Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a reality check

Too often, I take my most precious gifts for granted. Too often, I let little things that bug me get in the way of the big picture of life that tells me how fortunate I am. Underwear on the living room floor, pee pee on the toilet seat, crayons left lying all over the table, bike helmets abandoned along the sidewalk, cheese wrappers littering the kitchen. These things, these petty things...no matter how frequent...just shouldn't matter at all. They are, after all, only things.
This week has brought some astonishing sadness. Heartbreaking loss. Devastating bewilderment. And with all of this, a reality check of what it is that is the most important in life. This shortness of life, the possibility of an abrupt end of that which we hold dearest in our hearts...of those relationships that give us life and purpose and fill us with the most essential ingredient of all, love...has come glaring into the eyes of many around us.

This morning, when I was cuddling with my sweet little boy, I held him a little longer and just felt the warmth of the life that resides under the soft skin of his hands and in his cheeks. When I kissed my darling girl's face goodbye this morning, I hugged her a little tighter and absorbed the sounds of her words when she told me, "I love you, Mama."

This week has been a reality check: I know that at any moment, those things could be ripped away from me. And, I have absolutely no idea what I'd do with my life. None.
 Please, in your prayers and thoughts, please remember the Shealy/Schiesser families, who lost a precious little boy, and the Bardin family, who lost a beloved father. Such tragedies call for blessings of love and hope and peace. Think of them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nail Polish and Daydreams

Yesterday afternoon was one laced with nostalgia and thoughts of things to come. It was also laced with a few 'WTF' moments.

In preparation for Matt's cousin's wedding in December, Ella, Leenie, and I made a visit to David's Bridal so Ella could be fitted and order a flower girl dress. Walking into the store was like walking into a wall of emotions. I haven't been in many bridal stores since preparing for my own wedding some 49 10 years ago. And, at that time I was with some of the most special people in my life. My sweet, precious grandmother was with me...how I miss her. My mother and now mother-in-law were there. Matt's sister was with us. Back then, the thought never crossed my mind that 10 years later, I'd be walking into a wedding dress store with my little girl. 
Yet, there we were Wednesday afternoon. There we were. There my Ella was. The place dazzled her. All of a sudden, she didn't seem 7... but more like 27, and I imagined her considering dresses for one of the most special days of her life. I imagined a taller, more mature version of my baby girl standing on the raised step in front of the mirror, twirling towards me wearing the perfect white dress and with a veil in her blond hair. Her big blue eyes would still be the same, and her sweet voice would ask, "What do you think of this one, Mama?" Tears. Sobs. It was a reversal of Steve Martin's character in Father of the Bride. Tears and sobs.
Flash backward, and I came out of my daymaredream... and there she was on the raised step as a 7 year old... in a sweet flower girl dress. She looked precious. When we were done, I would be lying if I said I wasn't eager to get my Ella out of there. I'd had enough of looking into the future.
Since Ella's Leenie recently had surgery to replace her knee, we decided she needed a little pampering, and since she hasn't been able to reach her feet in a little while, every woman knows that a pedicure is the kind of pampering that she needed the most. Luckily for us, there was a nail salon just beside the bridal store. Funnily, it was the same place that my mother and I visited when I got my first mani/pedi  in my early teens. I think it was one of the first of those walk-in nail places of its kind in Columbia. The ownership has changed, but I remember distinctly the placement of everything in the older version. (Thanks to my good memory, I also remember the placement of everything in the younger version of me...sigh.)
The new owners are way different, too. Way different. These guys aren't so, um, polite. I suppose it didn't help that Ella, excited to get her nails did, dropped a bottle of neon pink polish that shattered and spattered paint all over the tile floor. I felt bad, but if the directions to where she needed to sit had been more clear than just a very loud broken-English version of "Ovah heah! Ovah heah! Ovah heah!" she may have been a little less nervous about what she was supposed to do. Hell, I would have dropped the freaking bottle, too. Now we'll never get to go anywhere else besides Sassy Nails, where she knows the guys who run the place.
Having encouraged E that all was well in Nail Salon Land, she settled into her seat and I settled into mine. When my nail guy came to do his thing, I smiled, and he didn't respond at all. Nothing. He just sat down, picked some food out of his teeth with his tongue. And. Burped. Oh. My. Goodness! Are you kidding me? I couldn't help but laugh. Who does that? Seriously. He absolutely didn't give a rat's ass. At all. The same demeanor was held for the entirety of the pedicure. He was flippant about the whole thing, and I would have gotten annoyed if it wasn't so freaking outrageously funny. The other guy, who was tending to Aileen's tootsies, was a little more personable. However, he did catch me off guard when the owner's son asked for money to get some food, and, trying to make conversation, I asked his age. He said, "He only 9. He big boy, huh? Ha hahahaha. He eat too much." And the guy who was "working" on me, the kid's father, starts laughing. Then, one told the other a joke about a Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indian person. Like a priest, rabbi, and preacher kind of thing. Nice.
Our nails done, we quickly scooted out of the salon and made our ways home. Ella wanted to ride with her Leenie, so I was left with a minute to reflect on the experiences. Thinking about Ella in that store with all of those wedding dresses was rough. I want her to always be my little girl. But, thinking about going into the nail salon with my mom many years ago, and remembering our visit to the bridal store just a decade before, I know that I still think of myself as my mom's little girl. I hope the same is always true for Ella. However, I pray that when she takes her little girl to that nail salon in 30 years, the owners won't be the same. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Miracles

