Thursday, June 25, 2009

Johannestag 2009

Yep, it's Johannestag - the feast of St. John the Baptist (and the Boy's second anniversary of his can that be?!?) - so we had a mini-bonfire (Johannesfeuer) and cooked hotdogs and s'mores out on the patio on one of the first truly GORGEOUS summer evenings here in the middle of nowhere.

Thank the Lord...for sending John ahead of his cousin and for instituting the Sacrament that washes away original sin...thanks for sending us the Boy....

...and praise God, summer's finally here!

Monday, June 22, 2009

HMD #34 - The End of the Affair

Yes, I'm afraid it's true. Our favorite young couple is no more, as of this past Monday evening. Nearly 8 months of mostly fun, mixed with a fair amount of frustration, has come to a peaceful end. Mostly peaceful, anyway.

There was no big "incident" - no cheating, no new boy or girl, no more shouting, no would-be chivalrous fistfights....nope, nothing like that. It came down to a few seemingly trivial episodes of exaggeration and lying about something of no consequence when it would have been much easier to tell the truth.

Something clicked in our Princess' head. "If he would lie to me about something this silly now, what won't he lie about? And will happen when he leaves for school?"

All the respect and trust they worked so hard to build up - and did - despite all the many obstacles, questions, and objections along the way...was lost over a few boastful statements and one really stupid lie that was easily proven false, and which he admitted was a dumb thing to do. But too little, too late. With all the other recent issues that have cropped up, she decided it was enough.

She gently, but firmly, let him know that she thought it would be best if they didn't date anymore, and tried to scale back to where they always got on well, as good friends. She said he was literally gasping for air as she said the words, and she felt terrible. She still does. He didn't argue or try to negotiate, but accepted her decision and told her he did not blame her for what she'd decided. They promised to keep the matter private between them and that they would not bad-mouth each other.

She's spent the week taking exams, while he was home absorbing the shock, working at his two lifeguarding jobs, and kicking himself for making a series of blunders that led to this final outcome.

Graduation was this past Friday. She still attended the ceremony, and they went to three parties over the weekend, each one less awkward than the one before, and tonight he stopped by with the now-heartbreakingly gorgeous formal prom pictures from the dance two weeks ago. They really did make a stunning couple, and they really do like each other a lot.

He has been a gentleman and has accepted defeat gracefully, but he has not conceded the war. He vows he will win her trust and respect again, even if he does not win her back. "She's the love of my life, whether or not I'm the love of hers." I thought this was a bit grandiose (aren't they always, at 18?), but he reminded me that his mother is only the third girl his dad ever dated, while his dad was mom's fifth. They are apparently a highly selective lot. "A mater, not dater" as the saying goes. Princess was his #4. I have no doubt he will find a #5, but try telling that to a heartbroken young man. He will be down and out for awhile. As will she.

She says - and wisely for one who is 15 - that she gave this a great deal of thought, and as one who prefers the idea of courting to dating, she could not see any point to dragging things out over the summer, wondering if this past month was an anomaly or if these basic character questions would keep coming up. When she realized she didn't want them both to remain miserable as she tried to figure this out, it finally hit home that this very nice, usually well-mannered boy is simply not the right one for her at present, nor will he be "the one" in her future. However, she feels very strongly that he will be a part of her life, in some way, for a very long time. She has not been happy this week. There's been no sense of relief, no giddiness, and there's been less-than-zero interest in all of the offers that have started flowing in from other boys ("Vultures!" as she so scathingly put it...), and less than her usual quest for perfection in the hair and makeup department. She is mourning and missing him, but she knows it is truly over. She also knows herself better now than she did back in November, and she knows that it will be a long time before she's open to the thought of getting to know anyone new, or letting them get to know her as deeply as our Tall Boy has done. She's shuttering her inner Princess from the outside world's view, and it pains a Helo Mom to see it.

HeloMom hates to see so much sadness on both sides of this breakup. I don't think there's much hope for any sort of romantic reunion, but then again... quien sabe? They may surprise us someday. But not anytime soon.

I'm very proud of them both for handling this with the amount of mutual respect that they've shown thus far. I hope and pray it continues.

And so ends the HeloMom Chronicles. Perhaps a post-script here and there....

Until next time.

Happy Father's Day...

A little late in the evening, but heartfelt wishes to all you present and future Dads, and especially to our dear collared Fathers who so lovingly deal with flocks of spiritual children - our temper tantrums and our triumphs - for a lifetime.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wedding bells....

Fr. Cutie got married yesterday. I wonder if they're registered anywhere.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flag Day

I am ashamed to admit it, but we don't currently have a flag! It blew away last summer. (It's flown from outside our bedroom window, so definitely an act of weather, not teens/terrorists)

However, at the family picnic today, I wore a red tanktop, a white blouse, blue jeans....and my totally patriotic stars and stripes Birkenstocks....and in so doing, horrified the more footwear-fashion-conscious of my children accordingly.


HMD #33: Back to virtual reality...

Hello friends....yes, I am alive! I am well! Thank you for your kind inquiries. The Beloved is still in town (yay!), but leaves tomorrow (boo!).

I can report that the Prom went relatively well. The Athlete was still in a fair amount of pain and under strict orders to take it easy and only dance the slow dances, which he did - each one - with the Princess. He had a better date with Vicodin than with the girl, who was torn at first between staying at his side/minding him and mingling with the others there. As it turned out, she was glad that she chose to stay at his side, unglamorous as it may have been, because all of the "dancing" to anything with a remotely upbeat tempo involved her least favorite high school dance pasttime....grinding. Here are kids in tuxes and some crazy-expensive silk and satin gowns rubbing pelvises together and, as she put it "basically having sex with their formalwear on," in a basement of a fraternal order's lodge that smelled of fifty-plus years of beer, sweat, fish fry, cigarettes and despair. Ughhhhh....

As the lone freshman present, she came away having had a nice time, but being disillusioned with the rite of passage that is prom, and wondering if it will be worth going to it again for each of the next three years. But she will go, because it is what is done. However, she vows that she will chair the prom committee so that future proms will be at tonier venues such as the country club, not the area's various lodges - cheap prices notwithstanding.

That's our girl.

As for the future of our senior-freshman couple....well....graduation is Friday. Graduation parties abound for the next two weekends. Then it's summertime. She's dusting off the Jane Austen collection and stocking up on magazines and iTunes. He's planning roadtrips to amusement parks and pilgrimmages to such gourmand lures as Chik-Fil-A.

We shall see what transpires.

I am not optimistic, but that's okay. They each need to do some growing up, and that may well involve growing apart. It's a matter of doing so without hard feelings....and that, friends, isn't easy at any age.

HeloMom out - but I shall return in a day or two, once we're Belovedless and readjusted to the empty spot at the dinner table.

Friday, June 5, 2009

This week in sports...a recap

Well, friends, if you read the post below, you know how this past week has ended, but let's get back to where it started.

Part One: Psycho Redux

On Tuesday, late in the balmy evening, Princess and I were up - way past bedtime - having a long discussion about life, boys, relationships with Tall Boys, prom, colleges, that kinda stuff. We heard Jack the Vicious Predator running about up on the third floor, presumably slaying some socks or maybe chasing a moth around.

Until we heard the frantic chirpy squeaking coming down the stairs toward my bedroom.

Yes, to those who have experienced it, you never forget the sound of a BAT in your house. I don't like rodents. Winged rodents produce a combination of rage and panic that I don't like to admit I'm capable of feeling all at once. But I do. So I slammed the bedroom door shut and sent the bat averse but less freaked out Princess to shut the baby's door as well as Therese's. (She has her uses. And besides, she's the idiot who left her unscreened window open at night!)

