Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy Days in Us-Ville

These are some busy days around here.  Truth to tell, for the last few years (and by 'few' I mean 'somewhere between five and ten') June has been Family Psychosis Month, as it seems that the Universe has conspired to use June as its Dumping Ground for Calendric Excess.  Just to give a few examples.

- 5M graduated from high school this year.  We couldn't be prouder of him; he's a great, solid young man, and he even got a couple of nice scholarships to help get him launched into his college career.  But (at least in our local culture, which is considerably different than it was in the days when I was graduating from high school), that also entails the hosting of the Graduation Open House.  Jen and I having the meager organizational gifts that we do, we've learned over the years that it behooves us to join forces with one or two other families-of-graduates to throw a combined Open House.  But this year, our open-house compadres had some trouble distinguishing between what constitutes a 'Graduation Open House' and what constitutes a 'Wedding Reception'.  Detail piled upon detail, and nifty frill upon nifty frill (we had a 'slushie' machine, which required over an hour to get to Full Slushy Freeze Mode, rather than the advertised 15-20 minutes), all of which constitute (a) expenses, and (b) grist for the mill of Murphy's Law; both of which seemed to escape the thinking of our friends (fortunately, we established early on a financial limit which we would not go beyond, and the other families were fine with leaving us to our penuriousness, so the cost overruns mostly missed us).  Among the things we learned, was that chicken wings are a really bad idea for open-house fare; at least if you expect to have teenage boys at your open house.  75 minutes into a 3-hour open house, there were no more wings (and this after making an emergency run to the local wing joint, which basically shut down the restaurant until the following Monday); you really need something that the teen boys can't just pile up on their plates, heedless of any guests who might be so unfortunate as to arrive after them. . .

- Pursuant to the whole 'graduation' thing, my birth-mom and her husband came to visit us for nearly a week.  Which, I hasten to say, was wonderful, and greatly appreciated.  But it was more 'things to do/deal with', and threw the calendar into another Chaotic Order of Magnitude.

- 6F is feverishly preparing for her summer mission trip to Costa Rica, for which she leaves in just over two weeks.  Today, for example, Jen is taking her to the Health Department for her Central American Jungle Fever vaccinations.  She also had to get a passport, but we wanted to wait until her 16th birthday (in late April) to apply for it, since 16+-year-olds get 10-year passports, but 15-and-unders only get 5-year passports.  So, we were sweating, just a little, that her passport would arrive in time (and while I'm thinking of it, I'm not sure if my own passport is current, or if I need to re-up it. . .)  Plus all the planning/packing/sundry-getting-ready-to-travel stuff, like collecting a separate suitcase full of shoes to donate to the orphanage where she'll be working. . .

- Jen and I are preparing for a four-day conference a couple weeks hence, which includes listening to four on-line preparatory talks, complete with homework assignments.  6F is flying out on the third day of the conference; we haven't quite figured out how we're gonna work that out, yet.

- It seems that all of the summer youth sports leagues play their games in June; some extend into early July, but for our purposes here, in the midst of the above-delineated calendric chaos, 7M has two baseball games each week, plus two practices for his summer-basketball team, which plays out-of-town tournaments nearly every weekend.  We wouldn't normally have him on two teams, but a friend's father offered to pay his registration fee for the basketball team, and drive him to all the tournaments, as an inducement to his own son to play on the team.  So that's nice, but we still have to manage 7M's day-to-day schedule, and all the days when basketball practice overlaps with baseball games.

- Also, Jen is running a four-day Day Camp for 5-7-year-olds next week, the planning for which is always stressful, since administrative gifts are not hers in abundance (it's one of those 'somebody's-gotta-do-it' things).  Probably more than tending to the 5-7-year-old 'campers', she also has to ride herd on the 12-13-year-old 'counselors'.  Please pray for her.  At least, this is her last go-round with the Day Camp; after this year, she's retiring, and passing it on to younger moms. . .

On top of these, there are other 'Details of Life' which I'll decline to go into right now (suffice it to say that, just because your older kids are Out of the House and Living On Their Own, doesn't mean that they no longer add to the familial chaos levels; and that's about all I'm gonna say about that).  And Laundry still needs to be done, Meals Prepared, etc, etc, etc (and we're still working on the kids doing their own laundry, without prodding from Parental Units). . .  So we're kinda in Zombie Mode these days - just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and wait for the calendar to flip to July. . .


On the plus side, we've done a couple of home-maintenance projects.  The back roof needed to be replaced, which provided the perfect opportunity to install a pair of skylights in our family room that I've wanted for a while.  Which was quite cool - the day they were installed, I came home from work, walked in the back door, and reached for the light switch, because the room was that much brighter than before.

Had some work done on my car the other day.  I drive an '06 Chevy Aveo that has 217,000 miles on it, and still running strong.  The heater fan had ceased to work, so I was having that fixed.  In the course of just checking the car over, the mechanic found a serious problem in my suspension that he fixed by tightening a few bolts on the control arms, for no extra charge.  Then, they found a wire that had been chewed by a critter, causing the AC to go out.  I'd been driving the car without AC for two years, figuring that was just how things went with econo-cars that have 200,000+ miles on 'em.  But for under $200, I got the AC rendered operative again.  And not one moment too soon, with the mercury hitting 90F+ both yesterday and today. . .

God is good.


  1. "God is good."

    Indeed, he giveth us the multitude of gifts about which we can complain, rant, bitch or otherwise make folks aware. Life would be so dull without some kind of drama.

  2. Had a mission trip here for our oldest last week and then a graduation on Saturday. I refuse to cave in to the whole grad party scene. We are having 15 for dinner at a restaurant this weekend and then it's over!

    But yeah, I see how it is all multiplied when you have so many kids!

  3. oh i feel ya, bro. june is insane. i'd like to just go into a cave nd hide until it passes. though yours sounds slightly more nuts than mine.

  4. Skip - Thanks for calling me up, friend. I really don't mean to whine and bitch; altho, I'll tell you, I'm up for a couple weeks of dullness, right about now. . .

    Beej - You know, when I graduated from HS, I'd guess that less than 10% of my fellow-grads had any kind of party at all (at least, extending beyond immediate family). But now, like I said, it's like a requirement for everybody, and they end up being more like wedding receptions than open houses. . . We're working on taking steps to drastically simplify our last three. . .

    Lime - Just to give a bit more of the flavor of things around here, last night, I got home and sat down to dinner, figuring that I had a pretty free evening, at last. But Jen reminded me that she'd signed us up for a 'Home Energy Consultation', so we ended up giving the Energy Consultant a tour of our house, followed by his sales pitch for how to make our house more efficient. Which, mind you, I'm very interested in, but coming in the middle of June, it just felt like One More Damn Thing.

    And this weekend, the son of friends of ours is being ordained to the priesthood, and we're invited. And of course, we're honored, and we've never been to an ordination mass, and it will be wonderful, I'm sure. But then, I'm just now thinking about how many open-houses we might be missing by going to the ordination, so maybe it works out in our favor. . .

    July's a-comin'. . . ;)

  5. I feel like taking a nap after just reading what you've done, never mind having done it. Being happily childless, much of what you describe has never even occurred to me. Of course, the only thing that compares to a group of teenage boys is a swarm of locusts (maybe a school of piranha.) That I know about, having been one myself, lo, these many years ago.

  6. And I thought I'd been busy! I think you're family takes the prize! Kudos to all the good kid works that have gone on!

  7. Suldog - Locusts, piranha. . . they both apply. . .

    faDKoG - We get a prize? Cool! I'll take the cash! Have 'em send it to my PO box. . .