On The Peeshwank’s Birthday: Be A Light

This morning as we made our way to school, I reminded The Peeshwank that they were having a lockdown drill, so pay attention, listen for instructions, etc.

P: Is my birthday always going to be full of lockdowns, memorials and stuff?

Me: Yes, it probably will.  But don’t focus on that, just be a light in the world.  Always remember that there is more good than bad.  Always.

Our little family all celebrate birthdays in weeks filled with memorials of terrorist attacks, school shootings and now the Boston Marathon bombings.  We’ve found it’s best to just focus on ways that we can make the world a better place.  We spend the time surrounding our “special days” looking for the good in the world, finding reasons to smile, trying to share that happiness with others.  Yes, there are bad people out there, but they do not outnumber the good.  They never have, they never will.

Here are some moments that will restore your faith in humanity.

Take care, everyone!

candles

I won at Car Line this morning

What?  You didn’t know Car Line was a game?  Well, it is.  Mainly because I’m a nerd-girl living with two hard-core gamers.  And I won this morning.

We started our quest to deliver a sleepy-eyed Peeshwank to his blustery prison sentence (it’s in the 20s today with a 10-degree wind chill, because: Spring in Arkansas, yo).  We turned the corner to see a line of campers all the way from one end of the school property to the other.  After discussing our strategy, we made our way to the front of the line.  Even though The Peeshwank had lots of loot to carry (60lb backpack, lunchbox, OM supplies, and his bass) we decided to show these n00bs how it was done.

We quickly realized we had apparently leveled up over Spring Break and were approaching an epic boss battle.  This boss: icy school driveway.

The boss had victimized not one but two vehicles ahead of ours – both of the players had apparently spent all their XP to upgrade their chariots: 4WD monster SUVs, tires bigger than The Peeshwank, NRA life memberships, etc.  Their giant wheels were spinning in place though.  The boss had disabled their special abilities.

The Peeshwank looked at me, a fearful look in his eyes, as I yelled “LEEROY JENKINSSSSSS” and easily delivered him over the ice and to the front door.

He threw me a fist bump as he exited our little mid-size sedan and I could hear his cry of “GET PWNED N00BS!” as I pulled away.

That’s how you win Car Line, y’all.

Hummer on Ice

My Geriatric Peeshwank

The other night something brought up the topic of pipes – I think it was some commercial for the local pipe shop.  You know the one that features some guy doing his best Cheech and Chong impersonation?  Peeshwank just rolled his eyes and said “Dude, we know you’re a pothead.”  I told him not to judge, because the shop possibly sold regular tobacco pipes too.

Peeshwank: You mean like the pipes old men smoke?

Me: Yeah.  Those are pretty popular with a certain crowd.

Peeshwank: They’re so cool looking.  I can’t wait to be an old man. I’m going to have an old-man-pipe and sit in my rocking chair on the porch in my red robe and my fuzzy slippers.  It’s going to be awesome.

I thought about The Peeshwank’s closet and the things he covets most in the world.

His assortment of bow ties and suspenders.  His collection of canes.  (Seriously, everywhere we go, “I wonder if they have a souvenir cane here?”)  His love of seersucker suits.  His disdain for all those “newfangled” cartoons that make no sense.  That damned robe he wears All.The.Time.

The Robe of Doom.  It's grown into its own lifeform.

The Robe.

There’s always “a nip in the air” and the desire to have a cat in his lap while he lounges.  He rolls his eyes when children get to screaming and yelling and acting like a bunch of… well… children.  He can yell, “Get off my lawn!” with the best of them.  He’s crotchety and persnickety in the morning, up until he has that first muffin.  He bakes bread and relishes in a nice bowl of soup by the fireplace.

When someone passes us at a high speed in a parking lot, he shakes his fist and yells, “Slow down!  It’s a parking lot not a racetrack, you heathen!”

He’s been known to say, “I just don’t understand kids these days” on many occasions.  I’ve heard him tell friends, “It’ll make sense when you’re older.”

He’s an 87-year-old man in a 12-year-old’s body.

Recently, he had a pain in his leg after a cross country meet.  One doctor told us he just pulled/tore some muscles and to walk on crutches for awhile.  When the pain still hadn’t gone completely away after two months of crutches, another doctor sent us to an orthopedic specialist.  More x-rays were done and it was discovered that The Peeshwank had a small fracture in his hip that was almost completely healed.

A broken hip.

Congratulations, Peeshwank.  You’ve officially earned your Old Man card.

IMG_2965 copy

What kinda hooligans would graffiti this wall? Hmmph. Kids. *grumble grumble*

The Peeshwank’s Now a Taxpayer

In the past, The Peeshwank has been paid for his acting gigs with free food, tickets, copies of movies, clothing, even candy.  This time around, he got paid via payroll.  The wide-eyed wonder of getting a paycheck in the mail was quickly overshadowed by four little letters…

FICA.

“Who is this FICA and why are they getting part of my money?”

