Turn Turn Turn

You know, life is really odd.  Inside, I mean, really at the core of who I am, I’m still a little kid following grandma around on her daily chores.  (They called us Roque and Friend, a Portuguese equivalent of Sherlock and Watson, because we were always together.)

Somewhere, deep inside, the most important thing is feeding the chickens and petting the cats and maybe later we’ll go to cut grass for the rabbits and there will be daisies to chain.

I think the most difficult part of moving away wasn’t missing the family (though that was very bad until I got used to their absence) or the friends, or even going from being a self-sufficient, employed adult to being a newby who had no idea how to do the simplest things and couldn’t even drive to the grocery store.

No, the most difficult part was being on my own.  It’s kind of like when you’re learning to swim and you suddenly realize the person teaching you let go (at which point I reliably panicked, swallowed a million gallons of water and had hysterics, which is why I still don’t know how to swim.  Eh.)

Because when you’re young you have this impression that the world is an orderly place, and there are adults up there who take care of everything important.  You’re not in danger, and never will be.  I mean, you might be in danger outside the house when you get in scuffles and outright fights, but you know the house will be there to come home to and that even though it might be your job, if you don’t do it someone else will clean and cook.  And someone else will surely pay the bills.

I had the good fortune of a stable family, so there was never a question of the lights going out, not even when we were so poor we weren’t sure where food would come from next.  Because grown ups didn’t let the electrical be cut.  Well, not people of good upbringing.

And I spent at least two years wearing my brother’s modified cast-offs, but I never went naked, and we never came up to winter and me without a coat.

The first time mom left me in charge of the house for two weeks was the first time I felt like someone had dumped a bucket of cold water over me.  My brother was in the army, at the time, and I discovered the joys of washing his uniform after they’d been on night maneuvers, crawling through mud.  Then there was the fact that if I didn’t order it, bread and milk were not delivered.  And that I had to somehow stretch the money left to me for groceries.  (We managed ably by doing mom the “favor” of cycling her older emergency canned stuff.  We weren’t killed because it actually needed cycling, but the dishes we produced were… interesting.)

Since these two weeks coincided with my brother’s 23rd birthday I realized, with a shock that I’d forgotten to do anything for it.  Mom always had parties for our birthday, but I hadn’t even made a cake.  My bacon was saved by all his friends, instigated by my future sister-in-law (though I don’t think they were even dating yet) showing up at the door with cake and party-stuff.  BUT it was a first too, my realizing that my dereliction could destroy someone else’s special celebration, that, even if I was overwhelmed and strictly speaking it wasn’t my job, it was my OBLIGATION to make sure his day was special, or the world would be a little dimmer for everyone.

What these rambles tend to is this: twenty four years ago today (well, tomorrow, I slept 30 some hours after the emergency caeserean) I woke up to the realization that I was now the one holding up the pillars of the world for a little person.  It was a cold shock to realize this little creature was dependent on me for everything and that as he grew up I’d be one of the people he relied on for his sense of safety and security and everything right in the world.

Have we been perfect?  Probably not.  But we’ve tried.  We’ve tried to keep the special special, and we’ve tried to make home a safe place for him to come back to.

He’s grown up, now, and on the verge of moving out.  (And yes, before any of you mentions it, I know he stole Heinlein’s birthday and Heinlein did it better. And we’d planned to name him Robert Anson even though he was due on the 4th of July.)  To be fair for the last year he’s only stayed home to help us with the move and the fixing up of the house (got delayed by my being SO tired from LC, but it shouldn’t go past Sunday) since he’s been making enough from work to move out.

And that’s another thing too, learning to rely on him for the brute strength.  I was always able to deploy it, but I’m not now after years of illness and of a chair job.  So I’m glad he can do it and, what’s more, does it without a complaint.

I wonder if part of the problem with our body politico is that people are never “let go.”  People are raised with the idea that it’s someone’s responsibility to make the world safe and snug for them, and they simply can’t let go of it, and when it can’t be their parents, obviously it must be someone else.

I don’t know.  I know that contemplating the world from this end, from the “we kept him safe and warm and fed and he’s now fully grown and ready to leave the nest” is very weird.

It feels wrong, because I’m just that little girl following grandma around.  But it feels right too, because despite all my fears and inadequacies, I did it.  And the kid is a man.

Miracles happen.  And I’m grateful for this one.

230 responses to “Turn Turn Turn

  1. According to my mother, I’m still 25 and Sib is 21, because she can’t be old enough to have a [redacted] year old, let alone a [censored] year old.

    And I think you’re right about the body poly-tick. There has to be someone else to keep the lights on/bogey-men out. And so many people latch onto the first person/group to hand them a flashlight.

    • The Mother-in-law once announced with great finality that there was no way I could be middle-aged, what did that make her?

    • There has to be someone else to keep the lights on/bogey-men out.

      The Daughter and I once attended a presentation with discussion group afterwards on the book Dead Men Do Tell Tales given by an Detective specialist in forensics. This was the week after there had been a gun battle between two gangs outside one of the high schools which resulted in fatalities. The members of neither gang attended the school.

      One of those attending the lecture wanted the detective to give her complete assurance that the police force would MAKE HER CHILD 100% SAFE whenever he went to school. This started an avalanche of expressions of concern …

      • Hmm … nearly possible, I suppose, if her child is in solitary confinement and schooled electronically. Otherwise, not so much. Not what she wanted?

        • No it wasn’t. Fortunately most of the audience seemed aware that this woman was beyond overboard in her expectations.

    • On the poly-ticks: if government is not the “grown-up” then I cannot remain a child.

      I don’t want to wear a tie.
      And a serious expression
      In the middle of July.

      Watch a “kids” movie from the Depression or WWII era, perhaps one of those Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland musicales. Notice how the kids are dressed like adults? Look at any contemporary film and notice the adults in T-shirts and jeans: kid clothes.

      Being a grown-up is the price you pay for being a self-ruling individual, and it’s a pretty light price once you accept it.

      • I think the 49ers might be a tad surprised to hear that jeans are “kids clothes”.

        • Terry Sanders

          They are if you work in an office.

          • I guess I’m lucky that way. I do work in an office, but its not in the states and is not part of “corporate culture”; Jeans, a Polo, and shoes are as dressed up as I get. BPO for the Win!

