Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Saturday (three days late and more than a dollar short...)

     Well, the good news is, the first week of school is done. And, I made it. So I guess my "short list" was a success?  And, to be honest, Friday was a decent day.  It was still 90 degrees, but instead of opening my windows and dealing with the intolerable noise, I just left the lights off to keep the room cooler,  the windows closed, and teaching was MUCH easier. It seems to be a good group of kids, even if there ARE 28 of them now. And 4 adults as well. The Special Ed teacher decided to leave her 6 kids in there, and push in, instead of pulling them out (and thus relieving ME of two of the adults, and 6 of the 28 kids...) and now the Speech teacher has decided to push in for two of my other students. Awesome. Just awesome. Oh well. It will be fine. It just takes some adjustment, but it'll be fine. 
     Today, the heat is gone. In it's place is winter. No, not really. But it has been SOOO cold today!  It has only been in the 50's today, with wind and rain.  A drastic change from the heat of this previous week, that's for sure.  Kind of a buzz-kill, weather wise, for Labor Day weekend, for those around here who camp. We have a couple of lakes near us where cidiots  people from the city have camps, or CAMP, and Labor Day weekend is usually their last big hurrah of summer. In fact, there is a big local Labor Day celebration in one of the nearby towns by one of the lakes, complete with carnival, tractor pulls, demolition derby, and big parade on Monday, chicken barbecue, and fireworks Monday night.  When I was little, no, while I was growing up, even when I was no longer "little", we "ended" summer with the Labor Day fireworks every single year. When I got married, because I only moved a few towns away from where I grew up, I insisted on making the Labor Day fireworks a tradition for MY kids as well. I wasn't nearly as successful with them as my parents were with me, in that regard. It's tough, because the kids don't have to be in school the next day, but I do.  There have been a few years when I just haven't made it - too tired and too NOT ready to start the next day, and staying up that late was just too much.  This year, I don't know. Since I have been in school for a week already, it seems sort of anticlimactic to attend the fireworks Monday night. I guess it will all depend on whether or not my 17 and 15 year olds, the only two I will have left at home by Monday night, will want to go with me or not. 
     I did go to the Demolition Derby today, despite the rainy, cold, nasty weather. Since I specifically did things with the other kids this summer that they wanted to, I decided that attending Connor's demo's were the thing that I could do for him, "with" him, so to speak, that would be special for him. He has been working all summer on demo cars, and between working on the farm, going to school and working on his demo cars, I NEVER see him. He is simply never home. But he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES the demos. And today, I finally got it. The track today was much, much bigger than the other two I've seen. It was like a big circle in a field, instead of a narrow, two lane track. Today, I was able to see it from HIS point of view, for some reason, and I realized that it IS fun. True, redneck fun!  He is GOOD at it. It is not just driving around, running into people. There is actually strategy to being the last car running in a heat. Here's what I figured out today:  you have to avoid the people you hope will win if you don't (i.e. your friends), you have to work with your friends to take out early the people you DON"T want to win at any cost, AND you have to get in your hits, as hard and as often as you can, while avoiding being hit from behind by someone you don't see coming. You also have to know a lot about cars, to know where a well-placed hit is going to take out something vital. He is clearly getting better. He won "Best of Show" in his heat, and it came down to him and one other person left, before something vital, I know not what!, went on his mini-van and left him vulnerable to the final hit.  He was also second, and almost won, in the "Best of Show" heat later on. It is pretty exciting to watch your kid excel at something he enjoys and is so good at. I think it makes me especially proud, because he is so different from the rest of us. His siblings, and parents, are all pretty "academic" and most definitely NOT hands-on kind of people. This boy, my third child, is a carbon copy of my brothers, not me, and definitely not his father, although he far exceeds even THEIR knowledge of cars and mechanics. 
     I watched a girl I work with run her "Spongebob" decorated car in the Powder Puff heat and decided that it actually might be something I would like to do, for fun, some day.  I think there is a little bit of danger in it, but not REAL danger. I wouldn't likely DIE running a car in a demolition derby, but the noise and the excitement and the little bit of danger seems like it could be kind of fun.  I am built that way - I enjoy living on the edge, just a little. I need, and crave, that little bit of danger that keeps life exciting, that little thrill that makes you feel alive and daring. I used to downhill ski, fast, on black diamond slopes eventually, til I tore my knees up and got too cold and too old!  I love snowmobiling, and motorcyle riding. Fast. I love dogsledding. I THINK I would like white water rafting, and parasailing, and a few other things like that. On the other hand, I also like flat water kayaking, reading a good book, and walking my dog, so life is a balance. I DO know when it gets OUT of balance, too much calm or too much excitement, I begin to crave the opposite.  (Does that make me a well-balanced person?)
     And, something else I realized today?  It's destiny.   For some reason, while I was standing there in the rain and cold, I suddenly had a flashback to 5th grade, and remembered that I had asked for, and received, for either Christmas or my birthday that year, a set of Smash Up Derby Cars. They were, literally, plastic demolition derby cars with zip strip runners in them that you pulled to make them go, put them on the floor, and hoped they would run into each other or a wall or some other immovable object. When they did, doors and trunks and hoods, tires, etc. fell off, and then you got to snap them back together. I"m not really sure what the allure was to me then, unless it was just simply a precursor of excitement to come 37 years later?  (I never was much of a girly girl, even then, so I guess it isn't TOO unusual that I had demo cars and chemistry kits rather than dolls and dress up clothes...but I also found the very clear flashback rather disconcerting. It's not my first demo, after all, so why then? Weird.)

     So, home, finally, and a fire in the fireplace - the first one of fall, tonight, to warm my frozen toes, and the perfect evening for my three- season- favorite-  bedtime- drink of elderberry syrup, a squeeze or two of lemon juice, and hot water.  It fights colds effectively, and tastes good (when it isn't 90 degrees out)  and makes me feel warm, cozy and glad to be home.  Which I am. What do you want to bet that Tuesday, when school rolls around again, it will be 85+ and my cold, frozen toes of today will be almost as distant a memory as my Smash Up Derby car set?


Coloradocasters said...

I am so glad that you embraced your son’s fascination as where other parents may have done everything in their power to stop something others would think as reckless as smash up derby. It sounds incredibly thrilling and a better release than say vandalism or meth use. This may be his calling. Hopefully he can channel this skill into a local repair shop or similar craft. Doing what you love is a level of success and richness few get to enjoy these days. I wish him the best with this. Most of us merely get to smash our vehicles up on accident.

Karen Sue said...

I remember my younger brother putting his SSP racer on my grandma's head one Christmas AFTER he's pulled the strip. I think we had to cut alot to get it out. Grandma just laughed. AND I had my chimneys cleaned and my wood unloaded and stacked this week, so I'm ready for the fireplace season, too.