Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sleeping in the Woods and Shooting Stuff Weekend is Declared a Success!

When last I left you, good reader, my men had left for camping. Yesterday afternoon, Jess and I went down the Danvers Fish & Game to join up with the troop and other families at the campsite where the boys prepared dinner for us all. The boys cheffed up some Chicken Parmesan, pasta, sauce, and leftover chili from that afternoon's lunch. We had a lot of fun hanging out and spending time with the families.

Doug seemed to be having a huge blast, which was such a blessing. He pretty much didn't want to go, flat out, end of conversation...

The backstory is that, some of you may remember this, last October, Doug took Geoff camping with the entire Cub Scout pack. I never really wrote a summary about because the outcome was that he had an incomprehensibly horrible time. Jay did mention some of what went down at that trip in his post from the same weekend... and you can go read it if you like. He is one of the Cub scout masters, and was particularly disturbed at the events that did unfold that horrible October evening.

In a nutshell, a couple of dads decided to be complete and total knuckleheads. They brought a TV to watch the Red Sox Playoff game on (bad idea guys, come on -- you are CAMPING! Listen to the radio, or how about this... just let it go for one damn night and spend the time with your kids ferchrissakes!) On top of that they brought alcohol. Which in and of itself, you know I'm all for when camping. Nothing is better than outdoors, a fire, and a brew, and sitting around talking with friends. I'm all for that 100%.

But they didn't sit around, have a beer, watch the game and chat. No. They got shitty drunk. And not silly shitty drunk. They got lousy nasty shitty drunk. The game went into extra innings, and they got shittier lousier drunkier, into the wee tiny hours of the morning.

So the entire campsite was trying to sleep as a handful of shitty drunkassed allegedly responsible for their kids adult men were swearing, throwing things, and boozing it all up, and just behaving in a very inappropriate manner for a scouting event. Hell, they were behaving in an inappropriate manner if it had been one of their own backyards and they were having a party.

Geoff's den mother was there and she was horrified. She knew she had to do something, but in her heart of hearts knew it was useless to try and talk to the guys in that condition. Still, she went out to try and convince them to bring it down to a quiet roar and they gave her a ration of shit. So she stomped back to her tent and stayed there the rest of the night, fuming.

I told her that it was really a good thing I wasn't there because my Long Island BITCH would have come right out and there would be blood. I'd'a had her back. The blood had would not mine. But theirs. Their drunk assed blood.

Oh hell no. Giving a mom, a den mother, MY den mother, a leader in the pack SHIT like that? Oh it would have so been on right there and then. Heh. Anyway...

This was a handful of dads, who were supposed to be some of the responsible agents at this event, acting like it was Wild Hogs Weekend.

If someone had been injured or needed immediate medical care, it could have been a catastrophe. If a kid had wandered out of his tent and gotten lost in the woods or God forbid it a thousand million times FELL INTO THE LAKE and they needed a cadre of healthy, clearminded men together to find this child... catastrophe would have resulted.

Overall, every parent was then called to task and every adult, including the ones who were not there (like me) had to sign a Code of Conduct agreement.

This could have ended very badly, but fortunately, it didn't.Anyway, after that weekend trip, Doug swore he was never EVER doing anything with the scouts again.

I know that Geoff's success with scouting hinges upon our involvement. I knew that he had to go on this trip. I could see it in his face and his eyes that he was so not wanting to do this. I could feel the metaphorical heels digging in as I pulled on that rope around his neck, insisting that he come on already and just do it and it would be okay. It would be different.

Friday afternoon they left and I could totally feel his frustration at having to pack up and go. He wanted me to say "Oh, you suck, ya big baby! Get back in the house! I'm going!" But I didn't.

When Jess and I got there for dinner on Saturday night, Doug was playing bocce ball with three other dads and having a blast. The boys were all busting their tails to make dinner, with the senior patrol leader calling out orders and giving assignments, and trying to herd the cats (aka Tenderfoot Scouts like Geoff) in the right direction.

