Pergola, Graduation, Uniforms, Fungus

This has been a busy and emotional week.

I spent all day last Monday (that’s not an exaggeration – ALL DAY), painting the boards for our new pergola. Then Kevin and Dude put it all together.

Pergola - Patio

We LOVE it!! It really turned out nice. We’ve been shopping for patio furniture but have been a bit discouraged with the price tags. We went to Outdoor Home and looked around and they have some GORGEOUS stuff, but, BUT, I’m having a really hard time justifying spending $400 + on one chair.


Um, no.

So we went to Lowe’s. And the prices there weren’t much better. So now we’re thinking we’ll just put some folding chairs and a card table out there and call it a patio.

Okay. Maybe not. But we’re definitely going to hold off on buying any sort of furniture until A. there’s a sale, and/or B. it’s off season and the prices just naturally come down because OMG, I can’t spend $2,000 on furniture we won’t even want, or get, to use but once in a while.

UPDATE: Kevin went out yesterday (before the severe storms blew through here – and while we’re on that subject, can I please request some prayers for the poor folks in Joplin, Missouri?? Joplin is a mere 75 miles west of Springfield and EEK, too close to home, ya’ll!!) and angled off the ends. As usual, he did an excellent job and it looks fabulous, darling. Now I need to paint the bases and do a few touch ups and we SHOULD be done with the pergola. Next? Landscaping.

Tuesday was graduation day. I’ve already written about that and won’t go through that again, but I swear, I have been an emotional zombie ever since. It’s just so WEIRD to have Dude home now. I don’t have to drag his butt out of bed every day (well, I still have to drag his butt out because if I didn’t he would sleep all day and um, NO, that ain’t happening while he’s still living at home), but at least it’s not as stressful as it was when he needed to get up, around and awake enough to drive him and his brother to school every day.

I’m finding myself floundering a bit because I feel like my role in my household has changed – again. I know I’m still Dude’s mother, I mean, duh, but I’m having to consciously remind myself that the boy is 18 1/2 years old, is now a high school graduate, and though we’ve given him free reign to relax and enjoy a few months off before looking for a job (let the nagging begin August 1st), I’m having a hard time ALLOWING him to enjoy this time. I think I’ve just been on autopilot for so many years, the end goal being graduation, that now that we’ve reached that goal, I feel … confused.

Exactly what is my role now?

It’s so weird because just when I force myself to emotionally step back from the mothering gig, Dude will go and ask me a question, seeking my advice about something (which HELLO, is weird in and of itself anyway), and I will suddenly be transported to the mom who had a tight rein on this boy’s life and was used to being in control.

But then in the very next instant, he’s taking his cousin back home to Willard (which is about 30 minutes away) and I’m emotionally forced to swallow my mothering instincts, smile and wave as he takes off like it’s no big deal.

My emotions have been all over the board here lately and I’m feeling a bit dizzy. I know I’ll find my equilibrium at some point, but for now, I feel like a child’s top that is slowing down and on the verge of toppling over.

It’s disorienting.

I shudder to think how I will feel when Jazz reaches this point in just two short years.

Dude’s reception was really fun.

I was expecting the weather to be rainy, but it actually ended up being a perfect day. The sun came out, the temps were pleasant and there was a slight breeze.

I found out, late Friday afternoon, that Jazz wanted to go to a leadership seminar on Saturday. Well. He had to go to this seminar if he wanted to try out for a leadership role in band, which he did, so I spent Saturday morning putting the finishing touches on the house, getting cleaned up, taking Jazz to his seminar, and then the rest of the morning running errands – Wal-Mart, picking up the cake, and picking up the taco bar we had Qdoba cater.

I got all of this stuff home but didn’t have time to set it up before picking Jazz up, so Kevin had to finish up for me while I went to get him. He actually didn’t leave until 12:15 and we didn’t get back to the house until 12:30 and by then, everyone had arrived and were nearly finished eating.

Talk about awkward! Hostess is late to her own party.

But it was all good and you know, when you have kids, and they want to get involved in extra-curricular activities, you sort of have to roll with the punches.

Kevin did a great job setting everything out. He had moved quite a few chairs out to our new patio, which thankfully, we were able to enjoy because of the unexpectedly nice weather, only, I had a “Class of 2011” balloon loosely tied to one of the chairs because I had planned on tying that balloon to our mailbox, but when Kevin took the chair the balloon was tied to outside, *POOF*. It came untied and blew away.


It never fails – something always has to go wrong when you host a party. It’s like an unwritten law or something. He felt really bad about it and though I was annoyed, I didn’t fly off the handle (Hello! Emotional maturity!) and meh, it was just a balloon.

