Happiness on the Down Low
The new job is awesome. I really like my boss and my co-workers. There are only 5 of us, but it's a nice little family. I was a tad nervous at the get-go because, you see, what I thought was going to be a little office job, something that I thought I could do with my eyes closed, is a bit more involved. Basically, there's a lot about the job that is new. Not just to me, but to everyone there, even my boss. So sometimes, it's the blind leading the blind. Okay, maybe it's the farsighted teaching the nearsighted. There are still nerves because I want to do the best job that I can do for him, but I have to tell you, sometimes even though it's not what I expected, nerves are SO much more better than having the soul sucked out of you on a daily basis. I get to wear jeans, t-shirts and slippers, and listen to Hawaiian music all day. I smile a lot more. Even when I don't understand everything I'm doing. I must look a bit goofy, but I wear goofy pretty well.
Averie and her boyfriend Jason bought me tickets to see James Taylor for my birthday. It's been on my wish list to see him in concert since I was a senior in high school. I was elated and it was a nice bonus that they came with us. It was a beautiful venue, the Hollywood Bowl. JT was all I imagined him to be and age has not diminished his perfectly smooth voice in the least. A perfect, starlit night. And then the people behind us arrived....late. Then they ate and talked through the whole thing. And even when asked very nicely if they could keep it down, it appeared they couldn't, so lost were they in their selfish little world. Tunnelvision. One woman even had the nerve to say outloud; "I don't even care about this show, I'm just hungry!" I don't understand people. I don't think I ever will.
The next night, quite unexpectedly, Averie received two free tickets to see Little Shop of Horrors at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. She and Jason had already purchased tickets and so she asked if Charlie and I would like to go, but we had to be ready and leave in 15 minutes. Luckily, we live only 5 minutes from the Arts Center, and so we threw ourselves together and were on our way, Averie and I giggling like girls with crushes. Two nights in a row of exciting nights, something so completely out of the ordinary for us, but for me, so welcomed. We were ecstatic to find that our seats were in the orchestra section, tenth row center. We've NEVER been so close to the stage in this massive theater. Needless to say, it was Serendipity. The music was fabulous, the performers sterling, and I was grateful to see my husband smile. And then, somewhere in the 3rd act, the guy behind us started to snore...LOUDLY! Are you kidding me? Snoring in Little Shop? Who does that?
At intermission, I checked my phone and I had voicemail. Bryson wanted to know when we were coming home. That seemed strange to me. He's never called to see when we were coming home. He said that he "just wondered". Hmmmm. Sounded suspicious, but I let it slide, telling him it was "half-time", a term I knew he'd understand, and that we'd be home in about an hour. Still, it seemed strange to me.
When we got home, Averie and Jason decided to go out and get ice cream and left in her car. A few minutes later, she called me and asked if Caris had used her car. I reminded her that Caris wasn't even home. She said that her seat had been moved up, the mirrors adjusted, and someone had left trash on the passenger side. She said something that never occurred to me and in fact, I thought she was crazy; "You'd better ask Bryson if he drove it." I scoffed. My Grommet wouldn't do that. After all, he doesn't even have his permit yet. He's only 15. He wouldn't think to do something like that. Would he? And then I remembered the weird phone call while we were at the show. So I went to his room and asked him..
"Bryson, is there something that you want to tell me about tonight?"
His face got suddenly serious. "No, why?"
I continued. "Well Bry. Your sister just called and said that there was trash in her car, her seat was moved up, and the mirrors were adjusted. She thought it was Caris, but Caris hasn't been home all day. So...is there something you want to tell me about tonight?"
Now, he's as white as a sheet. "Yeah, I drove it. But I only drove it around the block once!"
Just then Averie called. "By the way," she says. "Just in case you do find out who drove my car, tell them they owe me for putting 2 and a half miles on it. Gas is expensive, you know!"
Now, we don't live in a very big neighborhood. And it would take quite a lot of "driving around the block" to put 2 and a half miles on a car. So I present that to Bryson.
"Your sister says there's 2 and a half miles on her car."
He scrunches up his face and becomes indignant. Not with me...with his sister. "Are you kidding me? She checks her miles? God, she's weird!"
I try my best to keep from smiling. "Bry, she's less weird than you are busted. You're just pissed you got caught and that you weren't smart enough to put everything back the way you found it AND pick up your trash. Evidence, Son. Evidence all over the damn place. So start talking."
He goes on to tell us how he and his buddy decided to go toilet papering a house down at the end of our culdesac and that they drove around a bit before deciding it was the right time. Then he settles in and prepares himself for the lecture, which is worse, I think, than the actual punishment phase. He'd rather be grounded for the rest of his life than listen to Charlie lecture.
I don't sleep well that night. I take acts of deliberate disobedience as personal affronts. These things don't happen with MY kids. I taught them better. These are the voices in my head. It hurts my heart and it takes a little time for me to get over the disappointment that my kids are...normal. Typical teenagers.
It's okay though, next week, Charlie and I will be running away for a few days. Alone. Las Vegas, Baby! Reservations have been made. We've been smiling like kids at each other. Kids who have a secret. The anticipation is exciting. Three days away for my birthday week. We've been looking forward to it. For a short time, we questioned whether it was a good idea to go away the first week of school, especially in light of Bryson now doing something as dumb as joyriding with his sister's car. But the girls tell us to go. They'll keep a good eye on Bry. We deserve it. Charlie deserves it. He's been stressing so much over the layoffs taking place at his work over the last few months. So we keep our plans. And then...
Saturday, Averie tells us that she needs $500 for books and she needs it this week. I called and cancelled our reservations. So, it'll be a quiet birthday at home that week. Ehhh..who wants to celebrate a birthday anyway? It'll just remind me how old I am again.
Sunday night, Averie was walking down the hallway and suddenly there was an ear-piercing scream. I ran down the hall and found her on the floor, crying hysterically and cradling her bleeding foot in her hands. She'd located a sewing needle in the carpet with her bare foot. It had embedded itself and then broken off in the ball of her foot. We couldn't get it out at home and she was too upset and scared to let us dig in there..it hurt too much. So Charlie loaded her in the car, still crying, and took her to the Emergency Room. I stayed home and cleaned her room and did her laundry for her. With school starting tomorrow, I knew she'd be worried about these things. Two hours later, Charlie called and said they couldn't get it either, she was going to have to have minor surgery. Four hours later, she was out of surgery. They'd extracted 3/4 of an inch of broken needle from her foot. Another hour later, they were both home, exhausted, with Averie hobbling on crutches. First day of school today should be an experience for her. Good thing we cancelled Vegas. We couldn't afford to lose another penny...another hospital bill to pay.
But hey...I've lost 6 pounds! I'm happy. But shhhhhhhh...let's keep that on the DL!