order and in an orderly world, you read One first, then move on to Two. Hopefully, some day you can forgive me for making you read Two first.

You and Tiller got razors for Christmas and you ride them around in the garage for an hour at a time. You don’t get sick and you don’t fall and get hurt. (Knock on wood.) Speaking of, we haven’t had any ER visits or really any sickness in a year. You and Tiller both missed a week of school last year because you had a puke once then have a fever for a week virus. But they weren’t bad and it just made you snuggly.

You don’t have too much time for snuggling this year, but occasionally, you will slow down and cuddle on the couch in your pjs with me or daddy. I realize now that they are dwindling that those moments will be fewer and further between. I try to cherish those moments.

You lost some teeth this year! The first two you lost at school and they just sent them home in a plastic baggie with your name written on them in sharpie. I felt a little gypped. But then your tooth got loose when Cousin Luci and Uncle Wade were visiting and you wanted me to pull it, and we made Daddy and Wade squirm while we stood in the kitchen, wiggling the tooth back and forth, wiping the blood with a paper towel and finally making it crack! and come out. You are not scared of the tooth fairy like Aunt Lisa was when we were little.

This was the year you ate all the chocolate out of the Advent Calendar. I know one day it will be funny, but right now it is still too soon. And the year you cut a chunk right out of the front of your hair. And the year that you got a mohawk. Three times.

I am amazed at all of the things you did this year. You played t-ball last fall and this past spring. You are a natural – always raring to go play, and really pretty good. Watching you out on the field, doing celebratory dances when you make a play, is like pure joy for me. I try to be modest, but i just about burst with pride at how you excel. You are about to start soccer this fall, again, and I hope you like it as much.

You learned how to ride a bike this year, and how to swim. You could swim before, but suddenly, you were going underwater and swimming the length of the pool and you even had your first year on Swim Team this summer. (Go Stingrays!) The competitive Mom in me had to wrestle with not pushing you, and letting you do things your way, even though I knew there were pointers I could give you that would help you improve. You finally listened a little bit and really improved your time, and then you spent the rest of the summer asking me to give you “some more pointers.” It was pretty cute, and I liked that you asked me, because usually, you want to do everything yourself, and don’t want anyone to tell you how to do it.

You also learned to go off the diving board! I can’t even tell you how terrified i was when you and Tiller and Daddy came home saying you both knew how to go off the diving board. And sure enough, we would go to the pool and you and your friends would jump off the diving board, over and over for hours on end. And then we would go home and you would say you didn’t feel good, but i knew it was just that you were completely waterlogged.

You have reached the point where you can sit and watch a whole baseball game (in person or on tv) and I am very much looking forward to watching some football with you this fall. You have learned the rules and can have a great conversation about it, and I never realized how satisfying it could be to have those discussions with you.

Just about a month ago, i let you drive the JetSki (with me right behind you) at the Lake. I had the kill switch, but I pulled over in a huge cove, far away from the shore or docks, and I let you sit in front of me, and taught you a little about how to drive it. Then I said, do you want to try? And you were excited. I was prepared for you to hit the gas too hard even though I warned you not to, so I wouldn’t get thrown off, but I don’t think you were prepared for it, and it scared you. You didn’t want to try and drive anymore, and I think it was a good lesson. Riding with you kids is one of my favorite things to do. We drive around to some usual spots, usually in the morning, before there are many folks out on the lake and you are learning your way around. You know the usual spots: Bulldog, Aerie, The Warm Water, Rooty Creek, Crooked Creek, and Goat Island. I ask where you want to go and you almost always want to go to Goat Island. It’s kind of “our place.” At the end of our rides, I always head back towards the house, and I make you tell me how to get there. When we get back near the cove, I ask if you want to do some circles, and you always say yes, and then I ride us in circles until we’re a little dizzy and you are just on the very verge of being scared. Each time, we go a little harder and faster. And this summer, we started taking you and Tiller out on the tube (nice and slow). The first time, we went out, and you were the guinea pig (except you kept calling it being the Hamster) and Foley rode as spotter. After that, I started teaching you and Tiller to be spotters for each other, and that has worked well. Maybe next year we’ll try skis.

You talk back a bit now, and you fight with us, and you probably are a little too addicted to video games. You definitely have your own ideas about how you want to do things, and you and I get into some arguments, but I am so very proud of the smart, funny, laughing, passionate boy you are. I love your eagerness, and your gap-toothed smile, and the way you drag your feet when you walk up the hill from the bus stop. I know you can’t stay my baby forever, that I have to work hard to make you a wonderful young man, to teach you respect and pride and the value of an education and courtesy, but I understand now why Mom and Dad still say I’ll always be their first baby.

You will always be my first baby. The baby with the skin that tans easily and the big brown eyes that just make me melt and the thick, wavy brown hair that always reminds me so much of my own, and of my Dad’s, and of the inexplicable ways that we are all three so similar, just a little line of stitches marching down the hem of time. Pop, Daddy, Me, You.

