August 31, 2020

everything is poop, with a little self-doubt mixed in

Today (Saturday) I woke up way too early, and I knew that was it.  Game over.  I hate that.  

Then, as soon as I felt ready for a short nap at noon, I dozed off for like 3 minutes, OK maybe 5.  The caddies came home.  Slammed the door . . . right below my bedroom.  Even with the white-noise maker on, the room shook.  Done.  

Yesterday I went to hang out in the pool of my good friend, Missy.  She has a great setup:  an in-ground pool that leans more towards spa, than say . . . raccoon retreat.

Missy and her daughter ride horses competitively (it's really hard for me to say that, or as it turns out - to type that without breaking into Kevin Bacon singing:  "She loves Horses," people it is a must see, click the link if you have not seen it), so Missy is not in town a lot.  They travel to shows, and competitions on weekends.  It's a bummer because Coach gets along really well with her husband - our husbands getting along is NOT the bummer -  we would enjoy having a couple to socialize with if not for the horse-related travel . . . is the bummer.

They have kids close in age to Mini, Reg, and Curly.  Reg is right in between the two boys.  We have to beg Reg to stop talking about how great it is at their house and in their pool.  How their lake house is the bomb. How food has never been prepared the way Missy prepares it.  How very much food is offered. And would you believe, how magnificent it is that they keep their maple syrup in the fridge.  Anything they do is over-the-moon amazing.  

Reg has been a poop lately.  Bad attitude.  Mean to Curly.  It is almost impossible to be mean to Curly, but he was.  Someone needed to knock him off of his high horse.  (again, I must share same link, in case you missed it: Cue the Kevin Bacon singing about horses link- not even planned.  I know, it's a gift).  

Reg is also not doing much in terms of school.  Zoom is not ideal for him.  He's not assertive enough to alert his teacher when Zoom kicks him off, or when he doesn't understand how to submit homework.  I am copied on teacher emails.  Not my preference, the school does it this way. 

One teacher was like, "Is everything OK?  You haven't turned in 5 assignments."  

When I spoke to him about it got in his face and might have flipped out, he was flippant.  

Oh, that's how you're going to play this?  Highly ill-advised.

So, yesterday when Missy's son, who is Reg's best bud invited Reg to the lake house for the weekend, we said NO.  Reg has been struggling ever since.

I spoke to Ed Friday evening, after the grounding.  

Ed:  Don't cave, like you always do.  He cannot act this way.  He needs this punishment.

Couple 'o things:  I cave?  Do I?  

Thing #1:  news to me.  I thought I was a hard-ass.  Don't I sound like a hard-ass?

Thing #2:  Fortunately, the kids don't get in trouble much, praise the lord.  It's mostly get your socks off the floor, and is that your plate not loaded in the dishwasher?  And, who ate 2 donuts when there should've been enough for everyone to have one?  So when these tougher punishments crop up, well - it sucks. 

I was already feeling low, see above title of post.  So now I am alerted to my lax parenthood style.  Uplifting.  

Earlier, on Thursday night, (note this is before the grounding, and yes - it played a role) I took Reg's phone for overuse and attitude and ignoring me, and then 

he found it and 

took it back and 

lied about having taken it back 

AND THEN tried the same thing again, 

after I confiscated it the 2nd time 

Repeat after me:  thin. ice.  

Reg requested his hair go back to
being short, this was not
 part of his punishment.
OK, so these are reversed,
but it is after midnight.  Long
after my bedtime. 
Reg's hair before.

You know what's fun?  Grounding a teenager and then having to live with that teenager.  Insufferable.  Lots of banging and begging and pleading, apparently because I am expected to cave.  This explains why they always come to me when they want to wiggle out of something, while doing the over-the-shoulder look to see if Coach is within ear-shot.  Nothing gets past me.

Even though Missy and I are friends, I have not said one word adoption.  I thought it might be too hard for her to, ahem, keep it quiet.  We really didn't tell many people, and those that we did are not people that live in our community.  Mostly.  Or people in our community with a steel trap when it comes to secrets.  

Tank went on spring break for several years consecutively with his grade school best friend's family.  A few years ago while on spring break, he told them we might adopt.  I texted the mom afterwards and asked her not to tell anyone.  She lives across the street from Missy.

At Missy's pool yesterday, Missy asked me point blank, "So, are you adopting a couple of kids?  Friend-across-the-street told me you are."  Ugh.  

I texted Friend-across-the-street today (Saturday - this is important later, because I do NOT know what day it is) to say I know Tank shared it (and she clearly forgot that I asked her BACK THEN not to say anything) and I know you told Missy, but can you please not say anything to anyone else because we don't know if it is going to end up happening, we haven't even told our families, etc.  

