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Scaredy Cat

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

As I get older, I seem to be scared of more and more. Not quite everything. And it’s not like I’ve come to be overwhelmed with a paralyzingly fear that keeps me under the covers all day. But it’s enough to make me think.

I noticed it the other day on a flight. We were going from Peoria to Baltimore. Via a thunderstorm. On a commuter jet (the only real option flying in and out of an airport tucked among endless cornfields). It was kind of funny when my 9 year old commented on how small the door was to the plane as we were boarding. She’d never been on a plane that small. It wasn’t as amusing when the flight hit turbulence, even if she did try to convince me it was just like being on a roller coaster. I don’t like those, either. Despite her best effort to soothe my nerves, I found myself thinking horrible things. First, I’d chant in my head “turbulence is just a bumpy road… turbulence is just a bumpy road.” Then I told myself that planes don’t just fall out of the sky. They don’t, do they? Finally, I began to wonder if people on doomed flights realize something is terribly wrong (what’s that thunking noise?) or if it just happens and they, hopefully, pass out and have no idea what’s happened. Does everyone on the plane have this mental conversation? At least some of them? As long as I’m not alone… and as long as I’m not sharing this inner dialogue with the pilots, I’m ok. Right?

The oddest part is… I don’t consider myself afraid to fly. I never pass up the chance to fly somewhere. And I’d far rather fly than drive, even if I do spend most of the flight gripping my arm rest so tightly I may leave a mark.

When I’m safely on the ground, sometimes I find myself worrying about ending up a single parent. Not because I think my marriage is going to end, even if I have lately been picking spats when I know better. I worry that I’m going to end up a widow before I even get my daughter to high school. I’m not really old. Neither is my husband. Ok, I’m actually older. But I am turning 45 in a couple of weeks. Forty five. Old enough that a few days ago when I was having trouble breathing and felt an unrelenting pain in my ribs and back, I googled heart attack symptoms in women. Then promptly had a panic attack, called my husband and insisted he leave work immediately, went to my doctor’s office where I was declared to have a pulled sternum muscle and an over active imagination then sent home with a prescription for an anti-anxiety drug to get me through the weekend. Because I needed to calm down and get some rest. And stop making doctors stay late over pulled muscles.

And while 40 is the new 30 and all that crap, I have recently realized that when the media is referring to middle aged people, they mean me. Really, I’m lucky if I’m middle aged. That would mean I’ll live to see 90. What scares me is that my mother died when she was 60. Six months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on her birthday. If I live as long as she did, then I only have 15 years left. That’s how long I’ve been married. And that’s gone by in a flash. Shit. I don’t like the idea that I’m going to be done that quickly. I suppose that’s what prompts people to make those ubiquitous bucket lists. Which I refuse to do.

But I have noticed I have a burning desire to do something out of character for my birthday. You won’t find me jumping out of an airplane. Not unless I overhear the pilot repeating to himself: turbulence is just like a bumpy road.. Turbulence is just a bumpy road. (we are passing through some clouds now as we make our approach into Detroit… Bumpy road, bumpy road, bumpy road. Does the flight attendant look concerned? Damn, can’t see her. Why are clouds bumpy, anyway? No, don’t tell me. I probably don’t really want to know.) No, my wild turning 45 plan is to not plan. Throw caution to the wind. Wait to see if there are any last minute flight deals out of Peoria and if not, just throw our bag in the car and drive. To somewhere thrilling like Wisconsin. What has happened to me that driving to Wisconsin is something to look forward to? When in the Midwest… I’d love to just show up at the airport and hop a flight to anywhere. But there are two problems with that. First, the flights from here hardly go anywhere. And second, that would seriously cut into my Pottery Barn budget. And since there isn’t a Pottery Barn here (naturally), my budget has to include shipping. It isn’t cheap.

Since my birthday probably won’t include lounging on a secluded Caribbean beach or having high tea in London, I figure it should at least include a little self reflection. Starting with why life is getting so scary.