You. My baby. Always.

You in the last year.

And you this morning, on your seventh birthday.

Rollie at Breakfast on his 7th Birthday

A Good Day, Despite It All

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Despite the fact that I started my period, and I am swamped with projects and work and volunteering for school, this is a good day.

I can’t think of anything better when I have cramps than having a hot bath, then curling up in bed with a much-anticipated book.

Green Recessionista? Cheap Meanie?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I’m really not sure whether this makes me eco-conscious, or a big old, no fun stick-in-the-mud. I do know that it looks frighteningly like something Pop would have done, although I did not take it as far as his sister Mary, who would just strike out the writing on cards and then reuse them.

gift

Perhaps would have looked cuter had I saved weeks of comics and wrapped it all in those? Curious to see what Rollie’s reaction will be when his gift is not clad in Spidey or, um, anything with color on it.

So, am i Green or Cheap? (or both?)

Bookstuff

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I haven’t posted about it in a while, but dang, I heart Goodreads. Love that it’s free, love seeing what my friends are reading, love following authors, love taking the quizzes, love cataloging all my books and rating them. If you’re a member of Goodreads, hit me up! I want to see what you are reading!

Also, considering a foray into PaperBackSwap. I am afraid i will be addicted. Also find that maybe the input of the ISBN numbers might be a little cumbersome. Wish they would somehow integrate with Goodreads. . . .

In other book news, I’m getting ready to start reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for my book club. Very excited. Looks great, despite the stupid title.

Jane Austen’s Fight Club

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

I know. Two videos in a row. Lazy. But this one is so funny!

Jane Austen’s Fight Club. No smaller version, so deal with margin issue.

Via Baby Got Books. (You should be reading it if you aren’t already. Love it. Unless you don’t like books, in which case you might as well end it all now.)

Oh, The Anticipation

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Not ashamed to say I got a little choked up watching this.

I cannot WAIT.

We Found It!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The proverbial Needle In a Haystack. The diamond in a very messy and large rough. My diamond. We found it.

I was picking veggies from the garden, and I came up to the carport and Todd and the kids were grinning like jackasses eating briars.

“Mama?” Todd said. “Remember when you said you would take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese if they found something for you?”

I knew right away what it was they had found, but I played dumb for effect. For the kiddos. I had promised them, in those first days after losing the diamond, when we were turning the house upside down, and going through the dirt in the vacuum cleaner, that if they found my diamond, I would take them to Chuck E. Cheese’s.

“Did you find something?”

They made me close my eyes and hold out my hand. I did. They told me i could open. I did.

There was my engagement ring, diamond still missing, in the palm of my hand.

Wait. What? Where’s my diamond?!

Rollie walked over and put a gem in my hand.

I looked at Todd. “Where did you find it?” I said, amazed at how small it looked in my hand.

He had been moving the new mattress his parents gave us into Rollie’s room to replace Rollie’s old mattress. He lifted the old mattress up and found a piece of paper and my diamond. It is so small, it is a miracle that he saw it. I remembered, then, that one of the places that I remembered my ring hanging up on things was in Rollie’s room when I changed his sheets. It must have come off then.

What are the odds of getting a new mattress a month after losing your diamond and then finding the diamond under the old mattress? Was it God? Maybe. I waver between thinking there are no coincidences and thinking that life is all a series of hits and misses without any rhyme or reason. This definitely made me swing back to the side of fate and destiny and higher power. At least for a moment; For a moment, things seemed clear and magical at the same time.

“That’s it, isn’t it?” Todd said.

“Yeah, I think so.” Diamonds look different when they aren’t in the setting. In all honesty, it kind of looked fake.

“It kind of looks fake, though, doesn’t it?” Todd said.

“Yeah, kind of.”

But I set it in the prongs of my ring and it fit perfectly.

We went inside and the kids celebrated “their” find. I put my arms around my husband and hugged him and remembered how wonderful it is that he asked me to marry him. I have not ever, not once, ever regretted saying, “Yes.” It is the most important “Yes” i ever uttered. Then, we all ate dinner together.

And that’s how, after seven years of parental avoidance, yet another wall came down, another line crossed, and I finally had to break down and take the kids to Fuck E. Cheese’s.

SkeeBall is still fun. The pizza is still disgusting.

