Monday, August 17, 2015

Is this really happening?

As I walked the halls of our local high school with the kiddo last week, I realized it’s almost the day I’ve been dreading all summer.  My son is starting high school and I’m not ready.  Period.  It’s truly that simple.

Those last days before a new school year starts always leave me feeling flattened.  It pushes me back to a world where it seems like there are more questions than answers and it forces me to check my own report card.  Have I made enough good memories to counteract the tough days that will surely come?  Have we laughed enough to make sure the smiles shine brighter than the scowls the world so often greets us with?  Have we played enough?  Have we laid on our backs and stared at the stars enough or did I rush us in my ever present, over programmed, micromanaging way, chanting hurry up at every turn, rushing to an end I don’t even really want? 

This is the time of year when doubts rush in and overwhelm me and while I’m usually loud enough and busy enough to keep them at bay, the truth is, I feel like I’m free falling, caught in no man’s land, praying I’ve done a good enough job to make a difference.  It’s a whole new ballgame for the kiddo and I want to help make these years so awesome for him.  So it was back to school we went…

Finding my son’s French room sent my mind back to Latin class and with the memory came a smile.  Nancy Wilson was my favorite teacher and to this day I credit her with being one of the biggest influences in my young life.  If it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would have gone to college.

The kiddo soaking in the lake on back to school eve...
When we made our way to the Biology lab, I smiled and thought about my best friend—the one I met in Ms. Hicks Freshman biology class given we shared a dreaded black table.  She’s still my bestie thirty years later and she’s one of the greatest people I know.  Good things can happen in high school.

As we wandered into the debate classroom, I thought about the debater I dated who went to a rival school.  We often ended up going head to head and while I walked away with the winning record, he handed me my heart in a baggie.

On and on it went as I faced fresh opportunity with my son while remembering my own jagged journey.  In my heart, I know it’s just a new season for our family, but still, I can’t help but feel things won’t ever be the same once that dreaded bell rings.  Time marches on whether we want it to or not.  Now it’s the kiddo’s turn to write the story.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The fireworks didn’t really ignite until I started crying…

Years ago we lived in a small house in a suburb of Chicago with two cats, a new puppy and a toddler.  When I say small, read small enough that one thing out of place was a BIG deal and I had both a changing table and a ball pit in my living room.  Seriously, the place was small.  Which is why my decision to host a dinner party was an odd one but nonetheless, you know how the story goes.  I sent out the invites then started cleaning like a woman possessed, shaking my head in disbelief halfway through the first round of dusting.  There was no way we could entertain ten people (with two cats, a puppy and a toddler in tow).  When I asked the dear hubster for help, I was overjoyed he not only agreed to pitch in but asked for my to do list and said he’d get started right away.  Praisealleluiah!  The Calvary had arrived.  Two hours later I found my husband in our pantry closet re-organizing the spice rack and the largest fight we've ever had ensued.

The toddler & the puppy in the little living room (Chicago, 2002)

Until yesterday, we’d only had three major blow-ups in almost 22 years of marriage and I can name them all:  bed sheets (first time I’ve slept on a bed without them), my son’s red sweat jacket (worst anniversary dinner, ever), and the spice rack incident (the sole event all other events are judged against).  Sadly, a fourth has been added to the list…  The washing machine.

School starts Thursday, which means it’s crunch time in my world.  As life would have it, my washing machine broke early last week but I didn’t sweat it.  The repair service was scheduled to come out yesterday and while mounting dirty laundry was a small set back in my routine, I had no doubt he’d fix the machine and I’d be merrily on my way to another afternoon of fluff and fold.  Or not, which I hadn’t planned on.  So I lost it, right in front of the poor A & E Factory repair tech that had the misfortune of standing between my husband and I in the middle of our laundry room when he delivered the blow.  My washing machine won’t be fixed until Monday the 17th at the earliest and three things have to happen in lockstep to make that date work. 

When I heard I’d be without a washer for yet another ten days, I blew a gasket.  But the fireworks didn’t really ignite until I started crying, which is exactly what I did.  I stood frozen, trapped between the dryer sheets and a bucket of used wash water leftover from my attempt to hand wring a load of bath towels (bad idea), and  I fell apart.  How was I going to deal with what would amount to just over two weeks worth of dirty laundry by the time the machine might be repaired?  What about the start of school, sports practice, and all those kitchen towels I use in the process of shining everything in the kitchen a hundred times a day?  Just as my brain hit full-tilt, the Calvary (dear hubster) stepped in in an effort to save the day.  Hello, major blow-up number four.
The ball pit (Chicago, 2002)

In his effort to help, the hubster offered everything he could think of from hiring out the laundry to building me a new laundry room complete with three of every machine they make, all to no avail and we argued for nearly an hour.  I didn’t want to hear the plan or brainstorm or think through options.  My mind instantly snapped back to our Chicago days.  How dare he re-arrange the spice rack while the whole house is falling down around us?  The hubster finally grew silent as I ranted and raved and just when I’d shut up long enough to catch my breath before starting in again, I heard six little words I won’t soon forget.  “Is this really about the laundry?”

