Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two or three more years of this, tops, right?

Back in August, Youngest turned 13. But he's a young 13 and at the time it was more like still having a 10 year old boy. Maybe 11.

Lately, however, he is 13.

Very 13.

The attitude is all there. The grumpy, disagreeable, sour attitude of a teenager. Intact.

There is nothing I say now that can't engender an argument.

This is my 3rd time through the teens though, so I don't take it personally. It will pass. It always does. Only to be repeated during the late teens/early 20's when children once again feel the need to stake out the border between themselves and their families.

Today Youngest and I were at Barnes & Noble. I managed to piss him off somehow. It's easy. All I have to do is exist and that's enough to irritate the young man.

We walked up to get in line for the cash registers--only not quite together. He walked a few paces behind me with a studied "I am so not with her" expression on his face. He, of course, has no idea that I *invented* that expression 30 years ago in the presence of my own mother.

Letting go of the current argument (which was over his clothing--how classic and cliche' is that?) I tried to engage him by pointing out something I thought would be of interest to him. His answer was, "grmmmph." Which anyone could have predicted.

On the way out of the store, he instinctively held the door open for me and for the older gentleman walking behind us. The man, in his mid 60's, thanked Youngest and gave me a smile. That one expression and the twinkle in his eye conveyed silent moral support. He was telling me in one look that he'd been there, he'd had teens himself, and that my boy--the one who had been raised to be polite to other people and even to his contemptable mother--was going to be fine.

Thank you for the confirmation, unknown older dude. I needed that : )

Monday, December 29, 2008

Yes, math *does* apply to real life.

I watched Lord Of War with the guys tonight.

It's about a gunrunner's climb to the top and all that it costs him. It's about small countries and big countries and their roles in arming the world's poorest militia forces. It's about cover ups on high levels. It's about dirty money and blood diamonds and selling one's soul for material wealth.

But really? It's about the math.

It's a basic equation.

In its simplest terms:

Jared Leto = Yummy

There will be a quiz : )

Sunday, December 28, 2008

car parts figured in prominently, part II

Thought maybe I'd finally finish this story.

Back to the dinner with Beautiful and her fiance, Dan, plus Dan's mother (who Beautiful was meeting for the first time) and his mother's new husband who Dan was meeting for the first time.

Little Guy was also there. He is 3-1/2. He is high spirited and a-freaking-dorable.

Among other things, Beautiful has, with consistent effort, taught Little Guy to say "excuse me" when he burps.

I mentioned that he's 3-1/2? And that he's a boy? Burping--or making burping noises--is a delightful pastime for a boy of any age. Adhering carefully to his new training, whenever he burps he gets the most impish expression on his face and proudly announces, "Excuse me! I burped!"

At dinner that night, instead of his usual exhibition of belching prowess, he leaned forward in his booster seat and made a different noise.

Beautiful looked him in the eye--concealing the amusement that was creeping onto her face--and said, "Say 'excuse me.' "

"But 'excuse me' is for burps," he reasoned with her, "I farted!"

If the whole restaurant hadn't heard the act itself, they certainly were caught up with the details by now . . .

Beautiful and I had to look away so Little Guy wouldn't see us giggling. After all, he was making a sensible argument.

Grandma Robin didn't miss a beat. "You're right, Honey, 'excuse me' is for burps. When you pass gas you say 'pardon me.' "

Little Guy bought it hook, line and sinker. Gotta admire a woman who can outwit an irresistible 3-1/2 year old and keep a straight face about it!


Meanwhile, Hubby and I were sitting at opposite ends of the table. I wanted Hubby to make a toast, but I didn't want to give him instructions in front of everyone. I wanted it to look like he came up with it on his own.

From my end of the table I made eye contact. I lifted my glass and mouthed "a toast?" to him. He nodded. And then went on with his conversation.

Fifteen minutes later I was certain he had forgotten what I asked him to do. Certain because all the guys were knee deep in a discussion about original and reproduction car parts--the only subject they all have in common.

Once again I caught Hubby's eye, pointed to my nearly empty glass and pantomimed "toast." He nodded in agreement again. And then I saw him nod at the wait staff. It suddenly made sense to me. He didn't realize I was asking him to propose a toast, he thought I was asking him to order me a Coke.

