Friday, August 9, 2019

I'm not crying; you're crying

We're all wearing our game faces as life as we know it winds down to what I truly hope will be an exciting,wonderful and inspirational time for my little redhead.

We have four days left until she heads off to West Lafayette to Boiler up! I use the exclamation point because that's what comes after those two words, not because I'm always excited at the thought of her starting her college career.

I'm proud of her -- it's hard not to be.  And I'm happy and excited for this next chapter in her life. We've been preparing her for it since we read that first book to her and stepped back with our hands up in surrender when she insisted, "I can DO it myself."

But it's also sad to think that I'll soon call her name to tell her something funny or ask "Do these shoes live here?" and she won't be here to answer. Her shoes won't be clogging up the entry way. Her empty mac-n-cheese bowl won't be on the couch. She won't be on the other end of the couch when it's time to read or watch TV or nap.

Sigh.

A friend of mine told me about "soiling the nest," a phenomenon where kids about to leave home start acting badly in a subconscious way that makes it easier on everyone when it's time to part. Ali hasn't done that. If anything, she's done the opposite as she battles the bittersweet along with us.

She's not afraid to take on the challenge of college. She knows she'll be OK and that there will be a time of adjustment. But she admits that she'll miss us, too.

We've been shopping and packing and doing the things you need to do.

"This is weird," she said the other day as we were literally getting things she'd need in her new home.

I looked back at her and said, "What's weird is that I'm helping you do it."

In addition to her prep work, she's spent time with her closest friends. Two weeks in Ireland with one group and most recently with a different group she first met when they all sat at the same table at lunch their first day at Herron High School.

Every kid should be so lucky to have found friends like she has at Herron. I'd do anything for anyone of those beautiful people.

Ali's lunch table group has remained close all four years. At one point, they joked about forming a band that they'd call Seeds & Things, which is what they now call their little group.

They started their last-gathering-before-college at the state fair and then brought their giggles home to the living room where they splayed out everywhere. Because it was their last time together for a while, I didn't mind their giggles and goofiness. By 3 a.m., though, I had to give in and remind them that some of us had to work the next day. (Some of us included some of them.)

This was one of those rare times when Jeff's hearing issues worked to his advantage... I couldn't stay to make them breakfast, but I made a bunch of bacon, left them a note and told them to lock up when they leave. They even left me a thank you note!

In addition to the farewell tour, Ali has gotten her checking account, credit and debit cards. She's connected with her roommate, done her advance work and bought her first textbook. I asked her what she had left; was there anything she wanted to do.

"I just want to hang out with you guys," she said. So we had french onion soup at one of our favorite restaurants and played cards last night.

While Ali has been going out and being silly, I've been tearing apart the back porch. It was only recently I realized it's been keeping me sweaty and occupied so I don't think so much about Ali's departure. I've bloodied my knuckles scraping up old linoleum and torn nails as I stripped, primed and repainted wood elements out there. Soon, we'll be ready to apply wine panels to an ugly concrete wall that I've been staring down for 20+ years.

If I know me, I'll be over servicing my clients as the summer winds down and fall sets in. Let me know if you need work done -- any work, any work at all. I'm not picky. Anything's better than moping about like I've lost my favorite toy.

Which, of course, brings me to the Captain. He's putting on a brave face, too, but I think he's going to be just as sad as Ali and me. He'll make fun of us for it and hide most of his chagrin, but he's going to have a tough time. We've been so fortunate in Ali -- she's fun to be with. Almost always. 

One thing that WILL help me cope is that she came home from babysitting the other day with a plastic snake. She'd taken her little charge to the arcade, spied the stupid thing and remembered the time she put a similar one on my shoulder while I was driving. She called my name from the back seat to get me to come eye to fang with the plastic reptile and I almost hit a tree in the midst of my panic attack.

Unremorseful then and unremorseful now, she claims she's going to hide it somewhere in the house before she leaves. Just, you know, so she's remembered. Maybe the little brat HAS soiled the nest...

