Friday, November 27, 2009

The Curfew Conflict!

Apparently, we’ve succeeded in making home not too comfortable based on the blow up we had about curfew.  Our oldest daughter has been used to the time deemed appropriate by us for the 4 years she’s been away.  She accepts it and doesn’t give it much thought. In fact, she’s usually home before curfew. For our youngest, however, it’s a rule she is not happy to buy into, since she is, after all,  “18 and no longer living at home.”

Her arguments do have some degree of logic as she tells us that she comes and goes whenever she pleases at college.  I know freshman in particular stay out late and sleep in on days they don’t have early morning classes. It is liberating for sure to be able to make these decisions on your own.  I remember that and understand that.  Not that I like the idea though.
Reasoning with her is simply selfish.  I want to sleep and now that I’m used to sleep again, I want to keep it that way. 

All through high school, I slept with one eye open on the nights my kids went out.  They were both so terrific about getting home on time, but I still worried.  Worried about the car breaking down. Worried about an accident. Worried about drunk drivers on the road. Worried, worried, worried. 

I came to love the squeak of the door as they entered the house.  I’d roll over and say a silent prayer of thanks.  And then I’d drift off to sleep.  So when 15 minutes passed curfew rolled around the other night, I began to fret.  My imagination knows no bounds and I couldn’t temper it enough to settle me. Not willing to give up more than 20 minutes of precious sleep, I reluctantly called her blessed cell phone. The frenzied dialogue went something like this.
Mom, “Where are you?” 
Daughter, “Coming”. 
Mom, “Why are you answering the phone while you’re driving?”
Daughter, “Because you called.”
Mom, “Don’t answer the phone while you’re driving."
Daughter, “But you called.”
Mom, “Hang up.”
Daughter, “Okay.”
Door squeaks 30 minutes passed curfew and daughter implores that she didn’t know that the rules still apply.  Wow, imagine a home without rules, but I roll over return to a fitful sleep dreading the impending argument in the morning.  I know my daughter well and we will not get through this without a dose of attitude.

And it was an argument reminiscent of those in high school; daughter aggressively defending her point of view and parents desperately trying to understand the illogic of her reasoning.  The conversation broke down early on and morphed into something about the lack of trust.  Truthfully, trust was the last thing on my mind as sleep deprivation was beginning to make me sound as irrational as her.  We did not progress as I had hoped and we all pouted and sulked our way around the house, disappointed in the tension.

In the end, it took about 24 hours to pull us all out of the abyss.  But pull out of it we did.  No longer willing to let any more time pass, we agreed to a fair compromise, a thirty minutes extension if needed.  I can live with that. 

So first visit back was not without drama.  But then again how boring would life be with perfection!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Due to a quirk in their schedules and no thanks to the California budget crisis and mandatory furloughs, our daughter’s are coming home together for an extended Thanksgiving vacation. Any minute now they will come bursting through the door.  I can just see it, bags and laundry dropped in entry way as dog jumps from one to the other lapping up the love.  We’ll have to elbow our way to each with hugs and kisses, taking turns not to attend to one daughter more than the other.  It’s been months since they’ve both been home let alone home together.  I can’t wait.

I’ve prepared their favorite fall squash ginger soup.  There are fresh sheets on their beds and new candles on the nightstands each with it’s own unique scent.  I don’t know about boys, but girls love these touches and I wanted them to come home to a warm environment.  I guess I want them to want to come home and will put forth the extra effort to entice them.  I’m thinking that they don’t really need enticing, but just in case….

The trick now is to not make it so comfortable that they’ll want to stay, although sometimes I’m tempted to do that.  Away is where they should be.  We knew that going in to this parenting gig, but sometimes it’s still so very difficult to comprehend that they may never live here full time again. 

It seems so abrupt.  Eighteen comes around and off they go, on to learning life on their own, without our 24/7 guidance.  I’ve noticed that since our daughters have left, our guidance is now sought rather than shunned. That’s a nice feeling.   But one does wonder how the influence of the diverse group of kids they now live with impacts their development.

I think perhaps it’s better if I just focus on this visit.  Focus on our ever- increasing changing relationships, relationships that already feel much deeper, more mature and simply sweet.  

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pond Scum

I have this morbid fascination with the algae growing in my backyard pond.  It creates the most intricate lacey patterns beneath the surface of the water.  It clings to fallen twigs, rocks that border the edges. When tugged at it ever so gently, the scum tugs back.  I delight in spending a few minutes on a warm, or lately chilly Saturday afternoon, with my hands in the cool water watching my fingers move like a weaver trying to remove as much as possible before the turbidity of the water makes it difficult to see what lurks below the surface.  The task, clear the pond of this green, slimy, invasive form of life before it takes on a life of its own ruining the beauty of the water.  Oh, such problems!

Perhaps it’s too much time and not the pond scum that I have on my hands these days.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living With A Monster Mutt!

Cesar ( the dog whisperer) would be more than disappointed in us as dog owners, he would be downright disgusted.  This 24-pound mutt of ours can be a little monster and we have been shamed by her behavior on a number of occasions.   She’s long on tricks for sure, but short on obedience.  She jumps on us, sleeps on our bed between us, under the covers with her head on the pillow!  She doesn’t come when we call her.  In order to get her to come in the house, we have to yell, “I’m getting the hose”.  And the joy of taking her to the park and watching her run like the wind is over.  She has bullied too many dogs and we just can’t take the non-verbal, evil stares by other dog owners any longer.  More than once, we’ve slinked out with our own tails between our legs.

Not that we haven’t tried to get her to obey.  When we adopted her as a 3-month-old puppy, we read books, watched shows, and went to doggie training school.  We tried the exercise, discipline and then the love approach as recommended by the experts. But, she has consistently out smarted us.  Her dominance is evident in the way she perches on top of the back to the couch like a cat!  On the back! What dog does that? 

We may have the only dog in Petaluma that was kicked out of the “doggie country club” 5 minutes after dropping her off.  Apparently she had “separation anxiety” and was trying to jump the 10-foot fence, leaving us only hours to find someone to watch her before we left for vacation.

But, we love her despite all the frustrations.  She cuddles, will only look in her dish to eat when we give her permission.  She plays “baseball” by tagging the bases, rolls over and runs around the house like a crazy dog which cracks us up every time.  The cute little tail of hers wags no other whenever she is near us.  What unabashed enthusiasm. 

So, when we weigh the troubles and the joys, it’s obvious that she’s worth it.