Monday, June 22, 2020

Down Time...

Father's day and the husband's birthday came all at once this year. For all he does he only got one day this year to celebrate, and little choice on how to spend it.  My sister has given us family dinners for the last 2 Christmases as her gift.  We call get a calendar with pre-set dates and we meet at her house once a month for dinner.  Corona, of course, has side tracked that since March, but yesterday we assembled at her house for a cookout and much needed get together.

It was great, aside from the diverticulosis flare that started in the morning leaving me unable to eat anything.  The dog didn't come either, as she had been off lately, having little interest in bacon or cheese treats and whimpering occasionally when she puts her weight on her front foot. It was nice to see everyone, despite my discomfort, and even nicer to see Youngest sober for the entire day. I have been seeing tiny steps in a positive direction, nothing I can get my hopes up for, but still positive steps none the less.

I spent last night on the couch, wrapped in my weighted blanket and heating pad to alleviate the pain in my guts. In and out of sleep, I have vague memory of the goings on in the house.  At one point Oldest came in to check on me, asking me questions of Corona.  It seems he's concerned that his recent exploits on the beach have brought home COVID. I assured him he did not.  Youngest was home an hour and a half early and apparently tucked me in, shut off the TV and the lights. I woke up about a half hour later noticing his shoes were here, so I locked up and shut the outside lights off.

This morning has found me virtually fever free which should mean I caught things in time to prevent an infection. The dog's leg seems to be better, as she's chasing her ball around the house like a maniac and begging for cheese once again. Youngest came upstairs sporting an ace bandage on his wrist and several bruises. Apparently there was an incident while he was out on a walk last night, over something he didn't remember, and he's starting to see what we've all been saying.  He says he doesn't want to drink anymore.  That that's not the life he wants to have.  He also declared he's going to figure out what he can do that doesn't involve getting high for fun. He's made plans with some old friends for Thursday. All of which are positive things that I pray he sticks to. Oldest has decided to take a break from drinking on the beach, which is also good. He's also decided to spend more time on himself, eating better, and not looking for a spring fling. While I know he has no major issues with any of this, this summer could easily become a mess of chaos if it's not kept in check. 

Plans are being made for the fourth of July. Housing deposits for college have been paid. Youngest is checking in on his virtual orientations, and Oldest is connecting with college friends and speculating how the new hybrid learning will go. Bonus son is working like crazy, banking the overtime. The husband is on vacation week after next with will do wonders for his mental state.

And, I am getting some much needed down time, even if it's currently under a blanket with a heating pad on my guts.

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Terrible, Very Bad, No Good day...

I rolled out of bed with just enough time to get myself to work this morning.  Upon my exiting the shower, the husband reports that the boy left the window down in the car again. How one does that, when they are using the wipers because it's raining, I will never know. He also reports there is glass in the backseat.

So somewhere between throwing in the laundry and throwing my hair in a sloppy ponytail, I present myself in Youngest's room. He's awake, and comes upstairs shortly thereafter to move the car, because I'm not getting my butt wet before work, and clean the glass up. He puts on his clothes, his shoes.  Something smears under his foot on the dog's eating rug and he looks down dismissively. Thinking it's a dog cookie she's saving for later, I grab the vacuum and suck it up as he goes outside, moves the car, and begins to get the shop vac out to clean. The cookies didn't clean up as well as it usually does, which I found odd, but had no time to investigate. I sat in the kitchen putting on my shoes when I see something else on the floor.  I look outside.  More stuff.  In the driveway, more stuff.

Do you have dog crap on your shoe?
*looks at sneaker bottom* Yeah, I did.  But not anymore...
No, no you don't because it's all over the house.

I grab the hose and spray the driveway and slate down. I clean the kitchen floor.  I look at the dog, now sadly looking at me like, why is there random dog poop on my eating rug?, I apologize and figure I'll clean it up later.

