Charlywalker's Blog











{January 1, 2014}   Backfield In Motion

My son is home for the Holidays and I will say, he never ceases to amaze me with the way his brain is wired. I know his 19 year old intellect is still under construction and my crossing the yellow caution tape may lead to a hazard zone equipped with sink holes invading his infrastructure……but I continue to plow aHEAD as I bear witness to his teen logic.

Case in point: Since birth I have been privy to my sons underclothes all the way from his training pants to his XL Joe Boxers. I  have had this privilege not only as his mother doing his laundry, but also as a spectator during his youth.  I watched as he frantically raced down the stairs in his T-shirt and Power Ranger panties looking for something he urgently needed; like a small grey lego piece he left on the carpet over night that may or may not have been devoured by my vacuum.  OR ..fast forward to the present: His collegiate six foot frame harboring size 13 bare feet flapping down steps in search of his treasured cell phone lost in the couch cushions, wearing only his Christmas Boxers featuring Santa holding a Heineken.  My how the years breeze past us, from briefs to boxers is how I now measure my sons growth……..and maturity level.

It’s amazing what shows up when ready for prime time teens are independent and shop for their own clothing after they enroll in college. Possibly spending their college fund on seasonal items that cover their private areas and lay hidden beneath their worn denims only to surface when they bring their laundry home for the holidays. It’s amazing the barrage of unmentionables I happen upon publicizing clever jingles across their buttocks region, such as;  “Santa, Where’s My Ho’s?”.  OR, how about the ones with the red and green ornaments spread over the fly area touting: ” Like My Balls?”.   Oh how I miss those Sesame Street days when it was a Muppet dominating the BVD empire and little fannies  everywhere tooted Gonzo’s trumpet from behind….

Oh but I digress.

My son brought his Christmas break laundry home and nestled on top peaking out from under some crusty towels sat a lonely pair of white Briefs.   I asked my son as to when he switched his undergarments  from boxers to briefs, and then proceeded to expound on how Calvin Klein will have to decrease the Font size in order to encrypt their Holiday magic across those “whitey-tighty’s”.  Looks like there might be just enough space in the front to photo shop in one of Santa’s helpers.  “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins”.  How can it? There’s no room.

My son didn’t laugh. He merely explained how he “bought the wrong kind”, and  he was looking for the new and improved Euro slim fit hipster comfy-style entitled:”Boxer -Briefs”.

Boxer-Briefs: The oxy-moron of the underpants world.

“Bought the wrong kind”:  The moron who neglected to read the packaging and fell victim to the buy -one -get -one- free syndrome who is now stuck with eight pairs of Calvin Klein’s never to be worn again mini-briefs at $19.50 a pair. Guess who will be comfy in his hipster briefs sitting in the school cafeteria with no money to eat……

My plan was to donate the items and write off the mistake. However..

One Sunday afternoon the temperatures in our area registered just above freezing and while I was carrying the laundry basket down to the laundry room I notice my son jolting out of his room wearing a short sleeve T-shirt with an NFL logo scrolled across his chest accompanied by knee length soccer shorts, and in bare feet.  He flashed past me beating me to the laundry room. He stuck his lengthy arm into the core of his piled clothing  and tore out a white cotton crumpled mass and held it high in his palm, and yelled, “YESss!”.

I said: “Son, that is the whitey-tighty error – in -judgement you are now holding.  Why did you just fish that pair out from the rest of your laundry and hold it up to the underwear god in praise?;  and, why are you dressed like you are vacationing in Hawaii when it’s sub-zero degrees in Pennsylvania?”.

” It’s game day and these are my lucky clothes. Every time I wear this my NFL  team wins”.

And the Mini-Briefs?

“Those are included in my lucky clothes, they complete me”.

Here’s hoping they make the play-offs….you have seven more pairs upstairs….

There are, I’m sure, powerful new technologies to track a 19 year old’s development to investigate their brain functions and connections. When they are connecting. And I’m sure this research will reveal factors that impact a teens behavior that might provoke vulnerabilities and cause an erupt purchase of “the wrong kind” of underwear to only be worn on Game Day at $19.50 at pair. I know that during the formative years there is a decline in volume of grey matter, which I found out, is necessary for maturation, however, I did read that a turn around happens in their early 20’s, and one of the Hallmark’s of this turn in behavior is the ability to “Plan aHEAD”……

 even if your sons “Plan aHEAD ” may be Brief(s)….

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The day the Earth stood still was two weeks ago when my son’s Smart phone decided on it’s own to dummy down and quit.

I learned this had happened through his sister who Stumbled upon his Facebook message to a friend commenting that: “His Phone Died”.

I am grateful that my sons lines of communication are open to his thousands of Facebook friends and refuses to add his mother as a bosom buddy.  He does not want  (me) to be privy to his status while away at college.  He thinks his mother will spend her days stalking, (or creeping as they say), on his infamous site, where the Full Monty of Freshman life is displayed and revered.  Like I have time for that. OK, I sneak a peak every so  often when Facebook isn’t looking.  I have eyes in the back of my FACEbook.

It’s amazing how this generation ( xyz?) seem to run amok when an electronic is on the fritz. It’s as if one of their brain waves collide  with an HD air-wave and severed the wireless connection that adheres the Smart phone to their palm, resulting in their  opposable  texting thumbs to short circuit.  Ive seen those thumbs work that virtual keyboard like greased lightening,  while sucking down Kentucky fried wings. Those thumbs slip- slidin’ on the screen not missing a beat of LOL or TTYL or POS. ( Parent Over Shoulder).

