Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes They Call Me Aaron

Now that the dust has settled, I can relate MY first day of school.  Monday, we stood outside the door of the Pre-K class, waiting for the "gate" to open, allowing little ones inside for a brand new world of experiences.  In anticipation, Brennan was balancing on the hand rail while we spoke to a fellow classmate, AJ, who has a hearing loss and was slightly difficult to understand, so I thought he might have trouble with Brennan's name, since it is not common.  I told AJ that my grandson's name was Brennan, or sometimes we call him Bren or even Brenny. Without even looking up, Brennan said, ". . . and sometimes they call me Aaron".  So very true.  AJ's mother looked a tad confused ~ was Aaron a middle name? A nickname? When I explained it is my youngest child's name, she gave me an immediate knowing look.  To be fair, I call my son Aaron, "Brennan" just as often. Seems it happens in most families.  I know my own mother, on a regular basis,  used to go down the list of six children, ignoring gender differences and surrendering to "oh well, whatever your name is!"  My sisters and I were also often called by our aunts' names, according to their birth order and ours. I am hoping it is not necessarily because we have similar characteristics or personalities, but more about how the human mind works ~ or in the case of mothers, how it is OVERworked.

Ella has been ready for Kindergarten for at least a year, so her excitement was palpable. She is the most animated member of Jen's family, and her dancing around with an indelible smile on her face was not surprising.  Anna, who shares her uncle Aaron's motto regarding school ~ "it takes up all your time", was even ready and willing to begin. Typically, she'd much rather be outside looking for critters or riding her bike but she's experienced a major metamorphosis this summer and is now quite the young lady (yet still likes to ride her bike to the ditch to forage for varmints).  The thing I am most grateful for this year is that all three of Jen's kids attend the school where Jen teaches.  I can't help but feel it is a huge blessing, like an emotional umbrella or security blanket for the children to sense, in their current circumstance, that their mother is always nearby. For a short time, Anna attended a school other than the one where her mother was working, and I don't think even Jen liked it.  Next year, Anna will advance to a different campus, but for now, all the planets are aligned.

Perhaps its the new school clothes that make the older girls' attitudes seem agreeable, but for whatever reason, even Ciara and Cheyenne appeared ready for all the new challenges that lay ahead. Ciara's a new cheerleader this year and is already staying late for volleyball.  Chey knows this will be a difficult year with taking dual college courses and continuing to work part time, but is braced and planning to pace herself for the whole of it.  Bright and beautiful people all around me.

Chelle said Graham, Zach and Maddie were all appropriately cheerful about the beginning of the new school year too.  I racked my brain for a memory of a time that any of my children or grandchildren were less than excited about a first day at school, and I can't recall a single tear, unless you count my own personal tears of joy.  At a young age, I found it disheartening when I'd hear parents count down the days until the first day of school, thinking to myself, "if you'd raise your children with love, they would be a joy to you instead of a nuisance". Call it foolishness. Call it being naive . . . heck, call it Karma!  Now I'm one of 'em! Only I've been counting the hours instead of the days!!  I just don't understand it ~ we DID raise ours with love and they ARE a joy to us. I love cheesecake too, but I don't want it 3 times a day, every day without a break!  So all is right with the world.  School is back in session.

It goes back to the adage, "Always leave 'em wanting more".  I can hardly get through a day without the grandkids, but I have been known to say that "sometimes, the best part of the visit is the tail lights of the car!"  I told Jennifer, our resident teacher, that in my humble opinion, year-round school would be better than having to spend the first two months every new year reviewing all that was forgotten during the summer from last year. Think of it!  Families could even camp out when its cooler or take winter vacations to someplace that actually gets snow more frequently than once every decade or two.  The teacher said no.  Asked and answered.


Friday, August 7, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Repairman

I have a five burner gas Jenn Air stove top that I was deep cleaning in honor of my sister Stacey's impending visit.  Having removed the knobs, I was wiping down the surface of the controls when somehow I must have triggered the electric starter, as the right front burner began to "click" like it was trying to turn on. Regardless of what I tried to do, nothing worked and the clicking would not stop. I called the appliance store where it was purchased and spoke to a woman in the service department who quickly informed me that I must have gotten it wet and I'd just have to let it dry out.  Sounded logical, but that clicking was really getting to me so I took a hair dryer to it for longer than it should have needed and no luck. Still clicking.  After 30 minutes, I called her back and told her I did not think that was the problem. She said it might take several hours. Inquiring what time they closed, I began to think I might need to throw in the towel and have a repairman come out and take a look at it before business hours were over.  She had a snide, pompous laugh when she assured me there was no way anyone could come before Wednesday.  This was Monday morning.  I'm committed to be in Houston all day on Wednesdays, so it would have to be at least Thursday. Not so much was I impatient, as I was irritated that she was totally indifferent to my cause, so I confidently announced I'd simply call someone else!  (Here in these parts we refer to that as "cutting off your nose to spite your face".)

While I was pondering what to do next, I made a not-very-hopeful phone call to my brother Dan and asked if he had any suggestions. He instructed me to locate the outlet that the stove top is plugged into (under the countertop, in the cabinet) and unplug it. I did.  Problem solved.
The only inconvenience was that I had to use a match to light a burner.  Big deal. Next day I plugged it in and it started clicking, but by Thursday, it no longer clicked when plugged in!

There are several lessons to be learned from this experience: 

1) What does it say about their appliances that there are so many calls, they can't schedule you for over 48 hours? Are that many of their appliances needing repair?
2) If an appliance is working properly, do not, under any circumstance, deep clean it.
3) If you wait long enough, a broken appliance will repair itself.

A Tale of Two Cities Vacation

"It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times." (from Charles Dicken's " Tale of Two Cities") My sister, Stacey, from Yorba Linda, CA is here for a visit. She tries her best to come three or four times a year and while she is here, it is much like a circus in an elevator. All 6 of us siblings (and spouses and children, etc) and our Dad gather to join in the festivities every day and night. There is little sleeping, but a lot of eating, racquetball, shopping, grooming & pampering, movies, old stories to retell and enough belly laughs to sustain us until the next trip.  In the process, new memories are made to retell another day. It ain't over yet, as Stacey doesn't fly out until Monday early.

After a fun-filled girls' day out today, we had a fish fry at my sister, Dawn's.  The cousins were running and squealing through the house when 3 year Juliett took a hard spill onto the tile floor and split her head open. ( They really know how to shut down a party.)  A scary amount of blood. Emergency Room. A miserable "all nighter" at the hospital, since it is not only summer, but also the start of the weekend, resulting in an increased number of patients. 

I remember a couple years ago when Jon took Brennan to the ER with a gash in his chin from a nasty fall in the bathtub.  After four hours into the late night, they gave up and went home, never having seen a doctor at all.  They cleaned the wound and put a butterfly closure on it. 

Do-it-yourself healthcare.  We're gonna be seeing a lot more of it.

Post Script:  Juliett finally had a half-dozen stitches after waiting from 9:30 pm until about 3:30 am.  She was extremely patient and brave in the ER with no sign of any residual problems. In fact, she was over tonight for a few minutes and enjoyed romping with her cousins again.