Monday, July 21, 2014

4,100 pages down, none to go

After neglecting laundry, grocery shopping, the general upkeep of my home, and occasionally my family, I finally finished the Harry Potter series. And now I see why, for the past seven years, Michael and Amy have wanted me to read the books. They are amazing.

Harry Potter Logo Sprntrlfan Livvi DeviantartHow I missed being swept away by the amazing tsunami of all things Potter when the books were originally published is beyond me. It’s not like I lived under a rock. Of course, when the first book was released in 1998, I didn’t have kids in the target market for a book about wizards. And the only books I read at that time were about potty training and getting your kids to sleep. So the wave just washed right over me.

This was the extent of my HP knowledge: there was a kid named Harry who had two good friends, Ron and a chick whose name I couldn’t pronounce, and they learned magic at a boarding school with two guys named Snape and Dumbledore so they could take on the evil Voldemort. And that was all I knew.

Maybe I was living under a rock from 1998 – 2007… 

(Spoiler alert for anyone as behind the times as I am.)

A few thoughts on finishing the books:

Several people have asked if I cried when Dumbledore died. Oddly enough, no. I was so surprised and shocked – I couldn’t believe it really happened. And I kept expecting a twist to come that revealed he was just hiding.

I did cry when Fred died. I knew he wasn’t coming back – he was gone for good.

I cried when I finished the last book. Thinking about the three friends (and Ginny), sending their kids off to Hogwarts just killed me. Of course, I laughed when Ron claimed to be the reason everyone was staring at Harry.

When the books came out, there were calls for them to be banned because of all the witchcraft. I’ve never been one to call for a book burning, so I didn’t jump on that band wagon. And now that I’ve read them, I really don’t get it. Good is good and evil is evil. If the books made evil look appealing, then maybe I could see why some parents wouldn’t want their kids to read them. But that is not the case here. Not at all.

Perhaps now I’ll tackle The Lord of the Rings…? Nope, don’t think so. My house and family can’t take me getting involved in another epic book series. Not this summer, anyway.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fire up the grill

It's cook-out season, people, which means it's a sad time to be a vegetarian. Having to watch all those yummy burgers and brats cook on the grill while you're waiting on you veggie burger to warm up in the microwave...

HT: Grey Thinking)

Happy weekend - enjoy that grill!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The picture of optimism

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Fiero report. And that’s because it’s been a while since the Fiero would start. It spent the winter parked in our driveway just taking up space. Which was fine, because we promised Michael we would simply store it until he graduated and he figured out what to do with it.

But last weekend when Sean and Michael were supposed to be mowing the yard, they got to tinkering with the little red car. And the two of them decided that the diagnosis they received when the car broke down last fall was incorrect. And that they, after looking under the hood and getting greasy, knew what was wrong with it. And that it just couldn't cost as much as the dealer up at Michael’s school told them it would cost.

People, if you are ever looking for the definition of optimism, look no further. 

So this past weekend, we rented a U-Haul trailer, loaded up the little red car, and dropped it off at our local Chevy dealer, which could also be known as our 4th child, considering how much of our money has gone there.

Michael was ecstatic. He loves his car and the thought of getting it running again was almost more happiness than his heart could bear. Sean was thrilled at seeing his son so happy. He, too, loves that little two-seater. Amy was happy that the third parking spot in the driveway is finally all hers. And Rebecca was happy about the prospect of riding shot-gun with her big brother again.

I am cautiously optimistic. I know it’s going to cost more than the boys think. And as the Budget Queen, it will be up to me to tell them what’s in the budget. It will ultimately be up to Sean to decide what to do, but I am hoping we won’t open the financial faucet again for this 30 year old car.

And yet, when I saw my son beam as he maneuvered the car off the trailer, and laugh because it was almost like driving it, and nearly cry tears of joy at the thought of it working again, I wanted to shout, “Have all the money! Fix it!” 
Pretty sure the two colleges we’ll be paying this year won’t feel that way, and I know I’ll get my emotions in check as soon as dollar signs flash into view, but man, I want that car to work again.

If only it were as easy to fix as his first ride.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun

Enjoy a few laughs to start your weekend right!