The other night we debated whether to make dinner or go have onion soup. We ended up in Broad Ripple and were greeted with the sight below. She snapped the shot just as we walked in. I'm trying to take it as a harbinger not just of that evening but for what's to come. Wish me luck that I focus more on the rainbow than the gray skies headed my way.





Thursday, July 25, 2019

Why Ali Can't Die

Imagine you're fortunate to be 18 again and you're even more fortunate to get to spend two weeks in Ireland with three of your closest friends.

You'd go wild, right? You'd drink a lot and do crazy things and have the time of  your life. Ali and her friends may or may not have gotten wild, but they did do a lot of fun stuff. I got to hear about some of it as I drove them home from Chicago this week.


The best story, in my opinion, is this one:

One night, Ali was puking and wailing into the toilet, "I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. But I can't die because my parents love me too much."

Cool, right? The comment, not the puking and wailing, which apparently was on repeat for quite a while.

The story came to me just after I'd read and shared on Facebook a post from a teacher who said a lot of things about what it takes to make kids successful. It all boiled down to, "Just love your little ones; it's all they need."

My favorite parenting compliment came from a stranger at a grocery store when I was pushing baby Ali around in a cart and trying to decide from among the various jars of mashed up goo what her upcoming dinners would be.

"Now that child looks loved," the woman said with a huge smile.

I would argue that basics like food and shelter, love and a little bit of structure is all they need. And clearly, Ali's friends had both.

At one point, a guy tried to lure one away from the herd and the tiniest among them stared him down and ended his bid. They held each other up, braved the night to get food when others were hungry but tired, pooled their resources and their knowledge.

They chased pigeons until a couple of older women who were feeding the birds gave them forbidding looks. One came home with a tattoo. They made new friends.



The food swoons were many. After chasing pigeons every time they came across a flock, Ali took a chance to actually eat one on their last night, at a fancy restaurant. "Everyone in the world should be eating pigeon," she proclaimed. They ate liberally off each other's plates at every meal and the others are grateful that Ali introduced them to scallops. The soups! The stews! The bread!

In what should shock no one, there was drinking involved. Lots of silly drinking. One night, a tipsy Alison fell off her bed and rolled under it for some reason, trying to hide from her friends. Her size 11s stuck out to give her away -- not that she was in anyway discreet about her escape plan. They were all in the room when she thudded to the ground.

The hilarity continued on the ride home as they recounted the highlights. There were no real low-lights. Even the vomiting (and they ALL vomited at one point or another) took on a high note as they discussed the whens and wheres. You can guess the whys. In some cases it was heaved over the bridge rail into Europe's fastest running river. Other times it was waste cans on the street, and of course, the porcelain thrones.

In between giggles and laughs, they made up songs and chanted "Well, I sure hope it does!"  in unison every time a "Road Work Ahead" sign came along and one of them called out "Road work ahead." They devoured snacks from the bag I brought and clamored for O'Charley's. The closest one was in Lafayette, Ind., so the snacks may have saved their lives. (They'd miscalculated their departure time for the Dublin airport and had missed a meal.)

Ali's suitcase was loaded down with clothes that sincerely reeked. Among the clothes were gifts for family and friends. She had sea shells in a sock. For her father, she brought home a beer from Galway, green socks and "Amazing Boxer Shorts" that you drop in water to expand.

For me she brought super cool and soft fur-lined gloves and a kitchen towel with shamrocks all over it. And the gift of four hours getting the scoop on the best, worst, funniest, strangest moments of the trip.

I'm sure I'll never know some of the things that happened in their 14 days away, but I don't need to. They had fun and they came home safe and happy and eager to see their families.

Love is pretty much all we need, too...








Tuesday, July 9, 2019

One door opens!....and closes!

For 23 years, the door between our garage and back porch has failed to close.

Much like the painted cinder block wall that surrounds it, it was easy to overlook. For a the longest time, our garage was mostly a storage area and it was only when I got the convertible that we cleared the space out to better preserve my baby. So for the past seven years or so, it's been a minor annoyance that the door won't close.

The wall, frankly, was more annoying, but only when I looked out through the kitchen window or spent time out there. Two of the walls are screens/glass. The other is the outside brick. Even the ceiling is better than that wall -- it's varnished wood that kind of looks like the hull of a ship.