An assistant scout master was there overseeing the progress and barking out orders. He was the coach, and his senior patrol leader was like the offensive coordinator.

Doug came and sat with me and we talked about how much fun they were having.


Doug was having FUN. Oh, Praise Be To Jebus! Fun.

He said that on Friday night they all got there, the boys sprang into action and cleaned the site and readied it up for the tents. All the tents were pitched and ready, and the camp trailer was opened so dinner could get started. The dads split up and went to oversee tents or dinner, and help where they were needed. Doug had to really coach Geoff on how to set up the tent because he had never done it before by himself, and another boy came over to assist him.

They got dinner started (grilled cheese) and before they knew it dinner was eaten and it was dark and time to play Manhunt... kind of like freezetag. Doug said he sat with the dads and scoutmasters and talked for hours. They had a great time.

He said it was a relief to behold. And a laugh riot to watch.

They went to the frontier area of the club and learned all about pre 1850 life with the dudes who do reenactments with black powder guns and six shooters and hatchet throwings. They spent so much time there that they pretty much missed out on the skeet shooting. Only a few boys got to go to that. Then they went and shot .22 rifles (Geoff couldn't hit the side of a barn) and about five boys (Geoff included because of his frustration with the gun situation) went to the Members Only Pond for some fly fishing. That was kind of a super special thing... normally they wouldn't be allowed over there but overall the Danvers Fish & Game crew were exceptionally welcoming and kind and amazing to the boys. By Saturday night when we got there for the dinner, everyone was all smiles, everyone had a really tremendous day. Dinner didn't go off without a hitch but people managed to really get through the hiccups and a good time was had by all.

When Jess and I left, another game of Manhunt was gearing up. We drove away to the sounds of boys yelling in the woods. And my husband was sitting on a bench watching and smiling.

And I was smiling too.

I took Jess in to get a big haircut yesterday.

She has been growing it for Locks of Love, again. She did it last April, and over time has "farmed" her hair again to about a foot in length so that she'd have at least the requisite 10 inches needed for donation. She had over 12 inches.


Haircut! Jessica wanted her hair cut off all the way to the nape of her neck. Marian, the haircutting lady, did her hair in two gorgeous little braids and cut them, and then did fun wacky things with the remaining hair.

It is long in front and kind of wacky jagged in the back, with kind of a tail almost in the middle. Doug thought it looked like I cut it off at home and then did nothing to even it up and fix it. Heh. But it is exactly what Jess asked for, and Marian obliged.

Jess wants to dye her long front part red on the tips. I hear other moms out there gasping right now but this is the first time ever she has expressed doing weird things to her hair.


She's always just kept it the way it is, all one length, long long long, and now she is kind of feeling that self-expression streak rising to the top and wishes to obey it. I've long told her that hair is hair, it grows back, you can dye it back to blonde if it doesn't work out... the only thing I'm not to keen on is facial piercings, ever. Hair grows back. Gaping hole in your lip, ugly and scarred for life. No.

So I am letting her do it. Marian is willing to work with her to pick a fun color and knows I don't want her whole HEAD dyed bright read (Jesus, God, help me if that ever happens)... but that she knows what she wants, it sounds cool and different and no one else she knows has this... so it would be all hers.

I'm totally making her dye it back for Rebel Shakespeare in August if she doesn't have to wear a hat as part of her costume... so, we'll see when we get to August what is going on with that hair.

Haircut!After Jess' hair was cut, I decided on the spot that I needed a trim.

I haven't had a haircut since the week before my sister's wedding, so it was about dang time. Marian cut it very conservatively, but I thought it was still too long and I didn't really like it.

So she cut it shorter, and then just kept asking her to make it shorter in front, and why don't we layer the sides and ... Next thing I knew all my hair was like GONE.

She styled my hair and it did this cute little flippy thing all the way around my head, which I of course cannot recreate here at the house today. It's always that way, innit? I need a professional lady to just do my hair for me every morning now. Great.

