Saturday, November 5, 2011

Controlling Temperatures

Fall has officially arrived.  I love the colors of the leaves and the cool temperature.  I am discovering that the cool temperature in the house is causing some problems for the Man-child and I. 

I love to open the windows and let the “air” in.  He says it’s too cold.  In trying to keep the cost of the electric bill down, I have not turned on the furnace and I generally keep the thermostat set to 68 degrees.  Since mid-October, Man-child walks around the house with his hoody jacket –zipped up to his neck.   For me it is not cold at all – but then I have been having periodic “private summers,” so I am unaware of when it is too cold.  Well, yesterday, I finally broke down and turned the furnace on because the thermostat read 62 degrees.  After half an hour, I was hot.  He was smiling.  After an hour, I turned on the ceiling fan.  He took off his jacket and was smiling even harder.  Man-child said “Ma, its only 68 degrees”.  Woo hoo - that was my signal to shut it down.  He huff and puffed and put his jacket on.  I had the ceiling fan blowing.

Who is right? It’s going to be a long winter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Man-child's Hair

I have been wearing locs for close to ten years and in January, I decided to cut them.  As the temperature increased during the summer, I cut it close – practically bald.  Everyone complained or had something to say but I was happy and that’s all that mattered.

Since cutting my hair, I have notice Man-child’s strange hair care routine.   Man-child goes to the barber every two weeks for a haircut.  Whenever he gets a haircut, he stops in the beauty outlet store and buys a new hair brush and doo-rage for his head.  I never really paid this any attention until I went in his room to borrow a brush for my hair.  Man-child had at least 12 hair brushes on his night table – hard and soft brushes.  I asked “why do you needed so many”?   His response was they get old after a while.   Hmmmmm.   Next, I noticed all the different types of gels he has purchase –wave gel, moisture cream, green tea oil, jasmine oil, shea butter cream and a few others.   I asked “what’s up with all the gels?”  He said to help make his hair wavy.  Hmmmmmmm.   Next question – “why do you need all of these scarves for your head?”  His response, “they are not scarves, they are doo-rags to help me get waves".  I counted at least 15 in different colors.   Last question - “Well, why do you keep buying them? Can’t you just wash them out?”  (I think I insulted him with this one) He said very loudly, “Ma, you can’t wash them because they lose their shape and don’t fit right”.   I just backed out of his room and said no more. 

Man-child begins his morning by brushing his hair at least 30 times, he puts some cream or gel in his hands and rubs it in his hair and then he brushed it again at least 30 more times. After getting dress, he brushes his hair.   He eats breakfast and brushes his hair.  I watched him walk to the subway station and he did it again – took the brush from his pocket and brushed his hair.  Later that evening, I asked him to take Rosa for a walk.  There he was – holding the lease with Rosa in one hand and brushing his hair with the other.   After he took a shower, he stood in the mirror drying his head with the towel and the routine started all over again – gel and brushing.

I laughed out loud as I thought about his hair routine in comparison to what women do – rollers, scarves, gels, blow dryers, hair pins and who knows what else.  Since cutting my hair, I hardly think of it.  I get it cut every two- three weeks, brush it and go.  All I could think of is – What Next for Man-child  And Laugh. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Now That The Summer Is Over.....

I have been sitting at my desk, watching the rain fall, listening to the thunder and thinking about the past three months.  It has been rough but it has been that way for everyone.   Everyone is complaining about being over worked, loss of and lack of money, and a million of other things.  I must admit, I was doing the same thing.  I started the summer with a lot of optimism but half way through it, I became depressed thinking of all the things I needed and wanted to do but could not.  In the midst of it all, Man-child helped me to see the brighter side to it all. 

