Mondays, Hmpf

I mean, the hurricane is gone but things are still wild down here in Georgia. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I did this weekend:

  • Bought a fabric shaver
  • Gave both dogs a bath
  • Threatened to stab both dogs
  • Finished a project for a friend’s birthday
  • Listened to Adele and cried
  • Played Tony Hawk
  • Told my son all about RBG
  • Ordered 30 cupcakes for a pool party on Saturday
  • Cancelled pool party on account of weather
  • Ate 10 of the cupcakes
  • Read “Memorial Drive” with Jerimiah and cried
  • Watched the movies “Coneheads” and “Twins” with Jackson
  • Finished off the last of the Chinese takeout
  • Sat in the hot tub with the jets on high
  • Took a lot of naproxen
  • Checked my absentee ballot status, all good
  • Cleaned the floors
  • Hired a housekeeper
  • Googled pics of RGB’s family and cried
  • Watched four episodes of season two of “Pen15”
  • Ordered more birthday presents for Jackson
  • Finally fell Asleep

Yeah, it was a long weekend. Hope yours was just as, uhh, productive as mine.

M.

Rest in Power

I was excitedly texting a friend Friday night about the new season of “Pen15” when she wrote, “Fuuuuck.” I Haha-ed it and she said, “No. RBG.” “What?!” I texted frantically. “Yeah,” she wrote back. “CNN just reported.” And then the curtain sorta fell. Only it didn’t, because Jerimiah and Jackson had downloaded the new Tony Hawk and were pumped to play it with me. So we played Tony Hawk, while my phone lit up. Text after text. “Can you believe it?!” And “Now what do we do?” I turned my ringer off and tried to master a Kickflip.

I haven’t had the bandwidth to process this and I’m not sure when I will. But it will come. Until then, we answered Jackson’s questions the best we could today. We talked about standing on the steps of the Supreme Court a couple of years ago. Jackson remembered the “big, bronze door” and how we waved to the building, hoping RBG was looking down at us. We watched the RBG documentary on Hulu as a family tonight, then we watched “Twins” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, because sometimes you have to laugh when you want to cry.

Jerimiah reminded me not to say Rest In Peace to RBG, after all she’s Jewish, wouldn’t care much for it anyway. I told him I’ll say rest in power then. But the important thing is just that she rests. She did her job, one hellava one at that. And we are so appreciative.

Rest in power, Notorious RBG. We’ll be down here picking up where you left off, and waving like crazy. I hope you can see us.

M.

Fri-Yay?

I love Fridays when I don’t have a million things to do. But on Fridays before say, my son’s pool party for his birthday in the middle of a global pandemic where he desires very particular cupcake toppers and there is a 40% chance of rain and I need to order enough pizzas to feed all the kids and how many kids are actually gonna show up anyway and is this even safe I mean chlorine kills germs but not when a kid sneezes into my face and did I order the right color frosting and what about that kid with a gluten allergy, well those Fridays aren’t my absolute favorites.

We actually didn’t think we’d be able to have a party to celebrate Jackson turning 12 this year and I was okay with it, but it happens that we go to a pool and we met a lot of new friends at the pool this summer who also belong there and Jackson asked if he could have a pool party this year with those friends. And since our pools down here are open until the end of the month, and Jackson’s October 1st birthday doesn’t normally lend itself to a pool party, and because of the aforementioned global pandemic I said sure thing, kid! But then I remembered I’d have to plan it.

Bleh.

I used to go all out for his birthdays. In a “rent an old-timey fire truck to deliver pizza to an outdoor venue decorated in replicas of burning building and kids equipped with “hoses” to put the fires out” kinda way. For sure. Birthday number five. But I’ve tampered down my birthday enthusiasm over the years, between dying paper, drawing pirate maps on them, then setting fire to the edges to look “realistic” to ordering pizza and Sams Club cupcakes to throw on a freshly Lysoled table by the pool. Maybe I haven’t tampered down anything, maybe the world did all the tampering down. Either way, here we are.

So yeah. Normally Fridays are good. But this one has some work to do.

This Gal Is Fucked, y’all.

I mean, TGIF, y’all!

M.