Friend-across-the-street (not to be confused by the way, with my 'friend' across the street, Mary Ann.  I actually like this woman, but I don't hang out with her much):  Oh sorry.  I just figured she would know.  


Have I mentioned how grouchy I am?  I don't really blame Tank.  The kids need to process stuff, this is part of their life too.  I also prefer to share stuff with my people in order to work stuff out, she says to the audience of people who are now nodding and collectively saying:  YEAH, WE NOTICED.

Hell, it was really hard for me to share adoption stuff here.  This 'leak' impacted me more than I would have expected.  ( I almost added 'leak' to the post title, but mixing poop and leak in the title might have turned a few of you away).  I don't want to recount our situation to people who pop up one after the other and ask about it.  

After my 5 minute or less nap, my eyelid started to throb.  I'm getting a stye.  So, now I am ticked at the world AND pretty.

I tried for a 2nd nap on the couch in the study late afternoon, but I gave up a few minutes later.  My mind was racing, you know why?  

Ed called just before I laid down to say that his college roommate tested positive.  Not a pregnancy test, mind you.  They were both negative last week when they arrived.  I will update you on Ed's next covid test in an upcoming post, maybe I will post a short one tomorrow with his status.  Hang tight.  Feeling antsy about having to wait?  At least you don't have a throbbing eyelid.  

Other issues, briefly:  living with a 22 year old who struggles with perception and who can't own his behavior eats away at a person.  I don't even have the energy to share an example (you're welcome), but it's exhausting.  

Another big upsetting thing happened last week, and I'll share that later, but it was scary and it involved one of our kids.

Oh, so my class started.  It is called Writing for Publication.  I had to research a magazine that I hope to submit something to.  So I read the other stuff this online magazine accepted and I wanted to crawl under the computer desk.  What. was. I. thinking?  I cannot write as well as these ACTUAL writers.  I feel very defeated and full of self doubt.  

Today:  My self-doubting, irritated, wimpy-ass parent with the pulsating eye FORGOT to take Curly to volleyball.  Only 4 sessions.  Missed this one, flubbed the first two - more on that later cause this is way long.  I just blanked that it was indeed Sunday.  My mind feels crowded.

If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see the crack. 
 Or can you, you tell me.  Never heard of quartz cracking. 
Am I clueless?  Pushover mom AND clueless about quartz.
  Might be too much of a blow right now.

FINALLY, Curly made pancakes today, Sunday.  First time.  Supervised.  Used the electric griddle.  Same place on the island where I use it.  Apparently due to the heat, my quartz counter-top on my enormous island cracked.  Actually.

When it rains, is pours.  It feels a bit mon-soon-ish here.  Really though, all is well.  Shit happens and sometimes it serves as a reminder that things are not so bad.  Could be worse.

I slept till 9 am today (Sunday).  Unbelievable.  I cut some of the boys' hair.  I made a great dinner that will serve as leftovers as the week gets busy.  I baked because it was not horribly hot out.  I let Reg and Curly invite a bunch of friends over after dinner to play capture the flag, and I served them warm cookies.  And, I still am in possession of Reg's phone.  Sounds like a win, right?

Did you used to wiggle out of punishments, was one parent easier on you than the other?  If you are a parent, do you struggle to stick to your guns?  And, hey, who enjoyed the Kevin Bacon video?  

August 26, 2020

an un-good-bye, fake stuffed animals, and e-learning benefits

Ed left for college.  I expect that he'll be home sooner than desired, but I sincerely hope he gets to stay.  We were so busy that people blanked or didn't get the memo on what time he was leaving and they didn't get to say good-bye.  Just more evidence that we rarely fire from all cylinders and it isn't just mail that slips into that giant crack we seem to gingerly step over in day-to-day life when we remember its presence. (not literally, we don't actually have a crack in our floor, well the kids' upstairs shower started leaking into the kitchen AGAIN . . .  well now I am just way off track).

Um, Coach was one of the family members who neglected to say good-bye to Ed.  He left to workout and when he came back around 8 am . . . 

Coach:  Is Ed ready?  

Me:  Um, he left at 7 am.  

Coach:  What?  Oh.  Shit.  I guess last night he did say he was leaving at 7.  It just didn't register.  

Meanwhile the three high school kids have started e-learning, and as Beth recently predicted in my comments that has created material for this-here blog.  

The second day Mini texted me from her bedroom demanding that we get better internet service.  She was glitchy.  Is it just a coincidence that it rhymes with bitchy?  Asking for a friend.

