Friday, June 25, 2010

For Mom, With Love: Get me outta here!

I got a letter from Dotter in the mail yesterday. She's been at camp this past week and comes home tomorrow. The letter consisted of three small pieces of paper - about the size of a square of toilet paper. Here's what was written on the squares (mistakes and all):

Hi mom my first day was fun.
I don't want to take the swim test sorry but I don't care
cause I can still have fun in the shallow end.
Bye Bye.
God blessing on you.

Hi mom again! It's Monday.
I just got back from chaple.
Mr. Chris is fun and nuts.
Tonight I'm going to give him candy.

Added to the bottom in different ink was this little end note:
This is the candy that he did not take. It was Skitles.

Hi mom. It's Tuesday.
I like the pichture that Brody gave me.
I kissed Brody.
I really want to come home and stay.
Four real.
God blessing on you.
I love you!
I miss you!
I wish I was home.

Now I feel guilty because she gave me God's Blessing and I sent her a letter about a chicken-cat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rats or Starbucks?

Our local health clinic and hospital is currently expanding. I'm guessing not everyone is happy about that because there are picketers at the corner outside the building. Helping them is a giant, blow-up rat. But then again, maybe the picketers have nothing against the medical center expansion at all. Maybe they're just a group of people protesting rats and chose this highly visible corner to express their freedom of speech. I was tempted to pull over and ask them what, specifically, they hated about rats (I, personally, have a long list - starting with that gross tail) but Dotter was freaked out over the giant, blow-up rat and I'd given her enough material for therapy already. Plus I was on my way to get a little sumpin'-sumpin' from our local Starbucks. Rats or Starbucks? I think the choice was obvious.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Would Never Be A Lifeguard Because You Never Know Who Might See You Naked

In high school we had to take swimming. In gym. It was a requirement. We wore really odd looking swimsuits of which, I have two, because I knew they were a relic then and I thought, hey, they only increase in value with age! And plus I could use those as a punishment someday. As in If you don't clean your room I'll make you go out in public wearing my old gym swimsuit! Is that what you want?

So, yeah. Required swimming in gym class. We were so lucky to have a pool at our school. I tried to get away with the beginning "I'm scared to put my face in the water to make bubbles" class because (1) I don't like exerting any sort of physical energy, and (2) I wanted to hone my acting skills. I had everyone going pretty good - even trembling at the thought of going in water past my stomach - but was busted out when some idiot called me out from across the pool. "Hey! You were diving off the springboard at Jamie's party this weekend - you can swim!" Thanks, buddy. Thanks a lot.

I was moved to Life Saving. Seriously. Life Saving? Now that there is a LOT of work. And gym was first thing in the morning, like, before my eyes were physically capable of focusing. I can't see, people, much less dive to the bottom depths of a pool, pull out heavy objects in an attempt to simulate a rescue, and bring them to the surface. What were they thinking? But I did it because, well, because I was scared of our gym teacher. He was tall and loud and he could get really angry. And loud. Did I mention he could get loud? I was already a target of his glare because I tried to skate by with the bubble blowing class. No way I was going to do anything else to draw attention to myself.

So there I was. Early morning. Diving into a cold pool. Hauling up heavy objects. Swimming the length of the pool to deliver them to safety. Repeat. Down I went. Up I went. Down. Up. Down. Up. When suddenly I was all Holy Mother of Jesus, I'm going to die. Floaters appeared before my eyes. My brain felt like it was being sucked into a vacuum. This was not good.

I sat on the tile at the edge of the pool, vaguely aware of the massive amounts of the fungus now pressed up against my thighs. I got hot. Really, really hot. Then I got cold. Really, really cold. And my vision was beginning to tunnel.

"I don't feel good," I slurred to no one in particular. I stood and stumbled my way into the locker room. Hands on the walls, feeling my way, I'm gonna pass out. Someone help me. But I was all alone. I saw my locker across the way, just gotta get my suit off. I'm too hot... as I fell onto the floor between the bench and my locker.

"Oh, my gawd! Is she okay?"

"Can you hear me?"

"She looks kinda gross."

"Can you open your eyes?"

"I think she's drooling."

I rolled my head to the side, trying to open my eyes. There was Mr. Mean Gym Teacher, two inches from my face. And every single girl in my gym class. Gawking at me.