My son programmed his smartie phone  messages to modulate the night- watchman in a  Navy ship yard.  It sounds off with two bells every time a text is received.  In the olden days of sailing , watches were timed by a thirty minute hour glass and bells would be struck every time the glass was turned.  My son watches the glass of his phone every second, all day and all  night, no matter which way its facing.

I hear his phone clanging in a Bell  pattern of pairs :

Morning Watch: ding-ding

Forenoon Watch: ding-ding-ding

Afternoon Watch: ding-ding-ding-ding

Night Watch: ding-ding-ding-ding-ding

WEE -Hours- While- Family Members- Sleep-Watch:  DING – DAMNITY- DING. 

I  lie and wonder  for whom the Bells Toll every second as my sons phone shouts out a “new message received”.  What news is so urgent to be shared every minute of the day and night amongst his mates.  And now, here he sits with his dead phone, and I wonder ; what could possibly be going on in his head now that his entire fleet of friends are unable to reach him and text their one syllable messages. 

I have witnessed he and his crew hanging out and barely speaking in full sentences to each other. I  have watched as this collegiate Armada sit around in silence dancing their opposable thumbs across their phones as a multitude of ships bells chimed in unison…sounding alarms….signaling functional and ceremonial uses of considerable significance as to whether one  of them scored a date for the night.

I think about when I was his age and the readiness of communication while out and about, was finding a working payphone.  In my day, there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on  repetitive contact with one another.  If you had something to say, or relative info to convey, you dialed a number,got to the point, and made your arrangements.

There was no need to go back and forth with responses, you knew what to do and when and where to do it. There was no need to hold twenty people on the line to confirm what dress you were wearing to the dance. There was no need to speak every minute to someone via the phone as we were all speaking in PERSON when we got together.  If everyone related all their conversations ahead of time we would have nothing to talk about when we congregated.  Well, well, well..maybe that explains why my son and his friends are silent when they assemble. They are TEXTED-OUT, OVER-MESSAGED, PINGED TO THEIR LAST WORD.

I  will say my son’s faulty phone may have prevented future last minute changes in his life, but all in all he handled being cell-less quite well.  I half expected him to come off his Buzz with certain side affects, maybe a possible cellular detox causing a network disruption and  a communication breakdown of his opposable thumbs, therefore rendering him speechless.

There was a day or two of minor moping and staring at his thumbs trying to figure out their future should texting become obsolete while his phone is incommunicado.  It didn’t take long for him to wander over and pick up the controls to his ill forgotten Xbox collecting dust and play a childhood game or two.  I’m sure its to keep his opossable thumbs conditioned until his phones replacement battery arrives……

…….in 5 to 7 business days…..

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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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{November 4, 2011}   Blog Under Water

My teenage is son is trying to kill me.  I believe it has been a slow ongoing scheme ever since he popped out of the birth canal and handed the Dr. the chili peppers I ate that caused the first contraction…..

My son is in his last year of doing time in his posh private school and now faces the drones of filling out college applications.  His High School is aiding and abetting in this procedure and along with the paper chase , they advise the child to visit the colleges of choice to get a “feeling” for the environment and experience the “college” atmosphere.  This is a little too touchy- feely for me.

My parents did not play a major role in our college adventure, unless one needed a phone call to a senator  to help the child with the low GPA to get a “leg-up” onto the collegiate saddle.  ( That wasn’t me).   During my high school  days, a student just filled out the ONE page application with a few recommendations , put a 10 cent stamp on it and held your breath until the rejection letter came…….OR  until the acceptance packet arrived and your parents gleefully packed your belongings and shipped you off to your University  in a foreign land where you would spend the next four years with a roommate from hell, while sleeping in a room that was built for munchkins.

Now the schools “suggest” you take your teen by the hand and “visit” the college they might be attending………..”making sure it’s a “good fit”.

My sons college choices were ( and I stress the word WERE) : The University of Hawaii and any College that offers snowboarding as a credit……

 Right now I am trying to Turn over a new Leaf and not jump to unsolicited temperament and possibly reach for the key to the wine cabinet………..

I decided to take a disciplined approach and research the demographics of his chosen educational destiny.  After careful consideration of calculating the costs of  “visits” to Vermont, Colorado, Maine, and some outback in Michigan in order to obtain grounds for Mastering an  SBA…(Snow Boarding Achievement),…………I opted to send him to his sister’s Apartment Dorm in the Pocono’s.

My daughters University is nestled near mountains, harbors over 40,000 students, and just made history last weekend with a Major Coach’s 409th Football win. Just the kind of weekend you want to send your teen son for a visit…….not.

The one thing I have learned in life is to take it one day at a time and if you are raising teenagers……….. take it  Every minute of the time, or keep replenishing the wine glass……

Firstly: Never,  Ever send a seventeen year old to a University located in a town called HAPPY VALLEY…….especially during the Halloween weekend. My mistake was instructing my coed daughter to show her brother the campus life, the town, the University, the Dean of Students, and possibly, the Admissions Office.

Oh, my son did witness and participate in what the campus had to offer via his hooded- Sister of the Pants  that Traveled between Main street and Frat houses with my son in tow wearing a purple Morph-suit.  He did happen to  make one  very important connection  with some State dignitaries;  a blue man group approached my sons six foot frame encased in spandex and asked him to join their Lycra Fraternity……..Tappa-New-a-Keg….along with their sub chapter…….I-Felta-Thigh…..

When my son returned home that late Sunday night from his fortuitous academic adventure, I  greeted him with a warm smile and  clenched teeth as  I asked him  how his College visit went:

“Awesome Mom,  I’m going there!”

Oh lovely. I am so happy that this visit enhanced your educational choices for your future of academic success in order to meet the challenges that will mold you into the person you have deemed yourself to be.

click and open below…  oh and spread the humor.   

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