Man-child completed last school year with an overall GPA of 86.8 and I wanted to do something special with and for him this summer.  He started the summer with a part-time job that suddenly ended.  I was more upset about it than he was.  I did not want him sitting at home in front of the computer all day and I could not afford to just give him money to do the things he wanted all of the time.  Instead, Man-child was my all-around-helper.  He went to the market with his grandmother and her friends (all over 68 yrs old) and helped them with shopping and carrying bags; he baby sat for his cousins (my niece has 3 kids ages 7, 4 and 3 and they are true Rugrats); he accompanied my brother to his medical appointments so I would not have to take off from work; and he proved that he is a very good handy man around the house.  Man- child did all of this without complaining or asking to be rewarded.  I treated him to a game or two (when I could afford them) or special trips to his favorite restaurant.  He did not complain when his computer died.  I began stressed trying to find money to get him a new one but he stated that he was fine using my laptop.  In fact, since we have been sharing the one computer it works much faster than before.  Despite all of this, I was depressed because I wanted him to have fun and be able to do things like his friends and go places.  One day, Man-child said “Ma, don’t stress – I’m just glad I can help.”

I thought about what he said for a few days and I realized that my son was no longer my Man-child.  He has managed to mature and grow up while I was stressing over the cancelled vacations, the things I could not buy and the money I did not have.  He managed to be helpful and somehow have fun this summer while I just caused more gray hair to appear (well actually, I cut all of my hair again).   

 School is back in session and things are just about back to normal -he forgets his lunch money, forgets to charge his phone, he gets up half hour early to finish homework and all the other stuff I have grown accustom to during the school year. I realize now that Man-child is more of a Man than I realize.  I, Thank God for that Blessing.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Preparing For The Summer

The school year is winding down very quickly. I am listening to everyone talk about their vacation plans. NOT ME!! With furlough days, rising gas and food prices, house repairs, increase medical cost, and a change in jobs have left me wondering just how we are going to make it. In addition, the car is on its final leg and I have had to get rental car for trips over 5 miles from the house for the last month. Instead of crying, like I want to do, I just take a deep breaths and start planning.

First, in June, Man-child will go Harvard University with his mentoring group. I am thinking of traveling to Hershey Park, in Hershey Pennsylvania cause we haven't been there since he was 6 years old. In July, I always attend the Harlem Book Festival. This is a trip that I usually take by myself but Man-child went last year and had a great time. I was just as suprised when he asked to go this year so I may try to stretch this trip for the entire weekend. In August, I thought about Ocean City, Maryland but Man-child hates the beach. I also thought that this trip may be costly since I have to start back-to-school shopping and preparing for his junior year. I am also saving money for a weekend excusion in September with a sistah friend to celebrate her birthday.

In between all of this, Man-child has been accepted to attend the Community College of Baltimore and we are waiting to hear from Johns Hopkins Engineering program. I am also holding the applications for two summer jobs for him. No matter which program, he will benefit and keep those brain cells active.

I have FAITH that this will be a great summer for both of us. I will probably also look for a part-time job for myself (I know, how am I going to fit it in but I will) along with clipping coupons and cutting back as much as I possibly can. Keep us lifted in Prayer and we'll be Praying for you too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Man-child And The Wine Coolers

When ever I attend a book signing or conference, I have wonderful time. I love meeting my Sistah friends from across the country and discussing books. I was even more excited that the Romance Slam Jam was in my home town and everyone finally was able to meet Man-child.

When I came home, I was still giggleing just thinking of all the fun we had. But, something was not right. You know that feeling you get that something happened and no one wants to tell you. I looked around the house and I could not figure it out. After the second day, I went to the closet to get an umbrella and I found it. Five wine coolers were missing. At first, I thought my nephew was here and he took them. Or maybe my mom - but she would not drink five. Hmmmmmm.... I go into Man-child's room and said "Hey, do you know who took my wine coolers?" He started to grin like the cat who just caught the last mouse. BUSTED!! He did not have to say anything else. Then he started to stutter and before he could form a lie, I told him to button his lips.

At first, I laughed. I could not believe that my silly child not only took them but he could not hide the fact that he drank them. I could not be too mad because I remember when I drank half a bottle of my mom's wine when I was 16 years old and refilled the bottle with Sprite. I think my brothers got that whipping.

