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Archive for May, 2011

May 31 2011

Behind The Wheel With Mom

Posted by Mugs @ 5:28 pm in Family

Josiah got his learners permit last September. Dale and I decided that it would be best for all concerned if Dale, not I, taught Josiah how to drive. Dale taught Josiah the basics: how to adjust his mirrors, start and stop, back up, and park. Periodically, throughout the last several months, Josiah would drive home from church or around the local area. He drove I95 once. They were moving at a leisurely pace that was acceptable to me up until last week. (One never knows when a particular way of doing something will become unacceptable to me, but when it happens, expect things to change in a hurry.)

Josiah has to log 45 hours (10 hours after dark) driving with his parents before he can take the official behind the wheel class and get his license. Personally, I want him to complete everything for his license before school and Cross Country practice starts in August. Oh, how I hate driving to Cross Country practice! This is my true motivation to get a move on.

We started on Sunday. I was a bit like the mother bird tossing her baby bird out of the nest. For our first lesson, I had him drive to his friend Cody’s house down I95 at night. Admittedly, that may have been a bit crazy. My very presence in the car made backing out of the driveway difficult for him. While he drove, I sat in the passenger’s seat praying and attempting to maintain a calm and even tone. I had taught him to ride a bike by running alongside, pushing off, and telling him to pedal. I apparently don’t know any other way.

Praise the Lord, we made it to Cody’s house safely, picked him up, and I drove home, so as not to give Cody’s parents a heart attack. The next day (Memorial Day), we drove down I95 once again to pick up a different friend, Britton. We were passed by a large contingency of Rolling Thunder and everyone driving from New York to Florida. We made it safely to Britton’s house, and once again I drove home. Later that day, Britton’s mom came to retrieve him. Britton was also logging his behind the wheel hours with his parents. “We’re taking route 1 home,” she said. “95 is crazy with people cutting in and out.” “Yes, it sure is,” I replied.

This morning, Josiah drove once again with me down I95 to drop off Abby at her friend’s house in Lake of the Woods. Along with driving the interstate, he had to drive through the most congested part of Fredericksburg (Route 3 – the mall/target/walmart/chickfila strip mallaganza road). Route 3, as well as being completely congested, is also under construction.

When we finally left the city limits and began driving through the country, and there was not another car in sight, I said, “These are the kinds of roads I learned to drive on.”

Do as I say, not as I do – words to live by.


May 29 2011

Nick’s Maryland Rose Garden

Posted by Dale @ 7:06 pm in Family,Nature,Sightseeing

May 24 2011

I Got Nothin

Posted by Mugs @ 9:53 pm in Family,school

The school year has ended for Josiah and Abby. They both maintained good enough grades to escape having to take final exams. Josiah escaped by the skin of his teeth with a dose of mercy from at least two of his teachers.

In February, at the end of third quarter, Josiah applied to take three AP courses during his upcoming Junior year. I went to the AP parent information night and listened to the AP teachers attempt to scare away all prospective students with explanations of the horrendous course load, impossible grading scales, and prior students reduced to tears when they got an F.

I left the meeting and told Josiah that he might be able to survive one AP class, but there was no way he could survive three. He insisted he was going to take all three and rallied his father to his side. Dale told him he would give him the fourth quarter to prove he could handle everything by himself, and Dale stopped checking Josiah’s assignments on line.

During fourth quarter, Josiah fell asleep in front of the computer one night trying to finish an English paper. Furthermore, I suspected he was struggling with both illness and course load, but did not realize how badly he was doing until I received an email from his English teacher. She informed me that because he had not turned in assignments, he was currently failing Honors English: his strongest subject.

Dale and I were furious with him. He had apparently hit the wall, fallen behind, and was trapped under the avalanche of incomplete assignments. All he said was, “I just fell apart.” We made him apologize to his teacher, took his phone away, and did not allow him to go out with friends until his last assignment was turned in for the year. Almost all Josiah’s friends thought his punishment was extreme. Only one of his friends (the biggest slacker of the lot) supported our disciplinary actions. His friend said simply, “You do the crime…you pay the time. You’re a Manry; you should’ve known better.”