We're at the top of the line with internet, having already upgraded.  We own these little internet boosters and have them placed around the house.  Since Mini unceremoniously threw a sleeping Curly out of their room to e-learn, I told her to carve out a corner on the first floor.  "Plus better internet service on the first floor too, so you're welcome."

Mini adopted the dining room table for her study spot.  She dislikes the dining room chairs though, so she pulls the upholstered chair from the living room into the dining room.  Probably scratching the hell out of the floor, and in the process she's inadvertently unveiling all of the wrappers and uneaten food items that Tank typically hides under that chair.  

Tank goes to the store for me sometimes and I let him pick out cookies before we left for Michigan.  So it should come as no surprise to you that I found a sandwich bag filled with Nutter Butters under the chair recently.  He doesn't even bother to deny it, just claimed he didn't want Curly to eat them all.  As if.  

That chair is usually 'off-the-grid'.  If Coach and I start to converse in the kitchen about something top-secret that only our pay grade is cleared for, then I first bop my head into the living room to see if a kid is camped out in that chair.  I don't think they sit there hoping to eavesdrop, but one never knows.  

Not drawn to scale, but you knew that.  I started to explain where the secret chair is in relation to the kitchen, but a picture seems so much easier.  Oh the things I have found under there over the years.  Sorry I didn't do a better job demonstrating Coach and I standing at the island talking.  We don't usually stand so close to each other to speak. 

Anyway, on the 3rd day of e-learning (uh oh, I feel like I could easily slip into that Christmas song about 5 DIAMOND RINGS here, while substituting the words . . .  don't worry, not feeling THAT creative tonight), Mini came rushing into the family room.  Curly and I were camped out over the double boppy pillow feeding and burping twins and trying to guide their spit onto the 5 bath towels spread all over the floor.  

What child labor laws?  Nothing like training a child in a life skill, is what I always say. 
Somehow  housework lessons do not get as much dedication.

Mini:  Quick.  I need a stuffed animal for my Peer Buddies class.

She fumbled a bit.  I held up Fifi, the 5 month old twin.  She is less likely to spit as the other twin, and as an added bonus she LOOKS just like a stuffed animal.

Me:  Here, take Fifi!

Mini:  (giggling uncontrollably, which is generally her reaction any time she sees Fifi.  She  raced back to the dining room)  Oh, so this is NOT a stuffed animal, but the next best thing.  This is Mrs. Noodle's kid.  (Mrs. Noodle teaches at the high school).

Mini's computer:  LAUGHTER and APPLAUSE, ETC.  

Curly handed me Mimi, the spitting twin.  She ran to the dining room to see the zoom class's reaction.  Peer Buddies is a PE class.  This class involves upper-classmen assisting students with special needs.  No idea how they do much of anything on a zoom call.   

So, after our first day with the twins, Curly told the mom when she came to pick up that Fifi reminds her of the hamster in the Disney animated movie:  Bolt.  I sort of cringed when she said this not knowing if a mom ever wants to hear that her kid looks like a cute hamster, but the mom was like, "Oh, I'm not familiar with that movie."

Bolt hamster photo, thanks Disney Fandom.

The next day, the twin's mom showed up and told Curly that she googled the hamster and that she could not stop laughing because her baby looks SO VERY MUCH like the hamster in Bolt.  

Me:  (Dabbing away beads of sweat on my forehead, relieved that this woman was OK with my kid telling her that her baby looks like a chubby hamster).

Other than faking babies as stuffed animals, which is what I assume most teachers consider  a teaching moment, there are a few other benefits to e-learning:

1.  More time with my children, because is there ever enough of that?

2.  Rather than getting frustrated that a kid has left for school and left the milk out, or dropped a wet towel on his/her bedroom floor, or neglected to load a bowl in the dishwasher, I can just CORRECT the situation right then and there.  If you doubt that I will walk into my child's learning space and embarrass them on a zoom call to holler at them to get their dirty clothes out of the upstairs hallway- then you don't know me as well as I thought you did.  

EXPLANATION (EVEN THOUGH THIS CANNOT REALLY BE EXPLAINED):  it is a HALLWAY, not a bathroom, or a bedroom, no idea why one would change there - or what one would do that would result in dirty or clean clothes being strewn about.  It's also a small space, a mere two steps lands one in the laundry room.      


edited to add:  After I drafted this post, I walked out to the kitchen at 9 pm and hollered to Coach . . . 

Me:  So, did I remember to text you to tell you Ed got to school OK?

Coach:  No, but he texted me, so I knew.

Curly:  WHAT?  Ed left for school already?  When?  I didn't even get to say good-bye.

Mini:  I know.  I just found out he left too.  

What a difference a year makes.