Jess is getting her tips colored on Thursday night. I'm going in on Saturday to do something about this crazy silver stuff I'm growing on top of my head. I'm thinking I want to blonden up my hair to kind of blend with all that silvery stuff... we'll see what I end up doing.

When I told Doug that Jess farmed her hair again he rolled his eyes. I said to him, look -- she doesn't do a lot of community service kind of things. She really isn't involved in anything other than the Shakespeare stuff. She found something she can do, and in her heart she says "hey... this is a cool thing." All you have to do is go to their website and look at the little girls with their new hair, and it is really sweet. It could be worse. She could be a trainwreck of a kid who is making all kinds of trouble... and then you'd have a reason to be angry or roll your eyes. It's hair. It grows back. So yeah, I think he gets it. He likes her hair all long and pretty, she doesn't do much with it. She rarely ever wears it down or styles it or does anything. So why not share it once a year. It'll grow back and she can do it again. I love her for it. I wish all the kids she knew with massive hair would get together and do that same thing... have a hair party. It'd be fun.

As for my hair, it is too short and I don't quite like it but I'm sure it will take me a week to figure it all out and then I'll be all set. Right?


towel day 2008May 25th, every year, is Towel Day, A day to remember author Douglas Adams. Now, it is on a Sunday this year, so that makes it kind of boring. I can't bring my towel to the office and sit at my desk with it over my shoulder, confounding my co-workers like I would confuse a Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

Sitting here at my desk with a towel over my shoulder is indeed not a whole ton of fun... but it is all I've got going on today.

After I write my entry here, I will be heading out to the yard to hang out and watch for the meadow flowers we planted last week to grow. And, if my ice coffee spills on me after a particularly enthusiastic dog runs past, I have my handy bright orange towel to help me. When Doug is mowing the lawn and he walks past me exhausted and drippy, I can loan him my towel because I love him. I do.

A towel is a massively useful thing, even if you aren't an interstellar hitch hiker. Here is an excerpt from "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to explain:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very, very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

So do enjoy your Towel Day observances. If you haven't read them yet, pick up Douglas Adams' very silly but also rather insightful books, and enjoy. A nice, relaxing read for a beautiful long weekend.

And after that exceptionally long update, I leave you to go make dinner. Huzzah! Have a good rest of your weekend in case I don't have an update.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sleeping Outside and Shooting Stuff

My daughter and I, as of 6pm, will have the house, the dogs, the yard, the everything all to ourselves... until about noon on Sunday. Doug and the boy are heading out with the Boy Scout troop on a camping trip. I think it is one of the few Memorial Day Weekends (not, by the way to be called "Memorial Weekend." Please, whoever started that trend, knock it off!) that we've not all been together doing either stuff or nothing.

So this is interesting.

I hope they both survive each other for the two days.

Actually, I'm sure they'll have a lot of fun. They are going to a place where there is fishing and gun shootin'. Rifles and whatnot. Skeet Shootin. Not hunting, but I'm sure the people who will be working with them are experienced hunters in their own right.

Either that or they just like to spend money shootin' stuff. Some people do.
Right Jay? :-)

Regardless, it'll be a good time. I'm starting to see the change over in what mom does for boy to what dad does for boy, and I think that Geoff's success in Boy Scouts hinges upon Doug's somewhat reluctant participation. I got him through the cub scout portion of things, without being a den mother I sure was a den mother. But mommies don't go to Boy Scouts too often (our troop involves the full family a lot, so there will be some moms there this weekend, but going forward the leader in this relationship has to be Doug).

Doug is the outdoor type, he loves it. Loves the camping and the fishing and the camping and the bonfires and camping and the everything. Y'all know it if you have been reading this blog for a couple of years (seven to be exact).

What he doesn't like is other people.

His personality profile on the Meyers-Briggs is all 100% INTROverted everythingness. Unlike me. I'm all about the E.

I am very social, very wanting to be with other people, not just my significant others or by myself. I like those times, but I do like having people over and doing stuff with other people. Doug is very very selective about who he wants to make fun with.