Last Saturday was given to celebrate the lives of two very special people in my life. Two people who beat a billion odds. Two people who, when they made their first appearances in this world, really had every seemingly logical force of nature working against them. Two people who had a lot of love and prayers and stellar parents intensely devoted to make sure that they would live.
Thirty-three years ago, my mom gave birth to my brother Kent under less than desirable circumstances. He was a tiny thing when he came out two and a half months before his due date. So small, my dad says he looked like a spider with flaming red hair. His lungs were no where near being able to function and he had a heart murmur, so he was placed in an incubator under lights and hooked up to machines... and my parents were beyond frightened. This was their first baby boy, and their hearts were broken for him and themselves. All of this, thirty-three years ago, long before anyone had the medical knowledge of how to handle a baby in his condition. Somehow, though, he survived, and he came home, and everyone was overjoyed.
Unfortunately, things didn't work out so easily. His body repaired the heart murmur, however, there were other problems on the horizon. His development was off. He walked late, talked late, and just didn't have the cognitive ability other babies his age should have had. When he turned two, he was a red-headed w.i.l.d. man. Hyperactive, prone to biting, difficult to manage, epileptic. When he was able to speak, he said some crazy, totally inappropriate stuff. The doctors were at a loss. Thirty plus years ago, science hadn't given us the ability to diagnose and treat kids with disabilities. Our pediatrician, Dr. Castles, told my mom to try different diets, give him no sugar, all to no relief. It wasn't until he was about seven that my parents decided to send him to Duke for a 3-week evaluation. Physicians there informed my mom and dad that he had a genetic disability called Fragile X Syndrome. It was their recommendation that he be institutionalized for his whole life, and a prescription was written for him to live in a facility in Virginia, far away from us in South Carolina.

That didn't sit well with my parents who are both educators. They were determined to keep him with us and make sure he was educated along with my brother and I in the same schools as we were. So, they did. And, it came with an immense amount of challenges and heartache and frustrations. John Wesley and I had to defend him against ignorant bullies. We were constantly embarrassed by his behaviors in public. Despite all of this, he persevered...we all did...and he graduated along with our youngest brother from Chapin High School. Since that time, he's kept a job at Food Lion (13 years is a lot longer than a lot of people hold one down), and he's been a loyal trainer to the Chapin High School football team. And, he's taught us a lot about life, love, family, friends, and how to be true to who you are. He lives every day with a smile on his face and a manner that shows people how not to sweat the small stuff. He'll never drive, ride a bike, or live on his own, but he doesn't think of himself as different from anyone. He simply regards himself as another person on this earth.

Three years ago, when my sweet neighbors, Heather and Travis, had their baby, it was under similar circumstances. Morgan Kate was way early...earlier than Kent...at 5 and a half months gestation. Luckily for her, science had grown, and Heather was able to hold off on delivering her for a week so the doctors could give her shots to help MK's lungs. Still, 25 weeks and 5 days is so early. So early. And she was super teeny tiny, weighing in at 1pound, 12 ounces. And, like my parents, their hearts were broken for their new love and for themselves. It wasn't as they'd dreamed for their first baby. The doctors and MK's parents and the nurses worked incredibly hard to make sure that everything in her body was functioning. After 4 grueling months in the hospital, that precious baby had grown enough to come home, albeit on oxygen and feeding tubes and an apnea and oximeter monitor.
They started therapy of every kind after Morgan Kate was able to not be quarantined from other people. Therapy nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. Speech, occupational, physical. I'm not gonna lie. I was scared for them. I kept thinking about how difficult it was for my parents, and the outcomes for such preemies are not amazing with regards to cognitive development. But, they worked so hard. Morgan Kate worked so hard. Against all odds. Today, she's a wild 3-year-old, but not in the way that my brother was. She's wild because she's a regular, inquisitive, blossoming little girl without any problems. At all. She's fun-loving and talkative and silly and sweet and absolutely perfect.
It goes without saying that Saturday was a very important day to celebrate. By all intents and purposes, things should have turned out differently for both Kent and Morgan Kate. But, they didn't. They're miracles. And, I'm so incredibly fortunate to have each one of them in my life. They've both taught me that what we think of as impossible isn't.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grounded in that way.