Do you know anyone who looks JUST LIKE a cartoon character?  Would you ever tell them so?  Any guesses on the e-learning pitfalls that will follow in a subsequent post?

August 24, 2020

seeing is believing, misplaced item on vacation ordeal, take 2

Coach and I took 5 of the kids to Michigan on Aug. 7th.  Laddie decided not to go.  Long story.  

While in Michigan we celebrated our 24th anniversary.  August 10th.  

We stayed in an Airbnb and by jove when they said the house slept 8, it ACTUALLY slept 8 . . . such a revelation.  'Member the condo in Vancouver that invited us with their:  "hey, sleeps 8" when in reality there was space for 3?  We were glad that trickery was not part of this rental.  Without Lad we had even more space.  The girls were expected to share a full size bed, but instead no one shared.  That created the kind of peace one comes to expect on vacation.  Crazy, right?

The first morning Coach and I decided to go for a walk.  He doesn't usually like to walk as far as I do, so he warned me that he might ditch me.  I got dressed and when I was downstairs I told him that I was having a hard time seeing out of one of my contact lenses.  It was blurry.  Blurry contacts is usually a late night thing when I am about to go to bed.  Very few things make me grouchier than a painful or malfunctioning contact lens.

I put a re-wetting drop in the eye and off we went.  

Coach kept pointing stuff out to me on the walk:  Look at that awesome house. And:  Oh, here's another public beach I thought we might try out.  

I was super annoyed because I COULD NOT SEE.  

Coach wondered if I really got my contact in my eye or if I dropped it.  I have worn contacts for over 30 years and the issue he described is really more of a rookie issue.  Just ask Reggie.  A story for another time.

I started questioning what could really be going on with my eye, as one does.  Like, what kind of debilitating disease could I have woken up with that would cause me to suddenly go blind in one eye?  Coach doesn't enjoy playing along with this kind of game, so he was all 'STOP!'  Oh, and the other eye was not experiencing normal vision either, just not as drastic.


I always travel with a spare pair of contacts.  I told Coach I was not going to continue on walking without him, my seeing-eye-dog, plus it was getting late and we needed to get kids moving so we could get to the beach.  We returned to the house and I took the failing contact lens from my left eye. 

I live in fear of being without contact lenses, so I put it in my holder 'just in case.'  I kept saying, "It doesn't hurt, it just isn't helping me see any better."  I mean contacts have just the one job after-all, right?

I popped in a brand new lens, and magic.  I could see!  I was so relieved.  

I dumped the goofy lens in the toilet just as Coach stepped out of the shower.  This house was old and the bathroom was pretty small.  The counter space was crowded.

Coach (dripping wet, listening to me celebrate my newly restored vision):  Wait . . . what?  Whose?  Where are MY contact lenses? 

Me:  (BLINKING WILDLY) Ahhhh!  Shit.  

I try to avoid showing faces, but I could not resist
 leaving Tank and Reg in the background.  They
 are laughing as they approach and plan to photo
 bomb our picture.  Mini was taking this on our
 anniversary.  Coach leaned over to remove my hat 
and then (cue the music) he kissed me, I was not
 expecting it and the kids thought it was a riot.  Would
 be a perfect photo at preserving our true identity, but 
then the boys blew it.  I guess I could pretend that
 Coach was trying to check to see if my contacts
 were where they belonged, but who would buy that?

I glanced down at the tiny counter space and there pushed over to the right side of the sink was MY CONTACT CASE, UNOPENED, still housing my perfectly fine, happy-to-correct-my-vision lenses.  

Coach's case:  opened and . . . empty.

Me:  Oh my gosh!  Coach, wait (spinning around in the tiny space) - it's still there, I just threw it in the toilet, but I can see it, I haven't flushed.  I will just reach in there and grab it.  OH MY GOSH, I AM SO SORRY!  I didn't know.  I'm a lefty, your case was on the left side.  I, I, I can't believe I did that!

Coach:  It's OK.  I am not putting a contact in my eye that has been in the toilet of a RENTAL HOUSE DURING A PANDEMIC.

Side note:  Coach does not wear his contacts everyday.  We wish he did, because when he watches TV, especially sports, or if let's say he tries to see my expression to see if I am really ticked or just slightly ticked about something . . . he squints in an awful, squished face sort of way, while leaning his forehead towards me.  Obviously he is not as blind as I am, ahem - especially in his left eye.  He kept insisting that he had a spare pair with him, but I didn't believe him.  I was bent over the toilet, ready to plunge my arm in and fish the lens out.  Nothing says love quite like that, am I right?

Me:  That's what contact lens cleaner is for, I will just get it out and you can clean it.  

