Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back To Normal

It was the first day of school. I was looking forward to life getting back to normal. There would be no more of this crazy sleeping in stuff and coincidental chore slacking and shocking PG-13 movie watching that went on past 9 p.m. You can see that, given these lax summer circumstances, my family was long overdue for a dose of the ordinary and mundane.

“So how was your day?” I asked the family at dinner that night. I waited for the usual and expected reports of teachers and homework and routine work projects.

The boy spoke first. “The kid sitting next to me had to go to the nurse today. After he got his cell phone taken away, he swallowed the lid of a Sharpie marker--on purpose. I was ok with that though, because he really, really smelled bad…kind of like our cats’ litter box. I hope the nurse gave him a bath.”

The teenager spoke next. “The Lawnmower Boy was at my bus stop this morning. Remember him? He was the kid from last year who stole a lawnmower on the way to school from someone’s backyard. When he got to the bus stop he tried to mow us all down and then tried to bring the thing on the bus. He was expelled. So, anyway, he ended up failing last year and is back again, now in my grade, still at my bus stop, and still talking about finding another lawnmower to mow us all down.“

The husband then informed us that he had spent the whole day with auditors from a very high level government institution who told him his work from the last 4 weeks was completely flawed. He spent the entire day defending his work, his confidence level and all that he knew to be true and right. Only at the very end of the day did he find out that it was the auditors’ fancy measuring equipment that was out of whack and was in dire need of repair. The husband’s work was fine.

And then it was my turn. I proudly announced, with great flourish, to my family, “Well, I can see that you all have had a very interesting day. But …I, I…have been nominated to become Miss Teen United States.”

As they ate their low fat stroganoff, I passed around my glossy Miss Teen United States brochure that had come in the mail that day. They stared at me in disbelief. The teenager gave me an obligatory, and by now perfected, eyeball roll. The boy asked if there was anything fried to eat instead of this “gross gravy”. The husband wondered, out loud, if it was too late to catch the national news.

And then it was the second day of school. I was looking forward to life getting back to normal. I was hoping there would be no more of these outlandish Sharpie eating, lawn mower chasing and government incompetence stories. “Have a nice day!” I called to the family as they left that morning, trusting that they would come home with the usual and expected reports of teachers and homework and routine work projects. And then I ran inside to start my day. After all, I only had 3 months to find an evening gown, practice my baton twirling routine and find a magic bikini that came complete with Spanx shapewear and that fancy double stick tape built in.

Check This Out!

The Slightly Exaggerated music review consortium has unanimously agreed that Paramore’s song Crushcrushcrush has won the song of the week award for the second week in a row. The Slightly Exaggerated sociological advisory panel has agreed that it is physically impossible to sit still while listening to Paramore’s song Crushcrushcrush. And the Slightly Exaggerated lie detector machine agrees that Paramore’s appeal has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that their music also appeared on the Twilight soundtrack, based on the Twilight movie which was based on the Twilight book by Stephenie Meyer which was all about……EDWARD...sigh. We swear. We just really like Paramore.

Friday, September 4, 2009

With Great Wisdom

It had really been quite a lovely hike until the boy jumped the stream. We were still over a mile from the parking lot when his knee landed on that boulder and the boy found himself unable to walk. The husband and the teenager and I took turns piggybacking him back to the car. The teenager soon became frustrated with her heavy and wiggling brother.

She turned to me and whined, “Can’t he walk on it for a little bit?” With great wisdom I scolded her, “Your brother is hurt and you are going to have to be patient with him. It might take some time for his knee to heal.”

Three weeks ago we found ourselves at a major league baseball game accompanied by the boy on crutches. After the game, thousands of grinning children lined up to “run the bases” of the impressive field. When it was the boy’s turn to start running, he awkwardly dug his crutches into the pristine dirt and pushed off. I began to tear up as I watched him struggle around the bases with wobbly toddlers passing him on both the left and the right.

As he touched home plate with his crutch, the boy turned to me in frustration and complained. “That was hard. I wish I could walk on my leg.” With great wisdom I comforted him, “You are hurt honey, and you are going to have to be patient. It might take some time for your knee to heal.”

Two weeks ago we found ourselves at the doctor for a follow up visit. The boy had not been a compliant patient and I was intent on acquiring a more restrictive brace for his knee. The boy had been seen crutch racing, often forgot to wear his brace and had even fallen down the stairs. As a result, his knee was still swollen and was not improving. But the doctor did not give the boy a better brace. Instead, she told the boy that he needed to start walking on his injured leg and wean himself from his crutches.

I couldn’t possibly follow those doctor’s orders. I knew it was still quite painful for the boy to put any weight on his injured leg. With great wisdom I defiantly told the boy, “Don’t worry honey. I know that you are still hurt. We are just going to have to be patient. It looks like it’s going to take quite some time for your knee to heal.”

One week ago I found myself being questioned by the husband. “The boy starts school soon. He’s not going to still be on crutches, is he? Perhaps he should start putting some more weight on his leg.”

Shaking my head at the callousness of the husband I informed him that the boy was still in quite a lot of pain. I stated that the boy had already experienced enough pain and I would not force him to go through any more. With great wisdom I admonished the husband, “The boy is still hurt and we are just going to have to be patient. Apparently, it is going to take a long time for his knee to heal.”

Just a few days ago I found myself meeting the boy’s new soccer coach for the first time. I wanted to inform the coach that while the boy was currently injured, he did hope to play for his team a bit later in the season when his knee had healed.

The new soccer coach shook my hand and I struggled to mutter a coherent hello. Standing before me was a most fabulous looking, 30-ish, David Beckham look alike. Standing before me was a man that would cause women between the ages of 7 and dead to stop and stare. I was uncharacteristically ruffled.

And then he spoke.

He had a British accent. That accent not only cemented his stunning looks but I was sure it also made him smarter, kinder, and a better soccer coach.

The coach/Adonis questioned the boy about his knee and then offered a bit of advice. “You know buddy, you should start putting some weight on that leg. It will really speed up your recovery.”

I rushed the boy home and made him walk across the living room without his crutches. I told the husband the new soccer coach had suggested the boy start putting some weight on his leg. I told the husband the new soccer coach seemed very competent. I told the husband that I hoped the boy could start soccer practice next week. I told the husband I thought we should start telling the boy to push through the pain.

“What happened to being patient? What happened to protecting the boy from pain? And why do you suddenly find it so important for the boy to play soccer this year?” the husband fired back at me.

“Oh come on!” I guiltily replied back. “The boy has been on those crutches long enough. It’s time for him to get better. Besides….I have a feeling it’s going to be a very, very good soccer season.”

Check This Out!

The summer reading list here at Slightly Exaggerated included the monstrous book, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. At nearly 1000 pages, it was by far one of the most all consuming books I’ve read in a long time. I could not stop reading about the building of an English cathedral in the 1100’s and the lives of the people involved in this great endeavor. In an effort to medicate a severe case of book withdrawal upon the completion of Pillars of the Earth, I also read its equally massive “sequel”, World Without End. World Without End takes place in the same cathedral town 200 years later and, surprisingly, I think I liked it even more than Pillars of the Earth. Don’t let the 1000 or 2000 pages deter you from what I found to be a wholeheartedly engrossing and entertaining read. I must warn you that both books are most definitely rated R. That being said however, I can’t recommend them highly enough.