Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Epically Awesome in Every Way...

So... last Friday night, after three days of worrying that it would rain and we'd have to move everything into a gym and much plotting about tickets, screens, and just how much humanity could be packed into three gyms and a band hall... this happened...

(photo by Jo Jandrok)

The Impertinent Daughter graduated from high school.

I am so incredibly proud of her, for so many, many things.  I am proud of what she's achieved academically and artistically, but... I am also proud of her for thinking for herself.  For doing things her own way.  For sticking to it when things got tough.  For being willing to ask for help, and for being willing to go beyond what her teachers assigned.  

I'm also proud of her class, for refusing to be intimidated by a woman who had been trying to squash them all into the same little boxes pretty much since they met her in sixth grade.  I'm proud of them for turning their graduation into a joyous, boisterous, yet controlled celebration of both achievement.... and freedom.

When the beach balls appeared during that particular administrator's speech, I knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary graduation!

(gif by K. Griffin)

The beach balls were rapidly followed by streamers, silly string, and confetti cannons.  A friend told me later that at previous graduations, when the beach balls appeared, they were rapidly captured by administrators and popped with a knife, which I find disheartening.  This year, however, when the balls were caught by administrators.... THEY THREW THEM BACK TO THE KIDS, AND EVEN ENGAGED IN PLAYING WITH THEM!!

I found that awesome and wonderful.  Like they were saying, "Okay, our job's done, you guys turned out just fine, let's just have fun!"

The best parts of the evening?  When the Valedictorian gave her speech, which was basically, "don't make high school be the best years of your life, the best years are yet to come, " she ended it with reminding her classmates of their plan, counting off, and leading them in a shout of, "DOBBY IS FREEEEEE!!!"

Most of us parents had no problem understanding that the reference went beyond Harry Potter.

The beach balls, streamers, etc. continued throughout the ceremony, much to everyone's amusement, and I think for us parents, the challenge was to capture it all.

(gif by K. Griffin)

The only thing that really bothered me was finding out the hug to the 12th grade assistant principal was required.  I'm sorry, but if the only way you can get people to hug you is to make it a requirement, then maybe you don't deserve to be hugged in the first place!  And I was concerned when I saw the kids were draping something around her neck, and wondered what the heck was going on.  When I found out what was actually going on later, though, I realized the kids got back at her in the only way they really could.  They were draping their IDs lanyards around her neck.

I hope she realized it for the insult that it really was, though I doubt it.

It doesn't matter, really.  What matters is that after twelve years of endless reams of paper, pens, pencils, crayons, textbooks, YouTube math and science tutorials, endless excuse notes, two bouts of mono, four concussions, sketchbooks, Prismacolor pencils, gouache watercolors, algebra and calculus books from Half-Price Books, freezing in the stands for three years watching her play soccer, holding her when the coach turned out to be a clueless jerk, conferences and meetings with principals to argue against stupidity in administration, happy-happy-joy-joy dances with her teachers when something went right, endless discussions about science, politics, Shakespeare, history, or whatever else she was studying, after lots of hugs, love, many, many batches of double chocolate chip cookies, and encouragement... the Impertinent Daughter has graduated from high school.  My beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, talented, and just plain EPIC daughter graduated.

And I am so proud!

(gif by K. Griffin)

You go, Boo-Girl!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Because there's no way to really prepare...

I somehow never envisioned this day.

Well, I did, but far off in some misty, distant future, nebulous and untouchable in the land of Someday.  Because in my mind's eye, last week, my daughter was two and lurching around the living room with a very large dog and three attendant cats, chocolate smeared around her mouth from the chocolate chip cookie she was hanging onto with fierce determination as she headed for her goal; the front door.

Three days ago, she was pushing her baby brother in a giant Tonka truck across the kitchen floor while he squealed with glee, making "Vroom! Vroom!" noises while the Triplicats scattered out of the way.

Two days ago, she was waving impatiently at me to leave as I hovered outside her first grade classroom, her brother in a backpack on my back, hoping she was going to be okay, and that she would make friends.

