Quiet moments, and some blather

Yes…yes, I’m still alive. It’s been awhile since I posted, but I have to say I was a running fool. Seems like the whole summer has flown by. While I feel like I have nothing to show for it, I’ve actually been pretty busy. That’s ok…It’s better than sitting around, I guess.  And then, when I have time to take a breath, all the fabulous things I had found to blog about evaporate like flood water on a hot July day.  Amazingly, I was sitting in the living room alone with no sounds other than my Wood Wick candle burning, the traffic outside and the noise of Younger Son taking a shower. It was a lovely quiet moment, albeit brief. Apparently that was just enough to break my writer’s block. Strange, the things my brain will respond to.

The flood situation in Minot is no longer all about being wet, but now about recovery. Most everyone who was displaced has been allowed back into their homes, and the gutting and cleaning has commenced.  We have heard that there is a plan being proposed that will straighten out the river, and provide protection from the river for up to 30,000 cfs (cubic feet/second).   We dealt with upwards of 22,000 cfs this go around. Whatever plan they come up with, it will take a long time to put into place, but Minot will be better off for it. More on that as things progress.

Right now we are sitting in the living room watching a movie called Escanaba in da Moonlight. It’s an old family favorite that we got through Netflix. It’s one of those shows we all agree on, and can have a good laugh over.  There’s nothing like sitting around with your kids having a good laugh.

Speaking of kids, I had the last three days off so I could get them registered and set up for school, which is starting very late for us this year. The flood took several schools in town so the State has forgiven five school days, plus there will be three more tacked on to that will be made up throughout the school year. As a result, instead of starting school August 24th, school won’t start until September 6th. Older Son is a Senior this year, and so come all things associated with that: Senior pictures, applying to colleges and graduation…amongst other things.  Older Son isn’t too hip on the whole graduation tradition, and would rather skip all of the pictures and ceremony. Well, he’s just going to have to tough it out. Some traditions just need to be observed. I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with the end of school coming and having to make choices. I don’t envy him…it’s no easy thing to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. I still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up either, and I’m 42.

Younger Son cooked supper tonight. It was a <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/t1IiUAtoNBk“>grilled,  bacon wrapped, vegetable stuffed meatloaf. OMG. That kid is going to make me fatter than I already am. He’s also going to make some nice girl a fine husband one day. He’s got that cooking thing down for someone who’s only 16 years old. This is the third time in the last month I’ve come home to find supper grilled and ready to eat. I’m truly spoiled.

My lovely kitty, Harley, got declawed this week. As lovely as he is, he’s got a taste for scratching everything but the scratching post, including box springs, the dish washer, the heat vent in the bathroom, the living room furniture, and anything Older Son owns. It’s not something I had planned on, or liked, having to do, but it was either that or he’d have to go. The good news is that he is making a remarkable recovery and is up to the usual mischief…except without so many scratch marks.

Now it’s quiet again, and all I hear is my tapping on the key board and the wooden wick of my candle crackling away. Pretty soon I’ll have to get up and put my laundry in the dryer, and hit the rack, bringing  my rare quiet moment to an end, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.


Blessed are mundane things

Today started out being not such a bad day. My house wasn’t considered to be in the flood zone, and we had made some progress on going through stuff in the basement that needed to be gotten rid of or brought upstairs. There was a sense of it needing to be done, but not that we had to kill ourselves to finish up.

My Sister calls this "Frog in a Blender"

Then we went out to run some errands. Older Son came with me and on the way home, I thought it would be nice to stop at Starbucks and get us some coffee. Or, in my case, a nice Green Tea Frappuccino.  We sat outside the drive through speaker for a long time, and then a girl came out and apologized, letting us know that they were closing due to the evacuation zones being expanded.


Yep…we came right home and turned on the tv. The big news is that someone just discovered that double the water was coming our way, and those close to the original evacuation zones were to evacuate as well. Well, that threw things into a tizzy. Later on we would find out that we weren’t in an expanded evacuation zone, but that someone had jumped the gun on that announcement. We are still getting double the water, though. It’s going to be what I come to call a Prairie Tsunami.

So, Older Son and I began to get things up from the basement, double time. Younger Son was at Driver’s Ed all afternoon, but got home early. We hauled stuff up and stashed it in bedrooms, we hauled crap out to the curb for garbage pickup, and we took some stuff to a friend who had use for them. It got to be about 9:30, and I walked across the road to see what’s going on closer to the river. I could see straight down one road to a main drag that runs over a bridge across the river. It was still dry, even though the West end of town is flooding. I’m hoping to get up tomorrow and still see a dry road. We’ll see what the new day brings. Until then, time to hit the rack.

Older Son’s bed is smack in the middle of the living room, so he’ll be comfortable enough until this whole thing is over and we can get him back into his bedroom in the basement. He suggested that we watch a movie, Battle: L.A. It’s an alien attack movie, just the kind of sci-fi thing we all like to watch. I sat here earlier flossing my teeth and catching up on the news on Facebook, and realized how nice it was to just do something as mundane as take care of my teeth. Watching a movie together is a nice mundane way to try to normalize after a long day of tearing up your house, and watching your community go under water via the television.  For now, we are just a family hanging out together, discussing the best way for the protagonists to kill the attacking aliens. Run of the mill stuff around these parts.

