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No Problem, I’ll Just Call My Dad August 31, 2012

Mr. D and I were very excited that my Jeep was finally going to be paid off in January. That would mean that we would have no car payments – zero – awesome. Anyone that hasn’t had a car payment in a while knows that is a small victory for us multi-car families. It gives you a little extra breathing room with the holidays approaching. Dreaming of vacations, or just a long weekend was definitely in our plans. We were looking forward to it. Seriously.

So January the Jeep is paid off. Mr. D was in an accident recently that didn’t do a lot of damage to the 2001 Toyota. I mean, what else could you do besides get on top of it and smash it up with a sledge-hammer? It serves it’s purpose. Getting Kam to school and Mr. D to and from work. We did decide it was time for some maintenance on the van. Mr. D suggested a tune up, I said whatever. I have no idea what that means nor do I care as long as the friggin thing runs ok?

Mr. D took the van to a shop early this morning. I knew since he hadn’t called me by noon it couldn’t be good news. So I called him around three when I was in line to pick up Kam from school. I was like “hear from the car people?” I could tell by the tone of his voice that it wasn’t good news. He had actually just gotten off the phone with them. He said that the service manager said it would cost more money to fix the van than to just get a new car. (This is not a dealership telling us this.)

You know that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach?

Just then I looked up and my almost paid off (in the car line with all of the BMW’s and Mercedes) Jeep is smoking from underneath the hood. I look and the coolant level is on high and doesn’t look like it’s budging. I frantically said to Mr. D “my car is smoking.” “What” is his answer. He suggested turning the Jeep off while it was polluting the air of the convertible next to me. Starting it up when I had to and pulling it over somewhere to be out-of-the-way of traffic and he in his hoopty van would be down in about 45 minutes to have a look.

I hung up and thought I’ll just call my Dad. Then I thought, he’s not going to answer, and I just started to sob. My Dad was my car guy, he was my problem guy, he was my “hell baby, it will be fine” guy. That guy is gone, and it hurts like hell.

I could feel Kameron’s eyes on me and knew I had to find some kind of solution. I wiped my tears and headed to Walmart that isn’t took far down the road. I don’t know much about cars, what I do know my Dad taught me. Perhaps it was divine intervention but I walked in and said “my car is overheating, I think it needs some antifreeze.” A younger Walmart associate stood at the counter and said I’m sorry mam, but we can’t touch your radiator. An older gentleman was also standing there. He must have seen that my eyes were blood-shot from crying and that my mascara had traveled down my face in epic proportion.

He instructed me to open my hood and look for a plastic compartment in my car, it should say hot/cold. He warned me not to touch the metal cap until it cooled down. If the levels were low I should purchase some antifreeze. I quickly went out to my Jeep opened the hood, sure enough, my levels were low. I touched the metal cap and it was hot – so I grabbed The Criterion (thank God for the Catholics to send out their weekly useless paper) to shield my hand from getting burnt. Poured in the antifreeze, problem solved.

Now we have to shop for a car. One of Johnno’s favorite things to do. He loved giving the car salesmen a hard time. Negotiating prices, he loved it. Now knowing that we have to get a car, I can hear him now. He would say “baby, you don’t know shit from shinola about buying a car.” “Now let your poor old Dad take care of this one for you.”

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Momma On Alert August 29, 2012

My son like most 13 year olds loves to play video games. These games seem limitless. Like there is the game Mind (something) that never ends. I mean never? Something has to end at some point, but Kam has assured me that it never ends. The thing with these new games is that they’re interactive, not just with the game, but with other people. People who he goes to school with, which is no big deal. I know his friends, he can get on his head set and chat it up with them all day long. It’s the people who might jump on that bother me. Problem is, I watch the news. I know a sheriff that targets sex offenders that prey on kids like my son. Unfortunately, from personal experience, I know how really sick these people are.

So when Kam told me he was playing a game last night with a few of his friends, I asked who he was playing with. He named a few names that I recognized and one that I didn’t. I asked him about that person, what his name was, where he went to school. He knew his name, but that was pretty much it. Kam doesn’t get too involved in details.

I sat down with Kam and told him that because he didn’t know this person very well (which means at all in parent language) that he should not give him any information about himself. No phone numbers, no addresses, no school information, nothing. Kam seemed to understand. I told him that I was trying to protect anything from happening to him, he shook his head to show me that he understood. Then, I asked Kam if anyone had brought up anything that made him feel uncomfortable. He said “no.” I told him that if anyone, even someone he knew said something to him that made him upset or uncomfortable to let me know immediately. He promised he would, hugged me, and went back to his game.

It’s scary doing everything you can to protect your child without sounding like a neurotic parent. The world is so different now than when I grew up. We didn’t have the freedoms or the virtual reach that our children do now. Add that in with an irresponsible parent that would leave their child in steaming hot car because “they forgot.”

I will do anything to protect my child. I want him to have friends and freedom. Just as long as Momma knows what’s going on, we’re good.

 

“You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be A Teenager” August 20, 2012

That’s the new catch phrase in my house. It usually is said with some type of eye roll, sigh, foot stomping, or a combination of all three – which is my favorite.

The problem of course is me and Mr. D. Apparently we’re unreasonable in the eyes of this 13 year old.

