Sunday, July 20, 2008

Vehicular Closure

Mancub left a bit ago to spend the night at a friend's house. In the morning he will be joining the friend, the friend's mother and the friend's grandparents for a week stay in a cabin up in Canada. They are the kind of people who have "a cabin up in Canada", which envious as it is doesn't take away from the fact that they are very nice people. Mancub needs a break from the romantic turmoil that has been his life, and while we have been wanting to take him on his first trip up there as a legal son (foster kids aren't supposed to travel), we will have to settle for second. He needs this trip.

Yesterday we spent about six hours at Toyota dealerships and came home after 10:00 PM (I didn't realize they still made that time of day, having not experienced it in decades) with a brand new minivan. "Brand New" as in previously owned, but as new a vehicle as I've ever owned, and never have I owned a vehicle with a warranty and no rattling noises. It is only a couple of years old, in spotless condition, and has very few miles on it. Sure, we had to buy the warranty that actually does something unlike the one that automatically comes with it, and yes we had to do that annoying bargaining thing a bit, but it feels great to have a working minivan especially knowing that if things start to break down we can take it in to get fixed for nothing.

I'm returning a tremendous stack of DVDs I didn't watch and books I didn't read to the library. I am however listening to Green Day right now, a group I do not particularly like, because Mancub has given for the first time ever M~ an All Access Pass to every electronic device in his room, so M~ is in there thumping tunes and watching You Tube. It started off with a "No Entry" policy when Mancub was gone, then it softened to a "Entry Only For the Designated Reasons" Policy. M~ high fived me when he announced he was going to be able to use all of the game systems, including the Xbox 360. This is the sign of complete cousin trust. It also means another week in which I won't be able to read or watch movies, unless I can do so with background noise. Which I can't.

But I can ride around in my new wheels. When Papa Seed isn't in it. Which means, I won't be able to do that either.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rebirth In The Woods

The Oregon Country Fair was amazing, as expected. There is truly no other event like it.


The trip seemed like a disaster in the making, having to rent a vehicle when we found out that the $5000 we put into fixing the van was for nothing since it turned out it could not be repaired, fragile negotiations to get the neffs, money woes increased by fuel costs, brand new health concerns, but we did it. I kept my cool as Mancub played his PSP and listened to his iPod in the backseat, rather than look out the window at the most amazing scenery in the country. Most of the time, the boys got along. Their biggest concern was being close enough to cell phone towers so that they could text their friends. These aren't the nature boys of days gone by.

The yurt was a hit. They liked that. Once at the fair, we told the boys to run off and get in trouble. I did have a little meltdown the first day when the dissed the youngest of the trio, and he in turn sat at the entrance and did nothing. Also Mancub walked around with his iPod in - the only person there who did that. There is plenty of music and ambient sound around, you don't need that. But things turned around quickly. M~ made a Free Hugs sign, the two older boys met girls (although Mancub had to text his girlfriend to see if it was okay that he hung out with them), and all three got into the vibe. They loved it, they really loved it!!!! It took us well over an hour to leave on our last day, as they went around yelling "Free Hugs" to one and all, and made a lot of folks very happy. Papa Seed and Big Poppy's hearts sang. Yep, they did. Of course, an hour later they were calling one another asshole in the car and getting angry over who knew what about Final Fantasy. Such is life.

They want to go back next year.

On Sunday night, Mancub's girlfriend texted him that their relationship was over. Then it got moved up to a "one month break". This past week has been teenage romance angst week. As is the nature of such things, the status changes frequently, but the drama remains on high. It has been a rough week for our little Romeo.

Our last day of being on the coast, I managed to get my foot caught in a piece of driftwood, and then did a three part fall onto two large rocks. Unlike the movies where the hero gets pulverized into a bloody mess and then stands up to whack the life out of the villain, I was down for the count, breathless with the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life until an angelic couple from West Virginia came to my rescue, and slowly got me back to life. They also rounded up my posse who had been unable to hear the loudest swear word ever yelled due to the roar of the ocean, and after thirty minutes or so of first aid we drove into town to buy ice packs and ice to put on my leg which was by then three times its normal size.

A week later, I'm still hurting. But nothing is broken except my ego.

