Sunday, April 20, 2008

And, they're off

"I have noseal issues."
- Geoff

Last night we dropped Jess off at the airport. She and the Rebels are off to London for the first of her two big trips. She'll be in London and Stratford-upon-Avon for ten days. And then in June she'll be in Germany for three weeks. Quite the world traveler she is in this her 10th year of school.

rebels to londonFunny kids and good times, I'm sure, will abound. Geoff is only minorly (cough) jealous of his sister.

In fact, he only tried to escape the airport twice, and only picked one flight (to Amsterdam) to stow away upon.

All told, that's a pretty good outing.

It was hard for him to watch her and know that she was going overseas. No amount of "when I was 15 I didn't go overseas, and my parents only took me on vacation to my aunt's house..." would assuage his jealousy and envy. We saw the kids off, and we let him pick where we wanted to go out for dinner. He's in charge this week and even though we're not going away and having fun, I'm hoping he'll enjoy his time as an "only child."

jessicaI, on the other hand, pine for the girl. On the way home from the airport I started to realize a few things.

I knew this morning no one would greet me in LOLcat speak. No one would regale me with tales of what Eric and Lizzy did in school each afternoon. No one would complain about "Catcher in the Rye," because she hates it.

In church this morning, no one leaned her head over onto my shoulder during the sermon or during prayer. The pew was strangely huge and wide and spacious, and Geoff seemed a million miles away sitting in his corner of the pew box while I sat by Doug for the first time since we got married and we had no little kids sitting betwixt.

It was strangely overwhelming. I can't imagine what I'll feel like when she leaves for college in a few years and don't want to really ponder that at this point.

Moving on.

Yesterday before the airport, I took Geoff to a merit badge workshop on Stamp Collecting at the Spellman Museum at Regis College. I hear the collective yawn and groan of you, my dear five readers. But seriously, it was a lot of fun.

The workshop runs pretty much for 4 hours with a small lunch break. Oh yes, darlings. Four hours of philatelist chat and action!

The presentation is geared specifically to the merit badge, so it is an easy win for the guys. One day -- badge done. End of conversation. It is a great first badge to do, and the 8 kids who were there were totally into it.

The instructor taught them about the history of stamps, perforated and non-perforated, how mail got around the world, from NY to San Francisco and how whaling ships used tiny islands in the south Atlantic as postal drops. He taught them how to soak the stamps to remove the paper, how to use a chemical solvent to reveal watermarks on old samples.

The boys brought their fledgling collections. Some of them had WWII era stamps from their grandfathers and great-uncles. We talked about the history of mail and stamps and devaluation of stamps and currency during WWII, which was information that was new to me.

We learned about the Scott Catalog and how to find the value of stamps, and how to read the catalog numbers. When I had mentioned to the instructor that Jess was going to London with the Shakespeares, he sent me up to the shop to get number 1250. A USA Shakespeare stamp from 1963. Ten cents each. I bought a dozen. Gave a couple away to the boys, have some reserved for Jess and Keri, and Geoff keeps the rest.

The instructor addressed an envelope to himself on a board that went through who he was, where he was, the US, the Western Hemisphere, the planet the universe etc... and the boys thought that was cool. I blew up his spot though and said "That's from Our Town, innit? Thornton Wilder and whatnot?" And he looked crestfallen. "In seven years, you're the second person to point that out. Yes. I stole it from Thornton Wilder." So we laughed and talked about how even as small and insignificant we feel sometimes in the universe, we still are somewhere, and someone can find us. With the right amount of postage.

So Geoff is totally insanely into his stamp collecting now. He filled up his binder with stamps that we've been saving for weeks, and some we bought that day in the museum shop. He needed 100 stamps from one country -- and we were about 30 shy on the USA stamps, so he picked a pack from Belgium. All the other boys wanted stamps from England.

"Hopefully my sister will send me a post card from England, so I have some from her there."

Yes, truthfully, I do hope she remembers to send you something this week. Sigh.

Anyway. In my last entry an ACW (Apple Cinnamon Waffle) watch was requested. We were successful in achieving our goal, or, I should say Geoff was successful and he got his due.

He still needs to apologize to our neighbor and his friend for being a colossal jackass over the past few weeks. But the ACW achievement was a big one. Our next goal item is a capo for the guitar. Seven days, great behavior... it could take a month, or it could take 7 days. His choice.

In yet other news, we went out to do gardening and discovered that our yard is chock full of bees in the ground. It looks like anthills everywhere, but there are bees coming and going from inside them. Nice. So, we won't be gardening where we thought we would... just yet. Doug will be going on a ground bee eradication plan. Wish him luck. And those of you who know me know that I do NOT like bees. No way. No how. I'll be watching from here. Far, far away.

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