Jack emerged from the stairwell and had his live squeaky toy in his mouth and decided to share his good fortune with her - after all, she is one of his harem of strangely furless kittens, and he provides for us all, in his strange sock-slaying way. So he trotted toward her and let it go and it shot up and then swooped at her. Oh, the she came back in my room with little Therese hot on her heels, slammed the door and we giggled like the nervous fools we were. We heard Jack leaping and bounding in the hallway, then sometime after 3 am the squeaky sounds stopped. We decided to remain barricaded in and let nature take its course.

The next morning, we crept through the house with brooms in hand, looking around for the bat and/or its carcass. Nothing. So we figured Jack took care of business. I kept all the doors shut upstairs and went on with the interminable kitchen painting project from the time the girls left until sometime after 8:00. That night, we were still apprehensive after the sun went down, and none of us could sleep. We shut ourselves in my room again for the night, told bat jokes, wished that daddy was here, etc. All quiet on the Western NY front.

Thursday morning, as I had promised to let Princess sleep in after two nights of less than three hours of sleep, I decided to take a quick shower in my master bathroom while she ate breakfast. I got the water to its ideal temperature, hopped in, pulled the cutain shut...and there, hanging upside down in the folds of the shower curtain and less than 18 inches from my face, was the largest, fattest brown bat I've ever seen. I screamed for my Lord and Saviour's assistance and was about halfway down the stairs, the right half of me soaked from head to toe, completely naked, before I recollected myself and where and who I was. Princess thought I was being murdered, came to the stairs and gaped at me. I pulled myself straight up, sucked in my gut, tried to look casual in my nekkidness, and said to her: "Ummm, yeah....I found the bat. In the shower with me, hanging off the curtain. Go get it."


"Well yeah, it's not like I'm going back in there!"

"Why me? You're the adult, you're supposed to protect us!"

"I gave you life."

"Damn you and your uterus, woman..."

"You'll say it to your kids someday. Now go get a broom and a box"

She complied, I dressed myself, gathered what little dignity I had left and held the box while she put on a thick glove, held an inverted plastic bag, snatched the bat off the curtain, shoved it in the bag and stuffed it in the box and duct-taped the box shut.

Living as close as we do to the river, bats are fairly common around here. Unfortunately, there are a few cases of rabies reported in the county (carried by bats, passed on to squirrels, raccoons, and unvaccinated cats) every year. Bat contact is never a good idea. Waking up with a bat in the room is an automatic invite to the doctor for rabies shots. Because they have tiny teeth, bat bites are hard to detect unless you are awake and aware that a bat has bitten you. Out of 17 human bat-strain rabies fatalities in the 90's, only one person was aware of an actual contact and bite - he just didn't report it because he didn't think it was a big deal. Then he died. We cleverly sealed the bat into the bedroom/adjoining bathroom with us for at least one night. NOT cool. So I took the bat to the county wildlife/environmental office, they froze it to death, and did rabies testing. Mercifully, we got the all clear late on Friday. (They've had two positives in the past month). Jack's getting a booster shot just to be safe.

Part Two: Client Catastrophe

In the midst of all the bat chaos, I was supposed to have a hearing Friday on a case that I lost on a technicality (no gory details, but the former atty screwed something up and my efforts to unscrew it initially failed), I then appealed, won on appeal, and this was my big day with the client - 11 years after her accident, 4 years after she filed her claim - and then she had a death in the family and we had to postpone. I was SO ready to go back in...but that's okay. I'll be ready when we have our day in August. Just a scramble to get in touch with the judge, get a fax in for the record, and not make an even worse impression on a judge who doesn't like being appealed....and then there's a lot of mental prep work and framing of arguments and evidence in my head the whole week leading up to the hearing, now for naught. I spent the weekend painting 27 cabinets, 13 drawers, and a half-mile (or so it seemed) of crown moulding and clearing it from my head.

Part Three: The Weekend War

As all this drama was unfolding, more strife on the teenage front. They went to a party on Sunday night (no school Monday), he behaved badly and embarrassed her, she called him on it, his friends rebuked him as well, he didn't like it one bit, and he snapped at her in front of a group of people. Things remain tense between them, and it is taking a toll - perhaps a fatal one - on the relationship. But he finally listened to her, with help from his friends' observations of his behavior, and has pledged to work on his temper and his snappish-of-late attitude toward her and life in general. Life-changing, end-of-era stress is my diagnosis. Too little, too late seems to be hers. I'm sad for both of them. It will be a difficult summer.