            But this is also an artifact of the white-collar blue-collar divide. To the average office drone jeans are for “casual Fridays”; to the average construction worker, plumber, electrician etc, jeans ARE work clothes. They are durable as hell, last forever, and give you some protection against rough surfaces. Hell I have several pairs of jeans that are at least 20 years old, were bought for less than 20 bucks, and have been worn in at least 20 countries.

            If I’m going to court I’ll wear slacks, but if there is actual work to be done? That’s when I put on my wranglers.

            • Depends on where in the States. Your office style is pretty much standard in the suburbs around Seattle (Redmond, Lynnwood, etc.) It gets slightly dressier in downtown Seattle, but not a lot. “Casual Fridays” are shorts and Hawaiian shirts, etc.

              • Ill have to take your word for it. I haven’t lived the states since 02, and haven’t even been back for a visit since around about 09.

                • It used to be a right nice place to work and hang out, but the new management sucks*. A lot of us are just hanging around in hopes of new managers before the place gets too run down to be worth salvaging. Some of the regional managers are actually pretty good and trying to turn things around.

                  • The Other Sean

                    Hopefully, the next time the shareholders get to vote they’ll choose a wiser executive and board.

            • If you work in the Northwest, business dress means a button down shirt with your jeans. Casual Friday means Tee-shirt and shorts.

            • My husband does some computer work where he has to look like an office guy, but also is lifting large, dirty machines.

              So now he has canvas pants that look exactly like slacks, but wear like iron. (And cost like chain mail…but at least I don’t have to iron?)

              • Filson makes some of those, their motto might be “when you have to have the best” but I think they should add, “and have an open line of credit.”

                I’ve liked everything Filson I’ve ever owned, but I certainly didn’t like paying for most of it.

              • Look into Dickies – when I had to wear business casual and still might have to crawl in an attic or under the floor, they were my go to. I still have a couple of pair after 3 or 4 years. Last longer than the wrangler dress pants I wear now (which are light years better than dockers and less than half the price).

                • That might be the brand– I’m not moving the sleepy baby to go check, though!

                  Glad to hear the Wranglers work alright, I got a pair of those in black because they were on sale and he neededthem for security volunteering. (between the kids being fair haired babies, and having cats, black is not a popular color for anything that needs to look nice in our house)

            • Jeans are work clothes, and I have some that are ten years old, but they are either a) the pair that is always under the backseat of the truck (usually a pair I don’t like the fit of) and are only worn when you are soaking wet and muddy, and I put them on for the drive home, or b) my black or gray ‘dress’ Wranglers that are worn to Weddings, and such. My work jeans very seldom make it a year. The pair I am wearing right now are right at a year old, and had to patch them where they had torn out around the back pocket on both sides, last night. I’ll get a few more washings out of them, probably. I can get close to a year out of double kneed Carhartts or Keys, or the now discontinued Firehose pants, but anything else I get less than that out of.

              As you say, it is the white/blue collar divide, we always looked at anyone wearing slacks, and looked down at them because they didn’t work for a living, while they looked at us and looked down at us, because we wore rough clothes with dirt under the collar.

              • Yup. About a year is good wear for work pants, and close to that time is patching the comfy pair and ragging the rest. I’ve had shoddy Wal-Mart jeans that didn’t last a month (I was desperate at the time, and broke), lesson learned- buy cheap, pay dear.

                I gave up on khakis and dress pants (save weddings and funerals) a long time ago. The perversity of the universe, Murphy, karma, or whatever it is seems to know *just* when you’re in “good” clothes, to throw a tire change (in the freezing rain, mud, and wind) at you. Or emergency sheep retrieval. Carcass removal. Or something else filthy and reeking, but necessary.

                Give me a good pair of overalls any day. *chuckle* My emergency pair in the truck are so patched, there’s more probably stitch than material, but the tar stains and dried paint don’t much matter when you *really* need pants.

                • heh, my work pants, WorkWear cargo pants, were issued to me when I worked ate the Airport in 2003. They have been work pants and often enough everyday wear since, and one pair must have won the ‘not worn as often’ lottery and have only been let out for my expanded middle. The others have been patched or repaired some way, but are still going good.
                  I guess I should ought buy some. They must be worth the price (mine were free though, so even more so.)

            • I don’t have much of an issue with jeans (the ordinary kind, not the ones with ‘artistic’ tears in them). Men showing up at work in goofy T-shirts, shorts, and dirty flipflops are another matter.
              Where I came of age, I was considered a hippie because I never wore a tie. Now in Israel, people assume I’m a lawyer or banker because I wear dress shirts, slacks, closed shoes, and in winter a jacket everywhere 😉

              • Back when I worked in corporate IT the dress code was basically “slacks, shirt, tie.” Not long after I was hired they decided everyone from the janitorial staff to “system programmers” such as myself were now all lumped together as “Service” and issued everyone company shirts. Pullovers with a collar and pocket; not too bad, really. But I kept on wearing a button-up shirt and tie, more or less out of contrariness. Got a number of sharp comments from management about it, but never an outright order to wear the company shirts…

                I compensated by wearing the most outrageous neckties I could find. Stephen Fry would have been proud of some of them. I even had one with dogs shooting pool…

                • Joe Wooten

                  At one nuke plant, a new engineering manager decided the staff did not look professional enough, so a new dress code was enforced that made us wear slacks, button long sleeve shirts and ties.

                  I got some really sharp looks from him when I rigged a 10″ long piece of thin aluminum to make my tie curl upwards like Dilbert’s….

                  I was told to stop it the next day….

                  The tie rule lasted 3 months….

                  • A tie around any sort of moving machinery is just a lasso looking for a snubbing post. For that matter, wearing one while doing anything but sitting at a desk is asking to get ‘leashed’.

                    • snelson134

                      Worked in the office with a guy who managed to feed 2 ties into the paper shredder while he was wearing them. He nearly followed them in. We mounted the second one over the shredder with a note: “Don’t get Shawned!”

            • Terry Sanders

              That’s what I meant, actually. Jeans are work clothes if you’re *working*. Digging ditches, for example. If you’re sitting at a desk, they’re play clothes, and a statement that you don’t take the job seriously.

