06 March 2022

Morning Grumps - LJ Idol 3 Strikes, Week 3

"Bubs, it's time for school!"  

Walking down the stairs, I see him pull his blanket over his head and curl as far into the couch as he can as though hiding from the morning means it won't actually happen. I can't help but smile.  I'm in a good mood and we have a little time before we need to go out the door.  I take a moment to pull down the blanket and ruffle his hair.

"You've got about an hour until we have to leave, baby.  Start to get up and get dressed!"  I hear a grunt as a hand pulls the blanket away from me to bury himself once more.  I chuckle as I move to get myself some much needed breakfast and coffee.

About 15 minutes later, I come back to him with his morning meds.  I know that if I leave it to him, it will be forgotten.  "Bubs, 45 minutes! Here's your meds!" One slim hand slips from the cocoon and I set it in his palm.  The hand starts to slide back under the covers when I remind him that I need to see him take it.  We needed to start watching him when we found too many buried in the cushions of the couch. Luckily he isn't giving me a difficult time this morning, flipping the blanket down, rolling over and popping the pill into his mouth.  His blue eyes sparkle a little as he pulls the blanket back up.  My head shakes, a smile on my face.  "45 minutes," I remind him.

30 minutes later, I check to find him still naked, but now chuckling at something on his phone.  "Pete, I need you to get dressed. We're leaving in 15."  His eyes stay glued to his phone, acting as though I'd said nothing.

"Pete.  Get dressed."

Still nothing.

I walk over to get his attention.  "Pete.  Now please."  Nothing.

My voice gets sharp.  "Peter.  Get. Dressed."  Still nothing.

I take his phone.  "Now."

This is when the screams start.  "Give me my phone back!"  

"Get dressed."

"I heard you!  Give me my phone!"

I try to keep calm, but every scream, every insistence that he did nothing wrong, every attempt to pull the phone from my hand, makes it hard to keep control of my temper.

"When you get dressed, then you can have your phone."  Every time we have a problem, this is the way it goes.  I try to be nice, bright, happy.  He ignores me until I get annoyed.  I take away his phone since it is what's keeping him from doing what he's supposed to.  More yelling and screaming.  Reminding him that when he's done what he is supposed to, then he can have his phone.  More screaming.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

This morning, the fight doesn't take as long.  I hand him his clothes, keep my anger in check, and hold his phone where he can see it.  Within 5 minutes, he has on his everyday outfit of black jogging pants and his Sonic hoodie.  I hand his phone back, "Get your shoes and socks on while you're watching your phone."  It may take the full 10 minutes we have left, but I know that it will get done.  It's the way these mornings go.

I slip my own shoes on and grab his laptop bag.  Anything to make things a little easier, I tell myself.  Once I see him slide on his sneakers, I grab my keys.  "Don't forget your mask," I remind him, pointing to the mask on the back of couch.  "I've got your bag."

As I settle myself in the car, I think back on the last hour.  I recognize that these mornings of temper tantrums and anger are happening far less.  I note the things that went right - him taking his meds without trouble, the fact that the tug of war between us lasted less time than usual, getting his shoes on.   Maybe tomorrow will be a day without fighting.  Maybe tomorrow will be a day where I come down to find him fully dressed, smiling and us getting along great.  I have hope.  

I look up and smile as the front door opens and my growing 13 year old bounds out, his mask around his neck and his plo in his hand.  I start the car, rolling down the window to remind him to close the front door with a smile.

It may have been a rough morning, but I think it will be a great day.

Pete, getting ready to head out to school.

This is the way some mornings go.

08 February 2022

LJ Idol - A Black Rainbow Isn't Devoid of Color (Week 1 Prompt)

On the best days, the colors of my personal rainbow are bright and vibrant.  You can see the red slip into the orange, which slips into the yellow, and so I.  Each color isn't individually defined, but slide together to make a beautiful sight.  These are the days when nothing can stop me as I slip from one moment to the next, each building to show the beauty of my day.

On a typical day, the colors of my rainbow can still be bright, but they don't mesh together.  Instead, like a child's painting, each color is defined, separate from it's neighbor.  Each moment stops me, holds me in place before allowing me to move to the next moment.  Those are the days that don't go as planned, where it's a little harder to make my way through when something changes.  But at the end of the day, the rainbow is still bright, if not perfect.

On the worst days, my rainbow has gone through a filter.  It's composition is the same as a best or typical day, but instead of seeing the greens, blues and purples pop at the bottom of the rainbow, they are shades of black and gray.  Sometimes, like the best days, the black and grays slip from one to another, able to tell the subtle difference in shades of gray.  Others, you can see the separation of each shade of gray, though the line between them isn't as striking as a typical day.  But whether gray or blue, black or red, white or yellow, each still unique and separate from their fellows.

The important thing isn't what kind of rainbow a day brings.  The important thing is that each day has a rainbow with it's own special blend of coloring.

