Feb 28, 2016: Leapin’ Lizards!

No reason for this week’s blog title other than that it’s Leap Year, which is kinda fun!

Let’s see, what did we do this week? Well, I kicked off the week by losing Theo. First time I’ve lost a child! Hopefully it’ll be the last time, too. Though in my defense, it actually wasn’t my fault. But still, I have a few more gray hairs because of it.

I had signed Theo up for an after-school enrichment class called My First Video Game; it’s a class in which the kids work in small groups to design and build their own video game. Theo likes games, so I figured he’d dig it. The first class was Monday, so when I dropped him at school Monday morning, I said, “Don’t forget to go to your video game class after school. It should be in the multi-use room, but your teacher can tell you for sure. And I’ll pick you up when it’s over.” Knowing absentminded Theo, I went home and sent his teacher an email asking her to please remind him to go to the class when school was out. She wrote back saying no problem, so I figured all was well.

I got to school at 3:35 to pick him up…but he wasn’t in the multi-use room. I asked the other parents milling around if that was the video-game class, and they said yes. And Theo’s name was printed by computer on the sign-in sheet, but there was no signature after it, so it appeared he had never shown up.

“Shoot,” I thought. “He forgot about the class. He probably walked to the bottom of the hill when school got out at 2:20, didn’t see me, and headed back up to the office.” That’s what I’ve told him to do if he ever doesn’t see me at the bottom of the hill when school is out, so I figured he had probably done that.

Um, no. I went into the office, and they said, “No, we haven’t seen him since lunchtime!” (When, presumably, he was in there for yet another injury from extreme head-injury soccer.)

Hmmm. This was getting concerning, but there was one other possibility: Occasionally, Theo goes to the after-school daycare that’s on campus, if I have a meeting that runs late and can’t pick him up at the usual time. Obviously, I hadn’t told him to go there that day, but I figured he might’ve gotten confused and gone. So I headed over. Nope—they hadn’t seen him either.

At this point, I started to panic. There was only one other thing that could’ve happened, in my mind—that he had tried to walk home on his own. But school had gotten out 80 minutes earlier, and we live only a five-minute walk from school. He would’ve been home long before—and I had been there working, so I would’ve answered the door and let him in if he had tried that! So where was my son?!

In a bit of a panic, I ran back over to the multi-use room and asked the teacher of the video game class if Theo had been there and just not signed the sign-in sheet. “No,” she said, looking perplexed. “He never showed up.”

Just before I about had a nervous breakdown, another mother heard me and piped up with, “Oh, did you know there’s a second class, for the older kids? It’s in Room 14.”

No, I hadn’t known that. They had only advertised one class in the after-school program flyer. My best guess is that they got enough enrollment that they decided after the fact to split the big group into two—a younger-kids group in the multi-use room and an older-kids group in Room 14. So I raced over to Room 14, and sure enough, there was Theo, wandering happily out of the room. I nearly cried from relief, and another mother from the school who knows Theo because she also works in the lunchroom said, “Oh, I was wondering why he was in here! I was pretty sure he’s only in second grade, and this class is for fourth- and fifth-graders!” Her son piped up with, “Wow, he’s only in second grade? He did really well!! His video was longer than mine!”

So apparently Theo crashed the older-kid game design class and held his own quite nicely. Meanwhile, I nearly wet my pants in a panic and undoubtedly grew a few more gray hairs! I mean, we live in a very safe little community, but you just never know. When he was nowhere to be found and no one had seen him, all manner of terrible thoughts went through my head: There’s a very busy street he’d have to cross to get home—had he gotten hit? Or he could’ve taken the trail—but had he gotten lost? Or worse, had he stumbled upon some seemingly friendly stranger who was actually not so friendly?!

Luckily, none of those ended up being true, and it was a simple misunderstanding—his teacher had apparently told him to go to Room 14, so that’s where he went. I told him he could pass along a message from me that she had given me a few gray hairs by sending him to the wrong room! 🙂

Tuesday was significantly less stressful. Theo went to school as usual, and Sam and I had a visit from my friend Jisun and her family. They moved to Oregon a few months ago but were back in town for a visit, so they came by. It was pretty adorable: Sam and LP (Jisun’s son who also has Down syndrome) are about nine months apart (Sam’s older), and they haven’t seen each other all that much. But when LP walked in, he stopped in front of Sam, and Sam looked at him and seriously said, “Hi.” LP replied, equally seriously, “Hi,” and they sized each other up for a moment and then went about their business. The funny part about this is that Sam didn’t say hello to any of Jisun’s other three young children. He wasn’t unfriendly, but if you know young kids, you know they often don’t really say anything to each other in the form of greeting—they just go about their business, engaging in parallel play or whatnot. So it cracked me up that he and LP so seriously sized each other up and said a formal hello before moving along. Makes me wonder if they have some cosmic 47th chromosome connection or something!

