Monthly Archives: April 2014

awkward….

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Last Friday night I got the nerve up and called the girl’s house….and immediately hung up when the answering machine came on. “Why did you do that?” My sister asked. “Answering machine.” I replied. “No…you want to leave the message–that way you can give them the details without having to talk directly with them…” she suggested. “I need more courage” I said and then set the phone down. Ten minutes later, courage back; I called and again the answering machine picked up the call. Taking my sister’s advice I left a  message which sounded something like this… “Hi This is Marsha, my son, the boy and your girl eat lunch everyday and he has invited…” and then all the words in my mouth seemed like they were attached with no breaks or pauses allowed…

‘hertogobirdingwithusonmaytenthprobablyfromaroundninethirtyamuntilaboutfiveandwe’llgetsomethingtoeatduringthat timeperiodsoallIneedisyourstreetaddresssoIcanlocatedyourproperty.(took a quick breath) SotorepeatMaytenthninethirtyamIfyouwouldliketocallhereismynumber….”

*click*

As I hung up the phone I glanced over at my sister who had a funny smile on her face. “What?” I asked. “You said everything so fast…the womam will have to replay that message ten times to figure out what you just said to her…” She explained. Lowering my head I mocked cried and said, “It’s not easy asking a girl out on a non date!”

Two days later the girl’s mom called me back. Not wanting the boy to see me talk about the “non-date” I darted into the basement which afforded me a little more privacy and an opportunity to explain-in clearer detail where we would be going and what we would be doing. Her mom seemed a bit nervous too…spilling what her daughter’s family nick-name was. “You can call her that if you want…” She informed. I replied “Okay” though not really wanting to. After imparting all the necessary information she gave me directions to their home and we hung up. As I entered the kitchen, I raised my arms in a V and pumped them up in down in victory over climbing this hurdle.  My astute husband, witnessing my histrionics asked, “What’s that all about?” Excited I closed the kitchen door and just above a whisper said, “The boy has a non date!!” and then nervously chuckled. “Oh brother…” my husband replied as I smiled, relishing my little accomplishment.

******

“Boy…did your friend tell you I talked with her mother about our birding expedition?” I asked trying to be coy. “Yes, yes she did”. He replied. “Her Mom sounded very nice…and said she has her own binoculars to bring.” I added. The doll, overhearing our conversation added, “I’ll bet she’ll find it the most boring time of all…” to which the boy responded, “No actually, she’s very much looking forward to going, which is a little unnerving for me…” Trying not to embarrass him further I added, “Oh and doll, if you want to beg off and see if you can hang with one of your friends, you’re more than welcome too…” “Nah, I’m actually looking forward to going and maybe seeing an owl…” she replied but then winked and smiled at me.

Hmmm….I wonder if the owl in question is actually of the aviary kind or “non date” friend of the boy’s? May tenth is certainly going to be interesting-if nothing else.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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sisters….

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Q. How to shake the Monday blues?

Before my children were born, on the first Monday of every month, my sisters and I would get together for dinner and drinks and catch up with one another. While we all lived in the same town, children and work pressures kept us from seeing one another on a regular basis.  At this time, Terri, Carol and Ann Marie were finished having babies and I was still trying to figure out how.  Hanging out with my older sisters once a month was a great way to release built up pressures from work and home-a safe place to talk things through and laugh-which we did. Our monthly dinners came to an end shortly after the boy entered the world. I was a new mom, nervous to leave him with anyone; coupled with the growing demands on the other girls’ schedules,  the windows of open time vanished….for the next fifteen years.

Sometime last year, my eldest sister Terri called said, “Don’t you think our sister dinners have been set aside long enough? Let’s get together on this date at this restaurant and get these going again.” So without question, we all showed up-happy, ready to resume our monthly exchanges, but most of all, ready to laugh-which we do. If someone were to happen upon us at the restaurant for one of our dinners, then run into us again a month later, the seating chart would be the same. Terri and Carol-who represent the top of our family; sit together on one side of the booth while Ann Marie and I-who represent the bottom half sit opposite of them. The running joke being, Ann and I are sisters, Carol and Terri are sisters together who happen to be in a large family of boys. What separates us is evident in age, but nothing more.

