Archive for October, 2007

Blogger bash #2

October 31, 2007

One suggestion, maybe next time it should be set up like those speed dating events… Billy could blow the whistle, and everyone could move on to a new table. Morton Malaise sort of did this on his own, due to his chivalrous nature, constantly getting up so a tardy blogger could be seated.
I had fun with the lovely ladies, but I missed out on getting to really meet the blogfather, Peoria Anti-pundit, the rep of a local politician, the mysterious commentor, and getting to chat with my favorite, Chef Kevin. Oh, and Diane, what’s up with ditching the girls for the dudes?
I really wish I could have talked more to Jaded and EBB, too, I love both of their blogs.
And, really, what’s the deal with the MConoughey rep only talking to the men? Remember, we’re here and we’re queer!!! Oops, wrong slogan.

October 26, 2007

Reagan ran into my bedroom last night and said “MOM! I’m 2/3rds done.” Uh? with what? “You’re two thirds done with me! I’m 12, I’m going to move out when I’m 18, so there’s only another 1/3 to go!”

If only it were so easy.

I vividly remember going into Kroger’s on my first solo outing after Reagan was born. Such freedom, walking down the aisles without a newborn and a 1 year old in tow. I could look through my coupons, scan the per ounce prices, gaze lovingly at the bakery cakes my budget and diet couldn’t afford. No whining, crying or diaper changes, it was heaven. Until I was exiting the store and a poster caught my eye. Missing: 18 year old girl. Dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin, an older version of my newborn daughter. Travelling home from college, she had vanished. Tears welled up. I couldn’t move. I just stood
and
stared
and cried.
I had loved my children from the moment I knew they existed.
But this was the moment that it struck me,
How utterly devastating it must be to lose a child.
And, how I would, for the rest of my life, worry about them. Their health, their happiness, their safety.

New blog

October 24, 2007

Please check out this new blog, by my dear, dear friend. She’s smart, loyal, funny and has a chaotic life in many ways, so I’m sure her blog will be interesting.

October 24, 2007

My always “with-it” friend Katrina sent me the obituary for one of our high school teachers, Mr. Hopp.

He had a wife and four kids, plus:

“Conrad graduated from Bradley University, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in education.”

“He was a licensed real estate salesman for five years with Ron Hodges Realty. Conrad owned and operated restaurants in Florida and Peoria. He also owned and maintained 15 rental properties in the Bradley area. He was a joint owner of a farm located in Fulton County. Conrad was a licensed barber instructor, teaching at Midwest Barber College and Peoria Barber College, last working in 2004.”

“He was a Korean Conflict Army veteran and was a member of Elks Lodge 20 in Peoria.”

Wow…
parent
spouse
student
teacher
real estate salesman
restaurant owner/operator
property owner/renter
farmer
barber instructor
veteran
lodge member

Gosh, I’m a big slacker in comparison. He was able to do so much in his 74 years, in such diverse fields.

It’s inspiring, and making me think about my future. My current roles are mom, employee (of a small literacy based non-profit), PTO volunteer, nagging wife, and friend, but I think I need to expand upon this, volunteer more, go back to school. According to his obit, Mr. Hopp was teaching barbering (is that a word?) well into his 70’s, so at 36 I really shouldn’t be thinking I’m too old/busy/inept to do ________.

So, what’s holding you back, if anything, from your dreams and desires?

Fired

October 22, 2007

Friday afternoon, I received an email from my husband that said:

“I got fired today. I’m at home working on that.”

Yes, that was the sum total of the email, no explanation.

It was a really fun afternoon at work, knowing my husband just got fired, that we have little savings, and the kids’ birthdays and Christmas are all right around the corner.

He is going in today for his exit interview. Friday he was told by his boss that it was because he had lied about having an interview with another employer. (My husband has been looking for another job for a couple of months, and has had a couple of interviews, but had not yet taken another job, trying to make things work with his current employer because he really loves his clients.)

Saturday, panicking, I went into Peoria and applied for a couple of part time jobs at the Shoppes at Grand Prarie. (Not at Bar Louie). Taylor and his friend J. came with me; I sent them off to ogle HALO 3 at one of the video game stores and headed into a store to apply. After filling out an app, I wondered through the mid-sized store, and upon reaching the exit I realized that Taylor and Jake were behind me. They said “Wow, we’ve been following you around for 15 minutes and you didn’t even notice us!” There were three employees working at the store, including the manager, very few customers (it was early and the store is new) so I’m sure they noticed that the middle aged woman applying for a job has two teenaged stalkers, and that she is apparently so unobservant that she didn’t notice their presence. Nice.

Then we headed across the street so I could apply at Starbucks. I talked to the guy working at the counter and he was really nice. We joked some and he said “you have to be crazy to work here” and I said “good, then I’m a good fit.” The application was interesting, it had a spot to put “Other names you are known by” so I put “Hambone.” (seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking, other than “heee, heee”)

Upon arriving home, Taylor’s friend W. passed me a note that said:

“Jennifer,
As probably the most trusted adult in my life, I feel that there are things I want you to know, and ask for some favors. In my situation some adult support will make things easier. I did not know how to put this into conversation
To put it simply, I’m gay, if you didn’t know before. I’ve been battling it for the last 3 years. I knew I was different at a very young age. I feel fully comfortable revealing this to you. Taylor has known for the last few weeks and has been very accepting about it…. I feel like I need to put this behind me so as to have one less challange in my life.
Before I came to your house this evening, I put a letter in my own mail box for my mother to read when she gets back. She has been very prejudiced towards gays all of her life and I put tons of information along with the letter to perhaps change her mind otherwise. At the moment, I do not feel comfortable going home and if it is okay with you, I would like to stay until tomorrow evening. Also, I would really like it if you would come talk to my mom about this when I return. I’m not sure I can face her alone and I think you can give her a better explanation. This is all your own decision.”

WOW. Wow. wow. I feel so honored that a child felt comfortable enough with me to trust me. To come to me for advice and help.
But, I was also filled with fear. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to adequately help W. That I would stumble over words, that I would cry. My biggest fear was that W.’s mom would reject him. That my reassurances to him, that his mother loves him, that she might already know, that she might handle the news much better than he expects would be wrong. That she would reject him as being less than, as being perverted, for something he has no control over.

I prepared so many speeches in my mind, all boiling down to one main point:
“D., W. is a wonderful boy, smart, empathetic, kind and funny; his sexuality has nothing to do with any of that, and doesn’t change anything about the boy you love.”
W. (and I, to an obviously lessor degree) waited anxiously all night Saturday and all day Sunday, for his mother to call or stop by. (even though he had asked her not to in the letter). Waiting until 4:00, the self appointed time he was going to go home, with me in tow, was excrutiating. W. was living with the fear of rejection, that his mother would be unaccepting, that she would no longer love him, that she would hate this aspect of her child. I can’t imagine having such a burden as a thirteen year old.
Luckily, 3:30 Sunday afternoon, his cell rang and went to voice mail. It was his mother. She sounded overwhelmed, distraught, but not angry. She said she loves him, he is her son, and that they would talk when he got home. So he went home without me.
I tried to call him later that evening, to see how it went, but he didn’t answer. I’m crossing my fingers, waiting to hear anything and hoping that everything is okay. It was a crazy weekend, but the stress about W. reminded me that a lost job isn’t the end of the world, some people face much larger issues.

Proof positive?

October 17, 2007

A few minutes after dropping Reagan off at a Fresh-Soph football game she calls me, an urgent tone in her voice:
Reagan: “MOM! I’m at the football game!”
Me: “Uh, yah, I just dropped you off?”
Reagan: “And I just heard that Tay has a crush on A.!”
Me: “Well, it could be just a rumor.”
Reagan: “Yes, but it’s true! EVERYONE knows about it!”

(Hmmm… and he has asked to go to tomorrow night’s 8th grade girl’s basketball game)

RCD

October 16, 2007

Last Saturday Reagan and I spent the day in Peoria, babysitting my nieces, shopping and running errands. At the end of the day we stopped at Campus Town and had Chinese food from the quickie super small take out place. Sitting at a table nearby was an early 20’s college student, we’ll nickname RCD (rude college dude). He earned his nickname by speaking (nye, SHOUTING) into one of those walkie talkie cell phones.
RCD: “YOUR DAD SAW HIM PLAY?”
????: (garble garble garbled response)
RCD: “DUDE… YOUR DAD MUST BE LIKE 75 IF HE SAW HIM PLAY”
????: (garble garble garbled response)
RCD: “MY FRAT GAVE ME A NICKNAME THE OTHER DAY”
Me: “LOUD MOUTH?”
(Other patrons, Ha, ha….)
RCD makes eye contact with Reagan and me. Reagan does an exaggerated pointer finger to the mouth “SSSSHHHHHHHHH.”
It was so funny. Reagan was cracking up. I was cracking up. The other patrons were cracking up. RCD seemed unfazed and kept to his conversation for another minute or two, until his food order was called. He grabbed the food, and walking by us asked Reagan “Was that ‘SSSSHHHHHH’ for me?” and she responded “YES!”
Sometimes I love how ballsy, how outgoing, my daughter is, she has this unique quality, of being able to connect and talk to people of any age. And, while, RCD was undoubtedly rude, the whole situation was so good natured, that I was actually glad, I felt like Reagan and I connected with the people around us (united against annoyance?) in a way that doesn’t often happen in our rushing, lack of social connection world.

October 10, 2007

Me: “Reagan, what are you studying in Math?”
Reagan: “We are making scarecrows.”
Me: “For Halloween?”
Reagan: “No, for Veteran’s Day.”
Me: “Veteran’s Day?”
Reagan: “Yes, they point at the door.”
Me: “Uh…. Why?”
Reagan: “I don’t know.”

I think I’m missing a key piece of information and it really makes me wonder what my daughter is doing in class while her teacher is talking… covering up her ears? Humming? Text Messaging miscreant boys? So, does anyone know of any sort of scarecrow Veteran’s Day tradition?

Later in the evening:
Me: “Taylor, you get more handsome everyday.”
Taylor: “You get older everyday…. Oh, I think I see another gray hair!”

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….

October 1, 2007

Sunday at Flat Top Grill my daughter unwittingly paid me a compliment. We were writing our names on the little wooden identifiers for our stir fries, and I told Reagan I was going to write Paley McFlattington on one and we would see who they handed the food to, me, her or MarySue. Reagan thought they would definitely hand the food to me and said “When I’m an adult, I’m not going to be like YOU. I mean, I’m going to be a great mom, but I’m NOT going to PALE or FLAT.”

Alternate title: Compliments: You take ’em where you can get ’em….