Yesterday, she was playing in her first soccer game, stunning us both as she displayed a determination and ferocity that has gotten her through every hurdle that has been placed in her way.  I still remember having to hold onto the Husbandly One when a kid who seemed like a veritable giant loomed over her and looked like he was going to plonk a massive fist on top of her head and crush her as he stole the ball from her.  She looked up at him, sniffed derisively, then plowed him over as she took the ball back, and passed it to one of the forwards, who immediately took it and made a goal.  She then turned to face the boy and flounced past him to show how beneath her contempt he was and ignored him for the rest of the game.

It was very demoralizing for him.

Last night, I hugged my seventeen year old daughter for the last time, and this morning, I hugged my eighteen year old daughter for the first time.

The night the Impertinent Daughter was born was one of the most... ridiculous and yet wonderful nights of my life.  My water broke three fourths of the way through an episode of the X-Files, an episode I still to this day have never seen through to the end, and then we were rushing to the hospital, feeling woefully unprepared.  I mean, we decided on her name on the way to the hospital!!  Seriously!!

I had a C-section, because she was a breech baby, and I remember when I heard that first cry thinking, "Oh, my God... what have I done?  What have I done??  I can't be a mother!!  I'm too immature!! I'm not stable enough!  I'm gonna fuck her up, and she'll be lying on a couch by the time she's 25, spilling her guts to a therapist about her whacko mom and how she totally fucked her up and... and... I CAN'T DO THIS!!"

Meanwhile, they were cleaning her up, and the Husbandly One was looking at her and cutting the cord and all that, and then they laid her in my arms, wrapped up like a little burrito.  I looked into her tired little scrunched up face, her centuries old eyes looking up into mine, and felt my breath catch.  She wriggled a tiny hand free of the burrito wrap, then reached up to touch my face, stroking my chin, and suddenly, I was calm.

I could do this.

We could do this.  We would grow and learn together, and we could totally do this.

And now, here we are, eighteen years later.  She's got a driver's license.  She'll be graduating from high school in a few weeks.  And there's a part of me that's screaming, "No, no, I can't do this!  I can't let go of my little girl, my baby, my firstborn, I can't let her go out into the wild, crazy world, because she's not ready!  I'M not ready!!"

Today, she hugged me, and touched my face, and I thought, "Maybe... maybe I can do this."

Nah, not really, but you know... I'll give it a really good try.

Happy Birthday, Impertinent Daughter.  You have given the roller coaster of my life some really wild twists and turns, some of them utterly terrifying, but I hung on and I've enjoyed the ride.  And I can't wait to see where it'll take us next!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"I'm having trouble breathing in..."

I don't garden like I used to, though I have hopes that will improve.  But this song?  Duuuude, it's like she's been <i>hanging out across the street or peeking in the backyard gate!!</i>.  Because that's what my gardening experience has become... for reals.  I yank weeds, pull up the pecan tree sprouts the squirrels have planted in entirely inappropriate places... and end up having to go inside and take a nap.  After using the inhaler.


Well... here's hoping to improvement this year!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Because excuse notes should be entertaining, right?

The Impertinent Daughter is a senior and will be graduating this year.  That's twelve years worth of excuse notes that I've written for her alone (because I home-schooled her for kindergarten), and I am so done with this school district.  Seriously.  

In fact, you could say I've gotten rather jaded, and after last year's experiences of having to go toe-to-toe with administration just to get the Impossible Son moved to a class where he wasn't being bullied by his teacher, and then this year, well... I finally just... let go and gave them the full benefit of my biting sarcasm and dry wit when I had to write excuse notes.  Or when I have to check the kids out of school.

Once, when I had to pull out the Impertinent Daughter to go with us to one of the Impossible Son's orthodontic appointments, I wrote in the check out slot, "orthodontic torture" for the reason.  When she started her period and was cramping so badly she couldn't stand up straight, I wrote, "uterine vengeance and gore."

