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Musings from the Laundromat: College and Hypoallergenic Tortoises Edition

Ah college … the smell of new books, freshly sharpened pencils purchased lap tops, and visions of professors and libraries …

Nic’s first day of classes went well.  I came home to him smiling – feeling confident – a sheen of ‘eau de higher education/grown up’ glistening on his skin.

Then he had math.

I received a call at work approximately 10 minutes before it was time to leave.

“That math class is so stupid!  The teacher doesn’t explain and I have no idea what PAGES we’re supposed to do!!”

“OK, calm down – we’ll talk when I get home.”

My little bundle of college joy was freaking out.

The entire way home,  all the cogs in my mind were turning.

Tutor … I could find a way to get a tutor.  He can find his math teacher before the work is due and ask for clearer direction.  He has to pass or his grant will be due and payable!  Who do I know that’s good at math??  Why does he stress out so quickly?  What did I do wrong?   He used to be good at math.

Considering the fact that my drive home is 10 minutes, these were a lot of thoughts.  And now that I’ve typed them out, I think I answered my ‘why does he stress out’ question.

Came to the conclusion though, that unless he wants to succeed – it didn’t matter what idea ‘Momma’ came up with.

We sat and discussed this.  He said he would find a way.

I have to let go.  I can’t solve problems for him anymore.  I can steer him back to the crux of the situation though.

“Do you still want a degree?”


“Then, you’ll find a way.  If you want it, you just will.”

Inside I was agreeing with him though, that math does suck.


Now another bundle of joy story.

Friday, it was planned that I would accompany one of my nearest and dearest friends to collect her grand baby for the weekend.

I was happy to go along for the ride – besides getting to sniff baby head and bite little toes, the 45 minute drive was a great way to catch up with my friend.

We arrived at my friends mothers house and … OH!  Look at this tree!  It lives in her moms yard and when I saw it, I thought of Harry Potter, then of course, I had to take a photo.


Back to the story.

We enter the house and I headed straight to baby after saying ‘hello’ to friends mom.

You may only see a foot as I don’t know if the baby’s mom would be okay with some random person posting photographs of her daughter online.


I thought we were heading back to our town, but it turned out we were going to dinner.

I’m always up for dinner.

Long story short …



So we’re at the restaurant, and I’m remembering that not so long ago, the baby’s foot was a lot smaller.  And the baby was doing all kinds of things baby couldn’t do last time I saw her.

“She’s getting so big!”

“Well, last time you saw her she was 3 months old.”

No way.  Couldn’t be.

“It can’t have been that long!”

Apparently, yes it could have been that long – and my friend had proof.

Friend and friends mother exchanged glances and I knew, there was a very good reason they were certain of the last time I saw baby.

“That’s when we found out she’s allergic to animals.”




Color me guilty and embarrassed … but then, I turned it around.

“So!  I will always be part of her story!  She had a ‘first’ after being at my house!”

*groan*  I know!  It’s not a good first!  I was trying to stay positive.

I looked at my friend and said “You’re welcome.”

The drive home was filled with more catching up – and baby fell asleep.

My friend and I were yawning – but she had one more stop.

“I’ve got to see if the tortoise is outside of the chamber.”

“Oh my gawd, we’re those old people who stop and look at things like ‘Worlds Largest Ball of Yarn’ on road trips.”

Then: “It’s dark, how are we going to see a tortoise?”

I needn’t have worried.


“What’s it made of?!?”

“Metal I think, get out and touch it.”

“I’m not touchin’ it.  You’ll leave me here.”

“No I won’t.”

“Well, I’m not touching it.”

“You’re going to blog about this aren’t you?”


Yes, Denice – yes I did.

These dreams … (and dreams we have for others)


Last night I dreamed my mother was pregnant.  The shock that she was carrying a child at her age gave way to wonder.  I felt a sense of peace and safety and excitement.

I was in the hospital with her, for a check up or perhaps because the time was close to meet the little one?

I looked at her swollen belly and then into her eyes.  She was smiling in a tired yet calm way, and had some bad news.

The baby wasn’t going to make it.

It wasn’t long after that ‘scene’ when we were in a gymnasium, and she was finalizing plans with a score keeper to try again.  I didn’t even question why he would be the father.  It just seemed like a business transaction.

I noticed my mom online this morning and told her: “I dreamed you were pregnant.” She responded “We weren’t going to tell anyone just yet.”

That made me smile.

I am fortunate to have a mother with a sense of humor.

I researched the symbology of seeing someone pregnant.  It said: “To dream someone else is pregnant indicates that you are experiencing a closer connection to this person.”


So what did they say it meant to lose the baby?

“Suggests that some idea or plan did not go as expected.  The dream may also serve as a warning against your continued course of action.  You need to alter your path or risk losing something of significance and value to you.”

Hmmmm ….

I have my own theory.

I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve had some resentment lately.

Nicholas returned from England and the next step was to enroll in college and look for his first job.