Like so many other stay-at-home parents out there, the last day of summer break for me was bittersweet. It bums me out to no end that too-early mornings are now a part of our weekly routine. Have I mentioned before that I despise mornings? With an unnatural passion? Despise. Waiting in car rider lines isn't my thing, either. Heck, waiting in any line drives me bananas. Gone are the nights free of homework. Gone is the ability to pick up and go at a moment's notice for a quick getaway in the middle of the week. Yeah, the end of summer break always brings a tear to my eyes.
However, there is a flip side. There's always a silver lining. With Ella and Summit in school, I don't have to try to come up with ways to entertain constantly. Since the little dirt monsters won't be home so much, I won't have to clean so freaking much. Or incessantly remind them of the appropriate ways to use furniture... I don't understand how many times I have to tell them that the couch is NOT A DAMN TRAMPOLINE! PLEASE! Even better, there'll be fewer moments where I have to referee. I could do a dance for that idea. Seriously, why why why do they fight like that? Why? And, hell to the yeah on saying "peace out" to the unending tattle-telling. Hell to the yeah! I reached a point many times during the summer where I just told them, "I don't care. Really. Go beat each other up. Bite him. Pinch her. Break his dinosaur. Throw the doll down the stairs. I don't care anymore." I'm not lying when I say that I envisioned many Calgon-take-me-away experiences over the past few weeks.
Still, I'll miss the little mongrels. I'll miss days by the pool and late mornings spent snuggling in bed and even later breakfasts. I'll miss listening to the sounds of their happy-time voices and the belly laughs that make my world bright. So, as one last weekday hurrah, we had lunch at a restaurant of Ella's choice, or second choice since The Rusty Anchor doesn't serve lunch on Wednesdays. After stuffing our faces at San Jose, we went for a lazy afternoon by my parents' pool and just were there. That's all. And I took pictures. And that's all.
And, that's when I realized even more that I'll miss my kids during the school year. Except for the part where Summit bit the you-know-what out of his sister... I won't miss that. But, there was a really cool part with Ella when I was just taking pictures of flowers, and she put her little creative mind to work and made the prettiest little flower boat in the pool. And, the pictures of it came out amazingly. And, it almost made me cry to know that the unadulterated, not jaded, perfectly free-spirited little loves who bring back those long-forgotten parts of me won't be with me to keep me grounded in that way.

I cherish it.

This evening marked the first visit to my Ella's new classroom at Lake Murray Elementary. I can't believe my girl is cruising on into the second grade...leaving first in the dust...making kindergarten a distant memory...and let's not even mention preschool.

