BOY TRAPPED

1% of women have an ENTJ personality. 2.5% of women have diagnosed ADHD. Nearly all of my strongest strengths and weakest weaknesses are attributable to one or both. Often when I tell my stories, my friends say, "You should write a book." Well - I don't have near enough focus for that. Instead, what you have a here is a collection of anything that stayed in my brain long enough that I just had to write it down. Read on if you dare.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Marshal

"I will not stand, sit, or lay down."  The Player's Code flashed through my mind as red laser beams connected with my chest.  I looked up, a feat pretty easily accomplished from the unique vantage point of being sprawled out on the floor on my back. 

"Are you guys okay?" Adam questioned, pausing his trigger finger just long enough for me to mumble affirmatively, then continuing to alternate between shooting me and shooting David.  In this style of play aptly named "Frantic," our packs rebooted from a tag after only one second, and staring down at two stationary targets was the laser tag equivalent of hitting the jackpot.  Alex seemed less concerned with our well-being, putting his sniper skills to use to tag whichever vest lit up first.

I had been more than a little frustrated with David for slamming his laser gun into my forehead and bolting.  My forehead throbbing, I lay on the ground with my eyes closed carefully assessing vitals before standing up.  Determining everything was technically fine, despite the concentrated bump under my bangs, I rose to sitting and took in my surroundings. 

In a white button-up shirt, David's torso glowed under the blacklights.  From it stuck arms and legs at angles best represented by that chalk figure drawn on the sidewalk at a crime scene.  He wasn't moving.  Immediately, I regretted my selfishness as I'd waited for him to come to my rescue.  "Honey, are you okay?" I asked, then waited for a response that didn't come.  "Honey?" I asked again, and then a third time. 

He stirred.  "I hit my head," he started.  "I think I must have tripped, and then I hit my head really hard.  What happened to you?"

"You hit my head really hard, too," I laughed.  Neither of us had moved substantially from where we'd landed, and neither seemed particularly inclined to do so.  Shaking my head at the incredulous nature of our predicament, I asked, "Do you think I should call for the marshal?"  I recalled the training we'd been provided before each laser tag game this month, and knew I'd been prepared for this silly moment.  If I simply shouted, "Marshal, Marshal, Marshal," we'd be rescued.  Albeit, also humiliated.

Instead, we opted to pull our 30-something-year-old bodies off the laser tag arena floor and take on the young opponents who'd been so eager to take advantage of our situation.  David has a headache, and I have a sizable bruise forming, and we have a ridiculous story of the time we injured ourselves playing laser tag.

End of Summer

My custody agreement is a strange one, I'll admit.  Kids with me in the summer; kids with Kirk during the school year.  It was designed to minimize the impact to the kids' way of life, and having lived it for a full year now, I think we chose wisely.

That said, it is the last day of summer, and I'm packing up the kids to send them back to Dad's.  

We took advantage of an evening when Adam had plans to treat Alex and Dylan to their Sugarhouse favorite: Dough Co.  A nice long walk up to the cookie dough store, a warm evening on a sidewalk bench, and chatty walk back home helped me tie up a great summer with the two little kids who seem to have thoroughly enjoyed their summer.

It's been harder on Adam, though, to be away from his friends.  His neighborhood.  His dad.  I've spend a lot of the summer as chauffeur, driving him to the many places he'd rather (or just plain had to) be.  Lagoon.  Bryce's.  Work.  I haven't regretted a single mile, because the secret to getting to know Adam is simple.  Spend time with him and let him talk.  The cumulative hours in the car have made up for all the time he wasn't around.

Still, I wanted to do something special for him to end the summer, too.  His unrivaled love of Top Ramen inspired us to take him to try the real deal.  And when Jinya Ramen Bar opened a new location just around the corner, David and I wanted to show Adam a corner of Sugarhouse that he just might miss.

