If You Loved Me...

Much to my dismay, I am not currently on an airplane headed toward Denver to bury my friend.  I'd like to be, I really would, but sometimes things just come up.  Things like the fact that my son was laying in bed the other night and while he was laying in bed, the whole bottom end of it came apart from the whole top end of it.  Whee!

So now we have to buy a new bed for one kid and give the other kid one more reason to feel totally oppressed and not quite as loved as the others because as we all know, if I just loved him as much as I love the other ones, he'd have a new bed coming, too, and maybe a pony as well.



The horror. I don't know how he goes on.  Someone call the authorities.

I Guess I Won't Be Needing That Shovel After All

We are official 10 days into my mother in law's visit, with 7 left to go, and no one can believe this less than I can, but her visit so far has actually been, oh, what's the word?  Nice?  Easy?  Pleasant?

Dear god, I'm enjoying my visit with my mother in law.  Sign me up for AARP, and make a 4 o'clock reservation at Country Buffet, because I'm one mature old woman comin' atcha.

I got really sick, and then she got really sick, and so my house is a mess and it smells funny.  We laid low this week, but took advantage of the sun last weekend and this weekend to go be tourists.  The very best thing about having company is remembering why you live where you live, don't you think?



I'd didn't even once feel the urge to shove her over the chain link fence. That thing's dinky; I totally could have gotten away with it.



But then I wouldn't have gotten this picture, and I love this picture. And so will 3of3 someday, I'm guessing.



No, I am not spontaneously reproducing beautiful little Indian children; that's my neighbor's kid, and my son's BFF. He rocks seriously. I'd steal him, pho sho.  And I could have framed Gramma for it easily.  She just got back from Africa, he was born in Africa....



On my sickest of sick days, I sent The Donor out with the girls to Chinatown, where I totally resisted the urge to pay someone to slip a little something in her tea.



3of3 wouldn't been smiling half as wide as she is, had I gone ahead with my evil plans, now would she?



I actually stopped before dinner and grated some extra cheese that wasn't covered in the plague.



I didn't even want to shove her into oncoming traffic while we were hanging out on Robson Street downtown.



I let her go look at the Totem Poles with the sane child rather than having a heart attack while the toddler attempted to break every bone in her body.



They seem to be enjoying themselves, wouldn't you say?



And when she got worn out, I actually let her not die of exhaustion and instead sit on the park bench for a rest while we dorked off in the rose garden in Stanley Park.



Okay, I just like that one, is all.



I made certain she stood at a safe distance while the boys practiced their acrobatics, where no errant feet could "accidentally" land on her fragile bones and break her in two, or at least seriously incapacitate her.



Speaking of acrobatics, or circus freaks, or just weirdos, or artists, or kung fu hustlers, or something.



Well, okay then.  Notice how my excessively large steak knife is all the way over on the complete opposite end of the table from her?  It stayed there, all night.



And I didn't even say a word when she put the moves on my man.



This helped things out considerably.



But this helped even more. Like, so much, I can't even tell you.  As it usually does.  See all of Lotus' less incriminating Weekly Winners right here.

Where Are All The Good Men Dead?

A few, um, years ago a wrote a little post just saying I was having lunch with a boy named Tim.  I wish the comments had carried over so you could read a little more about him.  Either way, I never really said another word about it, so I thought I may as well tell you all the story today.

I met Tim at the Burger King on 88th and Wadsworth in Arvada, Colorado in my junior year of high school.  We went to high school together, but he was a big popular soccer player and I was a complete, scary, theater geek dork who had just moved to Colorado after leaving her insane mother in the middle of the night in Delaware.  I'd seen him, but never knew his name.  We had a monumentally different core friend group.

Anyway, some friends and I were out driving around the mall and some guys in a car started following us.  One of my friends knew them and so we let them follow us to the Burger King.  I can't remember what we talked about, but I do know that by the end of the night, Tim and I were running around laughing our asses off, crowing each other Queens and Kings with those paper Burger King hats.

