Friday, May 30, 2014

Early one morning the sun was shining, I was laying in bed...

This morning I had the unique experience of having a very vivid dream where I was in bed, hitting the snooze alarm on my cell phone repeatedly so that I could fall asleep again and keep dreaming whatever the dream was that I was dreaming.   And while having this dream, I was in real life hitting the snooze alarm on my phone repeatedly so I could fall asleep again and keep dreaming the dream I was dreaming, which was, of course, to be in my bed hitting the snooze alarm over and over so I could go back to sleep and ....

Waking up from something like that is at times unnerving. I went into the bathroom, and had to convince myself that I was on the loo, that I was awake, and it was safe to go ahead and pee because I was no longer in my bed hitting the snooze alarm over and over.

Slowly I began to get to an awake point. I turned on the shower and got in, almost forgetting to take off my t-shirt but I remembered while my left leg was in the stream of the water.

After my shower I came downstairs to see what was going on in life, Doug was on his way upstairs to get ready. Geoff looked at me and said "Getting a late start today?"

Normally I'm dressed and ready and sitting on the couch by 6:15 while Doug is either still in bed or in the shower himself. I guess yeah, I was getting a late start if this was already 6:45.

Mercifully, the Traffic Pixies made the way clear, and while we left after Geoff's bus (which we never do) I was here at my desk at 8:20am. Pretty fantastic commute. Even with the woman in front of us from Tennessee who couldn't figure out for the life of her that she needed to pull up into the intersection to make a left hand turn. Or even GO when no traffic was coming, to make a left hand turn.

We were happy to lose her as she headed toward the airport and we headed to the tunnel.

Friday mornings in the "summer" usually are just that. We make it into the city in no time. Last year when I was driving Doug to his job and continuing along to "Awesome" I was often at my desk the earliest on Fridays.

It is the getting home part that hurts on a Friday. Everyone is headed to New Hampshire, and everyone is in our way.

This office is full of late arrivers, which is fine. I normally like being a late arriver. But if you are a late arriver, you usually are a late stayer. Doug tries to get over here to get me by 5:30 or :45, and then it takes us until 7 to get home. So getting here before 9am is a good thing for me. I can get a full day of shenanigans in under my belt.

And on that note, the tea is getting cold, and I have help desk tickets to solve. Onward.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Holiday Weekend Mode

Oh hello Saturday morning. I've been waiting for you.

With the new job, I need to be up and in the shower by 5:30am. If I'm taking the train, I aim for the 6:30 and usually make the 7. after that there is a long wait for the next run. If Doug is driving and I'm riding, I'm happy if he's in the car by 7, and would rather he be in the car by 6:45 so we can leave a touch earlier.

Early is so not my thing.

Carrie and I had been meeting a couple times a week at the gym, between 7 and 7:30 most of the time, and that was a struggle, getting out of bed and into exercise clothes and a scrunchy by 6:50.

This morning, my dogs were up at 4:45 wanting to go outside. I thought about being up for the day but got back under the covers and cuddly and fell back asleep.

Waking up at 10:30, my normal very favorite time to wake up.

This being a holiday weekend, I plan on sleeping as much as happily possible.

I love my job, but really love my sleep. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sort of Born to Run

Yesterday. Doug took Geoff to a doctor's appointment and on the way home, one of our cars suffered a water pump failure. He managed to get it home to the driveway. It gets towed to the shop tomorrow (Yes, I got AAA earlier this month. I was proactive).

I drove in Monday because I was dressed and ready at 6:10 and figured I didn't want to wait for a train I should have gone to the gym but... whatever. Drove in again yesterday after getting some blood work done. And then Doug drove me in today.

It is nice to get dropped off door to door.

But. Our piece of shit pickup truck is designed for the short runs: to the market; to the bike shop.

Not for three straight days of driving into The Big City.

On the way home today, the check engine light came on. So we both looked at each other with the "you gotta be shitting me expression" and laughed. It had been running flawlessly for for weeks. Doug had replaced some gasket thing in the transmission fluid and did a whole bunch of work. Basically taking his phone out to the truck, watching "how to" videos, and getting things done.

Typical Doug and Chris fashion here, kids.

So there we were, in the Tip O'Neill Tunnel, not moving. I was worried that the entire thing is going to explode. And we'd be "those people" on the news or something.

We made it up Route 1 to the very same gas station that let us leave the Volvo there when it died in a blizzard in December. Doug checked the oil and it was super fine. He added some transmission fluid, thinking that may be the problem.