So last night we were out to dinner-at a restaurant we had never been to and had a great time-laughing and catching up. My sister Terri and I talked for over an hour by telephone Saturday, yet she remained as invested in my conversation with the other two, regardless that much of the information was the same. Collectively we talked of grand babies and the upcoming weddings;  kids away at college, the boy’s birding date and the doll’s mood swings. We talked of our mother-who is always with us and our father who turns 93 next month. And throughout the evening, an undercurrent of love an respect for one another could be felt…

But most of all we….

A. laugh.

Beautiful Sisters...

Beautiful Sisters…

 

family time…

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“Wow! This is huge!” My hubby yelled from our upstairs hallway. Making my way to the stairwell I looked up and there on the ceiling was one of those million legged (house centipede) creatures which live in basements. Years ago I made an agreement with the bugs (in general) that they could live in my basement-unseen by me-and be happy. You know-out of sight, out of mind…but if they ever ventured north-then all bets were off. Standing there my husband, while grossed out by the insect, was never the less in awe of the large bug and joked about knocking the darn thing off the wall to effectively land on me. “No, don’t!!” I said, taking a few steps back as my husband laughed. “How about I get a small plastic container….then you can seal it in and I’ll release outside-at least then the bug has a fighting chance versus being squished-not to mention the ugly stain that would remain on the wall”. I suggested and left to retrieve one.  After a minute or so, the poor creature was locked inside the container-losing only one leg in the process; furiously trying to get out.

Then the real fun began.

The boy who was laying face down on the couch, watching something on his Ipad, didn’t see my approach. My husband meanwhile began yelling, “Drop it on the boy, drop it on the boy!!” Though I never would, I did hover the container over him. Sensing something was about to happen he turned, saw the very large insect inside the clear container and began to scream-like a 15 year old boy…. “WHAT THE F%^& IS THAT!! GET THAT THE F&^% AWAY FROM ME!!” while simultaneously rolling over and lifting his hands to block me from dropping the bug onto him.

“Watch your language!!” I said as I watched fear cross his face. “I HATE BUGS YOU KNOW THIS!!” The boy screamed. “Do you honestly think I would drop this on you?” I asked. Sometimes I wonder if these kids really know who their parents are…

Then I turned my attention toward the doll, who was seated at the kitchen table. As I entered the room, she began to scream. “What? It’s inside this container-don’t you want to take a look?” I asked. She immediately covered her eyes and yelled, “NO, MOM!! KEEP THAT AWAY FROM ME!!” “But doll, it can’t hurt you inside this container…” I reasoned.”MOM YOU KNOW I HATE SPIDERS!!” she shouted. “Yes, but this isn’t a spider” I replied. The distinction between bugs did not matter. The end result was the same:  I had a boy screaming obscenities in one room and the doll simply screaming (she may still have a job in the horror industry as a screamer yet) in the other.

Having successfully awakened the kids from their books/videos/ipods/ipads doldrums, I decided the time had come to release the insect to the wilds. Walking out my front door, I carried the container half way down my driveway-you know so the insect would have a difficult time re-entering my house-and set the insect free. Whether the insect succeeded in surviving the elements or was eaten by something bigger I do not know. What I can tell you though is perhaps (hope) the other house centipedes witnessed the chaos and decided to remain hidden in my basement.

Family time can be fun…for all of us.

pulling water from a stone…

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If you recall from one of my past blogs, the boy asked his friend-who also happens to be a girl; if she would like to go birding with us in May. According to his reply…she was bewildered by the request, but agreed to ask her parents permission anyway. After a few weeks had passed, I asked the boy if she had. “Her mom wants to come with us…” the boy replied. “What do you mean?” I asked. “She’s afraid her mom will come and embarrass her with all sorts of pictures…” the boy said. “But that’s my job…” I muttered under my breath. Taking a moment to think about his replies I offered, “Okay how about this….what if you get her telephone number and I’ll call her parents and explain the details of our date?” “Mom, it’s not a date” he replied. “No no no, that’s not what I meant (though it kind of was), I just mean I’ll explain the itinerary for her along with whose coming along (me and the doll) and what time to expect her back home”. He mulled the idea over and a short time later agreed.

