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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Morning Train

It seems odd to say that. The train is not utilized for transportation around here as much as in more urban settings. Southern Californians have such a stubborn attachment to their personal vehicles. Be that as it may, this morning I am going to the train station to meet my sister.

My sister. That's been such an elusive and foreign term to me. Having only just located my birth family this past April, my vocabulary has broadened. It includes words like; sisters, brothers, mother, father. For my kids, it's; aunties, uncles, lots of cousins. Now, I say things like; "my younger sister," or "my older brother." The whole thing has thrown my world off-kilter. In a majorly wonderful way.

So this morning, at 11:05, I'm meeting the Amtrak train from San Diego and picking up my sister Lokelani. Since meeting this past summer, we've been talking three or four times a week on the phone, emailing, chatting, and laughing til we pee. We've become an integral part of each other's lives. I'm loving having a sister. I can't believe how much I adore her and how quickly we just melted together. Last week I mentioned that I was taking a class, and without skipping a heartbeat, she said.."I'll come up and we can take the class together! Won't that be fun?" I giggled. It WILL be fun.

So tonight I promised that I wouldn't keep her up too late drinking and talking. We have "school" tomorrow and have to behave. But after class, I'm thinking Girl's Night Out. We're 40 some years overdue.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Who's the Princess? Posted by Hello

Caris and Shan Posted by Hello

Shan and Dad Posted by Hello

Ave and Shan Posted by Hello

How NOT to medicate your dog...

Let me preface this by saying that I own the world's most expensive "FREE" dog. Couple that with the fact that she is, by far, the most spoiled creature in history and you have the makings of a new reality show. I know that most of you think that you have this department covered in spades with your own four-legged, furry children, but I'm telling you now, that in my next life, I have applied to come back as my OWN dog. Her life is fabulous, pampered, and luxurious.

Since her entrance into our family 6 years ago, this "FREE" dog has cost us upwards of, well, now that I think of it; a semester of tuition. She has allergies and a thyroid condition. As a result, she is on antigen and thyroid therapy. That's right folks, this little black puck of a creature gets allergy shots and thyroid meds on a regular basis. Her condition is such that she loses all the hair on her back end, resulting in what for all intents and purposes looks like baboon butt. It's not pretty. Charlie complains how he could give her up in a heartbeat for all the money she's cost us, yet he's the first one she greets when he walks through the door after work and their afternoon "love fests" are a sight to behold. I sometimes feel like the third wheel. She's thoroughly loved and she knows it.

I usually disguise her meds inside of a piece of hot dog in order to get her to take them. This happens two times a day. She's a smart little shit, and so lately, she's been turning her nose up at frankfurters. I've played this little game with her where I sit down with a bowl of food and pretend to eat it in order to get her interest and make her think that whatever it is I've got, she wants. This morning, she wasn't having any of it. She spit out the scrambled egg. She spit out the piece of cheese. She spit out the ice cream. She even spit out a piece of leftover tri-tip. I had pretty much gone through whatever was in the fridge, short of shoving a block of butter down her face. She finally decided to run under the bed and hide from me.

The gauntlet was dropped. We were at war.

I pulled her out from under Averie's bed, only to have her escape from my grasp and run into Caris' room and under her bed. An easy task for a small dog. Not so easy for me. It's like a mine field in there. The floor is strewn with clothes, photo albums, CDs, school books, makeup. I find myself on the floor, on my tummy, reaching into the darkness under her bed, toward two little eyes, flopping around to find a paw, grabbing, and pulling, yet again just to have her escape down the hall and into another room. As I leave each room, I'm remembering now why I close kids bedroom doors. Not necessarily because of the dog, but because DAMN those kids are pigs. Who's their mother anyway? Didn't she teach them better? God forbid some family member should pop in unexpectedly and utter the very same words, only to have me respond under my breath; "Oh, bite me."

