Charlywalker's Blog












My high school son announced the other day that he was getting a tattoo.

I told him: “That’s nice, and when you leave for your  INK appointment make sure you take extra clothes with you”.

He stated back: ” Why? Do they make you change your clothes?”.

“No”.  I smiled back at him….” You’ll be needing something  to wear when you find yourself  no longer living in this house for doing something stupid”.

“My friend Jordan got one”….He mocks back.  “It’s scripture, written under his arm”.

“Well”, I breath out between gritted teeth, “I’m sure  God will be pleased to know that his word is being spread through Jordan’s armpit”.

 He carries on:  “You know I turn 18 soon, and I don’t need your permission. That’s what Jordan did”.

I hate that sense of entitlement and the continual referencing of the legal age of consent being thrown at me.  Just four years prior I had to defend against the dark art of over usage of that illegal statement by my daughter.  (That’s right..I call it an Illegal statement because teens tend to use it before they are deemed legal).

I smiled that smile you may have seen painted across the Mona Lisa’s face;  the one that smirks: I’m not that innocent…..

I shot back: ” Son, you are right, you don’t need my permission, nor my money, nor a roof over your head, nor the car you drive, nor the snowboard and all the equipment that goes with it, nor the food in the fridge, nor the education I provided, nor the pants that hang below the boxer line, nor the straight teeth, nor the numerous Doctor visits to cure your acne, nor…”

“Mom”…he tries to chime in, interrupting my total recall as I tally his bill and prepare an invoice for Mom Services Rendered.

“Moooom, stop already..I get it”.

“Oh sorry son, sometimes my Stepford brain wiring runs amok with  phrases pertaining to child rearing chores…”

I continue; ” It triggers a signal when a teen gives me eye rolling attitude and it can fly out of control when such teen harbors intense entitlement followed by  contemptible demands that are rooted and enhanced by Jordan’s freshly  stamped armpit”.

How is it that I give birth to two different children of two different genders four years apart, yet I am  met with similar situations at roughly the same time intervals? How…

My daughter once came to me at the same age and roughly the same time with the same demand: I’m getting a tattoo.  Why do they pick a tattoo. Why not a new spiral notebook or a matching pair of High GPA’s.  If they are looking to instill the shock value, getting high scores might do it for me…..

As far as I can tell, I quashed the tattoo dilemma with my daughter the same way I managed to hold off any piercings in areas where they don’t belong.  When my daughter was five she wanted her ears pierced.  Her reasoning at the time was:

 “Because her friend Emily is getting her ears pierced”.

  I wasn’t going to get into the family accolade of my mother’s comeback to anything I wanted to do in benefit of someone else, that being: “Well would you jump off a bridge if so-n-so jumped off a bridge?”.

In which I always responded with: “Possibly… it depends on the weather”.  Or some ending that would throw her a curve ball and cause her Stepford Brain to re-route…

I brought my daughter to a local mall to get her ears pierced as she petitioned.  As we stood next in line, the first piercing victim was a four year old girl stepping up to a high stool  minus any arm support. We watched as the ear-piercing attendant approached her with a giant gun that shoots studs into her delicate lobes.  My daughter witnessed an unbearable Ear Piercing scream from the cute little waif and grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the exit doors.

The next piercing conversation that came up was in her teens when the rave was attaching  a gold hoop through your navel, nose, tongue, and any other not for prime time area of the body. I merely discussed with her that should she attempt to pierce anything but the lobe of her ears, I will personally shop her down and remove the piercing my self….no anesthesia required…..

My first born’s inclinations for obtaining an underage tattoo came about later ,nearing her high school graduation. She, too, offered up the proverbial ” Household Teen Amendment” of: “When I’m eighteen………..”.

It was then I took the medical approach to describe in pain staking detail to my daughter the artistry of Tattooing, knowing full well  of the intense fear she has of needles.  I know this first hand from the early years of her receiving inoculations by the Pediatrician.  My daughter required a Swat team to steady her limbs…..

I continued my diatribe of the long term effect of hosting a tattoo.  I calmly explained that depending upon the physical location of this desired Ink Splotch, she will wake up one morning with that cute little butterfly she posted on the lower 40 anatomy and discover its collagen wings  collapsed  and fell into a fatty fold. And in another thirty years or so  she will experience the butterfly defect of The Girl with the Dragging tattoo….

For all you fresh parents out there who shelter tiny tots and elementary  dumplings who can’t imagine ever being confronted with issues outside of Gerber, Lego, and little league;  hold onto your diaper bags when you hit that bump in the stroller.  There will come a time when one has to confront the battle of the almost legal teen who  proudly injects their unprincipled Bill of Rights onto your List of Wrongs.