Coach:  I am peeing in that toilet so that you don't try to get the lens out of there.  Oh, pee is sterile, but STILL . . . Move away from the toilet!  I mean it.  I am not wearing it ever again.  I have others!  STOP!!!  

We exited the bathroom and there were the 5 kids sitting on the bed wondering what the hell we were arguing about.  I begged them to side with me and let me get the contact out of the toilet, but they sided with Coach and LAUGHED THEIR BUTTS OFF AT ME.  Clearly they were not all operating out of guilt like me.  

Instead of fishing the discarded lens out of the toilet, I plucked the right lens out of my eye and sheepishly offered it to him.  "Here's your other one.  Sorry."  

This was our second out of town visit when someone put something in the wrong bodily place, and if you haven't read that somewhat related, OK- not at all related but even funnier, misstep, then I urge you to check it out here.

Is it just me, or are you all on the edge of your seat waiting to see what other adventures we have during our next 24 years?



August 20, 2020

'don't sweat the small stuff' & things we suck at

My 3 high school kids were set to go back to school today (Aug 17).  It was a hybrid system.  They awaited the announcement Tuesday of last week (Aug 12) to see what group they were randomly put in.  All family members would land in the same group.  

As Reg and I were leaving for Costco to adjust his beat up glasses, I saw an email from the high school saying the groups were posted.  Once my kids knew their group, they would be texting friends to see if they were assigned the same group.  The group dictated if you attended Tu/Fri or Mon/Thurs. It was a click this link and put in a code kind of email that I couldn't do at that moment.  

I began to sweat.  I suddenly remembered that there was an email a few weeks ago inviting parents to alert the school if you just wanted your kid to do 100% e-learning.  Our kids were ready for hybrid, but I suddenly realized that I had never responded to the email.  Sweat.  

Would they automatically put my kids in the 100% e-learning group if I never clarified one way or the other?  Hold that thought . . . 

The visit before this Costco visit - also a sweaty one.  Mini and I needed 6 things before leaving on vacation.  Coach needed the car.  Lad claimed he would be back in time with the other car that he had while working out, but that's like saying there is a 100% guarantee that the pandemic will end in 2 weeks.  

Tank and Coach had a tee time because Tank was practicing for the golf team.  Mini and I divided up our 6 items in the car on the way there.  I reviewed the layout of the store.  Did she know where everything was located?  Yes, by jove she did.  

I texted Coach:  in the checkout.  

We were good.  Record time.  We were patting ourselves on the back.  I was walking away toward the door with my cart.  Once again, I reached my hand out behind me for the baton-like hand off of the receipt.  Um, no.

The checker stopped me.  It expired.

Me:  What?  My Costco card?  Can I renew next time.  Kind of in a hurry here.

Checker:  No, your debit card.

Me: *&%$#&^*(@!  WTF?

I did not even know it could expire.  The bank later claimed a new card had been sent to me, but our examine-incoming-mail system is incredibly inept.  Had I known I was expecting a new card, I would have kept an eye out, made sure it didn't slip through the cracks.  We are not ON crack, but we do have big cracks - so I missed the new card. 

I bolted to my car for my wallet, because OF COURSE I went into the store with just my debit card and my Costco card and my 6 item list.  

I am not one for carrying much cash on me.  Kicked myself for just paying the library fine of near $20.  I know, I know, we suck all around (sorting mail, losing glasses, returning shit late, responding to email).  I found like $80 and the bill was $125.  OMG - bad words tumbled over one another out of  my mouth.  Why oh why did I not organize my wallet while sitting around during the lock-down?  

Then between two cards I found a $50.  Mini and I raced back in the store, re-rung up and bolted for the the parking lot.  We grabbed Coach dropped him at the course to meet Tank and listened to him mutter about Lad's inconsiderate behavior.  

So on this Tuesday when I was in Costco with Reggie and his ill-fitting glasses, I was totally distracted by my fear of the kids at home checking the group and possibly discovering that they were assigned all e-learning, and that they would realize that this disaster was my fault. 

No photo of we in panic mode, but here's a fun one from vacation.  Reg and Tank are under the water/in a wave.  Ed standing up far right, and girls are together waiting for the next wave.

I pulled in the driveway and Tank announced:  
We are in the B group, which rocks because all my friends are in the B group.  People are arguing about which group is better.  I think there's going to be a fight (this is Tank talk that family members have learned to ignore).

Me:  **dabbing sweat off of my brow, like yeah, I didn't screw anything up** Oh, OK.  Cool.  

Mini's friends were all in the A group and she was beside herself.

Thursday night the board met.  We heard earlier in the day that a nearby high school opted to go to all e-learning and we were worried our school would follow suit.  New info about being within 6 feet of one another and crossing paths with the same kids more than 3 times a day, apparently adding up to more time than allotted for close contact, etc.  