I never expected to talk to him again, knowing how the social structure in high school goes, but he totally came up to me a few days later and said hi.  And then he called me over to his locker one day, just to talk.  We ended up being really good friends.  His boys, THE boys, gave him more crap than I can ever begin to describe to you for hanging out with me.  One day, I was walking away from them in the hall and they gave me that glare-with-a-shoulder-bump thing that asshole jocks give people they don't like, and as I walked on I heard him say, "Shut up, I just like her.  She's nice.  You could be, too, you know."

You stick up for my honor?  You're stuck with my ass for life.

We graduated and I gave him a Burger King Hat, he wrote something very sweet in my yearbook, and that was that.  A year, a year and a half later, I ran into him somewhere.  My boyfriend and I were broken up, and so Tim and I went out to Ground Zero in Boulder (and if you know what that is, congrats, you're ancient) and had one of those one-thing-leads-to-several-nothers nights.  I'd tell you the details which are actually quite funny, but honestly it's one of the most silly, romantic, awkward memories I have, and I'm keeping it to myself.

We never "dated."  We just hung out.  A LOT.  I was living with a friend with a colicky baby, and he'd come over at night to help me with her.  We never went out on dates, I never met his mom, we just watched movies and ate Snack Packs and did other things I won't mention.  We were young, not even 20 yet, single, not looking, and old friends.  It was safe and easy and comfortable.

And then my 20th birthday came.  I didn't hear from him, and I noticed that I hadn't heard anything.  My nose was actually bent a little out of shape about it.  We weren't dating, he didn't owe me a call or flowers or anything, and I had no right to expect any.  I went to bed kind of upset over the whole thing, even though I'd had a lovely party with a bunch of friends.

I should mention here that my roommate and I shared a bed because the baby had the second room.

I stirred in the middle of the night because I thought I felt something at my feet.  I thought it must be Jen, and so I rolled over and tried to get back to sleep, when I realized that I was really feeling something at my feet.  I froze for a second and then ever so slowly, I tried to sit up.  Right there, right in front of my face, was Tim.  In my bed, damn near right on top of me, grinning his dorky ass off.

Dude, what the FUCK do you think you're doing?

To which he replied, "It's your birthday.  You didn't think I'd miss your birthday, did you?"  And he leaned up, gave me a quick kiss, and ran out of the room.  I jumped up, followed him out, and in the living room I asked him exactly how he'd gotten in, since the doors were all locked.

"I broke in through the patio door, of course."  "Dude, the patio door is on the balcony, three full stories from the ground.  How'd you get up?"  "Oh, that.  I climbed all the balconies."

He climbed.  All three balconies.  In the middle of the night.  To say happy birthday.  TO ME.

I told him he could leave the way he came in, and he did just that.

He continued his very non-committal relationship with me for a few months, even though his friends we still downright pissed at him for seeing me.  We had a really great time together, and then my ex and I decided it was high time to give us another go.  I went into the place where Tim worked to tell him I couldn't exactly be sleeping with him anymore, and I saw something I fully did not expect to see.  The dude's lip quivered.  He stammered.  He wished me luck and walked away.

Oh, fuck, dude.  You liked-me liked me, and you never told me?  FUCK.

Anyway, I didn't see him after that for a long time.  He moved to Florida, and his friends who so disliked me eventually came around.  I'd see them out occasionally, and they said that Tim sold them on me, and that they were sorry they'd been so mean, and that they'd misjudged me.  At our 10 year high school reunion, 8 years after our little thing, one of them had Tim on the phone and handed it to me.

We totally re-connected.  We'd talk on the phone sometimes, email sometimes, and once he called me all drunk and told me he loved me.  And then he handed the phone to his drunk friend, also in Florida, who told me that, Oh yeah, he loves you.

That is why I was nervous to have lunch with him.  We have a lot of emotional history, after all.  Lunch that day was totally nice, though.  We talked about his job, how he'd finally managed to leave Florida, and my kids.  We just caught up, like good little grown ups, and made tentative plans for another lunch.