Let me give you an example of the madness. Last Wednesday as Mr. D. was dropping off Kameron at school Kameron decided to TELL Mr. D. that he was going to the library with a friend after school. Mr. D. is much more patient than I am, he calmly asked if Kameron had asked me about going to the library. The sigh came and then he said “no.” I don’t know why Kameron thinks he can manipulate this situation. Perhaps he’s testing Mr. D. to see how far he can push to get a yes out of him. Kameron isn’t stupid, he has learned that timing is everything. He figures that if he asks when he’s getting out of the car that Mr. D. will be distracted and won’t think of asking “have you talked to your mom about this?” Don’t let the sexy grey hair fool you, Mr. D. is pretty quick on his feet at 7:30 in the morning. Kameron quickly got out of the van. I’m pretty sure Mr. D. didn’t get “have a good day at school” out before Kameron slammed the door and stomped into school.

A few minutes later I got a phone call from school saying Kameron would like to talk to me. A last ditch effort before class starts. “Mom, can I go to the library after school?” Ugh. “I don’t recall you asking permission to go to the library last night, did you?” “No” he said, sounding disappointed. “Well Kameron when you want to do things you have to ask for permission before you just assume you can do them right?” “Yes” he said sounding very irritated by my speech that I’ve given him a hundred thousand times. “So no Kameron you can’t go to the library today, I’ll see you at three o’clock.” “Ok” sounding so defeated, and hung up the phone. So it goes, I’ve ruined his life yet again. I suspect he’ll live.

So I go back to the statement “You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Be A Teenager” yum, yeah I do. However my teenage years look very different than yours Kambo. I’ll admit it, Kameron leads a very charmed life. It’s my fault, well, mine and my parents fault. I overcompensated a lot after I divorced his father. Where I lacked, my parents filled in the gaps.

Just in the last year my poor, can’t go to the library kid, has done the following: Gone to Florida, Holiday World (twice), CYO camp (twice), Roncalli Theater Camp (twice), and WWE Wrestling matches (twice – maybe three times.) Countless number of games to play, having friends over, plays, theater, extreme Christmases. He’s been to California three times (I’ve been once.) He’s going to Washington D.C. in a month through a trip that his school has coordinated. I could go on and on, but frankly, it’s embarrassing.

So when I hear his tale of woe, I roll my eyes and heave a sigh. Teenager? Let me tell you kid, you don’t get it. As I’m writing this I have a feeling that he’s going to “get it” very soon.

My teenage years were full of responsibility. A lot of responsibility. When I was Kameron’s age my days while I was in school were filled with school, homework, and taking care of my sisters. When I was thirteen my sister Marcia was ten, my sister Ashley was a newborn.  My mom would pick me and Marcia up from school with Ashley in the backseat. We would go home and start on homework. Ashley was about seven months old, so she was mobile. While we were studying we had to keep a watchful eye on our infant sister. The weekends were filled with chores (that you didn’t get paid for), and “babysitting” (babysitting you didn’t get paid for.) If the chores didn’t get done, we were grounded. That’s it, that was the way it was.

My sympathy meter for Kameron’s “teenage life” is low, very low right now. I am going to start some new rules, with some new responsibilities. It’s time, and way overdue.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Kids At Risk August 7, 2012

I pulled into CVS the other day. I had one thing to pick up, I knew it was going to be an in and out type of trip. My son on his iPod rolled his eyes at me when I told him to get out of the car and come inside with me.

Those of you born in the 70’s or earlier can probably relate to this situation. Parents going into the store for five to ten minutes (maybe longer) to pick up a few things. Sometimes we were told to lock the door, sometimes the car was running. This scenario would definitely be frowned upon these days. Times they have changed. We don’t live in that world anymore. Today unfortunately, a running car with children in it could be a prime kidnapping opportunity for some wack job just walking by. Leaving your children in a hot car can cause dire circumstances, even death as we’ve learned this summer.

It pisses me off.

Just the other day a Greenfield couple decided it would be a really good idea to leave their four children (ages three months to five years old) in their car while they grocery shopped. I don’t know what the temperature was that day, but on average we’ve been running in the 90’s. Temperatures in the 90’s can cause heat in cars to raise as high as 110 degrees. That’s hot! The parents have been charged with neglect of a child which is a class D Felony.

“At least five other central Indiana parents have been arrested in the past month for leaving children unattended in hot vehicles. In one case, a four-month old Greenfield girl died.” www.indystar.com

I noticed myself yesterday getting out of my car and looking around. It just so happened that I was parked next to a van that had a car seat in the back seat. I’ll admit it, I peered into the window to make sure there wasn’t a child inside. I’ve been a single mother. I know what it’s like to get a sleeping child out of a car and take it into a grocery store when it’s hot outside. I know what it’s like to have to pick up diapers at midnight in the bitter cold dragging a heavy car seat along with you.

There is no excuse for this.

The next time my teenager rolls his eyes at me because I’m making him get out of the car I won’t think twice about it. For those that decide to put their children’s life in jeopardy, I have an iPhone, and I know how to use it. I will try to get your children out of the car so they are safe. I will call the police, and wait until they get there to arrest you.

I would like to know what you think. Has this situation made you more aware of your surroundings? What would you do if you saw a child unattended in a vehicle? Would you do something or ignore it?