Saturday, May 31, 2008

17 (Almost 18)

I'm getting ready to violate one of my own blogging rules (i.e. thou shall not post stories about thy children which might later be used against thee in a court of law) to share a little testimony. I also need to document this in the permanent record for discussion later with her probation officer, but that's another story altogether.

First, a little character say the youngest daughter has a flair for the dramatic is an understatement. She's always excelled in drama and linguistics (we've told her she should be a trial lawyer). She's also beautiful and intelligent, but does not know the meaning of the word "moderation" (e.g. yesterday, I watched her whisk in 6 (SIX!) Equal packets to her small vanilla white chocolate mocha). The perfect metaphor for her life was discovered the other day when she was cooking (scorching) scrambled eggs and I suggested turning down the heat. She responded with, "I cook everything on high. It cooks faster that way. Go away!" And that is how she lives her life, everything on high, all the time, without assistance. Impetuous, Impatient, Independent.

So we were not terribly surprised to hear (via a frantic phone call from her sister) that she was on her way to the Greyhound station, California bound, late Thursday night. She was supposed to be at a friend's house. She left our house after a heated argument with her dad involving broccoli (oh sure, we're laughing about it now), chores, respect and use of the family car. We were not surprised to hear she was headed for the bus station because a) she tried leaving the house with a suitcase full of clothes, saying she was going back to California (she ultimately ran out the door with a purse full of books...she's an avid reader...aside from the gravity of the situation, the sight of a runaway carrying nothing but a big leopard print purse overflowing with books is quite comical), and b) she's independent enough and fearless enough to carry through. But we were very distressed.

I called the bus station to see if there was anything we could do to stop her from leaving (there wasn't enough time to drive to the bus station before the bus was scheduled to leave). I spoke to an undercover detective who was stationed there. He told me that the laws in MO prevented him from stopping her (the laws of MO are actually a contradiction...while parents are responsible for their kids until they are 18, teenagers are considered emancipated at age 17, meaning they are free to run without interference and without responsibility, since their parents are still responsible for their insane law that puts 17-year-olds in a position of untouchability), but he promised to keep an eye out and check the passenger manifest. I hung up the phone, called her cell phone, left a message that we loved her and wanted her to come back home, and then prayed, because I knew she was not in our hands at that point. The detective called back an hour later to tell me that she did in fact present herself at the counter to buy a ticket, but they couldn't sell it to her because the bus was full. He said she was still there with a friend but there were no other busses running to CA until the next day. Thank you, God! A few minutes later (now about 1:00 am), she called to say that she had decided not to go afterall, no mention of the fact that the bus was full. And I didn't tell her I knew otherwise. I'm just thankful that she recognized the "intervention" for what it was, a wake up call.

I took Friday afternoon off to spend some time with her. She apologized. We kissed and made up, for now. There will be more drama between now and the date she turns 18. I could say that 18 can't come soon enough, but truth is, we don't stop loving our kids once they become "adults." We still want to help them find happiness.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

We Interupt This Silence...

To share a perfect illustration of irony (from the directory of my company's intracompany online website):

"Tax Comptency Inventory"

Presumably, this (the link to a list of employees) is where we can go to find people in the company who are "comptent," wherever they may be. The inventory is self-populated, by the comptent people themselves (or at least those who think of themselves as comptent), so you can imagine its usefulness.

In other news, there is a bridge being built (weak and shaky as it is) to cross the generation gap in our household:

Younger Daughter (stopping for a moment between constant channel changes on the car radio): "Oh, I love this song!"

Me: "You do?! So do I!" (the song is Landslide...don't laugh, but I love to turn up the volume on this song, especially the intro)

YD: "Yeah. *sings along for a bit* "Did you know Fleetwood Mac did this song originally?"

Me: "Um, this IS Fleetwood Mac." (one of the buttons on my radio goes straight to classic rock of the 70's and 80's and this is that station, so I'm pretty sure of my facts although I often doubt myself these days) "This IS the original version...who did you think it was?"

YD: "Sheryl Crow"

Me: "Ouch! Nobody sings it like Stevie Nicks."

And so we shared a moment of common affection for a single song before returning to the ear-splitting sounds of Urban Hip/Hop/Pop music. Gah.

I just looked up the song in Wikipedia and it mentions that Stevie may be "singing about her own life and her growth from child to young adult. When it comes time to move from home and abandon the lifeline she has known as a child, she wonders whether she can make it on her own." A very serendipitous moment indeed.

And now, we return to the regular feature...zzzzzzzzz........


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Monkeys Do It Too

Now, the scientists say the binging isn't really our fault. It's biology. The monkeys do it too. Stress eating. Dominant class and subordinate classes of monkeys were studied, and it was discovered that initially, the dominant class ate more. But once high fat, high sugar foods were provided, the subordinate animals (harrassed all day by their superiors) snuck out at night to feed on these dopamine-rich, serotonin-enhancing, endorphin-inducing foods. So I guess there's really nothing I can do about it. More ice cream, please.


