It was our last weekend before school starts here in Small Town, USA, and honestly? I’m having a harder time THIS YEAR than I did when I sent my little man off in a pair of size 5T shorts, with a backpack filled with markers and gym shoes and a compass direction set for KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM.
Because 5th grade sounds so BIG! And so OLD! And Mama’s heart is having a very hard time coming to grips with the fact that this is the very last year of elementary school. I can barely even talk about it without tearing up and showing y’all my Emotional Ugly Cry from the depths of an aching heart, so we’ll just end THAT TOPIC OF CONVERSATION RIGHT THERE, as we say, “Yes. 5th grade starts tomorrow, and I don’t want to talk about it.”
So I’ll just talk about our weekend instead.
Our weekend started with some enormous fanfare on Thursday afternoon, when a pack of teachers that I love and adore from the boy’s school called and said, “We’re all going golfing! Come with us!” And, people, as much as I would have adored cruising the golf course in carts with these girls and showing them that YES! Yes, it ACTUALLY IS possible for someone to golf a 3,000 on the first four holes, I had to throw them under the bus, because I had an appointment with the hair wizard. Since I was one more day away from looking like Betty White, not even the Duchess of Cambridge, Miss Kate herself, could have kept me away from the twirly chair at the salon.
And because of the choice I made and the direction I chose to go, my hair no longer looks anything like Betty’s, which is a Hair Victory.
Late Friday afternoon, the boy had a private golf lesson scheduled, so Hubs and I took him out to the golf course, and then we sat in the overstuffed, leather chairs in the clubhouse and had ourselves a date. When our date was over (which meant that Hubs had finished reading the newspaper from the bar and I had wrapped up my conversation with my friend, Tiff, who was there eating dinner), we went outside and sat on a bench to watch the boy smack the snot out of the ball with his golf instructor. The dark clouds were rolling in, and some wind was threatening, because Small Town, USA did NOT want the East Coast to get all of the hurricane attention. We had our own miniature hurricane, right here in landlocked Small Town, and it lasted for six long minutes.
And during those six minutes, I was nearly killed by an umbrella from a patio table that sailed past me faster than Jeff Gordon could have driven his car. The post on the umbrella snapped in half, creating a crude weapon that could have impaled a person, and it missed me by INCHES. I’m rather certain that my life insurance policy flashed before Hubs’ eyes.
Of course the hurricane weather called for the airhorns to be blown on the golf course, which is apparently the Universal Golf Signal for DUDE! YOU’RE DONE GOLFING! THE WEATHER IS HERE! GET INSIDE OR DIE!
Or be killed by a flying umbrella.
And then the storm was done, and it was a balmy 100 degrees again with HUMIDITY that sucked the life’s breath out of your lungs.
Hubs and I gathered up the boy and Enzo (who had been practicing his putting skills on the putting green while he waited for the boy to finish his lesson), and we hit the football field, because of OPENING NIGHT FOR SMALL TOWN HIGH SCHOOL!
The Booster Club had an enormous grill set up at the gates, and they were giving away hot dogs and hamburgers and chips and sodas for FREE AMERICAN DOLLARS, while supplies lasted. Enzo and the boy didn’t waste any time snagging hot dogs heavy with mustard, bags of Lay’s, and Mountain Dews. By the time we’d hiked from the ticket booth and found some seats, their meals were gone, because they can multitask and eat while walking. Three seconds after sitting down in the grandstands, the boy looked at Hubs and asked, “So? Can Enzo and I have money for pizza slices?”
When you’re eleven, you may as well just cut the hot dog up and eat it with a toothpick, because it’s nothing more than hors d’oeuvres to you.
Hubs and I sat with Heather and Tyler, and Heather and I talked like crazy women, but we were very good at cheering and yelling at all the appropriate times.
And Small Town kicked their visitors down, which made the crowd in the stands clap like crazy and fight like prison inmates when the T-shirt launchers came out and shot cheap shirts into the first two rows of seats with every touchdown.
Apparently the T-shirt shooters had some malfunctions, which prevented them from launching any article of clothing further than four feet. Hubs and Tyler simply looked at one another and KNEW, in the depths of their souls, that they could have added a gas tank and the trigger from a barbecue grill, and they could have OVERSHOT the nosebleed section, but no one asked THEM how to build a T-shirt shooter.
On Saturday, we finally laid on the grenade known as SCHOOL CLOTHES SHOPPING, and Hubs and I drove the boy to Bigger Town, USA because Gap Kids is there, and because we heard that it was going to be 101 wonderful degrees up there. I laid out some ground rules for the boy:
1. You need jeans for school.
2. You will try jeans on without complaining, whining, rolling your eyeballs, sighing or using bad language inside your head where I can’t hear it.
