Mid-July???? Seriously???

nd2I give up. Time just speeds by. I feel like I’m busy. In fact, I am busy. But when I look at the calendar it’s obvious that I have been sitting on my thumbs for about two years.  Wasn’t I just in Paris?

We’re on a rowing break which is kind of awesome. Andy is doing some kind of strength/conditioning camp thing two days a week. Compared to three hours a day six days a week, that’s a cake walk. He continues to search for a summer job – so many places only hire people 18 and older. In the meantime, he’s been picking up odd jobs when he can.

With the rowing break, I thought things would slow down a bit. When it was still relatively cool, I started painting the shutters on the house. I WILL finish them tomorrow. I don’t mind climbing the mountainous ladder – I just mind the news people tell me it’s going to feel like 105 when I’m up there. Who does that help? No one.

Before I could finish the shutters, we ran into lots of rowing. Then . . . who knew? We became party people. Graduations, birthdays, it’s Saturday – all kinds of parties. Up front, it’s kind of fun to finally be in the “cool” group. Only took me 52 years and what’s cool has changed quite a bit over the years. Anyway – we’ve been eating and drinking our way through Orlando and we’re going to continue for the next week or two.

I’m mostly excited that Danny will be coming home on Thursday. He’s only been to this house once before. Weird, huh? I got to see him back in December but Mike and the brothers have not seen him for over a year. I’m so, so, so, thrilled to have all six of us together. We’re all pretty excited. Since he’s missed the past two Thanksgivings with us, we’re hosting a Thanksgiving-in-July cookout.  My sister is even coming with 2/3 of her kids!  (If you have food ideas, please share in the comments!!!) I think we’ll have between 25-35 people. If I haven’t officially invited you and you’re in Orlando – you’re invited July 15 around 4:30.

finallogo jpgIn other news, I’ve started a new side business – Overalls Overhauls. I have spent so much time over the past (yikes!) 25 or so years redoing furniture, and I LOVE  doing it, that I thought I might as well start selling the stuff instead of cramming my own house full of “just one more adorable” whatever.  To my Facebook friends, I apologize. So much of this is a GIANT learning curve for me. I’m getting it now and soon I should have my personal and my business pages working independently.  If you’re on Instagram, I will apologize in advance – that’s next week’s project.

Hope all is well in your worlds.


A Night Out?

8e6c9-prom1950We rarely “do” date nights and yesterday was no exception. Instead, yesterday’s plan was to meet friends for dinner after their kids’ swim meet. So, it was me, Mike, another couple and two teenagers. (On our end, Tim was working and Andy had plans for Halloween Horror Nights.) We had a great time but there’s no denying our “going out” days are mostly done. Here’s a timeline:

  1. Waiting for friends to text that they are done. I send a series of texts with restaurant options. Mike starts shouting from another room “Have you heard anything yet?” I shout that I will text him as soon as I know anything.
  2. Fifteen minutes later . . . Mike come lumbering into my “office.”   He announces that he left his phone on my desk. “Have you heard anything yet? I was out in the yard doing a few things.” (He is absolutely drenched in sweat and he’s wearing his crazy homeless guy hair.)
  3. I suggest a shower with promises to keep him up to date. I hear thumping and water running upstairs. Looking good so far.
  4. Mike appears again. “Is my phone working? Did you text?” I just stare.  The man I love is clean but he looks like an overgrown 8-year-old in plaid shorts and a gigantic Gator polo shirt. My head tells me to be kind and diplomatic. My mouth stomps that thought right the hell out. “Is THAT what you’re wearing?” Much discussion and negotiation. Kept the shorts, toned down the shirt.
  5. Now, Mike is not the only insane one. I have it in my head that it is October. No mind that at 6 pm it is still 93 degreess and full humidity. I opt for jeans and a blouse I have been dying to wear since I found it back in May. I’m full in on fall so I add my favorite red loafers. If I only knew how to keep myself  from sweating.
  6. We’re in the truck driving toward downtown Orlando debating restaurants via text. The sky looks like the end of the world. Both of our phones have been shrieking randomly. We turn up the radio. I test the truck’s a/c to see if I can unwilt my stupid self.
  7. Arrive and meet up with our friends. The restaurant is awesome. If you’re ever in Orlando, The White Wolf Cafe is a fun spot for drinks, brunch, lunch and/or dinner. I don’t know about you but the last time I had Lobster Grilled Cheese for dinner was never! They offered a lot of local craft beer so Mike was in heaven.
  8. At some point, thank heavens we had the teenagers with us, the world began ending in, even for Orlando, a torrential rain. Suddenly phones all over the restaurant were going off, lights were flickering and we realized we probably should have checked our phones on the way over to the restaurant. Flooding, plagues and general unhappiness abounded. We kept eating and talking. For another hour!
  9. Mike insists our friends come with us to our car (street parking) because it’s close and he had brought some of the beer he’s been making to give to our friends. Umm…we were not parked close. The sidewalks were flooded. The teenagers rolled their eyes and opted to stay with their parents car which was just steps from the restaurant door. We made it and drove our soaked selves and friends back to the waiting teens.
  10. Driving home. Mike notes the late hour – it was 9:00. He worries that his wet clothes will cause a rash on the 20 minute drive home. I stare at him and wonder how this has happened. Seriously, HOW does this happen? I missed the transition.  And then we turn down the radio and talk about how much fun we had.  Going out, despite my night owl tendencies, has definitely changed. When we first started going out with our friends, it was 9:00 before we even decided to go somewhere.