              (Unless you’ve been told you can dress that way. In which case it’s a statement that your *boss* doesn’t take your job seriously. 🙂 )

              • Or your boss doesn’t like people mistaking the employees for him/her. In which case Terry’s still right and you’re probably one of those people who has read “Dilbert” and shouted “alleluia amen!”

              • It really depends on the job at hand, and yes some of it is an expression of taking your job seriously.

                If Daddy had turned up to argue a case before the Third Circuit in jeans, even with a dress shirt, instead of his usual three piece suit it would have been taken well … but he often wore jeans when he went in to the office on a Saturday.

                • Doh! … it would NOT have been taken well!

                  And I can’t even say, ‘Stupid Word Press!’

                • My impression is that it’s a courtesy issue – dress to roughly match the people who are the immediate customers of your work, modified as needed by the nature of your work.

                  • When the people presiding over the proceedings are wearing robes not made of terry cloth or velour…

              • We will have to agree to disagree on that. IME those companies that require “business attire” usually do so because they want people to think they are doing something important, when all they are really doing is shuffling papers. Part of it is also cultural. The first time I attending an “important meeting” in Jakarta and realized everyone there was wearing a 3 piece suit and sandals was a bit surreal. But then that’s Indonesia for you. For me personally, wearing a suit or a long sleeve button up shirt and slacks means that whatever I’m doing is useless, whereas psychologically if I’m wearing jeans its real work. Even if the “real work” is just sitting at a desk and shuffling paper.

              • hmm … our location is gonna close, and I notice the big boss wears jeans far more often now ….
                On the other hand, I can’t recall if our PhD Chemist has ever not worn jeans, and his job remains here in Texas … the Big Boss’ boss (wife) said they can’t move.

        • I’ve no doubt the 49ers would be equally surprised to hear that jeans routinely sell at prices of multiple hundreds of dollars (See: http://www.realmenrealstyle.com/cost-comparison-blue-denim-jeans/ ) and can run as high as $1800 (even more incredible would they find people paying extra for jeans with holes already in them,)

          Jeans became “kids’ clothes” in the 1960s when American youth rejected the mass conformity that stultified earlier generations, adopting clothes which reflected their identification with “the working class” (without, in most cases, the inconvenience of actually “working”) and expressed their individuality. Thus, jeans & T-shirts became de rigeur, with everybody wearing them.

          • Ya that’s just disturbing. That and the idea of “pre-distressed jeans”. Went out with a girl the other night who had holes in hers, that she had paid more for because of the holes. I got several pairs with holes in em, and there’s a story behind every hole, most of em bloody. First time I ever saw a “levi’s store” in eastern europe with 100 dollar Levi’s (501’s no less) was also the first time I’ve ever used the word “abomination” in an actual sentence.

            • Oy… sounds like you’re dating my daughter (bless her heart).

              • One of the great things about living in S.E.Asia is that the women I date are all young enough to be my daughter, if I had any, yet no one thinks anything of it. In the states if people see a 38 year old man kissing a 21 year old women they think “perv”, here in S.E. Asia they don’t even raise an eyebrow.

            • Back when I lived in New Orleans, I was once asked by some passerby on the street, “where did you buy jeans like that? I’d love to get my jeans to look like that!”
              I looked down at my very faded, threadbare, but not very hole filled, Wranglers and replied ” First you go buy a new set of jeans,” … He nodded, yeah … ” Then you wear them every 3 or 4 days for 3 years while riding a motorcycle and bicycle everywhere and while working as a grounds keeper, carpenter, and bicycle mechanic because you cannot afford to buy another pair. He was struck dumb. I then collected my Rally’s burger and fries (this was before the merger with Checkers) then rode down the street back to work at The Bikesmith.

              • Heh. SOunds like you traumatized a hipster. Good on you.

                • his little mind was boggled

                  • You sure you don’t mean bottled? 🙂
                    Crap its 5 in the Am and I gotta work soon. DAMN U HUNS, why cant u be boring.
                    Morning all. Please stop posting intelligent and interesting comments so’s I cant get some sleep. pleeze!

                    • Very well. Here’s a boring, somnambulist-inducing comment.

                      And I totally didn’t mention Starships, spacetime vortices, alien mind-control invasions, or warbling fleebots.

                    • DAMN U HUNS, why cant u be boring.
                      Terminal problem that.
                      I used to work nights (and might still again, maybe-sorta) and in the morning, things would be getting started, then work and what, get home, comments blown up, possible Instalanche (“500 comments today? bet a troll got chewed upon”) and then you hit the really bizarre non-sequiturs (really, what do you think is the best Carp for flinging?) and a 20 post thread riffing off a C4C.

                      And his mind should have been bottled, then it’d not fallen out, rolled into the street and got punted down to the streetcar stop.

            • As they say, it takes a lot of money to look that bad. (Saw some truly magnificent examples in shop windows and on fashion-victims in Vienna. *shakes head*)

          • Joe Wooten

            Rural kids were surprised to see that happen back in the 1960’s. We always wore jeans. My Dad and uncles wore jeans when they were kids.

        • Jeans, overalls, and other oddities were sold to people in specific professions; miners, farmers, etc. The rural and/or poor might wear pants and a shirt, but if they had some sort of jacket they tried to wear it when “among company.”

          What we call a “suit” was originally “suit of clothes”, ie what people wore. Watch almost any film from before WWII, or go to shorpy.com and look at photos from the era. It’s notable when someone is *not* wearing a suit.

          While some people might lament the slackening of the social dress code, I like the fact that I can wear just about anything that doesn’t get me arrested for indecent exposure. (says the man who has shuffled into Wal-Mart in a housecoat and slippers at 0300, peering at cold remedies in the pharmacy section…)

          • One of those walmart people. Did you make the list?

            Jeans are for dress up, carharts are for work. They call it duck but it looks like heavy denim to me.

          • Well I reckon that might of been true among the urban population, but I dont think it held true for the population as a whole. Though I am a bit of a hypocrite in this area because you will never see me in public without a hat on (unless I’m in a restaurant or a bar.) Partially its because I figure if it was good enough for Frank its good enough for me, and partially because IMHO a hat is one of the most useful accessories a man can have. Its can be a sun shade, or a piece of insulation, it can double as a fan and if its well made can even be turned into a water jug. Plus simply tipping it to the right angle can completely change how people perceive you. That an the lining can be used to hide your valuables and very people nowadays even think to look in it.