“Honey, you have to pay taxes on your wages.  That’s how America works.”

“This is crap.  Think of all the things I could’ve done with that money!”

“Like what?”  (We’re not talking a vast fortune here.)

“Like, oh, I don’t know… go to Golden Corral!” 

His cross country coach takes the team to Golden Corral after every track meet.  The children love it.  None of their parents had taken them there before they started track.  After the first meet they all wondered why they’d never gotten to bask in the fluorescent lighting that surrounds the almighty chocolate fountain.  We parents just wait for them to make their way back to the school and pretend that our kids aren’t eating from the bounty of bacteria that is the trough-style buffet after 40+ sweaty kids rifle through it.

Uncle Sam, you owe The Peeshwank a trip to Golden Corral.  Lord knows, I’m not taking him.

English: A chocolate fountain in Hong Kong

I’m just picturing all the kids lined up around it, sticking their tongues in it.

The Peeshwank Blogs About His Role in “Gordon Family Tree”

Sorry, I’ve become a less-than-daily blogger.  The Peeshwank’s been keeping me on my toes (and away from my computer) lately.  Here’s an entry he wrote for the Gordon Family Tree Movie blog.

Guest Blogger: Actor Brandon Dulaney – My First Feature!

And here’s a trailer for “Lasting the After,” a post-apocalyptic film he acted in recently.  (He’s the kid getting manhandled by the SWAT guys.  As a somewhat protective mom, it was not easy to watch during filming, but he was having a blast and would start giggling as soon as they called “cut,” so that helped ease my mind.)

http://vimeo.com/50262282

Watching P work has made me proud of the young man he’s become.  He listens to his director and fellow actors and does what they need him to do.  If only I could get a movie director to come in and tell him to clean his room, pick up his laundry, and get off Minecraft for a little while each night…

My sweet boy

The Peeshwank’s Thoughts on Episode 1

A long time ago in a galaxy pretty close by…

A small child, The Peeshwank, fell in love with the Star Wars universe.  He started out with Episode IV (because I’m good at parenting like that) and made his way through the original trilogy.  When he was 4, Episode III came out and I agreed to allow him to come to the midnight premiere with me.  (He always did really well at the theater, so I knew he’d either fall asleep, or sit quietly in awe of the movie.  He’s been a film junkie from a very young age.)

When I was ready to head out to the theater, I called for him to hurry up so we wouldn’t be late.  He came out of his room in his Darth Vader costume.  Of course.  At the showing there were lots of Star Wars geeks in costume, but the best were the Stormtroopers who actually stopped what they were doing and stood at full attention as Darth P-Dog sauntered by them.  He’s 12 now and still remembers this fondly.

Not long ago one of the geeky channels that our tv is typically tuned to was airing a Star Wars marathon.  He hadn’t watched the new trilogy in awhile, so he sat down with his giant box of goldfish, prepared to be entertained for the day.

All was well until this happened…

That’s when the proverbial shit hit the fan.

“This kid is like the worst actor ever.”

“You know, George Lucas keeps remaking these, maybe he just needs to start over.  I could be a better Anakin than this guy.”

“I can’t watch this anymore.  Let me know when the other ones come on.  P-dog, out.”

There were lots of other… er… comments that were yelled at the screen in answer to pretty much anything poor little Ani said.  Maybe I’ll have to video him watching it sometime.  If I can convince him to watch it again.  But I almost doubt it after this conversation:

Me: “You know, you loved Episode I as a kid.”

P: “Well, I was a kid.  I had crappy taste.  Meesa thinks this is terrible now.”

Me: “You’re talking like Jar-Jar.”

P: “Oh, don’t even get me started on that idiot.”

I guess that settles that.

I do have to agree with him that he’d made a pretty excellent Anakin should George decide to remake it…

Sleepy little Anakin…

First Week of Junior High: A Retrospective

For those of you keeping track, you’ll know that The Peeshwank began Junior High this week.  Coincidentally, I began my margaritas-for-breakfast diet to get through the utter shock of having a kid in junior high.  (I kid, I kid.  No margaritas.  But I will say that triple sec and cranberry juice make for a nice refreshing pick-me-up.)

Here are some musings/conversations/observations/etc. that should give you an idea how the week has gone:

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Looking at P’s schedule:

Me: “What do you mean you’re not in Pre-Algebra?  What is this ‘math’?  ‘Math’ is for 4th graders.”
P: (shrugs)
Me: “But my baby is supposed to be in Pre-Algebra.  Oh shit.  I just became THAT mom, didn’t I?”
P: “Um… maybe…  just a little…”

(He is in the right class, after all.  They just changed the title of it.  Without telling the parents.  His teacher let me know that I wasn’t the only mom that freaked out a bit.  Apparently there were about 26 others that did the same.  Way to reinforce my neuroses.)

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On kick-ass literature teachers:

Me: “Your lit teacher recommends ‘Catcher in the Rye’ for this semester’s reading.  That’s pretty cool.  It has some rather grown-up language though.”
P: “You mean, they cuss in the book?”

