Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And It's Monday!

Don't complain about swimming being my only topic. It means I'll at least check in once a week! But truly, last week was much the same as the week before - Morrigan clocked lots of time at the YMCA, I logged some hours at work, and everyone else was scheduled around us!

We did fit in a few playdates for Eion with some of his new friends from this year.

And in this week's swim meet adventures, it was the much dreaded 100 free and 50 fly, Maggie's two least favorite events. Tim was working and the other children opted to stay home so it was just the two of us, and the 400 other swimmers. My performance the week before has garnered me a permanent position as clerk of course. It was a billion degrees and it was a huge meet but the time went fast!

As did Maggie, dropping time in both events, including 4 seconds on the butterfly.

She was cracking me up yesterday. She went to morning practice. Then when I took Morrigan for her 3 hours at the Y, Mags joined her so she could get another 45 minutes of swimming in. 


Now we're off to today's exercise session!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Return of Swim Meet Monday, on a Tuesday

Monday this week was filled with thunder and rain, so the swim met was moved to Tuesday. This was our first meet at the new Club, where the mascot is the Hound Dogs, hence the (temporary) tattoo.

They must buy them in bulk, as all the kids had them in a large variety of locations. 

The person who ran Clerk of Course had "retired," and they needed a replacement. [Editor's Note: Clerk of Course determines who will be in what lanes in each heat.] Sadly, I was determined to be a competent volunteer. It is one heck of a job and keeps you busy though, making the night fly by!

I did get to see Maggie race. She has "aged up" and the time standard are higher than last year. But she placed 5th silver in backstroke and 4th silver in freestyle, cutting time on both. And making her happy.

Which is good to remember today as she is strikingly less happy, having gotten braces yesterday, which hurt tons. We're hoping she's back to her smiling old self soon!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcome to the A-Typical Summer or The New Normal

Summers for many of the past years had a familiar, wonderful pattern. School would get out and, a few camps aside, we became fixtures at the pool. Alas, no more. Last week's marginal weather didn't help, but we are beset with complications and are having the weirdest of summers.

Y-Fit started for Morrigan and amounts to a part time job. She has to log her 50 hours at the YMCA in 41 days. In addition, she has certain classes she must attend, dictating strange and often inconvenient times she needs to be there. It has really wreaked havoc on our schedule. To her credit, she has been happy and upbeat, not really complaining. Well, a bit about soreness, but when one embarks on a 3 hours a day fitness program, it's to be expected. She's well on track to finish on time, escaping the dreaded PE.

I also started a new job at our local zoo. Your looking at, reading anyway, the new Assistant to the Executive Director! My boss has been very accommodating to my insane summer calendar. And fortunately, I can connect to many files from home and have been able to work on some projects off-site as well. They have a fundraiser coming up at the end of the summer that I'm working on as well. So far, it seems like a good fit and I'm really enjoying doing something new.

The job, however, is one more layer of complication, though a happy one!

Tonight we're off to the first swim meet of the summer, providing it doesn't get rained out. Was looking forward, on the new team, to taking a slightly smaller role in the meets. In a cruel turn of fate, all the people who ran clerk of course (arranging all the swimmers in heats) have moved on and Morrigan and I were tapped to take it over. Of well, working hard all night makes it go fast!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

From The Files Of "You've Got To Be Kidding Me," I Now Have A High Schooler

Yesterday was the 8th grade graduation ceremony, which one might be tempted to blow off, but as my 8th grade music teacher told us, "For some of you, this might be your last graduation."

We went, naturally.

The ceremony itself was a wee bit boring. Listing the accomplishments of 200 kids, many of whom  were unknown to us, can be a time consuming task. Though hearing that Morrigan had pulled her Spanish grade up two full letter grades to make the all "A" honor roll was lovely.

We made the whole family go, which I wasn't sure was the right play, until Maggie started listing off the credits she planned to have after her name in two years. Lit a fire that ceremony did.

And no matter how much high school scares us, this sweet girl is headed there after the summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poetry, It's Also All About The Chickens

We're at the end of the year and desk cleaning out at school has begun in earnest. Eion, happy to be done with school, perhaps the happiest, has a decidedly slash and burn attitude, eagerly dumping reams of paper in the recycling.