Monday, May 19, 2008

A Great Day!

It's been awhile since I've enjoyed such a nice day. Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day (79 degrees, sunny, light breeze). While the morning started out with a lot of teen angst drama, it turned into a very lovely day for me and the younger daughter (I've concluded that it is best to spend time with them one on defense if you will). The father figure left town last Thursday (to Seattle, to meet once again with the engine surveyor) leaving the three of us to our own devices. While killing each other was an option, the younger one and I quickly agreed that it was a perfect day for the zoo (and this drove the older one to seek out her friends instead...she had no interest whatsoever in walking about Australia and Africa). We hadn't been to the zoo in years, but it seemed like a good idea.

How many storks does it take to make a baby?

Can you smell me now?

According to my daughter, kangaroos always appear to be stoned. I asked her why? She said, "because they're always eating, their eyes are all squinty...and...well, just look at them!"

Huh? Wha?


Hey man, I can't get up...can you pass me that joint?

(And no, he's not dead...I stuck around long enough to watch him scratch his belly)

After the zoo, we went to the Plaza for an early dinner at the Cheesecake Factory...salads for dinner, saving room for a slice of key lime cheesecake (the fact that we both heartily agreed as to the choice of cheesecake was a miracle in itself). Even with the salads, we had leftovers. If you've ever ordered the cobb salad, you'll know that it is roughly the size of a volcano. Then, to Barnes and Noble for some book perusal and a few books. Then to the movies. We went to see the new Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian...highly recommended (the best movie I've seen since No Country for Old Men)!

All in all, I count the day a success in the teen relations department and it was a nice relaxing way to spend the day.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

More With the Dog Poo

Oops, he's got it again! Smokey has once again come down with a case of the stinkiest, runniest poo EVER (nearly exploding out with every breath he takes)! I won't pretend to know now what it's like to work in a nursing home, but I'm thinking it may be similarly unrewarding work, at best. Fortunately, this time, we caught the problem before it hit the carpet and we have managed to confine Smokey to the great outdoors (thankfully, the weather has been pleasant) and the tile floors. We went to the vet again yesterday and they ran more tests to see if his liver has anything to do with this. And while it's not the cause of the immediate (bacterial) infection, it does appear that he has some sort of systemic infection going on that is weakening his system (possibly a condition known as "hepatic lipidosis" which can also cause muscle wasting, so that may also be the underlying cause of his weakened hind quarters). He also has lots of "gunk" (the doctor's term) in his gall bladder. All told, he is now taking 6 assorted medicines and supplements. What is interesting to me about this is that his brother, Cocoa, diagnosed the systemic infection/condition several months ago and the doctors are only now getting around to addressing it. Cocoa is our house doctor. His constant sniffing of the small cyst that has been on Smokey's eyelid for a couple years recently expanded to sniffing of Smokey's entire abdomen area. We've heard of dogs diagnosing cancer in humans, so I've no doubt that Cocoa is capable of diagnosing his canine siblings.

We're hopeful that the recent round of meds will quickly bring the immediate problem of exploding diarrhea under control as well as clean out the excess gunk in his system. Poor boy. He's very embarrassed about all the problems he's causing.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yesterday, I retrieved the Grasshopper from the body shop...$9,628. Value of being able to drive it home...priceless.

Yesterday, the neighbors finally had a replacement mailbox installed (which means their rural postal carrier no longer has to get out of her car and walk up to the house...I gave them the insurance claim info the day of the accident). They were sitting on the porch as I drove by in the newly revived Grasshopper so we exchanged waves. They told my husband that they thought about putting a big target on the side of their mailbox for my benefit. It's nice to have such understanding neighbors. I think. :-)

Yesterday, I taught our 17-year old how to use the new washing machine (she's been here almost a month and is only now realizing that if she wants clean clothes, she may need to pick them up off her floor and wash them). This morning, at exactly 15 minutes before we had to leave for work, she began washing a load that included her work shirt, not thinking about how long it would take to wash and then dry the load. So she went to work wearing a dirty wet t-shirt.

Yesterday, my younger brother was released from the hospital following a heart attack scare that landed him in the emergency room the night before. He says it was stress related but he's okay (they don't think it was a heart attack). We discussed the value of lessons learned and more importantly, of listening. We both work in stressful fields and we both take our work too seriously for our own (and our family's) good. He reminded me that God doesn't always give us second chances.

Since my last post, the 19-year old mother-to-be, has moved back home and we are thrilled. We have had some good quality time together and she has finally acknowledged that life out on her own was a lot harder than she thought it would be. She listens to her 17-year old ("I'm almost 18! I'm almost an adult! I can do anything I want! I can't wait to get out of here!") sister and just smiles. They all learn, eventually. We hope.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Updating My Resume


Via Jim, the merciless child fighter.

20 may not sound like a lot to you, but I'm adding swarm-fighting skilz to my resume.

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