Tuesday, June 24, 2008

home bound

It's already been a whirlwind summer ... and we are not even through June.

I drove 11 1/2 hours to Oak Island, North Carolina--without Pos: just me and the kids--to make a last minute vacation happen with family and friends.

It was a blast! The weather was great, the kids had a great time and the gin and tonics were superb!!

Then five days later, I drove another 11 1/2 hours back home. I think if I never see I-95 (and that godawful loop around D.C.!!) I won't be sad.

And then I'm home barely 24 hours when I get the call.

My granddad is finally passing and my mom is absolutely distraught.

I'm torn: #1 I want to go and support her and my sister. #2 I've already said my goodbyes to the lovely old man last year: I don't want my last memory of him to be that of a unrecognizable shell. #3 I want to be here, with Pos and the kids: I don't want to experience the gamut of emotion that's sure to greet me when I get there.

But I'm going. Today. And I'll be gone for a whole week. Not knowing what to expect.

My granddad passed away last night. He quietly drifted off, in his own bed, with his eldest daughter at his side.

I'm going home to be with my family, but I just know that I'll be torn the whole time I'm there. Deep down, and true to my nature, I simply want to be in my own home with my own family grieving in my own way.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

two gears

I'm either in perpetual motion or in a dead stall (i.e., blog-reading or snoozing) and these extreme tendencies do not lend themselves very nicely to writing: Writing requires way more energy than I've got when I "stop".

So when the 15 y.o. comes up to me this morning and says, "Yo! Mom! I need another story. You need to post something new!" I just wanted to grab my cup of coffee and amble off to the deepest recesses of my house and take a mid-morning siesta. And the last thing I can wrap my head around (in my current state of torpor) is wrestling with word choice and the pithy placement of written ideas.

And to make matters worse, I do my best thinking when I'm doing something else ... like driving or gardening or running the vacuum ... and unfortunately, when I'm ready to type everything out, my brain goes idle.

My brain really has a mind of its own: It really frustrates the hell out of me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what a difference a half an hour makes

I was running late--so typical of me--when I noticed the brooding, darkening of the early evening sky. I'm supposed to get to the pool early to drop off cash/son for teen activities night and stick around to help chaperon this youthful mayhem.

So's I says to myself, "Hmmm ... this looks a little like some nastiness is about to kick loose and I certainly don't think we're wanting to be poolside when nature unfurls her fury!"

Sure enough, as we arrive and to start setting up for the night's events, the wind starts blowing. At first it's rather pleasant--having been 90+ degrees for the past few days--when traveling from the north at a rapid clip are some pretty wicked clouds. And that's when the doo-doo hits the proverbial fan!

Along with the two other chaperoning adults and all the lifeguards, we start running around grabbing chairs and umbrellas that are getting flung in every direction and watch as one of the lifeguard stand umbrellas--still open--gets snatched by the wind and has its 3 i/2 inch pole snap in half! Kids are running around being dramatic, obnoxious and oh, so helpful (not!) while phone calls are being made to have parents turn around and retrieve their storm-watching charges.

I offer to give one of my daughter's friends a ride home--whereas I, without a sensible molecule in my brain, had let my own daughter walk a mile and a half to another friend's house--in order to avoid any damage due to the increasing high winds and the occurrence of some seriously scary lightening strikes.

Can you get electrocuted if you talk on your cell phone, outside, during a thunderstorm?

Well, at that moment I didn't give a crap about that potential consequence because I was on the phone every three minutes trying to find out if my kid made it to her friend's house safe and sound ~ and she did!

So we piled up--my middle son, my daughter's friend and myself--in my van and peeled out of the Swim Club parking lot and made fast tracks home. I dropped the friend off at her house, I even offered to wait oo that she could get changed and then deliver her to the other friend's house.

But I'm ever so glad she declined my offer ... because I was about to experience one of the most hair-raising drives of my life!

With no time to squander, I left town and cautiously made my way home with winds, lightening strikes and rain picking up in the most alarming manner: it was like driving through a hurricane!

And to top things off, one of the more unforseen things about my bucolic daily commute is that my route is absolutely littered with towering, branchy old trees looming over me as I skitter past in quiet terror.

So that's where the real fun began!

While my poor son was whimpering and white-knuckling next to me, I calmly drove around fallen tree branches, tree trunks and all sorts of natural debris. Before it started to pour, I had the windows down and every time there was a lightening strike--and just about every one of them flashed overhead!--we could feel an alarming sharp blast of heat prickle our skin right after each strike. It was more than a little freaky!! When the rain came down, it came down in buckets, in sheets followed by little pelting hail ... my poor windshield wipers were almost useless against the stuff!

As I was slowly and steadily making my way home--all the while soothingly reassuring myself AND my son that everything was going to be all right--several times we would have to slow to a stop in the middle of the road in order to make out the white line on the right side of the road. That white line was the only thing guiding me on along that winding road!

The one and probably only miracle about that scary ride was that I never once had to experience a tree branch falling into the road or onto a car or onto house ... I luckily came upon all the damage after it had occurred.

I received at least two phone calls--one from Pos and the other from my very worried daughter--while attempting to make it home alive; middle son was a very useful message taker during our ordeal.

As we pulled into our neighborhood, the wind and rain was finally dying down and the only thing remained were lightening flashes off in the distance. Three of my neighbors had huge trees come down onto their property and miracles of miracles, not one of their houses got demolished in the process!

My white-knuckle-drive-of-terror took approximately 24 minutes whereas that commute typically takes me 10 minutes.

I'm never going to look at those tree-lined roads the same ever again!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

a drop in the bucket

I don't care if it dropped $12 from an all-time high of $135 a barrel ...

I still had to pay $69 to fill up my van.

And to further rant ...

Instead of a quickly-consumed petroleum product, $69 bucks could have gotten me:

1) 12 pairs of nice and comfy faux suede flip flops from Target

2) a swanky pair of very nice summer sandals from DSW

3) a savory lunch out with hubby

4) 17 gelatis from Rita's

5) a knit skirt, a cute casual dress and a nicer ensemble from Old Navy

6) much needed underwear, socks and bras

7) 2 cases of constantly consumed doggie treats

8) bed linens, my bed desperately needs new king-sized bed linens

9) snacks, my children thrive on a constant supply of ever-depleting snacks

10) white porch paint and supplies for my dilapidated and paint-peeling front porch

Well, that's all I can think of for now.

But I'm sure I could come up with a tank full more!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

it's not payday YET!!

four days ... and counting ...

and it's really rather unfortunate that I have to fill my van with gas,

and buy groceries,

and buy the obligatory, end-of-the-school-year teachers' gifts,

and listen to my daughter's lament: "I don't have a bathing suit worth wearing!!"

We're also looking down the barrel of the one and only family vacation we're taking this summer ...

traveling down to Tennessee to attend lil' bro-in-law's wedding...

630 miles away.

Did I mention that I have to fill up my van?

and put my dog in the kennel

and pay the neighbor's kid to take care of our outdoor hutch bunnies

and buy enough pulled pork to feed 50+ people

and the fixins to make my mama's world famous potato salad ...

again, for 50+ people.

And can I even contemplate buying a wedding present?

after buying gallons of pulled pork

and filling up my van for the third,

no, make that the fourth time!

Four days and counting ...

until payday.

But alas, within seconds, all that moola will be gone

and I'll have to start counting again!