And, there it is. What happens when “older” people go out.


What Do You Do?

e1c67-hpandyalldone-bmpFeelings are tricky. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings – ever. That said, I have hurt
people’s feelings – most likely more than I know.  By the same token, I don’t want to have my feelings hurt either. BUT . . . the thing is, you can never know what’s going to hurt someone’s feelings (besides the obvious stuff – “Why, yes, you do look heavy in those pants.”) And, other people can’t know what’s going to hurt my feelings without me walking around with a dry-erase flow-chart explaining how it all works. A mind is a terrible thing – at least in my world it is.

My “not-hurting-others” skills have grown exponentially since I was younger. I try hard to “tread lightly” and think before speaking. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. I will say my ratio of success::failure has gone up with each birthday. Room for improvement remains and I plan to keep trying.

As far as me getting my feelings hurt? I dunno. I’m fairly tough. Or maybe I’m not. I do not want to live the life of the matriarch running around making everyone feel guilty. So, I say nothing. And, I wonder if that’s fair. I think I should either state my expectations or just get over it. Yet, I still hope that those closest to me would “know” my expectations and try to throw me a bone when at all possible.

It’s a tricky proposition. I want people to know what I expect and act accordingly but I do not feel like I should have to explain what I expect. If they know me, they should know what’s important to me. Or not.

It’s weird with the kids being older and with all the changes in our lives (my dad’s death, buying a new house and all the rest) I feel unsettled. In just a week, I’m going to feel out of place though I’ll be in a place I want to be and that I know is best for our family. And still, I’m sitting here amidst half-packed boxes with my feelings slightly hurt. Not by just one person and not in any big or rational way. I think it’s a matter of big things happening while all the regular little things are happening  too. I don’t know what I expect or want. I am thinking it’s like any big changes only now we’re facing “old” people changes rather than things like having a baby – you just think it will be different. Different – and not so lonely.

I keep reminding myself that any perceived slights on my side of things are not personal or conspiratorial. As my dear friend Julie says, “I’m not much but, I’m all I think about.” It’s hard to remember in my own little world that we are living a “new normal” and that this fact does not hold true for other people.

No real point to this post other than to remind myself that life is good and no one is out to “get me” or intentionally hurt me. Even if there is a short period of time where I feel that (in my best 8th grade voice) “No one cares!”  People do care. I/We are loved and blessed by so many friends. Sometimes, you just need to type it out to make it real – you know, because if it’s on the internet, it’s true!


Oops . . .

Mike was all pumped up about being able to change his debit card to one with the Solar Bears logo. At no charge, no less.  I had instructions to call him as soon as the new card arrived.  (You have to understand, this is a guy that grew up in Buffalo where winter sports were everything! The Solar Bears – a hockey team – are HUGE for him – and we can even afford for Mike and Andy to go see a game every now and then.)   Well, yesterday, an envelope, addressed to Mike arrived.  It felt like a debit card so I called to let him know it was here.

You’ve never seen someone so happy to get home from work.  He tore open the envelope while asking me where the scissors were to cut up is old card.  Ugh. You’ve never felt a silence like this – a man opening his first card offering him AARP benefits.  Bummer is one way to put it.  I gave him the scissors, and after I took this picture, we hacked up the card, you know, because we’re never getting old.  

