Monthly Archives: June 2015

Epic….part 1

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At the end of school last year,  we hosted a pool party as a way to kick off summer. The hope was the doll connected with enough kids to warrant a chance to connect over the summer. Instead, she hung out with only one girl on occasion while secretly pining for school to start again. I determined last year not to let this happen again. So after we hosted the end of school pool party this year, I told the doll in no uncertain terms that she was not going to lay around and be lonely. She needed to work at getting the girls–the gang together to hang out and ensure a good summer.

One way to accomplish this goal was to host a sleepover. “Mom, I can’t decide who to invite, can’t I just invite everyone?” She asked. Considering we managed fairly well for Halloween and her birthday, I said yes. Little did I know what she was getting us into.

Like most teenagers, the doll spends most of her time talking to her friends. But unlike when I was a kid the telephone is rarely used. Instead, they use Facetime or texting or SnapChat or, or, or….something else I haven’t kept up with. Little did I know she and her girlfriends planned to hold a reaffirming friendship party at my house. “What are you talking about?” I asked as sleepover plans began to expand farther and farther away from my original idea of them streaming a movie or tw0 and staying up all night. “Mom, we just want to reaffirm our friendship, especially since this is probably our last year together. There’s a good chance I may never see some of these girls again…” She explained.

Oh, brother!

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One week before….

“Mom, me, and Emilia have been talking and at first, I told her my plan to create a huge collage of pictures from us going to camp and school throughout the years, but then she suggested we make a video instead…” She began. “That sounds reasonable…” I replied. “Well we’re going to work on it together, but the only way to make that work is if I spend the night at her house…” She explained. Smiling to myself I readily agreed and together, after raiding their parents phones and facebook pages, found pictures they could use, worked hard adding music and cool sayings to the mix and created an eight minute video for their friends, titled, The Rejects!”

IMG_1051“Why the rejects?” I asked the night of the sleepover (kind of offended my doll would think of herself in that manner). “Because we’ve been rejected by the other group of girls in our class for being weird and different” One of the girls explained to me. “Mom, it’s not derogatory. We like celebrating our differences…” She concurred. “Well alrighty then…” I said in reply and pressed play. I have to say, between Emilia and my doll, they did a very impressive job on the video. In addition, Emilia then gave everyone a copy of the video to keep for themselves.

And that was only the beginning….

 

 

 

 

 

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fortune cookies…

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One day last week, the doll came into the kitchen and told me about this great idea she had for her impending sleepover on Friday night. “Mom, I was thinking of what kind of games we could have and all of a sudden I thought we could play a truth or dare game using fortune cookies”. Taking a hard look at her I said “Ooookay” skeptically. “I IMG_1037found a recipe online and they’re not too difficult to make.” “Wait you want to make fortune cookies?” I asked. “Yes, the recipe isn’t too hard and all we need is unsalted butter and flour.” Looking back at her I determined if she was willing to do the work, then who am I to stand in her way. Digging through our basement freezer I pulled out unsalted butter and also found an extra bag of flour in our pantry, for her to begin.

The next day I arrived home from work to find all the fortune and Chocolate chip IMG_1041cookies made and ready to go. I also found my doll asleep on the couch and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. While I had to give her credit for following through on her desire to make the cookies, I was not happy with the mess left behind. But seeing as dinner needed to made I cleaned up her mess, all the while she slept on the couch.

When she finally awoke–just as dinner came out of the oven, she entered the kitchen and asked, “Where are my cookies?” “Good evening to you too…and that’s all you have to say to me? Not Hi mom how was your day or Wow mom thanks for cleaning up after me? Hmm makes me wonder what kind of kid I’m raising”. I replied annoyed. “Mom! It’s not my fault I fell asleep. I only planned on sitting down for a minute. Making those cookies was really hard as you could only make two at a time. I think I got overheated and I just crashed” She shot back. “Okay so now I’ve heard your excuses, but still no thank you for cleaning up your mess? You know I called you earlier today to tell you the dishwasher was clean, so you could empty it and load it as you went along. That way you clean as you go and it’s not so difficult at the end of the day. Imagine my surprise to still find the dishwasher full of clean dishes…”

