Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Science Lesson

There are certain things that it just never occurs to a mom that she needs to teach her 17 year old son. This morning is a case in point.

Apparently, somewhere along the way, I needed to explain to him the properties of hair dye, and that the chemicals contained therein do not sit well nor are they something you can "save for later."

This is the last year we have to endure the dyeing of the beautifully thick, dark luscious hair on my son's head. For anyone who has ever tried to take very dark hair peroxide blond will tell you, it ain't pretty. But the football team does it every year at this time for the end of the season/playoff team building thing, so whatcha gonna do?

So for the third and thankfully LAST time, Nick is sporting a pukey shade of slightly orange blond hair to school because last night the guys decided it had to be done. Please note all these other guys are ALREADY BLOND. So after running out of the "good stuff" (bought at the hair supply place) they get the grocery store brand to try and lighten it more. And since they don't use all of that bottle and Nick wants to see if it got lighter from round 2, he takes the OPEN bottle home with him, sets it on his table, and GOES TO SLEEP.

He gets out of bed half comatose and stumbles into the shower. It is only after exiting said shower and returning to his room that I hear, "MOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!. Can you come down here PLEASE??"

This is when I discover that he has brought his little time bomb home with him instead of disposing of it like the instructions warn you to do.

Who knows at what time of the night Mount Feria Peroxide went off, but it was already turning into little toxic globs of poo all over everything it spewed upon. And, of course, Nick has to get himself and Sammi to school.

So instead of starting work, I break out the rubber gloves and sponge and bucket and paper towels and set to scrubbing off blobs from everything in the radius. And of course, left to my own devices, that means its going to turn into a blog.

He's pretty lucky the normal piles of laundry he seems incapable of putting away weren't in the spill zone. His wallet is toast but that seems to be the worst of it. Jessie's Mac cover will need replacing (see what peroxide can do kids?), but the watch, camera, and yearbook within the blast range seemed to have survived the cleaning unscathed.

So here's the science lesson of the day, guys: the warnings on the bottle are REAL. The fumes build up and go BOOM all over your stuff -- that's physics and chemistry all rolled into one.

And some people were never meant to be blondes. . . .

I saved a spot for him, too:

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Brief Open Letter to the TR Football Parents & Sons

There comes a time when silence does no one any good. If you want to consider this stirring the pot, then so be it.

I am the parent of a young man who is a leader, a team player, and a motivator. He is incredibly kind, intelligent, and strong. How he remains positive in the face of his current situation is a testament to his spirit.

I have witnessed him survive in a football program that is seemingly built on fear and intimidation, that tears kids down and never builds them up, that feeds off a culture of threats, spoken and unspoken.

When my son is stripped of his dignity, his confidence, and his talents, he does not quit. He does not complain. He keeps motivating, building up the team despite "coaching" by men who demoralize him and many others.

He has been lied to repeatedly by these men. He is told to step up and be a leader and is ignored and slapped down when he does so. He is told to wait his turn, to work hard on and off the field, and his turn will come. And then he has to face a playing field so uneven, it boggles the mind.

I am tired, ridiculously tired of the code of silence that parents feel they must uphold to protect their sons from the fallout towards them because their parents dare to say what so many are thinking: this is abhorrent coaching.

We all have our own horror stories: boys screamed at and belittled and pushed aside, thrown on the trash heap for ridiculous reasons, incompetent coaching, bullying, intimidation, and outright hypocrisy of men who are supposed to be men of integrity in positions of power over young men who will take these lessons with them for the rest of their lives.

And the saddest part of all -- even if all of us presented a united front to those in charge, it would fall on deaf ears and make no difference at all. We would be written off as whining parents who just want their sons to play more.

I won't review all the details of our own nightmare, since the focus here is about the overall disservice of this program to many boys instead of my personal account. But if you want to hear the gory details, please send me a message and I'll be happy to tell you more than you probably can stomach.

Just know, those of you feeling disgusted and angry at the treatment of our sons, you are not alone.