So the trip to revive lives did so, but we won't get the full impact until we cross the obstacles of a damaged romance, a damaged body, a damned vehicle or loss of anyway, and figure out how to bring the woods full of hippies into our home.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A New Leaf

Celebrated 16 years of togetherness with Papa Seed this evening by taking a break from the teenagers and complications of life to have some beer and pizza at Talarico's - an Over 21 Pizza Joint that has been recommended by several friends.

Yesterday we found out that the $5000 we have plunked into our van was all for nothing, since it is still at the shop and they now say they can't fix it. We had it back two days before we had to take it in again. The shop had it for almost a week before diagnosing it as terminal. "Unbelievable" doesn't quite capture how we feel, even if you put the modifier "Fuckin'" in front of it. Damn it. Since we had the trip to The Oregon Country Fair planned with tickets purchased and yurt and campsite reservations and dog & house sitters in place and somewhat complicated "negotiations" with all parties involved, we have now rented a vehicle because we can't just burn through money fast enough. Three teenage boys and a rental vehicle, five days, hippies and the ocean. This is a complicated mix for a relaxing vacation, but we reserve the right to be hopeful.

Found out a few days ago I have what used to be called borderline diabetes, but now has a longer name. It could be worse - it could be diabetes. This is hopefully my last wake up slap in the face. I've started to shun sugar, although I'm not going to be a total purist about it, and I've been doing pretty good with making those healthy food choices. I've also been dealing with chronic pain, but thanks to Tylenol and Ibuprofen I've been pushing through some short yet difficult walks. I know they get easier, and I have to do this. I'm still waiting for a few more tests to come back and then I get together with my Doctor to come up with more of a game plan.

I'm ready to kick the gloom and doom and get inspired. I've got my iPod loaded up, my carefully selected stack of magazines, my healthy snacks, and some fine new shorts. Stick me in a forest for a few days, add some freaky festival time, and bake. Reinvention here I come.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Daddy's Home

Not that he wasn't already there, but Papa Seed has totally 100% crossed the line into being a father, although it comes from the combined forces of son and nephews all of whom are obsessed with Tenacious D doing Kickapoo. He just screamed at M~ to turn it off because if he heard that song one more time he'd go postal. He had the same outburst with Mancub and neff B~ the other day. He has banned it from the house unless you are wearing headphones. He did so with a certain amount of empathy, comparing it to his childhood when he watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail fifteen billion times, but adds that he didn't subject every one in the household to it. I kind of laughed saying for me it was Led Zeppelin's Black Dog that my poor parents had to hear at full blast over and over. Near the end of my life with the parents it was Grace Jones singing I Need A Man. I must have played that 60 times a day. As loud as I could. It was like blood pulsing through my body, a primal way of claiming who I was when I couldn't do it with words. I'm sorry Mama. I'm sorry Daddy. Karma just bit me on the ass.

Although I abhor novelty songs almost as much as I do George Bush I'm almost able to shrug off hearing the boy's song over and over. But I'm also totally sick of it. I was the first time I heard it.

We've already had a good year of telling Mancub the music is way too loud, that the lyrics are really offensive, sexist, homophobic, and convey negative racist stereotypes (this was when he was all about Fifty Cent and Lil John), but it took Tenacious D to put us over the edge. It doesn't hurt that all three boys are into this one, which hasn't been the case with other music.

While Mancub has been out of town, we took M~ & B~ for haircuts and out to eat, then while we were driving around we all sang "Good Vibrations" and "I Wanna Be Sedated". The boys like doing the techno beat box thing too, but Papa Seed always tells them if he wants to go to a Gay Bar, he can do that on his own and he doesn't need them to bring it to him. They think that is hysterical and it just encourages them more. We all take turns being the screaming Diva.

Since we are all taking off for the Oregon Country Fair on Thursday, we will have plenty of time for road songs if everyone takes out their iPods and MP3 players so we can all be on the same page. I know the boys will break out into Kickapoo at least once. My best friend and I used to sing Shiver Me Timbers and Old Cape Cod when we'd go for long drives. I miss having those as sing-a-longs, but I think I'll never find another person to duet on those with me. They are about the only two songs I know by heart, the rest I have to do the "mmmm mmmmm mmmmm" thing for at least part of the lyrics, plus I can't carry a tune to save my life.

