Day 81 of walking

It was a long day during an even longer week. I can’t wait for the end of day tomorrow. We’ll still be working on science fair stuff (Mikey made it to regionals, ugh/yay) but I’m hoping to sneak in more reading.

Day 80 of walking

We found a beekeeper to safely relocate the bees! Yay!

I took the boys to buy new sneakers after school. They both walked in knowing what they wanted. That’s where the similarities ended.

Mikey wanted basketball shoes. Nico wanted running shoes. Mikey scanned all the shoes quietly, like he was a sniper picking off targets. After a minute, maybe two, he picked up a pair and asked the woman if she had his size. He tried them on, said he liked them, and then went to a corner of the store to read. When I asked him if he was sure, if he wanted to try on other pairs, he said no, thank you. He made up his mind and that was that. He chose matte black basketball high tops with a discreet touch of dark blue.

Nico took an eternity and had a running commentary as he jumped from display to display. He debated over every pair before deciding to try them on. He found something lacking every time. “These would be perfect if they came in blue, weren’t sock-style, had black soles, different laces, and stripes!” Thirty minutes and his 4th pair of shoes later, he made a decision. He chose metallic running shoes with white soles and nude laces.

“Nico, you know some kids might say your shoes are pink, right?”

“Mom. These are not pink and if they think they’re pink they’re stupid. These shoes are celestial bronze, like Percy Jackson’s sword.”

“Yeah,” Mikey chimed in from behind his book. “If anything, they’re copper. And if anyone says anything to Nico, I’ll just make their life miserable.”

“No one is making anyone’s life miserable!” I said, speaking as part mom/part school employee.

“I could make them a little miserable…”

“No.”

“You’re right. They’re already miserable because they don’t have Nico’s Percy Jackson shoes.” Nico’s grin split his face and showed off the rainbow rubber bands on his braces.

Lately, Mikey will snap at Nico when before they got along perfectly. The closer he gets to turning 13, the more Mikey gets annoyed with his brother over the littlest infractions. I know Nico drives him nuts sometimes. I also know Mikey wouldn’t touch those Percy Jackson shoes with a ten foot pole, let alone wear them, but he’d never let Nico think they are anything other than amazing. God help the kid who says otherwise tomorrow.

I walked out of the store poor, tired, and convinced my sons are both pretty great in their own way.

Day 79 of walking

The walk in the rain tonight wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. It was comfortably cool and quiet; nice.

The craziest thing happened at school today! We had a bee swarm! The queen landed in the shade of a rain gutter right by our aftercare room. It reminded me of The Bees: A novel, a book I read last year that combined The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Gamesbut changed all the characters to bees. I bought the book because (1) I love bees* (see: honeycomb pattern of one of my first blog designs) and (2) the idea of a story told from the perspective of an insect was impossible to resist. Here’s the synopsis so you don’t have to click over to Amazon.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hives survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all–daring to challenge the Queens fertility–enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society–and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

It’s as great and bizarre as it sounds.

* Bees are such amazing creatures. I’m allergic to them, but I can’t hate them for their power to kill me. They’re wickedly smart with a complex society/social structure. They also have a democratic process more effective than anything humans have come up with at this point.

Day 76, 77, and 78 of walking

FACT:

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.”

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