No, I'm not talking about July 4th, but the first day of school! Happy, happy, joy, joy! The children returned to school yesterday and it's darn quiet around here.
My apologies for taking the summer off, but I took the summer off.
Not totally, but totally.
Highlights included the trip to Europe, replacing our dead lawn, birthday parties for the kids, a quick trip to CHA, and going back to Oregon for my *gasp* 20-year high school reunion.
Yes, I graduated way back in 1988. Yes, I can do the "Safety Dance". Yes, I have 10-year-old twins, which maybe should clue me in that I'm not exactly a spring chicken. The other thing that should clue me in is my adorable just-turned-25 hair stylist, Rachel, who had this exchange with one of her co-workers while I was in the chair getting highlights because, after all, I was going back for my 20-year reunion and had to look effortlessly youthful and sophisticated, not like I starved myself for a week, bought 5 different dresses, whitened my teeth and used self-tanner. Because I didn't do any of that.
CO-WORKER: Oh Rach, you should have come last night - we ran into some of the people from your old salon.
RACHEL: Oh really? Who did you see?
CO-WORKER: Well I can't remember her name, but she was an older woman.
RACHEL: "Older" like late thirties?
Because I really don't feel old, you know? Even when I was watching "So You Think You Can Dance" and Cat Deeley wished Chelsie "Happy Birthday", which made me sit up in my rocker and tune up my ear horn because, after all, that was MY birthday too. And then Cat asked Chelsie how old she was, which was when I fell back in the rocker, took out my teeth, tightened my shawl and wrote my obituary. Chelsie turned 19. Chelsie is HALF my age. Nineteen years ago, while I was doing the Safety Dance and preparing for my sophomore year in college, she was wearing a hospital bracelet and learning how to suck.
See what I did there?
And here's another thing that makes me question my youth. Two things, really:
Karl and Emma are 10. TEN!!! A decade old!
Notice, if you will, the tin grins. Emma just got braces a couple of weeks ago. Karl's progress has been amazing, by the way. Check out this time last year:
The dazzling work by the dazzling Dr. McMeltme has straightened Karl's two sideways teeth, which should put to rest any lingering doubts as to whether I was employing a competent orthodontist or just eye candy. The answer is "both", thank you very much!
Speaking of Karl, he had a good summer, the highlight of which was probably the trip to Oregon last week for the reunion. Spending the weekend at Grandpa and Grandma's, in the presence of Grandpa's shop full of tools and toys, in the company of his cousin Dez, was just about heaven for that little boy. One morning I came out to the shop to find Dad teaching Karl how to use an Oxy-Acetylene torch, which alarmed me tremendously, but after Dad explained that Karl may have to cut metal at some point and would therefore need this valuable knowledge, I felt much better.
And this is not to shirk Emma, who also had a great summer, but I was leading up to something that Karl told us on the way to Dr. McMeltme's office one day.
KARL: Hey Mom, I think they should have a type of book called "Fact-Fiction".
ME: And what would that be?
KARL: It would be like a non-fiction book - a bunch of facts - but they would all be made up.
ME: You could totally write a book like that.
KARL: I plan to.
Because Karl has an amazing head for facts, figures and statistics. He knows names, dates and processes. And in the absence of actual facts, he will make them up! In the past, I've had to gently remind him that if he spews a bunch of bogus info, people may not believe him when he actually knows what he's talking about. Usually I say something like "Are you guessing about that?" or "Where did you learn that?" to separate the facts from the fiction, but now I have a better way:
KARL: Emma, you really can split an atom. All you need is a microscope and a really small pin.
ME: Karl, what a great entry for your book!
So yeah, summer is over, the kids are back to school, I'm back to work, and there's a moving van around the block at Evelyn's house, which puts a damper on everything.
She's moving to Florida.
I don't think it's actually sunk in yet. I keep thinking there will be some sort of reprieve, like the Air Force will tell her husband "Just kidding!" or "You've been punk'd!" But as the boxes go on the truck, I'm getting the uneasy feeling that she's actually leaving; that my comfort somehow ranks below the level of national security and military functionality. (AS IF!)
RKQOTD Me: Karl, your teacher told me that at summer school today you were not very good at working with the group. She said that you wanted all your ideas used and weren't willing to let other people have input. Is that true? Karl: Yes. Me: Well how would you like it if another little boy in your group had strong opinions and wouldn't listen to you? What if he said you had to do the experiment HIS way and ONLY his way? Karl: I wouldn't like it. Me: Well then why is it OK for you to always get your way? Karl: Because I'm myself and not another person.