Wednesday and Thursday, Chris took on single-parent duty so I could attend a meeting in Sacramento. I’ve been an editor for one of the State departments for about six or seven years now, but this is the first meeting I’ve been able to attend. They don’t have them very often, and the only other one they’ve had while I’ve been on board was right after I had Sam—or while I was hugely pregnant. I forget which, but I was definitely in no condition to attend. So this was the first one I’ve been able to go to. And it was very useful, though I felt like a fish out of water.

This particular State department has two levels of editing, and due to a miscommunication some years ago, I’ve only been doing the proofreading level, whereas all the other editors have been doing the in-depth, developmental-level edits. I never cleared up this miscommunication because I didn’t know it existed—I thought they just only gave me proofreading work because they needed a proofreader, and they knew I’d do it, so I filled a niche for them! But no—it turns out they didn’t realize I was available to do more in-depth work.

So the two-day meeting focused mainly on the more in-depth work, of which I have done exactly none. And therefore a lot of what they discussed wasn’t anything I could contribute to. But still, even though I felt very out of place, it was good to be there because hopefully in the future I’ll get to do some of that in-depth work—and now I’ll actually know more about it!

But anyway, the people were nice, and I got a nice dinner out of it! And they put me up in a hotel overnight, which I had high hopes for: hot water that I didn’t have to pay for!! Alas, I’m snake-bitten when it comes to hotel showers. Given that we’re in a drought and under severe water restrictions, I don’t get to shower as often as I’d like at home. And given that our gas/electric bill was obscenely high last month, I’ve become even more frugal about my showers. (Hot water is so darn expensive!) So I thought, “Aha—hotel! I will take a nice, long, hot shower!” But that was destined not to be. The last time I thought this, Chris and I had a hotel room that ended up being the disabled-access room, so the shower was at waist-high for people in wheelchairs, and there was no shower door or curtain. It was not a pleasing experience. I’m sure it does its job for people in wheelchairs, but if you’re trying to take a shower standing up, it isn’t exactly pleasant.

This time, I was in a regular room, but the tub didn’t drain, and there was no hot water—just lukewarm. So I had a lukewarm shower in a tub of dirty water sloshing at my feet. Not exactly the spa-like shower experience I had hoped for. Oh well—that’s a total first-world problem, as was the fact that the walls were paper-thin and my neighbor insisted on slamming the hotel door multiple times at 5:15am, thus ensuring that I was awake for the day! Seriously, I wonder about hotel etiquette. I have been guilty of forgetting and accidentally slamming the door in a hotel, but five times in a row?! How, after the first slamming, do you not realize, “Oh, it’s 5:15am! I have neighbors! The walls are thin! I should close my door quietly!” My neighbor apparently didn’t realize this. He slammed the door so hard (multiple times) that all of the coat hangers in the closet were rattling, as was my headboard. Let us just say that I’m glad that for next week’s two-night stay in Sacramento, I’ll be bunking at Chez Grandma Diane, and she is unlikely to be slamming doors repeatedly at 5:15am and making me shower in a tepid pool of my own filth.

But enough about my first-world problems. It was a good meeting to go to, and I appreciated Chris working at home so he could do single-parent duty for two days while I went. He’ll be doing single-parent duty for three days next weekend, and then again for a weekend in April. And yes, I will be returning the favor if he ever decides he wants to get away for a weekend on his own. 🙂

On Saturday we went to see Grandma Kathy and Papa. We haven’t seen them in a while because Papa has been recovering from rotator-cuff surgery. Naturally, there are now many good jokes to be had at Papa’s expense, as he flops his arm into a very fancy-looking sling thing. Good thing he has a good sense of humor!

And on Sunday, we just ran some errands and went to the park for a bit. I finished Operation Fireplace Overhaul, and I think it looks much better (pictures in this week’s gallery), so I’m now embarking on Operation Stain and Paint the Banister. That’s a much bigger job, but the fireplace was incredibly easy, so I’m hoping the banister won’t be too bad.

We did also stop for lunch at our favorite kids-eat-free BBQ joint, and I had to laugh—Sam was so eager to eat there that he raced in the door and up to the counter where you order and stood there dancing in excitement as he waited! It was pretty cute—there was no mistaking his enthusiasm over brisket!

Hope you all have a wonderful end of February and start of March!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *