Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Queen of Procrastination

It's hot out, so I don't feel like being outside. The "coolzone" in the house is just barely cool... and I have to venture out into the world and just do not want to.

Geoff needs some school clothes. Jess wants to go to the Rebel Shakespeare Love's Labours Lost play at 5pm. It might thunder. And I'm feeling as wilted as my garden.

But venture out we must... right after I procrastinate long enough to do an entry here.


Yesterday's scrimmage went really well. Geoff is a tank, a brick wall. It is obvious he's been trained to do one thing and do it well over these past 3 weeks... when the ball snaps, stand up and block that kid right in front of you and do not let him pass.

19 out of 20 times he did it perfectly.

Several times he was up against a kid where it looked like he was making absolutely no effort to do anything ... his hands were straight out, he stood his ground, and the other kid worked like mad to break the block. A few other times he was up against someone rather smaller than he was who grabbed him around the waist and tried to pull him down or throw him aside so as to break through and run. Geoff isn't easy to throw down. The kid did it a few times... but Geoff figured it out, grabbed him back and chucked him down or landed on top of him.

I'd say that's a little effective defense...

The one thing he doesn't do is when the play is beyond him, behind him, and the running down the field is taking place, he doesn't pursue. He just turns around and stands there... watching from the line of scrimmage.

I think he doesn't see the point. He waits until the play is whistled dead and then moseys up to the new line of scrimmage to take his place.

Not sure if he's right or wrong... we'll see what the coach says.

Some of my favorite things were watching the coaches from both our team and the opposing team line the boys up, yelling instructions, positioning them for the plays. It was like they were playing chess... or Wizard Chess almost for you Harry Potter fans.They'd grab the kids by the back of the shirt and push and pull them into position. A few times someone would yell "wait a minute! Wait a minute!" and rush in to move his boys around.

There were some really good receptions, there were some amazing blocks. There were mistakes and boys yelled at each other. One boy on the opposing team yelled at one of his teammates and we couldn't understand what he was yelling, because he had his mouthguard in. He was pissed, though. And the boy on the receiving end was shamed and muttered "I know! I know!" repeatedly while getting a dress down.

It was fun to have a special visitor come hang out with us yesterday. I'd told my friend C that we'd be where we were, and her office is right nearby... and I knew she'd be heading in there to work so I invited her to come with. And she did. And it was nice. And we had fun... watching football and chatting. It was also fun to watch my husband watching not just Geoff but all the other kids. It warmed me. Deeply. I had a very fun time at our first scrimmage.

Because everything took place really early in the day, there was a nice breeze and the heat didn't get a chance to bake the boys. All told, it was a good morning.

I spent the afternoon getting my hair permed. I haven't had a perm since ... oh... before Jess was born, I think? Maybe? Not sure. I've been meaning to do it, and wanted to do it months ago, but we just didn't have the time for me to go sit four hours somewhere. The perm is cool, but totally accentuates the huge skunk stripe of silvery grey hair I have where my part is. So I'm going to go back on September 1 and get that adjusted.

One of my big reasons for letting things go with my hair is I hate the maintenance and upkeep that is involved in stuff like this. I HATE spending money on such vain pursuits. I know my hair will look nice, will look better... but I'm not a big American Beauty Industry slave. I don't wear makeup. I don't get my nails done. I spend as little time as possible messing with my hair and skin. I think it is almost criminal the amount of money women spend on stuff like this when they are just fine the way they are.

I'm a huge advocate of naturally existing. Be as you are-ness. So I feel like a sellout when I think about what I'm about to do and how the upkeep every six weeks to hide the roots is going to bear on my soul.


Anyway -- I am doing it, and it will be done, and I have my reasons... and we'll see how it goes.

Long and the short of it though, the woman who did my hair is hysterical and loves me and I'm glad I picked her. So that's a plus. Jess came with me and they sat and talked for hours about England and Germany and school and Shakespeare, and it was fun to listen to. We were her only customers that afternoon, and it was a nice girls' moment out.

Later in the day, at about 6pm, Doug suggested we grab a couple of beers and take the dogs swimming. It was so hot and they swam like mad, and we sat and talked for an hour and a half. The dogs were happy to be swimming and I was happy to throw the biggest stick as far as I could for them. We had a delicious supper and I think I was alseep by 9:30pm.

Now, Jess is off to a birthday party, Geoff needs his sneakers, and I'm ... here. Best shut up and get moving. More later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Scrimmage

This'll probably be a short entry with an update later in the afternoon. Geoff has a scrimmage this morning and has to be at the field in Newburyport at 8:30. He isn't even up yet, even though Doug is doing his darnedest to rouse him.

Today, Geoff is not a morning person. Most of the time though, ... well. He's up before everyone and pumped to go. I thought for certain he'd be up at like 6am, and would be haunting me for his uniform at 6:03. I put it in the wash last night and now the pants are in the dryer and the mesh shirt is hanging in front of a fan. It was really filthy. Thank God for bleach.

I'm not sure why he's so tired today. He was asleep at 10 on the couch in the livingroom where the air conditioner was on, so he got a good night's sleep. I hope this isn't indicative of how he'll play today. He's rather sluggish. And one cannot be sluggish on the field.

His practices seem to be going well, he comes home happy and not whining that it is too hard and he wants to quit. He is taking care of his uniform and belongings. He's figured out where all the pads go, and how to get everything on each day without assistance from mom and dad... so the lad is thriving.

I should go get my pants on and figure out what to feed him for breakfast. And check the pants in the dryer. I just wanted to toss out an update because I haven't in a week. It was a long and busy week. I stayed at work usually until at least 5:30 each day, coming home to see the last half hour of Geoff's practices... then make dinner, then go pretty much straight to bed. Then get up in the morning and do it again. I would love to be sleeping until noon today... but ... it's football season. And I hear the boy waking.

It's on now... Let's go!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Geoff and Football

I'm in a really good mood today. I woke up freezing to death, the windows were wide open and there was a hell of a breeze coming in. So much so that I would have thought it was October this morning. Not August. It's kind of weird. But I slept deeply and fitfully and feel well rested. It is a good feeling.

I have some work on two projects to do today, one of which must be done and QA'ed by tomorrow morning so I need to get cracking on it. It is a low paying sub-contractor web job, but hey. It's 50 bucks for an hour or so of work so I'm not whining. Fifty bucks into the Shakespeare fund is how I see it.

Geoff's football practices yesterday seemed to go really well. I had emailed the head coach and the one assistant coach that I have had a chance to talk to with some tips on helping Geoff get the best out of things. The coach approached me and thanked me for the guidelines and we talked about how we're letting Geoff do a lot of his own stuff with us not helping him.

On that note, I looked at The Boy and noticed his pants were on inside out. And his pads weren't in his pants. He had tucked them all into his waistband because he couldn't figure out what to do with them.

Lord, help the child.

Doug is downstairs with the DirectTV DVR freeze framing things and going over positions in football with Geoff. Geoff recorded the Vikings/Jets game so he could watch it again (and again and again) this morning. I would have thought he'd record the Patriots game but he chose differently. Not sure why. The Patriots game was much better.

After yesterday's practice Geoff told us that his coach said that he'll be playing Tackle, most likely on the Defensive line. I thought he might be an offensive line guard or something, just pushing forward to protect the quarterback. Or a Defensive Linebacker... but based on what I hear Doug explaining Geoff wouldn't be good at that because he's good at the tackling, but not the turning around and chasing down the receivers if it is a passing play.

Doug is patiently going over all of the positions. I'm learning a lot just sitting up here listening... I didn't know the difference between a Safety and a Cornerback. A nose guard, guard, and a tackle. Linebackers, Secondary... all that stuff. Geoff is full of questions, so Doug is down there with him just sticking his fingers all over the screen, drawing routes and pointing out who is who and what their job is.

I'm quite impressed. So I hope the "fundamentals" are sinking in for Mr. Geoff.

Jess made a Facebook group about me. Which cracks me up. I got up this morning and discovered that she made the Christine Mylastname: I'll Suck a Little Less Today (The "Official" Fanclub) and that slays me. The fact that she is using our new life philosophy as the title. She references the Simpsons and Office Space all in one fell swoop in the profile. And the quotes around Official are exceptionally amusing too. We had a huge discussion about Facebook and how there are groups for EVERYthing... so she said she was going to do it and she did.

Join if you want. I am an attention whore.

Today we have King Lear. Call is at 3, so I'll be heading out with Jess at 2 to get there. Same tomorrow. Not sure what Doug and Geoff will be doing, if they are coming to both or one.

Regardless -- I'm looking forward to the performance but I cannot believe it is here already. It feels like the last three weeks have just exploded past me. Combined wihth how cold it was this morning, it feels like summer is just gone. My feet never got tan, and I am just feeling kind of shocked.

And on that note, I am shocked at my procrastination skills. I'm so good at procrastinating! On to finishing the projects I have to finish this morning.. Cheers. Have fun doing the meme, and honestly -- if you do it, post a comment so I can read your responses.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Can You Suck A Little Less?