IMG_1039Clearly frustrated by my unhappiness with her, she stomped out of the kitchen.  A few minutes later she came back in and said “I’m sorry I left the mess for you. I really didn’t mean to fall asleep, honestly I just sat down to rest for a minute” and then approached me and offered a conciliatory hug, which I accepted without reservation. “Where are my cookies?” She asked when she disengaged the hug. “I put them away over there…” I said pointing to a few plastic bags. “Thanks, mom. By the way, how was your day?” She asked. “Fine…except for some unexpected cleaning when I got home…” I needled her.

And as you might suspect she gave me a daggered look in return and then everything went back to normal…except I had a clean kitchen for a change.

ten minutes…

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Sometimes I’m taken aback by my son’s sheer belief of everything that comes out of his mouth. I mean I’m all for self-confidence and everything, but lord is he simply full of himself. Now I realize much of his hubris comes from being 16 along with the lack of real-world experience. In addition to not containing a lick of common sense in that oversized brain of his, but still. When it’s his turn to enter the real world, God help him, he’s gonna get slammed. 

Yesterday we were running late. He’s been working all week at his High School as part of his financial aid and on the days I’m with Mary Alice, I had to take him to school an hour earlier than he needed to go. “BAY LET’S GO, I’M GOING TO BE LATE FOR WORK!” I shouted at my most deliberate child, as he slowly lumbered about the house. “Bay I have to be to work in twenty minutes so we need to go now!!” I implored. “Relax mom…” He said in a slowed down tone. “BAY LET’S MOVE!!” “I still have to put my shoes and socks on….” He said as he stumbled into the room. “You can put them on in the car!” I said tersely. “No, then my feet will have grass clippings on them…” He tried. “LISTEN MISTER NOW I HAVE TO WORK IN FIFTEEN MINUTES AND IT TAKES TEN TO GET TO SCHOOL GET IN THE CAR!!” I reiterated my stance and walked out the front door to the car and waited. Watching the minutes tick off the clock I began honking the horn, hoping the neighbors would understand. Finally, he emerged from the house carrying his shoes and socks and a bottle of water for later. 

As we left our neighborhood I began, “Bay, I cannot be late for work. When I wake you up that’s your cue to move, not sit around and think about getting up.” “What’s the big deal you can be late.” He said. “Really? You think I can be late?” “Yeah what’s the big deal? I mean we’re always late for family parties and no one seems to mind…” “News flash for you bay, if you’re hired to do work for someone and you don’t arrive on time, guess what happens? You get fired. When you take a job you’ve agreed to work to their terms on arrival and quitting for the day. If you show up ten minutes late guess where you’ll find yourself next? The unemployment line that’s where. As for family…that’s the (perk) result from being in a big family”. “So if you’re late to going to Mary Alice’s you’ll get fired?” He asked. “Not today, because I have three years of reliable service behind me, but it won’t make them like me too much today. By being late that makes Karen late for work–do you see? Cause and effect.” We arrived at the school and as he got out of the car he stopped, leaned his head in and said, “Sorry if I made you late this morning. But if you think about it mom, I just made your drive back home to Mary Alice’s funner and quicker…” then closed the door behind him.

 Sigh.

putting off the inevitable…

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Last night I ran into an old acquaintance and as we talked and caught up, the doll walked outside for me to introduce. “Wow, she’s gorgeous!” Mary Kay said. “Oh I know, thank you,” I replied. The doll thanked her too and then shot me an embarrassed smile before retreating back to the house. “Good luck, wow you’re in big trouble…” Mary Kay continued and I laughed, understanding what she meant, before I added, “Yes but at the moment her self-confidence isn’t as great as her beauty”. “Oh, how old is she, thirteen?” She asked and I nodded. “When she hits high school, that’s when you can begin your worries…” She said which made me cringe internally while I smiled and nodded back.