“Bay, did you ask your friend for her telephone number?” I asked the next day following school. “Yes I did” he began. Which quite frankly, surprised me.  On average whenever I give the boy a task to complete and I follow up with him his usual response is “I forgot”. Instead this time he remembered, hmmm…what could this mean?  “Well do you have it?” I asked. “We didn’t have a pen handy at lunch” he replied. Letting my head hang in defeat I returned, “Dude, tomorrow take a pen with you to lunch okay?” “Yes Momma” he replied.

The next day after work I again asked the boy, “Did you get her telephone number for me?” The boy smiled in triumph and said, “Yes I did…” and then pulled out his wallet, reached inside and pulled out a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of paper with numbers clumsily written across and handed the slip of paper to me. “Let me guess, you remembered the pen but nothing to write it on?” The boy gave me a sheepish grin and replied, “I could write it on a bigger piece of paper now if you want…you know seeing as your eyesight is failing in your old age…” Taking the paper from him I replied, “No this is fine…” and then proceeded to attach to my refrigerator door-so as not to lose-when the time comes to call.

******

So now that time has arrived to finalize our plans. We’ve done our research and determined which weekend could afford us the greatest opportunity to find the most uncommon and rare warblers which migrate through our area each Spring. The only thing left to do is call the girl’s parents to see if the dates work for them too. The problem is, I am tongue tied as to what to say.

Hello is the the So and so residence, are you the boy’s friend’s mom? 

No.

Hi, this is Marsha, the boy’s mom…Um, I don’t have room for you in the car…?

Ugh!

Hello, This is Marsha, the boy’s mom…he and your daughter are friends at school…and….

Oh boy. I need a mirror to practice these lines..

I kind of feel as if I’m asking the parents permission to date their daughter…what the heck?

Okay…courage…this is for the boy…remember…for the boy…. okay, here I go…

 

 

 

third world problems…

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While Mary Alice and I were out for a walk the other day, a gaggle of girls came riding by slowly; on their bicycles. As they approached I couldn’t help but laugh at the conversation the four girls were having…”

Girl #1: Yeah our dishwasher is broken so I had to wash all the dishes by hand…

Girl#2: I hate it when that happens…

Girl#3: At least you had a dishwasher….

Girl#4: boy what third world problems you have…

As the girls rode out of ear shot, Mary Alice giggled and then said, “What are they talking about?” Smiling back at her I replied, “Oh you know, the kind of stuff that only seems important to thirteen year old girls…” Smiling back at me she said “Yes those are what? Third world problems..? Then she began giggling again.

*****

Last night, as the doll and I walked home from her girl scout meeting, she shared with me some of what the girls had talked about during the meeting…”Mom, we talked about different scenarios, and what you would do if they happened to you…” She began. “Scenarios…?” I questioned.  “Yes, like  what would you do if your parents were away for the evening and told you before leaving that you couldn’t have any friends over, but some came over anyway…what would you do?” She explained.  “Oh I see…” I said as we continued to walk. “So, what did you say you would do…?” “Well I gave a pretty lame answer…I said I wouldn’t open the door..” I thought that was a brilliant answer myself, I might add, however the doll then went on to explain the different answers her scout mates came up with…which to her sounded very funny. “…Sarah said she would barricade the doors and windows and pretend she wasn’t home either…” She said with a laugh. “Mom, we all were laughing at one another’s crazy answers…it was hilarious.” As we approached our house I couldn’t help but smile at the doll’s willingness to keep me informed…even if these scenarios to her seemed more laugh worthy than they should have been.

 

Spring Break…?