      • Look at any contemporary film and notice the adults in T-shirts and jeans: kid clothes.

        They may have been kids’ clothes in the 60s and 70s; they’ve become the simple, default clothes, much like a dress has become “dressing up” and an apron is an accessory, not a requirement to protect the investment in clothing.

        • Professor Badness

          When my Father was visiting Soviet Russian back in the late 60’s or early 70’s, he rather unexpectedly found himself being offered a lot of money for the few pairs of work jeans he had brought along.
          Those and what little American money he had on him were traded at a premium while he was visiting.

          • Its funny, but when I first went to eastern Europe in the early oughties, almost everyone who knew I was heading there recommended I take extra jeans as a “trade item”. I found that particularly funny when I walked into the bucuresti mall for the first time and the biggest shop there was a “Levi’s store”

    • Randy Wilde

      I remember one time, years ago, when I had flown out to Texas for family, most of whom I hadn’t seen in years. One of my nieces asked if I wanted a beer… her mother asked what she was doing, that I was too young to drink alcohol.

      I was 26 or 27 at the time, and had been stationed in Germany during my enlistment in the Army. My response was something like, “what’s the drinking age in Texas, 30?”

      • Some years back my brother had company in for dinner. His 14-year-old daughter decapped bottles and poured glasses for everyone, including herself. Which caused a minor conniption.

        After staring at them in disbelief for a while, my brother said, “If she wanted a beer, how would you propose to prevent it? She *made* that beer!”

        Apparently they thought beer came from the Heavenly Beer Tap somewhere; it never occurred to them that someone could brew their own. And even if it were possible, they were certain it was against the law.

        Well, at least they were consistent idiots… I don’t think he invited them back.

    • I know it’s a joke, but I wonder if some folks don’t take it way too seriously…. just the other day I saw a guy in his 40s, who has kids nearly my age, referred to as a “young adult.”

      • It probably stems from whatever the latest psychological babble is about mental development and maturity. IIRC, now it’s up to the mid-30s before people are mature, supposedly.

        • They’re still redefining “mature” as “we couldn’t find anything changing,” I’d guess?

          Shockingly, living things change, although the change gets harder to spot….

        • Nah, it’s because Boomers who are seventy want to be called “middle-aged,” so forty year olds are now supposed to be “young adults.”

          The only way somebody who’s thirty-five is “young” is if they’re the youngest guy in Starfleet to make captain.

          • Hey! I’m young! Or will be for about another two hours, then I’ll be 36. Admittedly I don’t feel as young as I used to, but I was told just the other day by a lady that I looked much younger than her husband (who is actually a year younger than me) she concluded it must be because I don’t have a wife.

            • Don’t think of 36 as old; think of it as six-squared. Better yet, think of it as three-squared times two-squared. Admittedly, four times times three-squared two-squared is really gross.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        An elderly lady asked me the other day if I finished high school.

        I’m 38.

        • People at my place of worship assume I’m one of the college students. I’m north of 40. *SIGH* Bless their hearts, they mean well.

          • Just as some people appear older than they are some people just look younger. My father looks like a gawky 13 year old in the earliest pictures of me — he was already a college graduate and in the army. Last time my father was carded at a restaurant was the first time I was asked if I wanted a drink.

        • Yes’m, just barely before it finished me.

        • Randy Wilde

          There have been plenty of times on the internet when I’ve wondered if someone has finished high school… age had nothing to do with it. 😉

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            There are some on the internet that I think haven’t *reached* High School age. [Sad Smile]

            • I expect most have reached High School age. It takes a certain minimum amount of time to acquire and develop that level of willful ignorance, studied peevishness and brutish thuggishness.

      • After a while, just about everyone looks like a youngster.

        • Randy Wilde

          Last time I had jury duty, one of the lawyers looked like she could have been on the high school debate team.

          • Heh. Week of Sundays ago, had a gal at the grocery store ask me about my grandchild. He’s my godson. Technically possible, but… I’m still a bit shy of forty. *chuckle*

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Chuckle Chuckle

              When I see a young child with an adult who obviously isn’t young, I still don’t assume that the child is a grandchild.

              I’d rather flatter a grandmother or grandfather than insult a mother or father. [Very Big Grin]

              • A wise man you are, sir. *grin* In the young lady’s defense, she’s probably still shy of drinking age, therefore anyone over thirty must be “really really old, practically dead!”

                • Simple ratios. When you are five, somebody ten years old is twice your age while somebody fifty years old is ten times your age.

              • At 37 and 41, my parents were technically old enough to be my grandparents when I was born.

              • On the other hand, when we were adolescents, people frequently thought I and my sisters were our mother’s sister — or even twin. (True, Mom made our clothes, and it happened most frequently when we each wore a similar article.)

                When my mother was still teaching, once a sister and I went with her to a school play. One of her students asked if we were her sisters. They were somewhat freaked out by the truth, though since we were all grown women it was somewhat easier to make.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Well Mary, “everybody” knows that School Teachers don’t have lives outside of teaching. [Evil Grin]

                • A doctor mistook my mom for my sister’s “partner” and the poor guy nearly died of embarrassment when corrected. (mom’s retelling of it is fall-down funny– the guy was, um, very stereotypical…..)

            • I was born when my parents were in their early thirties. Because of the normal age of marriage for their demographic in Portugal I was OFTEN referred to as “your granddaughter.”

              • Professor Badness

                Age mistakes is proof that people don’t actually look at the disabled. Pushing my wife into a store, (she rides in a wheelchair) we were greeted by the person at the door, then proceeded in.
                I returned to get something from the car, and the greeter asked me if I had wheeled in my Mother or my Grandmother.
                Her look of embarrassment was priceless as I responded, “My wife.”

                *Note: My wife (Masked Pain) is exceptionally beautiful, (not just my opinion) and would never be mistaken for an older woman if anyone actually looked at her.

              • I’m still giggling over the gal that supervised the playdates– she almost died of embarrassment when I said something or other that indicated my age, and she was startled enough to blurt out that she thought I was at least 45. I think it was mentioning that I was turning 31, can’t remember.