I disguised the ugly wall with with Alison's artwork for a while. I once tried to cover it with cork panels. It takes a lot of cork board to cover just under 12.5K square feet of wall space. I'm just glad I started with a small sample size because once I got one strip of cork squares up, they all started to slide down the wall, none would adhere. Probably because it was too ugly to cling to.

For the past couple years, I've papered over the wall with Christmas wrapping paper during the holidays. That actually looks better than you'd think, but it's obviously a temporary measure.

Jeff has refused to invest in my plan to put wallboard over the concrete until I scrape the column-y like spaces between the windows. In another failed home improvement project, I painted them once. I used the wrong kind of paint, apparently, because it quickly peeled. I don't remember how long it lasted, but I pass it off as shabby chic to everyone but Captain Reed who feels I should have done more research before slapping on the paint.

The porch is in a bit of no man's land, getting neither heat nor cooling. Moisture seeps in through the screens and windows, so it's difficult to get excited about really fixing it up. Usually, I just turn my back on the wall and hold the door closed with a small decorative brick when I think of it.

So only just about every day, the door hands a bit ajar and the wall stands there waiting to glare at me whenever I walk through the kitchen and glimpse it through the Dutch door that connects the porch to the house.

Until today.

Leading up to and during her graduation party prep, guests had used our old sidewalk chalk to leave Alison messages. She and her friend, Nikki, had drawn all over the door and wall.

I'm determined to cover the wall with wine crate panels, but have to clean the wall before Jeff will be happy about ordering the wine panels I need for the project.

Ali and I were wiping off the chalk when I started playing with and talking about calling a handyman to replace the door -- the option Jeff believed we'd need to do. My quick Internet research showed me that it could cost $500.

But as I fiddled with the door, my future scientist said, "I looks like that's loose up there. Maybe that's the problem."

The screws on the top hinge WERE loose. I tightened them and the door swung better but still wouldn't close. We looked at the knob.

"Isn't there supposed to be a thing there?" she asked, pointing to the latch, which was, indeed, missing the protruding part of the hardware.

"Huh," I said and silently thanked (again) Amil Gelb, who'd designed our house and left behind all sorts of things in the basement.

We'd taken down some of the doors, but as Reeds are wont to do, we kept them. Because of course, why wouldn't you keep spare doors? Jeff has used a couple of them as tables -- screwing on spare legs that Amil had, of course, left behind.

Sure enough, I found a door that had a latch mechanism I could remove. We had to remove the entire door knob to get the poor-performing door's latch mechanism out.

Once that was done, though, it was pretty simple to insert the new one and screw it back into place. We share a moment of mother-daughter high when the door snicked securely into place.

Who needs a handyman? Not us. We're handywomen. And I just made $500 toward my wine crate panel project.

Boo-yah.

Yeah. I know. For 23 years, I had completely missed the fact that the door latch was broken. I didn't say I am an observant handywoman. Let's focus on the fact that I saved TeamReed $500.



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day.... it's a coming (Plus that time I almost died walking home)

No more a student driver. No more a college student. And soon to be an unchaperoned international traveler.

It's been 18 years, almost to the day when I first introduced that face up there to the world outside my most immediate family and close friends.

Ali is about three months old in the baby picture I used in what was the first "photoshoot" that led to weekly emails to my mother-in-law and then to a growing list of friends and family. To the right is her a week or so ago when she finally got serious and secured her driver's license.

I was her ride to the branch. I helped her get the necessary paperwork but sat back and let her deal with everything else. At one point, she came back gloating, telling me that for the first time in her life, she could sign off on everything needed to make something legal.

"I'm 18!" she said. "I can do it myself."

Back when she was learning to get her own clothes on her own self, tie her shoes or ride her bike without training wheels, she'd said a similar thing -- sans the double digit age reference.

"I can DO it, Dad," was a common refrain back then when the Captain was deep in teaching mode and she was sure she'd advanced beyond his help.

Now, it's super real. She's truly an adult.

