Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#160. or, OH, There Will be Hugs!

  Around 10 months ago, our youngest son, who also happens to be the last of our kids still attending school, started junior high. Over the course of this past school year, he also became a teenager.

  When he started this year, I decided that I was going to do my best to send him off to school each morning with a hug as a little fatherly moral support to help get him through the day.

  Now, we're not an overly huggy family. Besides my wife and I, of course. We're always hugging on each other. Oh, and when I've been drinking a bit, then I'm more than happy to hug on anyone who comes around. I'm talking about doling out the hugs when it comes to my sons.

  I think I may have gotten that from my dad. I know he was fond of me and all, it's just he wasn't one to physically express himself like that to me.  He was more the type to express his affection by taking me fishing with him. Or maybe get some quality bonding time in by going fencing together, that hot morning after I came home a little hung-over from partying a bit too heartily the night before. Things like that, just to let me know he was thinking of me. But not so much the hugging.

  Anyways, as my sons got older and it occurred to me just how fast they were growing up, I've tried to add things here and there to let them know I had an interest in their lives. The morning hug thing I've tried to implement, is my latest attempt to achieve this end.

  The thing you need to know here, and you can consider this the public service announcement portion of this post, is if you are going to one day out of the blue start hugging on your son, you really really need to start doing this before he becomes a teenager.

  I suspect there's the possibility you could trick him into letting you hug him everyday. Maybe if you were to one time give him a hug out of the blue for scoring the winning goal, or after they've excelled phenomenally at some academic achievement, then milked that as an excuse to continue the hugs each day until it just becomes the thing you do? But something like the 1st day of grade 7 probably isn't going to be enough to fool him. Most likely, you're just going to end up with him looking at you with that mixture of fear and confusion as you stand there with your arms wide open, waiting for him to return your embrace.

  Luckily, I have a lot of persistence.

  So, everyday that I was able and in the house when my son left for school this year, I gave him an awkward hug before he left. Probably about 80% of the school days that he had. Maybe it was just that I wore him down or it might have been my imagination, but I thought toward the end of the year, he was actually waiting for me to come and hug him before he went out the door. It could have also been those 2 times I followed him out of the house and half way down the driveway in my pajamas to get my hug when he tried to sneak off without it.

  ..................Maybe having your dad standing at the bus stop in his pajamas with you, waiting for his hug is more embarrassing than just getting it over with in the house?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#159. or, Fireflies (for my wife)

   I've seen pictures, from other parts of the world, where the fireflies dance in the trees like a million stars in the skies. That doesn't really happen here. In fact, I'd bet, that there's a fair percentage of the population in our neck of the woods, that aren't even aware that we have fireflies. But we do. I've seen them.

  I've lived in pretty much the exact same spot for the entirety of my life, certainly for the part that I can readily recall to memory. For most of that time, I had never seen an actual firefly. The first time that I ever saw one, was 19 years ago, this past week.

  That's important, because today is the anniversary of the day that my wife and I were married, 19 years ago.

  I don't recall all of the details of that day the same way that my sweet wife does. I remember being a wee bit stressed. I remember the outdoor ceremony we had, and the bee that kept buzzing around us and wondering if my wife, who wasn't quite my wife just then, was going to bolt, from her terrible fear of bees. I remember drinking a bit and being awesome at the hula hoop game that our DJ sprang on us at some point during the evening. And now that I think about it, I probably recreated some of those awesome hula hoop moves, later that night, after my wife and I stole away for the balance of the night that we had to ourselves. But that's not really where I intended for this story to steer itself.

  What I was trying to get at, was that my wife did the greatest majority of the planning and putting into action of our day, 19 years ago. I was younger and a working fool, and when I look back on it now, I wish that I had taken the time to help her out with all that she had on her plate. Because over the last 19 years, the things that I remember most, are the things we've done together, as the partners that we were meant to be.