                See, I don’t “do” any pop culture she’s familiar with, don’t “do” fashion or makeup, and of course nobody starts to look to get married until they’re 30, and then it takes several years to have kids….

                Ah, Seattle.
                (For those wondering: yes, it’s the same girl that very earnestly assured me that she’d NEVER feel safe anywhere near a gun, it was just way too dangerous. The other Navy veteran lady and I both very carefully didn’t look at our bags… I never told the crypto lady that I was carrying, and I don’t know she was carrying, I never saw any evidence…)

            • There are grandmothers who are in their late 20s. I’ve met a couple.

              Thirteen and fourteen year olds do get pregnant. And it’s generally a family trait in my experience.

              • Joe Wooten

                Or old time rural. My maternal grandparents were married when he was 16 and she was 14 (1st kid 1 yr. later). Granddaddy’s parents were in their early 30’s, and their parents were in their early 50’s.

                BTW..I have a photo of great-great grandparents when they were 54/51, and they look like folks in their late 60’s now. Life was hard and aged folks faster back then.

      • And yet my grandmother was a “woman” at 15, My mom was married and pregnant at 20, and i moved out of the house and got my own place at 16. When a culture is ascendant the children want to be seen as adults, when its in decline the adults think of themselves as children.

  2. c4c

  3. Congrats! Like you, I raised kids with the intent that they would become adults which meant that while I started as one of the two pillars, both my wife and I gradually moved out of the way until the ladies (I really need to stop calling my daughters girls!) were ready to meet the world.

    They were scared, but as the eldest put it, she was never coming home again if at all possible. Too much stinkin’ pride, and all that. Made me proud, especially knowing how hard she worked for her independence.

    Too many parents never let the kiddo learn to carry the burden. Then they seem surprised when they want to let down the load, and the ‘adult-child’ throws tantrums.

    • Headline noted today: Research reports that college-age depression, which has been rising, is related to helicopter parenting. Duh!

      • All the neuroses of having a Jewish mother, without any of the redeeming features.

      • Was this the article you meant? It’s well-worth reading, though it’s less about depression than about sheltered kids who just can’t cope with anything:


        My dad taught me how to use the Chicago bus system when I was 11, and I ran around the city without any trouble. My mother grumbled sometimes, but the old man had the right idea.

        • Well, I mostly just looked at the headline – and thought Helicoptered–>reduced ability to live independently–>no wonder they’re depressed.
          Same issue with people who report a parent for letting their kids play unsupervised in the nearby park (at a time in history when kids are safer than they have been in years)… Such busybodies are actually trying to create dependent, incompetent-to-be-emancipated young adults (as the first and most predictable result of that kind of over-protection.)

    • And what’s with having to be sixteen to pump gas? How old do have to be to learn to pay attention (and nowadays the thing shuts itself off) and not smoke or leave the engine running? How are you suppose to learn how to pump gas when you start driving?

      • At my recent visit to West Point’s cemetery, I was sobered to see how many were cadets at such ages in the 19th century and were expected to operate much more infernal devices than a gasoline pump 😉

      • 16 pump gas? I guess I haven’t read any of the safety literature on the pumps lately, but that seems absurd. You can get a drivers license younger than that. I guess kids aren’t supposed to run their own lawn care businesses at 12 anymore either, huh.

        • Heck, you can get a drivers license several years before you can buy spray paint in some states. I’m contemplating which is more dangerous a three ton block of steel (okay, plastic and a little pot metal these days) moving at 80 mph or an aerosol can of paint.

          • I’m not sure if that’s actual law, or store policy to avoid liability for huffing deaths? I know the similar deal for super glue was store policy….

            • Depends on the city. When I worked at a crafting store, it was the law, not just policy, that you couldn’t buy spray paint if you were under 18. Mostly to curb graffiti. The aerosol adhesives were considered a controlled substance and thus couldn’t be sold to a minor.

      • I got my license when I was 13. Now it’s 18. But if my state has an age limit for pumping gas I haven’t noticed it yet.

        Though I did get carded buying spray paint the other day. Apparently there’s a new state law prohibiting sale of spray paint to people below some arbitrary age. The gray beard wasn’t enough; I had to dig out my wallet and show the checker photo ID.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IMO it’s possible that the Law is worded so you won’t have to show ID but store policy may be “better safe than sorry”.

          In Colorado, the business would be in big trouble if they sold tobacco, etc to under-aged people.

          Oh, I’m 61 with white in my beard and I’m asked to show ID when purchasing tobacco and beer.

          By the way, I worked at a 7-11 in Colorado at one time. It was “interesting” to hear what excuses “kids” gave for not having their IDs with them. [Grin]

          Funny story, I was waiting in line to check out in a full grocery store near the 7-11 that I worked at. This kid in the line knew I worked there and was gripping about the 7-11 policy and the cashier overheard him. She told him that her store checks ID as well. [Evil Grin]

          • You should have seen how pissed the guy was in the grocery store a few weeks ago, when he was trying to buy beer and they wouldn’t sell it to him, even though he was over 21, because the person who was with him was under 21*.

            *And not his child – the other was 18 or 19, IIRC. They don’t refuse to sell to people merely because they have their children with them.

            • Years ago I worked in as a waitress I served a young couple. They proceeded to order drinks, and I carded them. He was of legal age, 18 then, but she certainly far from it. So I refused her order and served him, which was the policy at the restaurant. Came back with their food, saw he had given her his drink. I had to take it away from them. Not pleasant for any of us, including the surrounding tables, as he was rather vocal.

              I wished I could have had a talk with that young girl before they left…not that she would have listened.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard


              Sadly, in some places it is common for under-aged “kids” to get a random adult to purchase beer, etc. for them.

              It can be a major pain-in-the-rear at times but if the stores are going to get into legal trouble for selling something to the wrong people, they are going to do things to protect themselves.

              • Oh, certainly. I doubt this was a straight, “buy it for the underage kid”, but I’d bet that there would be some sharing going on. And then the store would have liability concerns.

              • …they are going to do things to protect themselves.

                Yup. As Wayne mentions ‘liability concerns.’

          • Meanwhile my 20 year old is routinely pushed to order a cocktail at restaurants. Fortunately (because he has his Dad’s probably Amerindian alcohol tolerance) he doesn’t much like alcohol.

