Since I went back to work, 2 1/2 years ago, I have grown to hate this question.
Now my vacation days are full of doctor appointments or family trips.
BUT - - gone are the days that Max is excited about sitting in Dr. Chanin's Blue's Clues Thinking Chair....
Gone are the days of a stay-at-home mom of little boys....
My baby Jack will be 17 in a month. He is never home because he drives and has a job...
Monday, he flew on an airplane for the first time......to Budapest, Hungary...for 12 days.
The red suitcase is mostly full of empty space, 13 t-shirts, and a couple of shorts.
The black suitcase was packed by a youth leader, not Jack, and contains 50 pounds of powdered paint in baggies....much like drugs....and Jack was instructed, by the mission trip leader:
"they will ask you if anyone else packed your bag. You say 'no'..."
Thankfully, I found this funny...going on a mission trip and lying to the feds....
My baby Max will be 15 in two months....driving...
He has passed his mother in intelligence. He gave me a complete History lesson at the 3rth of July celebration.
Being a homeschool teacher/mom, I should have responded proudly:
"I'm glad you paid attention to my teaching."
But instead I was: "Really?? where the heck did you learn that?"
Gone are the days of feeling the need to provide educational playtime, worrying if he will wander off at the 3rth of July concert....
What is not gone? Max's fascination with destruction...explosions, taking things apart to see how they work.....burning things with a magnifying glass...
I needed some summer days...DESPERATELY!
So Friday and Saturday, I did nothing but read a book.....one of the best books I have read in a long time!
I donned my Esther Williams swimsuit and lounged in the backyard for two days. I was transported to Germany during the late 1930s and early 40s. I laughed and cried as I became another character in the book. I had not lost myself in a book, in years. I entered 2014 only to go in the house for water or break for lunch with Max.
Today, as my heart pounded because I was nearing the end of the book, I needed to stop for water. I ascended the steps to the back door and noticed my neighbor had been watching me through parted blinds.
I told Jeff, "the weirdo is looking at me, in my bathing suit, and probably wondering why I would walk around the backyard without a cover-up!" Jeff responded with an obligatory compliment. I rolled my eyes and went back to my backyard blanket, and a riveting story.
Later, my phone buzzed with a text. I paused my running from the Nazis, to see who might be trying to contact me. It was Jeff and he had sent an image....
I turned to look at the house, and Jeff stood proudly in the window.
Gone are the days that I need 2 months of nothing. I have thoroughly enjoyed my two days of summer and am ready to go back to work, on Monday.
I spent the day in a small town about 5 miles wide, and yes! I still got lost....
but that is not what this post is about
I realized that Osceola, AR is a small but friendly town.....uncomfortably friendly, like when you are at a stop sign with your windows down because it is one of the most beautiful days of the year and the gang on the corner not only says "hi" but ask you if your day is going well, and "do you need a light?" as they hand me their lighter......thoroughly confused me.
but that is not what this post is about
After I had an actually WONDERFUL day, business wise.....because I make up weird challenges for myself and then see if I can complete these "missions" to see how far I can get into a "secured" facility.
but that is not what this post is about
I set up shop at the ONE McDonald's, stuffed my face with yummy fries and lost myself in work...
I hear above me in a muffled voice:
"I just celebrated my 102nd birthday this week"
I look up at a tall man that YES looks like he is 102 or 127!
"wow, that is great" I politely said, smiled, noticed his cataract covered eyes and hearing aids, then looked back at my computer....
"Do you know why girls have curly hair?"
oh, crap! not only is he going to talk to me, he is going to loudly talk to me....
I cringe at the question because, frankly, I am scared what the answer might be.
"why?" I give him a side look as if that will deflect the coming answer.
"From looking at boys! You college girls need to watch out."
Bless the man with one foot in the grave. I ignore that he is legally blind.....
hey! he saw enough to see I had curly hair! Let's say he saw enough to see I look as young as a college girl.......
yea, I know....
"Well, I am a bit older than college."
"Well then, you need to really be careful because looking at boys can get you babies."
"yea, that is what I have heard"
He goes back to his "mcdonald's mens club" taking up 4 tables...none of them can hear....it would have been humorous, if I wasn't trying to concentrate!
As I was packing up my stuff to leave, he walked over and handed me this:
"You look like you might need this. You have a long life ahead of you."
So I looked young and SINFUL.
I have been teaching my sons......well, since birth....
AND I have been homeschooling them for 6 1/2 years.
As with most students, finding out what they truly have retained is like running in sand:
After finishing a great, visual, auditory, and tactile lesson, I ask
"So what year did this take place?"
"I don't know"
"Well, what was the purpose?"