Me: “Yeah. It was actually banned in a lot of places.”
P: “And Mrs. V said it was okay to read?”
Me: “Yes, it was encouraged.”
P: “Junior high is so awesome.”

Of course.

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At Meet-the-teacher night:

Me: “Um, perhaps the parents should have to abide by the dress code as well.”
P: “Why?”
Me: “I just don’t feel like a black leather super-micro-miniskirt, matching top, and 5-inch heels are appropriate to wear… well… anywhere.”
P: “Except a street corner, right?”
Me: “Yeah… wait, what?”

Couple sitting behind me:

Dad: “I’m concerned about that last class we were in.”
Mom: “Why?”
Dad: “They’re going to have to write a lot.  Her writing is her weak point.  She’s just not very good at writing.  It’s going to be hard for her.”
Me: “Then the exact thing your daughter needs is to be in a class where she gets lots of practice writing.  Running away from it won’t make her a better writer.  Putting her in a class where the focus isn’t on writing is only going to tell her it’s okay to run away from tasks that seem hard.”

What I actually said:

Me: (smiles awkwardly at the couple, mouths “Hi” and turns back around to mind my own business)

Yeah, I’m a wuss when it comes to talking to people.  Besides, I was in the middle of a full-blown panic attack from being in such a crowded school.  I was popping little mints the whole time to keep from biting off every last one of my fingernails.  And sweating.  Wait, Southern girls don’t sweat.  We glisten.  I was glistening like a pig.
My panic attacks are Not.Pretty.At.All.

The day-after:

Me: “Last night reminded me so much of my experience in junior high.”
Joe: “Really?  Why?”
Me: “Because I was sitting front and center, paying attention, taking notes and everyone else was sitting behind me talking the whole time.  And it really frustrated me, and made me realize that I’m still a big ol’ education-lovin’ nerd. And then when I was trying to talk to one of the teachers 4 people jumped in front of me like they couldn’t even see me and I ended up being late for health class and when I walked in everyone stared at me and it took all I had not to throw up on my shoes.  Oh well, at least now I can come home and drink a box of wine to get over it.”

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On making new friends:

A mom was talking to one of the teachers.  Apparently she is new to the area and is looking to make friends with some other moms.  Her requirement: that they be from her college sorority.  The teacher was racking her brain to think of anyone she knew who might be a Beta-Iota-Tau-Chi*… the woman waited desperately to hear that some of her sisterhood lived in the area… while surrounded by literally hundreds of other women who probably would’ve had a quite pleasant conversation with her and maybe, just maybe could’ve become friends with her.  Alas, we did not know the secret handshake.

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On contraband music:

If you follow me on facebook, then you’ve likely been following The Saga of The Black Violin.  If not, here’s the Cliff’s Notes: P has a black violin and “differently-colored” violins are not allowed in the school’s orchestra.  (I have validated that their concern is not unfounded, and that no, they aren’t a bunch of instrument racists.)  Alas, we were going to have to purchase a new violin for the munchkin to play.  Which brings us to the latest development…
The second day of orchestra, his director announces that they have no one playing bass and needs some bass players.  The Peeshwank has wanted to play bass for about 5 years now, but I told him he was too small, so he’s a violin.  He threw his hand in the air immediately and is now in the process of switching to playing bass.  Yeah.
A note about The P-Dog.  He is not tall.  He isn’t even average.  He’s not even close to average.  Every doctor he’s ever seen has asked if I’ve had his growth hormones tested.
“Yes, he’s fine, he’s just short.”
It’s my robotic response.  He used to hate it.  He’s gotten cast in 5 different movies/series this year though because he can play a much younger child.  He’s grown (pun fully intended) to love being the tiny guy.
The thought of my little guy standing on a step-stool playing a gigantic standing bass, just makes me all giggly.  I’m truly excited about the prospect.  Almost as much as he is.

Update: I just this second got word from the director that they are going to get P a bass that will fit him.  A 1/8th size bass.  He’s gonna be so excited!

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All in all the week has been a great success.  We’ve had a couple of rough patches over the days – PE uniforms that are going to swallow the child, figuring out where classes are, getting to the “cool” table at lunch… typical junior high trifles.  But every day he’s a little happier with everything, so I can’t complain.

“Do we really have to do a ‘before school’ picture? That’s so lame, Mom.”

*Beta-Iota-Tau-Chi does not exist.  Although it should.  Maybe I’ll start it.  Our secret handshake will be flipping the bird to pretentious d-bags.  Our official flower will be the blue agave from which all tequila comes.  Our sisterhood song will be “Baby Got Back” or the theme from Laverne and Shirley.  And our slogan will be “Haters gonna hate.”  We will rule the world.
And yes, I know people make a lot of lifelong friends in sororities.  Many of my oldest friends are from my own college sorority.  This is about making new friends… in your 40s… when you’re surrounded by a whole slew of moms that you KNOW you have something in common with.  Whatever.  Humans make no sense to me.