May 27, 2010

Off to the Wild Yonder...

Could I be in a better mood? Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for the beach, for our annual camping trip with friends and family.  And I mean, my whole family. It's been awhile since all three of my kids have been on this trip with us - sometimes, Casey hasn't made it, and, of course, Matt has missed a couple too.  But this year, not only are all three of them with us, each of them is bringing a friend, too, so we'll have a campsiteful.  The trailer, two tents, and enough food to survive the apocalypse. We're on our way.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the actual camping I'm psyched about. Camping is a lot of work. Particularly the getting ready part: the shopping and the cooking and the packing and the constant checking and re-checking of the master list, in an effort to not find yourself 50 miles from civilization with a 24-pack of hot dogs and no mustard.  But I shouldn't complain too much, at least we're not sleeping in a tent. I'm far too old to drag my body off the ground in the middle of the night, to trudge through the mud to pee, every hour on the hour.  Plus, I'm a major whiner about the cold and the wet, which is pretty standard for camping in the Pacific Northwest.  Give me my heated trailer and no one gets hurt.

In the end, though, I love it. I bitch and moan but I always have a great time. Once we get settled in, I love sitting around the fire, tucked into my Jim Forman parka, camp coffee in my mug; I love the kids running in and out of the campsite, enjoying a kind of freedom that exists in no other place or time.  I love my friends laughing, sharing memories of the past nine years we've taken this trip, catching up with those we only see this one time a year. I love curling up next to John at night in the most uncomfortable bed on earth, falling asleep to the sounds of everyone settling down for the night.

I'm pretty sure though, that this year, I'm really going to love having to cook and clean and set up and break down and keep track of...six kids.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

May 19, 2010

Letting Go...A Little

This afternoon, I took Matty up to his dad’s old house to pick up a few of his things. It hadn’t occurred to me, before today, how hard this has been on my kid.

The moment we arrived, me with my organized plan of action, because that’s what I do, his entire mood changed. He went from being his usual laid-back self to an agitated, irritable grouch, stomping around the house and closing himself in his old bedroom. When I tried to talk to him, he snapped at me that I was confusing him, that he didn’t know we had to go through all this stuff….

…suddenly I realized that I was asking my son to clean out his life.

Everything there - everything - is a reminder of his father and what happened. Every poster he has to take off the wall is a stab in that still open wound – the one you’d never know he had if I didn’t tell you. He’s so nonchalant about his loss, normally, that sometimes I even forget for a minute that he is still mourning.

But not today. Today it was all there; I could feel his anger and resentment, even if he wouldn’t openly share it with me. I tried to explain that things needed to get done in order to settle the estate – as gently as I could...but I could tell I was making everything worse.  Finally, I went out to the truck and called John for advice. He was right: leave him alone. Don’t make him do anything he’s not ready to do. Don’t worry about the grandfather and the money and all that crap. Just let him get his stereo and a teddy bear and let him leave.

So I went back in and told him we didn’t have to do anything at all today. And I left him to his own space for awhile. I sat in the truck with the rain pelting down on my windshield, the world outside blurred like melted crayons between sheets of wax paper. I stared into nowhere and listened to an old 80’s song I didn’t recognize, but the tone and the beat took me back to another time and place.

There was a time I loved his dad, even if I was 17 and desperate to be in love. Even if I fell in love with him for all the wrong reasons – the same reasons I came to hate him years later. There were times we laughed and dreamed together, times I felt like I would never love anyone as strongly or as surely as I loved him then.

Later, there were times I believed he was a good father. For all the things that made me insane, every once in awhile we would see eye to eye, or he would do something for Matt that made me grateful, even jealous sometimes. But mostly, it was so much anger and bitterness that I couldn’t find the good for all I tried.

And now he’s gone. I wished for this more times than I can bear to remember. He’s gone and he’s out of my hair and I can raise my kid the way I think he should be raised and the arguing is over and…and….

…my little boy just lost his dad.

I cried for the man who was the father of my son, and for the boy who will grow up without him. I allowed the anger to fade into sadness for awhile, and to tell Kenneth this:

You will miss so much. You will miss our son becoming a great man, and making you proud. I am grateful that your leaving brought him back to me, but when all is said and done, I wish you were here.

May 18, 2010

How on Earth Did We Survive Before???


My computer started to get sick last week, and like a small child, it got worse as each day went on. I tried to nurse it, to defrag and compact and reboot it, but nothing worked.  I got up early and spent hours trying to soothe it, make it better.

Alas, I lost. I gave in and took it to the doctor  fix-it guy and prepared to either hand over every cent to my name, or leave it there for burial and start shopping for a new one.

I got lucky, I think. My fix-it guy is awesome, which is why I go there. He just charged me what appears to be about a third of the standard cost to patch up my CPU and make it run like new (which is relatively equal to the cost of an entirely new machine, I'm pretty sure.) I mean, "new" is like six years old, so it's not exactly running at the speed of light, but it's better. 

I hope.  I haven't actually got it back yet, so I'm here at the public library in a really uncomfortable chair, with a weird monitor that is hard to look at, a keyboard that is going to give me carpal tunnel in just this short hour, and some smelly guy next to me.

Hence, this brief update and a promise to return soon.  Fingers crossed.

After all, we have Little League tournament Championships coming up this weekend and, being the current League Title holders, I might have some bragging writing to do.   Go Pirates!!!

May 11, 2010

New Place in Town

My buddy Jaired and his friend are starting up a new restaurant. They're only in first grade, but I think their menu is pretty impressive so far:

Reservations, anyone?