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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Dear Holzhauer Auto and Motorsports Group:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Best?

When Gideon was visiting me, he found a 2014 Dodge Charger he liked at your establishment. (What is it with my kids and muscle cars? Just teenage boys, I guess.)

We took a drive to Nashville, Illinois, and purchased the car on the spot.

Gideon save up $2,000 for the down payment.

We were assured that you had inspected the car and all was well. We purchased a warranty to be on the safe side.

We drove back to St. Louis, and arranged for Gideon and Eddie to come up this weekend to drive it back to Georgia.

Worst?

I took the car for safety and emission inspections to get it registered.

I bet you know what is coming.

It failed the safety inspection because it needed a new catalytic converter, engine mounts, an engine leak fixed, etc.

I think you knew this. That’s why we got such a good deal.

And your warranty doesn’t cover any of that. Of course. (So what good is it? I’d love to know.)

More than $6,500 later, the car is finally road worthy.

Happy about the car. Not happy about the 12-hour drive ahead.

Sigh.

It was worth it to see Gideon so happy, but I’ll be contacting you tomorrow for a discussion.

Talk to you later!
Beth

*Thanks, Rihanna!

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Dear Bob Cassilly,

My guy, WHAT were you smoking when you created City Museum? Whatever it was, it was some good stuff. City Museum is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life — in person or in movies/on TV. Not even “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes close to this crazy place.

When I moved to St. Louis, people kept telling me I needed to visit. However, I don’t like museums. (It’s true. I’m sorry. But I don’t think you do either.) Finally, my friend Kate said that it is not a museum in any traditional sense of the word. She tried to describe it, then basically gave up.

“You have to see it,” she said. “It’s … sensory overload.”

So I went. And she’s right.

City Museum is like a museum in the way that I am like Beyoncé: barely any resemblance in form or function.

It is a building that houses artifacts — artifacts presented in chaos. It’s a 10-story fever dream.

I’ve now been four times.

Why?

You created notable features such as:

• An actual school bus cantilevered on the top floor over the street

• A Ferris wheel on top of the building

• A 10-story slide

• A five-story slide (that has not been open any of the four times I’ve been)

• A cave system

• The world’s largest (maybe) pair of underpants

• Two airplanes

I can’t even begin to summarize what is there. And every time I go, I discover something new.

Dominic and Gideon were in town, and I said we were going. They, like me, are not into museums. I said, “Hold that thought.”

Neither of them could believe what you created. Dominic lamented that, at 6’2″, he is too big for some of the tunnels.

“I wish we had come here when I was a kid.”

I fully agree. This could have entertained them for HOURS, and they would have slept well. (Every parent knows a day that wears out the kids is a good day.)

Here is just a sample of what we got into at your creation.

A seagull disgorges Dominic.
Gideon finds a tunnel under the first floor. No, thank you.
Dominic goes where I won’t.
This is the entrance to a slide. Seriously.
The caged bird yells, “Take my picture!”
My hips don’t lie, nor do they fit in this opening.
Dominic makes it to the top of one of two castles.

Speaking of the castles:

I’m sorry, TWO WHAT NOW?

There were a few moments where I worried about their safety and mine. I was right to worry. From the actual City Museum website:

The do-it-yourself, trying-anything nature of the museum led, not surprisingly, to injuries and, also not surprisingly, to dozens of personal injury suits. Mr. Cassilly’s response was to post telephone numbers of lawyers at the door.

The kids and I developed the habit of them going first into some cave/tunnel/hole to do reconnaissance then reporting back about the viability for me.

This tunnel was not for me.
But this one was ok.

Yes, I used my own children as canaries in a coal mine.

I make no apologies. They were willing participants. And had a fabulous time.

I’m sorry you died an untimely death — a death that turns out not to have been a bulldozer accident. L’esclandre!

And I love that people who love City Museum can also live there.

It’s not for me (not enough windows or, you know, standard amenities), but I recognize the appeal.

So thanks, Bob, for never growing up. For creating a place so outlandish there is no equal.

Your fan,
Beth

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Dear Dominic and Gideon,

I see my friends posting about prom and honor societies and college visits and whatnot. Though part of me wishes you wanted the traditional high school milestones, most of me loves that you are doing things your own way.

For example, you eschewed the actual prom to have your own prom in a friend’s back yard. (Props to that mom: She did a great job!)

This is a fancy party! (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

And no one seemed to care about dates. It was one big friend group.

Girls seem to be an afterthought, which is fine by me. I’m not ready to be a grandma! I do wonder if I’m somehow a gang mom. What are those signs they are throwing? (Photo credit: Petra McKinnon)

I’m surprised there were real suits. You two had threatened to go to Actual Prom in your Spider-Man costumes.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I guess. It’s really par for the course for you and your pals. After all, this is how you go to school:

And how you go to Target:

I don’t know how you can go shopping. You spent all your money on a Batsuit.