Until Geoff has a better grip on how to behave socially, he needs a parent in attendance. The last thing I need is for a parent to say "Geoff is thrown out of scouts or we're leaving..." and that fear lives deep in the heart of me. Naturally it falls upon us to guide him... and we do take a back seat a lot and watch from the sidelines, only on occasion pulling him aside to let him know he's doin' it wrong.

Plus, Doug needs some guys. We have no guys anymore. Wayne is in Maine and Aaron ran away to the west coast, so there really are no guys. I hope he finds a guy or two in this. Somehow.

Anyway, where they are headed won't be far away at all. On Saturday night, the troop is making dinner for the family members who are not coming on the trip, so Jess and I will go down to that.

Otherwise, Jess and I are making a list of everything we need to accomplish before she leaves for Germany in a couple of weeks. Including some new t-shirts, a haircut, and possible ear piercing.

And, successfully learning to ride that bike. Come hell or high water.

Yesterday afternoon I took Geoff to the Memorial Day observation in our town. The Boy Scouts are usually there en masse, and the Cub Scouts are invited to tag along. The high school pep band played, and were very good... and the presentation was nice. There was a 12-gun salute (four shooters, three shots... not quite 21, but... the feeling was there). I watched Geoff from far away covering his ears.

And yes, Jay (aka "Captain Buzzkill")? My son has a shell casing!!!

The guy who collected them gave him one... so we have it put away and I've passionately instructed him that it does not leave the house to go to school to be "shared" or "shown" or "told" about. Sssssh. Don't tell.

I asked my son what he thought of the ceremony as we walked away. He thought it went too long, and bemoaned the fact that the Scouts didn't get any recognition at all for being there! What a rip off!"

sunlight colorguard"Sometimes, buddy, it's not about you," I told him gently. "Sometimes it is about you recognizing others. Thanking others. You do a lot with the scouts and you get plenty of recognition... but no one has ever shot at you, or tried to kill you. You haven't had to ever hold a good friend as he died on the battlefield. You've never made the ultimate sacrifice of giving your life up for the defense of your country. Those old guys there today? You saw how few there were? Yeah? Well, there used to be a lot more, and as time goes by their numbers dwindle. But they started dwindling during the wars they fought. This ceremony is to remember them and to remember men like your Pappy who have served. Sometimes, it's about you taking time to think, thank, and give respect to others. I hope you get that."

Very special thanks to those of you reading who have served or have a loved one who has served... and if unfortunately he or she has gone to the beyond for their 'next assignment,' my deepest thanks is extended this Memorial Day weekend.

On that note, my men are gone, my daughter is napping, the dogs are fed and I have a dinner date with ... the cub scout moms from Geoff's former den. The connections still last for me, and I'm looking forward to my night out with people I haven't spent any real time with since December. More later.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bake Sale Car Wash

Jess' German club is doing a bunch of last minute frenzied fund raisers for their trip next month. They've had all year to plan things, but in classic kid fashion they've waited and now are panicking. Today they have a car wash and bake sale at the high school.

Fun stuff. Jess baked a dozen chocolate chip cookies and Doug is grabbing some flour at the market and I'll whip up some banana bread and bring it over a little bit later.

I think it is sad that the car wash is on a day that is chilly and overcast. Geoff's boy scout troop tried for three straight weekends to have a car wash and every Saturday it has rained miserably. Today it isn't raining but it is cold and windy and I feel bad for the kids. They're not gonna make a lot of money.

On Thursday night they're having a fundraiser of Guitar Hero competition... I think I'll come home from work and take Geoff and he'll beat everyone and embarass Jessica. Ha!

So yeah. Now it is Sunday Morning. We totally overslept church. Normally our Human Alarm Clock is up at no later than 8am on a Sunday (that would be Geoff) or dogs are begging to be let out at 6am. This morning, dogs slept fitfully and deeply all morning long, and Geoff decided that this morning was a good morning to get up and pee, and then go back and read quietly in his room. So instead of stomping past my room and waking us up, and going to the room below us to play Guitar Hero at top volumes, he was very quiet and sweet and ... yeah. Next thing we knew it was 9:30am and that's not enough time for four of us to get ready to get out the door.