We got a message that night while we were all watching 'Deep Water' - great movie by the way.  Our school switched to e-learning.  100%.  For now.  Mini cried.  I mean she literally wept.  My heart breaks for them.  

Wear masks, divide the school in smaller classes as planned, but please let them be in school a few days a week.  My kids are a social bunch, well - then there's Reg . . . a freshman who clings to egg cartons to elevate his social standing.  He needs to meet a new crowd.  Ed had a good group of 8th grade friends back in his day, who all went on to the same high school, but by graduation he had a whole new group.  The greatest kids ever.  How are freshman going to develop that from home?  Tank is a senior, who hates school, but is literally dying to get back.

I started babysitting again.  Last week I had the 5 mo old twins one day.  This week it will be 3 days.  I also have worst-baby-ever, who is 20 months now, 3 days a week, and the other little guy just one day a week till December when he comes 3 days a week.  Where are my gang going to e-learn?  Riddle me that?  My upstairs is shut down come nap time.  

Silver lining here:  Curly's school still plans to go back 2 days a week.  Curly is set for Tues/Thurs in school.  With the new guidelines, they have pushed her start date back a full week.  One more week of summer.  Can you say sweet babysitting assistant?  ** edited to add:  Curly's school just announced last night that all classes will be on-line.  Sadness.**

Curly is going to end up being a wet nurse.  This 12 year old knows her way around a baby, or two.  If there is one thing we don't suck at, it is babies.  Seriously, I am super grateful to have an extra set of capable-Curly hands for these first few weeks.

Anyone else have a Costco experience that made you sweat?  Kids that are 100% e-learning and bummed?  Of have you seen Deep Water (which I keep calling Dark Water and it is making Tank come unglued) or another great movie to recommend?

August 19, 2020

Update on Ry & an unbalanced, unfounded eyelashes claim

Ed went on Conrad's dad's boat downtown Friday night with Coach and Conrad's dad, and Ryland . . . whose real name is RYAN . . . I just cannot have you praying for a kid by the wrong name.  I'm old fashioned that way, I guess.

So, when the results came in about Ryan's tumor in his brain we were in Michigan.  The results were inconclusive and they needed a second opinion and there was talk about doing another brain surgery.  Instead I think they consulted someone else.  I am getting all of this second hand from a college kid, so consider that.  Ryan told the guys he was expecting a call Wednesday night, then not till Thursday night.  What's with the night calls?

Friday on the boat Ryan told them that he is going to need treatment.  Chemo and radiation.  He would not use the 'c' word:  cancer.  Ed and Conrad kept asking him BUT WHAT IS IT?  Finally, Ryan told them that it is cancer.  He is very optimistic, but as Ed points out he is optimistic naturally so he cannot tell if this is just his perspective or if this is the doctor's opinion.  At any rate, it is a blow.

He will have 12 weeks of treatment, a week on and a week off.  Then he expects to be good to go.  It is a germ-cell cancer.  I have not even googled that to see if I can learn more from google.  Ry thinks he is going back to college 2nd semester.  My fear is that with covid, he will not be able to go anywhere until there is a vaccine.  Assuming he is a cancer survivor at that point, he is going to be immune compromised.  I guess.  

Ed is so sad.  And scared.  And shocked.  One week they are hanging out and Ryan says he has headaches, and then boom.  College will not be the same without him there, but like Ryan says:  great semester to miss.  Good point.  

Ed:  I don't get it.  There are ass holes out in the world.  Ryan is the greatest kid.  This makes no sense.  He doesn't even want to tell the college guys in the group chat because he doesn't want anyone to worry.  

No explanation necessary.

Ed left our grad party and went to hang out with Ryan and friends at Ryan's house Saturday night.  He took whatever cookies I made that were left over to Ryan.  I asked if Ryan he hared the cookies with the guys hanging out, or if he tucked them away for himself for later.  Um, he is the tucking type, and I say amen to that.  Ryan is a lover of my baked goods and when all we've got is pumpkin bread, blueberry oat bread, cookies, and prayers, I am thinking he is going to get through this.  He loved the card Curly made him, as he is a huge Curly fan.  

On the boat that night Ed said they were talking about when they all turn 21 (they are currently 19), and Ed turned to Ryan and said, "Wait, are you Dec. 29?"  

Ryan:  No, December 19th.

Um, that is Curly's birthday.  So Curly and Ryan are birthday buddies.