My son, The Batman

It’s movie quality. It should be for the amount of money the two of you spent. (I still can’t believe you chipped in, Gideon.)

But you know what? You AREN’T spending money on drugs.

Your habits are nerdy and wholesome. I’m a fan.

And Dominic, you’ve been a Bat fan for your whole life, so I’m not surprised.

Uh oh. You spotted the Joker!

I love you both very much. And I love that you are individuals.

Stay Gold,
Mama

*Thanks and apologies to Frank.

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Dear Dominic,

You may look like your father, but your personality is all me. And that’s why we drive each other crazy. You know what buttons and borders to push.

When you want something, you don’t stop until you get it.

That’s me too.

Take, for example, a car.

I told you I needed something to drive when I’m in Savannah. You took it upon yourself to find me something. In Atlanta.

Well, to find yourself something.

Lucky for you, I’m a big fan of muscle cars like this.

I had the dealer FaceTime me. As soon as he started it up, and I heard the signature purr of the engine, I was sold.

So I did cancel the second leg of my flight to buy it and drive it down.

But I didn’t tell you that. I told you I was getting a rental. So when we went out to get in “the rental” to go car shopping, you were shocked.

The good news for me is that this maneuver ensured you wouldn’t forget Mother’s Day.

$1. Funny kid. 🙄

I love you, you silly boy.
Mama

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Dear Dominic,

Thanks for going on a road trip with me to bring Eddie some stuff that ended up with me in St. Louis.

It was a great bonding experience for you and your new brother.

It took nearly 16 hours of driving (should have been 12), but we made it manageable with stops in Chattanooga (no time for towing, sadly) and Atlanta (so you could harass all your school friends).

Barb the Minivan (rental) served us well. She was spacious enough to allow for a litter box for Leo’s bathroom breaks.

It turns out that he’s good on car trips.

Just so everyone knows, I don’t usually put clothes on pets. But Leo is naked, and it was cold when we left St. Louis.

So thank you for making the trip with Leo and me. Next time, I promise we will stop in at a ridiculous museum that will amuse us both.

Love,
Mama

*Thanks, Willie.

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Dear Dominic,

I was so happy to see you and your brother this weekend. Gideon is pubescing HARD, so I didn’t see him much. You, though? Plenty of contact. The whole “Peacemaker” series so far, as one gauge of time.

(Five stars. Would recommend. Would recommend for the awkward dance routine intro alone.)

I loved spending time with you.

I do want to say I’m having a really hard time keeping my mouth shut about your hair.

It’s a tension as old as time: Parents disapproving of hairstyles. Or lack thereof.

But look:

What animal died on your head, Dominic? And can I taxidermy it instead?

I know, I know: A girl (or maybe two) said it looked good.

And here we are.

I don’t know why you care what a girl says. You clearly aren’t interested in dating at the moment.

I mean, you quickly shut one girl down about prom. Full stop.

Poor thing. You don’t even have her saved as a contact in your phone!

(Also, what the heck, Dominic?!?)

Are you sure you’re MY son?

But you know, I love that you and your friends are into something so wholesome. Spider-Man fandom is infinitely preferable to any typical teenage interest.

I’m a fan. (Not of Spider-Man — please* — but of you and your friends.)

I love you, and I’ll see you soon.
Mama

*Look. Listen. He’s one of my least favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Give me Tony Stark, Black Widow or Thor any day! Spider-Man is … fine.

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Dear People with “Just a Cold,”

Maybe you do have a cold. But also, you might have COVID. Let’s recap the Omicron symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose

That’s right: Also symptoms of a cold.

So before you get around anyone, TAKE A COVID TEST. They are available in stores (you can use your FSA/HSA), and there are free testing sites all over the place.

If it’s positive, ISOLATE, FFS.

And let’s be clear: You shouldn’t be around anyone if you have a cold either.

It’s because of one of you that my son and sister in law had a lonely Christmas.

Gideon hung out with some friends. Two days later, he didn’t feel well. Typical cold symptoms. We sent him to his room. Tested him: positive. Then Eddie, Dominic and I tested ourselves: negative. We waited a day. Tested again. Negative. Waited. Tested. Negative.

Only then did we feel like we were safe to be around other people.

Even though we didn’t have any symptoms.

See how that works? Protecting others?

We just tested again to be safe.

Waiting for results
Still negative

But Christmas 2021 is the one Gideon will remember as the one where we made him wear what amounted to a HazMat suit to open his gifts.

Poor Positive Gideon

I haven’t ever gotten Coronavirus [knocks wood], and I don’t plan to get it. I’m not taking chances.

The bottom line: If you think you have a cold, get tested anyway. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary.

Somehow this manages to sum up this Christmas.

Kthxbyeeee,
Beth

* To the tune of this classic.