My quick list of things I have recently noticed I am afraid of:

Bugs (granted, not a new one)
Taking off (in an airplane)
Clouds (in an airplane… I like them well enough floating overhead)
My daughter not doing well in school. I spent half my life worried about my own grades, now I have to worry about hers.
Having my writing be rejected (so I have stopped writing. good choice, huh?)
My health
My husband’s health
Having to support myself again one day

There isn’t much I can do about anything on that list. Except let go. Enjoy what I have. Try to let 45 just be a wonderful year. It’s just a number… it’s just a number… it’s just a number.


Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

OCTOBER 5, 1967

Ate and slept. Met a LOT of new people!

OCTOBER 5, 1971

Went to the circus. Hated it. Left early. Returned home to enjoy circus-themed birthday cake.

OCTOBER 5, 1973

Got red bicycle for my birthday. With streamers on the handlebars. Zoomed down sidewalk.

OCTOBER 5, 1976

Caught up in frenzy of nation’s bi-centennial. Put my own celebration on back burner to honor America.

OCTOBER 5, 1980

Began teen years. If memory serves me right, Dad took me to dinner at fancy restaurant on top of INB building downtown Indianapolis. I believe I had some lobster bisque. Found out family moving to California.

OCTOBER 5, 1983

Got drivers license. Tried to hide embarrassment that Dad fell asleep in DMV while I was taking the test. Arms very sore from practicing parallel parking all weekend in car without power steering. Found out parallel parking not on the test. Likely took Autoclave out for a spin that evening.

OCTOBER 5, 1985

Celebrated at college. Don’t remember details; imagine pizza and beer involved.

OCTOBER 5, 1988

Celebrated 21st birthday. Positive it was the first time I even tried to order a drink in a bar or restaurant because I looked so young I never dared try a fake id. Many Westwood bartenders and bouncers doubted me that evening. Pictures assure me I looked cute.

OCTOBER 5, 1991

First birthday out on my own. Friend turned celebration into week long affair. I don’t remember the names of all the places we hit that week in Terre Haute. Fairly certain at least one night involved drinking bloody brains at Molly’s.

OCTOBER 5, 1995

First birthday celebrated with Bill. He bought me ski boots I never wore.

OCTOBER 5, 1997

Spent my 30th birthday as a newlywed on the verge of moving to North Carolina. Cried because none of my friends remembered it. Maybe they were just tired of celebrating every other thing under the sun with me that year.

OCTOBER 5, 2003

Spent my birthday as a new mom.

OCTOBER 5, 2006

Still jet-lagged and dazed, I spent my 39th birthday chasing Kaitlyn around the Orange store
(mobile provider in France). It was not pleasant. Bill got me the LG Chocolat phone. Slept on rental bed in new house. Probably ate spaghetti because it was the only thing I could figure out to cook at that point.

OCTOBER 5, 2008

Met friends in Paris and spent my birthday eating in the Eiffel Tower, shopping in Parisian boutiques and strolling along the Seine. Missed my family terribly.

OCTOBER 5, 2010

First birthday spent in Peoria. Celebrated at home with Bill and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn gave me a note she wrote me about how “seet” I am. It’s framed and hanging up where i can see it many times a day. It still makes me smile.

OCTOBER 5, 2011
Lounged around in bed watching Will and Grace reruns all morning. Put several cruises on hold for next summer. Just because. It needed done. Ate apple smothered in carmel and Reddi Whip for breakfast. Lunching with new friends in the neighborhood. Looking forward to lunching with old friend from France tomorrow. (Yes, I still like to drag out the celebrations!) Bought shrimp to make for dinner. May change mind and insist on take out. (Shrimp is frozen; it’ll be fine till the weekend!) Have frozen pumpkin pie in freezer for dessert.

lawnmowers and trimmers and sprinklers – oh my!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Six o’clock on Saturday night and there is a symphony of lawnmowers buzzing outside my windows. (Punctuated by the occasional shout from the neighbors where they are apparently watching a football game…. or playing the world’s most exciting round of Monopoly.)

Maybe it’s the frost advisory for tonight that has everyone out trimming the lawns, hoping it’s the last time for months. So that in a few months when the snow (finally) melts, a neatly manicured lawn appears.