Papa Seed and I took all three boys out to eat a few weeks ago at Luna Park Cafe and they seem stunned when we, and several others in the place, started singing along to Janis singing Mercedes Benz. They somehow had all turned into teenagers never having been exposed to it before, and they looked at us as if we had been possessed. It was as much fun singing it as it was seeing their expressions. Old people are funny. Parents (and Uncles) are weird. Some things never change. And Rock and Roll will never die.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Mancub is going to be gone for the next three days, off with the girlfriend's family for some relative's wedding. We thought the neffs would be gone by now, but at least the oldest one is still here (well into week two, or is it three?). One of the others may be returning as well. This won't be the adult time weekend I was hoping it would be, but that's okay.

The neff, M~, that is still here was absolutely adamant that I develop a character on RuneScape. He has been bugging me daily for weeks. He tells me how cool it is by going into what sounds like Pentecostal speaking in tongues. I have no idea what he is saying, but clearly he is a firm believer. Saying that I have no interest at all in video games of any sort is also similar to saying to a Christian that I don't believe in God. It doesn't register. It is like claiming that reality as they know it doesn't exist and they have no choice but to disregard it.

So finally, more to get some silence and also because I really do take an interest in what makes the kids happy, I got on and made a character (bald with a long gray beard and leather wrist bands). I also started the tutorial which has something to do with chopping wood and cooking shrimp over a fire to get some gadgets or something, but all I saw were cheesy computer graphics that left me cold and restless. I can see how the boys enter into that reality, in much the same way that I could do the same with certain books and films and album covers at that age. But I guess for once I'm a Wendy and I can't follow Peter back to that land.

Along the same lines, we took Mancub and M~ to see Wanted yesterday. They really wanted to see it, and I'm using the omnipresence of teenage boys as a way to be open to new experiences (in the hopes that at some point they may return the favor, but so far the Yoko Ono and John Coltrane CDs remain undisturbed). I'll be fair here - while it is not my favorite kind of film - it was a lot of fun and kept my attention, whiplashed as it was. I gave myself over to guys having the shit beat out of them and ending up looking better than I do when I bang my elbow on the doorway, and the fact that a lot of the film takes place in vehicles - fast moving vehicles - and tried to sit back and enjoy it. At times it was clever in kind of a poor man's Fight Club kind of way, but haven't we seen it all before? Still, it wasn't the worst way to spend a couple of hours and the boys sat there with mouths and eyes wide open riveted to the screen.

They gave it about the highest rating one can give a film, although they said as we were walking to the bus that what happens to a bullet near the end of the film couldn't really happen. Interesting comment, because unless I missed something there were not two consecutive seconds in the entire film that could really happen. I caught on to that very early on, and when Angelina Jolie breaks through the front window of the car she is "driving" and crawls out to lie on the hood shooting straight up at the bad guys and then looks picture perfect two seconds later it confirmed that this was more of a fantasy than a documentary. But then again I'm an adult and should catch on to these things faster. My experience being stretched out on the hood of a reckless vehicle gunning down my enemies is why I now prefer being bald. It is brutal to even the lowest maintenance hair style in real life. Another plus, the film has Common once again as the quiet intense guy with the killer smile and I'm a sucker for that.

Although fireworks of any sort are illegal in our city, they have been going off in our neighborhood pretty much non-stop for the last two weeks. Apparently the best time to shoot off the loudest ones is three in the morning. Luckily we don't have the kinds of dogs that freak, and although I suspect I have a simmering case of PTSD it also has prepared me for assault movies, video games, and election season

If I were to list my favorite Holidays from top to bottom, you'd have to use the scroll bar to get to today. It isn't because I hate America, although there are plenty of things about the concept of America as currently accepted by the majority that I don't like. It is because this isn't my idea of fun and people don't really bother to celebrate America. Wearing a flag shirt from Walmart isn't celebrating America. Racing your car up and down the street isn't celebrating America. Drinking cheap beer isn't celebrating America. Starting a Revolution, now that would be celebrating America. But I also need to take advantage of the time off and rest while I can so I'll have to turn that over to someone else.