Just make sure you don your under armor and prepare for the battle of parental injustice as they cry  foul play when you take their hand in yours and guide them down that road of   teenage wasteland to take  a sneak  peek  under their armpit nation…….

spread the humor. This one’s for you Karen…

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I have been doing time as a quasi- stay- at -home parent for..let’s say…..22.5 years.   I believe I  have met the necessary requirements and demands  that became the imprisoned criteria throughout those years in order to  obtain freedom from:  boring PTA meetings,  exhaustible Fund Raisers, Mad Max Sports Chauffeur,  24 hour on call chef , Personal Shopper, Emotional Referee, and in-house psychiatrist…..All this parental jurisprudence  under one leaky roof to allow freedom while enforcing order among family chaos….

I have enjoyed my time in this institution of parenting through each and every stage of child development.   All the way from directing developing girls into their  first wonder bra, to underdeveloped boys figuring out how to un-hook them.

It seems like only yesterday that my daughter was putting her toddler feet into my size 8 Charles Jourdan’s teetering and shuffling through the house while leaving a trail of scratch marks on the hardwoods.  Now she is grown and shuffles her  Knock-off collection between college and home via the trunk of a car, and still teeters and stumbles  in her stiletto’s on the hardwoods.

And my son, soon to  approach high school graduation and walk towards that collegiate path where he will pick up the fork in the road  and use it as a reminder of all the lovely over cooked meals mom made for him.  I think he will enjoy his “leaving the nest” gift I constructed out of the  equipment and attire that lays suffocating inside his sports bag gasping for a breath of fresh Febreze huddled in the garage for months on end….…..oh it just brings tears to my eyes……..

 Yes, time flies when you’re raising kids. Sometimes too fast and in certain predicaments, sometimes not fast enough. Looking back for example: Potty training.  My children had stubborn bottoms. There was no way in Hell that they were going to plant their tuschies on a porcelain stool containing water with a hole in it and “let loose”.  They might fall in and who knows where that  would lead to.

I invested in a lot of time and energy and “potty” reading material in order to get my kids trained in toiletry. I researched all the child experts and read  their advice on bathroom training and the commode controversy. All that information just filtered an assortment of crap that drained me and I was left pooped for the day. Who has that kind of time to sit and read  lengthy descriptive potty books to toddlers in hopes to encourage a movement.

When my kids did finally concede to try the pot located in a chamber adjacent to their rooms, they found themselves  actually liking it and would sit for what seemed like hours.  Once my son  hopped off the pot to go grab a toy and return to the bathroom theater to reenact the “mummy” with Elmo wrapped in Ultra Soft.

My daughter took a more regal approach and dragged her Crayola markers  to the throne as she mastered an  imitation of a Calder painting onto the toilet tank.

Yes, those were the days that I didn’t mind if the hours raced on ahead…

 Lately,I find myself caught in a web that spins in only two directions as my parenting comes down a home stretch creating a possibility for early parole….if you’ll Pardon the expression. There is a minor offensive feeling of freedom when you are about to face an empty nest. It’s sort of an unleashed guilty pleasure of retreating back to what was once designated  as ” Me Time”;  yet, at the same time, harboring a push-me-pull-you defense against “letting Go”.

Just as I came to grips with the realization that my household was soon to be down to basically Charly-dog and me, and I started to feel the content and joy of releasing  most of the everyday tedium  involved with indwelling kids.  Just as my heart  started to jump for joy as I unfastened the shackles of daily duties revolving around kid schedules and looking forward to…oh….I dunno………. perennial Spa time?……..

I received a phone call.

My son’s school called to ask if we could be an “emergency host family for a foreign exchange student from Holland who needed a place until graduation in June”.

This all came about before the holidays. I could not  lie and tell my sons school that there was “no room at the inn”, so I took the little Dutch boy in.

Apparently Amsterdam Boy and my son are two tulips in a vase. They became best friends at the beginning of the  school year.  When Holland boy’s window of opportunity landed  from Netherland into our home, I swear I had met my sons Doppleganger.  They are the same size and shape. They laugh alike, they walk alike, and  times they even talk alike.……….in different languages.

They are both carved out of the same Dutch Elm. Both their bedrooms  resemble an aftermath of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch war.  The shrapnel of clothing splinter out from the opened dresser drawers and wounded trousers lay lifeless on the floor from their nights frivolity.  I gather up dirty laundry from two countries  now.  I find myself lost in the glory of scooping up the minor coins that strategically drop from  loosened pockets throughout the house.  I’ll hang onto the Euro’s from Dutch boy until the exchange rate drops to our level, then give him a buy back option…

I will conclude that hosting a foreign exchange student has actually turned out to be a pleasure.  There are no major complications and the language barrier is minimal.  He respects my professionalism I’ve acquired in the experience of teen behavior:  Eye Rolling is International.