Anyway. Back to yesterday...

make an offerYesterday blasted past me. I made banana breads and cookies and went and helped and got my car washed. The overcast burned off and the sun came out and a lot of people stopped to get cleaned up and buy cookies and such. A lot of them were strangers... not just moms and dads all showing up to make a donation.

I like Jess' cohorts and most of them seem to be amazing students with kind and wonderful hearts. It was fun.

We were packing up to leave and a car drives past with some baseball player high school boys in it. They yelled out the window "Español RULES!!!"

So we all looked at each other like "Yeah Right!"

I said "Wahhhht? If Español rules so much, where are YOU taking YOUR student exchange trip?"

Jessica said "Lawrence." Everyone cracked up falling down laughing, including her teacher. It was really really funny.

For those not from around here, Lawrence is a rather heavily spanish-speaking city. They call the high school "Yo, Miss" high because a lot of the kids don't speak a lot of English and that's how they get the attention of their teachers. Jess scored with her little joke and we continued cleaning up. We had so many leftover baked goods that we donated them to the softball team to sell at their fundraiser at 2pm. They seemed blown away and ... rather touched. I liked it. Made me feel all good inside.

When we got home Doug was "turning over" the island. We have this plot of land with two sad evergreen trees in the middle of it. It is where all the ground bees are hiding. So for two years now we've been wondering what to do with the island... and Doug figured perennial wildflowers that will just kind of take care of themselves and live in rough conditions (it's a corner plot and road dirt and fleh end up all over the island each year) would be best.

He was going to rent a rototiller, but went out with a mean rake and a lot of determination. It took him a couple hours, Geoff and I each took a turn. I went behind him with The Garden Claw (rawr!) and pulled out the clumps of grass that didn't want to come out when he raked. Geoff helped a lot and then the men went out and tossed the wildflower seeds that we got from American Meadows online. We're not sure how it is going to turn out, or if it is going to even work. But whatever happens, hopefully it'll look much nicer than it does now.

Doug also bought blueberry bushes and black raspberry bushes. At our last house we had several wild bushes (which I notice the new owner has torn out completely, which is sad) and every summer we'd be out there picking pints daily to chuck into pancakes or just eat while sitting on the porch. I miss that, and he does too... so he figured we'd start that up here and get it going. Hopefully in a couple of years they'll yield a lot of tasty fruit for us.

Anyway. I'm not sure what we're going to do today. I have to get Jess back out on her bike and see if we can make progress with the learning. Maybe I'll go for a ride with Geoff somewhere.

Guess that's about it for the update...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Spring is Springing

So the update for the past week or so is that we had family time, visitors, in school suspension and planted some plants. It's been busy here at the Way Out Inn. My update -- let me shows you it.

Linda and Ronnie came up to visit with my parents. It was a horrible spitty rainy day, so all we ended up doing was going out to dinner at The Tap in Haverhill. We wanted a day ronnie good til last dropof walking around the Newburyport Waterfront and shopping and enjoying early May in all its glory... but ... meh. We just sat around the house, ate dinner, and talked about the WaMu TV commercial where the guy is surrounded by puppies. That's pretty much my brother in law.

Yup. Pretty much.

Geoff and I planted daffodils and pansies in the front of the house, and started up some morning glories and marigolds from seeds. Those are coming along nicely. He was funny as we were planting the flowers... he had to work hard and was on his hands and knees digging holes for me to put the pansies in, and he looked at me and said "This is HARD! I don't think I could do this professionally like for a living." So I told him to keep that in mind and learn from this. It's nice as a hobby, but when you have to do it to make money, you either HAVE to do it because you're not qualified to do anything else, and it is hard, back-straining work to be a landscaper. We talked about options in life, how some people do it because they love it, others do it because they have no other choices... and where he would hope to find himself one day... we also talked about how one should appreciate that kind of hard work when others do it. Like when you see a beautifully landscaped garden and lawn... a lot of hours and work go into professional gardens, and people work hard at it... so he is mindful that there is a great deal of effort that goes on with this kind of work.

