The first day of seventh grade

My youngest child started seventh grade today.  Her alarm woke her.  She wore a brown skirt and black blouse she chose herself.  She insisted that I put a purple streak in her blond hair.  She rejected breakfast but accepted a Zone bar and a Jamwich for later.  She packed up her school supplies in her backpack and waited for her carpool ride to pick her up.

I went back to bed.

I remember the old days when I bought packs of crayons and pink erasers and chose outfits for the first day and walked kids to their classrooms.  This child–my youngest child–is so self sufficient she needs me only for rides and money.  I’m not sure exactly how to feel about this so I choose to feel great.  I did this!  I created this self sufficient being.

(Only, she pretty much created herself.  She’s had a mind of her own since she was three months old and decided that no one but Mommy would be allowed to hold her.  Ever.)

My middle boy is a senior in high school.

A photo posted by Melodee (@still_melodee) on Aug 22, 2015 at 5:36pm PDT

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The oldest boys are busily taking classes at community colleges nearby.

Do you remember how the days dragged along when you were a kid living at home, obeying your parents and following their rules and eating the dinners they provided?  Now, that seems like a lifetime folded up and put into glove box, like some kind of weird shrinking universe that folds in upon itself.

I know that this stretch of time  while the kids still live here and ask me what’s for dinner will be a hazy memory to them one day soon.  It will no longer be everything, but just a paragraph in a life’s story.  They are so eager to grow up and be gone.  (Well, some of them are.)

Meanwhile, I have to figure out what to cook for dinner.  I’m still trying to catch up on the laundry that piled up while my daughter and I were in the Pacific Northwest for a week.  (A whirlwind of a trip!)  I meant to brush the dog a few days ago, but can’t find her brush and for that reason, the dog fur tumbleweeds are worse than usual.

 

The first day of seventh grade

Lagging

When you stop long enough, it’s hard to catch up.  The train has long since left the station and it takes extra effort to sprint down the tracks and jump on board.  Who has the energy?

That’s why I have been silent here.  I stopped writing long enough to lose the rhythm.  So tonight, I jump back in with a stilted update.  (For all two and a half of my regular readers.)

In a few days, I’m taking a trip with my daughter to our old home state.  We are looking forward to the experience for a bunch of reasons, including but not limited to seeing our old house, getting our hair done by our former stylist, visiting Mt. Rainier, seeing family and friends and (for me) eating at Taco Time.  I’m also looking forward to cool nights.

But, of course, to get ready for a trip–especially when we are leaving behind more than half the family–a lot of preparation is required.  I want to get the laundry caught up and the fridge cleaned out and the trash taken out.  Et cetera.  I need to clean the guinea pig cage and get kitty litter.

And because life gets all jumbled up sometimes, we are having company over on Sunday afternoon.  This explains the carpet cleaner and picture hanging and lists of food to prepare.  I have a lot to do.  I’m already sweaty just thinking about it.

Crowd in my son’s haircut and job interview . . . transportation to another son’s job . . . soccer practices and the fact that my son starts his senior year while we are still gone (WHO WILL TAKE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO?!) . . . it’s just a lot to consider.  I’d like to consider just taking a nap, really.

I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to arrange coverage for my own job responsibilities.

I need a pedicure.

By the way, don’t you hate it when you run out of checks?  I use them so infrequently that I thought they’d never run out.  But they did.

So there.  We’re all caught up and forgiven for the silence.  And now, let’s try to keep up, shall we?

 

Lagging

Present tense

Tomorrow morning, my daughter returns from her first experience at sleep-away camp.  She left with her church youth group last Sunday.  And while those in charge advised against campers bringing telephones, I allowed her to take one and for that reason, I’ve heard from her a few times this week via text message.  (Stuff like, “uh, I broke a bracket on my braces!”)

It’s been so quiet without her here.  I spent the first two days giving her room a thorough cleaning and then organizing it (with her advanced knowledge and permission).  In the past year she has turned away from her beloved stuff animals and fully embraced friends and everything that comes along with middle school.  She’s outgrown not just her old clothes, but childhood itself.  Time to put it away.

