Saturday, August 29, 2009

Left behind . . .

. . . or behind, right. Either way, it's lonely here tonight.

After unloading all of intellikid's stuff at her BU residence hall, the car sure looked empty Monday evening when I got back to my accommodations. I am proud of myself for only spending 30 minutes bawling my eyes out, though.

Latest communiqu├ęs indicate, however, that Daughter Dear herself is doing well, if a bit bored today due to being reluctant to venture out into the rainy weather. She spent the week doing a service project with domestic violence prevention and shelter-type agencies, learning how to walk the few blocks from campus to her residence hall alone without getting or looking lost, acquiring the ever-important skill of being able to fall asleep with the lights on, and, apparently, missing my cooking.

Some statistics are in order, I think. Bubbaville, where intellikid and I have lived for the past 11 years (and by the way, Bubba County is home to Copperhead Road ), has a population of around 2,400. Boston University (down by the banks of the River Charles) boasts 4,000 members in its class of 2013. There are two establishments within one block of intellikid's res where fresh sushi can be had. In Bubbaville, you can buy live bait from vending machines. Can you say "culture shock?"

Nevertheless, I think my kid will feel at home in her new home. For me, though, home is a much quieter place this week.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I have to go now

Today I'm leaving for the long drive to Boston.

To get there, I have to drive some 300 miles across Virginia on Interstate-81.

This summer, Virginia closed down 19 of its interstate rest stops, in order to save $9M.

I guess that means there will be less stop-and-go on this trip.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A to Z

I'm going to spend a good chunk of time in the kitchen today -- apple crisp and zucchini bread need to be baked!

Time spent in the kitchen with intellikid has been one of the main ingredients sweetening our relationship. It will be so ... different not to have her around (she's due to move in to her residence hall at BU on the 24th). Certainly, there are some areas of my life that I'll be happy to reclaim, but I will miss the daily companionship and commentary that my daughter has provided.

Still, the moving away and apart is a good thing, and I fully intend to be one of those "I'm-here-if-you-need-me-but-please-don't-call-me-every-day" kinds of parents (an endangered species these days, I know).

Now, if I could only get my own mother to stop worrying about ME....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dog days

The ebbs and swells of the cicadas' cadence are more easily heard now that the new bypass is open, deflecting truck and tourist traffic away from the street that goes by my house. You can actually sit out on the front porch and hold a conversation now.

Or you could, until the new neighbors moved in two doors down. It is a good thing that someone has finally taken on the task of rehabbing the century-old house, but the daily drone of power tools didn't figure into my idea of some down-time at home.

Nor did the incessant yapping of their 4-legged family member.

A poodle ain't a yard dog, folks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Sick Society

When illness strikes a loved one, it’s time to do something.

My mother is displaying the symptoms of the new disease making headlines. Much more serious than the H1N1 virus, what Mom’s got is the same brain-numbing affliction that thousands of “Town Hall Protesters” are suffering from. I think she caught it from those two guys she’s been spending so much time with, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. (Can’t they be quarantined?)

This is serious. As a consequence of ingesting other folks' opinions, Mom is outwardly depressed over what she perceives as threats to her assets and lifestyle, and to the fantastic private health insurance she has (courtesy of my dear departed stepfather’s longtime service as a state employee, and generously subsidized by the taxpayers of Pennsylvania). She is not a stupid woman, yet she has been utterly brainwashed by the crap she watches on television, by the books her sister tells her she “must” read, and even by the reactionary comments made by the guy who mows the lawn (stuff so vile I will not publish it on my page!). This is not the same woman who raised me.

Bill, Glenn – I want my mother back. Don’t make me pull the plug . . . .


As an aside, here is the great Cab Calloway's take on "End of Life Options":

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where's my paddle?

It's over. My summer institute, that is.

My mantra during last year's institute was "Nobody's died yet." This year, my mantra was tweaked just a bit: "I haven't killed anybody yet." And luckily for us all, that held true throughout the month of July, even when I took 20 of the participants on a canoe trip.

Luckier still, we were all only in the same metaphorical boat.

I am scrambling to find a new job before next summer's institute rears its ugly head. Not only have I still not received the pay raise I was supposed to get in January 2008 when I agreed to take the job, but the state employees' health plan has cut its mental health benefits. So I would be crazy to stay in the job, but unable to seek treatment for it.

An ounce of prevention is the obvious cure here, don't you think?