I stand by my theory that no one can want anything FOR you.  While you can suggest, encourage and support, you can’t want someone into doing something.

Of course I’ve discussed school with Nic.  But in my opinion, unless it’s something he wants for himself, he won’t put in the work.

I planted seeds and offered ideas and hoped to see him decide to take that path on his own.  For him to make the effort to look into how to make it happen.

And he has.

Yesterday he went to the college and in the evening, we pushed “Submit” on his student aid application.

My resentment comes from the fact that every conversation I’ve had with my mother lately includes her telling me what Nic has to do.

As if I’ve been dropping the ball on the whole ‘raising your child’ thing.

“He needs to go speak to a counselor at the college.” “He needs to apply for jobs.”

I think a part of me feels like she doesn’t trust my mothering.

I felt talked down to,  like a little girl being given directions because she couldn’t figure it out on her own.

And the feeling returned that Nicholas is not mine, but hers.

I sat in that feeling and it wasn’t comfortable.

So I shifted my thoughts and my position.

Nicholas isn’t mine.  He does not belong to anyone. “God doesn’t have grandchildren” came to mind.

I considered that I’m fortunate to have others love and care about my son.  The directions come from a well intended place.


I have to take myself and my pride out of the equation – because it’s not about me.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a grandmother.  I can only imagine.  I imagine it’s indescribably amazing.

The love I have for my son is the most honest and pure and complete love I’ve known.  So to one day, perhaps, hold his child?  My eyes are watering just imagining it.


And I’ll want the best for his son or daughter.  And if I’m fortunate enough to be there and to know my grandchild – I’m sure I’ll offer Nic advice.

But I trust the person that he is – even now.  I know his values and his heart.  I know that he will be an incredible father one day.

“Let’s do the time warp …”

What a weekend so far. 

There has been someone on my mind for years.  A friend that left such an impression on me, that after life took us in different directions – I found myself thinking of him a lot. 

Wondering what ever happened to him.  Laughing at silly things we did.  Smiling at the memories of us trying to put a comic book together based on a short story I wrote in college.  Sighing at the night he was there for me – during a very difficult time in my life.

I missed my friend.

A lot.

I have searched through the years – internet searches, inquiries to mutual friends  – nothing.  I searched Facebook and could not find him.

I have art he drew for me – poems he wrote for me. 

One poem in particular played a huge role in an intense conversation I had with my son about a year ago.

I won’t go into details. 

Suffice it to say, I wanted to reconnect.  I wanted to find out how he was.  Was he happy? Was he still drawing?  Was he married with children?  

I found a mutual friend on Facebook, who I’ve also looked for over the years, and lo and behold – he was friends with the person I was looking for.

I couldn’t have been happier. Sent friend request and waited.


He accepted my friend request.  (Isn’t that funny?  Your ‘real life’ friends have to approve your request for friendship.)

I got to speak to him via the internet today. 

I type fast – very fast.  And bombarded him with ‘OMG’s’ and a million questions. 

Of course one of the questions was if I could share some of his art with you here.  I won’t know until we talk again.  But, trust me when I say, if I DO get to share it – your socks will be blown off.


I was shocked to see a couple of his photos on his page were of drawings he did of characters from my short story ‘Purple Haze’. 

No. Not the song. 

I maintain to this day that I hadn’t heard the Hendrix title when I wrote that story. 

My dad had been to New York, I begged him to get me something, anything from Bloomingdale’s. 

He came back with a see-through phone with pink neon inside.  With my lights out at night, my bedroom was awash in purple light.  THAT is where the name to my story came from.


Anyway, I was so inspired by our chat, that I decided to go to my mom’s house, over the river (yes, really.  No woods to go through though.) and finally retrieve my box containing memories and my writing from college.

Got it home and with nervous excitement, I opened what felt like a time capsule. 

Oh SO many things in there!  Photos, letters, autographed books, the scripts and press kits from Hannibal and Silence of the Lambs.  Yearbooks and primary school work books.  Nic’s ‘first year’ calendar.  A love letter from someone – I have no idea who?!

And, my creative writing folder.

I took it out gently, as if I were holding the holy grail.  In my head, golden light bathed the room and intense ‘ta-da’ chord came out of nowhere  (you know what I mean, that angelic-climactic sound.)

I opened the folder. 

Purple Haze part 2.  Okay …

Some poems.

Some works by fellow creative writing classmates.

Hand written short stories.

No Purple Haze part 1.


It has to be somewhere.  I’ll have to search through more boxes – I have lots and lots of ‘memory boxes’.  No, I’m not a hoarder – I’m sentimental. I keep every note, every card, every picture. 

If it’s meant to turn up, it will.  Like my friend, after 20 years of searching.

And I will share one picture with you – because it says ‘To Amanda’ on it and I think that means I’m allowed to? 

(I really need to google that whole ‘what can I post on my blog without permission’ thing one day.)