So much has changed since then. In preschool, I could dress her in those cute little matchy match outfits with bows. Actually, even when she was a toddler she hated those bows... which sucked since they cost like a million dollars a piece. I may have enough unused bows to pay down the national deficit. In kindergarten, I could kinda dress her how I wanted, at least at the beginning of the year. I guess it was around that time that she started in on that whole Hannah Montana business, and decided that peace signs and rock n' roll garb were more her "thing." (Thank goodness she didn't take Miley's cue from that concert we went to and decide to nix the pants all together.) And, that hurt, partly because I had still been going to those trunk shows where you buy the matchy match outfits, not knowing that I may as well have been flushing checks down the toilet, because by the second week of school, the idea of her even looking at those clothes was demolished like the idea of the Tea Party even trying to compromise. Still, I could at least get her to wear the stuff I wanted to buy her that wasn't so sore on the old eyeballs.
In first grade, though, she began to form an opinion when we'd go shopping, and that opinion sharply clashed with mine. Even more, the patterns and brilliantly fluorescent colors of her taste sharply clashed with everything. It hurt the psyche as much as the brain to see how she put stuff together. But, whatever, I wanted her to be her. Lately, however, I've got her number. I don't take her to Target with me...where they plentifully stock the tacky... and I only allow her to select clothes from places where everything can go together... like the GAP.
And, her music tastes have changed a lot since those earlier days. I have to say I'm happy that she doesn't dig Dr. Jean any longer. Better yet, Miley Cyrus isn't in our lives anymore, which is AWESOME. We've always tried to get her to like our music, but she hasn't found the love for Widespread Panic or the Grateful Dead like I've always dreamed. Yet, anyways. She's a girl, a chick even, so she likes chick singers. Some of you might shudder to know that we let her listen to the likes of Lady Gaga or Pink, but I see the artistic value of their music, and I'm okay with it. I like that stuff, too, though I'm not one for pop music.
What I am for is singing that stuff at the top of my lungs with my Ella. And we can belt it out. Loud. Proud. Heartfelt. Today, she decided to put Kelly Clarkson on in her bedroom, on full blast... such full blast that I couldn't even tell if the vacuum was on while I was pushing it around the house. It was a little much, but I L.O.V.E. hearing her bravado in full force when she's really into it. Our favorite right now may be Adele, the British singer with a heart full of soul. Our best song by the girl from across the pond is "Rumor Has It." So, every time we're in the car, we turn it on super-booming-loud and use our best microphones/hands, and throw caution to the wind... or in our case, scare people when we drive by. And, we laugh and sing to each other and just live in our world.
These are moments where I know life is so good. I know she's changing and developing new tastes and all that, and part of it makes me long for the past, but I'm so happy that I get to be a part of it all in the present. I cherish it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Saluda.

One of the best parts of this area of South Carolina has to be the capable drivers and well-informed voters water... and not just because it's so mother loving hot here, either. Though, that has something to do with it. Really, truly there are some great rivers here in addition to our highly regarded Lake Murray. I suppose if you get right down to it, Lake Murray is nothing more than a dammed up part of the Saluda River, so we really should give credit where it's due. Thanks, Saluda River. In addition to the Saluda, Columbia has the Broad River, and these two meet to form the Congaree River. The Congaree converges almost 50 miles away with the Wateree to make the Santee River, which can take you right on out into the ocean. (Just a little SC river system lesson for you guys since school's been out for a while.)
A lot of life in Cola Town is centered around its rivers. The city was chosen as the state's capital because one could navigate the rivers from the ocean to the Congaree in Columbia without much trouble. Way back when, the mills of the city were situated where they could receive power from the rushing waters. My Popa's family lived in a part of Columbia called Olympia, where the cotton mill was located, and all the locals around that area were known as "lintheads" because of the cotton residue that would stick in their hair as they worked in the mill.
I grew up playing in the Saluda. The neighborhood that we lived in when I was a little girl backed up to the river, and we'd go visit her banks as much as we could. We'd play on the rocks and skip stones and swing on vines and splash in the chilly water. Even if our parents told us not to. We just couldn't stay away. There's something entrancing and inviting about the Saluda. In recent years, a great park was developed on the banks of the river, aptly named Saluda Shoals, and it is a super-awesome place to spend free time. There are trails for running, a splash pad for kids, shelters for gatherings, boats to rent, educational opportunities, a put-in, and a fenced-in park for dogs...among other things. It's a place we frequent, a place the kids love.

Saturday, we met our friends, John and Carolyn, and their twins, Mary and Jesma, at the park for a little afternoon canoeing. The weather was perfectly warm and the cool water was perfectly acceptable. Under Carolyn's suggestion, we paddled upstream to the Dreher Shoals Dam (which keeps Lake Murray full). The one very small rapid that we had to go against, gave us an unnecessary run for our money, and had Summit totally freaking out. When I say run for our money, I mean that our attempts to get upstream with paddles failed, and Matt had to pull us for 5 feet. Summit, however, thought we were going down. "Help! Somebody help!" he screamed. "We're gonna die! And we're never gonna get to see Mercy Lou or our house or eat breakfast ever again!" Breakfast, huh? The kid thinks we're dying, and when his life flashes before his eyes, he sees breakfast. Go figure.

After the very small hiccup in our trip, our journey continued, and the kids got to see why there is so much love in the Saluda River. Daring kids did some serious flips off a giant rope swing hanging from a tree on the bank. A massive bald eagle's home nestled high in the branches of a tall pine. Cool air blew off the water. A beautiful red-tailed hawk flew right beside us. Mist rose up out of the water. Turtles sun-bathed on logs. A beaver played in the current. It's just stunningly serene.