No dice - the light didn't turn off. But it didn't turn red. So we just looked at each other and went onward.

Somewhere about 10 miles from home Mr. Springsteen came on the old radio. The drum intro rolling into "Born To Run"  made me start to laugh. Doug dislikes Springsteen while I do enjoy him greatly.

in the day we sweat it out on the streets...

How amazingly perfect. Our "runaway American Dream," in a Dodge Pickup Truck. I would rather be "Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a Dodge drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain," but there ... there we were.

It's a death trap! It's a suicide rap!

We were singing at the top of our lungs, windows down, my hair EVERYWHERE, running up the highway (jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive!) laughing and singing. We counted the "ONE TWO THREE FOUR!" Doug was doing 78mph, and the truck was just rocking along. 

We got home. The truck is in the driveway. The car is getting towed to the shop tomorrow and Doug may see if our mechanic can find out what the check engine light thing is.

And we had a moment. One of those Doug and Chris moments. One of those very special moments.

God, may they never stop. Well, may the stupid cars exploding all over the place stop - but the moments that make us Doug and Chris .... let's keep them going.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Welcome to the Working Week

So, I started my job this week.

I am in way over my head. The girl who is training me tells me every day how impressed she is with how fast I'm "getting it" with their tools and platforms.

In the past three days there have been a lot of meetings I have sat in and I have no idea what they're talking about. I'm exposed to terms like scrum, scrum master, agile, vigilante, spike, sprint, grooming and my favorite "ingested into the API." 

Within this group, they build all their own software tools. So there is our side and the developer side. It is kind of unique because it is a small office. I talked to a friend who said that there is no reason for me to sit in Dev meetings, but I think that the lines of communication between training and support (our group) and product ownership/development (their group) is really strong here because we go to these meetings. We talk to the users, we tell the dev guys, they fix the things. They add the features. We report back to the users. We then train them on the changes. 

Seems to work for them. Another friend said "you don't need to know what scrum is, you just need to know how they do it in your office and be aware that when you move somewhere else that they scrum totally different."

And each time they say "scrum" I giggle to myself and think "scum."

Each of the people I've met are really cool. Our entire team is comprised of women, and that's new to me. I'm used to a mixed bag or mostly guys.  Fridays at 4 is beer time. Yesterday one of the dev guys supplied the beer from the tiny little micro brewer in our neighborhood and I told them about Shenanigans with Dave. They were fascinated by Dave's story, and our adventures in beer and food. It was a lot of fun to talk about all the different craft breweries we've gone to.

That's what I do - bond over beer or football.

I do feel that it is a good match though, even if I don't speak the language. I probably should start planning ahead and bringing my lunch instead of spending 11 bucks on food daily. Except for Thursdays when my favorite food truck is parked at the end of my street. Mmmmmm.


This morning I'm looking at the facebooks and seeing tons of graduation photos.

This would have been graduation time for Jess, had she not withdrawn from school after, what Ben Folds sings, "three sad semesters, cost me only 15 grand."

She made the decision she had to make for reasons known to me and some that remain unknown still.

God knows she's a big help being here in the house and in our lives. But I feel this "failure to launch" kind of thing going on in life with her.

Maybe not a full failure to launch but more of a "yeah, we had a launch and then got scared about something in the plane so we turned around and landed carefully and TSA removed the threat from the cabin but now we're not gonna launch again" thing.

I suppose it is better than "we had a launch and then we crashed and burned horribly in a field somewhere in the middle of nowhere."

I'm looking at the newsfeed and seeing all these photos of kids she graduated high school with, wearing those caps and gowns, walking up to podiums, smiling with their parents. There are the kids of my friends from high school or college, kids I don't know, all diplomaed and graduated up.

It is an instant news flood, it is a stab to the heart each time I see one of their smiling faces and I think of how sad and dissatisfied with the universe my kid is.

This feeling didn't hurt me with all the prom pictures, or even some of the wedding pictures that I've seen (yes, kids who graduated with my daughter and AFTER my daughter are getting married). The feeling I get when I see the prom pictures isn't the same - because Jess chose a different path with prom too, but it was one that brought her joy and fun.

Instead of "wasting money on prom" listening to "songs that make her want to stab her eardrums out" she had "Pie Prom" for a couple of years. Her friends came over and they baked pies. Pies are so much cooler, and you can buy expensive high-end ingredients and still only pay a fraction of the cost that the ticket, the dress, the suit, the flowers and all that crap would cost. And you get to listen to music you want to listen to, and you get to eat pie.