Yesterday morning, Geoff couldn't get out of bed. He was stiff and sore and pathetic. Kind of like me after doing 5 geocaches with a mile hike on each. I understood his discomfort and took it easy on him. He was eating breakfast, and said to me "I really sucked yesterday, didn't I?"

"No honey -- I think, as with a lot of things that have taken me by surprise in life, you weren't prepared. You didn't know what to expect yesterday. You didn't work hard all summer to get in shape. You TALKED about it and made lists. But you didn't DO enough to prepare. In theory, you KNEW what was coming, you were just ... surprised at how hard it was.

"You didn't suck. But if you feel you didn't do your best, and you think that means 'I sucked,' then why not try and suck a little less this afternoon. Can you suck a little less?"

"Yeah. I can suck less. I'm so gonna suck a lot less this afternoon."

I think this is my new philosophy in life. Just try and suck LESS. It kind of makes me laugh just thinking it in my head. "Hey Chris, can you do this?"

"Well, I suck at that, but I'll try and suck less and get it done for you."

Sounds brimming with confidence, doesn't it?

Doug dropped Geoff off at practice while I was driving Jess around to Newburyport to go meet some friends of hers for dinner. I got home with a half hour left in the practice so we went over and watched. Geoff was in the thick of things... not wandering around by himself, not lost like Moses in the Wilderness. A good sign.

They were doing a drill where they had to run, as fast as possible, and when the whistle blew they had to drop and roll on their shoulders and jump up and run again. He was doing it... and he wasn't THE last kid in the batch. They ran back and forth across the field, and while he wasn't in the pack of kids, he was way behind, he was running... not strolling behind.

Well alright dude. That's sucking a whole LOT less.

He came to the car and got in, exhausted. I handed him the backup water that I brought and he was so thankful for something cold. He didn't seem like a wilted plant the way he did the day before.

"How'd it go?" Doug asked him.

"Great. We got to crash into these giant people sized things and try and push them over."

"I bet you were good at that," Doug said.

"Oh yeah. I knocked it over a bunch of times and once, I went flying down with it. It was great. My coach said that was great." He was animated and ebullient while talking about this drill, and all the other drills he did. We all were laughing and smiling and it was a good feeling to know he sucked less and had fun doing it.

And I bet his coach sees him plowing into other kids in the future, and knocking THEM down. Compared to the other kids, he's pretty huge... He may make a really good guard on the offensive line. Or at least a really good defensive back, if we can get his speed up.

We'll see.

Last night after dinner Jess called for her ride home so Doug went and got her. Geoff and I were flipping around the dials after "Earl" and came across ESPN's pre-season football.

"Stop here, I need to watch this."

Great. Feh. It is the Dolphins against the Chiefs. I couldn't care LESS if you paid me to, but ... okay. We'll stop.

"I need to work on my fundamentals by watching games. It doesn't matter who is playing," He said to me, sitting up straight, feet on the floor.

Heh. Fundamentals.

So he was full of questions, some of which I was able to answer. What is the line of scrimmage? Why did Damon Huard get a penalty for throwing beyond the line of scrimmage? What is 'in the pocket?'"

He didn't know what first and ten meant, and I know I've explained this one to him before. So we went over the rules. Four tries to go ten yards. If you can't do it in three and you're still far away... punt. That's called "three and out." After the ball is punted, you run like hell down the field and crush the guy who is the punt return dude to stop him from coming towards your goal. That way the other team has to work hard to go farther.

Rob thought it was funny yesterday when he "made the journal" again... and he makes it again today. A banner week for the Rob I guess.

I would publicly like to thank him for teaching me everything I know about football.

We were in the marching band in high school. For away games, they always had a bunch of us go to play fight songs and cheers like "first and ten! first and ten! do it again! do it again!"

We'd sit in the visiting bleachers at away games... a skeleton crew of kids being loud and obnoxious with instruments and a very enthusiastic band teacher... and have a great time.

I knew nothing of football. And so Rob would sit with me and explain what I was seeing... so to this day I thank him for teaching me these things. 23 years later, I'm sitting on the green couch going over all the basic rules with my son. And I think he was impressed that I knew each answer.

And I know a lot of you are not interested in the whole football thing. It's just in the forefront of what is going on in our lives right now... as we transition from what I think was The Summer Of Jessica with all her Shakespeare excitement, to the Autumn of Geoffrey. I bet I'll be talking more about it, so apologies in advance.

Speaking of Jess, today is the last day of camp. Tomorrow and Sunday are the performances. And then we're done. It's kind of weird. I kind of was getting used to the rhythm of how my mornings would flow, and having her in the car with me for an hour each day.

I feel like I could cry, just thinking about how this is the end.