Why not?

So one morning, when I was sitting there, trying to cudgel my not really awake brain into composing yet another bland and professional excuse note, I just... gave in to my inner demons and wrote this:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter's absences on Monday, February 3rd, and Tuesday, February 4th.  We shall blame her grandfather for this one, because he was the one who decided to pass down the completely unnecessary and totally un-fun Migraine Gene.  He could have passed down any gene but this one.  Did he give her his green eyes?  No.  Did he give her the ability to imitate any bird call she hears?  No.  He gave her migraines.  

We have both decided this is totally unfair and wish to complain to the management.  Management seems to be ignoring us at the moment, and so, she’s had a migraine the last two days, and while she isn’t really over it, she’s attempting school today anyway."

I figured, what the hell?  What are they going to do, yell at me?  I'll just smile evilly and ask them what precisely is wrong with the excuse note?  It gives the salient facts in an entertaining and light-hearted manner, and if they don't agree, too bad.  Besides, I'm working on the supposition that these things are just as boring for them to read as they are for me to write.  Why not entertain everyone?  I figure it's a win all the way around.  I get to practice my creative writing skills, and they get to spew coffee all over their office!  WIN!!

Here's another one:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absences on Tuesday, February 11th, Wednesday, February12th, and Thursday, February 13th.  

There was an epic battle with a virus that turned into a secondary sinus infection.  Fortunately, the valiant Sir Zithromax came to her rescue, and destroyed the bacterium that tried to invade her sinuses.  This enabled her trusty White Knights to defeat the despicable virus that had brought her down in the first place.  Thus, she is able to return to school today.  Do not be startled by the barking.  It is not a werewolf.  It is merely Miss Impertinent coughing."

Or this one:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence from school on Friday, January 11th, and Monday, January 13th. We were having adventures with possible mono, which most fortunately, did not come to pass. The doctor did not want Miss Impertinent to return to school until the blood work came back, due to Miss Impertinent’s unfortunate habit of biting people and trying to turn them into werewolves. We’ve had the werewolf discussion with Miss Impertinent. I don’t think she’s listening. Still, the blood work came back and showed no mono, just an opportunistic virus that had nothing to do with werewolves, and everything to do with making her queasy and tired. She should be fine for most activities, but definitely not werewolf hunting."

This is one of my favorites:

"Please excuse the Impertinent Daughter’s absence on Wednesday, January 8th. There was nausea. There was cramping. There was fatigue. And even worse, there came the Dreaded Noises We Shall Not Speak Of. Because of this, I, in my role of “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” decreed that the Impertinent Daughter should stay home and not inflict herself, nor her possible projectile vomiting (which thankfully did not occur) on the innocent populace of the high school. 

She is still pale, wobbly, and vaguely nauseous, but determined not to miss classes. Should she become horizontal and immovable, I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the doctor."

On that last line, I ALMOST said, "I shall arrive forthwith to whisk her away to the voodoo practitioner of our choice, there to have beads rattled over her, and then to be suspended by one leg until the evil spirits be exorcised or fall out forthwith..." but I figured that would have been a bit much. Besides, l like to keep the excuse notes to one page, if possible.  It's best I limit myself, you know?

Lest you think I left the Impossible Son out, here's the only excuse note I could find (I think two others are either on the iMac, which is unavailable right now, or simply lost):

"Please excuse the Impossible Son’s absences on Tuesday, March 4th, and Wednesday, March 5th.  First he turned green.  Then he got the bulging eyes.  There may have been excessive salivation.  Thankfully, there was no projectile vomiting, though there were prodigious amounts of mucus.

Did I mention tonsils the size of ping pong balls?

Thankfully, it wasn’t some strange tropical disease, though that might have been quite exciting.  And the doctor tested him for strep and mono (which seems to be going around), both of which turned out to be negative.  So he should be good to go.  However, should he start sprouting excessive hair, well, it could be puberty, or he could be turning into a werewolf.  Please refrain from the use of silver bullets until I can come pick him up."