3. Our goal today is SEVEN PAIRS OF PANTS. We will try jeans/wind pants/cargo pants on until our quota is met.
4. Failure to comply with said rules disqualifies you for the final destination of Toys R Us, and you will be eliminated from the final competition. This is nonnegotiable.
It took forty-five attempts at pulling bottoms on, but we brought home EIGHT PAIRS. The boy wasted no time whatsoever pointing out that HELLO! WE WERE BEYOND QUOTA! He wanted to penalize me for going out of bounds there. He wanted a flag thrown on the play. He wanted the film reviewed and the coaching staff brought up for review. He wanted extra yards and extra points added to his team.
So we bought him a chocolate milkshake as his consolation prize.
And then Hubs and I found a street vendor who held open the side of his trench coat to display different sized bottles of Valium, along with the stolen Rolexes and full-sized air conditioners to beat the heat with.
We were off to Toys R Us with much fanfare and shouts of glee, because the boy! He had some money to spend! It’s primarily because the boy hoards money. He watches the neighbors’ dog whenever they’re out of town; he mows lawns; he gets birthday cards stacked thick with greenbacks. And he refuses to spend ANY OF IT. Of course, he begs Hubs and I for OUR American dollars all the time, but he has no desire to spend his own money.
Until he made the firm decision that his wallet was simply too thick, and he needed to unload “half an inch of money” so that his billfold could close properly again. His heart was pining for a new Lego set, straight from the producers of Pirates of the Caribbean. He went to the pinnacle and shouted his intentions to jump, and Hubs and I kept trying to talk him down, as we reminded him that he already HAS a forty-five gallon tub of Lego bricks.
And that’s when the boy’s eyes landed on the motorized scooter. Wheels! The open road! Freedom!
He blew his wad, and reduced his wallet by “three-fourths of an inch” of cash, and our neighbors have been sufficiently terrorized now by all of his zooming hither and yon.
He has also given the cute neighbor boy a lecture on learning to save money, so that he, too, can say no to the next generation of iPods and buy himself a motorized scooter.
On Sunday, after church, we hit the park for Cousin K’s 6th birthday party, because of CAKE! And ICE CREAM! And GOOD FRIENDS! And PINATA HEAVILY LADEN WITH CHOCOLATE BARS! And because of CREEK CRAWLING WITH SNAKES AND SNOOTY WATER SKIPPERS AND CRAWDADS AND FROGS!
This is the birthday boy. He’s not officially six until Wednesday, but we pretended that he was close enough to six to get presents on Sunday.
Look! Weren’t they cute, way back when?
The creek at K’s birthday party was an enormous kid-attraction. It was better than having a clown. It was better than having a magician. It was NOT better than lighting something on fire and watching it explode. Fire and explosions always win over creeks with boys.
K caught 4,020 snobby water skippers at his party. Water skippers are not friendly, like frogs, but they don’t give Mama heart palpitations and a strong desire for the smelling salts like the snakes do, either.
K picked out a blue cake for his party. Thank goodness Sister adheres to my motto: The cake that causes Mama the least amount of grief is the cake that wins! And that would be the cake straight from the Wal-Mart bakery!
Christy doesn’t adhere to this motto. Christy’s motto is simply this one: The cake that wins is the one that Mama has to spend forty-nine hours decorating at midnight, while she polishes off a bottle of wine to cope.
This was also the pinata which was enforced with rebar and concrete edging. It would not give in and be broken. Finally, because small children were about to capsize from heatstroke brought on by beating a pinata in oven-like temperatures, the adults had to take over, and then melted chocolate bars went all over the place.
Smashing pinatas is hard work. Caleb had to cool down with sugar-infused punch.
And then Gage called dibs on the broken pinata. Although Christy may decide that Gage was dragging home a piece of garbage, the ultimate word is simply this: She can now check HALLOWEEN SHOPPING plum off of her To-Do list this year.
He’s a pretty cute birthday boy, isn’t he? His auntie thinks so.
It was a fantastic birthday party, and only one small girl puked because of EXCESS CAKE and EXCESS HEAT and EXCESS SUGAR-LACED PUNCH and EXCESS RUNNING. Hubs was quick to point out that someone always pukes at the good parties.
And then, because Hubs and I are simply never at ease until we’ve packed a weekend clear to the edges with fun, we wrapped things up at K’s party, hugged everyone good-bye, and we set off across town, so that we could have dinner with our friends, Brian and Sarah.
Their three kids put on an impromptu after-dinner play for us, which was very loosely based on Mary Poppins, and which involved much dancing, spinning, twirling, giggling, cartwheeling and tossing of the stuffed panda bear while Mary Poppins shouted out, “Jane! Michael!” twenty-six times.
And then we came home. LATE! Because it WASN’T a school night.
But now, it most definitely is a school night, and someone is crying about that.
Hubs told me to buck up, dry my eyes and get myself into bed because 5th grade is going to rock.