Just short of halfway through my 6 days off. However, the first 2 days did not really feel like vacation with everything that has been going on.
The graduation yesterday was excellent in every sense of the thought. It did NOT go on for 3 hours, which was a blessing in itself. More like about 70 minutes. There were various student speakers, some of which had some rather corny things to say, but the final student speaker spoke something the silenced the crowd. He got up there and started talking about the future, what it means to him and the fact that he has learned to see each day as a priceless commodity. You might think that odd for an 18 year old until he got to the part about having cancer and doing chemotherapy treatments.
I felt heart-sick for that kid. Graduating High School, just getting into the mode of thinking of starting a life for yourself and then bammm, hit with something like that.
My dad is doing much better than what I thought, to be honest. Yes, he has arthritis, yes, he has slowed down but he climbed up and down those bleacher stairs pretty well considering. It was an awkward moment at the end when we all met up - my middle brother, my mother, dad and even a gentleman I used to know from church years ago. THAT was a shocker! We used to spend hours in prayer together when meeting together in prayer groups. Even more shocking, he is in his early 50's and he retired 2 years ago. Wow. Well, he is a brainiac and was part of some sort of team of people at Intel that would be sent around the world doing research for possible plant locations. I never knew how much he made in terms of salary, but, to retire that young he obviously did quite well for himself.
Anyway, my middle brother actually spoke with my dad. As is par for the course with my family, acted as if nothing was wrong and nothing had ever happened. Remember that my brother hasn't spoken to my dad in almost 6 years: would not respond to his emails; telephone calls or snail mails. Get the picture? My mother shook hands with him - those 2 hadn't seen each other in about 28 years. My mother was looking very good, too, she dressed very nicely for the occasion and had had her hair done.
Off to my ex-pastor's house for the reception, undoubtedly this would be the most uncomfortable spot of the evening, and certainly it held true. Caleb hadn't shown up yet - he had my newer car and was helping his grandmother to her truck after the event was over which took awhile, not to mention that she gave him his new computer. Oh, gotta throw this in here: I just found out my oldest brother and his wife actually showed up for the graduation. They had to leave early because of early rise for work. Neither I nor anyone else from the family saw them there, but they had pics to prove it, I guess.
So, dad and I went into the house. I waited in the foyer for him to use the restroom, I figured if I was going to walk into a "hornet's nest", might as well take company. Lol. I knew everyone there. Although I expected them to show a bit more hospitality than they did, it wasn't surprising that the men were rude about it. I had to go to them to shake hands, they were not interested in talking to me and they only stopped their conversations long enough to shake hands and - that was it. Remember, I have known these people for about 2 decades.
I can read into it, however, that they were as uncomfortable with me being there as I was going into a man's house that used to be my pastor and one of my best friends. My ex-pastor came and gave me a half hug, spoke a few words and then disappeared. Only the other halfs - the wives - of these men excepting one made me feel at home. My ex-wife was definitely attempting to try and make us feel welcome, I'll give her kudos for that I guess.
Well, Caleb eventually showed up, which changed the atmosphere dramatically since he was the man of the day. He is a man, but he'll always be my kid, lol. After he made the rounds, he came back into where dad and I were and sat down with a huge plate of food and we started talking. You see, I love my son and he knows it, we get along well, I'm not a stranger to him and I do not go out of my way to try to make his life difficult. I have given him as much leeway as I thought appropriate for his age, which expanded more and more as he grew older. Now, he's an adult and has a lot to learn in life - as we all did at that age - I am stepping pretty much completely out of the way. The only thing I am going to push on him is my rules around the house, which aren't many and are mostly restrained to noise levels at night and cleaning up after oneself in whatever part of the house a person might make a mess in.
Anyway, that forced all of those people to have to come into the room we were at because the pastor's wife wanted to do a presentation. I was impressed. My son is like a 3rd son to them. Caleb is very comfortable over there as he has spent as much time there as he has at either mine or my ex wife's house. She explicitly stated that as well. Then, one of the guys that was - quite cold to me when I shook his hand - came in with a poem that my ex had written when Caleb was born. I had completely forgotten about it. It's framed and has a picture of him shortly after he was pulled out of her womb (C-section, late birther, too big to come through the birth canal).