We all got oriented at Purdue a couple weeks ago. We all managed to get weepy at different parts along the way but there was no actual crying. (Juxtapose this to some of the helicopter parents on the Purdue parents Facebook page. Oh. My. God. I'm nowhere NEAR the level of crazy some of those folks are displaying.)

There were some big-ass clouds that day and a hint of rain, but it was warm. There was a breeze from time to time and only a hint of a drizzle here and there. We traipsed along together in some parts and separately for others.

While she met with her advisor -- no parents allowed -- we found an outside bench. Jeff sat. I laid down with my head in his lap, dozed a bit and just looked up at that big, blue sky.

There's not denying that it's nearly time for ol' Mom and Dad to take the back seat.

Sigh.

We're getting some empty-nest practice in as she's been with her Auntie Jen in Maine since last Thursday. We'll pick her up tonight from the airport and then lose her again to a trip to Ireland in a few days. She's going with three other new adults and my own 18-year-old self is a little green around the gills. She moves into her dorm in 41 days.

Not that I'm counting, but if I was, I'd deduct 15 from 41 because of her Ireland trip and planned time with other friends. That gives me (I mean us) only 26 more days with her.

Picture me carefully packing that thought away in a padlocked suitcase and putting it at the very back of a very dark closet. Deep breath.

When Ali's away, we generally try out new restaurants, but this time we mixed it up. The rules were we had to be able to walk or bike to get there and it had to be new or a place we'd not been in at least three years. My waistline can't take the every night thing, and my liver is already protesting, but it's been fun.

We cheated a bit with a tapas night the first day, Jeff grilled steaks and I made the pan-fried the Brussel sprouts that were threatening to germinate in our crisper. I tossed them with a little balsamic and soy sauce. An avowed sprouts hater, the Captain tried one.

"Still Brussel sprouts," he sniffed and went back to gnawing on his slab of meat.

We walked to the Thai Cafe the next night and then Marco's on Tuesday -- both exceptional choices that resulted in lunch the next day as well.

Our culinary exploration almost ended tragically with that Marco's walk. The restaurant is 1.2 miles from our house. It was hot but not horrible and all was well. I'd remembered to visit the ladies' room before we left. But I didn't factor in the second G&T that I somehow ordered.

About 0.2 miles into our return home, my bladder alerted me about that second drink and the water Jeff had made me drink when he noticed that I hadn't touched my drink. "Oh," he said. "Two?" And pushed my water glass at me.

I'm not really a whiner. Or if I am, the whining I do inside my head before it escapes is pretty severe. I was eyeing the elementary school and thinking about where there might be cover for a squatting, middle-aged woman when Jeff took my elbow.

"Nope," he said.

As we passed the bricks and the opportunity they presented I remembered a time when my brother, David, had stopped for similar respite. He was still flowing when the policeman behind him said, "Hey, Dave. Whatcha doin' there?"

Naturally, David turned to converse and sprayed the poor uniformed officer. That memory gave me the fortitude I needed to keep plodding along.

By the time we rounded Crestview and were mere blocks from our house, I was picturing my bladder as a Ziplock bag straining at that strip of plastic where it seals your leftovers safely in side. The plastic film was straining and I could feel tiny pinpricks where the previously delicious gin and tonic was pressing for release.

The Captain started pointing out puddles and mentioning how many of our neighbors have swimming pools. I shut him out and walked faster. I refrained from pointing out the strength of my Kegels because A. I couldn't really form words and B. He didn't deserve the reminder.

Instead, I squeezed harder and pictured the little boy with his finger in the dike somewhere in Sweden or Amsterdam or where ever the hell he'd kept the waters back. I needed that little boy.

I would be lying if I said I didn't eye every bush, every tree, every parked car along the way, wondering if I could crouch and flee without anyone seeing me. It was a long 1.2 miles home, let me tell you.

And I'm sure I was less than graceful as I raced for the closest bathroom once the Captain managed to unlock the front door. But I survived with nothing but sweat marks on my clothing.


Last night an ill-timed loss of a/c at my niece's (Rebecca) boyfriend's house  brought us surprise and welcome dinner guests last night. So we grilled burgers and dogs and took a much shorter walk to a new ice cream stand down the street.