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Dear Netherworld:

For some reason, I’ve never had a burning desire to visit you. I guess I prefer “real” haunted houses/places.

“Fake” ones rely on jump scares, which are too much like pranks for me.

However, when your children — whom you haven’t seen in almost two weeks — want you to go with them someplace, you say, “Yes.” Or at least I do.

Our group consisted of three moms and five teenage boys, ages 15-16.

Someone needs to shave.

Here are the things that I found scary upon arrival:

  • The ticket price. It was $30 each. Yikes!
  • The porta potties outside didn’t have lights inside them.
  • The lack of masks indoors. COVID isn’t gone, y’all!

Once inside, there were other things to scare me:

  • Just as I started to walk in, the dude pulling back the curtain stuck his hand in front of my face. I screamed from shock. Then giggled because HOW DUMB?!?
  • A huge animatronic demon face bum-rushed me and shoved me into a wall.
  • The floors were designed to match the “rooms.” Squishy flooring to represent grass in a cemetery, for example. What’s scary about that? The broken-ankle potential. I don’t need that again.
  • There was a corridor of clowns. HORRIFYING. I loathe clowns.
  • Each of the two haunted houses ends with a chainsaw-wielding madman. Or three. I loathe chainsaw-wielding madmen. (That comes from a certain movie seen at an impressionable age.)
  • One of the boys’ friends putting on a badass act. “What? I can’t help it if I’m not scared.” OK, then, Buzzkill.

I did have a good time, though. One of the best things was the boy banter.

Dominic: Gideon, be careful they don’t put you in one of the exhibits.
Gideon: What?
Dominic: “Oh, here’s another skeleton.”
Dylan: More bones, all Fernbank style.
Gideon (laughing): My superhero name can be Bones.
Dominic: I feel like this right here is a villain origin story.

I’ll probably see you next year.

Happy Halloween!
Beth

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I Tetrised the heck out of my stuff to get it all to fit in my tiny trunk.

Dear Readers:

I’ve been keeping this blog for 12 years. I started it because I was about to make a class of students start one. I figured I needed to practice what I preached.

Anyway, though I’ve traveled all over the place and written about my adventures, my home base (i.e., where I get my mail) has always been Georgia.

That changes today. I’m Missouri bound.

Q: Um … why?
A: I got a great new job, and I’ll be based in St. Louis.

Q: Isn’t that where your birth family is?
A: Yes. The universe clearly has something to say. It’s also where I have loads of adopted family.

Q: Is your family excited?
A: Excited for me, yes. But Eddie and the boys aren’t coming with me right now.

Q: What?
A: Yeah. Eddie did not thrive when we moved to Atlanta. He missed Savannah, his job, his friends. So he went back to work at his old job. He’s much happier. The boys are staying in Atlanta with friends until winter break, then they will join him. I’ll be back with them as often as I can, and we’ll work it out.

Q: You think this is the right decision?
A: I effing hope so. We had many family discussions. We decided on this plan together.

Q: You’re ok?
A: Eh. In general. I watched two episodes of “Intervention” last night because I couldn’t sleep. Of course, I convinced myself I was scarring the children. I told Gideon that this morning. He rolled his eyes at me. So maybe I’m not scarring the children.

Q: But what if you are?
A: What if I am? This is the path we chose together. At least the boys will see their parents doing jobs they really like.

Q: When do you start?
A: Monday. I’ll be staying in university housing for two months. My plan is to find a permanent place this week, so I can make arrangements to get all my stuff moved up there.

Q: And you’re sure you’re ok?
A: Well, there’s been plenty of ugly crying. I made a road-trip playlist. I got to “Wide Open Spaces” around Chattanooga, and lost my shit.

If you are inclined, send positive thoughts my way as I (we) embark on this new journey.

I am looking forward to writing about a new environment. I’m sure the Show Me State is named that for a reason.

Meet me in St. Louis,
Beth

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Trigger warning: Laceration

Dear People at Peachtree Immediate Care:

You suck. Completely.

I thought you were in the business of helping people. Immediately. I mean, IT’S IN THE TITLE of the place.

So when Gideon was attacked by a can of diced tomatoes, we naturally thought of you.

It was deep.

We showed up moments after the attack.

You said there were two other lacerations ahead of us, and that you wouldn’t be able to get to him before closing time.

IN TWO HOURS.

What the eff? For real?!

I don’t understand.

So we went to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Urgent Care. They sent us to the emergency room because the gash was three centimeters long — the cutoff for urgent care treatment, apparently.

The ER doctor rolled his eyes when he heard about our adventure. He said:

Just come here first. Don’t even bother with those urgent care places.

Roger that.

Anyway, Gideon is all fixed up, no thanks to you.

Three deep stitches, eight on the top layer

Get your act together.

Sincerely,
Beth

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