Friend Funk

Jackson and I have been in a friend funk lately. We’ve been missing our friends, I mean. While we’ve made new ones from going to the pool this summer, the only outing we feel safe doing with other people, we’ve been missing our friends who aren’t near us. Last week Jackson reconnected with a friend from Charlotte, a little girl he went to third and fourth grade with. He was happy and excited, then a little mopey. I asked what was up and he said he misses his Charlotte friends. I agreed and we mourned our losses for a bit and moved on. Well, he did.

I, of course, can’t let it go. I miss my best friend, whom I haven’t lived in the same town with since we were on college. I miss my friends on Lake Norman, I miss my Ozark friends, and I miss my Charlotte friends. I miss my friends I’ve met that have moved far away, living in Rhode Island, in Arizona, in California. This isn’t new, this missing, for me anyway, but it seems exasperated when times are a bit more trying. And I think that’s happening for Jackson now too.

The school board met this week. Decided to keep going virtually for the time being. We are still in “red” as it were. So we wait longer to see people, to make new friends, to reunite with old ones. And we keep missing.

M.

Moving Forward

My 39th birthday is right around the corner. I’ve got a million things going on between my school, Jackson’s virtual school, the house, this global pandemic, and several doctors appointments lined up this week to try to figure out what’s wrong with me. That might be the most stressful part. Sure I’m inching closer to forty, but man, does it need to feel like it?

I’m still trying everyday not to complain. I know I don’t have much to complain about considering the world we live in. I have a great family, we have a stable income, I get to work from home all day, everyday with my husband and son. I’m way more involved in Jackson’s school life than normal 6th grade would allow, and my dogs, well they are a pain in my ass, but they’re so damn cute. And then there’s Jerimiah. Most days I don’t know how he puts up with me, but lately he’s not just been putting up with me, he’s also been taking care of me. I guess it’s that whole “in sickness and in health” deal. Thanks, Jerimiah.

Grandparents are healthy. Our friends are all safe. Our extended family is good. We don’t get to see everyone as much as we’d like, but we’re all making do.

But still I’m walking around in a daze most of the time. I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to be upbeat. I’m trying to stay chipper, but some days are better than others.

I’m getting a scan of my veins and arteries this week, hopefully that will give us some answers. I have an an appointment with a Rheumatologist, more answers, fingers crossed anyway. But the beat still goes on, yeah? The world still turns. Yeah. It all keeps going whether we need a breather or not. I think that’s what I love about this life. We don’t have much of an option. Just forward.

So yeah, I’m turning 39 soon. My age is moving forward, my feet are doing the same. And eventually my heavy head and heart will catch up. Here’s to a good week, y’all! May you be healthy and context if you can’t quite be happy.

M.

Storms

It’s another 4:00 am post. I’ve been waking up each night at 3:00 am, and tossing and turning, waiting patiently to fall back to sleep. Last night I read, tonight I’ll write. Maybe tomorrow I’ll just stare blankly at the cracks of light in the curtains until my eye lids get heavy and my breathing slows.

Yesterday would have been my daughter’s ninth birthday. I’m supposed to have a daughter. Jackson is supposed to have a little sister. She should be nine. Playing Minecraft with her brother, asking for dolls, crazy over the Korean pop bands, or maybe just learning how to braid her own hair. I don’t know. I don’t know what daughters do, or like, or how they live.

Tonight I’m stuck in this same spot. I’ve been here before. I’ll be here again. The weather is changing. There’s are two storms coming up the Gulf. And I just don’t know what daughters do. I’m sure I’ll get more time to think about it. I hope I’ll get more time to think about it. Just not at 4:00 am.

M.

Bang on the Drum All Day

Jackson played trumpet in fifth grade band and he was really committed. So much so that when I asked him back in May whether we should keep renting this damn trumpet for another year he said, “Yes. Absolutely.” Then I said, “Well do you want to try a different instrument, maybe percussions?” And he was all, “No, I like trumpet.” So this week when his band teacher asked what everyone was playing, and reminded them they could switch instruments, and I asked him if he wanted to and he said, “Yep, I wanna play percussions” I might have walked outside and screamed into the air.

