Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Get a job!

Today, when I was picking up my eight year old son after school, he informed me that I wasn't in charge of his life.

This statement came out of the blue.  My son opened the van door, sat his butt in the seat, had an Oprah ah-ha! moment and happily demoted me in my role as parent.

So I laughed.  More ridiculous things have happened in my van.

There my son was sitting, looking like he has some brains in his head because he wears these thick glasses, thinking that he could tell me to not tell him what to do anymore.

I asked him if he was 18 yet.  He said he wasn't.
I asked him if he had graduated high school yet.  He said no.
I asked him if he had a job.  He said he didn't.
I asked him if he had his own house and paid any bills.  He said, "Mom, get to the point already!"

Yeah, that sentence started in his brain and came out of his mouth while he was sitting there wearing those glasses.

The point is, my son, issue of my loins, that for as long as there have been parents, those parents have had the right to tell their offspring what to do until they grow up.  Or until they stop being children.  Whatever comes first.

As an example, I let him know that I no longer tell his oldest brother, my almost 20 year old who is in Navy, what to do.  Do I care if he eats his vegetables?  Yes, but I can't tell him to eat them.  I care if he showers regularly, says please and thank you, doesn't spend all his money on candy, and is a gentleman with girls...but I can't enforce any of this.  He gets to choose to do what he will...the consequences are all his.  Nowadays parenthood with him consists of passing back and forth Cheezburger links and getting used to my boy using the occasional exceptionally crude word.

Then I laid some science on my kid.  Parents get to guide their children with varying degrees of tell-you-what-to-do-ness based on their brain development.  Your brain, like your body, has not grown to it's full capacity.  Parents know this and in order to protect you from your own lack of decision making skills and impulse control, we get to be the boss.

He thought about this a while and then said, "Mom, you shouldn't get into too much science."

Then, ironically, he demanded that we go to the store so I could buy him some granola bars.

I told him no.

Then I made him eat all his mashed potatoes and salad at dinner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ducky go down da hole.

"Mom, the toilet is leaking."

There are worse statements that can come out of your children's mouths when their grandparents are coming to visit.  There could be vomiting.  There could be vomiting not in a toilet or other proper receptacle.  There could be vomiting and the internet could go down.

This is thinking glass half full, people.

So I went into the guest bathroom, where my fourteen year old son was cleaning, with a bowl to catch any drips while I got my toolbox.

"I don't think that's gonna work," he said and flushed the toilet to show me why.

Every ounce of that flush spread out from under the toilet base across the bathroom floor, rushing under the vanity and pooling up against the wall.

Glass half empty, that's a big leak.  Glass half full, the flush contained no vomit.

Being a handy sort, I figured I'd just pull up the toilet, replace the wax ring, and then bingo, a toilet that directs water into the sewer system properly.  Every parent wants their kids to have functional plumbing someday.  No parent wants to be in their grown child's bathroom wetting their shoes while they are visiting.

Up comes the toilet...

And then I had to pull up a few tiles...

And then I discovered that I should probably replace the whole vanity...

It was mushy down thar!

I'm not terribly upset.  It's okay that I'm faced with a leaking toilet and a couple of uneven tiles and crappy contractor grade cabinetry...because...yeehaw, it's home improvement time again!

I love my power tools.

You see my hammer?  I love my hammer.  I love my shop-vac.  I am going to love removing that countertop and sink and patching walls and painting and installing faucets!  I love plumber's putty and grout and primer.


Yeah, you knew where that was going.  I'm sorry.  I could not help myself.

That half glass of pun could go either way.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Two thoughts from my husband on Veteran's Day

My husband, Justin, is a Desert Storm war veteran.  He always says it better than I can on this day.

