Prepping for the Big K

My youngest son is about to start Kindergarten.  He is very excited to start “big boy school.”  However, the thing that 5 is most excited about, is the opportunity to ride the bus.  He is beyond psyched for the day that big yellow behemoth swallows him up and spews him out upon the school grounds.

My oldest son, 8, has been attending this same school for a few years now, considering himself somewhat of an expert in all things related to bus riding.  He has made many attempts at helpfulness, trying to explain what 5 may have to expect.  When he told 5 the rules for the bus, the response was, “well, if anyone gives me any trouble, they’ll just get paybacks.”  He then explained to the hubs and I that it meant he would just punch them.  Obviously, we then spent a large amount of time reviewing the rules, adding “do not punch anyone” as rule number 1!! 

Despite this newfound violent streak, 5 has been completely zen and composed about the entire Kindergarten process.  I thought he would be more apprehensive, but so far he is calm and collected.  Then again, he did go to pre-school at the same building last year, and will already know some of the kids from his pre-school class.  G.I. Joe had that shit right . . . knowing is half the battle!

In a further attempt to give my youngest as much advance information as possible, I signed him up for a class at our library called, “Kindergarten, Here We Come,” which included a chance to ride a real live school bus!  I figured he would love it, since he was so excited to ride the bus to school.  So, the night in question, I told him I had a surprise for him.  That we were going to go do something special.

Once we arrived at the library, and he discovered the special surprise, he wasn’t very excited.  He figured “surprise” meant going for ice cream or to Chuck E Cheese.  And while every parent knows that ice cream is a brilliant idea right before bedtime, you would never find me in a Chuck E Cheese, unless my family was being held for ransom and the only place to get money was in their swirling air pit of death.  And even then . . . I mean, I love them and all, but a person has her limits.

His lack of enthusiasm continued when the class started and he realized that he was going to be sitting through an actual Kindergarten class.  The look of disdain and disappointment he threw back at me was epic.  And hysterical.  Apparently, he was less than enthused about mom’s “surprise.” 

Eventually, the very long and boring classroom activities ended (during which my son vacillated between chewing on laminated paper crayons, and looking at me like, “really, Mom . . . really?”), and the kids finally got to go outside to get on the school bus.  Wheeeee!!

Although, they didn’t actually get to go anywhere.  Instead, they just all piled on, sat in the seats, and the bus driver explained all the rules to them.  I was happy 5 didn’t tell her his theories on how he would handle any issues that might arise. 

All told, though, the bus “ride” was a bit anti-climactic.  But now, he’s been on a school bus, knows all the rules, and experienced a close facsimile of an actual school day.  Pretty sure that is as prepared as he’s gonna get. 

Between that and the paybacks, I’m sure G.I. Joe would be very proud.




C is for . . .

C is for . . .

Caring.  There could not be a more loving and doting grandfather than my kids’ Pop.  Always there with a hug or a silly joke, he has been there for them their entire lives.

C is for . . .

Cohabitation.  Staying in our in-law suite in the basement, he’s lived with us for many years.  He is there any time we need any extra help with the kids or the house.  He is a constant presence in our lives.

C is for . . .

Candy.  His great grandkids don’t call him “M&M Pop” for nothing.

C is for . . .

Carrying on.  He still signs every birthday and Christmas card with “Love, Pop & Mom-Mom” even though his wife passed almost 2 years ago.  He loves and misses her every day.

C is for . . .

Coughing.  He just can’t seem to shake this nagging cough.  And he can’t sleep through the night.

C is for . . .

Checking in.  He goes to the hospital to finally get it looked at.  They admit him and run some tests.  The x-ray finds a nodule on his lungs.  We wait for further testing as to its nature.

C is for . . .

Certainty.  The doctor tells him the results.  He says he’s 100 percent sure of what it is.

C is for . . .

Calling.  I find out in the grocery store when my husband calls to inform me of the news about his father.

C is for . . .

Crying.  I hold back the tears until after I hang up with my husband.  It is my job to stay strong for him.  I am very good at my job.

C is for . . .

Concern.  How will we tell the boys?  What will their reaction be?  How will they deal with yet another difficult time, in their short lives already so full of tragic moments?