            • Yeah, in high school I commonly bought tobacco for myself and others. And the guy I knew that used to buy tobacco and alcohol everywhere was so baby faced he looked thirteen; he had never grown enough whiskers to shave by the time he graduated either, but 90% of it is attitude, he acted older, and the cashiers always assumed he was old enough they didn’t have to card him.

        • The gas pump thing might not be a law (I don’t think it is in Ky), but rather a legal defense for the gas stations. The signs on the pumps I have seen don’t say anything about it being illegal, they just say to only allow people old enough to drive pump the gas.

          • I think it’s al law in Georgia; I don’t think they’ve gotten around to it in NC. Of course, the last I heard, in New Jersey no one can pump gas except the people that work at the station–no self-service allowed. (If you turn your head and squint, it makes sense; gasoline is dangerous; but the rest of us manage not to blow ourselves up almost all the time.)

            • The Jersey law may have been to protect jobs.

            • Similar in Oregon when I’ve visited, can’t pump your own – since the pump attendants seem to mostly be (by dress and behavior) people who would otherwise be on the dole, I assume it’s a way to both give them a little job dignity and reduce the state’s welfare costs.

              • And their gas is still cheaper than in the states to the north and south of them. It boggles the mind. Of course you can spend the night in your car fairly easily in Eastern Oregon, because you can’t get gas when the pumps are closed, and it is to far to a town with 24 hour pumps to make it without filling up. This is why if you plan on doing much traveling in Oregon it is a good idea to have both a CFN and a Pacific Pride card, because most all small towns have one or the other, and you can pump your own gas at them (because they are commercial) 24/7.

              • Dignity, sure. Wait until you have to go to court because one of their “trained refueling technicians” drags the hose across the fender of your Triumph Spitfire and scar the paint, then manages to pump half a gallon of gas into the seats and floor. (a Spitfire’s gas cap is at the center of the car, behind the seats.

                • Professor Badness

                  Oh, that’s cringe worthy.

                • Kia minivan, about as far from “unusual” as you can get. Regularly manage to miss the top 1/8th of the tank.

                  It’s feaking auto-shut-off; how do they manage to screw it up that badly!?! It’s not like it’s the old Dodge minivan that required “topping off” for the top quarter….

      • Suspect restrictions may have to do with the fact that gas may be classified as a ‘dangerous’ chemical substance. Similar to the stripping of all chemicals from High School chem labs in some places.

        • All? Even that menace, dihydrogen monoxide?

          • I sure someone is willing to try it. The young lady who lives across the street informed me that she never even had lab work when she took chemistry. This girl was also restricted in working with oil paints because they ‘can be dangerous.’

            • Oh. My…

            • Imagine what would happen if her teacher ventured to have them try . . . encaustic! Melted wax! Hotplates! Someone might get burned. *vapors*

              • Shop class, both mechanical and wood working? Home economics, cooking, cleaning and sewing? These are becoming expensive courses for the districts to run. Not just the course equipment and materials, but the liability insurance is costly.

                Besides, we all want our children to be taking college preparatory courses, like chemistry (without labs), don’t we?

          • I had to update the MSDS sheet for “distilled water” when I was shop hazmat PO.

            As best I can tell, it’s because someone corrected it– accurately– to point out that breathing it could be deadly. (here’s an uncorrected one: http://www.qia.cz/shop/pdf/40464msds.pdf ) And all dangerous chemicals had to be in the locker.

  4. Congratulations to you all and a very happy birthday to eldest son — may the year to come be a healthy one filled with joy (for the whole family). Oh, and a few trips to see the pachyderms.

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    “And I spent at least two years wearing my brother’s modified cast-offs, but I never went naked, and we never came up to winter and me without a coat.”

    There you go, flaunting your white privilege again . . .

  6. I ‘spact the kid will be fine. Sounds like he got a good running start.

  7. I remember the amusement I felt when a college classmate (well, not exactly — I was Frosh, he was Senior) commented that he “knew” he was old when he realized he was the same age as the Playboy centerfolds.

    Even greater was my amusement when I realized those absurdly idealized “playmates” were of an age to be my daughter.

    Somewhere in each of us is an inner Calvin, whirling about and wondering where Hobbes has gotten to, and appalled that being “adult” requires so little in the way of actual competence.

    Society lies to our kids, especially these last few decades, telling that because they are of a certain age they are entitled to adult privileges. Lost in that nonsense is the premise that being adult is less a matter of age than maturity, and many a child of fourteen has proven more mature, more rational, more capable than half the population of thirty-year-olds.

    One of Heinlein’s recurring themes is the question of what constitutes adulthood, and his answer is never an argument by age. I fear most of us become adult by accident, by being in a situation where we realize adult behaviour is mandated and playing the adult until a real one comes along … and finally realizing that, like Archie Leach playing the role of Cary Grant, we have finally become that at which we play-acted.

    • Society lies to our kids, especially these last few decades, telling that because they are of a certain age they are entitled to adult privileges.

      And it seldom speaks to them of responsibilities.

      • …responsibilities…

        this too…

      • And therein is what constitutes adulthood. Accepting responsibility.

        It’s a scary thing, the day you realize there’s no safety net- and maybe indeed you *are* someone else’s. Some come on it early, some late… some not at all, by what we’ve seen in the news. But it is that very thing which separates adulthood from childhood.

        Shielding children too much from consequences means developing that responsibility comes much, much harder. The rest of the world does not love them as their mother and father do (or should, by cracky!). When the lessons do come, they hit hard.

        Debts unpaid mean loss of privileges. just as the flip side of a fortune is a debt, the opposite face of responsibility is privilege. Trying to separate the two just delays and magnifies the impact. I am truly sorry for those who don’t get the opportunity to fail, and learn from that. Their lives can’t but be terribly troubled by this lack.

    • During my brother’s divorce, the two of us visited a bar one evening. I was having a good time until I realized I graduated high school before the bartender stopped using diapers.

    • You’ll feel even older when you realize June, 1958 was Mom.

      • I saw a cartoon about that. College dorm room, centerfold on wall, one dorm manager telling the other, “We can’t make him take it down, it’s his grandmother.”

    • “Play it ’til you make it” actually is a viable way to learn behavior sets.