Yes, confronting the empty nest syndrome has had some effect on me. It caused me to confront the hollow spaces left behind where dirty laundry and missing History assignments use to congregate.  I always thought when this time came,  I would succumb to the sadness of a half empty house  and wallow and wine as I second guess my parenting skills. Skills that did not include instructions from the onset.  Skills that you obtained through trial and error and all the Dr. Spock books in the world could not prepare you for. Skills that have been handed down from generations  nursing  verbal acuity with four simple words:

“Because I said so….”

Yes, the bars will be lifted soon and I will be set free to roam about the cabin without tripping over size 13 shoes left in the middle of the kitchen floor; accompanied now  with size 12 Faux Wooden clog slippers.  Something tells me my nest won’t be empty for long and my parental ship will not be sailing into the sunset where freedom rings and Chianti flows rampant, and responsibility can take a back seat. Something  out there is still lurking around and sniffing about my feet to fill the void that is soon to come…..

Oh..yea… I forgot………Charly-dog.

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{January 7, 2012}   In one Blog and Out the Other

I love the holidays. I am sorry to see them go.  I believe I could become one of those recluses who keeps their lights and tree up all year long just to keep the spirit alive, and have the home owners association fine me at the same time.

I love Christmas and all the festivities that accompany it.  In the past I use to get annoyed at the fact that the retail businesses would set  up Santa’s workshop in stores shortly after Labor Day, but now I love that the Holiday arrives earlier and earlier every year; It just means I get to revel in that carnival atmosphere a little longer.

Although they start the Christmas phantasm following the  August back to school sales, I still love that I can retreat to the basement and sort through my recently added purchases from last years after Christmas sales.  I don’t know what it is that triggers me to run to the nearest Target or K-mart and thumb through their empty shelves of the previous years leftovers. It is such a gratification to grab a box of netted multi lights for 75% off.   Ohhh…. and hold me back from the singing Elvis ornaments…..I am so glad I didn’t weaken one day and fork out the full price for that…. yes, I am an ornament junkie.

I have  been seen rifling through end caps located in a  targeted area that offer ginormous bins loaded with discarded Christmas paraphernalia in hopes of finding that Lost Ark to add to my temple of doom & gloom that surrounds my house pre- Holiday.

I have had a a house full of people these last few weeks, and enjoyed every minute of it. I love the hustle -n-flow of the teens traipsing through my house leaving trails of candy cane pieces that had set up residence in the couch.  And let’s not forget to mention the patches of dark residue embedded in the carpet fibers, which I mistook for “doggie surprises”, but later turned out to be traces of a Tootsie Roll…………Thank God it wasn’t the other way around.

I am going to miss wading knee deep in the aftermath of torn wrapping paper, and the sticky bows that adhere themselves onto my clothing and go unnoticed until the cashier at the return line in Macy*s peels it off my back like a piece of stinky lint.

My favorite Holiday episode is fighting with colorful tissue remnants stuck to my shoe.  I hated the looks I received when I exited a Sear’s Ladies Room  one day, when I was met with countless stares and titters as my Jimmy Choo waved a white flag from it’s three inch heel.  As I hoofed it past the customer service line, I found myself conjuring up a soliloquy to numerous strangers giggling behind their basket of returns :

“No, really….it’s Christmas tissue……really.…it is...honest…I..I have proof, check the gummy outline on the sole from last years Scotch tape fiasco…”.

The part of Christmas I tend to wrestle the most with is the Tree.  For most of my life we would always indulge in a Real Christmas tree. A Tree that you would stuff family members into a mini van and venture out to a far-a-way farm to spend hours in the cold choosing the right tree  to fit the family room.  I love the smell of Pine in the house and spending days trying to remove the pitch from my hands.  I especially loved the endless upkeep involving never ending vacuuming of piled- up pine needles.  Pine needles that continued to show up throughout the summer.  In fact I think I found a needle from Y2K.

I know this because it was then that I switched to  the fake trees.  They are very life like and are all inclusive.  No need to” just add water…..”.  You take them out of a big box and they pop up and plug in. They have Pine Spray should you miss the scent of a wooded area. The problem is when it’s all over and stuffing that little faker back into its original box.  I find myself in a half nelson with the branches as I roll the tree into the box and ask three people to sit on it until it settles down.  And…I still find myself grabbing the vacuum to suck up Fake pine needles.

I have a friend who has a fake tree in its own Bag.  Her Holiday regime is met with:

First:    Open a bottle of wine and pour a glass …

Second: Open bag and raise slowly from the bottom up and lo and behold an instant tree with lights and ornaments.

Third:    Bottoms Up! And  sit and enjoy the sparkling Spruce while listening to your neighbors cursing at their Evergreens to “stand up straight”.

