Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Must Be Out Of My Cotton-Picking Mind

Planning a caching trip with three friends.  The Saturday before Thanksgiving.  In a swamp.  Requiring the solving of 12 miserable nasty puzzles beforehand to get the necessary coordinates (done over the summer) and high boots or hip waders to attempt. We are going to freeze solid. I can't believe there are three other people (otherwise sensible, rational, highly-educated adults) who are actually excited about doing this and I CAN'T WAIT.  To each his own form of insanity!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

One Way Or Another

Friends of ours had a big Halloween party at their house this afternoon, complete with a giant inflatable slide for the kids, a crazy haunted house in the basement (the husband is a movie cameraman--the behind-the-scenes tour was scary enough for me!), a costume contest, and a cake walk.  Guests were asked to bring a treat for the cake walk and I baked a caramel apple cake.  Thing One saw it cooling on the counter last night when he came home from the dance and was *very* annoyed that it was for the party and not our family.

Not to be deterred, he entered the cake walk at the party, and when he won the chance to choose from a table that was absolutely groaning with treats of every sort, he picked my cake and proudly carried it back to our car!  One determined boy right there...cracked me up.


Friday, October 24, 2014


He is home.  He survived.  He felt way out of his comfort zone (and said as much) but he's proud of himself for going even when his best friend bailed and I told him that I was proud of him for that too.  He found a group of his other friends and had fun with them, steering clear of the girls all night but that's ok.  No surprise there.  He saw a lot of drama and gave it a wide berth.

When he started talking about what he'd wear to the next dance (a collared shirt! ye gods!), I knew he'd turned the corner.  Hopefully he can talk his friend into coming then as well.  And my little boy gets just a bit bigger before my eyes.

Hell Freezes Over

(An outstanding Eagles album, by the way.)

I was going to title this post "You Couldn't Pay Me Enough Money To Go Back To Middle School" but it seemed a bit too unwieldy.

Our middle school is grades 6-8, and since the school is small all three grades have their dances together.  The sixth grade boys in particular are having a difficult time with the idea of dances...the girls by and large are fine with it.  Just about every sixth grade girl attended the first one, but I think maybe 8 or 10 of the boys, if that many.   Thing One categorically refused to even think about it and I didn't push him.

Then, a week or so ago, he came home and informed me that he had to stay after school today to help decorate for the second dance because he is his homeroom's class rep, which is a student council position.  I gather that the student council puts on the dances.  He then hastened to add that he wasn't GOING to the dance, he was just DECORATING for it.  Ok, whatever.  There was another activity tonight he wanted to do with some of his buddies and that was the plan until Thursday morning, when I got a text from a friend informing me that her son (one of Thing One's best friends, and another of the anti-dance holdouts) was actually considering attending.  Seems critical mass of friends from the group had been attained, and the tide had shifted.  Thing One suddenly did a 180 on the idea, and I was scrambling at the last minute trying to find the permission slip on the school website, print it and get it signed so he could bring it in.  Again, whatever.  My friend offered to pick Thing One up from school, take him to her house to play and then bring both boys to the dance together, so I planned to take my younger two out to dinner and then to a family taekwondo class.  (And oh, the drama of the discussions as the older boys tried to figure out what to wear!)

Thing One was pacing around like a caged lion this morning...sheer nerves.  I told him that he didn't have to get near a girl if he didn't want to and that seemed to help a little.  Texted my friend after school and the boys seemed ok...they were playing football in her yard.  Got my younger two fed, walked into the dojo, and I get another text: my son's buddy is so nervous that he's refusing to leave the house!  I'm with the other two kids half an hour away, so my friend now has to take my son to a dance that her son is no longer attending.  Fortunately, she lives close to school, but I wasn't taking any bets on what Thing One would do without his wingman.  Texted her again after class...Thing One did actually still want to go, and she dropped him off without incident.  Go figure.  He's not home better believe I'll be interested to hear how it went.

It's not that he thinks girls have cooties or anything...he never did.  He's just not emotionally ready to deal with any sort of relationship drama.  I wasn't at his age either, so I totally get it.  He sees some of that going on around him with a few of his older friends and wants absolutely no part of it!  I think he'll have fun with his buds if he goes, so I was happy that he decided to give it a shot, but believe me...he's growing up fast enough for me already without throwing girls into the mix.  I'm not dealing with him getting older much better than he is!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Update from The Trenches

Thirteen of the sixteen days of my husband's business trip have now passed and all three kids are still alive and in good shape.  This is a major achievement since it is a challenge to keep up with them and maintain patience even when both of us are in town and the extended single-parent thing is NOT my preferred state of being.