We get Ali back tonight. She's a little bummed that she's not getting in later because one year we came home late on the 4th and were able to watch fireworks from above. It was super cool.

In the meantime, I think we're biking somewhere for lunch. I'll be scouting public restrooms along the way, just in case. Hope your Fourth of July is a blast.





Sunday, June 23, 2019

Screwed. Twice. And Somehow, We are Still Married


The day started out nicely. Beautiful weather. A grand plan for taking care of our individual business before we head up to Lafayette to be ready for Ali’s day of orientation and class scheduling. 

Jeff was going to hit a few softballs; Ali had another grad party to go to – this one in Greenwood – and I was going to get ahead of next week’s work given my day away.

Then, Jeff discovered that he’d misplaced his wallet and his driver’s license along with it. He hadn’t left it in Andy’s car (his softball buddy) nor was it at the batting cage they’d swung by.

While tearing out his hair over the missing ID, he found a screw had wedged itself in to a tire on his Subaru – the car we’d planned to take to Lafayette and which he’ll need for work on Tuesday.

Without a wallet, he was without his credit card. So, I powered down from my current work project and followed him up to the tire shop and made sure he could pay for his new wheel.  As I drove, I noticed a “whump, whump, whump” kind of sound to my right. It was kind of like when you’d put a card in your bicycle tire to create a little two-wheel excitement. I made a mental note to see if Ali had properly closed the passenger door and went to rescue the Captain.

He was still annoyed about his wallet and was planning to spend his wait time calling around all the places he’d been between last night when he remembered last touching his wallet and this morning.

I sped home, packed for Lafayette and went back to work, noticing, being annoyed by but not picking up the stuff flung in the yard when Jeff tore apart his car looking for his wallet. 

Jeff wasn’t home before Ali had to go to her party, so I powered down again and packed up, planning to work at a Starbucks while she was at her party. As I backed out of the garage, I heard a crunch. It was then I remembered that I’d found my trunk door open earlier that morning – another part of Jeff’s trail of destruction as he tried to assemble enough tools to replace his tire before giving up and heading to the closest Firestone. 

Ali got out and found that I’d driven over my jack, which Jeff had flung on the garage floor along with the rest of the contents of my trunk.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “Hope that didn’t do any damage.”

Ali started to get back in the car when she stopped, took a few steps and called out to me.

“Uh, Mom,” she said. “You have a flat tire.”

Turns out that I, too, had a screw wedged in a tire.

I closed my eyes thinking that the jack must have had a sharp side to it and then remembered the “whump, whump, whump” sound. I sighed and started to retrace my drive to the tire shop. Ali called Jeff who I could hear through the phone with the top down demanding that I not drive to the on my saggy tire.

I met him at the tire shop where his frustration over the wallet had been well seasoned by his wait and then my disregarding his suggestion. His car still wasn't in the service bay. He was super annoyed that I hadn’t replaced the contents of my trunk, which would have allowed him to put on my little emergency tire. I opted to not tell him I'd driven over the thing.

I pointed out that there's a Speedway service station three businesses south of the tire shop. I prepared to head there for air. He debated aloud whether I should drive it. He was giving me directions to the Speedway as I pulled away.

He walked down to the station and aired up my tire as Alison started calling her friends to see if anyone in our part of the city had yet to start driving to the Greenwood grad party she wanted to go to.

Knowing Jeff was still waiting for service on the Subaru, I didn’t want to wait even longer at Firestone. I asked him if he’d checked whether a nearby Auto Zone has tired. He listed off the myriad places he’d checked before landing on Firestone. Auto Zone was not among them.

“Did you check Auto Zone?” I asked, preparing to call.

“I don’t know!” he said.

Afraid he was going to list off all the places he’d checked, I just called the store. No go. But the guy suggested Walmart, just a couple miles north. I called and hurrah, they have the tire I need and can install it.

“Thanks. I’m on my way,” I said, ended the call and looked at Jeff. “Want a ride?”

He declined and Ali and I sped up to Walmart while the air lasted.