FINALLY, I catch the elusive canine. She wriggles and wraggles as I sit her down on my lap and try desperately to shove a green and white capsule into her mouth. I get it in and do everything short of swallow the damn thing for her myself. I beg, I rub her throat while I hold her snout, I tell her how much I love her and how it's for her own good. Then, I feel her stop struggling, and suddenly she swallows. I'm awash with relief and I let go. At which, she opens her mouth, gags it out, and runs. Oh no you didn't you little bitch! And I say that in the most proper of female doggie endearments, of course. I grab her quickly by the tail and take the now gooey little capsule and try to shove it back in her mouth. She clamps down like a mischievous child and half the capsule is now lodged between her front teeth. Before I could react, she pulls her head back and POOF! She and I are both covered with a white, sulfery powder. It's everywhere. And it smells horrible. Rotten eggs.

She sits back and looks at me. I look back at her. I know she's wondering what my next plan of attack will be, but all I can think to do is laugh. I put her down on the couch pillow and get my camera. I'm too tired to try this again. I'll wait until Charlie gets home. Perhaps he can schmooze her into it. He seems to be able to get her to do anything no one else can. She wins. For now. But just wait until she tries to get under my bedcovers tonight.

Powdered Pup Posted by Hello

Friday, October 22, 2004

Hey Look! Mom's camera!  Posted by Hello

The Grommet's Fun "Gun" Posted by Hello

What your camera does when you're not home...

I had fully intended to write about intercepted report cards and how bizarre it was that BOTH Caris and Bryson's progress reports didn't make it to my mailbox for OVER a week. But then, I sat down here to type and noticed that my digital camera was hooked up to the computer, and I wasn't the one that hooked it up. So I turned it on and found this.

I wonder how many girls in other states are looking at my son's "sweet gun" now? Excuse me while I go hide my camera...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I've been a bit pre-occupied the last few days. So much so, that I feel a little out of the blog loop. I've applied for 3 jobs this week. Nothing big, and not full-time. I still feel in my heart that I need to be "present" in the kids lives right now. For the longest time, I felt that once they were in school full time, especially in the junior high and high school years, I could work full time outside the home, relatively guilt-free. I was an at home mom up until Averie was 12, Caris was 10, and the Grommet was 8, and then I went back to work when Charlie decided to go to school full time. I worked throughout Averie's junior high and high school experience and I know she was fine with it. But once things in my "corporate" life started to spin out of control and I settled back into homelife (which can be translated into "licking my wounds")I began to realize that Caris and Bryson, especially Bryson, really still needed me around. Now, 18 months later, the financial crush of losing a whole income is being felt pretty hard.

We wondered last year when Averie was being accepted to universities right and left, how we were going to afford tuition. Thankfully, she decided to stay at home and attend college here for a couple years giving us a little more time to plan and *cough* *cough* "save". Not seeing back then, the impact of unexpected life changes; i.e. finding my birth family, Charlie's father's suicide, Charlie's mother's illness and rapid decline, we were deluged with LIFE in a short span of time. Never once did Charlie put pressure on me to go back to work. Never once did he complain about the heavy burden that he was carrying. Never once did he ever make me feel that I was the failure that I thought I was. In fact, after he watched me struggle through the emotional hell of countless job interviews and rejections, and saw the "personhood" being sapped out of me, he embraced my return to the hearth and home. I threw myself right back into PTA, tutoring, carpooling, booster club meetings, drama mom coaching, taxi mom, waterpolo mom, hockey mom, AND Queen of the Laundry Mountain.

This week, Averie came home from a counseling meeting at college and informed us that she was two classes shy of transferring. She could graduate as early as the Spring with her AA and move on to university. We were thrilled, excited, proud as hell, and scared shitless. Here we are, standing at the brink of this new and wonderful adventure, yet again. Only this time, completely broke. Last night, I had a bit of a panic attack. The memory of filling out FAFSAs and the myriad of scholarship applications went swirling through my head. I haven't slept in three days. I'm quite sure Charlie hasn't either. But he's not saying anything. Why do we worry? What will happen will happen. I have to believe that along with the bad stuff comes the good, and not vice-versa. Which is hard for me.