Josiah spent the majority of Spring Break catching up on missed assignments and writing papers. His father required him to create a day by day planning calendar. Eventually, Josiah got all his assignments turned in and managed to bring his fourth quarter grade up to a C. The teacher’s weighting of certain large assignments and the grades he had gotten in his first three quarters enabled him to finish with an A- for the year. Don’t ask me how, I still don’t believe it.

Last week, he had just one assignment left to complete for his restrictions to be lifted: a pre-calc take home test. He finished it and when he got home on his last day of school, I asked him if he had finally gotten everything turned in. He said yes, and I handed him his phone. Immediately, the texting resumed. The next night he went to a birthday party of a friend and stayed overnight at another friend’s house.

I was certain, after the extreme length of his punishment, he had truly learned his lesson.

The very night Josiah was gone over to his friend’s house, Dale came home, sat down at the computer, and picked up a packet of papers laying on the desk. He walked over to me, held up the completed pre-calc take home test packet and said, “Wasn’t Josiah supposed to turn this in?”

The next morning when Josiah arrived home, I handed him the pre-calc test packet and he stared at it in complete disbelief. I then made him call his teacher, plead for mercy, and ask if he could drop the packet off at her house. When I got on the phone with his teacher, I simply told her,

“I have no explanation for you concerning my son.”

May 19 2011


Posted by Mugs @ 8:17 pm in Nature,Pets

The annual spring cleaning of the pond occurred on Saturday. Amazingly, five fish had survived the winter and the dirty green water of the pond prior to the cleaning. Unfortunately, the lesson “fish need a gradual change of water temperature when transferring them out of the pond” learned last year by Dale was not learned by Gabe and Zeke. Out of five, one fish survived the day and we nicknamed him survivor. He has been swimming around his nice clean pond looking a bit lonely.

This morning, I looked out the window to see a giant blue heron standing in the pond looking for some breakfast. The sparkling clear water must have attracted him. I thought survivor was a goner. After the heron flew off, Gabe ran outside to look and found him still swimming along. I figure, either survivor hid under the filter or the heron decided he wasn’t big enough for a snack.

I feel he is aptly named.

May 16 2011

Masking The Scent

Posted by Mugs @ 1:17 pm in Nature,Pets

My roses are blooming. Most days new buds open, so I stroll the grounds to view them.(It should be more accurately termed: walk the yard…but stroll the grounds sounds so much better suited when discussing rose viewing.)

My climbing Fourth of July roses have finally reached the porch rail (after 3 years in the ground), and are blooming their stripes for all to see. Sally Holmes sits between them getting larger every year and abundant with her single petal hybrid musk blooms. The Black Ice floribunda rose buds really did look black until they opened into a dark rich red color. The rainbow knockout bloomed first and most profusely. The Champlain Canadian Explorer rose is covered in red blooms which I admire from my kitchen window. I saw my first Veilchenbleu flower, a light purple rambler, and I am eagerly anticipating when the hundreds of tiny buds on it follow along.

Blaze travels with me as I walk the yard. He attempts to get my attention by periodically dropping a ball at my feet. If I clip a bloom, he reaches up and bites another bloom off to help me with my task. In a fury, I will throw the ball to get rid of him. This, of course, is exactly what he wants. Biting blooms off plants works like a charm every time. When I take too long to snap a rose photo, he determines that I must be waiting for him to get in the picture as well.

This year, the rose that has won my heart is Sydonie: a pretty pink Hybrid Perpetual with a lovely scent. I checked it each day as its buds formed and eagerly anticipated its opening. Finally, one morning, I saw that it had opened and eagerly walked over to enjoy its beautiful aroma. As I approached, an odor did arise, just not the one I had been waiting for. Having determined that no scent would compete with his own, Blaze had left a fresh pile within inches of the beautiful rose.