The real Solar Bear card arrived today, not too much fanfare, though. 

Tonight we’ll be having a small, last-minute party to celebrate Mike’s 50th! If you’re in town, call and come on over,  or if you’re in the mood, raise a glass to the best man I’ve ever known. 

I’m shrinking!

It’s official . . . Andy is taller than me. He actually put on a size 11 1/2 cleats that I picked up months ago at a great sale and they fit.  Barely. I am hoping they’ll get him through football season this fall. Everyone in this family has small feet.  I don’t know where this gigantic child came from anymore.  I guess when he grows out of these shoes, I can use them for waterskiing or something.
For some reason, finalizing Ian and Tim’s transcripts and getting all of their stuff together to send them back to the same college they’ve been attending for two years (do NOT even get me started on stoopid beauracracy) has been making me a little weepy as well.  I had them schedule back to back meetings with the guidance counselor and I realized that this is most likely the last time they’ll “share” problems with paperwork or school.  They’re going to just grow up and become independent people and they’ll most likely never let me dress them the same again.  (Okay, that happened when they were about 18 months old, but you know?) WWWAAAHHHHH.
Tim had a mishap (read dumb things we’re mostly all guilty of when we’re young drivers) with his new-to-him car.  Enough damage (to his car only, not Tim and no other vehicles involved – whew) to seriously consider whether the car is worth repairing.  It’s ultimately Tim’s decision (and money) but it’s heartbreaking.  Mostly, heartbreaking for Tim.  But, because I’m all I think about, I’m dreading going back to sharing a car with Ian and Tim and Andy (well, his activities) again.  They’ll all start school, Ian and Tim are working, Andy will be immersed in football and I am wondering if I’m going to start blending into the walls like a chameleon.  I’ll keep you posted – that could be interesting. 

I’m going to go hang from some moon boots or something in an effort to regain the 2″ Andy clearly stole from me while I was sleeping.  Cross your fingers.

Who’s in charge?

I already did high school, if you are the one in charge.  I already had to deal with monster zits on special occasions.  I’m old now.  I rarely get a chance to dress up. Mike and I are going to a wedding on Saturday.  I have an awesome dress, kick-ass shoes and yet, somehow, I have a monster zit dead-center on my cheek.  I’m not talking about a spot or a blemish or a pimple, I’m talking about a Saturday Night Live skit-zit.  Every time I pass the boys’ bathroom, I dab on a blob of oxy 10.  Now I have a dry flaky zit. And, just this past minute, I walked by the boys’ bathroom, blobbed on some stuff and realized I have just treated my monster zit with athlete’s foot cream.  Oh yeah, I’m going to be looking hot on Saturday. 
Whoever is in charge of this – FIX IT! (Please.)

The truth . . .

It doesn’t get easier, it just gets different.  I often hear from people who have boys asking me when it gets easier.  I don’t know, I’m still waiting to find out.  Now some things come easier to people than other things.  For instance, potty training did not bother me too much.  However, nagging preteens to floss between their braces made my blood pressure sky rocket.  
I’m still trying to find a balance with television and movies – most of what they like to watch (Mythbusters, stoopid cartoons, etc) are okay once or twice, but, mostly, these days, I find myself knitting and listening to a book on tape.  I’m not willing to let the kids have full tv access in their own rooms, so that’s a price I pay. 
It’s funny, when my mom was my age, I was getting married.  Now, I have friends who are my age and still dealing with young kids.  I think in your 40’s you have more patience, but you also need a lot more sleep!  It’s tricky.  And, if you’re dealing with teenagers, you’re just tired all the time.  They can be extraordinarily fun, but then, they can also drive or go off with friends who drive and you worry that they might be too much fun.  And, funny thing, most teens are not going out for early bird specials or twilight movies, so you, the old parent, end up waiting and waiting and waiting.
I think the whole parenting thing is exhausting no matter when you start or where you finish.  We all have a plan for our kid(s) and it’s amazing how they manage to foil those plans. Just when you conquer one hurdle, a new one is presented.  And, somehow, you manage to climb that mountain.  In the meantime, you just hang on, know when you’re right, admit when you’re wrong and move to the next level.  It’s a long and painful real-life video game.  But, I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel . . .

I asked Dan (finishing up his first semester of college) what he wanted for Christmas.  After some hemming and hawwing, he admitted he would really love a second set of sheets.  Sniff!!!  My baby is all growed up! In the end, they all grow up – for real.  And when they do, it’s easier to like them again.

Bob Seger is old!!!!!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’m sure, but we have awesome neighbors!  Our neighbor that works for the radio stations stopped by Friday night to offer Mike and the boys tickets to a local event, Orlando Calling.  Ian and Tim had looked into attending this on Saturday, but the tickets were well out of their budgets.  They were so thrilled and our neighbors are thrilled with their new indentured servants.  Ian, Tim and a friend went to this event Saturday and had a great time – you know it was a good time because they came home SHOUTING to me what a good time they had and could I believe how EXPENSIVE a piece of pizza was?
Sunday, it appeared, was a day for older folks with the likes of Bob Seger and Chris Rock and Dwight Somebody.  Mike was excited.  Mike also knew he was on his own.  I hate concerts.  I hate the crowd.  I hate not being able to see anything and did I mention how much I hate the crowd?  So, Mike was on his own to find a “date” for the concert.  He had it all planned out.  Ian had an Eagle Scout fundraising thing in the morning.  Mike planned on coming home for a quick lunch and then a power nap and then a night of musical fun topped off by Bob Seger.  Now, Mike has seen Bob Seger many times in concert, but that was back when he was in his late teen’s and 20’s.  Mike called around.  As Bob Seger did not go on until 9:30, most of his friends begged the late hour – ::::sigh:::: how is it we hang out with a bunch of 80 year olds?  Finally, Mike found a concert buddy among our scout friends.  
Fast forward to 12:30.  Mike came in.  I was sitting here writing my incredibly bad November novel.  I asked how it was as Mike slammed peanut butter and some bread together.  “Bob Seger is REALLY old.”  And, with that, he stomped off to bed.  I felt so sad for Mike.  When I talked to Mike this morning, he was okay with it all.  He said the concert was actually pretty good, but, Bob Seger is still old.  Ya think?

Guess I won’t be getting Mike the new Tony Bennett cd for Christmas.


Well, this was most definitely a transitional Halloween for me.  Dan, of course, spent the holiday in Tallahassee.  (sniff – I sent him a bag of candy, an ugly-Mrs-Weasley-scarf and some soap), Tim and Ian went to a concert of some local bands.  It was just me, Andy and Mike.  In the 13 years we’ve lived here, trick-or-treating has been a group activity.  In the past, we’ve banded together with some other parents and kids and marched around the neighborhood.  Often the parents would dress up as well.  This year … not so much.  Parents are working different and/or more hours.  Girl children want to t-o-t with other girl children (not many of those on our street). 

As it worked out, a bunch of us assembled.  Quickly, the older boys (wah – Andy is now an OLDER boy) set off on their own trek for treasure.  The rest of us kept walking, slowly as we were basically herding cats.  We’d gone about 20 yards when it occurred to me that not ONE of the kids in our group was mine. WHY was I even there????  I’m now the creepy old neighbor.  Waaahhh.  I couldn’t figure out a graceful exit so I stuck with the group.  But, really????  I no longer have to dress up as the Keeper-of-the-Crypt, I AM the Keeper of the Crypt!!!!!  

Still, we had good pumpkins.  Mike stayed home and rested his sorry broken toe.  Toes seem like such silly things until one of them stops working.  And, it was fun when Andy got home to hear about his adventures.  He was really excited to have gone off on his own with his friends. I’m glad he had fun.  This is one of those transitional things (at least here it is), but it makes me a little sad. Won’t be too long until I’m complaining about my aching shoulders as I teach him to drive.  

I was really happy when Dan called on Tuesday and Andy was able to fill him in on all the details.  Andy REALLY misses Dan and I think the feeling is mutual.  I love when they get a chance to talk and I love that Dan will listen and have an actual conversation with Andy.  

Adding pictures – Andy is the kid with the burlap sack on his head (yes, I am proud) – he’s a scarecrow and designed his own costume.  The pumpkin is Tim’s creation.  A pumpkin eating an apple carved like a pumpkin vomiting watermelon.  :::sigh:::: I’m glad I took the time when I had it to make their costumes when they were little and cute and willing to wear whatever I pulled over their heads.