So, Monday I went and applied for a job at Michael's and Harry & David's. Yesterday I applied at Macy's for the seasonal rush, and today, I applied to take a class to become a certified Notary. Nothing that requires me to be involved in office politics and backstabbing and all things I can do in the late afternoon and evening so as not to miss Bry's games, the girl's plays, homework, dinners, etc. I can't believe how much it took out of me just to go out there and apply. It was hard. I've been hurt out there before, and people are unkind. I've enjoyed being home. It's safe here. I KNOW how to be a wife and mom and even though sometimes its hard and I feel taken for granted, I KNOW how to do it. Not only that, no one else wants this job and won't talk smack about me to get it. It's mine and I'm damn good at it.
But it's time for me to help Charlie. Tuition isn't going to pay for itself. Not only that, Right after Averie comes Caris and if I know her, I know that she's gonna wanna blow this town as soon as she gets out of high school. No hometown college for her. She's gotta go East. I know I need to help and more than that I want to. I just wish I didn't have to go "out there" to do it.

I'm honestly scared to death.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Day After "Bleh"

I apologize for yesterday. I was just feeling exactly that; "bleh". And there wasn't a whole lot that was gonna make it better short of spending time with my very good friend Margarita. I was having a pity party and who better to have attend? I invited all my best whiner friends; Me, Me, and let me not forget Me. We sat around and marveled at how much we have in common. Me said she felt taken for granted. I giggled at that, because then Me commented that she felt unloved. Which was pretty funny, considering Me chimed in right after with how she was experiencing a sense of "invisibility". I asked Me if she'd taken her meds today. She said she had, so we quickly tried to lighten the mood by moving on to other subjects, avoiding the topic of the perception of "ungrateful" kids and "too much on their plates" husbands.

Me sighed: Oh stop being so silly. You girls blow everything out of proportion.

Me responded: Well, you're the one that was complaining about not getting any.

Me chided back: I simply said that I understand how overworked and tired he's been, but once a week is just NOT enough.

Me said: At least you don't have ungrateful kids. I swear, sometimes teenagers think we're idiots. Do they think we were BORN in our forties?

Me shot back: Are you kidding me? My kids think we crap money. And then they complain how they have "nothing" or that their friends have "everything". ::sigh::
Apparantly we suck.

Me retorted: Oh wah wah wah girls. It just seems like that now, but someday they'll see how good they have it. Remember, you were teenagers once too you know. Now, about YOU; Miss-Too-Oversexed-For-Your-Own-Good (pointing at Me), THAT'S what vibrators are for. Leave the poor man alone. He's doing the best he can and life's been a little rough lately.

Suddenly the girls and I noticed a beautiful sight and Me exclaimed; "Oh look! Here comes Margarita! She makes the best Agave Nectar by the pitcher. You've never had anything so wonderful in your life. She's a saucy little thing; sweet and a little tart. She wears the loveliest perfume; essence of lime I think. I'll have to ask her."

Before you knew it Me and the girls were giggling, giddy, and feeling much less whiney and self-absorbed. Not to mention the guy at the bar hit on Me. I just won't tell you which Me it was.

Friday, October 15, 2004


Should be "Yay!" cuz it's Friday.

But all I can think is "Bleh!"

Burnout. Margarita Time.

Rocks. No salt. Hurry.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

That's MRS. Proctor Smith to you!

Today I was a proctor for the regional P-SATs. Three hundred seventy-eight students ranging from 8th grade thru 11th, 4 district schools. They filled the big gymnasium. I was actually pretty impressed that so many kids showed up to take these preliminary SATs.

My job wasn't that difficult. I, along with 8 other parents, walked up and down the aisles, between the tables; handing out kleenex for sniffly noses, sharpened No. 2 pencils, and tapping the tables if a student fell asleep. There were also those moments; though few and far between, where I'd have to give "the look" to kids whose eyes would wander from their own papers, or those who couldn't stop talking to each other. All in all, the majority of the kids were pretty well behaved. This test obviously meant something to them.