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Our dog Dixie has been acting odder than usual lately. Tuesday after I let her out in the back to do her business, when the time came for me to leave I opened the door to let her back in, but was surprised to not see her at the door. “Dixie!” I called, but she did not respond. Scanning the yard, I found her lying in a heap in the middle of the yard. “Dix?” I shouted.

No response.

“Okay, this is the last thing I need right now,” I thought to myself. “Dixie, c’mon girl!”

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Sh….

“Doll!” I shouted back into the house. “What?” She replied. “C’mere for a minute…” I replied.

Walking into the room, she stood next to me at the doorway. “Does she look dead to you?” I asked her. The doll’s face went white while her hands pulled some loose strands of hair behind her ears. She took a shallow hitched breath and then yelled, “Dixie?”

Nothing.
Looking back at me and taking a step forward, out the door she bent over and yelled again, “DIXIE! HEY! GIRL!”

Dixie lifted her head briefly, looked in our direction and gave us the “What the ” ” do you want? Can’t you see I’m sunning myself?” look, before lowering her head back onto the grass. The doll turned to me and laughed. “Dumb dog” I replied, noticing the time and realizing I was late for work.

But ever so thankful this inevitable day has been put off for a while longer…

Please leave my house…

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Sewer bugs arrived at our home, shortly after we had our drains cleared free of debris. The boy called me at work the other day to complain. “Why don’t you just kill them?” I asked him. “Because that’s just gross”. He replied which made me wonder, which was grosser, killing them or something in my home that’s attracting them to stay? “Mom we need to have the house fumigated…” He said into the receiver. “Or something…” I replied.

After trying home remedy after home remedy, I’m beginning to think the boy is right. In the meantime, SLAP! another one bites the dust.

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The kids have been out of school now almost a full month and I can count on one hand the number of times they’ve voluntarily left my house in the middle of the day to do something. “Why don’t you call….?” I prod them daily. “Mom it’s my summer and I want to enjoy it the way I want to…” The boy replied. “By being a lazy bum?” I asked. “Essentially yes!” He replied. The doll meanwhile has decided she prefers reading books and laying on my couch all day to be the way she celebrates her summer. “Doll, we have a pool down the street…call someone to go swimming” I implored to her the other day. “But I thought you didn’t like us swimming without parental supervision” She chimed back. “No, what I’d like you to do is not be stupid and drown. By now you should know the rules around the pool and how to have fun while staying safe” I replied.

Yet still nothing changed.

Honestly, other than changing our wi-fi password or disconnecting the TV cable to get them out of my house, I began giving some serious consideration to locking them out of the house when I leave for work in the morning. At least then, they’d have to find something creative to do until their father came home.

Then something changed…

By virtue of a work-study program at school, the boy has been forced out of his rut to work this week. “Mom, I don’t have a problem working this week, but I’m going to see if I can change the week in July to a semester during the school year…” The boy proposed. “No. They need the most help during the summer and your set.” I replied. “But that totally ruins my summer!” He shot back. “Two weeks of getting up and out the door to work does not ruin your summer. You refusing to go outside and enjoy these beautiful days is doing a better job of ruining summer, in my opinion.” “Summer is my FREE time…” He argued. “Bay, someday you will learn, there is nothing FREE in life. Best start learning now…” I said, ending our conversation.

I the meantime, yesterday I literally threw her out of the house. “Call your friends, the pool is beautiful, you’re not wasting another day in the house.” “Mom, I have so much stuff to do…” She tried. “Nope. We’ll do your stuff together later, but right now, you are leaving my house!” I pushed. Lo and behold she called five friends and four showed up to go swimming. Go figure. Later when I returned from work I asked, “How was the pool, did you have fun?” She looked back at me and said, “Yes, we did. I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing that before…” she winked and smiled. “Well, now that you’ve broken the ice…” I tried. She shot me a smirk and walked away.

Baby sunshine steps.