Okay, well he’s playing percussions now. Which means we went from having a hefty rental fee each month (that we paid all summer for absolutely no reason) to running to a used music shop yesterday to grab the last used bells/snare kit they had. But, at least we got a deal because the bag was a little roughed up. (Long sigh)

Now he says he’s “totally committed” to snare and bell and he’s here for it. He better be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on him getting into college with a band scholarship. I don’t plan on him being on a drum line or even starting a garage band. I just want him to learn to play something, meet kids that maybe aren’t like him, and learn a thing or two about teamwork and the fine arts. That’s all I’m asking for. Meanwhile, he wants to just bang on the drum all day…

Watching drum line competition (Army vs Air Force) and trying to play along. Army killed it, in our opinion!

Is it Friday?!

Christ, it is! It’s Friday! What a week. I went from nothing, nothing, nothing, to ahhhhhhh. Things are certainly heating up over here, while we are still just sitting at home. Jerimiah is doing fine. Listen, for some reason everyone keeps asking about my husband. Like they think I killed him, or he ran away, or something. He’s here. Still working from home. But he isn’t causing me any trouble. In fact, he’s the least of my worries and he’s taken to planning dinner and keeping the laundry done, so… I’m not sure how Jackson and I would have managed the week without him. So yeah, he’s alive, he’s fine, he’s pushing along and keeping us afloat too. In case you were wondering. Okay you know what, here, here’s a proof of life.

That’s him, yesterday, holding the newest copy of my crossword book, or rather a People Magazine that I got for free for four weeks then forgot to cancel and now I’m addicted to doing the crosswords in the back.

Okay, so it’s Friday. And I’m looking forward to getting some writing done today. The real stuff. I’ve been assigned my first exercise and it’s a piece of non-fiction flash and I’m already on draft three, but I should be on draft eight by now. It’s okay though, one day at a time…

Jackson jumped head first into sixth grade and well, here’s this:

(Throws hands up!) We are alive! Coherent (for the most part) and doing okay. Hope you’re doing the same.

M.

For Those Following Along…

Okay so I did the dentist yesterday and it was fine, okay, great. I mean, it’s the dentist, so it could always go horribly wrong. But this was okay. I got my new crown cemented on and was only there for about half and hour. Whew. Quick and easy. But I’m stressing again because today is the Physical Therapist. Like what was I even thinking weeks ago when I made all these appointments? Back-to-back shit, with my school starting, and Jackson’s school starting. My calendar literally went from “Float in the hot tub for three hours” to “Holy shit! Have you eaten today?!”

Okay, so physical therapist this morning, to try and find out what is happening with my back. I’m hoping for some solid answers, but I’m not super optimistic. Then I run home, help Jackson navigate his first full day of virtual classes (Jerimiah will be holding gate fort down while I’m gone), then Jackson has an ortho appt. at three because apparently I just hate myself.

So, let’s take stock, shall we? I hate myself. My back is turning against me, and there is not enough time in the day any more. Hmpf. I know this is just this particular season of life and it will calm down again, but man when you’re in the midst of it, it can get sticky, eh?

Hope you are floating in a pool or the lake or a hot tub today. And if you are, drink a drink for me, will ya?

M.

Today is the Day

Middle school starts today. My head is mush. I’m happy, nervous, excited, disappointed, scared, and that’s just me, I’m not even the one going to middle school! I guess wish us luck, this is going to be an interesting year!

And to all our friends with kids going back virtually or traditionally, we wish you luck and happiness all year long!

Be well, be safe, have fun!

M.

Middle School

Jackson starts sixth grade tomorrow. Sixth fucking grade, y’all. I don’t even know what to say. I’m at a loss for words. Oh, nope, they’re back. I’m scared, y’all. Scared, and sad, and excited, and nervous. It’s literally like kindergarten all over again, and even though he was at FOUR elementary schools, this isn’t like changing schools, this is way bigger. I can’t really explain it, but my other middle school parents get it. I’m relying on y’all to get it, and to get me through the next few weeks.

Luckily I’ve already had some moms come through. I have this one friend with a seventh grader at the same middle school. Oh bless her! She’s also the PTA president so she’s in the know, and she’s been keeping me in the know and it has helped tremendously! Moms watching out for moms, does it get any better?!

I’ve been passing along my new-found knowledge from her to other moms. It’s been this middle school mom telephone tree and it’s been amazing. But tomorrow the actual school year starts and well, I’m feeling like I’m back to square one. It’s like, I’ve already survived middle school, why am I so nervous?!