But there will be next summer. For sure. And on that note, I must away! More later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I am not a helicopter mom

"This is where the helicopters came to take me away."

I just did something that didn't come naturally or comfortably to me.

I left my son in a field in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of people we do not know, have never met, and walked away.

Long time readers know that Geoff has some problems with listening skills and learning disabilities. I try and back him up a lot, and honestly feel I've never been what is commonly known as a "helicopter mom." I go to Cub Scouts, and I help out... not always just with Geoff but with the other boys. I always ask the den mothers if I am overstepping my bounds and they're usually glad to have the extra set of hands and another loud voice to yell at the boys. I don't get over involved in his school work. I let teachers know that if there is a problem with his homework, if he's not turning it in, or he's expressing any sort of anxiety or seems upset, just to let me know so we can work on the coping skills at home. But I never say "is your homework done? Let me see it so I can check it." If it's a mess -- it is HIS mess. He'll get a poor grade on it.

I try and give him pointers on projects like book reports and posters. Sometimes he doesn't listen. And he gets a lower grade. But it is HIS grade... not mine. And he knows it was what he earned and deserved and ... he got it and owns it.

Today is a little different for us though. Today is the first day of football practice. My nerves were even keeled and I was unphased until one of my coworkers asked if I was nervous about it being such a rough sport. Geoff's a big kid. I'm not worried about him getting hurt. I am worried about him getting discouraged and feeling like he sucks at this. That's my big fear, not that he'll lose teeth or get a broken arm or anything.

But she kind of put the thought in the back of my head that yeah... I don't know what to expect with this. I've had no preparation. I don't even know where the pads go in the pants.

We were slightly late getting there. The webpage says practice starts at 5, but I guess there is a secret, unwritten rule that says to be there at 4:30. We were there at 4:50, and we were the last ones on the field. Not quite fully dressed, and me carrying a huge athletic bag with all his crap in it that I couldn't figure out what to do with.

As we approached, I could hear the coach instructing the boys that if they arrive at 5:01, they can't practice and won't be playing in the game for the following Saturday.

"Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, coach!" came the resounding chorus. "Yes, coach!" said Geoff as he was fumbling with his shoulder pads, because, again, I have no clue what I'm doing.

I dig in the bag and still have no idea WHERE to put all his inner pads in his pantaloons. So I'm standing there with a handful of foam protection meant to get put into his knees, thighs, butt, shins... and I have no idea where to put them. Shit, I'm ... ugh. Not feeling like this is looking good to anyone around us. Luckily, the boys weren't looking at us, they were focused on the coach talking. Geoff got his shoulder pads on and I handed him his shirt to put over it.

A coach came over and just looked at me.

I swear. Just LOOKED at me.

"Um, I'm really sorry but I haven't got a clue where to shove these things." He took them from my sheepish and embarassed hands, and says "I'll show him."

I reached over to tie a bow on Geoff's chest plate on his shoulder pads (because a knot would be impossible to undo) and the coach taps my hand away very gently and says "He can do it."

He's right -- he can do it. I handed Geoff his water bottle and said "See you at 7pm."

And I walked away with the now empty athletic bag over my shoulder... I wasn't going to protest, or argue, or act indignant that no one gave me an instruction manual on where to shove the pads into these stupid pants, or that the coach tapped my hand away. That's alright. He's right.

They'll show him.

He's a rookie, and they'll show him.

So I walked away.

I looked for someone I knew, and there wasn't anyone. I was kind of dumbfounded because I needed a sympathetic shoulder to be all "Dude, I have no clue!" onto.

This is a regional school system, so they start the football teams out with all 3 towns involved. And I could find no one from our school, from our grade. It was weird.

The boys all took a long lap around the very large triple field. I walked back towards my car and stopped to pet someone's dog, and make small talk. Her son is in 8th grade and they were just finishing up their practice. He came over, tall, tan and beautiful and she handed him a water from her cooler.

She gave me pointers. She is my Mother Theresa of Youth Football.

geoff football1. The helmet has an excellent handle. Take the shirt and shoulder pads off AT THE SAME TIME, and slip them over the helmet so the mouth part of the hemet comes up through the neck of the shirt. It will all stay as one unit. Tuck anything into the helmet you may need (like pads that don't stay in the pants for any reason) and tie the shirt in a knot at the bottom (around the top of the helmet.

Wow. That's gorgeous. Her son, very hot and tired and sweaty, and probably not really interested in showing me how it works, demonstrated the needed manuvers for me, and I got it. I can teach that to Geoff and it will be something he'll be able to do.