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Last week:

“Momma could you write a note to my track coach telling him we’re going to be out of town next week on Spring Break so I can skip practices?” The boy asked. A few weeks earlier, his coach moved him off the discus and shot put rotation and made him a long distance runner-primarily because he needed to get into better shape. As you might imagine, he is not too happy about his move. “Nope, sorry, I can’t lie for you” I replied. ”

First day of Spring break:

“Momma, I have my whole Spring break all planned out for myself…” the boy began. “Yeah?” I replied, curious but not all that interested. “Yes. I’m going to play Jak and Daxter (video game) from start to finish and see if I can break my previous record.” He explained enthusiastically. “Oh really?” I said back to him. “Yep-nothing but me and the game all week long”.

First Afternoon of Spring Break after Track practice:

“Momma, do you know what happened to the Jak and Daxter video game? I can’t find it.”

Yesterday:

“Momma, You are totally ruining my pre-planned Spring break….” The boy said as he picked up a pair of socks from the clothes basket to fold. “And your point is…?” “Were you not listening?” He inquired. “Bay, there’s an old expression that says if you would like to see God laugh, tell him your plans…” I replied. Judging from the quizzical look he shot back to me I added, “Bay-never tell your mother your plan for a ten day break is to do nothing other than play video games. Now I can see maybe playing one day…but not all ten.” “It’s my Spring break and I should have the prerogative to enjoy it the way I see fit”. He argued. “Yes, you’re right it is your Spring Break-at the school that I work hard to pay for…and you’re taking said break in MY house, which together with your father, work hard to pay…and you do very little to contribute in either endeavors.  SO…you’re Spring break belongs to me-not you, me.” I explained.

Mumbling under his breath-but still loud enough for his mother to hear he said, “We’ll see about that….” Which made his mother look around the house at all the areas that needed help-you know the kind of help a 15 year old boy could do-with little trouble and wrote him out a to-do list saying, “And when you finish folding all this laundry-here is a list of things that could also use your assistance.

“GROAN!!!”

Smile.

Shrugs, eye rolls and mood swings…

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“Mom, my color pallet has certainly changed over the years…” the doll began. We were walking hurriedly through a department store looking for a dress shirt for me to wear that evening. “Yeah, how so?” I replied while sifting through a few racks of clothing. “Well I used to like really bright and colorful clothes….now I like grays and black” she explained. “In other words you’re wearing colors to match your moods?” I suggested which was met with her tongue sticking out me. “Sorry doll couldn’t resist” I offered and proceeded to watch her shrug and then roll her eyes at my apology. “Well then never mind” I murmured to myself and chuckled.

I graduated college with a degree in Communications and one of the basic tenants of the degree is the ability to read body language. But who needs a degree these days? The doll’s large usage of shrugs and eye rolls seem to convey just how bored she is with all of us. Saturday night during a family party, when all the kids broke out of their designated assigned area, the doll was the only one to remain put. “Where’s the doll?” I asked her cousin Mary. “She’s too engrossed in her technology” she explained. When I questioned the doll about whether she was hanging out with her cousins or just sharing the same space she rolled her eyes, shrugged and then uttered, “Same difference”.

In addition, her father and I have found how easy it is to provoke them from her. Apparently, the simple act of opening my mouth is the trigger:  “Doll what’s going on at school…?” *shrug* “Doll I need your help in the kitchen *eye roll* or even better yet, “Doll your bedroom looks like a disaster… *shrug and eye roll” combination. Throw in a good mood swing undercurrent and all bets are off!! Unfortunately the only defense her father and I have is to mirror the eye rolls and shrugs back to her-which evoke even larger one’s back to us-which make us chuckle.

I know some day in the not so distant future, the doll will out grow these mannerisms and revert back to the nice young lady (I hope) she was prior to puberty’s interruption.  I just hope she realizes when her parents made those obnoxious faces or exaggerated eye rolls in response to her own, we were trying desperately to lighten the mood…so these transition days weren’t so hard. We’ve probably failed more times than not–but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying.

Growing up is hard to do…just ask a parent.