I hope and pray that the 21st birthday celebrations happen and that this health issue is a mere memory by then.  Ed leaves on Thursday and I imagine that will be hard for Ryan.  Fortunately one of their other good high school buddies got himself in academic trouble (OK, so NOT really good news), and he will be home and able to keep Ryan company.  


Reg and I ran to Costco last week.  He needed to have his glasses adjusted and I needed to order a cake for the grad party.  I bought these glasses as a replacement pair.  He lost his original pair at school in January after 10 days.  Yes, ten - as in less than 2 weeks.  I ordered the second pair from Costco just as things were shutting down and then was told they were in, but they weren't.  So, that was fun.  They guessed that they were sent to the wrong store and there wasn't anyone there to correct it.  So, they ordered them again.  

This is the lost-glasses page that Reg posted in the gym.  He took his glasses off for gym class and left them on the stage.  That's what kids do.  I thought, maybe another kid grabbed his glasses by mistake and hadn't realized it.  Hey, my kid is president of the no-noticing-details club, so maybe there are other members out there?  Alas, no one came forward with them.  Who would pick up the wrong glasses and keep them?

When they finally came in, I ran to pick them up one night just as the wait-in-line-around-the-building-fun had begun.  I called from the exit and told the woman at the eye-wear counter to turn and look at the exit.  "I am waving my arm at you like a crazy person who doesn't want to wait in line to enter the store.  Please don't make me come in to pick them up.  I was here yesterday and you called to say they were in when I got home."  

Kind lady marched them over to me in the exit and we did a sort of baton hand off.  They had already told me that they couldn't adjust them to fit his face.

So, months later when he said his glasses were super loose - "these glasses cannot stay on my face."  The woman working COULD NOT BELIEVE that this glasses were only purchased in early April.  

"What do you do with them?  They are so beat up?"  Reg gave her his infamous blank stare as if he was not sure she was talking to him.  What's that saying, you can dress em up, but you can't make em talk in public?

And this is why he must wear disposable contact lenses.  

His first appointment with contacts was in January.  He struggled - not like me with the passing out, grossness of it all.  He claimed his eyelashes were too long, um . . . on one eye.  And, he just had really quick reflexes and struggled to control his blink.  

After months of trying a sample set, losing sample set, going back to the doc to try again, he has figured it out.  My vision of him wearing prescription sport googles (get it vision?) was that they would cost a fortune and he would hate them or lose them.  

Problem solved.  I will have to keep a spare pair of his contacts in my purse in case any defenders make it past his quick reflex eyelashes and poke him in the eye during a basketball game.  If we even get to have a high school b-ball season.   

Heads up, I have another post coming at you tomorrow.  I still feel like no one wants to read on Fridays, so tell me if I'm wrong.  

August 17, 2020

From WTF guest list to time-stamped entry for the win

Yesterday we hosted a grad party for Reg and Lad.  We made it a combo deal and tossed another 8th grade cousin in there, so 3 birds/one party kind of thing.

8th grade, I know - hardly something to celebrate, but allow me to explain . . . when I was a kid we had family over for a cookout when one of us graduated 8th grade, along with a neighbor family.  I never thought much of it.  Considering that majority of my blood comes from Irish stock on both sides, it's hard to believe that I have a very small extended family.  Retro family gatherings for me consisted of my 3 local cousins and a handful of aunts and uncles and grandparents.  

Fast forward to current family parties:  Coach and I practically need crowd control.  We are each the middle of 5.  We both have 2 older sisters and 2 younger brothers.  (Weird, but he is the first born son in an Irish American family, so he didn't have the same middle child experience as me).  My kids have 16 cousins from my side, and I think somewhere around 18 or 20 on Coach's side.  With a few siblings out of state, parties are manageable.  

Shortly after Father's Day, my brother, Mike, called me.  Like an actual phone call, not a text.  My heart skipped a beat because the family tends to communicate via text.  I thought something was wrong.

Fortunately, he was just calling to let me know they were organizing a socially distant graduation celebration for his 8th grader, Alan the following Sunday.  

Me:  Oh, OK.

Mike:  So we are trying to keep it small, because we want Mom and Dad to be able to attend.  (My dad has leukemia. Immune compromised. My folks never leave their house except for doctor visits).  Marie in Milwaukee isn't coming in for it.  Ann (who is single and whose kids live with their dad) is coming.  Pat  is coming with his family (wife 'Aunt Leprechaun', plus four kids.  Of course.  My brothers are somewhat Siamese). And then from your family, we were thinking maybe just Reggie since he and Alan are such good buddies.  I mean, maybe Curly because she is close in age to Agnes (his daughter), since we are trying to keep it small.

Me:  Oh, gotcha.  Um, . . . OK.  Reg should be able to make it.  