"I don't know"
"Tell me the steps they took"
"uh, well....I can't remember all of them"
I gladly spend my free-time planning and re-planning to suit their educational needs. I figure I will get an extra smiley face in teacher heaven.
Two weeks ago, on a short car trip around town, Max got bored in the backseat and started reading the OSHA manual.
It was actually quite entertaining hearing him read, in a very animated voice, the regulations on floor holes....or as he read it FLO HOES.
Two long weeks after he read this information, I pick him up from a week long mission trip. He is telling me about serving in a mission house.
"....and mom, they weren't obeying the rules on floor holes. They had open holes in the floor that didn't have covers, or barricades, or guardrails."
This from the kid that can't retain my repetitive lecture on
"when you take your socks off, don't just toss them, take them to the laundry room"
complete with "repeat what I said", "now show me"
But apparently I need to say
It shall be unlawful to place, or cause, or permit to be placed, on any floor or roof or wall or other structure, haphazardly tossed sock(s).
To facilitate cleaning, every floor, working place, passageway, areas of comfy sitting, and storage of random outdoor items shall be kept free from freely tossed sock(s).
So I guess Max's learning style is how the OSHA manual is written.......ACHHH, I refuse to write my lessons like federal regulations.
Today, I entered the dressing room at a local department store. I prepared myself to only "glance" in the mirrors that lined the walls. I only needed to make sure that secrets were covered as I begrudgingly took on the task of choosing a swimsuit for our August beach trip. I did not need to go into an emotional breakdown over a swimsuit.
My eyes are still swollen from an emotional breakdown 2 days ago. For someone who hates emotion and crying, I do it well.
I was so tired Wednesday from lack of sleep that when I got home from work, I fell on the bed and cried the snotty, gasping for breath, ugly cry. It lasted for almost 2 hours. Ridiculous!
Jeff knows this is how I ultimately handle stuffing my emotions, so he patted me on the back and told me all about a TV show he started watching. He spoke louder the louder I cried.
Back in today's dressing room, I chose several different types of suits. One was designed to flatter my femaleness but after I stuffed myself into it, I cut my eyes at the mirror and felt like my body had turned into a cartoon:
Still tired, I fought back tears as I reached for another suit. It was supposed to hide unwanted curves with slimming lines...
I cut my eyes at the wall of mirrors and realized vertical lines are not ALWAYS better!
Trying to convince myself that I look fine, just not made for clothes, I tried the next bathing suit. I KNEW it was going to work! The tag even said so!
"tummy control, instant slimming"
It was black, which I feel is easier to disappear into a hole.....a black hole....out of sight!
I moved the tourniquet over my thighs and tucked my body into this magic black cloth.....
much like you would tuck a long shirt into your pants. After minutes, the suit snapped onto my body with a loud "cracking the whip" sound that echoed through the fitting room.
Before I looked into the mirror, I made the decision that if this suit looked great, I would gladly wet myself at the beach....because there was no way I was going to put that suit on more than once a day!
I slowly turned to face the mirror. The tag did not tell a lie! My tummy was slim!
However, it had pushed the extra body down and out to my thighs...up and out my chest....back and around and out between straps.....
Disgusted and fighting back emotion, I stretched with all my might to remove the slimming suit.
What the tag did not advertise was the fact that in the event of removal, you will be turned into a human slingshot/catapult.
I shielded my eyes from the wall of mirrors, pulled the straps out and launched myself out of the suit.
I shot across the dressing cubicle and into the thin wall. The force knocked the square room out of whack and the walls began to fall like dominoes.
Thankfully, all of us ladies were about the same body type and trying on bathing suits. Giggling erupted and requests "are you okay?" rippled down the 9 temporarily unhinged walled rooms. I started laughing uncontrollably which led to uncontrolled cry/laughing.
Most people that witness this emotional act feel a need to send me straight to emergency therapy!
I quickly got dressed, gathered my wallet and keys, apologized profusely and tried to escape.
Dressing Room Attendant picks up my credit card and my business card, "is this yours?"
I grabbed my credit card "yes! thank you!"
I looked at my business card with "GREEN & SAFE" screaming out to everyone. I thought about the unsafe demolition I had just caused.....
"This isn't mine, but I'll take it"
Being a part of Su Casa Family Ministries, in Memphis, was one of the best things I have done with my life.
I helped with the children's ministry.
I was there over a year and the only thing I could say was "no llores, no llores...."
Which means "don't cry, don't cry".....but mine sounded like "no, your esss, no, your ess".
Somewhat helpful because the little ones stopped crying to wonder what was wrong with me.
Because of my foreign language disability, I felt I became a master at charades and sign language! I don't think the mothers of these little ones would agree.
One day, I was using my fabulous MAZ-charades-skills on a mom. I was simply telling her to bring a diaper next time. I must have gotten carried away with my theatrics because she left and came back with a translator.....she thought I was saying her baby was very sick.
