Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I can hardly believe that I became a mother 23 years ago today.  It started as something on Oprah -- the ex and I watched some episode about older parents, and he decided that we needed to have a baby immediately, so that he wasn't too old to play with it.

We were 26.

And then we waited.  I finally became a bit suspicious, and stopped at the lab on my way out of work at Orlando Regional.  I talked the lab tech into drawing a pregnancy test on me, with promises to call me at home with the results, once the test was done.  Well, dontcha know, it was positive.  Now, way back when, I had asked the ex how he wanted me to go about telling him, should we ever actually have the stick turn pink.  He said he just wanted me to hand him something to do with a baby, and he would know.  So I ran to the store and bought a baby bib.  I think it said   I Heart Daddy. Ironically, on the way home, the radio was playing Danny's Song, by Anne Murray: "People smile and tell me I'm the lucky one, and we've just begun, Think I'm gonna have a son...."

We were living in an apartment at the time, so I went home, tied the baby bib to the door knocker, and then just waited.  After a while, in walks the ex, who says "what the heck is that thing hanging on the door?"  "What," I said, in my most innocent tone.  "I don't know," he said, while he opened the door and pointed.  "I don't know -- get it off of there and see."  "Oh, it's a baby thing.  What the heck is that doing there?"  I just looked at him.  Raised a brow even.  Waited.  And waited.  "What?""I'm pregnant."

It took a minute to register, and then the questions began.  Who did the test?  How reliable was it?  Was the person properly trained?  Was I sure?  And then the all time favorite --- "can I call my mom?"  All-righty then.  (This scene was replayed -- in its entirety -- about a year later when I found out I was pregnant with Jill.  And again it ended with "can I call my mom?"  It still cracks me up.)

That fall, I gave birth to the happiest, quietest baby ever to grace the planet.  He's still pretty quiet, and definitely happy.  He looks a lot more like Grizzly Adams now.  But one day, if I'm very, very lucky, he will find the right girl, and have a conversation that ends with "can I call my mom?"

Happy birthday, Thomas.  Your mama loves you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, Brother..........brothers.

It's interesting to watch the dynamic of brothers evolve, especially from the mom's side.  I never got to watch that with my own brothers, because I was the youngest, so it was already established by the time I came around.  And since I've never been a brother, I can't speak from first hand experience.

It's different with a brother and sister.  I remember when Jill was born.  She would sit there in her swing, with that bald head and huge blue eyes.  Swinging her would make her mad most of the time, so she just sat there, watching the world go round.  Thomas was 14 1/2 months old when she was born, and had just started to walk, so he would toddle up and watch her.  They were almost face to face when he did, and he watched her in rapt attention, silent, studying this new face.  Then suddenly, his arm would fly back and he would smack her BAM!  Right across the face.  And if you didn't get to him quick enough, he'd do it again, because usually she hadn't gotten a cry out yet.  I'm 100% convinced that he thought she was a doll that cried when he smacked her.  She was not amused.

It was different with Seth.  Thomas had just turned five when Seth was born, so there was a bit of maturity, or whatever you want to call it.  I'm sure he was interested, but I don't remember that much.  I do remember that by the time he was six or seven, Thomas would remark at how odd it was that they got along so well.  He attributes it to them having the same interests -- they do -- and Seth's demeanor, which is much the same as Thomas' -- chill.  Granted, they aren't exactly the same, mind you, but they do have a lot in common. 

Take this afternoon, for instance.  Thomas stopped by to say hi and to borrow my power adaptor for my car.  He got talking to Seth about a TV show that he is watching.  Now, Thomas has literally been trying to get the boy to watch this show for MONTHS.  He guaranteed him that he was going to love it, but somehow, his cajoling wasn't working.  He practically begged him to watch it at one point.  He finally resorted to telling him that every time he came over, he was going to punch him if he hadn't watched it yet. 

And he did.  Seth got punched in the arm more than a time or two.  To be fair, he was warned every time, he knew it was coming, and there was always laughter involved.  He even ducked a couple of times and got away, but it was always there when he came back:  a single punch to the right deltoid, as a reminder to do what the bro said.  Then one day, he gave up.  He said it was futile, so why bother.  The brother was not going to listen to his words of wisdom.  He sighed and looked melancholy.  The influence of the older brother seemed to have left the building. 

Well, somehow this weekend, he decided to watch it.  I'm still not sure what the trigger was, but he watched an entire season twice in the same weekend, between him and Chris doing nerd stuff, checking on the chickens, and of course, the two of them eating me out of house and home.  He's hooked.

So Thomas stopped by today, and was blown away.  "Mom, do you know what Seth did?  He watched the whole season in two days."  Seth said "twice."  Thomas looked amazed and said "you watched it twice?"  "Yeah.  It's really good.  You need to bring me season 2."  Thomas just shook his head.  He just hasn't realized, some things take time, while the idea germinates around in that head for a while.