C is for . . .

Coming home.  Released from the hospital today, he will return home while waiting for more test results.  He and the doctors will have to decide what they want to do depending on what those tests say.  He is 80 years old.  This must be taken into account.

C is for . . .

Crap.  This is really hard.  And I can’t seem to stop random tears from falling.

C is for . . .

Can’t.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t talk about it.  I can’t be funny.  I just can’t even say the word.  That big, scary, deadly word.

C is for . . . . . . . . . . . .



The Neverending Nothingness


Emptiness.  Whiteness.  Nothing.


Staring at the blank screen, watching the cursor appear and then disappear in perpetuity.  Waiting.  Watching.  Mocking.


My mind is as vacant as that blindingly white and empty screen in front of me.  There are no thoughts swirling around in preparation to travel down to my finger tips onto a keyboard that will transform them into pure brilliant prose on that computer monitor.  Nothing to kick-start the ole noggin into action.  Just . . . nothing.


The many attempts to create some nugget of an idea that would then transform itself into a topic have as of yet been unsuccessful.  I remain staring at an abyss of nothingness, sucking me in to its realm of glaringly bright white absence.  Caring not of my suffering and desperate attempts to fill it with stark black symbols representing a coherent thought.


What may truly only be moments staring at the screen, feels like a vast eternity living in the wastelands of an inability to create.  Purgatory in a hell that only a certain breed of person can experience.  A self-inflicted pain only thrust upon those who attempt to create words as their vocation or recreation.  For only those tragic few have felt the terror and horror of a mind without thought or concept, and experienced the endless struggle to extract something from pure nothingness.


The emptiness of the screen is a perfect mirror reflecting the dearth of ideas within my head.  A vast desert of tiny bits of useless particles of thought, swirling in the winds of struggle, and baking in the exploding starlike pressure of forced thoughts.  As dry and barren as a summer afternoon in the Sahara.


And then . . . a glimmer.  A single molecule of hope.  Could it be . . . an idea?  I hold on tight, trying to contain but not smother this precious gem of a thought, hopeful that I can fan the slight embers into flames of sentences and paragraphs.  But how to shape it?  How best to transform this crumb of a possibility into a hearty stew upon which the mind and soul can feast?  What is the best way to create a masterpiece out of this one lone insubstantial speck of dust floating through my cranium?


There is no answer.  And then, the thought begins to float away.  So, I grasp onto it with all my might and do the only thing that I am able to do.  The only thing anyone can ever do when caught in a maelstrom of nothingness . . .


Write.  Just write.



Facing the Fear

I only agreed to go on the roller coaster with her, so that she wouldn’t have to ride it by herself.

But, it wasn’t until I was in the middle of the long serpentine line, awaiting the thrill that was to come, that I began to recall the last time I was on another such ride . . .

It must have been over 10 years ago.  The hubs and I were dating and visiting another similar theme park.  Many years before our children were born, we were there to enjoy the park as young adults do . . . by going on as many fast and exhilarating rides as possible.  One of those rides would be my last roller coaster for many years.

The ride itself was not overly frightening in any way.  Just your standard roller coaster.  It started in an enclosed space, quickly turned a corner and shot up a long dark tunnel, only emerging into the sunlight as it reached the crest of that climb, on the verge of dropping down into open air.  That was what was supposed to happen, anyway.  But on this fateful day, something went wrong.  As the ride took off and quickly turned the corner, shooting upwards towards the light at the end of the tunnel, that was when the fun ended.  And so did the forward momentum.  Because just as we were about to reach the top of that hill, the ride reversed and shot back down into the tunnel.  Backwards.

It was one of the most horrifying moments of my life.  I was positive that at any second we would be crashing into the car behind us as we fell backwards and they began their ascent forward.  That didn’t happen, thankfully.  Instead, we stopped at the bottom of the incline and sat there.  In the dark.  While they worked on the ride to try to fix it.