An hour later, Ali hadn’t found a ride, but Jeff’s car was at least being worked on. I took a stroll to get a Starbucks tea and returned to be held hostage at the Walmart Auto Center where a Gilligan’s Island marathon was playing. I started singing the theme song to Ali. She gave me a dead fish stare and turned up the volume of the music on her iPhone.

I had little sympathy when her battery died a short time later. We were two 3-hour-adventures before Jeff called to say he was coming to get the girl to get her to her party.  

About four minutes after they left, I receive a secret text from Ali. “Wallet located,” she reported. 

I ask if it was in his pocket.

“Worse,” she texts back. “Softball bag. He put it in the “wrong” pocket, so he didn’t see it.”

We LOL.

As I awaited my own wheel servicing, I’d been working diligently but getting up periodically to peer out the window to see if my car had made it to the repair bay. I’d hop up, not see it and go back to minding my own business, working away in my holding cell. At one point another customer tried to begin a conversation on the merits of Gilligan’s Island. I smiled and agreed with whatever he said but went back to my work, island shenanigans as my background noise.

By now, Don Rickles had stolen money and jewels from the Howells and Ginger before escaping the island and leave the others behind; Gilligan thought he was Jekyll and Hyde and there was fear that headhunters had invaded the island. Just as a body double for Ginger joined the castaways, I heard another sound that my brain registered as being important.

I looked around, noticed nothing other than the dual Ginger and went back to work. The noise sounded again, louder this time. 

“Crap!” I said, realizing what the sound was.

I ran to the service bay door. It was locked for my own protection and no Walmart associates were to be found. I don’t know where they were, but they were not sitting with their tops down in the middle of a downpour like my Mustang was.

Thankfully one of the Walmart guys ran out and drove my car into dryness. They made me put on safety glasses to put the top back up, though why they wanted that I wasn’t sure. There were puddles in the back seat, but it’s been soaked more thoroughly.

I bought a bundle of Day Glo green towels and went to the counter to ask permission to go back out into the service bay to sop up the water. “Which is your car?” an associate asked. Three people said, “The Mustang.” Apparently, the crew liked the car.

“When do you want to sell it?” one of them asked.

Three hours and $97 dollars later, I was free to go.

I’m now awaiting the rest of my crew. The Captain still has to pack but otherwise, I think we’re ready to hit the road for Lafayette. There’s a Triple X burger in my future, but I’m also packing a cooler with a treat for the hot tub.

There’d better be a hot tub.




Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fathers Day ...

Jeff's Fathers' Day began with bacon and a gift Ali and I managed to acquire and smuggle out of the Biltmore during our Spring Break trip; turned next to a trip to the Talbott Street Art Fair where we almost bought a $1400 painting but instead shared an ice cream taco sundae; then traveled down to the Vic for a baseball game where I didn't get ice cream; and is ending with a gathering of his fellow beer nerds.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday if you're Jeff Reed. Or Ali and Cheryl Reed for that matter. We had made sure that our presence in Maine was felt even though we weren't there to help with chores. our portion was lunch, which included lobster rolls for Gary and his work crew of Jen, James and Peter. So I guess it's a good day just to be a Reed.

It was a great day. After sweating ourselves stinky, Ali and I are holed up in the house with air conditioning while the beer lovers are comparing this pilsner to that mead to a stout or a sour.

My first interaction with the early crew had me gagging on a beer they all loved (thus risking my welcome) and my last was after I'd made them let me take their picture.

As I returned inside with photos in hand, I heard the Captain say, "I like the nose on that one far better than the taste" as the others responded with either agreement or disagreement, I'm not sure.

I am sure that I'm more suited to what's inside the house and my only discussion of it will be: "Mmmm."

My champagne will be awesome, and it would have held up well to the ice cream sundae Jeff and Ali found while I waited in line for a gyro. Don't get me wrong, we spend much more time perusing the art. Ali and I fell in love with a red and black cape with vintage buttons and was soft like a lamb's ear.

I was just thinking that we should bring it home when its designer came by to tell us all about its uniqueness and explain the $440 price tag had a bit to do with it being cashmere.