Fortunately, the staff at both the junior high and the high school have been getting a big kick out of these excuse notes.  I had the principal at the junior high run me down one morning to tell me how much she enjoyed reading a note I had written when the Impossible Son got his first migraine (ugh).  It reminded her of her mother writing a similar excuse note for her when she was in high school, so she thought it was pretty hilarious.  And the normally dour attendance clerk at the high school is cheerful and greets me by name when I call in now.  So... WIN!!!

And just think, they have at least five more years of this, until the Impossible Son graduates!

*evil smirk*

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Because This Breathing Thing Is Harder Than It Looks....

This has been a really tough winter for us.  First, the Husbandly One brought home the flu for Christmas.  We were extraordinarily lucky that neither of the kids got it, but he got the H1N1 version... and I got the other one.  For once, our kids took care of us, and wasn't that a switch??

While the Husbandly One was initially much sicker, getting a dangerously high fever one night, high enough that I was ready to drag his stubborn hide to the emergency room, he recovered much quicker than I have.  We both took Tamiflu to reduce our symptoms, and the kids took it as a preventative, and we got through it.

But the flu hung on to me a little longer.  And when it finally left, we discovered it left friends.

Say hello to Mr. Secondary Infection.  Oh, and Mr. Bronchitis.  And let's not forget Mr. Lingering Cough!

But, I did start feeling better.  And I was kind of getting back into the groove when what is known here in Central Texas as Cedar Season hit... early.  And this year?  It was a doozy.  Think... CEDARPOCALYPSE.

Yeah.  That bad.

Guess who's allergic to cedar pollen in this house.  Well... all of us, actually.

But guess who it knocked completely flat?

Yeah.  Me.

The Impertinent Daughter got a sinus infection.  The Husbandly One got a sinus infection.  The Impossible Son hovered on the edge of a sinus infection, but seemed to avoid it.  Barely.

Me?  Well, I have asthma.  Asthma that has been remarkably quiet in the four or so years since I started taking Dexilant for gastric reflux.  I haven't had to take asthma medications in all that time.  Except the rare use of my rescue inhaler because of nearby grass fires, etc.  It's been wonderful!  It was like having my life back!

Until cedar season hit and all of a sudden, I couldn't breathe any more.  And the next thing I know, I'm back on Advair, I'm back on the nebulizer, I'm back to using my inhaler every four hours, and shaking like a leaf all the time.

Finally, the Husbandly One whisked us all away to Rockport for the weekend to see if it would help.  And it did.  I was finally able to draw in a deep breath for the first time in two and a half months, and we were all better for the clearer air.

It made coming back home a real bummer though.

And... I was back at the doctor's again today, because... now I'm coughing up yellow stuff, and for someone with asthma... that is a very bad sign.  So... now I'm on a antibiotic because the doctor informed me, as have many over the last few weeks, "You are absolutely not allowed to get pneumonia!"  Which would just be the total capper to the season, right?


The thing is, the very frustrating thing is, after you've gotten your life back, and you're used to doing things again, like getting out and doing stuff with your family, and going places, and just... being outside without worrying it's going to set you off or make you miserable... you kind of get to liking it and wanting to do it as much as possible.

And when you can't... it's very discouraging.  I have things I want to do.  My son will be starting his track season next week.  I would really, really like to go to his meets without worrying that I'll either have an asthma attack, make myself sicker, or have to go home after an hour because I'm too tired to stay awake.  Not to mention how crap-tastic that would be for the Impossible Son, because he wants his mom there.  He wants his mom cheering for him, taking ridiculous photos of him, and just being his best cheerleader ever.  Not curled up in bed at home.

My doctor, and my sister, who is a nurse and more than familiar with me, and with allergies and asthma in general, have pointed out that this was a huge shock to my system and I've got to give it time to... recalibrate.

My family needs me, and I need them.

Can you tell I'm frustrated?  Because I am.