I think Dude had a really good time. His best friends were there and all of the family showed up, and we all had a really good time catching up, laughing and stuffing our faces. Hosting parties always overwhelms me a bit because I don’t want anyone to feel left out or awkward, so I spend a lot of my time making the rounds. I hope no one thought I was ignoring them or being weird, but it’s hard dividing your time between all of the guests.

My youngest nephews were there. My brother and his wife drove down and I hadn’t seen the little boys in, oh gosh, a year I think? There was one moment, when it was me, both of my sisters-in-law, my niece, my mom and my dad were sitting around talking, when my brother walks in with my youngest nephew and he stands in the middle of the room, as proud of as a peacock, and exclaims in a very loud voice, “I go poop!!” We all died laughing and began clapping because who can’t relate to that moment?? It was really cute and his facial expression was priceless.

Even though I had put on the invitations that the party was going to be from noon to 2:00, everyone stuck around until nearly 4:00. We were totally FINE with this as it made us feel like everyone was enjoying themselves and didn’t want to leave. I never want people to feel obligated to stick around one of our parties if they don’t want to, so I tend to make the invitations pretty informal to begin with. So the fact that everyone chose to stay was really nice for me and Kevin.

Kevin had put pictures of Dude growing up in a slideshow and it was fun to look back on his little boy days. We’ll have to chop the show in half and upload the two parts to YouTube so you can guys can watch it. It was really fun to point out various locations as we watched the slideshow. We’ve been to a lot of places! And it warms my heart to think that the boys will be able to look back on their childhoods and talk about all the cool family vacations we’ve taken together.

My mom made the cutest chocolate mortar hats:

Chocolate Mortar Hats

I won’t even tell you how many I ate. (But if you guessed all but two, then you’d be, erhm, really close. NOT all in one day. Okay, maybe all in one day. I TOLD YOU I HAD A PROBLEM WITH JUNK FOOD!!)

Dude’s cake turned out really good. I went through the same cake lady I used to go to when I threw birthday parties for the boys when they were little. To my utmost surprise, she remembered me!! (Or at least, she acted like she remembered me. Maybe she was just being nice. Oh well).

Graduation Cake

It was a really fun reception. I think Dude had a good time and it was really nice that everyone was able to come.

And that’s it. Dude has graduated. He’s out of school. And we’re all trying to adjust to a new normal.

We had a parent band meeting this past Tuesday night. We’ve already been through this meeting twice before (8th grade, then 9th grade), so we knew what to expect. But what we were really waiting for was to hear what the show would be for next year and to see the new band uniforms.

I believe the school has used the same uniforms for the past ten years. They were looking rough and a little frayed around the edges. Still, they were pretty cool.


If not a little space-suit-ish.

But the new ones … WOW. Love them!! In fact, I like them better, but Kevin said he likes the old ones more. Anyway. I don’t have a picture to show you now, but when he gets his uniform assigned to him in September, then we’ll take the traditional “pose by the tree” shot.

The show also sounds good – though it will be interesting to see how it comes together. It has something to do with directions … and that’s all I can tell you. 🙂

We had to take Jazz to the walk-in clinic last night. He’s been having some trouble with his toes. He had been wearing leather-top sneakers and apparently, the suckers rubbed a sore stop just under each big toe toenail. This area swelled up and was quite tender for a while. He squeezed the pus out and they looked better for a while, but then his toenails started turning yellowish and they looked like they were infected with fungus. He used toenail fungus stuff for a while, but that didn’t seem to do any good and yesterday, he came to me after school to show me they were bleeding.

We threw in the white towel and took him to the clinic.

The doctor said they are definitely infected and prescribed some antibiotic. We’re also soaking his feet in Epsom Salt twice a day. In the meantime, we have to call a podiatrist because she said considering both toes were in the same shape, it would be better if a foot doctor took a look at them. They’re supposed to be calling us today with a referral so … I’m sure I’ll have more information when we find out what the next step is.

I’m thinking he will probably have to lose both nails. They are looking pretty nasty and Jazz says they feel loose, so, it might be for the best. I’ve lost a fingernail and a toenail before and it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s just hard skin under the nail and it eventually grows back.


*sigh* Looks like Jazz won’t be wearing flip-flops or sandals this summer.

*UPDATE: The clinic just called – they made an appointment for Jazz at The Foot Doctors. I had no idea we even had a facility dedicated to just feet. It’s next Tuesday, at lunch, so I’ll have to take Jazz out of school, but it’s the last week and they won’t be doing anything, anyway. Will post more when I know more …

UPDATE 2: My bad. The appointment is next Thursday, after lunch, and Jazz will be taking finals. So I’ll have to reschedule.