The last couple of days have been a blur. One thing is for sure: I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home-Mom. My respect for them continues to be immense. I’ve been off all week with D, except for Wednesday when I had to go in to work to get some deadline stuff done. I didn’t want to be there when I was there, and I don’t always want to be alone with my kid 24/7 either. I’m disjointed and unsettled and need to move some rocks around in my personal garden so things can grow the right way. They are heavy and it is a process that isn’t always easy, but I’m doing it.
We did a “doughnut challenge” yesterday morning to kill time for little cash outlay, and learned a lesson about shopping local vs. chains. The two locals we went to had the best doughnuts and also the most expensive, so I was able to tack on a lesson about paying just a little bit more for something of quality and how the money helps keep a business open locally. We talked about a toy store where he got a toy that lives in the car; how we couldn’t go back to where we bought the valiant knight because we got him on the day the store closed forever. Not enough people shopped there for them to continue to be open, I explained. That’s why you need to patronize places like the bakery we like and other locally-owned places when you can, so that they stay open and your community and town stay vibrant. I also had an enormous amount of caffeine, and in Starbucks, my son called me a nihilist and I called him a misanthrope and people stared. I thought it was hilarious. He read a sentence in a book tonight that included the phrase “marshmallow sandwiches.” I think that’s pretty good for a kid fresh out of kindergarten, but what do I know.
I was also able to teach a lesson, since we had the idle time on our hands, about not treating all your clothes as disposable and about perseverance to get what you want. Some people would call this a big waste of valuable time, but when you HAVE the time and see an opportunity to teach a lesson, I see that as a win. I had a pair of jean shorts that are only about a month old. I have lost a lot of weight and most of my clothes don’t fit so I am trying to replace things a little at a time. I basically have these shorts that fit and no other pairs. So when the (cheap) zipper broke the other day, I decided to get them fixed. Even though they’re cheaply made and I got them on sale. I called a dry cleaner up the road multiple days in a row to ask if they did work like this but they never answered the phone. I realized there is an actual tailor right at the end of my street, so we went in there. Old Italian guy. He looked skeptical and said with a heavy accent that he didn’t think he could fix them. He got out a box of zippers and said they were all too long, he didn’t know where I could get a zipper like that. I asked if there was another way to fashion a closure for the area of the zipper and he said not really. He said he could try cutting the zipper but he would have to do this, that, and the other, and it would cost me more than $20. That’s way more than I paid for the shorts. He clearly just didn’t want to do the job and didn’t think it worth his time. Which, maybe it wasn’t, but who knows what other work I could have steered his way. I didn’t like his attitude but we were polite and I left. Now I was determined. So we went down to JoAnn Fabric, which is almost as bad a place for me to go as Lowe’s, as I am not only home-improvement-impaired I am dramatically craft-impaired for my sex. Those places give me hives with their giant bolts of cloth and all the math required that I never understood to sew shit. It’s almost like not knowing how to follow a recipe and bake a cake as a woman; on some level, my grandmother is ashamed when I go in there and am so very lost. We went back to the service desk and the lady clucked her tongue and said they didn’t sell any zippers that short. She took us to the zippers and said I needed a 2 inch zipper maybe, and the shortest they sold was 5 (they’re Junior’s shorts. Sue me. I know I’m middle aged, fuck you. They look awesome.). She actually suggested I go up to a sewing store down the road, an independent, and see if they had any ideas. I’ve driven by there a hundred times but never really saw it since it’s just not my thing. But we went over there and I met a nice old lady named Roberta and she said oh, that’s easy. You just go back to JoAnn, buy the shortest zipper they have, bring it back here and I’ll cut it and do it for you tonight. She said she does alterations out of her home, and I could pick them up tomorrow. Five bucks. YES. She was a little stand-offish at first, probably because I smell like the Patchouli Anti-Craft and my kid is a hyper mess, but when she saw how excited and grateful I was, she warmed up a little, and was downright friendly today, giving me her card and saying to let her know if I had any other things that I wanted done. I tipped her a couple of bucks because it seemed like the right thing to do.