I told him there was more opportunity coming down the pike for more hole digging and plant planting. Doug started planning what we are going to do with the island on the side of our driveway, and ordered a mess of meadow-style perennials so that it'll just kind of take care of itself forever once it is in the ground. Geoff is willing to help, but I think if he had to do this every summer he'd balk and run.

We found out the ground bees that we have are individual bees that are out for the blossoms on the local trees... it isn't an infestation of hive proportions, so they do their "blossom slut" (as Doug calls it) thing and move along. So the island should be okay to turn. Doug started to turn it and then said "screw it!" and decided he'll hire a guy to rototill it. It'll go much faster.

This past weekend, Michael and Jon came to visit us. We had a nice time hanging out, talkin' Shakespeare, drinking cheap shiraz in the middle of the afternoon, eating Chinese food and getting licked by one neurotic puppy (Brodie).

We haven't seen them since their wedding in June of 2006 so it's been a sorryassed long time and it was fun to be with them for the day.

Mother's Day was rather uneventful. Geoff didn't make me breakfast in bed, which kind of surprised me and to be honest made me a little sad. But he did greet me with "your mom" jokes in honor of the auspiciousness of the holiday. Some of them were good. Others made no sense. But in his own little way he probably worked that up for a while and put some effort into it finding the jokes so I give him credit.

We went to church and a 17 year old boy wished me a happy mother's day, and I said "Happy mother's day to you, too!" Quite stupid.

Geoff and his new bikeAfter church we decided that the kids needed new bikes.

Geoff has outgrown his and hasn't been going on his daily rides even though the weather is nice, because it's just no fun to go ride when your knees hit the handle bars. Jess needs to learn how to ride a bike in the next few weeks before she goes to Germany.

Yes, I just told you that my almost 16-year old daughter does not know how to ride a bike. Let me 'splain.

Back in the day when she was like 7, she wiped out while trying to ride and just washed her hands of the situation. She refused to get back up and try again. Part embarrassment, part injury, part wounded pride, she just wasn't going to have any part of being on a bike. No amount of support, encouragement, cajoling or sassback (mostly from her dad) would get her ass back up on a bike seat. She was done. End of conversation.

So here we are, years later, and in one month she's heading to Germany where all the kids ride their bikes to school. And she needs to be able to do this.

We've known about this forever. In the fall, she shrugged her shoulders and turned her back on us when we brought it up. Doug had basically written it off and didn't see the point in bothering.

She got back from England and said that she needed to learn and get on it now. Doug's head basically exploded and he said "you don't just learn this overnight and then are an expert who can toodle all over Deutschland on your bikey!" So they had a massive argument about it and we determined that we'd buy her a bike and by gum, she'd learn how to ride it.

It was funny because in the back of my head I heard my mother in law saying "You can't plan a wedding in five months!" and I took that as a personal challenge, and I did it, and it was great. I think Jessica has that same attitude...

jess and her bikeWe let her pick the style bike out that she wanted (black and white, of course... cruiser style) and she picked out a stylie silver helmet.

I told her when she learns to ride it without killing herself, I will buy her an "Aoooooogah!" bike horn. They had them at the bike store and she was coveting them... so that will be a reward for her.

Sunday she tried for two hours. And yesterday I came home and she had been home for almost 2 hours trying again. She can't quite get that second foot up on the pedal and get going... she panics and slams on the brakes.

When Geoff was learning to ride (I blogged it here, I think he was 7 or 8...I'd have to check my archives) he rode in the backyard at our old house to be on the grass nice and safe. Ruined the grass, but hey -- injuries were kept at a minimum.

He fell a million times. Got up, got on, fell again. Weeks and weeks and weeks of this.

Doug pointed this out to me, that it took Geoff forever to do it. Thing is, Geoff has learning disabilities, visual spacial disorder, problems doing more than one thing at a time (like balancing AND pedaling AND steering all at once!) and Jess doesn't have these problems. I think her problems are different -- lack of confidence and sheer terror.