Pie prom was a successful, quirky, Jess perfect alternative to the stupidity of Prom.

But she hasn't yet discovered the Jess perfect alternative to the stupidity of a Bachelor's Degree. Instead she's home, watching anime, running the dishwasher, and not making successful real adult forays out into the world.

I know, I know. Everyone runs on their own life schedule. I've recognized the "different life path" thing even for myself. It took me six years to get my undergraduate degree. You have to want it. You have to say "this is my goal, I will work towards it, I will take time off and work three part time jobs and cry because I'm exhausted" and want to get it.

For Jess, I have no idea what she wants. And I don't think she knows what she wants. And it is frustrating.

I kind of feel like someday she'll figure something out. She's interviewing for jobs. She interviewed for two part time jobs this week that if she gets them she'll be working more than full time hours. I think that if she gets to that point she'll get more confident and will start to figure out what she wants to do.

And maybe someday she'll achieve that cap and gown moment, and not wear it, not walk across a stage, not shake hands with some college president she doesn't know but will have a Pie Commencement instead.

In the meantime... I'll settle for seeing "my kids" get their degrees and send them love and congratulations from the couch.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Requirement 7

I am a merit badge counselor for Boy Scouts. One of the badges I cover is Family Life. It's an Eagle required merit badge. I have about 15 boys in our troop working on this badge, all in various stages of completion.

One of the things I like to do is have group meetings to go over some of the requirements, which you can see here. The boys are sometimes required to "discuss with your merit badge counselor..." and I find that in a group, the discussion is a bit more engaging instead of the boy writing a paragraph and handing it to me and saying "uh, this uh, this is what I was thinking maybe."

Requirement 7 covers parenting, what makes a good parent... and do you think you'd make a good father.

The handbook published by BSA contains a whole section of discussion for this topic outlining things like the benefits of abstinence, respecting your girlfriend (I change the language to "partner" on purpose) and other topics.

I'm not super comfortable going over these things with kids that aren't mine.

Heck I'm barely comfortable going over stuff like that with kids that ARE mine.

This past week I met with 7 boys and we went over what they were doing with their family project, solo project (requirements 4 and 5) and their family meeting (requirement 6a). We had about 20 minutes to kill so I asked them if they wanted to cover requirement 7. I had one of them read the topic out loud and they all sat there quietly for a minute.

I wasn't sure how to open the discussion. So I asked "Do you know the difference between a father and a baby daddy?"

They all kind of laughed, one kid said he knew what baby daddy was because he saw it on Jerry Springer and the baby daddy had a chair thrown at him by the baby momma. A bit of Jerry Springer conversation followed and I said, "Okay, so he is a baby daddy, which means he made a baby. With a baby momma. But it isn't just language and culture here, what makes that guy not a FATHER to his baby when it comes down to it? What is the baby's mother insinuating he's not doing or capable of doing to be an actual FATHER to this child?"

The boys started talking about involvement, enrollment in presence in the child's life. Active presence. Participation. I felt that they were on to something.

I asked "does a lot of money make someone a better father than someone without money?" One boy said that celebrities have a lot of money, but they hire a staff to take care of the kids and cook for them and clean the house and nanny them while they're off being movie or rock stars. They may not love their kids less than someone who is home with the family, but it certainly seems like they have a different priority in life than caring for the kids.

Another boy said that he feels like in foreign nations or poorer areas of the country that families are closer,  and that parents seem to take care of their kids better maybe because they're together all the time. They make sure the kids are fed before themselves. And another boy said that in other cultures, the kids have to grow up and take care of the parents in their elderly years, so of course parents are going to want to take care of the kids so they will love and respect and take care of them when they're old.

We talked about nannies taking care of babies, and nursing homes taking care of the elderly, and how that seems to be wrong in a lot of ways. That maybe modern America has some priority issues.

We talked about a baseball player (I am not sure what team he plays for) who took a lot of heat for missing the first couple games of the season because his wife had a baby. I asked if they thought he made the right decision. They weighed the options. On the one hand, baseball pays his salary and makes it so his wife and baby can have a good life. On the other hand, it's the beginning of the season, not the playoffs.

"Men who are in business can take time off, why can't this guy?" asked one of the boys. In the end, they thought he made the right decision. And they also said they thought that if it was a playoff situation that the wife might understand if he had to be at the game... it's a world of difference between the start and end of the season.