At one point, one of the school counselors came up to me and said, "So, I'm going to call you "Proctor Smith" today. I didn't understand and responded with the very intelligent; "Huh?" He laughed and continued; "Well, I just noticed that your daughter is in here taking the test and normally, parents aren't allowed to proctor when their kids are taking it. I said; "Then you're double screwed. My son is in here too." He got a look of shocked amusement on his face and then said; "Wait, you have ANOTHER one? First there was Averie and she graduated, then there's Caris, and you have ANOTHER ONE?" I smiled and nodded then added; "They didn't stipulate that there was a "no parent" rule, which I fully understand. But no one said anything to me. So, if you need me to leave, I will." He suddenly seemed very panicked. "NO! NO! NO! Please don't leave! We had a hard enough time getting the parents that we got. If you leave, we'll be really short-handed!" I assured him I wouldn't leave and I would just take the station on the farthest side of the gym, well away from my own kids.

After 4 long hours of walking the aisles, the test was over, my feet were aching, and I struggled with some really mixed emotions. I was very happy, and proud, that both my son and daughter cared enough to take the test. But I was a little sad that for 378 students, it was difficult for the school to find only 8 proctors.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Charming! Posted by Hello

Weddings, Homecoming Dances, and Rainbow Flags

So much activity this weekend, it's hard to know where to begin. But I'll start with the wedding. For months, the anticipation for this big day has been growing. Our good friend and neighbor's daughter, Erin, has been engaged for the past year, after a seven year courtship with Joe. I have to give it to them; they've been together since their senior year in high school, and have always known what they wanted. They graduated, went on to colleges on opposite coasts; he on the east, she on the west, maintained a long distance relationship throughout, got their degrees, started their careers, and now, were finally getting married.

A year ago, at the engagement party, Erin asked Caris if she and her best friend Taryn would sing at the wedding. Caris was honored. So now, for the past 5 months, Caris and Taryn have been practicing. This isn't something that's new to them, after all, they are performers. BUT, this is the first time they're singing at a wedding AND the first time they're singing in another language. When Erin's mother asked them to sing "Ave Maria" (Gounod), their faces turned ashen. They smiled politely, and then got to work quickly.

Erin comes from a rather large Irish-Catholic family. One of her uncles is a priest, and her great aunt is a nun; now retired. And then there's Aunt Mary. She's the loud, brash, aunt that doesn't have any trouble speaking her mind. She drinks like a fish and swears like a longshoreman. Despite all that, Mary's the family matriarch and when she says "jump", everyone says "how high?" Caris and Taryn were worried about whether Erin and her mom would like their singing and I remember reminding them that they didn't have to worry about Erin and her mom, they should worry about Aunt Mary.

Saturday comes, the day of the wedding. The girls are nervous. Charlie and I are nervous for them. But I've been listening to them sing this song now for months, and I'm confident they have nothing to worry about. They sound like angels; literally. Sure enough, Aunt Mary is in the front row, on the bride's side, and she wastes little time reprimanding roudy cousins in the pews behind her. Every now and then, she reaches behind her to put a deathgrip on the knee of Erin's uncle Patrick, who is laughing and smirking about something. She gives the pewful of other uncles the stinkeye if they so much as snicker. After the bride and groom take their vows and approach the alter to light their unity candle, Caris and Taryn step up to the podium to sing. The cathedral quiets and the girls begin to sing in perfect, beautifully blended harmony. When they're done, Aunt Mary turns to me and says "Exquisite!" I didn't realize until that moment that I had been holding my breath and thankfully, upon her approval, I let go. I looked up at the girls and winked at them. All was good.

After the ceremony, outside the church, Aunt Mary came over to where Charlie and I were standing with the girls and said.."Girls, I was worried...but you pulled that off beautifully. It was just perfect. When I get home I'm going to call Aunty Rita and tell her how exquisite that was!" Aunty Rita is the retired, 90 year old nun, now living in a retirement convent in Virginia. Later at the reception, the bride and groom both gushed compliments at the girls and thanked them for their part in her special day, and then she exclaimed, "I just talked to Aunty Mary and YOU KNOW that if Aunty Mary loves you, then all is right with the world! She loves you, and she doesn't like ANYTHING!" Well, that about says it all.

