Proof of skills

Advanced Placement exam scores become available on a staggered basis geographically, based on IP address, so the servers don’t crash. My employer’s web traffic is routed through our headquarters in another state, so I told M that I could look up his scores at work so he’d know them a day earlier. (Because really, when you’ve been waiting 2 months, that extra day makes all the difference!)

I logged in, checked his scores, then laboriously on my simple little phone tapped out a text message: Stat 5 eng 5 chem 4 congrats I may not be able to manage punctuation, but at least I figured out how to mix numbers and letters in the same message; that took real effort.

M texted back from the camp bus: Yay! You learned how to text! Love you!

So now we know: M has mastered statistics, chemistry, and English literature well enough to get various credits at nearly all the colleges he’s applying to, and I’ve mastered rudimentary texting.

Yesterday was M’s first day working as a counselor at the Scout day camp. In the morning I wished him good luck, and said that I hoped he got a good group of kids this week, and that they weren’t too annoying or weird. He replied, “I’m sure they’ll be annoying or weird, but they’ll be good anyway.” What an astonishingly mature response, and perhaps the perfect attitude for a camp counselor to have!

Last night, he reported that the first day went well. “Changing for swimming took forever; they all lost articles of clothing.” (Said with a bit of an air of superiority, despite the fact that 3 days earlier, he’d forgotten his folding camp chair when packing up from his campsite during prep week.) “But I helped them find everything. We were late for the flag ceremony, and then it turned out my den was supposed to lead it, and they did a terrible job and couldn’t even stand in a straight line next to me, but it didn’t really matter much. And the kids were pretty well-behaved, except for one kid who kept throwing things, but even he was pretty nice.”

When E asked why the kid kept throwing things, M replied, “At age 9 or 10, they don’t really need a reason.” He’s right! And clearly the 2 summers he spent in the CIT program did an excellent job of preparing M to deal with these kids in a positive way, even when things aren’t all perfect. I’m so proud of him.

In other M news, he just survived his first solo trip driving the car (all of 2.5 miles to a friend’s house.) He called to let me know he got there safely, so I wouldn’t worry. I hadn’t asked him to do this, but it was rather reassuring that he did, especially considering his friend had called 30 seconds earlier wondering where he was.


We are now the parents of a licensed teenage driver.

M goes off to overnight Scout camp tomorrow for a week of staff training, before starting his job as a day camp counselor. (And fortunately, he won’t need to drive to get to his job; he can take the same bus the camp kids do.) So I’ll add him to the insurance sometime this week, but it won’t be until next Saturday that he’ll have an opportunity to take the keys and drive my car off down the road all by himself.



A qualified woohoo for Indiana! An Indiana judge ruled in support of equal marriage rights in that state, and hundreds of couples were able to marry before the courts stayed the decision 2 days later. Congratulations to them all!

Since couples were briefly able to marry there, that means the state will get colored green in the map and included in the stats below, and added to the blog’s “Gay Marriage Around the USA” sidebar but with an asterisk denoting that the decision has since been stayed.

And now:

52.7% of people live in places where same-sex married couples have all the same state and federal rights as opposite-sex married couples.

2.5% of people live in places where civil unions or domestic partnerships offer state-level rights only.

44.8% of people live in places which do not offer any mechanism for gay and lesbian couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationships.


8 years ago today, I sent an email to E asking her out on our first date. We were both so out of practice with dating, that between how I wrote the email and how she read it, she couldn’t tell if I was asking her out. Fortunately, she showed the email to a coworker who confirmed that yes, I was asking her on a date.

6 years and a few weeks ago, we walked back to the site of our first date. In the presence of indifferent joggers and hyperactive squirrels, I asked her to marry me.

4 years ago today, we stood together on a mountaintop in front of a few dozen people, and promised each other:

    I take you to be my wife,
    to have and to hold,
    to love and to cherish,
    to laugh with you in joy,
    to grieve with you in sorrow,
    and to take life’s journey together
    as long as we both shall live.

1 year ago today, we both took the day off from work so our whole family could be home together, clustered around 2 computers and a TV, watching the Supreme Court decision come down that recognized our marriage.

Compared to some years, today is nothing special; mostly we’re recuperating from a whirlwind trip to DC so our son could visit colleges. Except that today is still special, because I get to celebrate that I found a totally awesome woman who’s been my partner through all the ups and downs of the last 8 years, and I love her more than ever. Happy anniversary, honey.

Last year I built myself a bedside table that was essentially a shelf clipped onto the lamp next to my bed. It worked well initially, but then got increasingly wobbly, and eventually I couldn’t really trust it with my eyeglasses or a heavy book.

Today at the swap section of the dump I found a little table that looked almost perfect for the narrow space I had to work with.


But I wanted to be able to open the cupboard without moving the table, and I wanted to be able to reach the table more easily from the bed. So I cut notches into the top and bottom shelves. In case you’re wondering how I cut rectangular notches, first I sawed parallel lines in from the edge, then used the chisel to etch a line across the bottom, then I whacked the middle section on the edge with a hammer. The whole middle rectangle neatly cracked off along the chisel line.


I cut the notches deep enough so the table legs could fit around the base of the lamp.


I had saved the cut-off bits, making sure to note which was from the top shelf, and which from the bottom. I trimmed off the middlest section so the cutoff bits could fit back into the table on the other side of the lamp post. I glued 2 popsicle sticks to the underside of each piece. Then I carefully marked my drill bit so I could drill holes slightly shallower than the thickness of each shelf.


Then I drilled pilot holes so I could screw the popsicle sticks into the underside of each shelf. I wanted each shelf to be firmly supported for the drilling so it wouldn’t crack, which required a little more ingenuity for the bottom shelf.


Then I fit the table into place around the lamp, and screwed the pieces into place to make sure everything fit just right.


After a quick disassembly, 3 coats of paint so it would match other bedroom furniture, and reassembly, it’s good to go!


Our house is not considered the “cool house” for M and his friends to hang out in. I suspect it’s because the house is so small that they can’t do anything without being overheard by adults; their only internet access is the computer in the living room, which offers no privacy; and E and I say things like, “It’s a beautiful day out and you’ve been on the computer for 2 hours; shut it down and go find something else to do.”

However, last night none of M’s friends’ parents were willing to host the boys to watch a movie together, so M invited them to our house. We’d ascertained which kids would need dinner, so as soon as they showed up, E dished out some food. We then announced, “When you’re done eating, you can start the movie,” and we fled the house to take a nice long walk around the neighborhood. So they got at least a little time without us having to hear everything they did.

This morning, M wandered into the hall bathroom, then wandered out and asked, “Why is the toilet seat up?”

Me: “Because one of your friends must have left it that way.”

M: “Is that what you’re supposed to do?” (As though he’s somehow failed to learn a key bit of bathroom practice in the 14 years he’s been using a toilet.)

Me: “No!”

M: “Why would they do that?”

Me: “Because they’re lazy.”

M: “Why aren’t they supposed to do that?”

Me: “Because it’s considered rude and gross.”

M: “OK.”


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