Good night all…


Three days and counting!

Oh yes…only three more days left and then life gets good again. School’s soon to be out for the Summer!  Whoo!

What, you say? I like it when school is out? Oh yes. I have always liked it better when the kids are out for the summer.  There’s less complication, less garbage to deal with, and all around less stress.  Older Son asked me the other day why I liked it better when school is out. “Because I like you guys,” was my reply. And I do like having them around…I’ll be a mess when they move on and get their own lives!

I will admit that they are getting on each others nerves by the end of Summer Vacation, and going back to school alleviates that a bit.  This year I don’t anticipate that being a problem as they both are working.  With the different schedule’s they’ll have, they’ll be lucky to even see each other for very long at all most days. Sigh…I’ll be lucky to see them at all each day. Still, I like it better when school’s out for the Summer.

T-minus three days, and counting!


My kids are my parents’ best revenge

I had to get after Younger Son today, and now I feel like crap. I have told him time and time again how to do this particular chore, and he refuses to do it unless pushed

Facsimile of me pulling my hair out, curtesy of Google Images

and prodded, let alone do it right. Once he finally got going on said chore, I heard slamming of things, stomping around and nasty muttering. I’d had it…that was just the last straw, and I let him have it. I told him in no uncertain terms that this behavior was unacceptable and if he didn’t turn his ship around and sail straight, there would be consequences. He finally gave in, just did his job and got it done. Had he just done it to begin with, he’d have been finished a lot sooner.

Parenting is messy. It’s hard and mostly thankless, not that I think I need any thanks…I chose this. It was my decision to bring children into the world and part of that is following through to make sure they have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful once they get on their own. Teenagers being teenagers, aren’t going to blindly follow directions. They have their own thoughts about how things ought to work, and tend to be very black and white in their views. Things are either wrong or they aren’t…not much gray area. I remember being that way, and I am sure that my Mother has most likey just now fallen down in a giggling heap on the floor. I’ve no doubt that she has a detector that picks up on when my kids aren’t at their best, which triggers a manic laughter reaction. She did tell me once that my kids would be her best revenge on me. Now I find myself telling my kids the very same thing. While I can certainly wait to become a grandparent, I’m sure going to enjoy their kids exacting my revenge on my children for me (Muhuwhahahaha!).

What really chaps my cookies is that I had to be the heavy even when their father lived here. He rarely ever disciplined them, unless it was an extreme circumstance. Otherwise he was just the “good time” parent, and he had a tendency to do their chores for them, rather than make them do it themselves. Less confrontation and responsibility that way, you know.

The good news is that I have really good kids. They don’t get into trouble, they get good grades, and generally do what they are told. As things go, I could have it a lot harder.

Now the storm has cleared off and everything is back to normal. Hopefully things will stay that way for a while. I might take on the responsibility of having to be the heavy, but I sure hate doing it.


Drowning in Testosterone

Testosterone...it only looks harmless in the picture.

I’m a single mother, raising two boys ages 17 & 15. Generally speaking, our house is a veritable testosterone swamp. It’s all about video games, sports, boys clothes, and boys stuff… and boy issues. It’s so pervasive that when I recently renovated my bathroom, I found myself  leaning to a more masculine decor than I might otherwise have liked. My basement has become Older Son’s personal Man Cave.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a girlie-girl. I don’t like pink or yellow, unless it’s on flowers, and I sure don’t dig flower prints on my furniture. I don’t care for lace much, and don’t even think about trying to get me into a dress…unless it’s that really cool wine-colored celtic dress a dear friend gave me some years back (It rocks, thank you Hel’wyse!). As I child, I spent way more time climbing trees, riding my bike, shooting a BB gun and playing catch with my Dad than I did playing dolls.  Oh, I tried the whole hair and make up thing between the ages of 15 and 22, or so. Turns out I’m allergic to all that gunk that women put on their heads, so I decided just to go natural and quit trying to swim upstream. I itch less and it turns out it’s a very much cheaper way to live. I don’t know how some of these women support their make up/hair habits.

So, given that I am a tom-boy (still) at the age of 41, why would I have any problems with living and breathing in a testosterone-laden atmosphere? I guess it has to do with the lack of balance. I don’t get out with my friends much. I do work with a lot of women, but that doesn’t really count. These last two weeks, just about every time I go out with my boys, I’m meeting my Dad and my Favorite Nephews to go to some neat cultural thing. Not that I don’t want to spend time with them, but I’m starting to feel the lack of not having enough women around. My one fleeting moment of estrogen-wrapped fun this week was my Friday lunch with my friend Brea. It only lasted about 20 minutes or so, but we laughed, and chatted, and it was nice (thanks again for the bracelet!).