Giving up, I walked to his end of the table and whispered to him, "I hoped you'd make a toast. Something about joining families maybe?"

"Already thought of it!" he crowed. Loudly. So that now everyone at the table knew I had been attempting to tell him what to do . . .

I sat back down and my sweet Hubby started. It was long-winded because once Hubby gets going it's hard to stop him. And he often forgets his roadmap. And he detours . . .

It began well: he mentioned how pleased he was that Dan and Little Guy are joining our family. And how wonderful an addition Lily is. He said something about Dan's mom visiting and about her new husband also joining the family. And the new husband's affinity for classic cars. Then there was some meandering, and finally hubby ended by toasting Dan's mother's new husband's connection with someone who can get a discount on reconditioned car parts . . .

We all raised our glasses and drank a toast to, "discounts on reconditioned car parts!"

clink, clink

Monday, December 22, 2008

until then . . . .

I'll get around to finishing some unattended stories sometime soon. But right now I'm busy. Aren't we all?

In the meantime, merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

speaking of all in a day's work . . .

Pharmacist Greg is building a new house. Recently, he and his son-in-law dug the foundation. And then, being western WA, it rained like a sonofabitch and his pit became a pool.

That was over a week ago.

In an unrelated story, yesterday a woman came in to the pharmacy pick up her bowel prep kit for her upcoming colonoscopy. She talked it over with Greg--who himself had one a month or so ago--and he advised her that it's much easier than it used to be. The volume of liquid required is about half what it was in 'the old days' and the results come quickly. The procedure itself isn't bad and likely won't be remembered anyway due to the drugs administered.

The customer is having this colonoscopy as a baseline for future reference after recently undergoing a virtual colonoscopy which garnered negative results. She didn't elaborate, but she said that the virtual colonoscopy is a terrible procedure and advised never having one if it's at all avoidable.

After she left, I asked Greg what a virtual colonoscopy was. He explained it and boy does it sound hideous! And uncomfortable. And unforgettable. The regular colonoscopy that Greg recently had is a virtual walk in the park by comparison.

A few minutes later I remembered that I had wanted to ask Greg about the progress on his house. And I was curious whether the "pool" that was his foundation was now an ice rink.

"Hey, Greg," I called to the other end of the pharmacy, "how's your hole?"

Greg paused for a long, long time while trying to figure out how to answer that question. When he realized I was referring to his foundation--not his colonoscopy--he erupted in laughter. And I turned a liiiiitle bit red . . .

Monday, December 15, 2008

A photo essay . . . bursting with pride : )

Beneath his name in the program it reads "Summa Cum Laude."
Hell to the yes!

For the boy who was only walking because his mother wanted him to,
he sure has a big ole grin on!

with his very pleased father

a moment with mom

and here with his girl--who resembles mom a lot : )

Youngest, sliding in the parking lot.

You okay, Youngest?

Yep. All in a day's work!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the continuation of 'car parts' is to be continued . . . or something redundant like that . . .

I'll finish up the story I started, but it will have to wait until early next week.

Right now we're getting ready to head over the mountains for Number One Son's graduation! The boy has done well. Summa Cum Laud well. Gold cords wearing well.

I might have a photo or two when we come back : )

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

car parts figured in prominently, part I

What a difference a day makes. Okay, more like a year. Well, 14 months and a grandbaby if we're going to be accurate : )

In 2007, Hubby and I took our daughter out to dinner for her 20th birthday. We asked her if she would like to bring the new guy she was seeing. We regretted that decision later.

It was too much pressure. We thought she was just sort of "hanging out" with the new guy. We didn't realize they were an exclusively dating couple. Meeting him for the first time would have been so much better under more casual circumstances. Not at a restaurant over her birthday dinner.

Her boyfriend, Dan, was nervous. And he tends to come off as arrogant and a bit know-it-all when he's nervous. The worst part was when the subject of Beautiful's car came up. Dan knows a lot about cars, but my dear hubby has a lifetime of experience fixing, researching, restoring, buying and selling cars. Dan was in over his head. He accidentally said things that were insulting to Hubby.