And for those who weren’t ready for frost, that’s probably my fault. We had our sprinkler system installed last week and it isn’t even hooked up yet. But we wouldn’t want to spend all that money and then be able to use the thing to water the grass seeds we’ll have to toss down to try to save the lawn in the spots where they dug. Although, really, the lawn looks no worse than it did before they started. Which is why we had the sprinklers put in in the first place.

Maybe my plans to go out this week and buy a new bush to replace the one I killed aren’t the wisest.

I like fall. But I’m ready for Indian Summer. Just to get a few things finished.

Dreaming of a better Peoria… sort of

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

DSW is coming to Peoria. Next spring. It’s a start. But, really, it isn’t enough.

Just like Peoria lacks convenient flights to anywhere, Peoria lacks decent retail.

Oh, sure there are a couple of malls. But neither calls out to me.

Dicks is the anchor in one of them. Dicks Sporting Goods. I’ve gotten so desperate, I’ve actually browsed there. Even tried on clothes.

The Sears doesn’t even sell Lands End. (Although they do take it back. If you’re lucky enough to find one of the two employees who knows how to do it.)

Macy’s did away with the Origins makeup counter. That was one of the only reasons to shop there. Even the shoe department is pitiful.

I don’t even know where to go look for a decent ski jacket and snow pants for Kaitlyn. (OK, I know of one place but if they don’t have anything, then I’m out of choices.)

And don’t get me started on the complete lack of options when it comes to buying Kaitlyn’s shoes.

Yet, the town supports two Bath and Body Works stores. And about a hundred Steak N Shakes.

Now there is a big, empty spot in one of the malls where the Borders used to be. And that got me to thinking… what would I really like to see go in that spot?

(For lovers of small, unique, local shops and boutiques: forgive me. Those do exist here. I cannot afford them. So, I turn to my list of shopping: favorites from my browser.)

Pottery Barn. With a Pottery Barn Kids section.

I pour over the catalog. I browse the website nearly every day, as if it’s going to change. Oddly, my house is not especially filled with Pottery Barn merchandise. But I like to look. And I really like to see it in person.

Williams Sonoma. Yes, there is a lovely small specialty kitchen store about 30 minutes away. But a big chain that carries stuff I like just 10 minutes from the house? Yes, please. It wouldn’t stop me from taking the cooking classes across town.

The Container Store. Yes, it’s crazy to go in there and spend big bucks on plastic boxes, but I like the idea (if not the practice) of being organized. Have you seen my pantry? I’d totally shop there.

A better Target. Our Target just remodeled to include a grocery section. The produce always looks wilted and they took away from areas where I did shop in order to add to the area in which I won’t shop.

A Sears with a Lands End section.

I dare not even dream of a Nordstrom. Or even a Nordstrom Rack.

I know it’s too much to ask, but a Nespresso store would be fantastic. Mail ordering my coffee disks is ok. Although Nespresso’s delivery time is a bit slow and I always seem to wait until I’ve polished off all my favorite flavors before remembering to reorder. Besides, Nespresso stores smell wonderful, have free coffee samples and just plain make me feel good. And just maybe George Clooney would stop by sometime.

My UPS man would probably be happy if a Ballard Designs opened up here, although I think that’s mail order only. When he delivered my rug and my end table, he complained about how folks who live out in these new neighborhoods order big and heavy stuff. Well, Mr. You-Have-A-Job-Because-I-Order-So-Much-Stuff-Thank-You-Very-Much, we order rugs and furniture online because there’s no where here to buy that stuff. At least, not the stuff I want to buy.

Back when I managed to get to the gym on a regular basis, a woman in the Zumba class asked me where I’d gotten my shoes. I told her I’d ordered them from Zappos. She not only wasn’t interested in following in my online retailing footsteps, she scolded them. “I like to shop local,” she said. Turns out, she owns a small store in town. So I can see her point. It’s a specialty store and one I’d probably frequent if I needed what she sells. (Crafty stuff; I’m so not crafty.) And I’d much prefer to do my shopping in a store than in my slippers at my computer. But, for now, that’s my best option. Look out, UPS guy! I need some new turtlenecks!

