Day 76, 77, and 78 of walking


If you read a book about the devil and then mention to your family (smugly) that cursing is the language of demons, know that four days later your eldest son and husband will need help on a major school project they put off for weeks, and you will let loose such a volley of curse words that it will be to everyone’s surprise when you leave the room sans the trailing cloud of sulfurous gas and soundtrack of screeching violins.

Day 75 of walking

Nico saved his money to buy a harmonica. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what 10 year old boy saves up for a harmonica?! Mine, because as I’ve mentioned before, we are a family of geeks. He became fixated on the idea of owning one (the metal kind that comes in a case, mom!) after reading the book, Echo. At first I didn’t take him seriously. Then I told him we would buy one, but kept forgetting to do so. Finally he told his teacher that he was going to get a metal harmonica that comes in a case eventually, but so far his “purchase had been delayed 9 times for adult reasons.” (Adult reasons = errands, family parties, and decathlon in case you were worried we were geeks who liked to party.) She finally pulled me aside and said, “Can you buy him the damn harmonica so maybe he’ll stop talking about it?”

That was an amateur move on her part because now Nico is the proud owner of a metal harmonica that comes in a case and he brought it to school today. Ten minutes into class this morning his teacher said he could play it all he wanted…outside. So he did. I could hear that harmonica from across campus–no matter where I was on campus. The 6th grade could hear him playing it while they tried to take a test. The 5th grade asked him if he took lessons and Nico explained that, no, he was just a natural harmonica player. Next he showed his harmonica to his music teacher, and his music teacher in turn introduced Nico to Stevie Wonder. “He’s pretty good,” Nico conceded. During recess I saw him–I swear on a stack of Bibles–playing soccer with his class while playing the harmonica. The harmonica was almost a mouthguard, so do try to imagine the wheezing, tinny, string of notes accompanied by the stomp of sneakered feet. It sounded like Darth Vadar having an asthma attack during puberty.

“Only Nico,” said our groundskeeper as Nico ran/wheezed by. “That’s your son.”

I laughed. “He sure is.”

Day 74 of walking

When the stars align, we leave the house dressed, fed, and alert no later than 7:00 a.m. We pull into the school parking lot by 7:15 a.m. I’m in the library preparing for the day by 7:45 a.m. after 30 minutes hanging out in the staff lounge. Spoiler: we never leave the house by 7:00 a.m.

We can’t seem to get out the door before 7:06 a.m. We pull into the parking lot at 7:23 a.m. almost every morning because at 7:08 we get stuck in the line of cars trying to get onto the freeway heading west. Today we made it to school earlier that 7:23 a.m. and it was very, very weird. I didn’t have to wait for a pocket of space to cross the intersection. I didn’t jockey my way onto the freeway. I didn’t wait in a long line of cars to get to Starbucks. I zipped through the parking lot to my parking space. Zipped!

“Where are all the cars? I hope there’s not a zombie virus,” I joked.

The boys looked out their windows. “So weird,” they both said.

I checked my mental calendar and couldn’t come up with a holiday, federal or otherwise. The streets were just as empty when we left school 8 hours later. People were out there doing something, just not the way they did it yesterday and not where I could see it. How did all those kids get to school?!

I finally found someone willing to give me the blog design I want: comments, blog roll, full posts, and static pages (God save me from sliding images and truncated posts, please). To do this, she first asked me to find three blogs like mine with a design similar to what I wanted. I searched but could only find one. Everyone else stopped blogging last year, or the year before that. I followed links to their social media accounts and found they were mostly silent there, too. Again, people were out there doing something, just not the way they did it yesterday and not where I could see it.

I’m so happy to be blogging again. I’m feeling more present and aware. I’m still a slow-poke, choppy writer. I’m eager to build up the conversation here to what it once was, but that will come with grit and time. What is important is that I’m here, doing the same thing I did yesterday, where everyone can see it.

Day 73 of walking

My walks aren’t as long or as far as they were a few years ago. I had more time then, since I was only just starting to volunteer in the library. Back then, I had issues with fitness after years without exercise. Now I’m in the library and on my feet all day long, so my challenge is less about fitness and more about time and distance. I don’t feel bad about this because (1) that’s life and (2) my step counts are actually higher than they were a few years ago because I’m on my feet most of the day. It all works out.

I complained that my social media fast hadn’t given me much in return, but I’m starting to see a difference. I’m finishing more books, and not fluffy romances. Last night I finished An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels. I loved it, but I haven’t read anything else by Fr. Amorth. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it builds upon his earlier books (which I now want to read).

Most people recoiled when they saw my book. I would have done the same a few years ago. It wasn’t as horrifying as you would think, though a few passages were pretty horrible. I thought this Vanity Fair article on Fr. Amorth was far more terrifying, and I absolutely refused to watch the video. I had my eyes partially closed the entire time I was scrolling because I had to work up the courage to look at the pictures!

I can’t explain why I bought the Fr. Amorth book. I found it hidden on a shelf in Barnes & Noble right before Christmas. When the Mister opened his present, he looked at me and said, “Merry Christmas, here’s a book about the devil?” Then 30 minutes later, I kid you not, we both got the stomach flu. Who knows what will happen when I start that Protestant book next week.

This rambling post brought to you by A Mom Trying to Simultaneously Write and Teach her 10-year-old Order of Operations.


Day 72 of walking

I will go on record and say 10:45 p.m. is way too late at night to be dealing with fleas. Not that any time of day is a good time to deal with fleas. There is a famous misquote attributed to Albert Einstein that says man would last no longer than 4 years if bees became extinct. No one ever said that about fleas. No one ever said anything about fleas. People cursed, screamed, groaned, cried, whined, and, as of 10 minutes ago, despaired about fleas, but I bet no one ever said, “Man, we’d be up a creek without fleas!” Well, except for, ugh, scientists. Whatever. I like them as much as fleas right now.

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