10 January 2022

Monday Musings - Snow Days


My kids were supposed to start back to school on Friday.  Instead, Mother Nature decided that middle Tennessee (along with much of the rest of the country) needed boat loads of snow.  To be fair, we only got about 6"-8", but for the South, that's a lot.  We don't have the infrastructure in place to make any amount of snow a non-problem.  We also usually have a problem with black ice, and a very large school district.  We've had snow WEEKS out of school because some of the more far flung areas of the district still had dangerous icy patches a week later.  Not a problem this week, of course.  It was dump a lot of snow on Thursday, still be super cold so it doesn't melt on Friday, warm up into the 50s on Saturday and have every bit of snow gone by Sunday.  My kids were really hoping that they wouldn't have school today either.

I used to love snow days when I was growing up.  I lived in New York State, where snow from November through March was a constant way of life.  It took a lot for us to get a snow day, because there we had plows and salt trucks all standing at the ready when bad weather was forecasted.  I remember listening to the TV and the radio for the hope that school would be cancelled, wishing that my school would be called.  Very rarely, it was.  But those were the days that I could go outside, bundled up in snow pants, a heavy jacket, gloves, hat and scarf and push snow into snowmen, trying to get the balls large enough that I would see the brown grass underneath.  I would try to make snowmen on the hill above the road, wanting to give people driving by a small smile.  And when I was cold enough that I'd lost feeling in my extremities, I would come inside and ask for hot chocolate.  They were magical days where school didn't matter and the glittering white stuff was all that counted.

Things are very different for my kids' snow days.  Not only is there smaller amounts of snow necessitating it, but they can find out through the internet that school has been cancelled.  No waiting to see if their district is called, watching the television eagerly.  More often than not, we would get a call at 5 am telling us that school was closed for the day, and we'd groggily tell the kids before going back to sleep ourselves.  We rarely would get enough snow to make good snow men.  The kids would go outside and play for a little while, but they didn't have the cold weather gear that I'd had as a kid.  More often than not, they would stay inside, making it a day of video games and watching TV.

After last year, I thought that snow days would be a thing of the past.  Not because we didn't get snow, but more because we'd gone fully virtual.  Even with coming back to in person schooling, the virtual infrastructure was still there.  All the kids had laptops and (I believe) hot spots to get online if they couldn't be in school.  I expected that instead of saying we had a snow day, they would tell us it would be a virtual day.  I was kind of ok with that - having the virtual schedule we did last year gave my kids breathing room to do other things throughout the day, which is something we all loved.  But the governor of our state, along with the Commissioner of Education, made it so that schools cannot go virtual when they need to without prior approval and then only in strict circumstances.  Our district was in the cross hairs because we are one of the largest and we didn't bow down when the governor told us to have all kids in classrooms and no mask mandates, instead following the science to keep the kids safe.

So snow days are here to stay.  And that's probably good.  It gives my kids a chance to be kids, even if it's only to play more video games.  And it gives me a chance to reminisce about the snow days of my own youth.

Snow covered Tennessee

08 January 2022

Throwing My Hat in the Ring

 Because I need to write more - here on my Blog and in general - I'm putting my hat in the ring for the latest iteration of LJ Idol, called "3 Strikes".  Here's hoping I manage to a) make it through with decent votes, 2) not flake like I have in the past, and iii) come up with interesting things to write about.

For those coming over from LJ Idol, as the logo shows, I was adpaz once upon a time there.  But I don't really use my LJ anymore, and I DO use my blog (at least, I'm trying to!)  I'm looking forward to seeing who I know this time around!

04 January 2022

Talk About it Tuesday - Self-Induced Pressure


One of my biggest failings is the pressure I place on myself to get things done.  I make my lists, I have my plans and when something throws a wrench into the works, I have panic and guilt.  Because it seems like everyone else can do this Adulting thing, but I fail time and again.

In reality, I know that isn't the case.  Everyone struggles with things.  Things fall through the cracks for everyone.  The important thing isn't what you miss when you fall but how you pick yourself back up when you're done.  And that is something I'm getting better at doing.

What made me want to talk about this today?  The fact that this post is coming out at all. I spent much of the day in bed because I slept badly enough that I was dealing with back spasms.  I was better by the time tonight came around and, while I decided that I didn't want to try to working on the cleaning plans I had, I could sit down and write.  So I checked out what I'd said I was going to write about and saw "What I Want".

"What the hell did I mean by that?" my brain screamed.  Did I want to talk about the changes that I want to make for the upcoming year?  I talked about that yesterday.  Was I thinking about talkin about what I want for the education system?  I don't have the brain for that.  I considered just junking the idea of writing at all today.  But the pressure to not let things fall off here again, after having missed for so many months.  But what do I have the brain power to write about?  

So I decided that I'd write this.  Because I am pressuring myself to do at least something.  It's words on a page.  And it may be weird and boring but at least I've done something.