Spend Green to See Green

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

When we moved into our house last summer, I vowed that I could drag a hose and sprinkler around the yard in order to save the several thousand dollars it would take to have an automatic sprinkler system installed.

Today, I cheered to myself when the sprinkler company showed up and started digging.

Turns out, that just like I can walk past a dying house plant practically calling out for water, I can also completely ignore a lawn. Even when you actually hear it crunch when you walk on it.

I honestly don’t know who is more excited about the addition to our yard: me or the neighbors who have to be tired of looking at the big brown spots. Although I have to say, they are far more noticeable from my upstairs window than from ground level. Maybe the neighbors never glance all the way to our yard from their bedrooms.

I do know who isn’t excited about it. Kaitlyn.

Yesterday afternoon the sprinkler boss came and put little flags all over the yard, marking the spots where the sprinkler heads will go. After school, Kaitlyn wanted to know what they were for. When I told her, I could see her deflate. She looked absolutely crushed. “Oh,” she said. “That means no vacation.”

We’ve always said that we’d always choose to go on a cruise rather than to install a sprinkler. And it isn’t really a joke. It’s just that this year thanks to some extra savings, we decided to take the plunge and save our lawn. (Hopefully it isn’t too late.) Oh, and to take a vacation next summer. Some of that windfall is coming from the executive decision not to cruise on the Big Red Boat. Mickey may charm the kiddies, but when I can sail a perfectly good massive ship with another cruise line for half the price (and still get my sprinkler system)? Well, I’m going to do it. I tried to break the news to Kaitlyn. She offered up her vacation savings. Which at last count was just shy of $10, and hasn’t had any coins added since. The gesture is heartwarming, but isn’t going to cover the cost. I think she’ll forget all about the mouse once she gets on the giant ship. I hope.

Now… if we can just get grass to grow in the spots where it died.

Oh, the beauty of black and orange

Friday, September 16th, 2011

I think I’m ready for Halloween. As much as I love summer (well, the sleeping in every day part), I adore times of year that come with their own decor. Others cringe when they go into the stores and see Halloween displays in August. Not me. Oh, no, I haven’t bought anything… not yet. It’s certainly too early to buy. But it’s not too early to browse. To think. To decide. Bill has already dropped some cash on a new smoke machine/bubble maker. Did he need another smoke machine? About as much as I need a black and orange wreath. So I will say nothing. Yes. Yes, he needs that smoke machine.

Now that I’ve scoped out a few stores, I think I’m ready to go buy.

Black wreath with little orange lights? check.
Garden flag? check
giant spider web for window above front door? check
glass jars to display candy corn? check and check

The real dilemma is what to buy to give out to the trick or treaters. Kaitlyn and Bill don’t eat chocolate, so the first rule is, we can’t load up on chocolate or I’ll be the one eating it all in November… along with the bite-sized nuggets of hip-expanding evil Kaitlyn brings home. Last year, the kids we tagged along with trick or treating seemed incredibly impressed by the couple of houses that gave out full sized candy. I spent time bagging up adorable assortments of tiny candies. But I think that’s all in my sweet past. I think this year, I’m going big. Or, at least, full sized. That is, if I can figure out where to buy full sized candy bars right now other than at the check out of the gas station.

The exciting thing about this year is that we’ll get to buy a costume for the dog. I know Bill is dreading that. Kaitlyn and I think it will be fun. I will probably not think that when I am wrestling Phineas into said get-up. Still… I’ll do it. And I’ll take pictures. And I’ll keep the wrestling part to myself. Maybe.

I’m not as excited about coming up with a costume for myself. I’m not creative. I’m not skinny, so buying a one-size-fits-a-few from a store is pretty much out. If there’s a theme I need to follow, I need to know like last week so I can get started thinking about it. It takes time to beg crafty friends to lend a hand! (My one idea is for Bill and Kaitlyn to dress like Adam and Jaime from Mythbusters. Plausible?)

And when it’s all said and done… when the last full sized treat is handed out… when the trick or drinkers have tossed back their cocktail (note to self: find a good Halloween drink to pass out to the grown ups)… when Phineas has been wrestled back out of his costume… I vow this year to make an inventory of my spooooooky items as I pack them back away for another year on a shelf in the basement. So next year, just maybe I can start my shopping earlier.