Happy Pride part 2…

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I was once told, if I don’t see Jesus in every person I meet, I’m not looking hard enough. This made me question if I’ve ever truly looked upon someone without filters? Back when I worked in retail, I became an expert at assessing someone in under ten seconds to figure out what they needed. Let me tell you, ten seconds really doesn’t do anyone justice. There was this one particular customer who would shop in “drag” and we’d giggle when we saw “her”. Regardless she was a customer; more that that, a human being–yet we giggled because she made us feel uncomfortable.

Thankfully, times are changing.

Saturday morning we awoke to a driving rain storm as remnants of Tropical Storm Bill hovered over the area for most of the day. IMG_0833Thankfully no lightening or thunder accompanied the rain and the parade went on as scheduled. For once I came prepared, bringing along the two rain ponchos the boy and I wore while birding, last month. “You can rain on my parade, but you can’t dampen our pride!” Margie said in defiance of the rain.

We arrived a few minutes late and missed seeing the “Dikes on Bikes” open the parade. When we approached, colorful clothing and umbrellas lined both sides of the downtown Columbus street. Onlookers cheered and waived HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and rainbow flags in support while floats and parade participants moved past. Some even handed out “goods” such as bracelets, chips, water, condoms and even t-shirts to us onlookers. But the spectacle of the parade is what many of us came to see and the parade and float participants did not disappoint.

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One of the several Christian churches that marched in the parade extolling the virtue of inclusion and love to all people.

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Even the Queen of Hearts made an appearance…

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Very pretty!

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A happy fellow…

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balloon anyone?

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Loved the paper mache wigs.

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Yet another Christian church promoting love and acceptance.

Happy Pride part 1…

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Margie and her 90 yr old mom Marge, celebrating Pride.

Love.

If someone asked me to describe my past weekend with one word, Love would be the word. Everywhere I looked Friday and Saturday I saw elements of Love and acceptance and I’m telling you, there is nothing sweeter to set your eyes upon.

Over the weekend, we were invited to attend the Columbus Pride events, by my sister’s best friend Margie and her partner, Maureen. Margie grew up down the street from us and for as long as I can remember, she has always been a member of my family. “How many years has this Pride festival and parade been going on?” I asked Margie. “A fairly long time…over twenty years.” She said.

Pride marches or parades are events which celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture and pride. Yesterday after I arrived home, my doll asked me, the same question. “Thirty-four years,” I said, after taking a peak via google. “Wow!” She replied, “I wish I had gone with you…” Smiling at my doll I replied, “You would have been bored after the parade.” Shrugging her shoulders she replied, “Probably”.

IMG_0816In any case, Friday night we arrived at the festival grounds where nationally recognized bands performed and vendors worked to sell their wares. As we drove Maureen pointed out, “Marsh-look at the buildings…” Lighting up Columbus downtown skyline were buildings featuring the rainbow colors of acceptance. “Wow, that’s so cool!” I said. “That’s about money…” She replied and then added, “There is a lot of corporate money to be made nowadays by supporting our community”.

When we arrived at the festival, after procuring some beverages, we walked over to where Margie and Maureen’s friends were located and were introduced. After a while, Ann Marie and I walked over to the bandstand to see what band was playing and do a little people watching. We saw people of all ages and genders there. Families laughing and playing with their children as the music played into the night. What’s more, everyone felt welcomed; included.

When we walked back over to where everyone was standing, I struck up a conversation with one woman and asked her, “How long have you known you were gay?” “My whole life…probably since I was five”. “Wow!” I said and then asked again, “If you don’t mind me asking, how did you know at five? I mean honestly, what the hell do we know at five?” “I don’t mind and that’s a good question. I knew I was different. When I looked at girls I felt different. Not bad but different than when I looked at boys. When I was older I tried dating men, so my parents wouldn’t know. But I was miserable. Finally, I came clean and fortunately for me, my parents have been very supportive. They may not care for my desires to be with another woman, but they love me and that’s what’s important.” Looking back at her I smiled and said, “I’m so happy for you”. She smiled back and said, “Thank you, happy pride!”