But he wanted me to keep the poems he wrote. When I looked through them, there clearly was a theme.

Chicken Food
I get a hamburger to throw down
The hamburger flies down the deck
James fights everyone else here
They are gulping it down
You must fight for it
Going away
Very small

And then there's...

I Am A Chicken
I am a chicken
White as a cloud
I eat almost anything
I am fast
I can lay eggs
I can be loud
I am a chicken

And one more....

If hope could be a color
it would be blue
as blue as the heavens

If hope could be a taste
it would taste just like chocolate

If hope could be a smell
it would be the beach

If hope could be a sound
it would be screams of joy

If hope could be a feeling
it would be happiness
[Editors note: I thought hope was a feeling. I am confused.]

If hope could be an animal
it would be a chicken

Clearly, one day when he is famous, this will be known as the poultry period.

The Chickens Are Famous

Last Sunday, our family and chickens were featured in an article in the local paper. A friend asked if she could interview us and take some pictures. I had no idea the end result would be the first page in the "Extra" section and we'd be pictured above the fold! I also had no idea that a picture of our, as previously discussed, ramshackle coop would be there too. Guess that's why we have it where it can't be seen from street level.

Since it was published, I've had people all over town, including my new boss, comment on it, stop me in the street, and send me texts. It's been kind of fun.

Here is a link to the full article. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Damn Glad to Meet You

[My latest South Roanoke Circle Article!]

So Tim and I were grocery shopping when a man came up to us. He reached in to Tim for a hardy handshake and a jovial “How are you man?” Then he made a pivot to me and it was “So great to see you!” and hug time! As he walked away, Tim said, “Who is that guy?” Stunned, I responded, “I thought you knew him.” Baffled, we discussed the odd encounter. Not being the huggiest of people, my embrace of a complete stranger confused both of us. But it was determined that happened because of the Wilton incident.

Months prior, I was happily enjoying an adult beverage at an Oktoberfest party when new attendees arrived. A fellow started talking to us and after a few minutes, I said, “I’m not sure we’ve met before. We’re the McKernans!”

And there was silence. 

Tim and my “new” friend looked at me with disbelief, in the former’s case, and bemusement, in the latter’s. Tim broke the silence with, “Really Katie? That’s Wilton.” It sounds bad, clearly I should have known who he was, but it is even worse when you get all the background. It was Wilton, whose house backed up to our old one on Wycliffe, whose daughter had babysat for an infant Morrigan, and best of all, who I had seen just a few weeks prior at a concert. I had just introduced myself to someone I had known for 14 years. Needless to say, I was without any sort of explanation and completely mortified.

Luckily, Wilton, in addition to all the other things I’ve mentioned, also has a good sense of humor. But the whole encounter left me emotionally scarred, possibly permanently. What I knew definitively, was that I was never ever ever going to have a repeat of that moment. 

Which brings us back to our hug and run friend. Only after his, albeit friendly, accosting in the water aisle, was it clear the damage was so great, I was willing to hug weird guys just to make sure no one ever again found out about a memory lapse.

But it was worth it to hear the varied theories from friends about what was going on here. The more suspicious inquired if we still had our wallets (we did.) There were optimists who found the run in “awesome,” (notsomuch.) Those who looked at the bright side, commenting, “At least he didn’t slap you.” And one of my favorites, and infinitely plausible, the idea that Tim had saved his life at some point in the ER and he was overcome with emotion when he saw him. (I really like the thought but it really doesn’t cover why I had to be involved.)

And then there was the suggestion that struck fear in my heart: he was playing Rejection Therapy.

Basically, it is a game designed to help people overcome the fear of rejection. The main rule, as stated by their website, is that “you must be rejected by another person at least once, every single day.” They go on to elaborate on what counts - “you have to be in a position of vulnerability but allow the respondent to be in a position of power.” The cards include a multitude of suggestions such as “Sit beside a stranger. Strike up a conversation.” and “Challenge a stranger to a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.” 

As an ├╝ber extrovert, just mildly forgetful sometimes, I have no need whatsoever for such a game. But let me tell you, I live in constant terror of it, and the card “Convince a stranger you know them,” catching on. But in the good news department, I’ll never be short hugs.