The final part of the discussion came up and we talked about whether or not they'd be good fathers. Most of them are 14 and 15 years old. So they made faces. "I'm really selfish and immature. So no. Not yet." Geoff pointed out there were a couple girls in his grade who were pregnant. The younger guys were astonished.

That's when I said that a moment can change a lifetime. I encouraged them to keep that in mind no matter what age they are and not just with sex but with a lot of other decisions they may have to make at a moment's notice.

Since the overall discussion was really about sex though, we had to circle back to that. I wasn't going to tell them to BE ABSTINENT OR ELSE! or anything ridiculous. Some of the best advice I ever heard was from a college professor at our Christian college.

"We are biological creatures, and sometimes our biology outweighs our common sense. So just be aware of that when certain moments cross your path."

They all kind of laughed. "So the best way to make sure your life doesn't change and her life doesn't change is to protect yourself. If that means you don't do it, that's your choice. If that means you take protective measures, that's your choice." I also said that it is incredibly brave to make a decision to not have an abortion, but to have  a baby, when you're 17 or 18.

"She probably thought she'd go to a four year college, maybe be in a sorority, live in a dorm... have that typical American college experience and now her path has changed forever. Now she may be working and taking night classes at the community college instead. Her life isn't ruined, it's just different."

And it all came back full circle to the "father vs. baby daddy" concept. What is the guy's role now? He has a choice too. He can be a father or he can be a baby daddy. He can maybe once every few weekends take the kid off her hands so she can do something. Or he can be actively involved, his college path can change, they can work together. If they get married fine, if they don't... find some sort of partnership that works for everyone.

It was really weird to have the seven boys sitting there listening to every word I said, and really thinking about it. I ended the meeting by asking them to tell me something they really loved about their fathers. Sense of humor, active involvement, shared interests like canoeing or shooting sports or cooking. It sounded to me like everyone had great role models and maybe they're kids now but they'll learn from their dads how to be a decent father.

We left the meeting laughing. For as worried as I was in touching on these topics, these guys had some hugely great suggestions and thoughts and deeper and more mature understanding than I expected walking into requirement 7.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Riding That Train

When I went into Boston for my interview, I took the train. It is about 90 minutes door to door to take the commuter rail and the subway to my office. Sitting in traffic it can be that long if not longer.

There are things I remembered that I love about commuting by train and almost immediately I was reminded of the things that make my head explode.

First - people coughing on the back of my head. I've blogged about how much it makes me crazy when people put themselves in confined spaces with hundreds of other people and then cough or sneeze all over the place.

Second - the guy across the aisle from me had a text notification that made a whistle similar to someone calling a dog to get its attention. And it went off pretty much every 90 seconds the entire ride to town. Dude. Put that thing on vibrate because every time it whistles I look that way. Like a freaking Labrador Retriever.

Third - in many places, there aren't escalators. With a knee injury, going up and down a lot of stairs is doable, I just have to go nice and slow. Which some people don't seem to understand.

My friend Carrie has recommended taking the bus instead. I may look into that.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

And Now, on "This American Life..."

I've interviewed for dozens of jobs recently. Well, not dozens. But this past week has been the week of interviews.

Thursday I had a phone interview with a major publishing house which is expanding its digital content group. I sent in my resume even though I didn't know the CMS platform they're using. I got a call for an interview and asked if that was a problem. The interviewer said "oh, no. We're getting rid of that anyway and moving to another platform. None of us know it. Not even me. So we'll all learn it together."

Overall, this was the job I wanted. It stays with the whole Content Management theme that runs through my resume. It hearkens back to education and online learning which I did (and loved) at the college. I told one of my former professor-type colleagues about the job and he just about exploded that FINALLY here we were where he wanted to be in 2000 with online educational content and I'd be back in that familiar saddle again. It made me very happy to know he thought it was the perfect job for me.

Next, I interviewed for a job at a hospital which runs its own Continuing Education department in partnership with Harvard University. The job is part content management and publications, and the 8 major conferences they throw a year would be the rest of the job. Communicating with the speakers, getting all their documentation and presentations into InDesign. And at each conference, being on duty 24/7 for 3-4 days... staying at the hotel, running the show.

My interview was FANTASTIC. I liked the team. I don't know InDesign but the girl I'd be replacing was staying on through September, going part time at the end of July and then leaving.