I head to work for a horrendous day.  It's hot and humid.  I'm already done before the day even starts. My anxiety is so high I'm having chest pains.  I should probably go home, but don't. Two hundred and 92 packages, my biggest day ever.  I got stuck in two driveways, one of which 3 people had to push me out of. I got stuck behind the ice cream truck on a one way street and have no where to go while a line of kids slowly decide between rocket pops or SpongeBob with the bubblegum eyes. I miss a package and have to drive 10 miles back to get it delivered. I forget to turn my hazards on for the last part of the delivery because I had shut them off to deviate while delivering the package. When I get back into the office my boss asks me a vague did anything happen on the road today?  

Um, yeah... the day sucked... where shall I start?  I got stuck in two driveways.  
Well, Apparently the guy at 73 said you took out his rock wall.

So I proceed to tell him the whole story.  I got stuck in a situation I shouldn't have been in.  There was a rock on the ground that I popped back into the wall, that the bumper *may* have knocked out (it's a loose stacked flat rock wall) I checked the back of the truck to make sure I had not run into their mulch or shrubs, and I left. Could have been me, could have been any one of the number of construction guys they have working on their garage.  Honestly, I'm surprised they even called, they are usually very nice. Boss says "Okay, I'll see what I can smooth over."

I leave for the day and arrive with the dog at the door begging to go out.  It suddenly occurs to me that no one walked her all day. No worries, I think, and we go for a quick walk.  We get home and I prepare myself to scrub the dried poop from the carpet. Except it's not dry.  It's a giant new mess of diarrhea and grossness. Poor girl, no wonder she made a beeline for the door when I got home. So I trash the rug and make a mental note to replace it this weekend.

Then the cleaning begins.  Youngest was given a deadline, which was today, to get everything out of his room that shouldn't be there.  He knew I'd be cleaning. It was disgusting. But I will say that he did, for the most part, everything he was supposed to, and I checked everywhere. I was respectful of his things, only throwing out the actual trash (boxes, candy wrappers, school work from his junior year of high school) I found a book that needs to go back to the school.  I hung his wrestling awards. Made his bed.  Washed his blankets. It looks like a room he should want yo be in, not the crack head semblance of what it was, and it smells clean for the first time in years.

The husband came home and tells me the other side to my work story.  He works with the postmaster the latter half of the day and got wind of the wall story. Having no idea it was me, he got the run down, the postmaster says the video shows it was one rock, that was replaced, etc. No big deal.  Except now the guy is refusing to talk to the postmaster, he's filing charges with the police.

Awesome.

Seventeen years with nothing on my record. Not too worry though, I'll never set foot on their property again.  They can pick up everything at the post office from now on and I get to find out where that all goes tomorrow or Tuesday, we shall see.  Pretty sure this guy's not getting a whole new wall out of the deal though, particularly if he's using the video as evidence. It was one rock. Nothing I can do about it now.

Then as I'm cooking dinner, rather reheating a bowl of soup because that's all I have in me to make, when the small, completely unbreakable, Correlle plate I use to cover it hits the floor and shatters, just as the phone rings. 

It's the therapist calling me back.

Can't imagine why I'd need therapy, but I'm seeing her at 2 on Monday.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The End Of Chapter One...

It's over.

13 years of school, IEPs, wrestling, countless back and forth with teachers, administrators, etc. 

It's over.

Graduation happened on Saturday, June 6th, at approximately 9:10 am. It was awesome.  Students were put into four separate lots around downtown in their family car.  They were allowed to get out, and while distancing was not strictly enforced, I saw little contact more than a few fist bumps. Truth be told, I suspect many of them had been seeing each other long before this anyway. I saw a classmate that no one thought would graduate, not even his parents, and it made me hopeful.