So, tonight the boys and I were to pick Dad and the Nephews up and go to the Dakota Territory Air Museum. They had some special shindig going on, with lots of vintage airplanes. Uff-da…another testosterone-soaked activity. I just couldn’t take it any more. So, when we arrived at Mom and Dad’s, I gave Older Son the keys to the van, packed Dad and the Nephews up in the back with Younger Son and wished them a good time. I stayed with Mom while they were gone and it was nice. We chatted awhile, and I helped her out with some stuff on the computer. There were no loud noises, no exhortations on why one aircraft/tank/weapon/ship/video game/computer game is better than another. There was also no arguing (I swear to the Gods my kids argue some times like old ladies fighting over who gets the better bingo card) and there was no COPS on the television.

After they all came back from the aircraft show, I took my boys out to supper and we picked up some movies. The one we watched tonight was called “Whip It”, directed by Drew Barrymore, which is a new release in video stores right now. It’s all about women’s roller derby. I loved it! So, I got to spend time with Mom, and then watch a good movie (it really was good…go rent it) about a girl who is coming of age and trying to be tough enough.

It was a good evening. I think the only thing that would have made it a spectacular evening is if Hel’wyse could have joined in. We miss you, honey!


Confessions of a Lead Foot Annie

Older son and I went out to run errands today. We ran to the bank, returned some unused home improvement items, bought some other home improvement items, and had a load of river rock delivered for the edging I’ll be putting up around the house. A very successful morning, but one that wouldn’t have been possible without getting in the car and driving.

Even though we live in a small town (approx. 37,000) our traffic can be hectic, and fast-paced, especially around rush-hour times like Noon and 6pm. My problem isn’t with the fast drivers…it’s with the slow pokes. You know the ones I’m talking about; the sight seers and looky-loos. The ones who like to take their sweet time and don’t care that I have somewhere to be make me cranky.  Those who are driving ahead of me, seemingly without a purpose really get under my skin.

Today, Older Son commented to me that I needed to have more patience with people. This was said after I complained bitterly that “Farmer Bob will not get the lead out, and get of my way!”  It was obvious to me that the aforementioned “Farmer Bob” had plenty of time to go and was just gazing about, not paying attention. When I’m driving, I seldom drive just for the fun of driving. I always have a purpose and a place to be, and god help other drivers if they can’t get the lead out and get going. By that I don’t mean that I would exact any sort of vengeance, except for the rare occasion I have to blow the horn at a particularly oblivious driver. But, let me tell you about the chatter that happens in my car. The vitriolic commentary coming from my driver’s seat,  directed at bozos on the road, is prolific and merciless. Of course, I watch the swearing as I usually have kids in the car with me, but I am pretty creative with my descriptors and directives.

I know that driving with impatience is not good. It’s not good for the driver, the passengers or the other drivers on the road. It’s a bad habit, and I’m in the process of trying to relax when I drive and tone down the invective a little bit. In the spirit of changing my ways, I’ve put together a to-do list of driving habits I need to change:

  1. Anyone and everyone else who just can’t get the lead out should not be addressed as Farmer Bob. I actually know some farmers named Bob, and they are neither slow nor incompetent drivers. This bad habit of mine came from living on the Prairie my whole life and having been stuck behind my share of  farm equipment driving down a skinny road. It’s slow going…ugh.
  2. Breathe deep and be patient with the elderly who can’t help but go slow. I need to remember that it will be me driving slow when I hit that stage of life. At least I hope I’m still driving when I’m old!
  3. I have been a bozo in some other driver’s estimation, at various times in my life, so I need to get off my high horse and cut other people some slack.
  4. Perhaps, instead of hurling insults at my fellow drivers, I should just hum a tune to keep my mouth busy while I’m waiting for my turn to go… even if grass is growing underneath their car for going so slow.
  5. I need to be conscious of showing a good example for my kids to learn from. I have one son driving, and the other one will begin driving a year from now. You know it’s bad when your kid tells you to have some patience.

Wish me luck…old habits die hard!


“To anyone who finds this letter, you are what remains of the human race.”

I was clearing out the clutter that covered my desk and discovered a piece of paper folded over at the top.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t throw away anything that might have an important note or phone number on it, so I unfolded the paper and found this:

“To anyone who finds this letter, you are what remains of the human race.”

I recognized the handwriting as being that of Older Son. In recent months he’s been writing a lot of stories, and I find snippets like this one on random pieces of paper around the house. Every once in a while he’ll bring me a story to read. The grammar and spelling are atrocious, but the stories are good. He’s got a really interesting voice that somehow shines through the clutter of his small, hard to read hand writing. I keep telling him that he should take a creative writing class, but he refuses. I get the impression he thinks that I don’t believe his writing is good enough. It is good enough, but taking a writing class could help him grow this ability into something bigger. Perhaps next year I can get him to take a class with me. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time myself.

Perhaps it’s just me, because I’m his mother, but I really want to know what caused the extinction of the human race in his mind. I’m guessing it’s zombies or a potential cause of WWIII, as those seem to be prevalent motif’s in his writing lately…he is 17, after all.  When I asked him about it, he smiled and said, “Oh, that’s where that went.” I dug a little further, but he wouldn’t tell me why…he just smiled.