2. Don't wash the pants every night. Her son's first year she was doing his pants nightly. She ended up wearing them out just by washing them. Wash them on Friday nights before a Saturday game. And then let them ride for the week.

3. Because you're not washing them... Febreeze, Febreeze, Febreeze. Spray Everything With Febreeze. Or the whole house will reek.

4. Bring extra water to the end of practice. The boys tend to drink all of their water half way through.

5. Don't let discouragement get anyone down. The coaches work the kids hard. Really hard. Ten year olds sometimes don't get it, and they want to quit after the first week. Hang in there, let the boy cry, and it'll all be okay if you just encourage him to do his best.

6. Never ask "Did you win?" if you weren't at the game. Always ask "Did you play your best?" and "Did you have a good time?" My friend Rob told me this is what he asks his kids on the swim team he coaches. It is sound advice.

She left with her son, who gave me a beautiful and "you're not that pathetic, rookie mom!" smile while his mom was giving me the pointers.

I feel like my son is off to Hogwarts for the first time, and I am a Muggle who cannot pass through the platform at the train station to join him and see him off, so I have no idea what to expect, or what he will be going through.

I just have to trust the Dumbledores of this program, that they'll make my boy a mighty fine football wizard someday.

We shall see.

Eventually, I did run into one mom I knew. Our sons are in cub scouts together, in the same den. She had the same problem with the pads and the whole situation, and she's afraid he's going to be late every day because she gets home from work at 5. I volunteered Doug to help out if necessary... at least one day a week when he's home. I know he won't mind.

Doug can get into his office earlier and get home in time to get the boys over to the field, so ... I'm hoping this burden will land more squarely upon his shoulders instead of on mine. I feel I've shouldered the Kid Shuttling Burden often enough over the past couple of years, so with his new job and schedule, hopefully it'll all work out just fine and I can actually ... stay at work and work!

But the kids matter, and their hopes matter, and they need to be places and that matters, and my son's friend's mom has a day off during the week so she can get Geoff that day, and ... between all parties, it all works out.

I was just really amazed to not see a single person I knew. I would have thought for sure more boys in 5th grade from our school would be playing football. I'm kind of surprised.

So I came home to let the dogs out and get that 2nd water for Geoff, and I have to drive back down to Marblehead tonight and get Jess at 8pm. The kids in Lear decided they needed more rehearsal time before Saturday and Sunday's performances, so they banded together and picked a place to go to do more run throughs and work on things.

Jess effectively will have an 11 hour day of Shakespeare. It could be worse, it could be 11 hours of football.

Anyway. I feel like in about 20 minutes it will be safe for me to head back to the field, go watch for a little while. I will not helicopter this boy in this situation. I will not.

I'll just watch from the metaphorical airfield, far apart.


I am very glad I didn't stay to watch.

Geoff had a really, really rough time. Unlike some kids, he didn't puke though. Which is good.

They ran them hard. There was a lap run for every infraction committed by a team member (ie: not wearing a mouthguard at a certain time, or not having a helmet on...) Geoff didn't deal with the running very well. He was weak. He was tired. He was easily distracted and discouraged watching some of the boys who were kicking ass and taking names.

He was wandering around by himself at the far end of the field when I got there. He was supposed to be running a lap. But it was more or less Geoff lost in the wilderness. I wanted to go out there and say "What in the name of Merlin's Pants are you doing!?!" but I didn't. I let him make his way around... running the last 10 feet to the huddle or the activity or whatever.

I spoke with one of the coaches and said, with a smile, looks like you kicked my son's ass today and that's quite alright. Hi. My name is Chris. Geoff's my son."

He shook my hand and said "yeah... he didn't do well after we ran the second lap, and said his chest hurt, so we had him take it easy, and we did drills but he didn't follow direction well..."

"Well, I'll give you some pointers on how to get Geoff's attention to improve. Praise, short step instructions like 'do this, okay... now that you've done that, do this...' and 'repeat that back to me. I need to hear you say it so I know you know it.'"

We talked for quite a while. He gave me full tutorial on where the pads go (oh, look at that. There's a thing inside the pants for stuff to slide into!) And we agreed to stay in touch and discuss things as needed, when it comes to Geoff and listening and what have you... he seemed like a great guy. Let's hope he thinks my son is.

Anyway -- Geoff's in the shower, Doug just called to say he is in Oneida, and we need to go get Jess. So we're off.

More later.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Shuffle off to Buffalo

Doug packed up and left for his conference this morning. And let me tell you, there's nothing that gets me out of bed faster in the morning than a bloodcurdling scream.

After telling me he was on his way out, the alarm went off and I hit snooze. He went and checked his email... and started down the stairs.