This would be a fun job. A challenge and a departure from what I've been doing, but I think I throw a good party, I'm organized at events. I'm good at "schmoozing" with people and representing the organization and that was a huge part of the conference skills.

Yesterday I interviewed for a temporary contract that runs through the end of September.  It is the digital branch of a rather huge radio conglomerate, and perhaps you can guess it from my title of this entry.

It is a lot more tech support and not any real content management. It is all about solving help tickets and communicating with the end users when they need assistance on the major platforms the "digital" branch of the system (my branch) runs. The interview went great and they offered me the job that afternoon.

Now, Doug told me I should probably reach out to the publishing company and ask if I'm still in the running for consideration for the job. It would literally be my dream job. I have no idea what it pays.  My guess is probably a little more than I'll be earning on this contract.

But I can't get ahold of the woman who interviewed me.

And to be honest, this is a cool job with a super cool company. So ... I took it. And back to the working week I go. Finally.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Yes, I know. Your job sucks.

I've heard a lot of people say that Facebook is a very bad place to hang out.

You're constantly looking at your friends' lives, and their happiness and their perfect children (and in my case, already... some of my friends have grandchildren). Their vacations and their tans and their snorkels and swim fins.

Your life sucks in comparison. It's just the truth.

I've always tried to not be braggy about accomplishments or things my kids are doing. I've also tried to not be overtly whiny when things are in the shit.

Essentially, I try to be the class clown and make jokes or drop in song quotes. I talk to inanimate objects (ie: "Dear Spring... I know what you're doing...") My life does kind of suck. But I'm not going to stand out in the middle of the neighborhood and be the town crier about these things. I'm not looking for pity, I'm not needing someone to call the wahmbulance (one of my favorite words ever).

The one thing that I'm having a hard time with lately is my seeming multitude of friends slagging their bosses, their jobs, their careers. I know, you get to about 50 and you start to have that just-past-mid-life crisis and complain and whine about stuff.

But it's really irritating me right now because I don't HAVE a job. I want a job. I want any job. I need a paycheck. I am starting to panic.

When a friend posts that a co-worker was a dick and said this that and the other thing and they want to quit their job over this, I have to shake my head. When another friend posts that they don't get the recognition or appreciation they feel they deserve, I feel bad for them for a minute but then realize they probably don't look at their paycheck when it comes in every week (or every other week) because of direct deposit, so they don't know how good they have it at the end of the day.

Recognition, schrecognition.

So please do me a favor. Shut up already? Cash your paycheck, pay your bills, make your car payment, go away for a long weekend because you can afford a cabin rental in the Adirondacks. Be thankful you have a paycheck. Or find another job if you think you can find another job. Just ... go back to being happy about your life or something, anything.

And take those pictures of you and your kid snorkling or kissing a dolphin, or the amazing 4 star meal you just ate. I'm here with my box of cheez-its for dinner, but appreciate the little victories you share more than some bitching and whining. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014


Back in October, Doug signed the four of us up for a local gym. Ten bucks a month each. Not bad price-wise, I had wanted the YMCA but we don't really have a local one (nearest two of those are 20 minutes away if you're lucky, and the things like open swim never seem to be convenient).

We started going regularly, I was walking to work most days, getting in about 3 miles at least. Then, I blew out my knee and everything else broke.

December, January and February my membership languished.

In March, I started going again. My doctor and hematologist told me that it would be good for me, and I had learned a lot of exercises from going to PT which would help with my knee problem. I'm not clear to go back to PT yet for the knee, so doing exercise that doesn't make it WORSE is better than doing nothing at all.

A half mile on the exercise bike was torture at first. Lifting the weights, I had the pin on the absolute lowest setting with the "dial up" feature set to zero. This is about 10 pounds.  For the lower body things, my legs have always been incredibly strong. My abdomen was healed up nicely by the end of March so I could push on things and bendy knee things at somewhat higher weights, like 25 or 30 pounds.

Gradually, I added 5 pounds to some of the exercises.

Today I rode 5 miles on the bike. I had been setting a half hour goal or 4 miles, whichever came first. I thought of my son and his troop. I watched a TV spot on the news with former President Bush riding with wounded warriors on their bikes and doing sweet jumps. I imagined all the miles these guys were doing, some with prosthetic legs.

I pushed myself to the 5 miles, and did it in 39 minutes. Hell yeah look at me go.