Part Four: Sudden Impact....and Surprise!

For over a month, I have been harboring a huge secret...The Beloved is home! We planned a sneaky surprise visit for Prom night. He didn't want to miss it, or to miss the chance to menace the Tall Boy with an impressive array of K-Bar and Nepalese Ghurka knives as well as firearms. I have been striving NOT to screw it up, made a few slips that the girls did not figure out...and we managed to pull it off. But it wasn't easy, and here's why:

A. I got 45 minutes of sleep Tuesday night. Remember those 27 cabinets? Well, each of them requires 10-15 screws. We own two electric screwdrivers. The Beloved is not real great with organization in his man-room in the basement. I couldn't find the charger for either one. After 4 cabinets, I was re-hanging them all, screwing the hardware on and then mounting them back hand. I think I have arthritis now - seriously. They still hurt. And it took me all night, even with the Princess helping me until 3 or so. And she had no idea why I was doing this, scrambling to get it done before the Beloved arrived. She just helped because she saw that I was desperate to be done and wanted to be there battling at my side. Good kid.

B. I got hit by a car 45 minutes before the flight was due to come in! You can't make this sh*t up. Really. I was makingthe requested pot roast for the Beloved's homecoming and realized, at 1:30, that I had no carrots. Princess has been eating like a rabbit in the run-up to prom. So I had to book out to the store to get carrots. As I was walking in, a 75 year old woman backed out of her parking spot without looking back and clipped me at the hip/thigh, knocking me to the ground. Fortunately, I saw it coming and leapt out of the way, and I have some serious assets going on, and so I bounced back up like the Bumble, relatively unscathed. I didn't take her plate #, but I should have...she was angry at me, wouldn't roll her window down past an inch, apologized begrudgingly for not seeing me (as opposed to "I'm sorry I hit you, are you okay?") and left. A few onlookers were duly disgusted with her as well. Deo gratias, I'm a bit stiff and sore, but not even a bruise to complain of. I was lucky. And in a I ran into the store and made it to the airport only 5 minutes discover the flight was 15 minutes early. No matter. It was a thing of beauty to see my boys smiling and flirting with each other the whole way home. Then he hid, I lured the girls into the dining room with an impropmtu after school yay-the-kitchen-is-done tea party, and as we started our after-school gabfest, he sauntered into the room and asked for a cup. Princess screamed and launched herself at him, Therese looked shell shocked and started weeping. It's been hardest on her to be without her Wii buddy these past four months. Princess/Athlete drama has dominated the household.

C. The Athletic Appendix began to give out. As noted in HMD#32, the symptoms were classic, the physician dad was in denial, and the kid suffered. We had many texts and calls throughout the course of the day and evening....prom or no prom? And we had picked up the freshly altered and gorgeous dress earlier that morning, too....

D. I slept for 9 glorious, uninterrupted hours last night. No listening for the baby, no getting up at 6:45 to feed and shoo girls out the door to school....and I'd had a combined total of 2 hours and 45 minutes the two preceeding nights. So it was needed sleep.

Which is why I can't sleep now! But I am going to try. So, gentle readers, thanks for bearing with me to this point, I will be back with more tales from the Brookside before you know it. I have a fresh "visitor" story, too....but all in good time.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

HMD#32 - Gut Wrenching...

...and I mean that literally! Yes, the Athlete was feeling ill last night, physician father told him to suck it up and go to bed....and so once he started throwing up, dad relented and Athlete went into the ER this morning, complaining of severe pain on the right side.

He had his appendix out this afternoon.

Prom is Saturday.

He swears he will be at the prom, no matter what. Princess vows that she will not go with him if he's violating the surgeon's orders.

We are all in uproar.

HeloMom out.