Wednesday, August 19, 2015

First Day of School. Or Not

Two of my three kids went [bitterly] off to school today. Le Daughter is a senior in high school. Youngest is in 8th grade. Had Le Daughter not reminded me, I would have very likely forgotten to take obligatory first day of school photos.

I took them. And you can see how Youngest has far surpassed Le Daughter in height. Shit. The kid is taller than me. Being only 5'2", that's no hard. Still. There he is.

In the mole hole, a man-child lies sleeping. No photo of him. He'll be awakened many moons later and he'll go off to work. For a couple more weeks.



What then?

He'll leave us. He'll go to college. And if you want to fault me for anything, please do fault me for going into his mole hole -- long after he's gone off to work -- and smelling his presence. It is still him. But not for long.

Did I wipe a tear as I washed clothes this morning?

Yes, I did.

Do you want to make something of it? 'Cause I could so take you. And you. And you.

But I can't take away the fact that he leaves in mere weeks. Good-bye. As in, really. Good. Bye.


I came "home" the summer between freshman and sophomore years. And I never came home again.

So you can understand why stray tears fall. But they fall into nothing. And they fill up a canister of love.

I will have to get used to being a scent-free home.

He's a wonderful kid, that boy of mine. And I only wish him well. I don't want him to dwell on us. I want him to dwell on him.

It is as it should be. Canisters and all.

Friday, August 7, 2015

"We are Ruby's People"

That's a quote from my husband. It's been about two weeks since our cat went missing.

Tuesday would have been her 13th birthday. The notice on a neighborhood website regarding first a missing cat and then a second notice of its remains being found lead us all to believe that Ruby is no more. Drought has brought coyotes into our neighborhood where they've never been before. And they are ravishing any creatures they find.

And so we are certain that Ruby has fallen prey. That doesn't mean that I don't go out every morning, hoping against hope that I will see her. It really isn't unlike last spring, after the neighbor killed himself, when I'd open the door expecting to see Harry in his power-walking clothes, breathing heavily from his twice-daily two-mile walk around the neighborhood.

Like Harry, however, Ruby has not materialized. I no longer look for Harry. Soon enough, I'll no longer look for Ruby.

"She turned me off to cats," Eldest said, when we explained her likely fate to the two boys.

And that's when Pete pointed to that stupid mutt of ours and said, "That dog? She's our dog. Just like she is our dog we are Ruby's people."

She was not a welcoming cat. You could pet her. Twice. Try for a third time? She'd scratch the crap out of you. That didn't stop me from trying. And from feeding her all the time.

She was a fighter, that Ruby. She should have lived forever. I am actually comforted by the fact that a coyote got her and it was a quick death. She deserved nothing less.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, My Main Man

We sugar-coat, from time to time, our coupling. Yeah, I said "coupling." Goggle if you need to. But this man, that I have been married to for -- shit, I need a calendar.

This man that is with me? Your spouses can't live up to him. He is that. And all that. And that. And that.

I am extremely grateful to whatever cosmos or fate or god-like being you want to invoke that I have him.

There is no other. There will never be an other.

But, Pete? One of a kind. And it's his birthday. I will never be able to articulate who he is or what he is or, oh my freakin' god, how he is.

Thank you, the forces that made him the father of my children. I have never looked back. Not even one instance.

Love you, honey. I know you love me. You show me all the time.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Continued...No New Lockers in Sight

Let me preface with this: the fact that the high school principal is replying to emails on a Sunday? Kudos to him. (For the record, I work every day, too.)

The initial post.

His response:

Hello Patricia,

That is extremely valuable feedback, thank you!  Please do not ever stop being "that parent." I appreciate it when I get valuable feedback from parents advocating for their children.  I know I will with my girls.  We have looked at ordering more lockers but they are exorbitantly expensive and we would rather put that money towards improving curriculum and instruction. The unfortunate fact is that the lockers we have, are the "fixed" lockers. We will take your thoughts into consideration moving forward.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

And mine right back. Run past the husband because, you know, if anyone knows what a wingnut I am, it's that poor man. (Whose birthday is tomorrow, BTW. In case, you know, you want to get in early birthday wishes.)

Thanks, PRINCIPAL. I appreciate the response. While admittedly a limited sample -- given that like-minded folks seem to "FBriend" each other -- I can only say that the responses from others I heard from who received the email were similar to mine. I do not have precious snowflake kids. Heck, how could they be precious snowflake kids with me as their mother? But to expect students to schlep 50-pound backpacks back and forth to school because there aren't enough lockers is just bull. And while I, too, would rather put the money towards curriculum and instruction, I know that there are separate funds for facility improvements. It paid for the new administration wing. It paid for an improved dance studio. It paid for the new pool. They are separate funds.