Seth promptly went to Facebook and offered to loan the DVDs to a friend from school.  Said friend swore he will bring the DVDs back.  If not, Thomas may go back to plan one:  a punch every time he's here until the DVDs arrive.  Brothers.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sethanese, Otherwise Called My Land of Confusion

So, I picked up a prescription for today.  The Spare to the Throne was in the kitchen when I opened it.  Ever looking for the teachable moment,  I reminded him that anytime you get a prescription, especially if it looks different than the last one you had, you should check the bottle's description and make sure you have the right pill.  "What do you mean" asked the boy.  "Read the label.  It should have a description of what the pill looks like."

He says:  "on the front of the pill, there is a 20.  On the back of the pill is.....hey.  How am I supposed to tell which side is the front, and which side is the back?" 

"Seth, the front has a 20 on it." 

"But what if the 20 is actually on back, and the other numbers are on the front?  I mean, the front and the back could be transposed, and then I take the wrong pill, and...........it could be cyanide."


"See Mom, this is what I mean.  Look at this other bottle.  It says "one side of the pill has a 297 on it, and the other has UNI.  They don't differentiate front and back.  I find it all very confusing."

And then he just grins that grin that says AHA, and walks out of the room, leaving his mother to realize that, one year from now, he will be living in a dorm somewhere, and I will have no cheap source of entertainment.  Or confusion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not all memories are bad

I remember September 11, 2001.  We found out about the first plane hitting the towers when the ex called his dad to ask if he could use his AAA to get his car towed.  We watched,horrified,  as the events transpired over the course of the next few days.  I was glad that my kids were homeschooled at the time, because I knew that nothing bad would get to them as long as we were all together.

But as horrible as that day was, I remember something funny too.  (Of course.) 

Jill was supposed to start soccer that day.  It was the first time she was playing.  She was 10 years old, and had never played sports, but she wanted to try it out.  She was a dabbler, trying tumbling for a few weeks, violin for about six months, and piano for two years -- from a teacher who, ironically enough, was in the airport in New York when the planes hit the towers.  Her story of getting home was amazing.  In either event, Jill was going to have her first soccer practice on September 11.

I called them and said "Jill's not going to be at practice today."  The girl who answered the phone said "honey, NO ONE is gonna be here today."  I said "no, you don't understand.  She broke her toe at McDonald's yesterday, so she won't be there at all.  The doctor said she can't play for at least six weeks."  We shared a laugh over that, on a day when laughs were few and far between. 

Never forget.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Red and Orange of It

The goal for this weekend is to go through it with my hair being the same color all weekend.  So far, so good.

Last weekend, I came to the realization that I was not going to pay someone to do my hair, at least not for now.  I love the girl who's been doing it, but I just can't seem to get across to her that my hair is supposed to be RED.  The first time or two, she nailed it, but since then, it's been shades of brown, to the point where Jim has lamented the departure of my normal color.  I'm paying $100 a pop for it, and to not have it be right is not making me a happy camper, because funds are short when one has a kid in college, you know?

And so it was that I found myself in the hair color aisle at Walgreens.  Granted, I used to always color my hair myself, but I hadn't done it in a while, and wasn't sure how to color it over a color.  I had read that you can strip the color out and start from scratch, so that's what I decided to do.  I found the L'Oreal Hair Color Remover, then found a shade of red I wanted to try.  Now, this red was a bit lighter than the one I've used in the past.  It was named some kind of reddish blonde, and usually I use "lightest auburn," but my hair was starting out darker than usual, so I figured I was safe.  Well, not so.

I used the color remover, and kind of followed the instructions.  It said that if your hair was supposed to be red or brown, to strip it down till the color looked reddish yellow.  Well, me being me, I lost track of time, and when I went to check, it was already yellow.  Well, that was ok, cause what's a little lighter, really?   Well, when I say yellow, I mean it was banana yellow.  But the box says to color right over it immediately, so I went right to it.  When I got done, I looked like something right out of one of my new favorite movies, "The Fifth Element:"

Yep.  Bright orange.  And we were going out for drinks in an hour.  Oh well, the bar was gonna be dark, and we were gonna be with good friends, so oh well, live large.  Jim came to pick me up and after he sucked in some air, said "WHOOOOOOOA!"  That was quickly followed by "you're not going out like that, right?"  Well, I told him I'd go get a new color and redo if I needed to, because we had about 45 minutes, and it only takes about twenty to color.  He said no, just leave it alone, but his face was not convincing.  I decided what the heck, I was gonna get my punk on for a night, and off we went to the bar.  Amazingly, when our friends showed up, they didn't think it looked more red than usual.  It was either the dark or the drinks, or just plain charity on their part, cause wow.  It was orange.

The next day, I toddled off to Walgreens again -- orange hair and all -- and then had to decide, yet again, how to go about coloring colored hair.  I was concerned that if I tried to remove the color again, my hair would never forgive me, so I planned to dye over what was there.  But then the problem arose.  What color does one choose?  I mean, the box shows what color you're starting at, vs where it will end up, but none of them show the starting color as crayon orange.  So, I just took a wild guess, grabbed a box of red brown, and went off to color again.

It's now a dark auburn -- a few shades lighter than it should be, but at least the red is back.  I mean, I don't feel like myself without the fire in my hair, even if it is not as bright as it should be.  My hair has been fighting back this week, as flat as a pancake, so I'll be leaving it alone this weekend. 

Maybe next time, I'll do the easier thing and just go blue.