"Don't move your head," Mr. Mean Gym Teacher advised. "Did you fall? Do you remember hitting your head?"

"... I... don't... know..." I slurred... and then....

"Someone get a towel and cover her up."

Oh. Dear. God. I was naked.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shouldn't There Be a Law Against Tornadoes at Camp?

Okay. You know how I dropped my 8-year old off for a week in the middle of nowhere? The plan was she would have fun swimming in the lake, walking on trails, skipping to the dining hall and singing camp songs... well, how was I supposed to know a tornado would find them?

I sat unblinking at the television set all evening listening to the reports, constantly yelling at Big V: Where is camp compared to this map? Point to it! And he'd point and say, "See where it says Eagle? Right next to that." And I'd get all mad and yell things like why would you tell me that? That's right where the bad part is! Now I'm more scared than I was before! Just get out of here you big jerk!  And he'd say something like "I'm sure they have a plan for this type of weather activity. They can't be a successful camp if they let campers die out there." And I would yell What do you mean die? She could die?! I was just worried she was scared and afraid - thanks a  lot you jerk - now I'm scared she's going to die! And he would yell back, "Look, if it's making you upset, change the channel." And I would yell That's just like you. Change the subject! Just put your head in the sand and pretend there's nothing wrong! And he would yell, "Oh, geesh. You're going to have a heart attack if you keep this up." And then Cletus the Used to Be Fetus started gagging and I was all See! You made him upset - he's worried, too -- OH MY GOD! HE'S CHOKING! DO SOMETHING!"  And Big V saved his life by fishing out a piece of carpet shag from his mouth, but there was no way I was saying thank you because he still thought I was acting ridiculous so instead I said something along the lines of, "You should really pay more attention to your son when I'm obsessing over the weather forecast." It truly was a lovely example of love-centered communication.

Eventually the warning passed and I waited the obligatory 30 minutes to allow for emergency placed phone calls to reach me. I was assured by Big V that it wasn't anything but a little storm, that the meteorologists always get a little trigger happy at the start of storm season, and if there had been any problem someone would have called by now - I was, once again, making things bigger than they actually were. So I went to bed.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when my good friend, Rebecca, managed to (literally) hold her head above water over at The Office of Eternal Stench long enough to post a link of this little photographic evidence of the destruction and damage aforementioned tornado caused. Which, of course, I saw, and which, of course, I noted had touched down literally right next door to the campgrounds, and which, of course, raised my blood pressure a few points, and which, of course, made me want to hop in my car and go grab my child and tell her that smart people sleep in concrete bunkers - they do not go to summer camp! The only thing stopping me is the fact that my car is out of gas and my hair is a fright and, well, let's be honest, the kids are safe and I have margaritas waiting for me...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mail Call!

Dotter is off at camp! She'll be gone for a week, which is way too long for an 8-yr old, if you ask me, but she wanted to go and has been looking forward to it since January when the sign up sheet was mailed to us. She says she will probably miss me but will have fun anyway. She's a somewhat of a realist.

Not wanting her to be completely "without" the family this week and, more importantly, not wanting to have to pay the extra fee for eMail service (where campers visit the computer center once a day to read/compose electronic messages in true camping form) I decided to pack some surprise notes, cards and letters in her bag with the outer envelope labeled so she'd know what days to open which envelopes. Basically I don't want her to experience what life might be like without us. You know kids, they get a taste of normalcy and pretty soon that's all they're talking about. "Maddie's mother didn't pack 300 letters in her bag!"

I wrote seven cards from the point of view of Cletus the Used to Be Fetus. They mostly centered on the topics of crawling, drooling or pooping. (What do you expect? There's really not much going on in that kid's life. He really needs to get a hobby.)

Big V added three cards. Which surprised me. Since he started complaining about his hand hurting from all that writing after the first card.

I forced the Bean to write at least two notes to her younger sister under the threat of dropping her cell phone into the garbage disposal and flipping the switch. She wrote one card but explained it should count as two since she shoved some old make-up into the envelope.

Then I wrote seven cards from my point of view. These are the best because they'll give her plenty to talk about in therapy with her friends. Here's just one of the cards I sent her....




I'm sure she'll be beyond thrilled to open all her mail! She probably won't even miss us a bit....

Editor's Note: I know my handwriting is messy, okay? That's because I had written, like, twelve cards by this point. Geez! Can't a mom catch a break?