Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dirty Dozen

My G man, aka Brainiac, turned 12 last Saturday, celebrating in style with mud fights, stream exploring, football and lemon pound cake. He invited 16 kids, including 2 girls, to party with him at my friend's place in Gerton. Thirteen showed, including one brave girl. Did I mention there were mud fights?

I get all weepy and sentimental when his birthday comes round. He was born pretty sick. His APGAR scores were in the toilet. I can honestly say, I didn't give a flying flip. I had been pushing him out for over two hours and was so exhausted that it didn't register things were bad. They cleaned him up a bit and whisked him away, in a very calm fashion, to check his breathing. Me? I'm still reeling from all that "natural childbirth" pain I signed up for in my birth plan.

Can somebody please give me some drugs now? A shot of tequila? A pill? Anyone? Finally I got a shot in my expanded hinnie. Big target. Damn that was good stuff and I drifted off to la-la land. But the boy, yet unnamed, was struggling to breathe. Pneumonia. He lay sleeping under an oxygen hood, turned up to its max. Before the beautiful narcotics sent me spinning, the DH said we should pray for the boy. Pray. Serious bizniz for the scientist who has difficulty believing anything he can't touch. And for the first time, I felt the gravity of the situation. Then I slept, despite my concern. Exhaustion + childbirth + drugs = dreamland.

At midnight (he was born at 9:23 am), his breathing improved and his oxygen was turned down. Whew! He was the biggest kid in the NICU. I hung with him for two days then the insurance company sent me packing, leaving my beautiful baby boy behind. Dude, if it happened today, I wouldn't take that bull shit. I'd have insisted on staying with him. But the nurses at Durham Regional Hospital rocked. They called me when nursing time came round and I was up there in ten minutes. He was home a week later.

Now I look at him and can't believe I have the privelege to be his mother. How can I deserve him? If you ever meet him, you'll understand.

The party lasted 5 hours, the mud fight a little less than 2. They were 15 minutes into the mud fight when one kid, Jacob, seemed to be struggling with a clot of mud packed in his ear. I watched from the pavilion as a couple of other kids tried to help. One genius filled up his Super Soaker with STREAM WATER and commenced "soaking" Jacob's ear. I'm thinking ear infection. Gross. But it seemed to temporarily resolve the issue and worked for the duration of the party, so who am I to judge? I bet his mother had to deal with it later.

A dozen memorable years I have been blessed. Thank you God.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Whew! I still don't believe it's true. The DH is asleep. He stayed up too late watching football last night. What a choice. Football or History. Football. History. Really. So here I sit, watching by my lonesome, doing the best I can not to scream that someone made a last second catch for the touchdown to win the game.

At 9:30 pm the Brainiac headed for the pillow and left me with his electoral map to color in blue or red- his homework. He also left me with strict instructions to wake him when I knew who was president. And to make sure he really heard me. I just returned from his room. "G", I whispered. He stirred and I said in my most restrained voice, "Obama won. He's the next President." He lifted his head of the pillow and asked, "Is it projected or did he really win?" I think he must have been awake. I responded, "Projected, but McCain is just about to concede the election to Obama AND Obama won Florida, Ohio and..." "OK, OK, I get it," he huffed and rolled over to get away from me. He is 11 after all.

Just before McCain conceded I switched to Fox to watch the coverage. They were so somber that you would have thought they were covering a funeral.

I just received an email from Obama. He is headed to Grant Park to speak. I can't wait to watch it.

This is history. And I am witnessing it. Really.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Go Obama. Thanks to my neighbor, Amy, fellow Obama supporter, for taking this photo of my pumpkin. My camera is MIA.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Firecracker is playing soccer and flag football this fall. Football is a new sport to him but he has excelled. It helps that the most of the other kids are 6 and he's almost 9.

At Monday's football practice the coach asked DH to coach tonight's game. DH couldn't but he volunteered me. Nice.

Stop laughing. I do have some experience with flag football. I played one season when I was 9 or 10. The only girl on any of the teams. I distinctly remember my team sucked. But I had a few moves to impress the boys. Football moves.

So I showed up tonight with 6 plays that the FC drew out for me. Sounded like a good plan, but I could barely remember the kids names so the plays were out of the question. I let them all take turns being the running back. "OK, Caden, your are the running back. Where do you want to start? Left, right or middle?" It worked pretty well but my little FC wasn't happy that he didn't get as much bill time. He was part of both the touchdowns, though. He ran one, and threw the pass for the other.

They lost 18-15. I think. They lost anyway. I couldn't wait for it to be over. I made me totally anxious.

After the game the coach's wife remarked, "He would be proud." Before the game began, upon finding out I was coaching, she exclaimed, "She's coaching!"

My sentiment exactly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Driving, Ms. Sassy

I have several elderly neighbors living round me. One is 85 and totally together. She has a pacemaker and is taking Coumadin but doesn't let it slow her down. She is very active in her church and a big reader - we trade books. I loan her the saucy ones, like The Other Boleyn Girl. She loans me the intellectual ones, 1776 and From Palestine to Peace. I haven't read either. Yet. But this isn't about her.