I hadn't read or heard that poem in many years, it was touching. It was about Kim, the pastor's wife. Because my ex and her are good friends, well, Kim was around alot while Caleb was in the womb, growing. The poem basically stated that when he came out, he was looking around for the faces of the familiar voices. My ex's, me and then Kim's.
It was cool. I was put on the spot to say something - so I did. Nothing grandiose, just how proud I am of my son, the direction his life seems to be going in and the fact that he has grown a lot in terms of discipline and taking responsibility in the last year.
That was it. It was a good night despite the coldness from a few individuals. I pretty much expected it. We didn't stay long - maybe half and hour or 45 minutes. I was informed when we were leaving that I was a part of the family and always will be, that coming from Kim. Coming from her, I might believe it, but her husband? Not in the slightest. But I don't want to go there.
Took dad back to his hotel and came home. It was about 10:30, late for me. It's over. The excitement and the apprehension of the "what-if's". It's all done. I discussed with the ex last night about who is going to take Caleb up to Heber. Heber is up on the Mogollon Rim. It's forested, beautiful country up there. This is in reference to his 2 month stint to be a youth counselor for "troubled" youth going to the Salvation Army camp in Heber. Do a Google image search for Heber, AZ, you'll get what I am talking about. It's the type of place I would love to retire in. Unfortunately, alot of it burned up in early 2,000 due to 2 man-made fires.
The first fire set by a firefighter who wasn't getting enough work, so he decided to set the forest on fire. The second fire set by a woman who was lost in the woods and started a fire to get smoke up so that she would be rescued. The firefighter is in prison. I think they eventually let the woman off the hook, even though it was an extremely stupid act. She hadn't been lost for days, it was like an hour and instead of trying to find her way out of it or do ANYTHING a normal person would do, she lights a fire in bone-dry forest that hadn't seen enough rain to keep a huge fire that eventually met up with the firefighter's fire from starting and burning around 500,000 acres. I haven't been up there since that fire, but I do know that at least part of the Heber area was hit by that fire.
Anyway, Caleb has to be up there on a Sunday - 2 Sundays from now. I am thinking of going up the day before, getting a cabin and spending the night there. I'm going to throw that out to my son because if he wants to do it, I need to make the reservations soon. Like today, lol. I feel like he is going to be very busy from this point forth and probably isn't going to have a lot of time for his parents. When he comes back from that adventure, he is going straight back to work and will be going to a community college as well. I am feeling a bit of "separation anxiety" I guess you would call it. It's very possible that if he gets promoted as they say they are going to do when he gets back - he will be making more money and he might consider doing an apartment share with other guys. I don't know that for a fact, it's just the natural progression of things.
Well, that's it. I got the AC in my newer car fixed yesterday, it's blowing 40 degree air out of the vents. It cost as much as I thought it would, a bit over $400. I will be taking my car back after he leaves for the mountains and he will have the option of driving the older Buick if he wants it when he comes back. If he doesn't want it, I am going to sell it cheap and just get rid of it. I've gotten my use out of that car, it's served well, the engine is strong and has lots of miles left in it. If I ever get my tax return back, I am going to have a cheap paint job thrown on it, fix whatever issues are left in it and it's done. A couple more tires and the power steering pump is whining - yes it's full of fluid - pretty much tells me it's going to go out soon.
I took some pics and a video of the Graduation, maybe post that later today or tomorrow when I get around to it. I have to get my dad from the hotel in a few hours and bring him back here - he will be spending the afternoon here before I have to take him to the bus station. My last chance to visit with him. Pretty much make the most of it, this life has no guarantees given, he is getting old and...well....you know.....life can end at anytime without forewarning.
I'm looking forward to doing much of nothing today, to be honest, relax and take it easy. Tomorrow I intend on starting on that horse trough to get it ready for ponding.
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