I did all the upper body machines set on 30 pounds and two of them on 50. There is only one that I can't do regularly on anything higher than 20 pounds... For my legs, I'm up to 50 or 70 pounds, depending on which exercise it is. Some of the bendy knee thingies I am not ready to push above 50. In fact, there are two of them that I sometimes do at 30, just because I can feel the tendon on the inside of my knee arguing with me.

I went to the gym twice this past week, and have been trying to do 2 if not 3 visits a week. We went after church today, and I didn't want to but I'm glad I did.

Bigger, faster, stronger? Maybe. I still am having great difficulty just WALKING any distances. I walked a half mile on the treadmill on Monday of last week and thought I might die. Literally. My legs still feel like they are 40 pounds each. I want to be able to hike by Aaron's wedding in August so we can have some fun while out in Oregon.

There be hills there, you know. There be hills...

Friday, May 02, 2014

"Everything hurts. Forever."

Yesterday and today are days where my original knee injury actually feels ... almost okay. I started wearing my knee brace again, and managed to bike (at the gym) 4 miles yesterday and 4 today.  Plus do all the upper and lower body exercises that I could handle.

Two days in a row, instead of one day in a week.

I'm paying for it today - my left shoulder and muscles going up to my neck are really sore, and I didn't do the heaviest weights I could handle. I laugh because I'm rowing and pulling and lifting about 20 to 30 pounds worth of weights on each of the upper body machines. I'm so super weak and lame. But I figure they are amounts I can handle, and I am doing 10 reps in 3 sets at least, sometimes 15 reps in 3 sets so ... better to do what I can handle than do stuff that I can only do once.

Lower body stuff has always been easier. I can't press/push as much as when I was in high school or college but I'm comfortable in the 50 pound areas for things, as long as it doesn't make my knee uncomfortable.

Walking is still difficult. The week before last I was cooped up here in the house, the weather was nice, so I decided to walk to the library and back. there is a little green in front of the library, so I walked around it 3 times, resting when I needed, and it was less than a mile and kicked my ass. The other day I walked a half mile on the treadmill and gave up because it was exhausting. Wiped me all the way out.

I'll stick to the bike and aim for 4.5 or 5 miles next time I go.

While I am struggling to accomplish 4 miles on the bike, my son and his Scout troop went on their annual bike hike over April break. Geoff skipped last year, he took driver's ed (didn't get his permit or take the driving classes yet...) and the trip was in the Adirondacks so he didn't want to ride up mountains. This year was down the Cape, and about 3 years ago he did this trip. So he wanted to go again.

First day, they rode 18 miles. The troop didn't need me as a support vehicle, so I went and had lunch with my parents and drove around Falmouth and Hyannis instead.

Second day I stuck around to be the support vehicle, and the boys set out from Nickerson State Park and rode to Coast Guard Beach where I met them with all the stuff for lunch. We had a gorgeous time on the beach, the weather was fantastic and all the kids had a ton of fun.

One kid was a first year Scout and he was exhausted and didn't want to ride any further. Another kid was just kind of done with the troop for the day and didn't want to ride any further. And a third kid inhaled a bunch of sand while wrestling, so he couldn't ride any further.

I ended up taking the three of them back to camp, and missing out on the ride to Wellfleet and going up there. I think I've been there once in my life.

Geoff wanted to come back with me when I left with the other three but I told him to stick with it, do the full ride, enjoy it. This is his last bike hike as a Scout. If he goes next year it will have to be as an adult volunteer. That freaks me out a little.

So he begrudgingly agreed and went on the rest of the ride. It was about 12 more miles, which doesn't sound like much, but by the time they all made it back to camp it was a 29 mile ride.

I was hanging out at camp when the guys all came back, and Geoff stumbled in looking beat up. "Everything hurts. Forever." He reported to me as he walked past. He went and took a big nap.

Adults who rode on the ride said that he hung in there the whole time, didn't miss a beat, wasn't lagging behind. He worked his ass off.

I want to be inspired by my son. I feel like I want to say "I give up" but I encourage him to push himself 12 more miles and I can barely do 4. So every time I try and do something I want to do it just a little longer and a little more.

Begrudgingly, especially if everything hurts forever after I'm done doing it.

And here's my favorite picture from the weekend. Left to right, Chris, Geoff and Stephen. Geoff is in 11th grade and the other are in 12th. Chris just finished his Eagle. Stephen should be done with his by August 13 ... when he turns 18. Just in time. My son has the greatest hair in the entire universe.

And on that note. Me and my tired muscles are headed upstairs for a late shower, and bed.