An announcement was made that after attaching final decorations that everyone needed to be in their cars, ready to move.  In an organized fashion we traversed the street at 5mph down the waterfront to a huge stage where he'd receive his diploma.  There were banners across the street, teachers and administration lining the road, clapping and cheering them by name.  He exited the vehicle and waited on his socially distanced X on the sidewalk. His favorite teacher this year made him laugh before she announced his name. We drove up to the stage, I snapped pictures as it all happened, closer than I ever would have been able to be on the football field.  Televised, my sister and my parents were able to watch from home. He hopped back in the car aside the dog, because when the whole family is allowed, the whole family comes. She did her fair share of stealing his show. Our town is very historical, this year happens to be a monumental year for it.  In a way, it was fitting for the graduation to be in this location, and like nothing the town had ever seen.

On the exit street he jumped out to hug his 4&5th grade teacher.  She came on her own to see this class, his class, graduate.  It was special for sure.  Then it was down to the school where a parent had made a giant wipe board *diploma* the kids could sign and take pictures in front of.  His actual diploma, since there was no way to get the cars in perfect alphabetical order, were mailed out, and arrived on Saturday to complete his bifold.

We had a nice afternoon with my parents, sister and nieces and nephew.  We ordered from Youngest's choice restaurant, which is of course, what he had always wanted. Just dinner out, no fancy party. He invited two friends, who stayed for a bit, played cornhole, and left. Later he went and met up with a friend, and with most after parties cancelled, he visited the new girl for a few hours.  He was home an hour early.  All and all it was a good day.

But still, I wish it had been different.  I wish I had not seen what fell from his pocket at 830 am as he was about to cross the graduation stage.  I wish I had not known why the two friends were at the house, or why he met the other friend later.  And it saddens me to my core that all the after parties he was to attend, campfires with smores, fun around the fire pits, were not available for him because he has lost so many of his real friends throughout this whole process. His choices are costing him memories. He doesn't see it now, maybe someday he will. I wish he could have understood, and been okay with my husband's request to just give us two sober days with him. I wish I had not completely lost it 20 minutes before we were leaving, causing Oldest to not talk to me during the whole ceremony, or the husband and I dropping F-bombs in the kitchen as he walked away to finish getting ready.  I wish a lot of things had been different, but that's not how it is now, or who he is.

But it was a good day none the less.  I slept last night like I have not slept in months. I woke up energized and ready to take on the day.  I cleaned like others cleaned during the first days of quarantine. My kitchen table is completely clear of everything.  No masks, no sewing machine, no markers or poster board.  All my projects are complete.  I was able to bring in the plant I've nearly killed by putting it outside. My sheets are clean and the bed is made. Even under the bed is clean.  I am ready to move forward.

There's finally a period at the end of the sentence.

He's finished the chapter. 

And it's time for all of us to start Chapter two.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Two Days And Counting...

Two days before graduation, cap and gown pick up is today.  I took the day off just in case a check had to be written, or some odd and end that needed to be taken care of.

His plan was to head to the school at 10am. This meant that my whole day would not be monopolized by last minute changes. I went to pick up a special treat for him from the Scout Troop, visited a bit, dropped another treat by a friend's house, chatted with his mother and was by noon. He was going to bring the other treat bag by his friend's house and maybe get some lunch.  It was starting to look like a good day.

Until a friend called, and he decided to meet up, and he smoked himself into a comfortable coma, rendering himself unable to meet the other friend for lunch, pick up his accolades, or do much of anything, really. He fell asleep at one, and by two I will admit I was not nice when I woke him up.  Had I not taken the day off and driven him down to the school, he'd have stoned his way right out of participating in graduation.

I have moved past being disappointed.  He is the only one who can admit he has a problem, and he just doesn't see it.  In a matter of months, between corona and the senior slide I have watched him become someone I just don't even know any more. And while some things have been better, it's like I don't know who he is anymore.  He doesn't work out, and his nutritional health has taken a back seat.  He doesn't see any of his core friends (at first because of covid, now just because) He doesn't hang around the house, watch TV, read, or care about anything other than going out for a good time. There's a new girl, she's 20ish, seems nice, but something's just not right about her or them. I've moved past disappointed into full on angry. Angry that he's making this choice, they he doesn't see what he's doing, and that there's nothing I can do about it. I pray (yup me, praying) that this is just a summer phase. That he'll get back on track in the next month or two.

And I'm scared. His whole life we have put him on a road, and as he got older he decided where that road would go.  He'd have moments when he'd sit on the side of the road, wander off a path that loops back in, stop or run down it, but he'd always be going in the right direction. And now it seems he's off partying in the woods somewhere, and the fear is that in the ten weeks before he leaves for school he will not find the path through the forest that leads him back to the road in time. 

I can accept that he purposely tanked his fourth quarter grades. I can accept that he wants to enjoy his last summer.  I can accept that he's an adult and these choices are his own, as much as the consequences will be.  But I can not accept that I can't find any semblance of the kid I raised in him anymore.

And as I sit here looking at his cap and gown, captain pin, Eagle cords and mask with the HS logo, I can feel angry, sad, disappointed, and lost.  But I just can't seem to feel proud.

T-minus two days and counting.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Suddenly, The Calendar Is Full....

June 1 2019, Oldest's graduation:

Youngest:  "This is stupid.  It's hot.  It's boring. I'm not doing this for my graduation. Just mail me my diploma."
Me: "You will walk for you graduation.  A lot of people are coming from all over to see you walk.  It's tradition.  Don't be ridiculous."

June 2020:  Damn.  Well, here we are.  Well played kid.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I took down the school calendar the other day.  Seemed pointless to have it up, as none of the dates were relevant anymore.  I have hung that calendar on the back side of the cupboard door in the kitchen for 13 years.  It was the last one.

The other calendar that hangs by the microwave has hung there all but empty of activity.  Youngest puts his work schedule on it so I have a clue what's going on, but otherwise it has remained empty.  Until this week.

The school announced their plans for the Seniors, most of which is virtual and pre recorded. The wrestling banquet was very well done.  Youngest and I watched it together.  I teared up, he gave a casual smile of pride as he listened to his coach's kind words. It helped make his accomplishments real for him. I may have teared up a bit. I miss the wrestling family so much, and so does he.

Grades close in one week.  Youngest is still digging in, and I'm expecting at least one fail if not five for fourth quarter.  It's not a matter of access, time, or accommodations any more, but rather desire.  It's on him now, and if it bites him in the booty, so be it.  Overall, he'll still pass all his classes with at least a B for the year. And yet, even as I type this, the pit in my stomach rolls.  So hard for me to let this one go, but I have to.

Saturday he will swing by the church and pick up his goodie bag that the Boy Scout Troop made for all the Seniors.  He was the first to get his Eagle Cords for his graduation ceremony, the rest of the Eagle Scouts will get theirs in their goodie bags. They are red, white, and blue, with the Eagle Scout insignia on a metal charm that hangs by the tassel.  I think he's impressed that he will get to wear them. It was the first year they were approved tow ear during the school's ceremony.

Monday they will be issuing refunds for unused lunch money.  Next Wednesday he will turn in his books, and pick up the contents of his gym locker.  The athletic Dept was kind enough to cut everyone's lock off and bag everything up. The loss of the $10 lock is annoying but the book drop this year leads for more concern as it would be so easy for another student to swipe a *missing* book and claim it as their own.  And those suckers are pricey.

On Sunday the 31st, the Athletic Awards Banquet will be televised.  Honestly, I'm excited to watch from home in my jammies. Monday they are having a Virtual Class Day, again televised, that I can enjoy while eating popcorn in the living room.  It is also the deadline for virtual class registration at Youngest's college of choice.  Wednesday is the televised Academic Awards and Scholarship night.  Students who have been granted local scholarships will be notified by mail to watch.  Last year they awarded over 140K in scholarships. While I won't hold my breath, it would be helpful if Youngest got one, as it will help tremendously for the upcoming fall semester. The thousand dollar scholarship Oldest got last year went a long way.