  8. Happy Birthday, Robert!

  9. The weather in Colorado Springs is super weird today, more like Gastonia North Caroline in November, chilly, overcast and wet. Sissy Cat isn’t following the Door Into Summer rules for this, she’s hissing at her poor brother.

    • Actually, she’s mwrling disturbed questions at me, but hissing at her brother.

    • I know where your hot Midwest summer weather went – over the Rockies. Seattle area has been dry high 80’s / low 90’s for a couple of weeks now. We don’t normally get that but for a week or so, end of July & into August. Global Warming may be fake, but Regional Warming is real for this year anyway!

      • It’s the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Sort of a nasty cousin of the El Nino. It’ll go away, eventually.

        • Heard of that – but don’t remember it from a decade ago. Haven’t researched it, but the last PDO must have been milder.

          • We’re at a sunspot minimum, too– that should reduce cloud formation, and what do you know, the radio news even mentioned that we’d had a really low number of cloudy days in June. (Seattle)

    • Jeff Duntemann

      Also in CoSprings. This has been the weirdest summer we’ve seen since we moved here in 2003. It’s been soaking wet, the springs on the side of Cheyenne Mountain are waking up and causing sinkholes in the neighborhood. Beautiful country, but I’m starting to miss Scottsdale.

  10. Carolina

    • We’re 60 with heavy mist/light rain. The Grey Norther has come early this year.

      • Was warm enough on last weekend here, but now the temperature is 16 C, or about that 60 F. And drizzle. Typical Finnish summer weather. There have been a few years when most of the summer was like that. And then occasionally we get a few weeks or even a month or over a month of 80 F or something around there and everybody complains a lot after the first few days (because most houses and many cars only have what you need to heat them – that is what you need at least 10 months in any year – and no way to cool them except opening windows and maybe a fan or two because that is usually a problem for only a few days or maybe few weeks at a time so not a priority to anyone. But old or sick people can have real problems with heat when that happens too.)

        And after my trip I’m actually feeling kind of cold now. Bummer.

        • BTW, when it does get hot here it usually is like that weather in Tennessee, warm and humid. We get a lot of rain, there are lakes and ponds and small rivers and swamps everywhere, and sea around half of the country – air humidity rarely goes below 50 % except when it gets really cold in winter, and during the summer it tends to hover close to 100 % more often than not.

          • 85 here, and it poured for about twenty minutes about three hours ago, so yeah, just a bit muggy. 🙂 That’s okay, it has been the hottest, driest spring here in years, so we can use the rain, even if it isn’t much.

            By the way, when did you get back?

            • It’s been muggy here without the rain. Hope the possibility manifests; I’ve spent a lot of this summer watering the garden.

            • Last Friday. Slept most of the weekend, and been doing laundry and trying to sort the contents of my luggage after that. I did get a few suspicious looking bites somewhere (not quite sure of the place because I think I may have noticed them only days later) so bedbugs are a possibility. Sauna would work with them, but unfortunately you’d have to leave the stuff in there for at least 4 hours – if the advice that just happened to be in our local paper when I got it on Sunday is right – and you can’t reserve the one in common use in this apartment house for that long, and the place is old enough that the apartments don’t have private ones (most newer places now do, instead of the shared one you have to reserve times for).

              So, yep, laundry and bug sprays in process.

              • 🙂 Wondered where you’d run off to. And I got to enjoy a chunk of your lovely Baltic air when I was in Austria. Next time, can you arrange for the Low to send the chill without the rain?

                My Dad got a nasty case of bedbug bites when he and Mom stayed at . . . the Intercontinental in Prague (a very, very, nice hotel.) My folks were pretty peeved, and the management was very apologetic. They’d switched to cooler-water washes, to save the planet, you know, and the lack of scalding allowed bedbugs to survive.

  11. c4c

  12. TOTALLY know what you’re talking about. Until I got married I pretty much just thought of myself as an 18 year old kid filling in at some job and could leave at any time. I miss those days of not having to worry about letting a bunch of other people down.

  13. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Slightly off topic, but I’ve thought that the “Golden Years/Age” was the age when a person could do lots of stuff and their parents paid the bills. [Grin]

  14. Today is my birthday also.

    • Me, too!
      Happy birthday to us,
      Happy birthday to us,
      Happy birthday Robert and Chuck! 🙂

      • Wow the more the merrier. Happy Birthday to Robert, Mobiuswolf and all fellow July 7 ers.

        • Jeeze, as there are so many of you … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_7

          1124 – Tyre falls to the Crusaders
          1585 – The Treaty of Nemours abolishes tolerance to Protestants in France.
          1834 – In New York City, four nights of rioting against abolitionists began.
          1863 – United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.
          1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
          1947 – The Roswell incident, the (supposed) crash of an alien spaceship near Roswell in New Mexico.
          1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, “That’s All Right.”
          1980 – Institution of sharia in Iran.

          Others born this date
          1860 – Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (d. 1911)
          1880 – Otto Frederick Rohwedder, American engineer, invented sliced bread (d. 1960)
          1906 – Satchel Paige, American baseball player (d. 1982)
          1919 – Jon Pertwee, English actor (d. 1996)
          1927 – Charlie Louvin, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Louvin Brothers) (d. 2011)
          1927 – Doc Severinsen, American trumpet player (The Tonight Show Band)

          1307 – Edward I of England (b. 1239)
          1647 – Thomas Hooker, English minister, founded the Colony of Connecticut (b. 1586)
          1816 – Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Irish playwright and poet (b. 1751)
          1971 – Ub Iwerks, American animator and director (b. 1901)
          1975 – Ruffian, American race horse (b. 1972)

          World Chocolate Day

          • The Other Sean

            1919 – Jon Pertwee, English actor (d. 1996)

            Jon Pertwee was Who?

            • Unlike the last four dancing crack-monkeys in that role, Pertwee was a model of gentility. Requiescat in pace.

              Quite a trick when you’re wearing stolen evening clothes…

              • He was a lovely convention guest, and I’m glad I got to meet him once. There’s quite a lot about him in the late Elisabeth Sladen’s autobiography.

              • Point of order: Although I haven’t liked the new Who, it’s not the actors’ fault. They’ve all been good actors, and Tennant as a fellow Who fan has been particularly generous to his audience.

            • And father of Sean, who plays Alfred Pennyworth on Gotham.