While all this was going on, the Grommet was attending the Homecoming Dance at school. His first high school dance date. I had co-ordinated his clothes before I left, ironed his shirt and slacks, bought his date's corsage, briefed him on dining and tipping etiquette, gave him money for pictures, and then lovingly left him in the care of his date's mother. Still, I was sick at the thought of missing out on seeing him off. He didn't seem at all phased by it. "There'll be other dances Mommy. Don't worry about it." Later that night, after we got home from the wedding and reception, I asked him how his night went. He glowed and said he had a BLAST! "How did your date like it?" I inquired. "I dunno. She ditched me as soon as we got there. But I don't care. I danced with EVERYONE! Next time, I'm gonna go alone!" Lesson learned.

On Sunday, Averie went to the swapmeet and while she was there, bought four new charms for my Italian Charm Bracelet. I had four "blanks" on my bracelet and had been wanting to fill those empty spaces. But Averie knows that I'm pretty picky about my charms. I don't just buy anything to fill blank spaces. They REALLY have to hold special meaning to me. There are 20 charm spaces on my bracelet and it's taken me almost two years to collect the 16 that I already have. I listened as she explained why she chose the ones she chose:

A castle by the sea: Because you dream of having a little house on the beach in Mexico someday.

Abalone Shell: Because you love mother of pearl and it looks so pretty against your skin.

"I love Hockey": To go with your "Hockey Mom" charm, and I couldn't find one that said "Drama Mama".

But this is the one that REALLY made me smile:

A Rainbow Flag: For all your Blog Buddies. Cuz I know you love them.

How perfectly fitting. I can't think of a better charm to complete the circle of love around my wrist. She's such a smart girl.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

My tribute to Karen's cruise. Bon Voyage Girlfriend...have a blast...and watch out for the Drink of the Day. They're pretty, but they sneak up on you and make you win Macarena dance contests against your will.... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Yes, thanks again to our own loveable Tuna Girl, yet another entry about sex toys. Or so you'd think.

Karen's recent post got me thinking about a shopping spree I once went on. Seeing as how you all might be looking for some "dirt" scoop on the naughty nightlife of The High Priestess, you might be disappointed. Don't worry, my little TOMGirls, it's ok. Mary, Celinda, Linz, and mostly Averie, you can open your eyes. I'm not gonna gross you out.

As I've mentioned before, in my post on July 1st, surfing is/has been a big part of my life. I learned to surf before I could walk. In my childhood, I remember my brothers taking me to the beach and we would surf on whatever we could find. There wasn't the "gift" of money in our lives, so my brothers would call an old piece of plywood a surfboard if it served the purpose. Through the years, every now and then, they'd get lucky and find an old, discarded surfboard in a dumpster somewhere or even left abandoned on the beach. I always used my brothers' surfboards or their friends gear if I wanted to play too. That's how it has always been, even when I was older.

I stopped surfing when I was around 19. Charlie didn't even know that surfing was as big a part of my life as it was. I just didn't talk much about it. When we moved away to the midwest, in my misery at being so far away from the ocean, I once commented to him that when we got back to California, I wasn't EVER going to complain again and that I wanted to get back to surfing. Upon our return to the west coast, the first thing I did was go looking at surfboards. As a surprise for my 40th birthday, Charlie and his friends pooled together and bought me my very OWN first surfboard. I call her Nalu Hoku; "Wave Star".

Now, Nalu wasn't a "new" board. New longboards are VERY expensive. And since I'm much too old and out of shape to use a short board (my "shredding" days ended 2 decades ago), a longboard is just what I needed and wanted and the guys obliged me. She's 9 feet, two inches of wet, watery fun. The only thing I needed was a leash. Now hang on here, I'm gonna educate some of you surf grommets (newbies); A leash is a long lead that attaches from the board to the ankle so you don't have to go chasing a runaway board when you wipeout. The leash attaches to the surfboard by a little item called a BUTTPLUG, and the buttplug has a swivel on it so that the leash doesn't get all tangled and twisted like a phone cord. With me so far? Good. So let's go shopping.