There is an elderly couple that lives on my street. A long retired social worker, she is sassy and stubborn. Retired from the CIA, he has enchanted us on several occasions with his beautiful rendition of some German song he learned long ago, but now is vacant and obedient. We love them - my family and our neighbors. A couple of years ago, their old-lady-ride Oldsmobile bit the dust and she bought a VW Passat. I'm not sure of her reasoning but she sure differentiates herself from other old ladies in our town. If one ever comes up on an Oldsmobile in this town, it is a safe bet there is a perfectly quoiffed older lady behind the wheel.

She shouldn't be driving. Not only because her diminutive stature impedes her view over the steering wheel, but because she doesn't have the metal facilities to operate a vehicle safely. One such indication is that she has repeatedly told different neighbors that her mother is visiting and driving her crazy. Of course, Mom is dead. On Sunday, she backed out of her driveway and hit a car parked on the street curb. Not a big deal. Except she left the scene. She was headed to Ingles to buy something for our neighborhood block party. She showed but didn't know any of us. She became agitated with me, called me rude and said I shouldn't speak with strangers like that. Sigh. We were all alarmed and saddened by her diminished mental state. I vowed to call her daughter who lives in another state.

However, last Spring, three neighbors, including me and my other elderly neighbor, separately called her daughter to express our concern. She dismissed it. She has been trying to get them to move to a retirement community in her home town but without success so she said she would get them some "help". I haven't seen any evidence of help, but even so, she shouldn't be driving. Many neighbors have witnessed her erratic driving on Merrimon Ave.

Yesterday, instead of calling her daughter again and waiting another six months for "help" to appear, I called Adult Social Services. I spoke with the agent for over an hour reporting what I know, which apparently isn't much; there were many questions I couldn't answer, filling me with doubt about my judgement. But earlier today I saw the County issued vehicle parked in their driveway. My guilt and sadness for subjecting her to the indignity of social services questioning her ability to care for herself and her husband is tempered by relief that maybe soon she will cease driving and the roads will be a little safer.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Bumper

On Saturday I was across the street visiting with my neighbor on her front porch when we noticed this woman walking by. She didn't appear to be out for exercise, as she was dressed too nicely. We figured she must be taking a break from the tennis tourney going on at the Country Club that is practically a stone's throw from my house. My van was parked in my driveway, the bumper facing out and she stopped to survery my stickers -Well behaved women rarely make history and Another Mama for Obama and It will be a fine day when the schools have all the money that they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber and Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety. After apparantly reading them all, she remained still and gazed at my house. I wondered what she was thinking? The rancher house doesn't match the veiws espoused on my bumper?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mama Bear

The Brainiac decided at age 11, to take up baseball for the first time this past spring. I was worried that he would be relegated to the bench, considering his lack of experience and skill. But we/he lucked out with a coach who was very supportive of all the kids and played all the kids equally despite their skill level. B even got a chance to play the infield a few times, as all the kids did. It was a very pleasant introduction to baseball.
B ejoyed playing so much he decided to sign up for Fall Ball, which is a differnt league than Spring Ball. It's not the same supportive environment. His team has ten players. Nine are needed in the field each game. The season is half over and B has spent half the time on the bench, swapping playing left field with another kid while all the others get to play the whole game. All get to bat regardless of their playing time on the field, so it's not about getting the best bats in and out. The good ol boys who are coaching the team are too lazy to rotate the kids in and out. So they have chosen to just swap B out with this other kid. The team, The Hillbilly Astros (I kid you not) is getting their asses waxed just about every game, so it's not about winning the title, etc. And even though he isn't a great player, he's just as good as the other outfielders.
B decides to take issue with this and we encourage him to speak with the head coach. After a recent game he approached the coach and told him that he wants more playing time. And the coach agrees. Then the B says, I won't be here for the next two games. He joked with the B- you ask for more playing time, then you say you aren't going to be here! We were proud of him for taking up for himself and felt like the issue was resolved.
We hit the road for Atlanta and missed the two weekend games. When the B showed for the first game back, we both realized that either the head coach had forgotten the previous conversation, or he just didn't give a flip. So when B took his place on the bench after his only inning playing, I approached the the coach and asked if he remembered the conversation he had with B about playing him more. He looked around as if I must be talking to someone else, then muttered, "I'll work on that." But he only played two out of four innings before the game was called because they were losing by so much.
It was my instinct to call out the coach for being so short sighted or lazy or just plain cruel but since I had a couple of days to think it through (and didn't have the coach's number), I settled down. The B said he would like to quit if the coaches weren't going to play him more and I supported it- he's not having fun and it wouldn't hurt anyone. But I thought he should give them one more chance. Show up for one more game. Give him the benefit of doubt -blah, blah, blah. Deep in my heart, I didn't believe they would but I was trying to fake thinking the best of these folks.
When we arrived on Saturday, we walked in with one of the assistant coaches who saw B but didn't even acknowlege him. Not a good sign. But to my surprise, they played him 4 out of 5 innings. In the outfield, of course, where he saw zero action. But he played.
At game's end, we encouraged B to thank the assistant coach for playing him more. He smiled, embraced him the way most men do only in the context of athletic endeavors, half hugging hugging, half pushing and said, "Aint nuttin against ya. I don't pay attention to all that suff."
Well, I'll take it. You can't write the script for these things.