What are you kidding me???!!! I jump out of bed and go running downstairs. Doug had hit his head on the beam at the foot of the stairs. Smacked his forehead right into it. That's never happened before, in over a year of us being in this house.

We can't figure out why, but Jess contends that the beam is dipping. She has bumped her head a few times going up and down. She's taller than Doug so it was apparent to her sooner than it was to him, and for me to notice, being 5 inches shorter than Doug, I guess it would have to be falling down all the way, crushing me in my descent.

It's not really a beam there. Well, there is a beam in there but it is encased in some wood to make it look beamier and nicer. The beam must look a mess I guess, otherwise why case it in? But upon inspection, the wood has slipped down some, and needs a bit of adjusting.

Doug got out the door with no further head injuries, and I was up for the day a full hour before I really needed to be.

On that note, I've now squandered the morning. My computer has been acting flaky, telling me that I have windows run time errors and that my virtual memory paging file is corrupt. So I'm a little nervous. Everyone I know in the past few weeks has had major PC problems. Cross your fingers that I'm not the next. I need to buy a DVD to burn and backup everything on the system tonight. Just as a precaution...

More later. I have to get Geoff over to our friend's house. He is going to a water park today. I hope the clouds burn off. I have to find his sunscreen. Doug shaved his head last night and he'll burn like the devil now that that glorious mop of blonde is gone.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

To London to Visit the Queen

So I started an entry at the beginning of the week about what I think about the Harry Potter finale. I have to finish writing it, but instead of torturing my three regular readers and making you wonder if I've run off to bloody Ibiza or something, I figured an update was due.

I'm working on a small web project for cateringman's brother. I'm working on a print project for him, which I need to have finished and ready to go to the printer in a week. That should happen without fail. The one problem is, I don't have enough good visual images for his brochures... and I axed him to get a photographer to do some shots and ... well. I still don't have visuals, suffice to say.

This past week was a blur. Last thing I remember was taking the dogs for a long walk in the woods on Sunday afternoon, watching them swim for hours, getting lost, and finding trail beer for third time. We sometimes find abandoned cans of beer that either are orphaned at the site of a wild party and bonfire ("Dude, I swear we had more beer... I can't find it! I'm drunk and it's dark and ... oh well.") or casualties of an ATV driver riding too fast and he spills his load of cans all over the trail, not to realize until he's long gone. We once found a can that was still cold. That was great because we were super lost and wandering for what seemed like hours in the hot hot heat... so a cold refreshing beer split two was was like manna from heaven, I tells ya.

Other than that, my life has been drive kids here and there, and go to work. We're in a groove that lasts this week, and then changes the week after.

Jess continues to go to Shakespeare Camp... they're doing King Lear this time, and she is The Fool. It should be an excellent production. They're setting it in New York City at some kind of Corporate Megalopolis instead of a Kingdom in England... so it'll be like an Enron/Megarich company falls apart kind of scene instead of a castle. I think it is a pretty cool setting.

The play runs this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at 5pm... if you're interested in coming. Email me or leave a comment and I'll get back to you and tell you where the performance is.

Continuing on the Shakespeare newsfront, the program announced that they are taking 20 kids, ages 13 - 18, to London this April. Jess is going to go. We're not 100% sure how we're going to do it. The cost is about $2000 and airfare will probably be an additional $600. I'm looking to see if it is feasible to set up a paypal donation thing, to offset some of the costs. I figure... I've never begged before but hey... no better time to start.

This is a huge opportunity for her, imagine this on her CV. I thought just participating in the program would look the balls, but ... going to England to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company for a week? Going to the Globe? To Stratford on Avon? To ... everywhere? It makes me cry and makes me want to be 15. Where was this program when I was fifteen (oh yeah, the founder was 15 too and hadn't built it yet. Of course!).

Jess talked to one of the girls who went last year and she had one on one time with Sir Ian McKellen and got to talk with him about his experience with Shakespeare. Jess said that if she had the opportunity to talk with Sir Ian, she wouldn't gush about how wonderful he was as Gandalf. She'd say "I loved you on The Simpsons when you played Mr. Macbeth."


Anyway -- combined with her trip to Germany in June, I guess she'll be an expensive charge for a few months. But... when I think about the gift she gave me in not begging to do horseback riding lessons or dance lessons or any sort of extra curricular activities when she was in elementary school, she deserves a little extra at this point now that she has found her "niche" as it were.