I went to a surf shop very close to the break where I like to go surfing. It's called "Blackie's" and most locals in Newport Beach know exactly where you're talking about if you surf Blackie's. It's well known that older longboarders hang out there. The waves aren't too big, just good enough for a "seasoned" surfer. You won't break your neck if you're over 30. When I walked in, as is usually the case for surf shops, the place was full of young, sun-bleached guys and it smelled of coconut scented surf wax. I was basically ignored for awhile. Sure, they looked at me and smiled, but they assumed that I wasn't there for business; just looking.

Finally, a young guy approached me and asked if he could help me. I told him that I needed a surfboard leash. He responded as expected:

He: Oh, your kid need a new leash for his stick?

Me: Well, no. I need a new leash for MY stick.

He: ::pause:: Um, oh. Ok, sorry. Right this way.

Now, right about this time I'm thinking that he probably thinks I'm joking. So, he's gonna test me.

He: So, whatcha riding? Shredder or Longie? ::looks me up and down:: Prolly a longie. Yeah. (Translation: "What kind of surfboard do you have? A shortboard or a longboard? Oh, you're too old to ride a shortboard, so you've probably got a longboard.")

Me: I have a 9'2" Chuck Dent. (I have a 9'2" surfboard made by Chuck Dent)

He: Cool, cool. That got a mono fin? (Great! Is that with a single fin?)

Me: No, it's a tri-fin. (Nope, it has three fins)

He: Those fins boxed-in? :::smug, inquisitive look:::

This is where he thinks he has me. That I'm not gonna know what he's talking about. Fins on surfboards are either boxed-in, meaning they are placed into a small, framed box which is cut into tail of the surfboard and tightened in. They can be removed and replaced at will, or in case of damage. OR, they are glassed-in, meaning they are permanant fins, molded over with fiberglass and literally become part of the body of the board.

Me: No, they're glassed.

He suddenly straightens up and a soft, realization comes over his face. His demeanor changes. I sense a new respect unfolding from this young guy.

He: WOW, very cool. You must be a very confident surfer to go with glassed fins over boxed.

Me: No, I just love the board.

He shows me to the wall where all the leashes are and helps me pick out one that would be best for the size of my board, and for me. I thank him, we talk a few minutes more about surfing, and Hawaii, and our mutual love for the ocean. Then I go to the front of the store to pay. When I get up to the register, there's another guy there and he casually looks at the leash, then looks at me, and then says; "You know there's no swivel on this leash?"

Me: What?

He: There's no swivel. This one sucks. You want one with a swivel or it's gonna get all tangled up.

Me: Oh, ok.

Now, as we're trying to complete this transaction, a few new customers have come up behind me in line with their purchases. All young surfer guys. Before I could respond to the kid at the register, he picks up the store intercom and says:


At that, the guys in line behind me start snickering and one of them literally blows his gum out of his mouth laughing. You could then hear laughing from various areas of the store. Great. Just great. I stand there, blushing while the guys behind me try to compose themselves. From the back of the store, my original helper comes running, with another leash, this time, with a swiveling buttplug, and he whacks the register kid over the head with it. Saved me the trouble.

I paid for my swiveling buttplug and left.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Cherish the Memory Posted by Hello

"Ten-Four, Good Buddy"

Fifteen years ago, when the doctor said, "It's a BOY!", I honestly didn't believe him. We had a strict "no peeking" policy. So a couple months earlier, when they asked Charlie and I during an ultrasound if we wanted to know the sex of our third child, we declined. I always felt that that was cheating. Like opening your Christmas gifts before Christmas. That information was like your reward for nine months of waiting and hours of labor. Still, it wasn't until he held that globby, messy, screaming 8 pounds, 3 ounces of baby up for us to see, and my eyes went searching for a penis and found it, that I was satisfied. In the delivery room, we joked about how he's a "ten-four, good buddy" since he was born on October 4th. Bryson Rhys Mahu'i Ole A Pulama; meaning "Unexpected, but cherished." After two girls, finally, a baby with an extra part. I was beside myself. And then, I was scared to death. I knew what to do with girls. Now what?

