Jane is Back from Outward Bound

07.24.12

We picked Jane up from the airport last night and she was radiant. Outward Bound is the right program for her. She paddled 80 miles in five days, made new friends and has more bug bites than I ever could have imagined. Jane’s skin was perfect. Those midwestern girls with their humidity may be shiny at times but there’s nothing like skin that hasn’t been hit by the desert sun.

In typical Jane fashion she talked a mile a minute about the other girls. They were from places like New Jersey and Oklahoma and China. I asked what their parents did for a living and two of the girls had nutritionist moms, “You would love them!” She squealed. She lamented the fact that she was the only girl who had to fly in and out of Minnesota. The other girls were staying an extra day to go to the Mall of America which has [insert a squeal here] Brandy Melville. I reminded her that LA has Brandy Melville too and you didn’t have to walk past stored full of kitten tee shirts to get there but she was still unhappy to have missed the experience.

She marveled at Minnesotans. They’re all blonde or redheads and lots of men with beards. She’d never seen so many beards and her eyes grew wide as saucers as she told me, “Everyone says ‘hi’ to you. Like for no reason they wave and say ‘hi’.”

“Why do they do that?” I asked.

“I don’t know. They’re like super friendly like they think they’re going to see me again or something so I just sort of started saying ‘hi’ to people randomly. It was weird.”

Jane paddled a canoe 78 miles in five days and only cried once. Apparently when there are thunderstorms the girls get woken up and have to go somewhere in rain suits and sit on their PFDs while waiting for the storm to pass. After a few nights of this she was tired and wanted to go back to sleep.

I love that she cracked and learned that cracking and breaking are two different things. She’s going to be unbreakable before she leaves this house. I just know it.

The kids both missed each other. This is how I know I’m a success as a parent. I like that they’re strong students. I like that my kids are athletic and I enjoy their moments of altruism. But I know that Mr. G and I have done something wonderful when our kids want to be together.

Jane wanted to know what happened while she was gone. I told that we went to see Spiderman, eat at a million restaurants (I didn’t tell her that we ate out so much because setting a table for three is depressing), bought a dozen pair of shoes, the cat drank my tequila and I paid the vet $220 to put his finger up Junior’s arse. I’m pretty sure the vet doesn’t make enough money.

The kids are in camp today and we’ve got another two weeks before they both blow out of here for more camps.

I Dropped My Daughter off at the Airport and it was like… Nothing

07.17.12

Jane had a 6.30am flight this morning. She’s just arrived in the midwest for a week of rockclimbing, canoeing and camping with Outward Bound. She went last year and to say that it changed her life would be a gross understatement. The combination of sports and mountaineering has given Jane the ability to walk away from massive amounts of peer pressure to keep outside the fray when it comes to girl drama.

So this morning I set my alarm clock for 4.15. I wanted to be up before Jane, have breakfast for her and be out the door by 4.45 so that we could arrive at LAX by 5.30. Don’t get me started on how absolutely bugged I am that I had to pay $200 in unaccompanied minor fees for a child who doesn’t need to be accompanied. Unfortunately I woke up at 3.30 because someone was pushing me off the bed.

I tried to get back to sleep but sleep never came. He looks sweet and innocent but he’s five pounds of bed hogging trouble.

We made it to the airport and wound our way through security lines and frazzled early morning travelers. Jane had a spring in her step and I said to her, “You’re happy when you’re about to get on a plane, aren’t you?”

She smiled wider and nodded her head.

She kissed me goodbye and boarded the plane without looking back. She wants to travel, she wants to see the world and have new experiences and she wants to experience it all with strangers. With new friends.

I thought I’d feel weird leaving the airport without her but it was like nothing. Maybe because it’s the right thing at the right time and Jane’s in the air while I’m on the ground and that’s exactly as we’re meant to be.

 

 

The One Where I Told My Son We Could Stop After He Puked

08.22.11

I’m tired and lazy. August might be a little sporadic with the posting.

Jane is back from Outward Bound. It sounds like it was an incredible experience, and it’s one I’ll invite her to talk more about. There were some harrowing moments with a tipped over canoe but it sounds like she was with an exceptional group of girls and they came to be close as a group. She came home taller, stronger, and without a lick of table manners.

It was good.

Last night two friends slept over and the girls wanted to see the new Steve Carel movie. I was in a G+ hangout with Cecily and she said, “I’ve seen that and I wouldn’t reccomend it for a 12 year old.” Which is awesome because now my pink haired friend on the computer can raise my kids for me. Now Jane can be pissed at Cecily instead of me.

They agreed to see The Help and three girls came back from the movies with all their eyeliner cried right off. We had some interesting discussions about what it means to be a good or bad person, how following the crowd is no excuse and what it means to be a lady. We talked about how far women have come in the workplace and how no one would be permitted to talk to them that way and Jane couldn’t stop saying how she wanted to punch Hilly in the head.