I left that part of my life, defeated, because no matter how hard I tried, how many times I asked "how do you say.....spell it....", I could not get a grip on Spanish. One time, I thought I was answering in Spanish, but I was informed it was French....my two years of French in high-school crept back into my brain.....strange!
Every time I am around the spanish speaking community, I am reminded of my failure.
Until! YESTERDAY!!! greatest day of my life
Non-English speaking man: "check for me?"
Lady: "are you S? "
Man; "si, and G's check?"
Lady: "you want your check and G's check?"
Lady: "where is G?"
Man: " si, check"
Lady: "where is G?"
Lady looked at me...."oh my word"
I stood there deep in thought......I know I can help.......what are the words for "where is".....
Me: "Dawn Day Es Taw, G?"
So proud of myself I did not even think of not being able to understand the spanish answer to where G would be!
I was in luck!
Man, smiling...because I am pretty sure I asked where a female or object and not a male...was.
WHAT!!! STEP BACK WORLD!!!!
I was so happy I did a tiny disco boogie and then turned to "lady"....
"O K!!!! YES! I GOT THIS!! G is either at a Family Ministry or his house!"
(click on above pic)
I want to take this time to encourage all my friends and family to get involved with a really great ministry!!! You don't have to speak Spanish, or be a master at charades!
In an effort to mail letters for work, I stopped at the post office (after hours) to quickly buy stamps and deposit the letters.
I walked into the lobby and an eclectic looking lady was staring at a corner. I ignored the weirdness and approach the stamp kiosk. I read the book of information on the screen.
"YOU CANT MAIL ANYTHING........POSTAL CLOSED!"
I slowly turn, preparing myself for a banshee with a hatchet.
"I'm just buying stamps", I reply to the wire-haired lady with bright. red-framed spectacles.
I look her over as I think.....crap, that is me in 20 years.....except the floral print moo moo dress (hopefully).
I look outside for the "caregiver" that obviously lost a patient........no one.
"yes, I can buy them from this machine. It's ok."
I turn back and hope that I have selected the right stamp.....why are there so many different stamps? I just wanted it to say 'stamps for letters'.
Moo Moo: "AHHHHHHHHH!"
then she whispers to invisible person
"dont give her a receipt"
I turn sideways so I can keep an eye on Moo Moo AND continue navigating the too-much-info-to-choose-from stamp machine. Choose, swipe my card, and wait on the receipt.
The lady leaves the building. I turn around and the screen reads
"printer out of order, no receipt" CURSES!
Moo Moo Voo Doo
I turn back around and an old man has entered. He is staring at the locked door with a big sign that reads "Closed Saturday and Sunday"
"EXCUSE ME, DO YOU THINK THEY WILL BE OPEN TOMORROW?"
why is everyone yelling?
I stare a few seconds at this man......I look in the parking lot for the weirdoville van that is letting their citizens off one at a time.
I point to the sign, "They will not be open on Saturday."
"WHERE IS ANOTHER POST OFFICE?"
I point in the appropriate direction for my next statement. "There is one behind the Huey's Restaurant."
The man leans way too far into my personal space..
"JULIE? I DONT KNOW JULIE!" He turned as if he were going to leave.
The lobby suddenly became incredibly small, hot, and depleted of oxygen.....
As I planned my escape route and timing.....the man looked at me...just like this
I take full credit for my boys' genius!
I planned ahead and chose to start a family with a mature man with a great head of hair!
I put great importance on everything my boys did.
I made sure they only drank filtered water!
I made sure candy was never in the house and that the delight of food was never important.
I am a model of how to never be quick to anger.
I made sure that they were always calm and clean!
I made sure they were never puzzled or confused and uncomfortable.
I made sure they were immersed in culture and the arts.
and....I never EVER was amused at their discomfort....
because of my great parenting and teaching......
As of today, after reporting grades, Jack is now a sophomore in high school and Max is an 8th grader....last year of middle school.
Thanks to me teaching them to always be serious and composed....they are nothing but complete SUCCESS.
For teachers, tutors, parents, and anyone that organizes the unorganizable.....
Enjoy my FAVORITE video (about 2 minutes).
They have used audio from a couple of kids having a conversation and put it to adults actions.
If you haven't read my ClassicMaz blog from the beginning, then you probably don't know WHY it is named CLASSICMAZ. There was a SNL skit with Justin Timberlake as Classic Peg.
Peg would tell stories about how awkward things happened to her, or how she caused accidents and end the story with "Classic Peg".
I, too, am awkward and cause problems........ending a situation with "Classic MAZ" ringing in my head.
Like this morning...