It was not the best of beginnings.

A few months later, Beautiful discovered that she was pregnant. Hubby and I were reconciled to the fact that this relationship wasn't casual.

Since then, we have had occasion to observe that Dan treats our daughter with respect. He values her. They are equal partners in their relationship. What more could parents want for their child?

And things with Hubby and Dan got much better over time. In fact, so much better, that it appears that Hubby is just about as close to being a surrogate father to Dan (whose father died when he was 15) as one can imagine.

Fourteen months after that prickly first meeting, we had another dinner together at the same restaurant. This time it wasn't just us with Beautiful and Dan. Dan's 3 1/2 year old, Little Guy, was there. As was Lily, of course : ) And Dan's mom, Robin, was visiting from Tennessee. With her new husband who Dan had never met.

While talking to his beloved mom's new husband, Marty, I noticed Dan had turned his chair and was sitting next to Hubby as though they were on the same team, as though Hubby was in Dan's corner and had Dan's back. It was an interesting change from a little over a year ago.

The good part--the funny part--in the next edition . . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

bah humbug

I'm tired of people. Certain people get on my nerves this time of year. Christmas tends to bring out the worst in our fellow man, doesn't it?

Right now I can't stand people who want everybody else to know how wonderful they are. And I say this as one of those people who used to do that.

If you ever find yourself on the verge of saying or doing something to make yourself look good to strangers, stop and remind yourself that nobody f***ing cares.

In the checkout line at a store and feel the need to inform the clerk that your purchases are for charity? Keep it to yourself. NFC. Telling strangers about your donations of time/money/goods to a noble cause negates the good will and makes the act entirely self serving. And when it becomes self serving, NFC.

I hear this at the pharmacy at least once a week:

Pharmacist: "While you're taking this medication, you want to avoid alcohol."

Customer: "Oh, that's not a problem, I never drink alcohol."

Know what, dear customer? NFC. Least of all the pharmacist. He just wants to fulfil his legal obligation to give you the necessary information and to get back to his work. He really doesn't want to hear about how you think you're better than anyone who imbibes once in awhile.

In a public area with your small, adorable children who are saying precocious, adorable things? Resist the temptation to answer them in a voice just loud enough to be overheard and then look around to be sure other people are chuckling and smiling with approval not only at your clever youngling but also at your enviable buddy/parent relationship. You phony. NFC.

You're a vegan who eats only organic vegetables from local farms? That's great. And I'll bet you're healthy and our environment is better off for you. But I don't want to hear about it as I stand in the checkout line with my box of Twinkies. And it's not just me. NFC.

You're a greenie and are hand crafting all of your Christmas decorations and gifts out of recycled goods that originally came only from sustainable materials? Fantastic. Your family and fellow green pals will surely applaud you. But the rest of us? NFC, baby.

Your dogs are your "children" and any time a normal person brings up the subject of their actual children you feel the need to regale them with the antics of your precious pups? Seriously--take this to heart--NFC. And I do mean nobody.

Your daughter is in the local production of Nutcracker and is an hour late to dress rehearsal and you have a whole litany of excuses and reasons why she shouldn't have had to be at that rehearsal in the first place even though you agreed to get her to all of them two months ago? NFC. Get her in costume, in make-up, warmed up and on the stage. And you, mom, you go somewhere else--anywhere else--other than the wings because you have "stage mom" written all over you.

In public in the middle of a weekday with your school aged children and you feel it's your duty to enlighten the surrounding simpletons that your offspring are not in school because they don't go to "government" schools because you're better than that--you home school? Trying to cram it down everyone else's throat that you're willing to sacrifice money and time because you are a parent who really puts your kids first--inferring that anyone who makes a different decision is practically negligent? Listen closely: NFC. Do what you think is best for your own and leave everybody else out of it.

I could go on and on with this, but by now I think I've pretty much offended everyone so I'll stop. And I should probably 'fess up: I've been guilty of at least half of these offences. I hate people like me.

I'll bet you all have experienced some outstanding NFC moments. Please, feel free to share--I really do care about that : )