Now, has anyone seen any ceramic turkeys on sale?

What Labor Day means to me…

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

The last cookouts of summer, final trips to the pool, packing away those white pants and shoes. I can only imagine these are the things that people think of on Labor Day weekend. Not me. I think of laundry. Mounds and mounds of laundry.

When I was a kid, we spent every Labor Day weekend watching the Jerry Lewis Telethon, imagining holding a backyard circus to raise money to donate (they always featured kids who’d pulled off these seemingly amazing backyard fundraisers). And we watched my mom do laundry. Approximately one year’s worth. Now given that I have no memory of going to school naked or being mocked for wearing clothes that were so nasty they could stand on their own in the corner, she must have done laundry at some other point during the year. But I do believe it was just enough to get by. I think most clean clothes were acquired at the store, rather than from the dryer. As soon as I was tall enough to reach the control knobs on the washer, I started doing my own laundry. (No need to insert snide remark here about how I am short and that I may still struggle to reach the knobs on a top-loading washer.)

Our laundry “room” was in the basement. The basement was unfinished and not, I suppose, a desirable place to just hang out. I remember there was a chalkboard on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. A hook where my brother’s bike ended up more than he’d have liked as punishment for riding in where he wasn’t supposed to. The far corner housed a giant tower of wires that controlled all the lights in the house. Next to that sat the wash area. Along with the requisite washer and dryer, there was a television (handy during severe weather related trips downstairs) and a giant counter for folding with bins underneath for sorting. I don’t remember if there was ever anything in the bins. I do remember that on top of that counter the mound of clothes stood taller than I did. (Again, no need to point out that such a mound didn’t have to actually be terribly high.)

Every Labor Day weekend, you could find my mom sitting down there amid the haystack sized piles of clothes, towels and sheets. She would be watching the telethon and washing and folding the finally clean clothes. Don’t ask about ironing; I know she owned one and that’s as much as I can say on that topic. After a while, she’d get lonely or maybe just tired of sitting in the basement, and bring a pile up to the family room to fold. I think she stayed up all night, watching the donation total rise and the pile of clothes to wash shrink.

I remember one weekend when she was gone (where’d she go? no idea.) and my dad had reached his limit on the whole laundry thing. It was grey and nasty out; probably early spring. So the pile had grown pretty hefty by then. Anyway, he filled at least dozen giant garbage bags with the dirties, stuffed them in the car along with me, my brother and my grandma (how’d she get suckered into this?) and drove us all to a laundromat. At first, it was kind of thrilling to stuff all those clothes into the giant washers, feed it quarters, and watch it clean our clothes. I thought it really seemed pretty smart, to be able to get all your laundry done at once like that, rather than have to dedicate an entire holiday weekend to the task. The excitement quickly wore off. We stopped paying much attention to the job of sorting and just stuck to stuffing. Years later, my mom still talked about the time my dad shrunk her favorite sweater by washing and drying it. And even as a kid I didn’t have much pity on her because that one sweater gave its life so that load after load of my clothes could finally be fresh and clean.

As an adult when I’d go visit my mom, she seemed to always have laundry going. Her washer and dryer were in a little room just off the family room, so you could watch any tv you wanted and have the constant hum of the dryer in the background. Still, there seemed to always be at least one pile of dirties crammed in there. Some habits just cannot be entirely broken, I suppose.

things I hate

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Flies. Especially the ones that fly into my house and then buzz around my head and move too fast to be swatted.

The default font on my word program. Helvetica. Really?

The way I can see multiple chins in my reflection in my computer.

When my husband makes himself a snack just before dinner.

When my husband makes himself a snack right after dinner.


The price of having things framed. I have piles of things I’d love to have framed if it didn’t represent a small fortune. They just never look quite right if you frame them yourself. Never.

My mailbox. It’s small and black and plain and doesn’t go with my house at all. I guess that’s what happens when you live on the other side of the ocean and tell your realtor “Just go buy a cheap mailbox.” I need to look at it and see how hard it would be to switch it out.

