Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Teenager

My baby girl is growing up. Today was her first day of middle school. As I watched my youngest child walk through the doors of that big school, I knew it was a whole new world from here on out. Last year she was still a child still in elementary school. Now she preteen girl starting her journey into young womanhood. Where has the time gone? Where did my chubby little toddler with the sweet brown curls go? Well she is certainly no little toddler now. And the curls have long since been dyed, straightened and highlighted. And that’s just the start. If this last year is any indication of what her teen years hold, then this is going to be one wild ride.

Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is a doll. But I’ve noticed a change lately. Almost like a split personality. I believe I’ve been catching glimpses of the Teenager. One minute we will be strolling through the store, not a care in the world. Next thing you know, Baby Girl is gone and in her place is the Teenager. A moody, sullen creature best known for it’s emotional outbursts and lack of motivation. I knew this day would come. The day the Teenager in her would start to surface. Baby Girl is already showing signs of Drama, an unfortunate affliction that Teenagers can’t seem to shake. And it’s contagious, so when you find yourself in the presence of a Drama inflicted Teenager, wear a mask and wash your hands.

Lucky for us, Baby Girl is still in the early stages. The Teenager is not yet strong enough to show itself often. I realize though that it is only a matter of time. Typically, the Teenager manages to break through after a couple years in middle school. That’s when things can get real fun. There is no known cure or prevention of the Teenager. It just stops as quickly as it came on.. But the good news is that it doesn’t last forever. I’m just sayin’.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School Scramble

People are shoulder to shoulder everywhere you look. There is barely room to breathe, let alone to maneuver around. The air is thick with heat, humidity and the various smells of the surrounding bodies. It’s hard to hear over the yelling. Everybody is frantically shouting to one another. We all know that it’s almost too late. We have waited too long and will now suffer because of it. So I accept my consequences and take a deep breath. I’m going in. No, this is not a scene from some sci-fi end-of-the-world disaster movie. Not even close. This particular scenario is being played out all over the country in local Walmarts everywhere. It’s the dreaded last minute back to school scramble.

The back to school scramble is a competition in which procrastinating parents across the nation compete against all odds to gather the required school supplies on each of their children’s lists. The goal is to meet all of the needs of all school going kids in your household without substitutions or delays, and all the purchases must be done at one location. That itself is a nearly impossible feat. But add to that the fact that you have waited until literally the last day, and the pickings are slim.

Though I hadn’t planned on it, I found myself competing again this year. Maybe it was some residual olympic spirit, or maybe I just wanted a challenge, but with me being an old pro at the scramble, I decided to go for the gold and wait until the last day. I was feeling good about this year. Though it was a harder skill level, I was well prepared and confident in my abilities. I am pleased to say, that after battling shelf stocking clerks, going head  to head with other postponing progenitors and ravaging already devastated aisles, I made it through. Not only did I survive the scramble, but I got all the items on my list but one. It may not get me the gold, but I’m sure it’s at least worth a solid silver. Next year I’m going all the way. And I’m not leaving without the colored pencils. I’m just sayin’.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time is Our Relative

As a society, we count on the fact that time is absolute. Our lives revolve around the truth that there is aways 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day and so on and so forth. That is a definite. It never changes... or does it? While increments of time is absolute, time itself is actually relative.

Did you ever want something you had to wait for? What about some fun or exciting event you were anticipating? When the end result is a good thing, something you are looking forward to, time seems to slow down. And the more you want to get to that moment, the slower time creeps by. Remember being a kid and knowing you had to get to sleep because whatever was going on the next day was surely going to be the best day of your life? I don’t know about you, but those were always the longest, most sleep deprived hours ever. Pure torture. Of course I would always fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning mere minutes before my alarm would go off. That hour of much needed sleep always went by so fast.

That brings me to the next representation of time’s relativity... The time speed up. Where time seems to drag on when you are wishing it would go quick, quite the opposite is also true. Have you noticed that the more you want to put something off, the sooner its time comes? And when you are in a hurry, is it just me or do the minutes tick by faster and faster? Sometimes I swear that minute hand has wings. And it’s always when I don’t have a second to spare. Take a trip to the doctor for example. The time it takes to drive there speeds by, especially if you are late. But once you walk through the door, boom, time warp. The 30 second minutes you were just experiencing on the way there have now slowed to almost a snail’s pace. Each minute must be at least twice as long as normal. There you sit, surrounded by old magazines with missing pages and a few copies of Highlights. If that’s not an automatic time slower, I don’t know what is.

Einstein said it best, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.” I’m just sayin’.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cardboard Rectangles of Doom

Boxes, boxes, boxes... I am surrounded. They are everywhere I look. Too bad they aren’t already filled. Some of them aren’t even put together. But full or not, I am encompassed by them none the less. To go along with the scores of boxes, in various stages of completion, are our belongings. Semi organized piles of things we have accumulated over the years, waiting to be sifted through and either stuffed into one of these infernal boxes or discarded. And we can’t forget the chaos. Complete and utter chaos. As you may have guessed, we are moving.

They say there is an art to packing a box to move. I say Michelangelo has nothing to worry about. Obviously I am no artist. So I gather boxes from various stores, find all the newspapers I never got around to recycling, and get to the store to buy packing tape and Sharpies to label things. It should be smooth sailing from there, right? Famous last words.

I carefully gathered my knick knacks from my living room and set out to wrap them for packing. Since we have pets, this in itself can be a challenge. The minute I start to place stuff on the floor, every pet, including the bird, wants to inspect the new items in their domain. After all, these things have never been there before therefore they must be sniffed. So I shoo the dogs, cat, and yes, the bird away from my knick knacks and sit down on the floor to wrap. Now, I am almost 40 years old so I don’t sit on the floor often. That act alone gets the dogs excited. Me sitting on the floor must mean it is extreme petting time. Why else would I be down there with them? Once again I corral my herd away from my work area and set to my chore. As I reach for my first newspaper I noticed (thankfully it was sooner than later) that my bird had taken full advantage of the paper I had set just outside of his cage. At least he knew where to go.

Finally I got the beasts out of the way and set to work. The packing went well and I was quickly on my way to finishing the living room. Just I was reaching for the Sharpies to label the boxes (curse those boxes) and patting myself on the back for a job well done, I saw it. There, sitting next to the markers, silently mocking me and my packing skills, was the packing tape. I had forgotten to close and seal the bottoms of my boxes. Did I mention how much I hate those boxes?

After unloading, taping up and reloading the boxes, I finally got my living room packed. It was time to put them in the spare room with the other, you guessed it, boxes that we had already packed up. As I was trying to organize them by room, I noticed some had been packed and sealed without being labeled. I guess we will have some surprises when we unpack too. In the mean time, here I sit, surrounded by boxes. They are everywhere I look. Too bad they aren’t already filled. I’m just sayin’.