Geoff starts football on Wednesday. He's got his gear, his uniform, his mouth guard and water bottle. He's got his cleats. He's running every day for about a mile, which is cool. He's constantly talking about exercise and eating better, which is nice. He's in a mindset that hopefully will work for him, and I am hoping this program will be good for him. They have practice three days a week, and I found out they're practicing right around the corner from our house, so he'll be able to get over there easily because I can just ask our neighbor to give him a lift over, and then go there from work instead of having to leave at 4pm each day to get home in time to get him over there. We are thankful for small blessings in life. I honestly didn't know how I was going to manage this schedule with work...

Doug is going to Niagara Falls this week for a conference and workshop thing and I am ragingly jealous. Not because he gets to sit in a dark conference room looking at a power point presentation on Medicare or something, but because he gets to go to a hotel and be away from life and work and stuff.

I want to go and just hang out in a hotel pool or walk around Clifton Hill or Buffalo or something while he's sitting in a conference room looking at a power point presentation.

Or, hang out with him in the evening and go look at the falls and eat out and stuff. We were going to take the kids with and just go for the three days, but this particular week doesn't work because it is Jess' last week of camp and the performances are this weekend, and then Geoff's got football.

So he gets to fly solo.

I hope he has a nice time without us for a change.

On that note -- I think we're going hiking. More later.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The heat of the past several days broke and it is finally a night worth having all the windows open for in order to sleep comfortably.

Fans are blowing, bringing in the cool night air and giving the welcome hum that blends every night noise together to white noise.

I stayed up a little later than I'd intended tonight in order to watch the NFL pre-season Hall of Fame Game because none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers were playing. God, I cannot wait for football season to be in full swing. I'm sick of all the Barry Bonds hype that is going on, and so don't care about baseball like I did in 1978...

I think I went to bed at about 11:30, read Harry book the second for a little while, and fell asleep quickly because my body is sore. More on that below.

Lo, at around 12:30 or 12:45, the dogs decided to go apeshit over something outside. This happens once a week or so. My heart jumped into my throat, and my brain was shocked to pure wide awakeness.

For about an hour now I've tried to fall back asleep, and I know better. I should just get up, read, or blog... and then go back and lie down. Luckily, this happened early in the night instead of at 4am, when it usually does and I find myself just plain up for the day at about 6am when I haven't yet fallen back asleep. So there is a chance by about an hour from now I'll be back in bed, back asleep, and not be a trainwreck tomorrow morning.

I do think I will poke and prod all three of these beasts, who now sleep at my feet and back deeply and soundly, before I head back to bed.

We had an interesting weekend. A little bit of yard work got done on Saturday and we didn't go anywhere or do anything other than a trip to Sam's Club for provisions. We're starting to plan for the visit of the German Exchange Student (henceforth, she is known only as GES in the blog here...) in about a month, so Doug's got wheels in motion for thoughts and plans and some of those included stuff to buy at Sam's Club...

(sidenote, Jess will be sleeping in this room while the GES is here, so I'm hoping that the dogs don't pull this bark and wake my ass up crap for about a month. Wish us luck...)

Anyway, we had looked over into our neighbor across the street's house. They were foreclosed on back in May. Before he left, and while he still owned the house, neighbor guy told us to help ourselves to the landscaping. He offered all the lilies on the side of the house but I didn't feel right digging them up when they were just about to bloom. He offered the hot tub and anything else we could possibly want.

I thanked him and told Doug, who said that he wouldn't mind the hot tub but we honestly couldn't take it across the road with ease and it would be more trouble than it could possibly be worth.

Plus, we didn't have our patio down yet.

Readers will remember back in November and December we had doors replaced on the back of the house, resulting in the removal of our deck. The plan has been to put down pavers for a patio. Well, intentions were good but finances didn't lean to our doing so. The door project turned out to be about two thousand dollars more than what we really thought it would be due to problems with the sill under the doors being all messed up. So we've been looking at dust and dirt and crud for several months. The dogs track in dirt and I feel like I'm constantly sweeping. It's annoying.

Well, the house across the way just had its septic inspected, and they tore up the patio, stacking the pavers up in the yard and just leaving them there. We called the realtor, who told initially told us he'd have to check with the bank, because the bank owns the house. He said he should have an answer for us by mid week. We were pretty stoked.

After an hour or so the phone rang again and it was the Realtor, who told us to go ahead and take them. He said that if he asks the bank, the bank will hem and haw and argue... and since I didn't KNOW that the neighborman didn't actually own the house and the bank did, my agreement with the neighborman stands... if he told me to take what I wanted, go ahead. Just don't trip in the yard, fall, break a leg and sue... we were to go over of our own free will and responsibility, and have at it.