I took Thursday off as it is cap and gown pick up day.  I suspect there will be some small fire I will need to put out via writing a check.  And if not, I can use the day to work on the car d├ęcor, because Saturday is graduation. Friday night they are airing the valedictorian, salutatorian, and guest speaker speeches.

Yup.  A drive up graduation.  It's going to be awesome.  Youngest gave me full reign of decorating the truck.  The family will pile in, including the dog.  We will drive downtown along with all the other early letters of the alphabet, drive up to the stage, he'll hop out, walk the stage, grab a *diploma* (the actual certificate will be mailed to avoid errors), snap a picture, and hop back in the truck.

No sunburn.  No waiting for 258 names to be read. No threat of random downpours. No squeezing your way in and out of the stadium gates with 2000 other sweaty people. No trying to find your kid afterwards in a sea of black and teal gowns. No having to park 20 minutes from the school because no one carpools anymore.  And no more squinting to see your kid's moment on the stage, as we'll be just 15 feet away. It's going to be epic.

Well played indeed, kid.  Well played. 


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Captain, My Captain....

The pile sat on the table until Youngest got home. Oldest had to pick it up from the coaches for him as he had to work an 8-4.  The coaches had assigned specific time slots on Tuesday to get their awards from the wrestling banquet that never was, as things abruptly ended 3 days before it was to happen.

They all got their Championship Jackets, their school swag T-Shirts.  Youngest got his fourth varsity pin and certificate, as well as his second year acknowledgement of his League All Star success. And the Captains Award. There are roughly 80 kids on the team, twenty seniors, and five captains. They give out maybe 6 plaque awards each year, and not all of them go to seniors.  He got the Captain's Award.  This is a BIG deal.

As he looked at the pile he finally cracked.  It meant nothing without a banquet and being completely embarrassed in front of all his friends by the coaches kind words. My eyes welled up, as the sucker punch landed that neither of us saw coming. I reminded him that it did mean something, that four years of work and those accomplishments should be celebrated. He took a deep breath and said, everyone can say it means something, but it doesn't.  Without a banquet to say it happened, it doesn't matter.  All these things I'm getting gypped out of that I should have, it's not fair and I'm getting cheated from all of it. I can't even get excited about college because every time I get excited about anything good it's taken away. So what's the point? 

And of course, he's right.  There will be a virtual banquet at some point.  The coaches are doing a video presentation and posting for everyone to see. But the time and date are yet to be announced.  Much like the plans for graduation.  The Thursday Night Lights that, had we been properly notified of, we would have attended.  The proposed Senior Night at the school that again, has yet to be announced.  How can these Seniors, many of whom work, plan to be there when they have no definite plans?

They have no definitive plans on when they can go and clean out their lockers or how to return books.  No directive on how to check lunch accounts, or how to pay or request refunds of unused lunch monies. No notice of lost book fees which leaves families forced to pay the outrageous replacement prices. No notifications of scholarship recipients.  No arrangements for captains pins, cords, or NHS sashes. There's no update of if the yearbooks are in, delayed, etc. or how they will be picked up.  "Cap and Gowns will be worn on the sixth as scheduled" is the only communication we have received. And for those of us that work, and need to put in for days off months in advance, even a rain date would be helpful for an actual graduation. All we know is that in 23 days it will all be over for all of them.

But will it really?  Without the end of High School will it even feel like it's over?  Will it even matter if the diploma sits in a pile of stuff on the kitchen table? I try to refocus him to the positive. That while none of the traditional things are happening, that there are once in a lifetime, unique only to his class things that he can be part of. That college is happening, if not in September, then in January. That this whole mess could create opportunities that would never present themselves otherwise.

I plant the seeds and hope it's enough. 

Because honestly, I don't know how many seeds I have left.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Depression Stage of Corona...

Truth is, my quarantine looks a lot different than everyone most. It actually doesn't look much different than my everyday life.  I go to work everyday. I grocery shop.  I order the things I can't get at Walmart. We get take out. Oldest is playing video games until his work opens.  Youngest is never home.  I've given up on fighting about it.  All of it.