Jackson is cool as a cucumber. Now part of his coolness is obliviousness. Again, I’ve been through middle school, I know how shitty it can be. Add virtual learning to the mix and daaaaamn. We currently, one day before school starts, are not able to log into any of his accounts. Infinite Campus is not working for us. Microsoft Teams is not working for us. We are not even sure who to contact to get the issues resolved, so yeah, it’s been interesting to say the least.

Meanwhile, last night we got a call from Jackson’s homeroom teacher. He was polite and nice. He explained what next week will look like, and got us some information we were supposed to have already received. It made us feel better. To actually talk to a person. A person who seemed to care, have it together, and be willing to find us answers. But he’s got hundreds of kids to do that for. Man, teachers deserve more money.

So here we are, on the brink of sixth grade. A new school. Seven new teachers. A Chromebook, a trapper keeper, and a little bit of faith, mixed in with a lot of patience. We think it’s all gonna work out fine.

Happy Back to School, parents and teachers. May your days be bright and your drinks be strong.

M.

Alone

I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been watching an abundance of television the last couple of weeks. I guess I’ve reached the point in quarantine where nothing satisfies me for too long. That coupled with the fact that I’ve been out with this back/muscle/joint pain and haven’t had a much energy, so television has been my friend. I started this new show called “Alone”. Have you watched this? It’s stupid. And bizarre. And addicting.

Okay, so I started with season six because it was the newest one that was “trending” so I had no idea what happened. Turns out they take like ten people, drop them in the wilderness with 10 “survival” items, a 60-pound pack of cameras and recording equipment, and a picture of their loved ones. The contestants then record themselves as they try to survive. Or get eaten by a Grizzly. I dunno, I haven’t watched all the seasons.

I was trying to explain this show to Jerimiah, in a way that sounded appealing, but he wasn’t having any of it. “I can’t do survivor shit” he said. Oh, okay. I didn’t realize you had reality television standards, you Tiger King lovin’ MFer.

Then I tried to explain it to Jackson, hoping I’d get him to sit down to one episode with me and get hooked, like Barry, contestant #7 who didn’t eat for nine days then snagged a Lake Trout. But he looked me directly in the eye and said, “Do they not have internet in the Arctic Circle?”

So it turns out my new favorite show “Alone” is something I’m forced to watch alone. But that’s okay, I don’t mind. I’m too busy shouting through the television at Lucinda who keeps cutting herself with her own arrow. Jesus, Lucinda.

M.

Taco Tuesday

Listen, I love me some tacos. In my baby book my mom wrote that my favorite thing was tacos when I was like six months old. There is a lot wrong with that, but let’s focus on the good, I was one cool baby. So the number one thing that I miss right now is getting down on some tacos at our favorite, local Mexican restaurant. I miss so much about it, that sometimes I wake up thinking that I can actually smell the sticky, vinyl seats. I’m sure I can’t. Or can I? I don’t know, it doesn’t matter, with Jackson’s help I took Jerimiah on a “Date Night” last night to our new favorite Mexican restaurant: Our back porch. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad.

Jackson took his role as our server very seriously, as he usually does pretend play. He never once broke character, even allowing us to take our masks off only after I convinced him we were the only patrons of the restaurant. This was the note taped to our front door when I loaded Jerimiah up in the car (with the dogs) and drove up the road and back while Jackson “prepared” (got into a suit and character).

When we got to “Saren Mexican Eatery” we were told that our table wasn’t ready and we were offered a spot at the bar, where we were lectured on the business of the restaurant business, and how it takes its toll on a person. Then we got drinks!

We ordered chips and queso, had to ask for the queso to be a little warmer since it was cold in the middle. We watched him “make” guacamole (dump it from a container into a bowl) and then we were told our table was ready. We took our drinks and appetizers to our sun porch, and well, hilarity ensued.

Eventually “Scott” came out (sans glasses) to take our order, and complained that “Dorian” wasn’t putting in the work and his section was slacking, but probably he’d be our server too. We did meet “Dorian” later, he really needed to get his shit together. Though his only real job was to come out onto the patio and announce parking problems every few minutes. Someone blocked the fire hydrant! Someone parked illegally! Someone needs to move their car! Things of that nature. Oh, Dorian. At least you’re cute.