It's been a crazy week, and unfortunately, rainy for the last couple of days.  Fall is here--morning chill, the occasional frost on the grass and bright leaves on the deciduous trees with it.  Soon enough those trees will be brown and bare, but these few colorful weeks are my favorite of the year.  I've been trying to get out as much as I can when the weather cooperates.  Monday I went for a nine-mile hike with the dog and tomorrow I will probably be out most of the day as well.

There's a tradition in geocaching that when you are approaching a 'milestone' number of caches, you try to find a difficult or interesting cache to grab to get you to that number, not just a run-of-the-mill light post or guardrail cache.  As it happens, I am only a few shy of 1500 finds now and my most frequent caching partner is rapidly approaching 1000, so we put our heads together and decided on a miserable nasty group of puzzle caches about 30 miles away for a joint milestone run.  I've been locked in the office for the last three evenings banging my head against the wall accordingly, but between us we figured out two more puzzles than we need and hopefully tomorrow's hunting will be successful.  This my major brain exercise...for example, in the course of just a few of these puzzles I figured out how to translate Navajo code-talking, the Monk's Cipher and Braille; deciphered a difficult cryptogram comprised entirely of symbols, and found coordinates buried in the source code of one image and hidden on the backs of rapidly moving insects in another image.  Never a dull moment, intellectually speaking.

Also this week: received the first stripe on my Red belt.  Here we go again...the progression to Senior Red officially begins!  I probably have at least six months to go before the next test, anyway.  

I have to share one of the better laughs I've had this week.  If you are a fan of the old Abbott and Costello "Who's On First" routine and are even vaguely familiar with classic rock, you should like this! 

For your amusement, here's the Abbott and Costello routine, too.

Peace out.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday and Sunday By The Numbers

Husbands out of town: 1
Soccer practices: 1
Birthday parties: 1
Soccer games: 6 (!!!!!)
Away soccer games: 4
Games actually played by my children: 6
Number of games I was able to attend: 4
Games played by my children only through the kind graces of friends who helped with logistics: 2
Sleepovers: 1 (see note above regarding logistics)
Goals scored by Petunia: 2
Goals scored by Thing One: 1
Goals saved by Thing Two: lost count (he had three games and he was on a ROLL)
Football games narrowly lost by my beloved team: 1
Number of peaceful hours at home: 0
Hours of sleep: not enough
Reserves of patience: utterly depleted
Exhausted moms: 1

Good night...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mama's Still Got It

The bookends of my day: sunrise over my front yard and sunset over the parking lot of the park where Thing Two's soccer tournament was held today.

I've been trying to practice mindfulness and decided to stop to enjoy the beauty instead of rushing through it.

Thing Two's team played two games this afternoon, narrowly losing the first and winning the second 4-2.  Thing Two had (no exaggeration) the game of his life at goalie in that second game...he played the whole game and he was making saves like I've never seen him do before.  In keeping with the Halloween theme, the whole team played almost as if possessed...every single kid left his heart out there on that field and the game was just a joy to watch, even though it was bloody cold out there by 6PM when it ended!  Brrr.

Got Thing One's ice cube costume mostly done, too, speaking of cold: envision two large clear plastic storage boxes with holes drilled into them and rope strung through so that they can be hung over the shoulders in front and back and tied at the sides to keep them in place.  I did take a picture but the getup looked so ridiculous over his travel soccer uniform (he had a game today as well) that I refuse to post it here!  I will post a picture when I can get him in all-white clothes underneath the boxes, as is the plan for Halloween.

Why the title?  After soccer and dinner, Thing Two and Petunia challenged me to a round of Just Dance 4 on the Wii, and I actually got the high score on most of the songs even though they play this game all the time and it was new to me.  Of course, this is a triumph born far more of my superior pattern recognition abilities (one benefit of age!) than actual dance skill, but I'm not telling THEM that.  :)

Oh, and I haven't lost my mind yet, either...had my doubts looking at the schedule for today.  I'll celebrate that too.

Day is done, peace out.

Mama D