Sunday, June 13, 2010

Up with three, down with 2...

I took Middle to camp today, and Oldest came along for the ride.  Not like it was just down the street, or even an across-town, but he wanted to come anyway.  The drive is long, and boring, until we hit Palm Desert.  The boys did pretty well not driving me insane along the way, but there were, of course, the requisite pokes and jabs, but then, these are my boys and I would expect nothing less.

We stopped for lunch in Palm Desert, and then started up "the hill".  Middle and I had done a pretty decent job scaring the pants off Oldest with the stories of climbing the hill, and I am pleased to report that the drive was not nearly as terrifying the second time as it was the first.  No doubt, there are some death-defying turns at about 2000 feet up, but no one lost their lunch on the way up, and my grasp on the steering wheel did not leave imprints this time.

It is really a beautiful drive once you get past the "I'm going to drive off this cliff and meet my doom" part.  Oldest was very much in awe of it all.  It was also fun to watch the temperature gauge drop lower and lower.. 95* at the bottom, and 67* at the top of the hill.  Camp is at about 5200ft elevation.  I froze, and it was wonderful!

Middle showed Oldest all around, introduced him to the counselor - Middle has the same counselor this year as he did last year, and is totally excited by this - and gave Oldest a tour of the most important parts of camp: the hollowed out tree you can climb into, and the zip line.

Oldest and I hung out for about an hour, walking around camp, talking to folks.  There is a part of Oldest, I think, that wishes he were staying with Middle at camp.  I think he would be loathe to admit this to me, or to anyone, but I watched him interact with the kids and walk around camp... maybe next year we will convince him to go.

Last year, Middle wanted me to stay until the very last possible moment.  He got all teary when I went to hug him for the last time, and I tried hard NOT to cry in front of him, but that was an epic fail.  This year, however, we were both ready.  Middle was happy to have us around, but when it came time for the campers to group together, he looked at me, those deep brown eyes with the twinkle and his broad gap-toothed grin and said "Ok, Mom.. you can go now."

No tears.  No lingering "I don't want to let you go" hugs.  No problem.  For either of us.

Doing things for the first time is tough, be it drive Highway 74 up the mountain, or leave your child at sleep away camp.  You don't know what to expect.  Folks can tell you, sure, but until you go through it for yourself, and come out the other side unscathed, you just don't know.  And that makes it hard.   But once you know, and you have not only the sense of accomplishment but the true knowledge that you will be OK, it becomes a piece of cake.

So, Middle is in his happy place - camp.  And I am thrilled for him.  And Oldest and I will have adventures of our own, enjoying the change in dynamics within the family this week.  Even if all we will do is pack boxes and toss trash and even if there is not a Zip line in sight.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuff... and a countdown or two.

There is a lot happening in our house this month.  Middle leaves for camp.  We move.  I am going to wake up soon and it will be July!

The movers arrive in 10 days.  T-e-n.  TEN DAYS PEOPLE!  My house is beginning to look like a place where unwanted things go to die, but I know we have lightened the load and weeded out a bunch of crap, ahem, I mean stuff, already, but I look around the mess that once was my home and wonder how, on earth, we will ever be ready.

Oh, and of those ten days, I will be out of commission for two.  Because of the #1 thing happening this month - Middle goes to camp.  Tomorrow.  Six hours away by car and momma is driving him.  Now, the rather selfish part of me loves this arrangement because it means a night, possibly alone (Oldest may want to tag along, but he has not made up his mind yet.  I keep telling him that it is OK if he does not want to go.. really.. I'll be OK... no pressure....) but I am also aware of what needs to be done before June 21st when we turn over the keys.

Middle went to camp for the first time last summer.  He was 8.  He got a little teary when I left (as opposed to me who was a blythering mess stoic beyond belief) but loved every single minute of the experience and has been counting down, literally, every day since.  "Mom.. only 7.5 more months until I can go to camp again."  "Mom, can I start packing for camp?" <-- said in March...  If he gets any sleep tonight, I will be shocked.

But I also wonder... at least for me, whenever there is something huge that I am excited about, be it a party, a visit, a vacation, when it at last gets here, and then it is over, the let down is huge.  I spend so much time, so much energy looking forward to IT, and then poof!  It's over.  How will he be when it is Next Saturday, and he is here, back home, amid the mess and chaos of a home between houses? When all I can do is think 'this box here, that box there.."  He is going to be sad, and missing camp, and in the middle of moving hell.