This might have been the most terrifying moment of my life, now that I think about it.  Even though the car plummeting backwards was very scary, this was worse.  Because I had time to worry.  And to contemplate what would happen if they started the ride again and it wasn’t fixed.  The mind is a cruel and creative creature.  I wanted off of that ride.  But we were strapped in and hanging from the track, so they wouldn’t allow it.  So I sat, and waited, and worried.

I didn’t die that day.  Luckily, the bright light I went towards at the end of that tunnel didn’t signify my end.

But here I was, many years later.  Remembering that fateful day that scarred me for so many years.  And standing in line to temp fate once again.  And then I saw this:

Picture 9234

Good Mental Condition?  Well, since I was willingly standing in line to go on this ride, after the last attempt at roller coaster riding almost killed me, “Good Mental Condition” might be up for debate.  However, we had twisted and turned around this line for over forty-five minutes now, so there was no going back.  I was going on this ride, G Forces be damned.

When the fateful time was at hand, I sat in my seat and the bars came down and made a very satisfying click, holding my body firmly down in the seat.  As I sat there, anticipating the first movement of the ride, with my heart palpitating at a surely unhealthy level, wondering why I ever allowed myself to get in this place again, I had one very distinct thought.

I am too old for this shit.

Click on picture to see video POV of coaster



Hooking up with Yeah Write again this week!

The Journey to Gilda

Fireworks over Rome

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome by Jacob Philipp Hackert

“Dove e Gilda?”

We must have said it a hundred times.  The four of us, unlikely companions and fast friends, asking locals this question in our attempts to ascertain the location of a certain club.  Walking the streets of Rome after midnight in the very first hours of that new year, searching for our very own Gadot.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers how we gained the information that Gilda was the place to be that night, the four of us young and daring in a foreign land, looking for adventure and revelry.  But, despite the haziness as to the origin of the information, we were on a quest, and would not be denied the promise of dancing, drinks and debauchery.

It began after a delicious and lengthy dinner at a restaurant tucked beneath the Spanish Steps, shared with our newfound friends from Texas that we happened to meet on the bus from the hotel, two young and carefree couples venturing out into the great vast city of Rome.

The New Year arrived at the stroke of midnight, as it is known to do, and we rejoiced with champagne and fireworks above that immense square, surrounded by what seemed like every single Italian citizen.  Once the celebrated moment had passed, the crowds dispersed, allowing us the chance to wander the city streets, beginning our quest for Gilda.

“Dove e Gilda?” we began to ask as we wandered aimlessly.  We were met with uncomprehending looks, some shrugs, and some attempts to direct us towards our destination.  With each attempt at helpfulness, a different direction would be suggested.  And so, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We walked past the Trevi fountain, stopping for just a moment to gaze upon the wonder of those huge statues, the flowing water misting the air around us.  But we did not linger, for we were on a quest.

We walked past the Pantheon, almost not even realizing what the spherical domed building was, until it was pointed out to us by someone.  We dared not go inside to look up at the sky through the round hole in the ceiling, though.  There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.

The Roman Forum almost went unnoticed as well, as the collapsing pillars and ruins of that open space were almost too difficult to see in the dark.  But there was no time to stop and view them, anyway.  We were determined to search onward.

The more we walked, the more determined we became to eventually reach our destination.  Spending hours walking the streets of Rome, only to make the occasional stop in a local bar, for shots of Grappa to refuel ourselves for the journey.  Craving the feeling of accomplishment and joy that the eventual discovery of our objective would bring.  Much like Columbus discovered our very own country . . . already occupied, but still claimed as his very own.  Such would we return the favor in his home country, staking our flag in Gilda, feeling as if we owned this sainted land after our efforts to suss it out from its secreted location.

But it was never to be.  The closest we came to Gilda was the question that repeatedly traipsed across our lips during our search.  “Dove e Gilda?”  We will never know.  We spent our night searching and not finding, yet we found ourselves experiencing the city and that New Years Day in a way we never would have expected.  And never will forget.



This is my first foray into the Yeah Write challenge universe.  Click on that badge above to read some amazing stories! 

Somehow, despite the multiple brilliant posts submitted to this week’s Yeah Write challenge, this little ole post right here . . . won.  Woohoo!!  I never would have expected it, but I am so pleased.