And, so a tradition continues. The water has stolen a piece of my kids' hearts, and they're ready to go back. (Well, maybe not so much Summit the Overreactor, but he's little. Based on how "awesome" he thought the kids on the rope swing were, that will change.)  But, I'm not surprised. She is one of nature's sirens. An elegant body of water. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Jesus of Bugs

Short of the Tea Party, there are few things that frighten me. I've said it before: thunderstorms and heavy winds scare the you-know-what outta me. Spiders, the thought of my kids getting into cars driven by anyone other than parents, and wrinkles... these things also give me the heebeejeebees.
Yesterday, I talked about a dirty little secret of South Carolina: the unbearable, gut-wrenching, air-conditioner-murdering heat. But, there's another one; though, this secret is of the creepy crawly sort. The screaming like a baby sort. The kind that makes you itch all over. The kind that makes grown men run for their mamas. In this state, some folks call them 'waterbugs.' Most politely refer to them as 'Palmetto bugs,' and this has got to be an allusion of the notion that these things are our state animal. Anyone else, anywhere else knows them as nasty, rotten cockroaches. Just typing that word makes me shiver and cringe.

Growing up in the middle of SC, I didn't notice them so much. Maybe it was that I didn't pay them much mind. When I went to college in Charleston, though, their presence was either much heavier or I was more aware of the suckers. Regardless, all of a sudden, it became abundantly clear that they are every freaking where. Everywhere. Walking through the streets of downtown, they keep pace and scurry about travelers' feet. Ewww. Seriously. Those things are like a dirty escort service. And, they're loud; you can hear them scutter by.
Not only that, but they are nearly impossible to kill. For real...they've outlasted most species on this planet. They've been around for like 350 million years. Even multiple ice ages and shifting of continents couldn't defeat the mighty cockroach. Humans are no threat to them. Not. At. All. This is something I've experienced first hand. I've smushed them and flushed them, and actually seen them rise from the dead out of toilets. They're like the Jesus of bugs. 

Having moved back here from lands where not even mosquitoes survive, I've really taken notice of the fact that they plentifully inhabit the middle of this state. Maybe it's this summer. Maybe they've migrated away from the coast. I don't know, but, good lord, these things are F.R.E.A.K.I.N.G. me out. Freaking. They keep flocking to me. Like, if they are the Jesus of bugs, then I am the Alpha and Omega. And, I don't handle them well. I'm not above calling one of the kids over to "take care of the problem" for me. If they're not available, I've been known to just get in the car and leave. 

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing some boxing up and cleaning and stuff. Those who know me know I do this mostly in the evening hours...it's just when I work the best...and also when I don't have to spend all my time managing E and S. Anyway. I was organizing the room over the garage, and I had the attic door open to move things around, and what happened to me as I was leaning into the crawl space nearly had me calling an EMT to make sure my stats were okay. A flipping Palmetto bug FLEW out of the rafter and LANDED ON MY FACE. LATCHED ONTO MY FACE. Like a baby nursing its mother. After I wrangled the sumbitch off, I woke up Matt to rescue me. Needless to say, I was done with the work that night, and I went directly to the valium and took a hot shower.
Moral of the story: Beware of the cockroaches of South Carolina. They're just as dirty, persistent, and obnoxious as the Tea Party. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Humid Oven of South Carolina.

When Matt and I first decided to move back to the South.... not the South from which we've previously lived... not the South of which we'd placed ourselves in good old North Carolina from the Rockies of Colorado, I knew a dirty little secret about this South that I didn't consider divulging to my mister. And, let me tell ya... there's lots of dirty little secrets about this place. That said, there was no malicious intent when I didn't share this tidbit of info. I mean, he'd been here before. He'd been in the thick of it. The thought of mentioning it never crossed my mind.

But, every single day of the summer, Matt has acted like he had no idea just how mother flipping hot it is in South Carolina. H.O.T. hot. Sooooo hot. Hot enough to not only fry eggs on the sidewalk, but actually boil those suckers. This summer has been a mean one, folks, just plain mean. Mean enough to keep every air conditioning company afloat for the next 29-some-odd years. They wouldn't even know that there's trouble with the economy with the business they've been getting.

