Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Lighthouse....

SGG and I were both childless Sunday morning.  We had a nice breakfast at IHOP and then headed to the north end of VA Beach for hike.  We hiked out to Fort Story/Cape Henry and up the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse.  It was a beautiful day and I wish I had brought one of my real cameras.  All I had with me was my droid.

After going up and down the lighthouse, we walked on the beach back to the car.  Along the way we found a treasure trove of shells.

All the way around it was a great hike and a great day.  We still can't believe we found so many shells.

A very nice end to a bit of a hectic weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Out of the mouths of teens....

Comes, amongst a host of other things, drama. While mine is not quite yet a true teen....he is close enough.

It is fun to watch as his world views change. He is gathering information here and there and applying it. He makes conclusive judgments about this world and the rest of us in it. He is certainly passionate about his views and willing, unfortunately, to defend them. Often his timing for discussion and the subject is off, which makes him a little more frustrated and gets him into trouble.

His most oft uttered embittered war cry is "You never listen to me!" I hear this several times each day. The reality is that I have heard, processed, understood, and subsequently disagreed with his premise and evaluation of whatever he is talking about. What he is really trying to say is that he is correct, I am wrong, and because I didn't agree with him that I must not have been listening.

Sometimes I don't have the time or energy to explain why I say no to some of his requests. The other day this happened again and he became very angry that I wouldn't let him go somewhere and I wouldn't take the 30 minutes needed to explain it and get through HIS process. I understand this, but he also needs to learn some patience and sometimes trust that things will work out in his favor. Escalation will often ensure that things definitely will not workout in his favor.

So I told him to have patience. To which he responded:

"Patience? I don't have patience. I want answers to my questions. I need to have those answers. I have YOUR intelligence! I have my mother's impatience! I have BOTH of your attitudes!"

And being that I couldn't refute any of those statements, I conceded that battle to him....but he still lost the war.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Not a long post...but my Droid continues to be useful and amazing in many ways.

I have an xbox game called Rally Sport. When you are driving, it has a small window in a corner that shows you what the next turn is. It lets you know how sharp it is, etc. It gives you a couple of seconds to prepare for it.

When driving to WV to go snowboarding the other weekend, we had to leave at night and drive nearly 7 hours to get there...arriving around 2am. The last 2.5 hours of the drive is all switchbacks in Blue Ridge Mountains of VA and WV. Up, down, curves, some ice, some snow, lots of salt and sand. The entire western half of VA was still under snow from the recent snowfalls.

My Droid had loaded the maps and was providing turn by turn directions to get to Timberline, WV. So after midnight, on a road with no lights, my only real indication of what was coming came from the Droid. It showed me what was coming up, how sharp the turn was, where the straight-aways were...essentially I was driving by was awesome! :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To SGG on Valentine's Day....

The really easy way,
Is to buy a card and token,
But they really can’t convey,
The feelings I want spoken.

I want to take you in my arms,
And pretend that we can dance,
I love the way we turn our hours,
Into adventure and romance.

Just this moment nothing past,
Is all that we really get,
Though I want each one to last,
The best hasn’t got here yet.

Khaki pants and hiking boots,
Hiking cities and the trails,
Love is adventure at its root,
And I hope ours never fails.

So this is what I want to say,
On this snowy Valentines day,
In 40 years we’ll be old and grey,
I will still love you in every way.

New title for the Blog?

No. But lately it should be more like "A month in the life of a single dad" because that is about how often I post.

Why? Glad you asked, I was going to tell you anyway.

Mostly I have been very frustrated at work and that would have come out here. I say too much at work as it is and so I have been working on new and different ways to release some of that tension. I will certainly maintain that WRITING is probably the most cathartic activity ever. However, I write publicly, not privately, so I refuse to write about it here. It has taken me away from here, and a few other activities I really enjoy and now something really has to change. Something possibly drastic.

Now that I've expertly led you to the edge, I will not let you fall in. Rather anti-climatic but that is as far as it goes.

Now on to other happenings...some good and some bad.

About two days after we got back from the Keys, I got a phone call from one of my aunts that one of my uncles had passed away. For family reasons that I am not all that aware of, I wasn't real close to him, but he was my mom's brother. He is survived by his wife, a brother, and two sisters. He did not have any children. I went down for the funeral and it was good to see the family together without any squabbling. After the funeral we drank, and sang, and there is rumor of some crazy blogger singing and dancing with his son on video...but that can't be substantiated so don't believe anything you hear.

My son has been doing great in school. After two grading periods he is still on the honor roll with one A, three Bs, and a C. His social skills teacher is recommending that he go back into the AVID program and it looks like he may not even need to be in the social skills class next year. I'm still waiting to have an official meeting with the staff about that so keep the fingers crossed. His behavior, attitude, and level of responsibility are markedly improved.

Brandon is also trying out for wrestling. It is the first activity that he has really gone all out for. He didn't pick up a starter position yet, but he is working really hard and I am extremely proud of him and all the work he has been doing.