The new must have
“You know it’s not,” I hiccupped, and truer words were never spoken.  While I’m frustrated at the hassle factor involved with not having a washing machine for a couple of weeks, none of my tears were marked for dirty laundry.  It was the abrupt change in plans revolving a daily routine that did me in.

The kiddo starts high school Thursday and to say I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed is putting it mildly.  It’s the dawn of a new season for me as a mom and I’ll be honest, I haven’t gotten my hands around all of the changes taking place in our lives just yet.   But I know this—I adore my boys and I’m sold out on helping the kiddo have a great freshman year.  Which is how I also know that Woolite works just fine in warm water in the kitchen sink and is good to have on hand for that time your kiddo wears his new school shirt (you know the one he was certain he’d die without because he wanted to wear it for school pictures?) a week before school starts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rebel Ink Press Author Hop!


Thanks for stopping by!  I've been with Rebel Ink Press since their beginning back in 2010.  I write inspirational romance with a contemporary flare and also have military contemporary novel releasing yet this month with my writing partner, Denisea Kampe.

Today I'm giving away signed paperback copies (or Kindle versions if you'd prefer) of Hope 22 and faith 15 and I'd love to share a copy with you.  This offer is void where prohibited and no purchase necessary but you do have to leave me a comment to enter to win. smile emoticonTell me a little about you. Where are you from and what do you like to read? I'll randomly select a winner Friday, August 7, 2015 around noonish PST or so.Please be sure to go by for the complete list of hop stops and good luck!****REBEL INK PRESS FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE HOP AND GIVEAWAY***Tell me more about you. What do you like to read? What's currently in your TBR pile?  What's your favorite type of heroine or hero?

Tell me more about you.  What do you like to read?  What's currently in your TBR pile?  What's your favorite type of heroine or hero?
I'll randomly winners Friday, August 7, 2015 and notify everyone then!

Please be sure to go by for the complete list of hop stops and good luck as you visit with everyone today!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Leaving Las Vegas...

As I sit on the plane waiting to leave sin city, I have to say I wasn't impressed but I’m glad to have experienced Vegas firsthand.  That’s right, I’m nearly forty-five and a half and I’d never been to Vegas until earlier this week.  I mean seriously, even my mother has been to Vegas!   But now I get it.  There’s a reason the saying what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas exists and to my way of thinking, it can't be good.  So here it is, the non-gamblers view of Vegas...

The goal of Vegas is to swallow you whole.  Before you Vegas lovers attack me for making such a comment, yes--it dawns on me that Vegas is like Disneyland, you don't go there to stay.  Yet it also dawns on me that the gaming industry spends billions of dollars a year trying to keep patrons in its establishments.  Like those of us just trying to find the five star restaurants amidst the maze of nicotine saturated, caffeine lit hallways.  While I appreciate the challenge of trying to be on time for a reservation in your labyrinth, maybe you could work on improving air quality and not try tricking me into believing it's always the middle of the afternoon when I'm inside your walls.  Call me crazy but I like a window or two here and there and I appreciate the difference between 3am and 3pm.

There’s more to Vegas than the strip, but you've got to be willing to rent a car and go get it.  Given the family and I made our way to sin city via a road trip that started in salt lake, we were rolling fat, which is to say we had a tricked out GMC Yukon with Texas license plates and you know what they say about Texas, right?  Yeah, don't mess with it.  With 80 mph speed limits for most of the trip, we were on the fast track and by the time we got to Vegas, people were gladly moving out of our way.  Having wheels allowed the boys to drive exotic cars at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and us to visit Pawn Stars.  It made breakfast at the city's oldest restaurant, the peppermill, possible and it even created time for a bit of back to school shopping.  And I got my picture.  You know the one...

The learning opportunity for the kiddo was huge.  While I can't be certain what Vegas looks like to a fourteen-year-old boy, I have a pretty good idea.  Nearly everywhere we looked we saw opulence and excess and addiction and despair, which created some of the most colorful and engaging conversations we've had with our son this summer.  We talked about the various ways the house creates a psychological advantage over its guests and how the house is positioned to win.  At one point during dinner when parts of an earlier conversation sank in, the kiddo looked at the hubster and said, "you know, you're totally right.  Even if you did win it big, you'd be hard pressed to get out of this building without spending it all."  We talked about the seeming advantages and downsides of free money and free alcohol and 24/7 entertainment and topless bars and prostitution and living a life without boundaries.  We Googled Steve Wynn so we could learn about Mr. Vegas and laughed when we realized the happiest people we saw the entire time we were on the strip were the cabbies we met when hopping venues.

Vegas was far from a bucket list item for me and while I have zero plans to go back, I can honestly say I'm grateful we spent a day in sin city.  It's our job to show the kiddo the world and it's my hope that learning took place on both sides of the fence for him.  We even came away from Vegas with a new saying:  just because everything is possible doesn't mean it's a good idea.