This is in response to a man who objected to being wished a "Happy Veteran's Day!" because it should not be a festive occasion.  Certainly it's a day of remembrance, shouldn't positive emotions about service be included as well?  Justin writes:
I am a veteran, and I do appreciate the word "happy." I am happy to have served with so many fine soldiers. I am happy to be counted among those who served. I am happy that people stop to remember, even for a moment or two. I am happy in the knowledge there are those willing to serve, sacrifice, and pass on a tradition of service. I am happy politically diverse people with integrity around the world can agree on a few fundamental issues, and that honoring their nation's veterans is one such issue. Look in my eyes. I am happy to have survived combat. I am happy to have a family. Do I despair at the loss of so many fine people? Yes. Am I sober and saddened when I think of the cost of war? Yes. Are far too many veteran's lost in their fear , anger, and depression? Yes. But when I am with my friends, those who I served with, we are happy in each others' company. So, Happy Veteran's Day to all those who served, sacrificed, and answered the call. Thank a Veteran in your own way, be respectful of the sacrifice, and be happy for the life each veteran has after the war, for far too many have yet to find the joy which can be had in this world.

Then as a note on his Facebook page:
...as you go on about your day, please take the time to say thank you to a veteran.  Maybe you know someone personally, and maybe you might see a stranger walking own the street---it doesn't make any difference. Please, just say "thank you" in your own way.  As a veteran, I don't mind this day has become an excuse for buying a couch or television on the cheap.  Honest.  I don't even care if you don't thank me personally because I was not alone in my efforts.  I had friends in my platoon in Operation Desert Storm (and other various units) who boosted me up as I tried to boost them.  The result was this: We were a synergistic effort, the whole more valuable than the sum of our parts.  And that goes for every veteran, regardless of whether he or she served in combat.  When you thank one veteran, you are really thanking all veterans in a tradition which goes farther back than recent decades.

My offering today is simple.  I am offering my thanks to all the men and women I served with, whether we got along or not.  Thank you for being there when it counted, and when it mattered most.  Thank you to all who have served and are serving now.  Your sacrifice is/was not political, nor are my thanks.  Your sacrifice, no matter how small or easy you think it, is not a thing which can be compared using some objective scale.  Please know I am grateful for your service, your brotherhood, and in many cases, your friendship.  Thank you for sharing with me your lives and your ideas.  Knowing you has enlarged me and made me a better teacher, poet, and human.  I wish for you peace and resolution in your heart for your service and the lives you have and the portions of life you sacrificed because of your service.  For those who sacrificed everything, there is nothing left but to say once again, Thank You.

Pretty with the writing words, ain't he?

His newest book of poetry is now available for pre-order from BlazeVOX.  We are fond of saying around our house that you can't make friends with salad and you don't make money from poetry, but at the very least you can scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the book preview!


Monday, November 04, 2013


My eight year old son has become quite attached to his baby blanket lately. 

He waited until he was older to become attached.  When he was littler he wanted to be wrapped up in all the blankeys.  Every single one of his baby blankets had to be in his crib while he slept.  I'm sure that was a fire hazard of some sort but the kid has lived thus far.

Since then one particular blanket has become the favorite.  He wraps it about him when he plays his Nintendo DS.  The smell reminds him to blink.

This morning my son wanted to take his blanket on the ride to school with him, so he could give it a warm cuddle before I shoved him out of the van into the cold morning air.  He understood how uncouth it would be to take a baby blanket into the school but leaving it in the van until I picked him up after school seemed like good middle ground.

I told him no.  Blankies stay at home.  At his age the furthest the blanky should travel is back and forth from the washing machine.

He looked so sad. 

I felt bad even if it was the right thing to do.  I had to do the same thing with his oldest brother, my son who is now closing in on twenty years old and in the Navy.

His blanket was named "Boit" and it had a special corner, a corner that had become so saliva stained and shredded that there was danger of breeding a new communicable disease.  When the Navy Manchild was old enough to finally understand I gave Boit a final laundering, put it in a box and stored it away.  Every once in a while my oldest son would ask about his blanket and I'd say he'd get it back when he was a grown up.

I thought it would help my eight year old understand things when I told him about his brother and Boit. 

His response?  "Send my brother his Boit!  He needs it!"

So, if any of you readers and other hangers on see a sailor carrying around a blue blanket with a farm print on one side and a shredded corner, that's my son.  Say hello.

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