** Accepting applause here for managing to speak these words while my mouth sort of hung open in disbelief and my eyebrows were all angry and scrunched up, but it wasn't a Zoom call -thank goodness.  I know there are several people in my family but there was very little chance all 8 of us would attend, so if you figure maybe 4 of us vs. the one that was being invited - would that additional 3 really have thrown the plan off kilter?**

Mike:  OK, great.  Yeah, it's short notice because the weather doesn't look too hot and we are thinking we can have tables spread out in the yard.

Me:  Oh.  OK.  Yeah, I was just wondering on my walk this morning (true, NOT fake news) if we would ever get to have a grad party for Reg and Lad. 

Mike:  Oh yeah, Reg is graduating too.

Me:  ** more internal, WTF-ing here because 


Historically when my siblings and I have had cousins graduating the same year, we have done a joint party so our family is not stuck spending every other weekend at family grad parties.  But, combining this small thing was not on Mike and his wife's radar.  Incidentally, both her parents are deceased and she has one sister with two kids so not like they had a huge other side to include.  

I hung up and laughed out loud.  Coach paused the TV and grimaced, waiting for it . . . he agreed, bazaar, but we both chuckled at how hanging out with people who drink the same cool aid and who we don't really want to hang with was a bullet dodged.  

I tried to give myself the pep talk that reminds me that I am treated this way, because they know I can handle it.  A compliment, right?  

Over the next few days when I described the 'Reg-only' invite to people, they were flabbergasted.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought - yeah, really odd.  I half wondered if Mike knows that Ann is still all undies-in-a-bunch at me because I didn't participate in the gift for our Dad's 80th b-day in May.  Maybe he thought it would be too uncomfortable with me there?  I kind of doubt that was the case.  

The day before the party, Mike texted me to let me know they cancelled the party because of Covid concerns.  Numbers were climbing in Illinois.


A month later, I suggested to Coach that we try a grad party.  We would be in KC visiting his sister one weekend, the next we would be in Michigan in a rented house, so that left August 15th weekend - the last weekend before Ed returned to college.  Coach was onboard.  

I texted Mike, and Marie in Milwaukee, whose daughter graduated college in May.  

My text:  Planning to celebrate Lad and Reg graduations Aug 15th.  Hoping for good weather, but will be fine if people come in the house if need be.  Will spread out tables, and will have time-stamped entry:  my side come for a set time, and Coach's side come later in the day.  Let me know if you'd like to celebrate your grad at the same time.  Mom and Dad can pull up at the edge of the yard (we're on the corner) and sit in their car and watch kids play volleyball and people can come and say hi, boy-in-the-bubble style.  

**We did Jimmy John's, individual bags of chips, cups of fruit that I cut up, pumpkin break, and my cookies - served with tongs, and a Costco cake.  Hand sanitizer bottles were sitting everywhere.  Yes, when Ann got here early and I was still cutting the fruit she asked me if I washed my hands first and I promptly told her that I did, but then I licked my hands and picked my nose a few times.  It never ends.**

Marie said thanks, but no (Milwaukee is less than an hour and a half away), she needed to study (for series 7 or something, no idea.  Out of the loop there) and a mass was being said that weekend for her MIL who passed away in March.  

Mike said they were in.  I told them to feel free to invite his sister in law's family, but she was going to be out of town anyway.  

Turns out being inclusive is NOT hard.  


Agnes, her mom, Alan, and another
nephew visiting my folks. 
Mary Ann did not come outside
 to tell them that they
could not park there, so sadly there
 were no fireworks.
*For reference here:  she has told
people not to park in front of her house
 in the past. 
I fear that between my Mary Ann stories
 and my family stories, you, my faithful
followers, will start to believe that
 I am indeed crazy as a loon
 and I only write this blog to
 fool part of the population.

Party was yesterday.  Boy-in-the-bubble visited.  Got a Jimmy John's sandwich - something he's never eaten.  Grand-kids and grown kids visited briefly at the car window that was cracked.  

There were about 12-15 people in each of the two rounds.  We chuckled when Ann's son showed up for the later part, and became an honorary member of Coach's side.  Ann will be livid when she learns of this.  Turns out the pandemic has not impacted her controlling personality.    

It should come as no surprise that I was all strategerie when I invited my side to come from 12 - 3, and Coach's side to come after 3.  Intentionally left the fun crowd for the 2nd round so we could kick back and relax and laugh, which we did . . . after his folks left.  

It poured rain around 5:00, and people came inside.  The worst part of the rain?  His folks didn't leave as quickly as they would've - they no like driving in 'weather' - which delayed the fun-times a tad.  

Delayed laughs are better than no laughs.

Anyone with a family as weird as mine?