Cutting in paint. Even with tape. I stink at it.

Stores and restaurants that are too hot. If it’s the dead of winter and your employees are wearing short sleeves, it’s too hot inside your business. See, I’ve come in wearing a turtleneck and a heavy coat and a scarf and a hat and gloves and boots. And I can’t set all that down in your break room. So I’m not going to stick around and spend a lot of my money here. And, by the way, all that heat also gives me a migraine. So, thanks for that, too.

People who pet my dog without permission. I’ll never be able to teach him not to jump on people if you just reach down and pet him no matter his behavior.

My waist. (or lack thereof)

The assumption by others that I’m available 24/7 in my role as a volunteer.

The way people will answer their cell phones at inappropriate times (in the library, while talking with someone, in line at the supermarket) and without even saying hello say “I can’t talk right now.” Then why’d you answer? That’s what voice mail is for.

Carrying a purse and grocery shopping. The two just don’t go together. The one benefit of winter is I know I’ll have on a coat and can stuff my wallet into the pocket. On the downside, even my grocery store is too hot in the winter. (I really don’t want to see the electric bills companies around here pay in January.)

People who tout induction cooktops as being able to boil water in 90 seconds or less. I had one in France and it did no such thing.

Drivers holding their cell phones up to their ears to chat while driving. Especially in luxury cars. Do you want me to believe your BMW or Volvo didn’t come with a hands free feature? Go buy a headset thingie. You may be able to have the conversation and pay attention to what you’re doing, but you can’t drive well with one arm. Period.

The array of polish colors from which I must choose at the nail salon. I’m sorry, it’s just overwhelming. And the woman two chairs over always appears to have a better color than the one I chose.

The way Kaitlyn’s school bus driver keeps her own schedule. She’s late in the morning and late in the afternoon. But never by the same amount of time twice.

The chime on my washer and dryer.  Even set to LOUD you have to have superhuman hearing to notice it.  It’s like the people who designed it assumed I’d just sit in my laundry room the entire time I’m doing laundry.  Newsflash: I don’t.

My inability to remember to water plants. Seriously. Why is this so hard?

Days when I can’t think of anything to write about. Am I that boring?

Finding a new doctor/dentist/hair stylist.

The fly buzzing around my head right now. Did I mention flies?


Thursday, August 4th, 2011


“I’m in the public library. Let me call you back.”

When did it become mandatory to answer your phone? No matter where you are? Phones have ringers that can be turned off. Buttons you can hit to send a call right to voice mail. If you aren’t even going to let the other person speak, why answer at all? Are you trying to show off that you’re at the library?

I’ve ignored my phone three mornings a week every week all summer. That’s how often I’ve been to the local library. This is where my daughter meets her reading tutor. In a private room. With a door shut. So they can talk. Although, they are about the only people in this place who don’t want to disturb others. Seriously.

There have been young women who barely look old enough to pay their own rent, sitting huddled together making plans for their classrooms while slurping the last of their Starbucks.

I’ve had to listen to people having conversations as if they’d met on the street. “oh, my son the accomplished doctor just had a baby and let me tell you at seven weeks old, that baby talks in complete sentences!” (I’m not making this up. A woman made that claim the other day.)

By far the worst is Wednesday morning. That’s pre-schooler story time. The door to the special reading room is always left open. And the squeals and screams pour out. When the librarian finishes reading, the kids start running and screaming.

Every day of the week, crying children are not taken outside; they are left to scream while Mom keeps searching for a book. Last week, I watched a mother “discipline” her little boy who couldn’t sit for the story by bringing him out into the main part of the library where she informed him he would not be allowed to do a puzzle. This, you can imagine, resulted in a meltdown like only a three year old can have. Loud. Begging. Pleading for a puzzle. All the while his mom just sat there. In the middle of the library. Next to people who wanted to read. In peace and quiet. She never told him to stop screaming about the puzzle. Just repeated that he wouldn’t get to do one. (So, why’d they even stay, anyway?)