Yes I love the holidays. The beginning, middle, and end.  I love the aftermath of  de- Ornamenting the tree and placing them back into their  bulbous home and dragging the Tubs to the basement to stow them in an area that is only reachable by a ladder. I love climbing back up the stairs to the bare space in the corner where a naked tree stands pointing it’s fabricated projections at me dangling two forgotten red balls…..

I love arguing with the wintered rose bushes that are holding the outdoor net lights hostage in their thorns.  Every year I keep thinking I’ll return into the house unscathed, but, inevitably I always lose that war of the roses and end up looking like something the cat dragged in……carrying Christmas lights.

LED….less energy……right.

The one thing that was different this year was my daughter having to leave to return to school.  The time seemed to fly by this holiday break and before I knew it she was packing her bags and loading them into the car for the trip back to Happy Valley.   It seems like only yesterday she arrived with baskets of  laundry and suitcases filled a mile high with clothing spewing down a mountainside of of unwashed unmentionables.

Oh..it is such a bittersweet moment when the Holidays end at my house.  One is saddled with the leftovers of  Christmas residuals and the minor deflation of the Spirit gone by the wayside until next year.  I watched through the window of my daughters empty room as the car pulled down the driveway heading down the road back to her future , and I felt a pang of emptiness as I retreated from the window to start the year with some post Christmas cleaning.  I turned around to head towards her closet and there was an unopened gift my daughter  had left behind for me……………

The basket of dirty laundry…….ohhh…. Happy New Year…

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{January 2, 2012}   “Down Bloggie”

 

I want to talk about A-ccount-ability.   I am not referring to a certain Aristocratic Muppet whose capability is to count prime numbers through fanged teeth,…………..I am speaking about folks being held liable to be answerable,……..accountable.  Does anyone fully accept responsibility for their actions anymore or has passing the bedraggled buck  become the accepted modus operandi….

I own a house.  A house that has a roof.   A roof that carries two different dye-lots of shingles splattered about as if it had been  Jackson Pollock laying down the tiles in a pattern that screams Jack the Dripper’s handy work.  This would have fallen upon deaf ears ( and eyes) had my neighbor ( a roofer by trade) not stopped over and bring this faux -pas to my attention.  He said he was tired of staring  at the test pattern atop my house while sipping his Starbucks and working on last weeks crossword puzzle.  I told him my husband’s in the shoe industry and I haven’t enjoyed watching his ancient Chuck Taylor’s  with floppy laces climbing up and down the  metal ladder he loads on his truck at 5:00 a.m. every morning either……..

My Roof Aficionado neighbor kindly volunteered his expertise of Tile formation in grave detail.  He expounded on the faulty craftsmanship, application, and flawed materials that resulted in a leak over our family room.  He set forth with his roofing jargon and  concluded with explicit instructions on what steps to take and with whom to take those steps…..

I took his advice as he took my money for the consult and started at the grass roots level.  I contacted the Abbott & Costello Team who built this house that we paid a small fortune for, and was met with a trio of pin striped suits on the  other end of the phone:

Who am I speaking with?” , (asks Cindy who is the receptionist for the Builder)…..and What seems to be the issue..and I Don’t Know if we can help you…”.

I reiterated to Cindy-who is the receptionist, the knowledge I was given by my neighbor the roof expert.  Cindy forwarded my call to Jack-who is the builder’s nephew, whose job it is to resolve customer problems:

What we have here, Mrs. G, is a situation with the product used on the house that Jack built. This is not our jurisdiction, you need to contact the  company that manufactured the tiles”.   Mutters Jack from his boxed in cubicle.

 So I contacted the Manufacturer Team and they sent out a representative to fix the small leak under the mis-matched tiles.   As this representative did his job atop my pointy roof, we  conversed about rooftops using terms that included “workmanship” and “dye-lots”.  The Roofing Rep conceded that this was a “bums rush” of a job, however, the folks that did the original job are ” no longer with the company”.  And then he left.

He left with two samples of roofing tiles to be examined by Who’s  Top Tile scientists, who later got back to me:

  What we have here, Mrs. G, is a building issue, not  a materials issue.  I Don’t Know if we can help you”, states the rocket roof tile scientist. ” You need to contact the sub contractor”.

“Who?” I Bat back.  “Do they touch base with Who the first contact I spoke with, who directed me to What appears to be the second base of contact for which I Don’t Know if a third party is the answer“…

“Let me get this straight”, I proceeded, “You must know all the players in this business”.

” I certainly do”…he says.

So..”  I ask, “WHO is ultimately responsible for WHAT was placed upon my roof on a house that Jack built?”.

a short pause and then a reply…………

“I Don’t Know”.

Third base!


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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.



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