This quarantine for me, is more of a mental mind mess than anything else.  I go out everyday and pretend that nothing is different.  Except it is. The volume of packages is higher than Holiday. We are working split shifts, so while I am still working the same amount of hours, I am not getting out until 4ish, when normally I'd be home at 2. And while I realize that this may seem petty, I need those two extra hours to decompress my day and get things done before the husband comes home and dinner needs to be started.  I worry that we have too much exposure.  I worry that I'm not doing enough to protect my customers.  I worry when someone pats the dog. I worry that I forgot to wipe down the house before everyone goes to bed at night.  I worry that I touched something in the grocery store and put it back when I changed my mind. I worry that my cough isn't allergies, even though I know it is. I have literally worried myself sick, when the truth is, in the end, the way though this IS TO GET SICK and develop the antibodies.

I joined a lot of face book groups when this first started.  A book club. No pressure there.  A bingo club, way fun, but I have to commit to a time frame at night. A theme day that I participated in maybe 3 times. Celebrating our HS Seniors, which I quickly found out was a national group, which was totally overwhelming.  A specific group for our high school seniors, which also became non local seniors and just got confusing. A support our local schools group who planned an entire parade only to have the police change the entire route last minute, which is fine unless you are trying to ensure it doesn't disrupt mail delivery and it involved over 1000 cars. And an adopt a senior group, where we adopt a HS senior and spoil them with surprises to brighten their day.  I started leaving the groups.  I just can't keep up, and it makes me feel even more like a failure. 

I am working.  I am running a house.  I am losing my mind.

I feel like a failure when the emails come and Youngest isn't getting his school work done.  I feel like he should be more on top of this, like I've failed at making him independent.  I feel like I fail because I'm not here to see what's been going on right in front of me, and now it's come to an undeniable head. I can not ensure he's doing his school work or even staying home.  I can't monitor who he's with, or what he's actually doing like other parents who are working from home. And I feel like a failure for it.  I am actually jealous of those who can stay home, which is stupid, because unemployed is NOT what I want to be right now. I nag all the time.  I'm passive aggressive.  This is not who I want to be.

Who I want to be is the tiny snippets of what I put on face book.

The one who finally cleaned the fish tank.  Instead of the person who cleaned it because I failed to  notice that there was a dead fish in it for lord knows how long.

The one who made this sign for the end of the street.  Instead of the person that made this sign to ease her guilt for not doing more.  I can no longer physically make masks, and without that I can't feel like I can contribute in some way.
The one who refinished this old crate I found in the attic of the garage into our official Christmas tree stand, sanding 50 years of dirt grime and mouse pee off, hand drawing our family joke logo, and sealing it so it's clean for next year.  Instead of the person who would admit she had the grimy, mouse pee, crate in her home under her tree last December.

The one who got this from Oldest and the husband for mother's day.  Instead of the one who picked it out herself, whose son didn't actually emerge from his room until 5pm to see what he had paid for.
Or the one who got these roses from her Youngest.  Even though he chose not to spend more than 30 minutes with me on mother's day. Because it's been that bad here with him. 

So I post the pictures in an effort to make myself feel better about the day.  To find glimpses of good in the otherwise drain circling depression I'm in. And two of my good friends comment about how bad I make them feel about how nonproductive they are being. Which again, makes me feel like a failure.

I feel like nothing's real anymore. Social media has been key for many in not feeling isolated, yet suicide rates, alcohol poisoning, domestic abuse, accidental overdose is at an all time high. So many proud families are on food stamps, assistance, and our local food pantry is feeding 3X it's normal homes. Day drinking has become a joke, like it's not concerning at all. I see posts all over face book that aren't real, this isn't new, it's a different level of deceit.  Because now we're all not just hiding behind screens, but behind actual masks in real life. And I think many are pulling those masks all the way up over their eyes.

We are in trouble folks.