I won't let this beat me.  But... it's very frustrating, inconvenient, and... did I mention frustrating?

Just breathe.  Just breathe.  Just breathe....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dumber Than A Box Of Rocks... With Fur.

I have never claimed that the current version of the Triplicats were smart.  The original Triplicats... now those were some scarily smart cats, but they were raised by a dog, so...

The Triplicats 2.0, however... are dumb as a box of rocks.  But we love them, mostly.

Today, though, they're making that box of rocks look pretty damn smart.

So, I take my kids to school every morning, and when I get home, Calcifer, the orange tabby, is usually right at the front door, waiting for me to unlock it so he can either greet me with much affection... or make yet another escape attempt until he decides, "Hey, wait a minute... it's FREEZING out here!! LET ME BACK IN NAAAAOOOOOWWWW!!!!"

This morning, he wanted to slip out, so that meant me squeezing in through a barely opened door while blocking him with my purse, then yowling softly at him to make him back off.  He didn't back off far enough, because when I stepped back to lock the front door, I stepped on his tail.

Did I mention I was wearing Doc Marten's this morning?

He let out a truly epic cat squawk of pain, and I hastily lifted my foot while saying, "Well, if you didn't want to get stepped on, you shouldn't have gotten under my feet, you dumb cat!"

He streaked away from the door, a very unhappy cat.

In the meantime, Muta and Yuki came hurrying in on hearing Cal squall to see what was going on, and they see a cat racing away from the door.  Do they think, "Oh, no, our littermate that we've known and lived with for the last FIVE YEARS is hurt, we must check on him!"


All I know is, squalling cat running away from me, I lock the door, and turn to see Muta and Yuki both frizz out and go into full attack mode, racing after him while yowling their battle cries and slashing at him like he's the feline version of Public Enemy Number One.

Calcifer, already freaked out, is completely stunned and basically says, "Wait, what the fuck, hey, it's me, I'm hurt, WAIT, WHOA, OH, MY GOD, THEY'RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!" and runs for it.

I grab pillows off the couch and fire them after the cats to distract them, because I can't believe they're actually attacking Cal.  Took me a minute to realize why they were attacking him.  It's... stunning.  I'm thinking, his scent hasn't changed.  His color hasn't changed.  Nothing about him has changed.  So why???

I figured they'd probably get over it and forget.  That later, Cal would come out of my daughter's room, and the other two would be like, "Hey, dude, where you been?  There was this other weird cat here, you should have been here, we would have totally kicked his ass if you were here!"

That... hasn't happened yet.

As a matter of fact, now, they don't recognize each other at all!  I mean, here it is, seven hours later, and they ran into each other in the kitchen, and it was like, "Who are you? "  "No, wait... who are you??"  "Da fuck??  Who the hell are
There was a squalling melee in the kitchen, and now they're all hiding from each other.  All three of them.  In.  The.  Same.  Place.   Under my bed.

This should be fun.

My cats.  Are idiots.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Power of Vocabulary...

Reason number 253 why my son rocks:
Walking home Monday, a group of large sixth graders (meaning they were bigger than my son, who is a five foot tall 7th grader) tried to involve the Impossible Son in a fight by calling him names.
"Hey, faggot!!"
He stopped, frowned, and looked at them.  "Why are y'all calling me a bunch of sticks?  I know I'm skinny, but duuuuuude..."
They stared at him and said, "Wait... what?"
"That's what faggot means.  It's a bunch of sticks."
"No, it doesn't!" one of them said in disbelief while the rest stood there with their mouths hanging open.
"Yeah, it does," he said over his shoulder as he started walking away.  "Look it up in the dictionary."
He said by the time their brains finished processing it and they were able to move again, he was too far ahead of them to even bother.
And just in case you were wondering...
faggot or esp  ( US fagot  (ˈfæɡət) 
— n
1.a bundle of sticks or twigs, esp when bound together and used as fuel
This is what happens when you read fairy tales to your kids when they're little.  
Heh heh heh...