So... we got 31 huge pavers now in our yard sitting on the side patio. We have to plan out where they are going and what we are going to do. The area needs to be raked and leveled, and then we need to get dirt to pour on top to go in between, and some moss or grass or something to plant between. It'll hopefully be all done in the next two weeks... prior to the arrival of the GES.

I told the Realtor guy that since he was being really kind to us, we'd pay it forward as best we can. Money's been a little tight since Doug changed jobs... but we just saved a couple hundred bucks so I'm going to make sure the Shakespeare Camp gets a little extra money to the scholarship fund as soon as I can. Keri brought in a ton of kids from a local city who are attending for free this second session... so they can really use the money. I'll pass that onward.

We took the dogs for a huge hike today. We didn't geocache, we just hiked. It felt good to get out but man am I sore. I haven't been on a real hike in weeks, and my back and thighs hate me right now.

I should have no problem falling back asleep now... I'm starting to feel the tired creeping back in on me. So ... on that note. Time to tease the dogs and wake THEM up for a change, and head back to bed.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Atomic Weight of Dog

It is about elevendy-million degrees here in the computer room. It was a hot day out in the world today, and the air conditioner downstairs just doesn't push enough cool up here. Plus, this little lofty room here is just beat upon by the sun all day, making me think some huge-assed solar panels on the roof would have us making our own power to last a year on just a few days like today. A few more days like today and we'd be selling power back to the grid... and making money off this joint. Colonial architecture meets progressive environmental energy policy.

In the meantime, I have no solar power, I have a fan pointed straight at my face and one on the floor between my legs, because there is nothing more uncomfortable when you're chubby than a fat whoo-ha.

And you girls and boys who are less (more?) than svelte know from whence I speak, don'tcha? Yeah. I thought so. Cough. On that note, we proceed.

Luckily in just a few minutes, I will be in my freezing cold bedroom, falling very very quickly to sleep. The air conditioner in this smaller space does a perfectly cromulent job. At about 4am, I will wake up and curse myself for forgetting to put a blanket on the bed. Because it will be just that stinking cold in there.

Aah. I planned ahead. I walked in there and put a blanket on the bed. So I won't be cursing myself at all at about 4am. Problem is, Brodie will be on top of the blanket, and will be nigh to unpossible to move out of my way so I can unfold the blanket and get cozy warm again. She's a big pile of dark matter when she sleeps. By day, she is adorable and 50 pounds. At night, she morphs into about 800,000 metric tons. Sleep does something to this dog. Transforms her, changes her atomic structure, her physical being.

No longer dog, she is planetoid.

So I will have to put a second blanket on the bed. One for her, and the other for me to whip up on top of myself and become all cozy.

See, I've got it all planned out.

Speaking of planned out... I planned on writing all week. But I knew August was coming, and a new template would have to be generated, and I didn't want to do it the other day. Then, that bridge collapse thing happened last night as I was starting to work things out and I got distracted by watching the horror unfold.

So I had things planned. I did. I just ... had to put it off. I'm digging for something to write about and am having a hard time.


I have an ear infection, that's news I guess.

I haven't had one in like 10 years. I used to get them all the time, huge horrible ear infections that no one knew why they were happening. I went to ENTs, all kinds of doctors, and they just gave me drops and told me to take ibuprofen and just deal with it. So this has been a pain, literally and figuratively, for about 10 days. I went to the doctor on Wednesday afternoon and got some drops. And he said "hey, you haven't had this for a long time, have you?" He remembered. That's a good doctor.

He's equally confounded as I am. I haven't been swimming. I haven't changed shampoos so it isn't like the Ph balance in my ears has shifted and caused normal bacteria that live on my (and your's) body to go haywire. Perhaps it is too cold in my bedroom. Perhaps the air conditioner is to blame. Who knows?

All I know is that it sucks and it hurts and it makes me a senorita crankypants and I don't like it.

Geoff got his football uniform and all kinds of football related doo-dads this week. That's kind of exciting. He'll have practice two or three days a week, and will miss just one game when someone we know gets married in September. He's really excited. He's trying to do push-ups (he's so bad at it) and sit-ups (he can do some but not a lot) and is running every day. So that makes me smile. He tried wearing heavy hand weights on his arms and ankles but the ones we have are too big for him and they fall off. And then he gets pissed and throws them. One should never throw 10 pound weights in the house when pissed.

Well, I'm exhausted. I'm terribly worn out tonight with this ear pain. I want to catch the headlines and go to sleep. I'll try and be more pithy and entertaining later. Until we meet again my darlings, be well and keep cool if you're way hot.

By the way, Jess says the atomic weight of dog is three girth units. Which really made me laugh. Watch all the way to the end to get the reference.