My Assistants

Friday, August 13th, 2010

It takes me twice as long to get anything done, sometimes, but I am thankful that I get to hang with these two every day while I work.
Assistants

First Week of School

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I can’t believe that school is back in session so early. I know that it makes a difference in the education of kids with crappy parents, but I feel like the good parents and the kids who still learn at home over the summer kind of get the shaft. It just seems like summer should be Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Rollie started first grade this year. FIRST GRADE. How do I have a first grader? I keep on thinking back to my first grade teacher, Miss Hamilton, at Northwestern Elementary in Crabapple. We only had one first grade. Rollie’s school has four first grade classes! I hope that his first grade experience is as rewarding as mine was. I remember my reading group, and the table at the back of the class where we would read together. I remember doing SRA cards, too. I remember music class with Mr. Martin and PE out on the field. I can still smell that old school.

We took Rollie to school the first day, because you have to send about three bags of supplies with the kids and they could never get it all on the bus and to school in one piece without some help. It was crowded, so Todd and Tiller dropped Rollie and I off out front and we went in together. He was so excited.

First Day of First Grade
We didn’t make it to class before they started the pledge of Allegiance. Everyone, parents and kids, all stopped in the hall and put their hands over their hearts and recited the pledge. It was comforting, in the same way that saying the Lord’s Prayer is comforting to me. I kissed him goodbye at his desk and headed back out.

Next day, we put him on the bus. Now, there is one little boy down the street who is in 2nd grade this year. He never rides the bus in the morning. Instead, it’s just Rollie and his harem:
At the Bus Stop

Yes, he has six girls at the bus stop with him. He is the only boy. Next year, with Tiller and her friend Josie down the street, the number will be eight girls to his one! Nice to have so many of them, so close in age, all on one street.

Good luck, little Man! I am very proud of you.

Love,
Mama

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II. . .

Busted Flat in Nashville
I got a flat north of Nashville. So, when my tire blew out, and my sister was right in front of me, she didn’t happen to see me swerve across three lanes of traffic and into the emergency lane. She just looked in the rear view mirror and I was nowhere to be found, and thought, “uh-oh.” And then got off at the next exit, turned back around and went north on 75, and drove until she saw me broken down on the southbound side, then found the next exit, and got back on 75 South, and drove until she found me. Because we didn’t have cel phones. i swear to God, it was like living in the dark ages; we are lucky to have survived.

I was just sitting on the back bumper of the truck, because I’d already inspected the blowout. When you are driving from Colorado, getting a flat in Nashville is like getting a flat in your neighborhood. You are so close, and yet so far. You are so tired. You so don’t want to fucking change a tire. Which is good, because it turns out, even if you did, there are no spare tires on Ryder trucks. You have to call Ryder.

So, i sat there, and waited for Lisa to find me, and then told her what was up, and then sent her to the next exit to get drinks and call for help. I sat there a really long time. It was August 2, sitting on the side of 75 southbound, just north of Nashville. It was, to put it lightly, hot as fucking Hades.

Lisa came back. She said it would probably be a couple of hours. Have you ever sat on the side of 75 South in the midday sun for a couple of hours? It is horrific. We plowed through our snacks. The seats of the truck were like molten lava. Lisa was grumpy and sitting in the only shady spot in the truck. She is not a lover of the heat.
Lisa Heatstroke, Outside Nashville

Me? I was trying to keep it fun. I had on red overalls. Nothing says fun like red overalls. I got a piece of dried grass and made Hee Haw jokes and tried to make Leelee laugh.
HeeHaw Annie in Nashville!

It didn’t work.

If Looks Could Kill, With Maybe a Touch of Laughter

The sun was high up in the sky. There were almost no shadows. We sat on the back bumper of the truck, because it was the only way we could get some shade. I sat closest to the road, and Lisa sat right next to the edge closest to the grass on the side of the road. We didn’t talk. We watched cars fly by. Each one gave us a hot breeze, and the ones closest to us rocked the van. Some of them honked. Lisa and I sat in a daze, until a red jeep with three boys was coming towards us. There was something shouted, and then I heard and felt a loud, “thunk!” when something hit the van. Lisa immediately let out an “uuugggghhh!”

I looked over at her, and she had something yellow on her face and in her hair. She burst into tears. And, God help me. I’m not proud of it.

I laughed.

Those Nashville fuckers had thrown a half-eaten piece of corn on the cob at us. The kind you get from KFC.
Corn Cob

They didn’t just toss it either, as evidenced by the splat on the truck, directly over Lisa’s head.

Corn Splat

They winged that thing.

We sat for almost another hour until the guy came to fix the tire.

Tire Guy. Yep, I took his picture too.

We finally got back on the road. We would have made it home before dark. Instead, we made it home in the middle of the night. And the next morning, I was ready for my new (old) life.

Home

And yeah, really just posted that last one to show that I had on cutoffs. Something else that I never wear anymore, although i would if I was skinny.

In my new life, I would move into an apartment with my sister, and I would meet my future husband in an East Atlanta bar, and move in with him, and get a couple of cats and a dog and drink a lot, and then end up with two kids and a minivan in the burbs, wondering how the hell that happened.

And none of it would have happened if it wasn’t for the red overalls. I’m sure of it.