August 7

Fun! Fun! Fun!

Today was a typical nutty day in my life.  I had planned to get up at 6:30am, take my shower and get the kids up by 7:00am.  Yeah, right.  We all crawled out of bed around 7:30am and then endured the chaotic mad dash including all the yelling and screaming that will occur when four females attempt to get ready at the same time with only two bathrooms. 

Even getting in the car this morning was all screwy!  See, yesterday, we found a new family member in the garage—a HUGE wolf spider.  Yeah, I know, they are harmless.  But they are still rather intimidating for someone completely terrified of spiders.  (I even freak out around granddaddy long-legs which, Riley proudly reminds me, are not really spiders.)  So, this little guy was strolling around our garage last night.  We all saw it–we all ran screaming into the house.  So this morning, no one wanted to be the first one to walk into the garage.  I had to go first, locate the offending arachnid and hold it off while the girls get into the car.  I’m sure the poor thing was ready to commit suicide from all the screaming and yelling before we pulled out of the garage.

And then there was the car itself.  Our minivan is in the shop and our other car has a very weak A/C.  It’s been hovering around 100 this whole week and Wednesday it rained so I was basically driving a sauna around town.  Caitlin left her new car (new to her) over at her dad’s house since she will be with him when she takes her driving test in just a few days.  When I picked her up in my Honda Sauna Wednesday from work, we decided to go get the car.  Now, you’ve got to understand my angel-baby.  She is just as anal about her car as I used to be.  The sisters, both my younger children and her half-sisters at her Dad’s house, are not allowed to eat in her car and the only drinks allowed are water in bottles with lids.  They aren’t allowed to put their feet on the seat unless their shoes are off.  It’s kind of funny watching her corral the kids. 

The plan for the past couple of days has been for us to load in the car, drive to Mike’s parent’s place to drop off the kids, then head over to drop Caity off at work (she works for her dad.) Then I take the car to work and in the evening we reverse the process.  This way, she gets more time behind the wheel with someone riding shot-gun so she can get used to driving her own car instead of one of ours.  The first day, yesterday actually, was quite interesting.  As we were pulling up to her dad’s office, she began to list off all these rules to me.  Watch out when backing up! Don’t hit any curbs! Don’t park where you’ll get door dings!  It was all I could do to stop laughing.  She doesn’t remember when she was around 3 years old and she would get aggravated with me for parking my brand new Trans Am wayyyy out at the end of the Walmart parking lot to keep anyone from touching the car.  She hated having to walk all the way from the “North 40.” 

So today we get almost to the grandparent’s house when I remember that I didn’t take ANY of my medications.  This has become quite a problem lately and I’m not sure what to do about it.  I’ve taken these meds for years and I’m not sure why now I’m having memory issues with it.  Anyway, we dropped the kids off and retraced our steps heading back to the house, cautiously avoiding the nemesis in the garage.  I took my meds and we were off again in a few moments.  We drove to the office to drop Caity off and I continued on to the lab.  As she was getting out of the car, she mentioned that she wanted to go by a car wash on the way to pick up the girls.  It had rained yesterday so there were a few spots of good ole Oklahoma red dirt on her baby’s glossy black paint. 

I drove to work, backed into my parking spot (made much easier by the automatic tilting of her mirrors after placing the car  in reverse), and went to work for the day.  I had planned to “clock in” by 9am.  I made it there by 10am.  UGH!  But the craziness wasn’t over yet.  I was scheduled to participate in a conference call with a company in California.  We had attempted this call yesterday, first at 3:30pm, then again at 4:30pm.  When one of the guys on the other end of the line couldn’t be located, we decided to reschedule for this morning.  At 11:30, we got a call asking if we could push back to 11:45.  We said yes and took the extra time to gather up lunch.  So me, a co-worker and the boss are all sitting in the boss’ office eating lunch and waiting for the phone to ring.  At 11:45, I tried to get the guys to set a wager on what time the call would actually come.  I was thinking 12:00 noon.  No one took me up on the bet and by the time noon came around, we all gathered up something else for us to do while waiting.  Finally around 12:15pm, the phone rang.  We were all so absorbed in other things by that time, it was actually sort of startling. 

