Thursday, May 05, 2005

A lot of this and that

I’ve just come through some very frazzling weeks, and I’m so glad that they’re over. You know when you have those stretches of weeks where you are running as fast as you can and still not catching up? That’s what April felt like to me. It was exhausting.

I’ve found that when I get exhausted, I shut down. Instead of making better use of my time, I make NO use of my time. Motivation disappears. And then nothing gets done, so I get even further behind.

Then I start to hear that inner voice that tells me that I suck as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and even as an employee. Cripes, it sounds nuts, but that’s the way it is. Then something will snap, I’ll have a productive day, and before you know it, it’s smooth sailing again. I just wish I knew what that “snap” was, so I could bottle it and take it as needed.

Don’t even start with me about the menopause/hormonal explanation unless you want me to reach through your monitor and smack you.

But on to less introspective things….

DS wants to take his driving test this month. I really, really don’t think he’ll pass it, but we’ll see. I can’t tell if he’s a bad driver or if it’s new driver jittery-ness….Or maybe I’m just too critical. But I’m beyond nervous while I’m riding in the car with him. I’m a sweating, fast-breathing bundle of nerves. The door handle on the passenger side will forever have my grip indented in it. One time John asked me, “What are you gonna do Mom? Jump out?” My only consolation is: I know that there are other mothers out there in the same predicament. No wonder we’re half-dazed all the time. We’ve just come plummeting down a mountain with a testosterone infused driver.

Did I mention before that we live in the mountains? And so you have to go down the mountain to get to town. As you head up over the top of Mount Summit, there are all kinds of signs – Dangerous Mountain Ahead. Sharp Curves. Runaway Truck Ramp. Dense Fog Area. Oh, it’s lovely. But I never saw it as ominous until my son turned 16.

DD is getting ready for the 8th grade dance Friday night. She’s very excited, and I’m happy for her, but I ask you, how far should a parent go for the 8th grade dance??

Don’t get me wrong. I think that the dance is a great idea. The kids live through three tumultuous pre-teen middle school years, and they deserve to celebrate before they move on to high school. But it’s become a formal occasion and I think that’s too mature for 13 and 14 year olds.

Most of the girls are going in full-length gowns. As in Prom-style. Most will have hair, nails, and make-up professionally done on Friday. Some have been hitting the tanning beds for weeks. I think it’s nuts.

The school seemed to try to do something about the nature of this dance, but if you ask me, it was too little and too late. About 2 weeks ago a letter came home outlining dance policy. For instance, no limousines were allowed. (Believe me, it’s happened). No tuxedos (again – it’s happened). But the letter also said no long, formal dresses.

Now, any parent with any amount of sense had already bought their daughter’s dress. No way have you waited till two weeks before the dance to go shopping. When you are shopping with and/or for a teenager, you better leave plenty of time. And particularly if you live in a small town and know you’ll have to travel to Pittsburgh – and maybe twice. (We bought Colleen’s dress in February!) So in my opinion, this letter was lame. If we had received it back in December or January, it would have had much more impact. And then maybe the cycle of formal wear would end….

I’ve put the bad timing off to knowing that:
1. The principal of the school is a man and he only has sons.
2. The assistant principal is a youngish woman without children.
3. Neither one of them has a clue.

Having had my son go to this dance already, I have to say that the parents of boys get off pretty easily. Maybe your son needs a suit, maybe not. The year John went the theme was Tropical Island, so the boys went in tropical print shirts and khakis. But the girls – well, they were dressed to the nines.

Old person rant will begin here - - - When we were kids, our formal occasion was the prom. That’s it. Maybe you went to both the Junior and the Senior prom, or maybe you only went to one. But in your young life, that was it. The next formal occasions came when you were a young adult and began to be in weddings. Or had your own. But my son has been to 4 formals in the past two years. For him that means a new shirt and tie. For my daughter it will mean the whole shebang all over again each time.

But for tomorrow things will be relatively simple. She has a cute little knee length party dress. Not particularly formal, but more on the “kicky” side. I think she’ll be the only one in a short dress, but it suits her personality and it’s what she chose. Two inch heeled sandals. We’ll go to the hairdressers in the afternoon, because she wants some curls in her hair, and I suck at doing hair. She’ll do her own nails and makeup. And she’ll be a knock-out!

Other family issues: My in-laws are certifiable. And self-centered?? What... you mean there are other people in the world besides them?? I absolutely can’t take them. One of these days I’m going to tell each and every one of them what I think, and watch them fall over on the floor in astonishment. Most of the time they only inspire my apathy, but sometimes they go too far and I want to pound them.

I guess that’s enough rambling for today. Forgive this state-of-my-life entry and next time I’ll talk more about stitching.

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