          • I never knew that sliced bread was invented in Chillicothe. That’s a touch over an hour from home.

          • World Chocolate Day
            That explains a lot.

            Should banned those protestants everywhere I guess.

          • Wot an embarrassment! Completely missed this:

            1901 – Eiji Tsuburaya, Japanese cinematographer and producer (d. 1970)

            WSJ Arts & Entertainment blog Speakeasy announced:

            Celebrate ‘Godzilla’ Co-Creator Eiji Tsuburaya’s Birthday by Making Your Own Monster Movie on Google</B.
            Here is your chance to make your very own giant-monster movie at the office today.

            To celebrate the 114th birthday of special-effects legend Eiji Tsuburaya — who created Ultraman and co-created Godzilla — Google’s Doodle today allows users to assemble their own creature feature. A cartoon version of Tsuburaya guides you through 10 steps — including lighting a set, dressing an actor in a monster suit and smashing aircraft — in an attempt to re-create the craziness of making a monster movie.

            Pay attention, though. You could end up messing things up by not smashing every tank or not properly rigging high-tension electrical wires.

            Google sought to make the experience as authentic as possible, so “doodler” Jennifer Horn visited Tsuburaya’s practical-effects studio, Tsuburaya Productions. “Their construction process is incredible: all of their costumes and props are made by hand, in a secret studio,” Horn said in a post on Google’s “Doodles” page. “The workspace felt organized and messy at the same time, with each member having their own system behind which materials lived where.”

            Tsuburaya died in 1970, but his legacy remains strong today in such properties as “Power Rangers” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim.”

      • Many happy returns of the day.

  15. sabrinachase

    We had a forested vacant lot next to my house growing up, which had a local family of raccoons with a nest up in one tree. One day we heard an unusual amount of raucous noise from that location (shrieking, growling, yelping, etc.) and then we observed one of the (mostly grown) babies plummeting out of the tree, small branches still clutched in its paws, with Mom and Dad hanging their heads over the edge of the nest and basically saying “…and stay out!”

    We then referred to our eventual parting of ways as the “Throwing Out of the Nest” ceremony 😀 Being known, planned for, discussed in the family it wasn’t so much of a shock, I think. That and we run to pig-headedness. A bit.

    • Well, I learned something today. Somehow, I always thought of raccoons denning in the ground. I had not known they nest in trees.

      • Local raccoons prefer attics, crawlspaces, or outbuildings. They’re strong enough to pull soffits, skirting, or riding free from its nails.

        Raccoons are smart and have hands. If they had opposable thumbs they’d be a downright menace.

        • They do have opposable thumbs.

          They generally only den in trees if they are hollow, I’m guessing that the one Sabrina mentions is either a hollow cottonwood or cedar, two of their favorite dens, if a nice hollow tree isn’t available, an attic, crawlspace, etc. works nicely, if that isn’t available they will settle for a rock hole, hollow log, dry culvert, hollow stump, or hole in the ground.

  16. I’m at the other end of that journey… my little boy is just shy of 8 months old (time flies!) It was quite a shock. He was counting on me, even though he didn’t consciously know it. It’s a very sobering thing and a little scarey.

  17. Flap Your Wings! and Happy Birthday Robert

  18. a) Your grandmother taught you to daisy-chain?

    b) Tomorrow is better, you really shouldn’t consider it your sons birthday until the day you are aware he is no longer in you. 7/8 is when all the best people are born, and your son is one of the best, right?

  19. Happy Birthday to the creator of Ninja Nun!

  20. I don’t think I saw an actual daisy chain of flowers until my sister graduated from college. It was tradition that their sister class make a daisy chain for the graduates. Now, a clover flower chains I saw a lot.

  21. I was raised by werewolves and vampires, so I had to sort of figure out the parenting thing by doing the opposite. Worked pretty well, too. When The Moose graduated high school in 2010, I announced loudly, “I’ve done it! I’m finished being a parent!”
    That turned out not to be the case, as my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA was raising two small grandchildren, which became mine when we were married in August 2011. So, I’ve got 9 years, when I’m 71, until I get to be an empty-nester. Meh, so what? It’s a job I’m good at; I turn out people who are neither werewolves nor vampires.
    but I do remember calling my mom in tears on the morning after my oldest left for college in 2001.

  22. Hmph. My parents made it crystal-clear about the time that I turned 10 that as of my 18th birthday, I’d be paying rent or out the door. They didn’t quite hold to the letter of that…but I was in college and working a co-op job to pay for it two weeks after my 17th birthday.

    • My parents did the same – either get a job at 18 and pay rent … or go to college, and kick in to occasional expenses. Then upon graduation, go and get a job and pay rent.
      The adult world calls…

      • Mine never actually charged me rent, I moved out a month or two after I turned eighteen, and sorta kinda moved back in a year or so later. I say sorta kinda, I was getting my life put back together from some poor choices, I needed a permanent residence for legal reasons, once those were straightened out I took a job working out of town. My parents house remained my legal residence for several years, and I often spent weekends there, but I lived out of a motel during the week for work, at least until my boss decided we had so much work in Forks that he rented a house for the crew to stay in.

        They may have provided a place for me to sleep, and I was welcome to eat supper with them, but I supported myself otherwise since the time I started high school. Bought all my own clothes, vehicles, gas, insurance, etc.

  23. Family is the most important thing, both the one we’re born to and the people we choose.

    I’m on a big church trip this week, helping herd a couple hundred teens around the middle of the country, and that’s something that hit me strong today as we started visiting church history sites. Family.

    (Oddly, that sense of family also adds another level to my appreciation of the Fast and Furious films. Then again, inside I’m about 12. Maybe 13.)

  24. Growing up is hard, and we’ve evolved a culture where people don’t always have to. There are, as you’ve pointed out, problems with that. Robert Bly wrote a book about this, “The Sibling Society”.

  25. A wise woman once said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings.”

  26. > I’m still a little kid following grandma
    > around on her daily chores.

    “You have to grow older, but you don’t have to grow up.”

    50-odd years later, I’m still fifteen years old inside. And glad of it.

    As a child, my primary impression of adulthood was that it was dull, with a little angry on the side. I resolved never to go there. I’m well past the halfway point, and I’m still winning…