I can't remember if we actually made it to another lunch, but he and his friends used to come to my bar about once a month to hang out.  We were emailing pretty consistently again and texting back and forth and just kind of around in each other's lives, you know?  A few months before I moved back to Canada, and back with Josh, Tim and his same two friends and I all met out at some Denver bar for drinks.  Tim was smashed by the time that I got there and it wasn't an hour before he had to go home.  I hung out with the other guys for a while who explained to me that the reason he was so smashed was that he was nervous to see me.  That he was going to try to make his move that night.

(Aside: It wouldn't have worked.  Just throwing that out there.)

I talked to him the next day on the phone, just for a second, to make sure he'd gotten on the right train home, and I haven't spoken to him since.  I've sent a few emails, and a little while ago I sent him a friend request on Facebook, but he never answered it.

He died last weekend of unknown causes.

He'd apparently met a girl, got married, came home from his honeymoon and had some surgery on his ankle.  Four days later his brand new bride found him unconscious and not breathing.  3 1/2 weeks in a medically induced coma brought no help, and his wife and family pulled the plug last weekend.

I know a lot of people who've died; like, an unreasonable amount.  Most of my houses in my chart are in death.  It kind of surrounds me and shit.  But I've never had someone this physically close to me die, and I'm having a really hard time processing it.  Some whom I've lost, I can pinpoint their smell, or the feel of their hand in my memory.  This one, I've got a pretty good recollection of through every single sense, and even though it's been more than a decade, and more than a lifetime without him having a big presence in my life, I find myself aching today.  Some part of me feels like there's a void.  The saddness that comes with that feeling is, quite frankly, shockingly low.

I never told him how much he meant to me.  I never thanked him for sticking up for me for all those years.  I never said I was sorry for ignoring how he felt and just going about my way.  I never said a lot of things I ought to have.   His services are on Tuesday in Denver, and I am going to try to find a way to be there so I can say these things to the ether, and maybe, if I'm very wrong about some of my core beliefs, he'll catch them.  In case I can't make it, I'm putting it here, and sending it out from me, and I hope it gets where it needs to.

Tim, you changed my life.  You made some very awkward years easier for a scared girl who just couldn't handle anything harder than what she was facing already.  You were the first boy who ever was "interested" in me, and you were a perfect gentleman from start to finish.  It's men like you that restore my faith in mankind in general.  I will cherish every single moment I've ever had with you, and don't think I don't know how lucky I am to have had them.  When it comes time for me to tell my boys about how to treat a woman, you will be the first example I bring up.

I will miss you, my old friend.  I thank you, and I'm sorry.  You are not dead in my heart, and you never will be, as long as I have one.

More

I'm not going to talk about the bailout, I'm not going to talk about the bailout, I'm not going to talk about the bailout.....

Today was parent teacher conferences at my kids' school.  2of3 has a new(ish) teacher this year.  His old grade 2-3 teacher went on maternity leave (we get one entire YEAR up here) and he should have just been placed in her replacement teacher's room, but her replacement teacher just so happens to be my next door neighbor.  He's seen her in her jammies.  She will not be his teacher this year; no way, no how.

He was placed in his grade 2 math teacher's class, so she knows him, but only in the context of the one subject he loves.  He is a great math student.  He pays attention, he knuckles down, he excels.  We were practicing algebra tonight, for fun, if that gives you a better picture of his beautiful little mind.

My kid doesn't pay attention to anything else at all ever.  Well, except for puzzles.  He's kind of a genius when it comes to puzzles.  Like, enough that his preschool teacher pulled me aside one day and said, "Duuuuuude."  To which I said, "Tooooootally."

Today, I sit down in my little 5" chair and say, "So, I don't have any concerns for you; whatcha got for me?"  She says how he is a great little guy, how he's really creative and clearly very smart, and then she winces a little and says, "But, um, errr, he's not really so great at focusing?"

Yes, dude, I so know.