  But I have this memory, of a time, the week before this day, 19 years ago. When I'd come home from seeding or working with cattle, and my wife was exhausted from the stress of planning a wedding that was just days away. I remember that her and I went for a walk outside one of those evenings, and for the very first time in my life, while we walked in the dark holding hands, I saw fireflies. Not so many that they  lit up the forest, but a handful, dancing here and there, maybe at most three at a time, but still random enough that it surprised you when you would catch another set dancing in a different part of the woods. It was magical.

  So, every year now, when our anniversary rolls around I try to watch for them. They're not always there. In fact, they're rarely there. But a couple days ago, I came home from seeding, and as I walked up to the house as the night fell, I spotted them dancing in the trees behind our house.

  I've seen nights, when I'm in a field away from any outside lights, and the stars fill the sky so thickly you'd think you could reach up and stir them with your fingers. I've been on a plane in the middle of the night, and looked down to the Earth out of the window and seen lights of houses and towns twinkling like stars, and you would swear that you were looking up instead of down. But my favorite is without a doubt, sitting on the steps of our deck with my wife beside me, like we did a few days ago, watching a hand full of fireflies dance in the trees like stars.

  Because I know, the dance they do is for us.

  ................Happy anniversary baby.

This week I'm linking my post with the Yeah Write Weekend  Moonshine grid, as well as the Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom Blog hop. Follow the links to catch up on a bunch of other fine peoples blog posts!  :) 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

#158. or, My Lines Are Crooked

 Let's just say it's your job to draw straight lines. You've drawn straight lines since you were old enough to pick up a pencil, and learned how to do it from sitting on your fathers lap, watching him as he made his living drawing straight lines.

  So, you come from a history of straight line drawers and you're reasonably good at what you do. Oh, there's others, who can draw straight lines better than you can, but you still do the best that you can and you're pretty proud of the lines that you draw.

  Then, one day out of the blue, somebody invents a magic ruler. A magic ruler that makes every line you draw, a perfect line.

   Every. Damned. Time!

  Then, in the true spirit of the advancement of technology, the magic ruler people come up with a magic pencil, that for the most part, draws the line for you. Which is pretty wonderful, because now, you get to direct all of your attention toward  the little nuances like how much pressure the magic pencil is applying. It revolutionizes line drawing, because now, you're way more efficient and never waste any pencil lead which lets you draw more lines in a day and increases productivity.

  But, say one day the magic ruler breaks, and because the pencil and the ruler work together, the magic pencil won't work either. It forces you to go back to the old method of doing it freehand. And even though it's something you've done all of your life, your freehand lines pretty much suck ass and you discover that you've become reliant on technology.

  That happened to me yesterday.

  When I was seeding, my very last field of the year, my GPS signal cut out. It happened just as I was going to have my lunch and at first, I thought it might have just been a momentary loss of signal so I watched my little monitor, waiting for the icon to tell me my tractor was ready to steer itself again. But it didn't come back on.

  And I freaked out a bit.

  I stopped, shut the tractor off, got out, climbed up on the hood, unplugged the GPS antenna on the top of the cab and plugged it back in, hoping it would reboot the system. Twice. It didn't work.

  So while I was attempting to draw my straight lines in the dirt with my seeder, free handed, (and sucking at it) I thought, I could just get on the twitter machine and ask the good people who supply me with my GPS, just what the heck is happening. But the things that used to be easy. Like twittering and eating my lunch as the tractor steered, which let me watch things like seed depth and that I hadn't picked up a stone in the packers causing them to dig a giant rut across the field are way way harder to do when I have to steer as well.

  Apparently, through the twitter machine, I discovered it was some sort of system wide failure. We just had to wait it out. So for the next 2 hours, I drew crooked, squiggly lines in the dirt, made a giant rut in the field, tried to eat my lunch, type out messages to the GPS people on my phone, and watch for that icon, hoping I'd get my signal back.

  It was horrible.

  But, in the end, the signal reappeared as quickly as it disappeared, and I readjusted my line and everything in my world was normal again.

  Until it rained an hour later and chased me off the field, leaving me with still the better part of a day to finally finish this job.