We picked up my script for Prednisone, too. I have THE BEST doctors, as I have said many times, and I called my PM&R guy yesterday because he always takes my calls even when he is busy. We discussed my long-term knee problem, my ridiculous 5-race running goal for 2015 (1/5th complete. Soon to be 2/5th as I am doing another on the 21st) and he said he hoped I wasn’t planning on any marathons, he’s not a miracle worker – he has a sense of humor. I assured him I was not, but he had to help me with my sciatica, it was now so bad even Advil and stretching and foam rolling was not touching it, and the pain is waking me up at night and causing tingling when I walk. I will come in so you can give me a shot, anytime. He said let’s attack with Prednisone, see if we can get you in shape for the race, take 60 a day, or taper if you’re seeing results after 2 days, and call me Tuesday and let me know, and if not, I will have you come in and inject you. This is world-class care, I swear. I love these folks. Only take it in the morning, he said, or you’ll have insomnia and nightmares. BTDT. Here is is 9pm and I am already a good 20% better. It is down to what I’d consider normal people’s pain level 5, which I can way, way deal with as I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and it should continue to improve over next few days with more meds.
We ran a lot of errands today. We also did the NYT 7-minute workout. D actually really likes doing this stuff but he has crappy form and will only let me correct him to a degree. D also had his 6-year checkup, where the lady confirmed he’s quite small for his age but that’s normal for him. When we got home, I showed him how strong a small guy can be and what cool things they can do.
Tonight was orientation for his very first summer camp, which starts Monday. When I was little and went to camp, my parents dropped me and my sister at a local gym and we took a bus out to Hell’s half acre, which they had never even seen, and we did shit like have woodshop once a week, rode ponies, learned to swim, did crafts and learned to clear a space and make a day-camp area on Wednesdays, “home in the woods” day, where we would dig a fire pit and roast hot dogs if we could get the fire started. If not, you ate them cold. The 70s. It was also the 70s because once a week we had BB gun class at the range on-site. And we had archery, like, for real. It was pretty badass. You can take the girl out of the country…
D’s camp is based out of the local middle school, where he will eventually attend. They basically do a thousand things. Field trips to everywhere, from roller skating to a water park to the zoo and science center. There is pizza once a week, they go to the movie theater, and SWIMMING twice a week. The entire session gave me the vapors. I know he won’t be the only kid there who doesn’t know how to swim but the thought of him getting in a pool twice a week with me nowhere around is unsettling, to say the least.
I am such a fucking sap, however, that I teared up when the fresh-faced counselors introduced themselves. They’re so young and eager and cute, and look like such nice people. Many of them have been working at the camp at least two or three summers and all of the directors are veterans, including the main director, who I recognized is also a teacher at D’s elementary, who has been working the camp for more than 25 years! They seem like good and nice people and I have to believe they aren’t going to let my son get lost, that they won’t leave unless he is on every bus, every time, that they will comfort him when he’s running at the pool and scrapes his foot open like I always did, that they will know how to help him if he starts choking, that they won’t let him go hungry if his lunch gets lost. This is a bigger step away from my comfort level than school ever was last fall. At least the school building locks during the day. The people are certified teachers by a state governing body. There are rules and cameras and they stay in one building all damned day long with only select, few exceptions. My mind spun with worries: molestation, mosquitos, what if he steps on a bee’s next like happened to my cabin in camp? Broken limbs, lost and crying at the zoo, drowning. It’s horrible having this kind of anxiety but I didn’t let him see any of it. Instead I talked to him on the way home about how summer camp were the best parts of my childhood growing up – which they WERE. I made incredible memories there. I had a crush on my first girl (a counselor) at camp, and vied for her affection with a boy my age. I kissed my first boy at camp. I threw lye down latrines and folded the flag to Taps at the end of the day when it was my turn. I survived sunburns, broken hearts, Elvis dying and all the girls in camp crying all day, smooshed lunches with wet bread, cuts and scrapes innumerable, and the aforementioned hornets’ nest. I learned a thousand songs, learned the ASL alphabet so I could spell words back and forth with a deaf girl in my cabin, caught crayfish and went to my first dance. I want these things for him. I want it to be hot and sweaty, magic and mayhem, I want him to be exhausted and amazed.
I just also want him to be safe. Please. He’s so damned little. I can’t survive without him.