Honestly, it doesn't bother me much. I grew up here in the land of the humid oven. When I first decided to make my move to the desert in Utah, I was a little intimidated by the 115 + degree temperatures. I quickly learned, though, that place has nothing on South Carolina. Nothing. There... there is no humidity. Dry 120 degree weather is nothing compared to 99 degrees here. Nothing. Sitting under a small piece of sage in the middle of Arches National Park can bring you far more relief than lying beneath a sprawling old oak tree in Columbia any day of the week. This is no lie.

Still, being of the hottest of the hot in the South, I'm able to deal. Matt, however, is not. It's as if I brought an Eskimo into the Sahara. And, he makes sure to remind me of it every stinking hot ass day. Like today... when the heat index got up to 115... you'd have thought the sky was falling. He walked in, covered in sweat and anxiety. Fear, not perspiration, was literally dripping out of his eyes. Chicken Little, I mean Matt, panicked, "What are we gonna do?" I was starting to think a tsunami was fast approaching, and we had to make a quick getaway. The reaction was a little unfounded since we have a great big lake and a pool at our disposal. And, everyone blames Ella's drama on me. Huh.

Regardless, 115 degrees plus a boatload of humidity is a smidgen hard to stomach. I know this. There's a reason I keep the blinds closed and water the plants twice a day. Funnily enough, when I looked out the window while I was on the stair climber at the gym, I saw a glimpse of Fall. A teeny tiny glimpse...and just for a second...because there is no way the season of cooling is even making its approach in this state in August.

But, it was good to see. Cool is on the way... albeit a good month and a half away... but it's coming.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Losing My Cool

I knew part of it left me as soon as I got that first minivan...when I traded my Jeep for the momobile. I knew it as soon as the cold keys fell into my hands. I felt it. Like the demon excised from that possessed little girl in The Exorcism. I knew that at least part of it was gone. But, lately, things have been happening that have made the realization that more abundant. Letting me know that almost all of it is gone. And, it's starting to hurt my feelings.
Like last week when I left the night class that I taught this summer at Midlands Tech, and I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home... that awful truth hit me again. Way back when, in my days of yore, going to the store at 10.30 in the evening would have been for one of two things: junk food and/or cheap beer. That night, though, was for neither. In my basket: Triaminic, organic milk, tissue paper, cheese, bread, breakfast bars, orange juice (not for screwdrivers), and bananas. It was a quick trip to pick up the essentials for which the kids would be asking in the morning. And, as I was checking out, I couldn't help but spy on the freshly plucked from high school/recent college students' cart behind me. What they had was reminiscent of the stores in my baby brother's cupboards: fruit roll-ups, Fritos and french onion dip, Pringles, Doritos, Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, sour cream and onion potato chips, a bag of Snickers, sour cream, nutty bars, and 2 cases of Natural Light. I sighed, looked back at my purchases, and entered my MVP number so I could get my discount, paid for my stuff, and, knowing they had no MVP card, I offered to let them use mine. And, just like kicking a dog when it's down, they said, "Thank you, ma'am."

Ummmmm. Excuse me!?!?!?!?! No one calls me ma'am. No one. 

But, whatever. I let it roll off. I'm not really ma'am material, I thought. I'm cooler than that. I listen to cool music. Right. Right? Right? Wrong. Maybe in my head Widespread Panic is still cool. Jurassic 5, Blind Melon, David Byrne, The Dead, The Cure, Edie Brickell, G. Love and the Special Sauce, Digable Planets. These are the mainstays in my iPod. I mean, I have a freaking iPod. Isn't that enough? Apparently not. Apparently... none of these young kids even know who Widespread Panic is, because my 21-year-old babysitter thought that it meant some kind of large-scale panic attack. The Grateful Dead who? Don't even try to ask them who Depeche Mode is. And, so, another realization: I'm out of the game with the music, too.
The final nail in the coffin of non-cool came a few days ago. Matt and I are in desperate need/want of a larger house. We've been looking and hoping and finding a few that suit our needs/wants. For poops and giggles (I can't even bring myself to say s*%ts and giggles...jeez), we took a little time out of our Sunday to drive around looking at a few places with the kids. When we pulled up to one we really liked, the kids were like, "This is awesome!" And, I said, "Yeah! It's a phat house!" Immediately, Ella asked, "What's fat about it? It doesn't look fat." I couldn't even bring myself to try to explain it. I could only hang my head in shame. I've lost the lingo, too.

So, here I am. I thought I was doing alright. But, I'm not. I'm losing it completely. Losing my cool. Thanks a lot, minivan.