I’ve seen moms let their children run and jump on chairs while they stood chatting. I’ve seen moms push screaming babies around in strollers. I’ve seen a young toddler left in the care of a barely older sibling while mom browses the shelves. This isn’t a playground. This isn’t your living room. This is a library. Yet the one thing I haven’t seen is a librarian asking someone to shush or to take it outside. (One actually suggested that my 8 year old daughter should have told another child to be quiet. Really?)

Often, the librarians are among the loudest offenders around here. I’ve spent the last half hour listening to one drone on about everything under the sun… she went searching for a book and hollered across the room to a patron that she couldn’t find it… she rattles off phone numbers loud enough for me to jot them down if I’m so inclined (I could prank call people “this is Betty from the library and the book you requested is in.”)… she points vaguely toward the stacks and explains how books are organized… right now I’m listening to a patron confirm that she properly put a book on hold last night. Hurrah for her. Next in line… the offender who has two overdue books out right now! I now know that Lucy is 5 years old and starting school; she needs a library card. I suppose if you work here all day, you don’t want to whisper all the time. But I also suppose that if you want to read here, and you want it to be even sort of quiet, you’re out of luck. I have gotten more reading done this summer at the pool than in the library.

Oh, excuse me. My phone is ringing. I need to get this.

Go team(s)!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

High school football is a big deal around here. On a Friday night, it’s the place to be. So this week, we decided to head to the local high school and check out the game. Kaitlyn has never seen a football game before.

It was packed. We parked a quarter of a mile from the stadium and hiked there… all the while I was wishing I’d followed a neighbor’s advice and grabbed a flashlight for the walk back at the end of the night.

And I have to say I’m impressed by the school itself. Beautiful new building. Good to see where our tax dollars are going. Strange to think that it very well may be where Kaitlyn goes to high school. We’ve never lived somewhere before where we could walk past a high school and think that. (We knew we’d move from Durham before she started school and in Wake County the kids are moved so much even the brand new school a stone’s throw from our house wasn’t a guarantee.)

We paid our ten bucks to get in and it was like stepping back in time 25 years. High school football games haven’t changed that much since the last time I attended one. Although I don’t remember my stadium having a shack selling sweatshirts and jackets with the school name on them. The school colors are maroon and gold; not a color combo you’ll ever find me wearing. But the thought crossed my mind that we could buy a sweatshirt for Kaitlyn. Before I could even suggest it (speaking of purchasing aloud would have made it impossible to then avoid), Bill was leading us to the visitor side. His former boss and current co-worker was there to watch his son play. We found him in the crowd, managed to wave and nothing more because it was too crowded. After a stop for popcorn and nachos, we went back to the home team’s side, only to find the bleachers had filled. Rather than squeeze ourselves into a seat (which was my assumption), we wandered around, standing along the fence to watch the game. It was ok, but it was kinda hard to see. Kaitlyn asked a lot of understandable questions about what was going on. She also cheered for whichever team was currently doing better. I told her you traditionally pick one team and root for them, thick or thin. She told me she’s just a kid and can do it her way. She will not be a good UCLA fan if she’s going to be that quick to abandon the team just to cheer for the winner.

By just before halftime, all that standing and not understanding was getting to Kaitlyn and she was ready to go. I suggested we stay for the show. The teenagers left their seats when the game stopped and we snagged a spot in the first row to watch.

When the band made its way out onto the field, Kaitlyn asked if there would be horses. Horses? (I’m not a fan of horses at football games, as you can imagine.) Horses. Like with the band at that castle in Italy. Band at a castle in Italy? “You mean the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London?” Yea, that one. No, no horses. And I guess that is the only other version of a marching band she’s seen.

Kaitlyn enjoyed the show. Bill spent it comparing the performance to when he was in his high school’s marching band. We also stayed to watch the dancers and then the cheerleaders.

Then Kaitlyn had enough. She didn’t care which team won, since she was rooting for both anyway. So we made the trek back through the dark to the car and came home. I think Kaitlyn liked her first football game. She’s determined “when she’s a teenager” to be the team mascot. An eagle. (There isn’t one now) So she has been practicing flapping her arms and squawking. Lucky us.