But again, this is Middle.. and he is without question my 'roll with it' kid.  Unflappable.  Constant.  Maybe I need to learn from him, and figure out how to be just slightly unflappable in the middle of all this stuff.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Here we go..

And just like that... we went from spring like, very pleasant weather here in the Valley of the Sun, to heat advisories for all of the southern half of the state.  A heat advisory basically means temps at or above 110*.  And, so it begins... the melting, firestorm heat of summer in Arizona.   Oddly enough, this year I can tell you exactly when it happened.  Friday.  My general routine is to try to get up before anyone else (challenging with Mr. Oldest who seems to have come from Rooster DNA), grab my coffee and sit out on the patio for a little quiet time.  I listen to birds singing to each other, watch the various families of quail and their little quail-letts scamper about the back yard.  It's my "commune with nature" time, and about as communing as I plan to do.  Up until Saturday morning, the air during this time was very pleasant.  Not exactly crisp, but there was a lightness to it - nothing oppressive at all. 
Saturday morning, it was gone.  When I went out at 6am, it was already 85* and feeling heavy.  Now, we are supposed to have a break in the heat late next week, but until then... well, it IS Arizona after all.  Time to live like moles - deep underground, hiding from the sunshine, desperately trying to stay cool.

Oh, and my air conditioner has gone kaput.  With 2 weeks left for us in this house... of course.  Oiy... here we go!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Completing the Gestalt

If you are not a student of Counseling Psychology, you might have no idea what on earth that means.  Gestalt means, in rough terms, CIRCLE in German.  Gestalt Therapy was developed by Fritz Perls in the 1960's and is noted for being far more confrontational than traditional therapy. "You are a phony" was one of Fritz's lines in those videos we got to see in class... let's just say he didn't make a lot of friends.

However, I happen to LOVE Gestalt therapy - I think you can really break down barriers quickly and so forth with it.  I also love the symbolism that is inherent in the model... you want to complete what has been started.  You don't have to be the person who starts it, but you have the power to complete it - coming full circle, so to speak.

One example I love - we had to pick a therapy style during my Master's program, and then watch a movie.  We would take a character from the movie, and, using our chosen philosophy, develop a treatment plan.  The movie I chose was "the war".  Kevin Costner and Elija Wood.  It was a beautiful little movie that failed miserably at the box office, but was SO utterly perfect for the Gestalt.  Costner plays a war vet who comes home to his family after allowing his friend to die alone out in the fields of Viet Nam.  It haunts him.  His family lives just above poverty level, and all he wants is to give his family a good life.  His son, Elija, has a nemesis... several, actually.  The Gestalt is completed when Elija actually saves the life of the nemesis - saving a life when his father has been haunted by the life he allowed to slip away.   See  -  a circle completed.

So, my Gestalt.  We bought this house June 16th, 2001.  Actually, we had a 45 day escrow so that was the day we closed.  It had been on the market almost a year when we bought it.  We have had it on the market for just about a year now... and we have sold it... and our closing date is... wait for it... June 16th, 2010.  How freaky is that??

Well, in all honesty, the closing date has now been moved to June 21st, however, the original closing date was 9 years TO THE DAY that we took ownership.  Full circle...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Grey skies are goin'to clear up...

To update our YES situation...

We got a YES from the bank, and a YES from a landlord, so we are MOVING!  This is good news.  VERY good news.

The not-so-good news for me personally is that we are not moving 3000 miles away, but rather more like 5.  Same town. Different zip code.  Same oppressive heat for 6 months of the year.  Same cruddy schools for the boys.  (Ok, I know, Scottsdale Unified is the top rated district in the state.  Arizona is, however, the 2nd dumbest state in the country looking at comparative test scores.  So, really, what is there to brag about?)  However, it is  a GREAT house.. great... and I am So excited!!!

We started packing last weekend.  We move around the 21st of June, so no time like the present!  I have taken 2 huge car load of, ahem, crap to the Goodwill store, and a few things to consignment.  There is much more to go, but we are making progress.

I think a good tactic is this... about ever 2 or 3 years, pretend you are going to move.  Weed out.  Toss stuff.  I am amazed and a bit disgusted by all that we have accumulated in the last 9 years.

More, including pictures, soon!!