To coaches Ackerman, Ward, Schneider, Carnes, White, Grimm, Adams, Wilkin, Rusk, Reyes, and Paul, thank you for your support throughout the years, in small ways and large. You help Nick keep the faith.

And to the players: keep your heads up and tune the negativity out. You are great guys, with fantastic futures ahead of you. The best you can do is to finish strong and play your hearts out for one another. And that isn't confined to the football field.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

THE sweater

I admit, I have a weakness for sweaters. I've always loved them, even when I almost never needed them living in Texas. And here in Colorado, I have to reign myself in, since I can wear them many months out of the year, but I am limited on the amount of drawer space I have to keep the big buggers.

However, this past trip to Goodwill, I found MY sweater. The one I wore until it turned into shreds and the sweater de-piller had eaten it bald after 10 years of wear. I was in the men's section poking through the small sizes when, lo and behold, there IT was. The sweater my mother bought for me from Foleys in Almeda Mall in 1985 even though it was an outrageous sum of $75. The sweater only months later I see Denise Cosby wearing on an episode of the Cosby show, which somehow cemented my love for the design.

It was a women's sweater from 1985 that must have been put away almost new and discovered decades later, deemed hopelessly outdated, and donated to the Goodwill a mile from my house for me to discover in the men's racks on this day.

I've found a lot of great stuff at this Goodwill. But this one? Can't be topped for the emotional thrill.

In 1986:

In 1988, having just crossed the channel from France to England:

In college, 1990, at Winedale:

And 2010:

See? Even Evan embraces my Eighties-ness fashion!
Sunday, October 3, 2010


When Bob was visiting the campus of SHSU this summer with Nick and Jessie, he sent me the above from his phone. For us, this gazebo is one of those sacred spaces that teleports us back across time.

This past week marks the 20th year since we met. October 3 was the culmination of only a handful of whirlwind days. It was Wednesday night and we were in a conversation of circles. My mind was in complete disarray and I recall mostly just sitting in the park in silence, shaking my head at the insanity of how I felt about Bob, whom a week ago I did not know.

We'd wandered along the path and I was saying I should head home as we sat in the gazebo, when Bob, who was leaving at the end of the semester for Ft. Knox and destinations unknown, decides to end our conversation with this, "If I'm being completely honest, I don't know what's going to happen. But what I want, more than anything, is to complete this training at Knox and come back here and marry you."

(cue crickets)

Twenty years ago, the first thought to race through my head was, "I am going to wake up any minute now." The second was this terrifying realization that I knew that was exactly what was going to happen. The the third? Everyone is going to think we are COMPLETELY crazy.

I didn't answer him at the time. In fact, now that I reflect back on it, I don't recall if anything else was even said. There are mostly moments in your life that only later you look back on and see the momentous turn your life took. But there are those few that, even in the minute they are happening, you see your whole life flash before you and know nothing will ever be the same. I think silence may the the only respectful way to deal with those.

But twenty years later, I still haven't woken up, that's exactly what happened, and everyone still thinks we are completely crazy.

Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure 2010 in Denver:

Nick and Jessie getting ready:

The Kathi Christ Memorial Crew:

Somewhere up ahead is the starting line. I think we walked half a mile before we saw it.

Jessie's uncle Brian in the hot pink wig, Kathi's brother, his son Michael and his girlfriend.

Elitch Gardens across the way:

Oh! There's the starting line!

Booby balloons (no, really, they have nipples!)

Making the first turn:

Past Invesco

Mile 2 (at Invesco)
Downtown skyline in the morning light as we cross over I-25

It wasn't until we made the last big curve that you really got a sense of what 50,000 people really looks like.

I didn't know the people in front of us, but I did know Marla. She attended Littleton Church of Christ with her huband and three children. Her youngest was just 2 when she passed.

Looking behind us, there are still hordes crossing over I-25.

Mile 3!
At the end
And then back to the McKnights for a wonderful brunch. Nick comes bearing muffins.

And the Broncos Game

Brian working the waffles

The big spread: biscuits and gravy, cinnamon buns, breakfast tacos, waffles, bacon, fruit, and muffins. Any calories we might have burned off this morning are pointless :)