  ............I hope the wheels don't fall off today. However, unlike magic rulers, I know how to fix that.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, June 03, 2013

#157. or, Night at The Museum

 I settled in. My spot, tucked in next to the outcropping, gave me a good view of the camp as I unfurled my bedroll and took position to watch over my end of the camp. They made far too much noise for my liking and it made me wary. We were in dangerous territory and I was fully aware of the nest of Hypacrosaur eggs behind me and that the mother would be around to watch over them.

  As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I knew that the nest was the least of our worries as I could make out the shape of a Triceratops off to the left of the camp.

   For God's sake, if they would only quiet down, we might get through this night. But most of the crew was young and inexperienced, giddy even, to be out on site. And that might just be the thing that got us all killed. Because now, with my eyes fully adjusted, I was painfully aware that less than 50 feet away stood the fiercest of all the dinosaurs......a Tyrannosaurus Rex, we were all doomed.

  But not really. Mostly that was all me letting my imagination get the best of me,  because all of these dinosaurs were mounted skeletons, and my spot by the outcropping was really next to a giant pillar that held the roof up.  I was part of the grade 7 field trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta. Which was really cool, because we all got to spend the night in sleeping bags on the floor in Dinosaur Hall. Well, as cool as trying to sleep with a group of 50 some odd kids can be, after them getting up early enough to be at the school at 6:15 AM to get on a bus for a 5 hour ride, then spending the day learning about Paleontology, running them all into town for a quick swim, then getting them back and trying to calm them all into slumber at around 10:30 can be.  But it was all fun nonetheless.

all the comforts of home, without my comfy new bed

  Unfortunately, as it decided to rain on us most of the first day, we weren't allowed to go out on the badlands hike that was supposed to be a part of the tour. It seems, that a good deal of the badlands are made up of Bentonite. Which, while dry, is pretty much mild mannered dirt. However, when it gets wet it turns into, for lack of a better term, snot of the Earth. And as fun as trekking out into that with 50 grade 7 kids sounds, authorities with far greater powers than mine decided against it. Who am I to argue? I was there to drive the bus.

the wheels on the bus go round and round

  On the second day, the weather was a bit better and we took the kids to Reptile world as a part of their tour and to the suspension bridge where they were supposed to study it for an upcoming test on structures. I'm not really sure how they're going to do on that test, but I suspect, if they got tested on running up the hill on the other side of the bridge, they would all pass with flying colours.

  Overall, it was a good trip. I always enjoy field trips. (except maybe the one to the hair show, but that one wasn't so bad either.) Probably the worst part of the trip was having to clean up some kids pee off the top of the urinal in the museum bathroom. How out of control do you have to be to pee on TOP of the urinal. They're grade 7's, none of them are that tall yet.

  Having done a couple of these long trips now, one other observation that I've made is that a kids bladder will shrink, relative to the proximity we get to home, on the return trip.

  On the way down, we had one planned stop to have a bathroom break, refuel the chaperones on coffee, and have the kids spend half of their allotted souvenir money on candy and bucket sized slushies. (the candy and slushies weren't planned, more a side effect of putting 50 kids, free of their parents in a truck stop convenience store.)

  Coming home, we had more than a few kids, my own son being one of them, crossing their legs or doing the pee pee dance when we were still more than 45 minutes away from our scheduled stop. Of course, it didn't really help that everyone that didn't have to go was making wooshy ocean wave sounds and talking about every conceivable water related topic under the sun. Plus, while we were stopped, and it was suggested that everyone try their hardest to empty their bladders because we were pushing straight through to home, the other bus had to make a second unplanned stop for more peeing. Some of the kids (my son) asked if they could pee in an empty water bottle, but one of the teachers said that wasn't such a good plan.

  ............I had to agree. My son has enough trouble getting all of his pee into a 14 inch toilet bowl. Hitting the 1 inch opening of a water bottle on a moving school bus would have been damned near impossible.

Linking up this week with the Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom Bloghop. If you have some time, stop over and read a few blogs.