He's as much like his father as anyone can possibly be. Good-looking as all get-out. Of course that's open to interpretation. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. My beholding capacity is without boundary. I adore this kid. He comes behind two outgoing sisters who love the stage. He complains non-stop about having to listen to "more Broadway?" and countless hours of stand-up comedy. Yet, because of it, he knows all the lyrics to everything from "Bye Bye Birdie" to "Avenue Q", and can recite monologues from early SNL to Dane Cook.

He survived being a life-size dress up doll for two Barbie crazed sisters. Though you'd think that old pics of him in tu-tus would make him cringe, today he just laughs and says he remembers. He's still my baby and it doesn't bother him at all when I ask him to come and cuddle with me for a minute. He obliges me. Last night, he sat on his dad and crushed him with a goodnight hug. Tough guy on the ice, or in the pool, or surfing with me, he can still show amazing affection without batting an eye.

Now that he's in high school, his sisters tell me that I need to keep an eye on him. Not because he's out of line, but because the phone doesn't EVER stop ringing with all the girls that call. Caris says when she sees him on campus, he's usually surrounded by them. She worries he'll get hurt. The sister who likes to punch him and call him "pussy" is now worried he'll get his heart broken by female groupies. How the tides have turned.

Last week, during campus visits by college admissions counselors, a teacher asked the freshmen students; "If you could bring just ONE thing from your kitchen at home to college with you, what would it be." There were 15 "refrigerators" and 20 "microwaves", a "can opener" here and there, and "a case of cup o noodles". His teacher called to tell me that Bry's answer was the one that stood out to her and made her smile; "my mom".

Yeah, it'll be hard to be replaced someday. But I still have all these great memories to cherish, and I know many more will be made with this kid. He is, and always will be my "ten-four, good buddy". Happy Birthday Grommet. I love you.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Set In Concrete Posted by Hello

Temporarily Permanant or Permanantly Temporary

It's drying. The concrete finisher said that it takes concrete a good 28 days to completely dry. Twenty-eight days. What a random number. I wonder who first figured that out. One of my neighbors, no doubt. Reminds me of a cycle. Guess that makes cement a female of sorts.

Once the guys were done finishing the driveway, I asked the foreman if we could write our names in a small, inconspicuous corner. Actually, I asked Charlie to ask him, because I felt too embarrassed to do it. I know we paid for it, and it's ours to do with as we wish. But I felt like I was defacing their artwork. They had worked so hard and for so many hours to get it perfect, and now here we were wanting to do something as silly as write our names in it.

When Charlie asked him, he smiled and said, "Heck yeah! But do it now, because it's starting to dry up around the edges!" So Averie ran inside and got a chopstick, and we all took turns writing our names in the wet cement. Once it was done, we all stood there with dopey grins on our faces, looking at the markings we made. Feeling pretty happy. I remembered always wanting to do that as a kid, but never getting the chance. Why? Why is something as small as that so satisfying?

When Caris was finished with her name, she stood up to look at it and proudly exclaimed; "There! We're set forever!" I smiled and said to her, "Or at least until the next owners come along and take it out." She looked at me and replied; "Oh no Mommy, when we go, this goes with us. Promise me that when you and Daddy move or sell this house, you will take this little corner with you."

This morning, as I was watering down that driveway yet again, I stood over that little corner and I couldn't help but smile. Nothing is forever. Not even some names carved into a little square of concrete. But that memory, and Caris' heartfelt plea for permanance struck such a powerful chord in me. What a silly thought to break out a piece of concrete if you leave. A silly thought that I will no doubt honor someday down the line just because she said it. After all, even if I did leave it here, it would mean nothing to the person who lives here next. To her, it means something as concrete as permanance. So for me, it means everything.