Now the relics of her childhood are stacked in the garage.  Some will be packed away to save but lots of it will be sold in a garage sale.  It seems another lifetime when I carefully packed a million stuffed animals into boxes when we moved but it was only four years ago.  That little girl is gone and in her place I have an eye-rolling, opinionated almost-teenager.  (It’s mostly awesome.)

When I try to imagine four years into the future, I’m blinded by the brightness.  It’s like looking into the sun.

So I blink and look back.  The past four years hover like a mirage, close but out of reach.  Time is a fun-house mirror, always distorted.

All the more reason to focus on today.  What else is there?

Present tense

Say what?

I’ve started to think of my brain as a somewhat leaky bucket.  In the old days, my memories came with an iron-clad guarantee.  If something happened, I remembered.  If I remembered something, it happened.

Now?  I have no idea what’s happening.

Today I was riding in the car with my husband.  He has a new obsession with podcasts since I showed him how easy it is to subscribe to them with an iPhone.  Now whenever we go anywhere, a podcast plays.  Fine.

Out of nowhere, I said to him, “Hey, have you ever thought about doing your own podcast?” and he said, “Yes, and I already told you that.  In fact, I told you I asked  ____________ if he would do one with me.  I tell you things and you say ‘uh-huh’ but you aren’t really paying attention.”  And so on.

Now, here’s the thing.  Back in the day, I would have argued that point.  I would have insisted that he said no such thing.  I would certainly have remembered that, right?

Now, doubt sloshes around in my leaky bucket.  Is he forgetful or am I?  Did he only think he told me something or did I just pretend to listen and fail to hear it?  Did I forget?  Did he forget?

My hunch–completely undependable like a ladder missing rungs–is that he thinks he tells me things but doesn’t actually tell me.  This is my working theory, my blame-shifting explanation.  He is, after all, four years older than me.  He talks to a lot more people than I do.  I think he tells other people things that he thinks he told me.  Most days I literally don’t talk to anyone other than my kids and him.  (Sad but true.)  Wouldn’t I remember even the idle chit-chat between us?

Then again, maybe it’s me.  Maybe I am losing my mind, one sharp corner at a time.  Maybe I am just not paying attention.  Maybe I am sleepwalking through conversations and when I wake, the information vanishes like a crazy dream.

I don’t know.

I prefer to think that he’s wrong and that I am right.  However, at this point, your guess is as good as mine.

(Just don’t tell me that I really am losing my mind.  I’d rather not know.)

(But ask me what my childhood telephone number was and to sing the Brady Bunch theme and I’m your girl.)

Say what?

What a week

Today Grace and I went to the neighboring town and picked up a new (to us) bed for her room.  Months ago, she told me she wanted a daybed and even sent me a picture of the one she wanted (at Ikea).  I told her I belonged to a Facebook garage sale group and that I’d watch for a similar bed.

Last night, the exact bed she wanted appeared for half the price of the new one at Ikea–and it included a mattress as well (no small expense).  I was lucky enough to be first in line and so today found us standing in a stranger’s bedroom, puzzling over how to disassemble the thing.  It only took us about thirty minutes to take it apart enough to get it out of the bedroom and into my mini-van.  The other mom and I did all the work ourselves, causing me to declare, “Girl Power!” as we lifted the mattress through her house.

The hard work came when I had to put the thing back together.  The worst part was when my helper’s grip failed and the back board fell onto both my bare feet like a guillotine.  Except my toes were not sliced off.  The tops of each foot were just bruised.  Nice.  But I got that bed put together with only one injury and no cursing in front of the children.    (Here’s the bed, but not the exact one we bought): HEMNES Daybed frame with 3 drawers IKEA Four functions - sofa, single bed, double bed and storage solution.

A couple of days ago, my husband woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach virus.  He went through twenty-four hours of misery.  I only hope my excessive hand-washing protects me from catching it.