That said, I think she can pick it up if she can get past those two things. What I love about her is she can be awfully tenacious. I pointed out to him that she figured out how to use chopsticks by relentlessly working at it, and then she only used chopsticks to eat EVERYTHING for months after that.

Pray for her -- this is going to be challenging. I am hoping this is her new chopsticks, and she'll be master of the cruiser bike in no time. Cross your fingers. And -- if you have advice or tips on how to teach a grown up how to ride a bike, I'll surely welcome any tips and pointers.

And, I must say I like this bike myself... it's nice.

I feel all PG Wodehouse country lane "what ho!" waving at the neighbors as I cruise along the promenade. It is a nice, easy ride... and I have bike envy. Only I would have gotten the green and white one, not the black and white.

Yesterday after school I picked Geoff up from guitar class and we went and worked with the boy scouts cleaning up some trails. The boys raked like mad, and I didn't have to do much work... just kind of follow along and point out where stuff was missed. There were a dozen boys and two adults... and the senior patrol leader. He (the PL) ran the show, and as a grown up I pretty much needled the tenderfoot scouts (my own and his friends) and tried to keep them from goofing off too much. It was a lot of fun. And we got community service hours, which are awfully nice.

There is nothing I like more in the woods than a nice, clean, well maintained trail. And now I know part of who does these kinds of things. Huzzah!

What else... Oh -- Geoff's got a band concert tonight. Last one of the year. Full chorus, full band and his guitar class will show off their stuff. I'm looking forward to it.

And on that note, I need to get him out to the bus and get to work. Yesterday I made it to work in record time. Let's see if we can repeat that!

Friday, May 09, 2008

In School Suspension

"The Truth shall set you free! Unless you killed somebody. In which case,
tell the cops they were breathing when you left the room."
-Stephen Colbert

This has to be a quickie so that we can leave for work on time. Work and me dropping Geoff off at school a couple of minutes after all the other kids get to school. Geoff has in-school suspension today.

Yesterday he punched a kid in the mouth. It is a he said/he said story. The recipient says that Geoff was running in the hallway so he told Geoff to stop running and then Geoff turned around and punched him in the mouth. Geoff said the boy made fun of him and told him to run faster (probably "hey, why don't you run faster?" with a sarcastic tinge in the tone, which Geoff can't differentiate from non-sarcasm too well)... and he isn't sure why he ended up punching the kid, but he knew he was being made fun of.

Today is a half day at school... so the in-school today is better than an in-school on Monday when he'd have a full day. But he doesn't see it that way. I'd be all "oh, okay. Good! A half day counting as a whole day..." but he's all "it's useless to go to school because it is only three hours..."

He's also disgruntled because half days on Fridays kill his Gym class and that's his favorite part of the week. But he wouldn't have Gym anyway today even if it was a full day because he has in school suspension.

We went around for 20 minutes this morning as to why this is better than any other day of the week for him...

I told him it's like being sentenced to life in prison but they let you do community service only, and you go home at the end of the day.

Take it. It's a good deal. Oh my God I sound like a public defender.

Out of school suspension doesn't really impact him too much. He likes being home, even if I don't let him DO anything. So in school has more of an impact. He has to sit there and do class work, with the assistant principal as his companion for three hours. And he has to write a note of apology to this kid. Which, I'm sure, is going to be a nice note (said with a tinge in the tone).

So yeah, we're off in about 3 minutes so I gotta wrap this up. My buddy Wayne once told me that boys always rather getting a punishment over with. If you give them the option: "Spanking or 3 hours in the corner in time out" they almost always take the spanking. It's over quickly, done, end of conversation, life goes on. To me, this in school suspension is like a spanking. Quick, done. End. Geoff though, he is arguing with me about it and it just is ridiculous. I think he would argue himself into a longer punishment just to prove HIS point instead of taking the logical easier punishment. Just so he could be proven right or something.

Does not bode well for his future, I don't think.

Anyway. More later.