I'd really appreciate it if you could let the new superintendent know that, until we're an all-digital society and kids each get a free iPad with textbooks loaded on them, they need to provide, at the very least, a bare minimum. And a locker? Yeah, a bare minimum.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Exchange with the HS Principal...Probably to be Continued

I'm just going to put it out there, with zero introduction. Except that sentence. Oh, and that one. Shit. Too many introductions.

The email from the principal of the high school Eldest graduated from in June and which Le Daughter will be a senior at next year and which Demon Spawn will start attending after Le Daughter graduates:


Attached is a revised PDF that includes all of the information that you will need for registration in August.  Please read the document and make the appropriate arrangements to ensure your attendance.  We have one very important change for NAME High School for the 2015-16 school-year.  Because we are extremely limited in the amount of lockers on campus we ask that nobody shows up early to place a lock on a locker.  The NAME High School administration feels that it is unbelievably important that our incoming 9th grade students have all of the available resources to feel welcome, comfortable, and ready to succeed as a SCHOOL MASCOT.  Therefore, all 9th graders will be guaranteed a locker on campus before any of the upperclassmen stake their claim.  Please note that if you arrive before August 14 and place a lock on a locker it will be cut off.  Thank you so much for your cooperation, and for your consideration of our incoming 9th graders.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

My response to him, just now:

Yes, I'm going to be THAT parent. It would have been great to know about this before my daughter went to put a lock on a locker two weeks ago. Of course, the lock was cut off. Which is fine. I get that. But it would have been even better to know this before you had the locks cut off. I'd have sent her down to remove it rather than have to go buy another lock.
Just one more thing. Has anyone considered making the district fix lockers so you have enough? When my eldest went four years ago, we had to repair a locker so he could have one. Yes, we did. We're handy like that.

Yeah, that parent. And you're stuck with me for another five years. ;) Please don't hold me against my kids.

Good god, I love email. Also? I love the district. I love all government workers. Said no Patty ever.


Sunday, July 19, 2015


Ashamed, I am, when the dentist sees Eldest for the first time. He is four. Apparently, that is too late to see a dentist. You need to see one, I end up believing, in utero. But he is my Eldest, that kid, and so I go to take him to the dentist when I think he should.

The dentist wonders if he was bottle-fed. Nope. Left with a bottle to sleep at night? Nope. Hanging on your breast whilst you sleep? Yes. Ah-ha! That explains the cavities.

It also, not coincidentally, explains why I am still sane after all those years.

So I bring Girlie when she is less than 3. It is a mistake. Girlie needs more time. In time, we will all know why she needs more time, and that gentle ogre of a dentist plays the part. Sing-songing to Daughter because she hates deep voices.

I want to marry the dentist then. But I don't because, hey, I've got the best husband anyone can find. I still do have him.

When demon-spawn comes along and projectile vomits on everyone his first couple of visits, they re-huddle. The next time, they have me don a gown and hook us up with the dental hygienist who will be there. Every. Single. Time.

Years pass. Dental insurance lapses. We still go there. We still go there because that dentist and his staff have wormed their way into our hearts.

Time marches on. The kids can use adult dentists now.

But my heart stays with them.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Day I Hold Dear

It is a day in Washington, D.C. It is a day in Huntington Beach, when a cousin set fire to his hand as well as to a firecracker. It is a day at Hickam AFB on Oahu. It is a day in Baltimore, in Long Beach Island, NJ, in Novato, CA, and, most poignantly, in Cocoa Beach.

It's not yet the anniversary of my Dad's death, but it's damn close. For his last Fourth of July, we put the egg-crate mattress topper in the bed of their Nissan pick-up truck, helped him up into the bed, and we drove to a strip mall.

It could be any strip mall in America. Or at least any strip mall in America where you're not in severe drought conditions, just waiting for some dumb-ass random neighbor to set off illegal fireworks and cause a fire of a colossal nature.

It wasn't the most spectacular of fireworks displays I've seen. Pretty lame, honestly. But I cried that night as I watched them. I cried because I knew the next Fourth of July would be one without my Dad. I was grateful for the dark. I could sneak peeks at him as he lay prone on that fucking egg-crate mattress topper, outfitted in an outrageous Aloha shirt, a flower-dotted green hat to cover the two brain invasions, and, certainly, black socks with a pair of tennis shoes. Outfitted to a tee in his Dadswear.

The hardest part about this whole atheism gig is the realization that, as I age, my memories dim and there will be no bright light tunnel I travel through to see him again when my time comes. I am quite rapidly closing in on the age he was at his death.

This is to you, Dad. I will do my damnedest to not lose those memories of you. And I'm eternally grateful to the cosmos that a part of you lives on in me and in my kids. And so on and so on.


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