If by any chance you start to get the impression that things are running smoothly, let me correct that right now. Yes, things are going well, but the boy is becoming a teen. It has only just begun and I'm tired of the attitude. I tell him to put something up and I get "I know Dad, you don't have to keep telling me!" But, when I asked him 15 minutes earlier, he didn't do it, and 15 minutes later he still hasn't done it. He asks me to help him with homework, then laments loudly that I am doing it wrong. Lets be clear about this. I LOVE math, and every time there has been contention over a problem for his short existence, I have been right every time. I know he really doesn't want to be told he is wrong, and he really doesn't want to do any work. Typical teen boy? I think so. Anyone who suggests that he might be like is dad is wrong and will be banned from the blog. Watch me do it. :-)

SGG and I can hardly believe it has been over a year since we met and started dating. We're both struggling with growing boys, job issues, etc, but we really try hard to find time to do things we enjoy. Sometimes it is something small, and sometimes we get to pretend we don't have children anymore! :-) At least for a few days. of the projects I have been working on is creating a book for her and I. I've imported my blog from the biking incident in December 2008 through the vacation in the Keys ending in January 2010 into Blurb. I'm also importing pictures and doing some editing. I might be finished by March. It is exciting for me, something really new, and challenging. I would really like for it to be around 200 pages, which means it will be a lot of pictures.

A common theme in the past year with SGG is that we love the memories we have already made together. I look back at each post and each picture (and I have the 2500 or so pictures I marked as favorites all over both of our houses) and truly cherish each of those moments, as well as those that you'll never see pictures of here! And I probably won't talk about except in vague/veiled references like this one. :-) Of course, Rachel said sort of the same thing about her mattress, and then went on to not be very vague...

I do have more to write about, but I have to move on to some other things this evening!

The picture above is Brandon in the snow this weekend. :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Laughter is the best medicine....

usually. As I type this, my son is laying in bed with an ice pack on his left eye and two motrin in his belly. A few moments ago he was crying about it all, now he is laughing. What made the difference?

We have had a pretty long weekend and we are both really tired. SGG, my son, and I left Friday evening to go skiing/snowboarding at Timberline Four Seasons Resort in West Virginia. It was looking to be an amazing weekend for it. The past week or so they have had close to 4 or 5 feet of snow dumped up there. For the mid-atlantic it is the best I have ever seen.

Brandon has never really picked up snowboarding, but keeps insisting it is what he wants to do. At 12 years old, and it being a small resort, I figured I'll just let him go by himself. He'll either figure it out or he won't. I've been putting him into snowboard camps and lessons for the last six or so years, and about all he has really wanted to do is eat snow and throw snowballs. I almost didn't take him this time because of it. He still doesn't want to follow protocol, doesn't want to lace his boots up correctly, and half a dozen other things, but he can make it up and down the mountain on his own, chewing his gloves the whole way, and can make his turns. He wants to do it his own way, and though it makes me a bit frustrated, at least he can do it on his own and I can go do my thing.

The first day (Saturday), at the arranged meeting time, we found him in the lodge, in the bathroom, crying and saying he couldn't breathe. He couldn't tell me what was wrong. After getting him dressed back up (still not sure how he got everything off if he was feeling as bad as he said), we got him to the first aid station. The paramedic looked him over, and he was looking just as pathetic as he possibly could. They couldn't find anything wrong, but did finally manage to get out of him that he hit a snow bank and fell on a chunk of ice. They put him on a little bit of oxygen. His nose was stuffed up so they had to put the tubes in his mouth. He would close his lips, suck on the hose, then open his lips and breathe out. I told SGG, and loud enough for Brandon to hear, that he looked like a fish trying to breathe air. Brandon when from pathetic looking to laughing...and wasn't happy about it. A few minutes later he was back to scowling. To show it, he had sucked the tube deeper into his mouth. On either side, the tubes came out and stuck out like whiskers. I then told SGG that he looked like a catfish now and he started laughing again.

I went and got the car to take him up to the house and before you know it he was fine again and playing with the rest of the kids.

He got in a lot more snowboarding on Sunday.

So how does this end with him and an ice pack tonight (Monday)?

I went to put him in bed at 7:30 since we had had a long and tiring weekend. My legs are killing me, and I was sick all weekend to boot. I still might be. He begged me to let him read for a little bit. I did. He is reading "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. One of the best science fiction books ever.

Around 8:30 I tell him lights out. He has to use the bathroom so I let him. He then has this bright idea to run around the house doing something with his lip. I tell him in increasingly irritated tones to get in bed. He runs to the bathroom to admire his lip trick in the mirror. I tell him again to get in bed and he just stands there. I reached in to provide some direction, because I feel at this point the near teen has forgotten where his bed is. He ducked to avoid my grasp and hit his eye brow on the counter. While I want to lecture him on how much better this would have turned out if he had only LISTENED to me in the first place, I instead get a washcloth and wet it down to put on his eye. I know it doesn't help much but usually it starts to make him feel better. I then get him moving toward his room (and his bed) and then returned with an ice pack and some motrin.

He is still crying at this point.

I tell him he can tell his classmates that "They should see the other guy, he had two of these". To which he starts laughing. He then asks, "how bad is it?" I tell him he doesn't want to know, but it will be better tomorrow. I then told him he can tell his friends, "I shouldn't have kissed that girl," and he starts laughing again. He has placed the washcloth over his entire face, including his mouth, with the ice pack on his eye. I tell him to move the wash cloth from his mouth. He says "Why?" I responded, "Do you have to do the opposite of everything I say? (he laughs) I don't want it around your mouth because I don't want to have to explain to your mom tomorrow how you suffocated just because I asked you to move it and you said no." And for some reason he laughs some more.

As I turned out the light, he mentions that this is going to suck tomorrow. I tell him that the good thing is that if he keeps the ice pack on it, it will suck less every minute from now on. To which he laughs again.