The evening plays out like an old film real in my mind.  He's in black joggers and a white t-shirt - a huge break from his standard BYU sweats and a dark grey t-shirt.  He's skateboarding in front of us, and somehow through the back of his ball cap, I can see his smile.  He's loud, and he's laughing, and he looks back at us to make sure he's the center of attention.  He is.

He looks so grown up sitting at the table next to me and across from David.  He's 5'9" now, so I have to look up to look him in the eye.  He doesn't stop talking the whole meal.  About the food.  About a possible trip someday to Japan.  About anything that pops into his mind, because that is Adam.

The waiter comes and offers him more noodles.  "Wait, that's a thing?" he says, wide eyed and not quite willing to accept his good fortune.  He decides that ramen really is the best food ever and starts chatting about next summer when Bryce stays over, he'll have him bring some money, and they'll walk over and get ramen and...

...he's skated too far ahead of us for me to hear his words anymore.  We keep a leisurely pace, walking hand-in-hand and discussing the man-child whose larger-than-life presence has filled our home all summer.  We reach the front porch and hear a Smash Mouth melody being plunked out one note at a time at the piano.  We pause on the porch, knowing that if he is aware of an audience, he will stop.  With no warning, the teenage tornado abandons the piano and continues its path to the basement.  

Being Responsible

I've been "on my own" now since November 2016, and I've learned a lot about being responsible.  Health insurance, car insurance, oil changes, car registration.  It's not that I couldn't do that stuff before.  It is just that I hadn't really ever done it.  And definitely not without another responsible human looking over my shoulder and making sure I got it done.

I'm more responsible now than ever.  I check my credit score frequently.  My bank account daily.  I am mindful of due dates, and when things don't go quite the way I planned, I handle it.  (See debit card fraud of June 2018 and the great Car Registration Adventure.)

As a responsible adult, it really bugs me when I get notification that I have a debt that has been sent to collections.  From 2015. 

I get that in a past life I may have been less responsible.  I get that in my present state, I still let things slip.  I get that I might need reminders, and I am totally willing to pay the late charges and whatnot associated with my occasional screw ups.  But I am not certain why it needs to escalate to collections before someone sends me a letter.

I asked the collections agency and was told that the hospital to whom I apparently owed $31.87 transferred that debt to a different agency who then sent the amount to their firm for collections.  It seems like it would have been a lot less work for them to just send me a letter and let me know I owed them money.

I would have paid it.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Secondhand

What started out as being budget conscious has morphed into environmentally friendly, and I now shop pretty much exclusively secondhand. Decades for formalwear. Uptown Cheapskate for inspiration, blouses, and dresses. Poshmark for slacks. DI and Savers for shoes and jackets. And boutique stores for the slightly pricier but killer pieces.

Back to school never cost so little!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lyft

Definitely just called Lyft to bring Adam's baseball bag to the school. 

What is the opposite of #firstworldproblems?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Chapter 1

Summer is almost over, and with it closes the first chapter of a new book I guess I could call Boytrapped Volume II.  In my custody agreement with Kirk, I get the kids (and optionally the dog) for the whole summer.  Exercising the dog option has brought a little added chaos to the last three weeks of summer.  And the kids have kept us on our toes as we all adapt to our new lives together and in Sugarhouse.

Adam opted to spend the night at Kirk's, so we took the other two to their favorite place, Dough Co, and ended up piled on the bed watching YouTube videos David had referenced during the walk back.

I am hoping we'll find time for a last-of-summer hurrah with Adam at the new ramen place around the corner before my house becomes 3 boys and a dog quieter next week.

Meditation Whim

On a whim, I decided to try meditating in my car on the way home. I looked up a YouTube video specific for car meditation, and I really tried to give it an honest effort.

But when the voice coming from my stereo asked me to invite my "clearing angels" into my car and ask them to take away the energy that I got at work and no longer need, I gave up.

If I have "clearing angels," I am giving them the evening off.