Frustration was my major emotion by this time.  I had a long list of things I wanted to get done today and those 45 minutes I spent twiddling my thumbs would have made quite a dent in the list.  But the meeting was good.  We solved a couple of problems with equipment and made plans to solve some others.

At the end of the day, I drove over to the health center where I punished myself for some unknown reason with an hour long workout then climbed back in the car to pick up Caity.  We drove over to a car wash and she got her first experience trying to drive onto those tracks in the autowash. 

I really wish I’d had my video camera with me.  She nearly hyperventilated during our journey through the car wash.  First, she worried about the mirrors.  Next she worried about the brushes scratching her paint.    It was one thing after another.  She was so preoccupied by everything, I had to remind her to get ready to take control of the car again.  Then—-she worried about water spots.  Ah, but Mom had something up her sleeve.  The car wash was just down the street from the turnpike so we drove a short stretch on the highway to blow off most of the excess water.  Her baby was clean again so she was happy.  Oh, I did crack up at her when we pulled out of the car wash and she insisted on pulling over and wiping off the extra water.  I asked her what she was going to use to do this and she got this look of surprise on her face and decided my idea to blow off the water was okay–this time. 

She and I have spent a few minutes here and there during the past couple of months looking at old pictures.  It’s quite the milestone she’s about to earn and I couldn’t be happier for her.  Her dad and I divorced when she was four so she’s had much more to deal with since then than she really should have been forced to endure.  Every day she does  something that makes me wonder what I did to deserve a daughter that’s turned out as great as she has.  Yeah, she has her moments of teenager angst, but for the most part, she’s been a truly wonderful child. 

Her dad and I agreed early on in the divorce that we would both set aside our egos and concentrate on her needs.  Those first two years  were difficult but we grew into a team along with our new spouses and all of us worked together.  Sometime she would be annoyed because she couldn’t get away with anything.  If she was grounded at one house, she was grounded at the other house.  Major decisions were made together so there wasn’t much opportunity for her to try to play us against each other.  We set the rules, but always told her why we set the rules we did and she pretty much accepted it.  She has said that she knew there was no point to arguing or trying to lie to one of us because we would just call each other to confirm what she had said.  She attends a private school and has many friends with basically no parental supervision.  Either both parents work demanding jobs and aren’t around or they are from the school of thought where “Johnny couldn’t possibly as bad as you’re saying he is.”  Occassionally, we run into conflicts when her friends want her to do things with them that we don’t think is appropriate.  We tell her no and she doesn’t fight us on it too often.  Just a few weeks ago, she had a friend who was turning 16 and wanting her to go to dinner with their group, then hang out until midnight when they would climb in cars and go toilet paper the house of another school-mate.  I said that she could go to the dinner but not the later activities.  Our city has a curfew of 11pm on weekdays and 12 midnight on the weekends for children and I wasn’t willing for her to risk it.  When I explained this to her, along with the consequences if she was caught, she understood.  I heard her telling the birthday boy that he could cry and moan all he wants but it wouldn’t change my mind.  The funny thing was that while they were at the dinner, birthday boy’s mom found out about the evenings planned activities and nixed the whole thing.  She said she just grinned at him while he sputtered in shock that his mom wasn’t letting him have his way. 

So, in just a few short days, she will have more freedom than she ever dreamed of.   I think she’s earned a bit of freedom.  It won’t be all fun and games.  She’ll have to pick up her sisters from school occassionally, but she’ll be able to drive to drama rehearsals, praise band practice and most importantly—drive home herself. 

Some of the family wants to put all these restrictions on her.  I’m of the thinking that I will trust her until she abuses that trust.  If that happens, then the restrictions will be put in place.  But I don’t expect that to happen too soon. 

So for today—the song is “Fun Fun Fun” by the Beach Boys.  It’s not a T-bird she’s driving but the emotion is still there.  And she’s definitely having fun!