Then there was the very loud, disruptive Spanish music blaring from Alexa while we ate. I’m sure it was very confusing to the neighbors, and the dogs didn’t seem to care for it so much. Eh, you can’t win ‘em all.

The main course came out quite late and not very hot, but I must say he was the only server/cook/manager on duty, and even though the food was precooked that day by the head chef (me) it could have used a tad more care. But we ate it without complaint, even when we were informed that the house was out of a few staples like tortilla chips and lettuce even the some of us knew we absolutely were not out of those items. Bizarre.

Dessert was not listed on the menu, it was a secret, and you kinda had to know how to ask for it. Also, the box of cheesecake bites was missing a couple when presented to us. Hmm…

All-in-all, we had a nice evening at Saren Restaurant and (Rebranded) Eatery, and even though our bill was absurdly wrong, the service lacked a certain, umm, finesse, and there were way too many dogs present, we still managed a hefty tip which was immediately pocketed by “Dorian” or maybe it was “Scott” while forgetting to actually clean up after us… Still I have it a 10 on Yelp.

M.

Guns, Diplomas, and a Bar

We have just wrapped up Jerimiah’s birthday week, which was a little bizarre on account of the Covid-19 scare that happened halfway through, but still fun. If you’ll recall from previous posts we celebrate birthday weeks around here and give little gifts all week, until the finale on the person’s actual birthday. This year Jackson and I were at a loss on what to get Jerimiah. He’s sort of one of those people who never wants for anything for years and years, then suddenly he wants like, a new truck. Thankfully this was not a new truck year, so instead he asked for a new meat thermometer and a set of margarita glasses, so yeah, we didn’t have a lot to work with.

Jackson, who is currently obsessed with Call of Duty and SWAT teams, wanted to get Jerimiah a gun safe for his guns. The problem is, Jerimiah doesn’t have many guns, and the guns he does have he doesn’t really use. They are family guns that have been given to him over the years, and they sit around in long cases throughout the house. One tucked under a bed, one in a closet, an old German Mauser that I am pretty sure hasn’t been fired since like 1850. He just isn’t a “gun” person like our family (and Jackson) want him to be. He doesn’t hunt. He isn’t fearful for his life, feeling the need to keep semi-automatics around the house. He has a small array of these long guns that have been passed to him, and a nine mm that he keeps in a small safe in a location of the house neither Jackson nor I am privy to, with the bullets in a separate location. He’s a common-sense gun owner, if nothing else. So I compromised. I let Jackson pick out a gun rack for Jerimiah. One that he could sit the old, family rifles on. More like a display than anything else. That worked for Jackson and he went to work finding the perfect one.

Meanwhile, I asked his mom if she would get him some new frames for his diplomas, something simple and tasteful to stick in his home office, which has been his only office for the last four months. Then I set to work on reorganizing the office. Trying to decide what a real “man’s” office should be. Whatever that is. Whatever that isn’t, and well, with our powers combined I think we pulled it off. What follows is the redecoration/reorganization of Jerimiah’s office, complete with the added gun rack, a bar, and of course a bankers lamp, because every Controller needs one of those.

Hidden Waterfall

We decided to take the dogs on a hike on Saturday, our most recent tech-free day, so we headed to a local park. It’s a large park, with soccer fields, and tennis courts, a pond, and several walking trails, but we haven’t even made a scratch in the trails. We parked on the opposite side that we normally park and we’re immediately met with a playground we didn’t even know existed, with a zip line that Jackson loved. It was a pretty cool surprise. After we let him play on it for about ten minutes (we were the only people at the park), we headed down one of the nature trails. The dogs were getting antsy, so we decided to tire them out a bit, then play after the walk.

We decided to walk the “Blue” trail, because Duke and I had done the “White” trail previously and I wanted to try something new. They both link up at different points, but it was nice to see so many options. We made it to the pond, and decided to walk all the way around it, but we got sidetracked about a half mile later with a waterfall! We had no idea it was there, and we thought it was fantastic surprise! The dogs loved it almost as much as Jackson.

The whole walk was really nice, albeit tiring for everyone. We decided the park reminded us of a place we liked to go when we lived in Charlotte called Reedy Creek. It really feels like you’re not in the city when you’re there. And trust, sometimes you just need to feel like you’re not in the city.

I hope you all had a fun, easy, and safe weekend like we did.

M.