It was nearly as beautiful as the bursts of color at a booth with the $1400 painting. Ali like a couple with one zero removed, but we moved on and didn't make it back. We were driving my car, which even with the top down wouldn't have accommodated the large piece, and we had baseball to get to, anyway.
 

It was a slightly breezy, sunny day. Perfect for baseball. Until the sun breaks through the sunblock and you have to flee to the shade. The Tribe won its first game of a double header forced by a rain-out yesterday.

We dropped Ali at a graduation party for one of her friends while Jeff secured the last items for his beer tasting and picked her up on our return. We're all aware that these are the last of our days as a pretty tight threesome.

Ali got a little weepy when she and Jeff were waiting for a monster movie to start. A trailer for a superhero movie came on and she thought "Hey, that'll be fun to see with Dad." Then she remembered that when it comes out, she'll be at Purdue. "The tears just fell," she said.

Jeff had already told me about this story (which had made me tear up) so I was prepared when she told me about it. I kept my cool and reminded her that we can always drive to Lafayette and catch a movie and dinner.

"I know," she said. "But ..."

Things are changing. We keep having the conversation of "We knew it was going to happen. We've raised her to be able to fly on her own." But it's hard. I told a friend the other day that I'm pathologically good at compartmentalizing, and I'm working pretty hard at keeping my weeping to a minimum.

Jeff learned last week that he's got a work trip coming up that can begin the very day after we drop her off at Purdue -- which is 58 days from now, btw. It's to Denver, and he thinks it would be a good idea if I tagged along.

We told Ali about it, and I told her that a friend of mine had suggested that I could drown or smoke my troubles away. She looked at Jeff and then she looked at me and frowned.

"If I come back after four years and you two are stoners, I'm going to be very disappointed."

























Sunday, June 9, 2019

Party of Two... emphasis on the party


I've been getting a lot of advice lately about what to do come August when Alison takes up residence at Purdue University and Jeff and I have to remember how to live as a party of two again. 

Some veteran tell me it's terrible and warn of a great depression heading my way. Others say it'll be bad for a while then we'll get used to things. And then: she'll come back and it will be strange to have her back for the summer. I don't doubt we'll have an adjustment period. How could we not?

If the past weekend is a judge, we apparently are going to be taking the "party" of the "Party of Two" phrase seriously. We started at the Pride parade - happy to again be allowed to walk with our Ogden friends as part of the downtown YMCA contingent. That event is always a fun time and ends up at the festival which is even more fun.
But we ended Saturday with a bourbon share that included some of my friends who don't dabble in hard liquor like many of Jeff's friends.

I'd planned to have my friends sip champagne and make fun of the bourbon tasters as they ruminated over the "nose" the "legs" and whatever lingers after imbibing what to me always tastes like a blend of gasoline and lighter fluid. (Not that I've mixed those liquids but I can imagine.) Instead, we all kind of mingled and toasted or roasted each other as the occasion arose.
Some of us sampled more than others.
For my part, the thing that kept me lingering in bed had more to do with walking miles downtown than with the bubbly.

Speaking of downtown -- we had another great Pride experience. I swear it's the happiest day in Indianapolis. We ran into Jeph and Justin and a handful of other friends on the parade route and in the park. Other than the few protesters, the throngs of folks were happy to celebrate.

Someone estimated the crowd to be about 80,000. So imagine our surprise when Ali and I sat down to listen to some of the entertainers and found Jenna Tokash and some of her friends sitting to our left doing the same thing. It was super fun and another indication that Indianapolis is just a spread out small town.

Sunday was spent mostly in recovery, although Ali and I did manage to get to the gym. She's got another respiratory challenge so we went to the doctor's office where she was weighed and wasn't happy with the result.

"You have GOT to get me back to the gym," she said.

I apologized for her genetic code and the vagaries of life and then reminded her that she'd had popcorn and quesadillas after dinner, along with bits of European dark chocolate she'd been hoarding.

"It just gets harder, kiddo," I warned her.

She's working at Herron, helping with a summer gym class, so I'm sure she'll be back to swim condition in no time. I, on the other hand, will probably gain her Freshman 15 before Christmas.