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http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/29/living/how-often-should-i-wash-everything/index.html

I ran across the above article about how often different things need to be washed – go on, give it a read it before clicking
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I asked M how his day at work went today, and he said, “I accidentally threw out a kid’s underwear.”

You know there’s a story behind that one!

To back up a bit: M just started his 4th week as a camp counselor. It’s been going very well so far — a fair bit of challenging behavior from the kids, and he’s discovered that “6- and 7-year-olds cry a lot for no reason,” but overall he seems to be doing a great job with the kids.

For 3 of the 4 weeks he’s been assigned to a den that includes the camp’s most challenging kid, J. J has had some really tough issues in his past, so the fact that he comes with a lot of (as M put it) “attention-seeking behaviors and problems with impulse control” is not surprising. M insists that the den leader assignments each week are random. Personally, I think the camp leaders have realized that M actually does a really good job of addressing J’s behavior without labeling J a bad kid, and M also came with references about babysitting a special-needs kid, so he’s got a bit more experience.

Anyway, today J came up to M while brandishing wet dirty underwear on a stick, and whacked M with it a few times. J said he’d found it in a puddle. M said the camp policy for lost underwear is to throw it out rather than put it in lost-and-found (who knew a camp had a separate policy for underwear?) so he confiscated the skivvies, put them in the trash, and got whacked a couple more times by the stick before finally disarming J. At that point, another kid in the den wandered up and announced he was missing his underwear. M, with a sinking feeling, described what he’d put in the trash. Yup. Since it was early enough in the day for the trash barrel to still be otherwise empty, M suggested the kid could fish the underwear out of the trash. The kid did, but based on the wet/dirty/trash-contamination aspects decided to put it in his bag rather than put it back on. Good call. M said the kid didn’t seem too perturbed about not wearing underwear for the rest of the day, but then again, the kid was also oblivious to the fact his shirt was on inside out.

Well good. At least it wasn’t a finicky kid whose underwear had run afoul of J and the stick.

And I can’t help but smile as a I picture a parent somewhere in eastern Massachusetts tonight, going through a kid’s bag of camp stuff, asking, “What happened to your underwear?” and hearing the kid reply, “My counselor accidentally threw it out.” And knowing there’s got to be a story behind it….

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.

Terrifying

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.

Gulp.

Indiana!

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.

marriagemapin

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.

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