We talk for a while, and she asks about his history scholastically and at home, and I tell her about the tricks I attempt to use at home to help keep him on task.  She tells me about her classroom strategies.  She tells me how there are several kids in her class with this issue, and how it's pretty common at his age, but that even though he is sweet as sugar, and never naughty per se, wow o'lordy is he ever disruptive.

I just nod and smile.

I ask her if he's folding paper at his desk.  I ask her if he is getting sidetracked by any little noise in the room.  I ask her if he goes no more than 2 minutes at a stretch without talking to someone.  Her eyes get kind of wide, and kind of relieved.

Yes, sister, I know exactly what you're talking about.  Yes, these are his standard flibberdygibbits.  Welcome to every minute of my day.

I tell her that I am totally willing to implement any strategies at home that she may think will be helpful in order to reinforce classroom habits.  I assure her I am on her side, and that I will work with her.  I mention to her that I could actually use some help with him, because I was at the point just a few months ago where I was looking into getting him tested for either Einstein levels of genius or ADD.

She sort of choked a little.  She said, no, she stuttered, "That was exactly what I wanted to talk to you about, but I didn't think it was my place."

My child is funny.  My child is very smart.  My child will charm the pants off you and your daughter someday.  My child has a huge heart, and he knows right from wrong, and he is good.  And no one will help me with him.  He has a need for something that is greater than I can provide for him.  Is that something medication?  Only if you killed me, cremated my body, spread my ashes on the ground, stomped on them, put them in a prune tart, ate them, and pooped them out the next day.  I have nothing against giving meds to children who truly need them, but I feel pretty confident I know what that looks like.  He isn't that.  He needs tools.  He needs training.  He needs to understand that his brain is just wired awesomely, and that he needs to work with it, not against it.

More importantly maybe, I need tools.  He is 8 1/2, pushing puberty, and this is going to affect his self-esteem, his image of himself as a learner and a member of his classroom, which is the closest thing to a community a kid has at that age.  It is my job to guide him, to help him learn how to become a fabulous person.  I taught him how to grab the stool and push it up to the bathroom counter when he was too short to reach on his own, I taught him that maybe his index finger is just too big to get up his nose, but look at how little that pinky is (Hey, kid's gonna do it, might as well not give himself nosebleeds) and I need to help him work around this, too.

I don't want my son to have ADD.  I don't want to know he does, I don't want it in his "permanent record" and I don't want him to have a label slapped on his forehead.  But I do want him to have every resource available to him in order to get the very most out of his education.  I want him to love school, to love learning, to cherish his years before fucking high school hits and the zits pop out.  Right now, he does.  Right now, his teachers are so swoony over him, with his tiny little stature and his big blue eyes that he is happy to bat at them, that they will bend over backwards to accommodate him.  That's not going to last forever.

So, for now, we are going to wait and see.  We are doing this with the understanding that if he seems to need it, we may explore the option of having him tested for a few things.  And though I am not excited in one small way about the idea of that, I am more relieved than I can tell you that someone finally saw what I have been seeing, that my little boy is just a little more, and she is willing to help me guide that in the best direction.

Clarification

One: When I said the other day that I was wrong about my mother in law coming to stay, I think it came across as me saying that I was wrong or something.  Oh, rest assured, friends, I wasn't wrong at all.  Someone has just been on very super good behavior and someone else has just been quietly accommodating.  All those years of being a hostess are paying off bigtime this week.  But believe you me, she's getting her jabs in.  I think she's also, at the same time, kind of realizing that maybe I'm not the useless bag of poo that she's always thought me to be, and that maybe my marriage to her son isn't a total farce.

Either way, I gave her my cold, so ha.

Two: When I said that my poor baby boy has asthma, that didn't in any way mean that he couldn't come in 20 places higher in his first cross country meet than he did all season last year.  Because he totally kicks ass, that's why.



Three: In case you were confused, (Matt), that last post wasn't about walking....at all.  Maybe you should watch this.