I was dropping off my youngest at church. I sat in the car to finish posting a picture on instagram. I look up as a car is backing up and coming to a stop right in front of my car (about 5 feet away). The guy looks like my friend's husband, but not. I look back down. I look back up and he is grinning. I throw a stupid "stick your face out and grin big" right back at him and he rolls his window down. All this time I'm thinking, "something is different about SP".
I roll my window down and realize, by the way we are parked, I won't be able to hear whatever he says...so I open my door to get out of my car. As I'm closing the door, his gaze seems to be slightly behind me as he says "what are you doing?" I prepare to say something witty as a lady walks from behind me toward his car.
Oh My Word......He IS NOT my friend's husband AND he IS NOT smiling/talking to me. I am so close to this interaction that I can't just get back into my car like an idiot.....
So I go into the gym, where my oldest son is working the desk. I am sure he is not happy that I have come to see him at work. I make up 2 random questions and then walk back to my car and FLEE!
(BY THE WAY, my friend's husband is a good friend of mine and there is no reason why I should not have been aware that this wasn't him........sheesh)
I am at a work seminar by myself. I am surrounded by nice dressed men and women of the business world, which means I am feeling VERY out of place. My table fills up.....thank goodness, because I was by myself and fearing that it was going to be high school ALL OVER AGAIN...
It would have been much better to stay ALONE because after my table filled up, a man asked if he could join us. I found this odd because he had to pull a chair away from another table to squeeze in with us.
After getting situated, he asked me "what was your maiden name?"
I told him and he loudly proclaims to the table "yes, we went out in college!"
Everyone looked at me. this guy has on a western style dress shirt with the pearl buttons and khakis that have western stitching ON THE SIDES.
My first and natural response was to say "...ha ha ha...whatever! I don't think so!" But I was not there as MAZ.....I was there as someone's employee....so I tried to think of a "professional" reply.....
Before I could speak, he continued, "we had History together, my freshmen year of college. this girl was hilarious! I took her to a party.....a mixer.....she was a riot! she had everyone in tears, laughing."
the table looks at me again.
I politely smile as my brain is scanning memories to see if I remembered any of what he was talking about. I looked at everyone's faces and developed a sudden urge to just slide out of my chair and under the table.
THEN it hit me:
I remember this guy. I DID have history with him. He saved me a seat everyday and told me stories of how he was a rodeo bull rider. at the age of 18, he had a fake hip.
I did remember the mixer. BUT I remember him asking "are you going?"
I said "yes"
I saw him at the mixer.
I dont remember being funny, so maybe he had been drinking. I don't even remember talking to him AT ALL. Not sure how he got "we went out" from that mixer.....
Back to the table,
as everyone is staring at me waiting for my response.....and probably waiting for a funny one, to put them in tears
I smiled. I stretched out my hand to get a drink of coffee....stalling. But instead of gracefully taking the coffee mug...
I spilled the guys water......and then the host rose from my table and walked to the podium to begin introducing the guest speaker......
The other Sunday was like any other Sunday.
I sat uncomfortable in my pew, cursing the man that invented pantyhose.
I fumbled through the church bulletin, while waiting for the sermon.
I read these words and immediately, without thinking, tore them out and stuck them in my Bible. I LOVE these words! I LOVE what it means to me personally!!!
This morning, I came across the piece of paper tucked in my Bible. I read the words again. I let the feeling of worship and glorifying God begin to trickle over me....
Before I let down my guard to feel emotion, I felt Jack shake beside me and then heard a small giggle.
I quickly snapped back into MAZ mode and shot Jack a "look". He stole a quick look at Max and then bowed his head but his shoulders continued to shake with laughter.
I looked at Max. He had dark circles under his eyes and his lids looked as if they would fall straight to the floor with the weight of sleep. I looked back at the pastor. Seconds later, Jack was hysterical again. I tilted my head forward so I could look around Jack, in order to see Max. Max's eyelids were huge and swollen with "sleepy time", leaving tiny slits for us to see his glassy eyeballs rolling around in the sockets.
As soon as I witnessed the next action, Jack giggled audibly. Max's lips were moving. Was he talking in his "pew sleep"? I smiled as Jack shook with silent giggles. Max's eyes shifted sharp to look into mine. A blaze of anger silenced my grinning eyes.
In fear, I turned to look straight ahead. As soon as the service was over, I heard a demon say "I will kill you. I will kill you as much as I can." I looked behind me at my sons. Max's eyes were black as he hissed these angry words at Jack.
Jack's eyes were dancing in delight of Max's anger.
If I were the one reading this about another family and kid, I would think back to my experience in dealing with emotional disturbed children and their families. I would start an intervention for the family...immediately.
However, it is Max.....my son.....just like his momma....quick to anger.
Add lack of sleep and poor diet......you get a demon in the pew on a beautiful Sunday morning.