On Monday this week, my poor daughter got her orthodontic appliance, a metal torture device affixed to her back molars with glue.  Each day I have to turn it with a “key” that doesn’t at all look like a key.  The device will spread open her palate so her teeth can be moved into alignment.  She could barely talk on Monday and could not eat at all.  On Tuesday, her speech was better but she could only eat what she didn’t have to chew.  Now, she’s adjusting.  And I only  have to turn that key 19 more times.

This was our first full week of summer vacation from school.  I only hope the upcoming weeks are less exciting.

What a week

Hickory dickory dock

My gas tank is empty and yet we have a few miles to go before school is finally out for the summer next Wednesday.  (My son was out of school a week or so ago.)  My daughter has half-days this week and other than a presentation tomorrow afternoon, she’s pretty much done in terms of productivity.  (Next week:  a field trip to see a movie in the movie theater down the road . . . the next day, a beach day.  This week:  lots of yearbook passing for signatures, plenty of party-planing  for the summer, etc.)

Fortunately, she’s distracted by the presentation and hasn’t been able to obsess and worry about the fact that she’s having a front tooth pulled tomorrow as part of her orthodontic treatment.  This is a girl who burst into tears when she got a vaccination recently, so I can only imagine the histrionics that will accompany the actual needle in her gums tomorrow.  (It’s a small tooth, smaller than normal and I’m told it will ‘slip out’ but I don’t really and truly believe anything a dentist says, no offense if you’re a dentist.)

(I’m not a big fan of the dentist so I’m trying to keep this underlying dread I have to myself.)

I will be glad when the whole thing is over.  And by “thing,” I mean the dental appointment.

I will also be glad when school is over.

Her summer break will end on August 24 and if I know my time-travel, August 24 will arrive in approximately six days.  I don’t know how it happens, I don’t know why, but I do know that time ticks quicker the older I get and summer-time ticks away the quickest of all.

 

 

Hickory dickory dock

Groundhog Day: June Edition

Two months ago on a Saturday morning, I stood fuming in a very long line to register my daughter for recreational soccer.  I had already driven around the enormous parking lot twice to even find a spot to park. Then I joined a herd of parents in a bunched up line to do a task that we should have been able to do online but instead required us to stand in an actual line so we could register our kids.

I’m fuming again, remembering.  A hundred of us milled around, checking the time on our phones, waiting to hand our registration form and a check to the lady who sat on the other side of a table.  So inefficient. Such a waste of time.  So annoying.

While waiting in that ridiculous line, I received a text message from a co-worker letting me know that the employee for the next shift had not shown up.

One of my job duties is to ensure almost around-the-clock monitoring of a website.  I handle the scheduling and oversee a few employees.  And for some reason, I had failed to note an employee’s vacation request.  I hurried home and worked the six hour shift on a Saturday afternoon and vowed to create more sticky notes or something.  Nothing* is more unpleasant than unexpectedly spending a Saturday working because of your own idiocy.

Seriously, with a Google calendar on my phone, an actual paper desk calendar and a variety of Post-it notes, things like this should not fall between the cracks.  Ever.

And yet.  Today I was still in bed (past 10:00 AM which seems late to you but I bet you get to bed before 2 AM, am I right?) and a text message roused me.  (I had been awake and had sort of gone back to sleep because why not?)

Today, June 6 became my personal Groundhog Day.  Months ago, the same employee requested a vacation day for today.  I approved it, typed it into a Word document, printed it out, and set it aside.  (At some point, my daughter spilled a glass of water on it, but it was still legible.  No excuses.)  But . . . no Post-it note, no notation on my paper calendar, no Google calendar alert.   I completely and utterly forgot to plan coverage for today.

What is wrong with me?  I’ll tell you this.  In March, when I last took note of this vacation request, June 6 seemed light years away, too far to even truly consider.  I didn’t even have a shelf in my brain upon which to set this thought.

Surprise!

Three months sped by in a psychedelic flash and suddenly, I’m spending my Saturday afternoon squinting at my computer screen and feeling like a dunce for for failing to hammer down this thing in March.

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future . . . and I actually do want to fly like an eagle to the sea.

 

 

 

*Actually, I can think of quite a few things more unpleasant.  The Norovirus, for instance.

Groundhog Day: June Edition