Oh, Woody.

harry potter funny

Oh, Michael Scott.

The Office Michael Scott
(H/T: The Office-isms)

Oh, Michael Duffy.

(H/T: Someecards)

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Mac, Karate Kid, Transformers and Sean

At 5:45 this morning, I drove Sean to work so I could borrow his car. Michael’s car is in the shop so he took Amy’s and Amy needs my car today, so I borrowed Sean’s.

Anyway, 5:45 is stinkin’ early. And as we were driving in, it hit me that my husband gets up in the middle of the night (because 4:45 am is the middle of the night) every work day, and has done so for 30 years. That’s right – 30 years. Monday he very unceremoniously told me that June 7, 1984 was his start date for GM. Thirty years of early to bed, early to rise work days and nights. And he has never complained. Never.

I complained this morning and I didn’t even have to shower or prepare to actually do anything except drive a very nice Buick home. One day and I’m a whiner who can’t wait to take a nap.

Thirty years ago this week, 18 year old Sean made his way to Flint, Michigan to study mechanical engineering at General Motors Institute, or what is now known as Kettering University. He went to school for three months, then went home to Atlanta to work at the GM Doraville assembly plant for three months. And he did that until graduation, at which time GM hired him on full-time. And he’s been keeping those crazy hours ever since.

The original Mac brochure
For a little perspective: Sean began his career the same year the Mac was unveiled. It was also the year the Transformers were introduced, The Karate Kid waxed on and waxed off, MTV debuted The Video Music Awards and The Cosby Show began. Also, I was 14. Just an FYI.

I must admit I look forward to the day he doesn’t go to bed before 9 and I especially look forward to the day he doesn’t get up at 4 in the morning. And while I can’t believe I’m old enough to be married to someone thinking about retirement, I am pumped about the idea of actually going to bed at the same time as my husband! I just wonder how long it will take him to adjust to not getting up before the sun…

As I drove home this morning, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for a husband who takes such great care of his family and who has been an amazing example of diligence and hard work to the kids and to me despite his less than ideal hours.

So happy anniversary to Sean and GM! Here's to only a few years left together!

Something else celebrating its 30 year anniversary: Ghostbusters. When this song comes on XM, Sean always wants to listen. Here you go, babe. (I forgot about all the cameos at the end of the video - I know you'll like the Chevy Chase one.)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Getting to the new normal

A good friend is dropping off her oldest child at college today. I saw Kim at church yesterday but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her. I was able to wave from a distance, and my heart just sank when she waved back as I remembered all the mixed emotions I felt the day before we dropped off Michael for the first time. Well, they weren’t terribly mixed – they were all pretty awful! And because we’re pretty similar, I figured she was feeling the same.

The first college drop-off was not so fun. It is not a day I’d choose to relive, even if I had Dumbledore’s Pensieve, the magical bowl full of memories (halfway through book 6!). No, I can think of a zillion other days I’d relieve before we went back to that one.
But there are a ton of days that came after that one that I’d gladly revisit. Like his first visit home, or our first visit there. Or the time he brought his new college friends home for dinner. Or his first Christmas break. Or the first last day when we moved him home after his freshman year. We’d never had those days without the miserable first drop-off day.

You just have to get through the drop-off day. And then the next day. And the next one. And before you know it, you’re living your new normal and it is normal. And good.

I’m writing this as much for Kim as I am for me. Because I am absolutely dreading my second first college drop-off. Amy goes the day before her birthday which does not seem right at all. But that drop-off is what leads us to our next new normal. For a while, those of us left at home will feel uneasy, unsteady, off-kilter. But we will adjust and will learn another new normal. And eventually it will not only feel normal, but be normal. And good.

Kim, I feel for you today. Today absolutely stinks. I’m not going to lie: tomorrow’s not going to feel a whole lot better. But it will get better. And your new normal will actually feel normal. And good. I promise.

I would be ever so grateful if someone would remind me of this on August 21.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy 4th!

Enjoy the 4th with a little help from the Muppets:


And for my husband, who really wanted me to include this:

Happy weekend!