The girls all liked me again because I let them go to the movies, but they turned on me when I said lights out at 11.

We’re riding this rollercoaster of love me hate me, and Jane loves me when I’m buying her things and hates me when I say no. Which of course makes me want to do less for her and Mr G sees none of this and explains to me what a good kid she is.

She’s a good kid because I’m keeping her from being a spoiled brat.

Alexander has started vision therapy and it will probably have a section of it’s own right here on the blog. I am once again eternally grateful to my readers who encouraged me to investigate before scheduling his third surgery. We’re trying it for three months and much like the patching he used to do, and the speech therapy Jane had I realize that it’s all on me.

We can show up for the weekly appointments but without daily practice it’s useless. It’s awfully tough and Alexander sometimes gets dizzy. On day two of our at home regimen he started getting nauseous and wanted to quit. I wouldn’t let him. He started to cry and I handed him some tissues. He told me that he was going to throw up and I assured him that we’d stop the vision therapy just as soon as there was vomit on the floor but not one minute before.

I love him that much.

So at night I cry because I don’t want to have to hurt my kids, but this is his Hail Mary before surgery and I’m sure as shit not going to let him see me cry.

 

You Say “Summer Camp” I Say STFU

08.18.11

Today is Jane’s eighth day at Outward Bound. To answer your questions: no, I don’t know how she is doing. If I called it wouldn’t be a wilderness expedition and no, I’m not worried about bears/drowning/snakes/chupacabras.

About three times a day Alexander looks at me and says, “Jane would love this.” I smile and I say, “I miss her too.”

When I lay in bed at night and I can’t get the pillow quite right I get tense because my Jane is sleeping under a tarp that she had to carry on her backpack and in a sleeping bag with no pillow. I know she’s happy. Camping trips like this were the highlight of my youth so I’m well aware of how much fun she’s having.

I just miss her.

Alexander is mostly enjoying being the only child. He misses having another kid in the house, but this morning he asked me for pretzel M&Ms at 10am and I said yes. He asked me if I was sick. I told him that I was sick and we each had a bag of pretzel M&Ms for brunch. They were delicious and it was strange enough for Alexander that I think he’ll always remember the week his sister was gone and his mother gave him a little bag of poison in the morning.

We had lunch at a ramen house where you sit cross legged on the floor. Shoes are naturally removed and I was good about that but forgot my sunglasses after having put my shoes back on. I promptly stood up and walked across the cushions with my sandal feet while the waitstaff and my brother looked on horrified. Karma bit me in the ass and I walked outside and stepped in chewing gum.

Can we talk about chewing gum? If I was Queen of the World I’d ban two things, chewing gum and scented deodorant. There’s no reason you need to walk around chewing anything all day long. It’s perfectly acceptable to face the world without working your damn jaw. The snapping sound of the middle aged side mouth gum chewer is like nails on a chalkboard, but the hideousness of gaping mouth with bright blue or green gum being swirled around on a filthy tongue is simply unbearable. I’m past the point where I feel I have to be polite. I simply walk away.

As for scented deodorant, really? Can we just agree that whomever created Axe belongs in prison?

 

We Didn’t Pass All the Interviews

06.9.11

Jane’s Outward Bound application is officially complete. Yesterday she had a ten minute phone call with someone from their staff. She stood in the courtyard at school on my phone shuffling her feet, smiling, laughing and saying things like, “I’m kind of nervous about that but I’m excited too.” and after a lot of yeses and nos she kicked her heels in the air, handed the phone to me and sang out, “He said to tell you that I’ve been accepted.”

So Outward Bound is official and now I’m nervous about the flight. 10 days in the wilderness under a tarp doesn’t worry me but LAX to SEA is where I feel like things could go horribly wrong. I’m sure it’s just a feeling.

I had another interview this week with a landscaper, and it didn’t go as well. When you drive around Los Angeles there are these fabulous sun gardens that are full and bright and change with the seasons (few things change with the seasons here). Some of his most beautiful displays have little signs with a phone number on them. I called the number and was informed that I had to not let my gardener near the area, it would be a $1,200 install, $200 a month maintenance and they’d come out to examine the property and see if there was an appropriate place for the mini garden.

I shuddered a little at the cost but figured my husband would enjoy the pretty flowers  and he probably wouldn’t mind too much (although in writing this I realize he probably would). So I yes’ed my way through the phone interview and threw two very important men right under the bus. Mr G would have killed me for spending thousands of dollars a year on an annual garden, and Pedro would never be okay with another man tinkering in my garden, he gets irritated when I put in my own spring plantings.

The swank landscaper showed up and immediately looked annoyed. I have redwoods out front, and don’t I know that an English Garden requires sunlight? In the back I had something more loathsome, more appalling than redwoods. I have animals.

The interview didn’t go well. My garden and I were rejected, and we’ll have to be ordinary, non seasonal and covered in succulents, though I’ve recently discovered that Hostas love the space under the trees. At least Jane got what she wanted.