Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New Driver!

Posing for his learner's permit photo!

The sister dogs (the Brinkruffs have sister Reyna) were elated to see each other again.

We had the privilege to celebrate another birthday with sweet Claudia!

How many kids can fit on a couch:)

Cooper proposed a nature walk.  It was cold and rainy, but I agreed to join him.  Although the conditions were less than perfect, the time with him was a joy.  

"What are you reading?" Caleb asked me as I gazed into a book.

"A book on loving others well," I responded.

We both burst out laughing.  The irony was not lost on either of us as we both sat in the bureau of motor vehicles waiting to get Caleb his learner's permit.  (Caleb referred to the license branch as "purgatory."  I called it "the place where souls go to die.")

At this point, we had been sitting for about an hour waiting for our turn.  While we did bring books, people watching was the more enjoyable way to pass the time.  The license branch certainly provided a full and complete picture of the American population.  My strongest observation was that pajamas are acceptable (and seemingly wildly popular) license branch attire.  Rarely have I felt overdressed in public, but I suddenly felt like my jean/sweater ensemble was akin to wearing a ball gown at a fast food restaurant.

Angela, the license branch employee, finally called our number.  We greeted her with a smile; she barely looked up.  My second observation of the day is that Angela may not have a future in customer service.  I would best describe her as no-nonsense and a stickler for documentation (which I suppose you want in a government employee doling out licenses, but not when you are the one who didn't bring the correct documentation!).  

The residential documents I brought did not include my name on the papers.  I suggested my husband take a picture of the papers and text me the photo.  While that appeared to be an easy solution, the license branch doesn't do easy.  I honestly think they specialize in figuring out solutions that will triple your wait time.

I'll spare you the boring details about how we finally received the correct papers.  The quick version is it took us an additional hour to be seen again by branch employee Shelly.

Compared to Angela, Shelly appeared bubbly.  With the correct documentation in hand, Caleb was given permission to take the written test and vision screening.  He passed both, and he was promptly ushered over to the photos.

Within minutes, we were signing a stack of documents.

"Do you agree to be financially responsible for him?" Shelly asked while scribbling some notes.

Suddenly, the weight of receiving of a learner's permit hit home.  Caleb is months away from being a licensed driver.  With this privilege comes both the joys and fears associated with a new driver.  Having a child behind the wheel is a scary prospect.  I wandered if I was ready to have my child take on all that responsibility.

I eyed Caleb, and I had my third observation of the day: he is ready.  This son of mine has shown himself to be responsible.  It's time to let him go.  

To let him go behind the wheel.  

To let him go where roads will take him.  

To hope he'll always come back home.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ice, Ice Baby

Best expert on the red panda!

I love running through life and celebrating birthdays with my running friends!

Sunday night, the weather did a number on Indiana.  Freezing rain left a thick layer of ice over our entire yard and neighboring roads.  Poor Rosie took one step out the back patio and learned how to skate.  I prayed that I wouldn't take a tumble.  A neighbor told me to take "penguin steps" to avoid falling to which I complied (but at the same time wondered if I was being punked).  I don't know which looks more funny: a fall on the ice or an adult walking like a penguin.

Church attendance was low.  The ice scared away those who were not interested in doing the penguin walk into church.  The icky weather left my boys feeling cooped up with excess energy to burn.  And so they decided church was the best place to get out the "wiggles. "  (Something seems off when I'm yelling at my kids while walking out of church.)

As a surprise to no one, the ice did not scare Cooper.  After church, he slid on his slippery shoes (his pool slides) and raced onto our icy drive.   Somehow, he convinced Rosie to join in the fun.  (How I wish I would have shot video!)  While I know the South Korean olympics have more professional looking performances, Cooper and Rosie provided just as much entertainment.  If asked to judge, I would have flashed them a ten for their tandem routine.

Today, the weather took a turn for the warmer.  The ice has practically all but melted.  The Vitamin D from the sun has transformed all of our dispositions for the better.  But Cooper holds a grudge and misses having his own private ice rink. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Puppy Love

Miss Rosie.

When ice is forming on your face and hair, you know it's a cold run!

Before we picked up our puppy Rosie, I'd be warned about dogs.  Friends cautioned about the chewing, slobber, hair, and carpet stains.  I was also told that despite my kids many promises, I would be tending to the dog.

I always believed that my family would be the exception.

It's a fatal flow of mine.

Within the first week of being a pet owner, I experienced every stereotype and byproduct of having a puppy.

On Sunday, I encouraged (strongly) the boys to take the puppy on a walk.  From their comfortable places on the couch, they uttered a litany of excuses.

It's too cold.

She doesn't need a walk.

I'm tired.

On the 19th excuse, I snapped and yelled loudly encouraged them to walk the dog.  One son jumped off the couch.  The other sons cowered in the corner, afraid to unleash one more word.

The rest of the day, my foul mood trailed with me.

That evening, Chris arrived home three hours late from his ER shift.  His scrubs were doused in blood, and his body look beat.

"I'm so mad at you," I exclaimed.  "I can't out-bad day you."

And with the infusion of a little humor and a dose of perspective, my mood began to shift.

A friend told me that owning a dog is great if you get past the first year.

We've got 11 months to go.