After being mad and venting on line with my sistah friends, I had to think of a punishment. First, I made him call one of my sistah friends, Donnie, who laid him out for twenty minutes; I took his cell phone for two weeks; I told him that he had to wait another month before he gets his driver's permit and finally, I made him attend an AA meeting at the church. He was so mad he actually turned RED. I told him that anything could have happened to him if he was outside of the house. He said, " I wasn't drunk they just made me sleepy". DUH -cause you were drunk. We talked about relatives with drinking problems and other dangers of drinking.

Well, after the AA meeting, I got the silent treatment and he refused to eat dinner for three nights. I said nothing. I am just breathing until the next episode.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Man-child and RSJ

This year the Romance Slam Jam (RSJ) was held in my home town of Baltimore. Like every year, I was excited to see all of my friends and favorite romance authors. I decided that since everyone was in town, I had to bring Man-child. I have talked about him so much, I thought it was time for everyone to see the Love of My Life and Pain in My Side.

When I told him he was going to attend the luncheon, he said nothing. Man-child has been to many book signings and events with me. He asked "Are all your friends going to kiss me?" I told him that they probably would. The closer we got to the date, he also seemed to get excited. He must have asked me three times what he should wear. I finally picked out an outfit for him.

When Man-child arrived, he was all SMILES. He hugged everyone and he listened to them very closely. You would have thought he was a celebrity the way everyone began taking pictures.

He also liked meeting Cedric Bolton, Gwyneth Bolton's husband, who talked to him about college and differnt programs. During the Mega Book signing he found a book by B.A.Binns titled Pull and had it autographed.

The conference was wonderful and having Man-child spend one day with me made it even more special.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Maturing Man-Child

In late February, my family had to deal with another tragedy - my brother, Sam, had been shot. As head of my household and then head of my Family, I was overwhelmed and consumed with everything. I found myself on automatic pilot and did what needed to be done - organize other family members, talked to doctors, completed medical forms, talked to police detectives and social workers, and the list continued. All of this took place on the first day. I was so tired I could not see straight let alone gather my thoughts. Then, I realized late in the evening that I completely forgot about my son. I did not know whether I remembered to give him lunch money, or if he even ate dinner. I felt ashamed. I remember sitting at my Mom's dinning room table, with everyone asking questions about my brother. I asked "Where is Geoff"? No one knew. I asked again but everyone was talking and questioning my about my brother. I remember holding my head in my hands and my son giving me a kiss on my cheek and handing me a cup of peppermint tea. At that moment I felt better.

As the days went on and I continued to care for my brother, I noticed my son. I did not have to remind him to do his laundry or take out the trash. Several nights when I got in late, he would have the tea kettle on and my mug ready for me to make tea. A few times he would put something in my lunch container. I began to wonder -When did this happen? Is this my son? WOW!!

My son is maturing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Being Sick and Caring For Man-Child

There are times when I enjoy being sick. I can lay in bed, sleep and let the TV watch me. Then, there are times when I am home with Man-child and I just want to leave.

Late, Saturday I began to feel sick. I took some Therafu and called it a night. By Sunday, I really felt aweful. All I wanted to do was dream sweet dreams. By noon, Man-child got in bed with me and reminded me that I didn't cook breakfast. I told him that he was on his own for the day. When he did not move, I knew I was in trouble. Usually on the weekends, I cook a couple of different things that can last should last a few days. But with Mr. Eat-It-All-Cause-Tomorrow-Is-A-New-Day doesn't see it that way. He had already ate the Pizza cassarole I made on Friday (Thanking my sistah Sharon for that recipe), the last pieced of fish I fried and the salad. I told him to fix what ever.

At 2 pm, Man-child shakes me from a sound sleep and asks "how do I make macaroni?" Then he says, Never mind. Twenty minutes later, he asks "can I fix the tuna fish?" Again, I tell him to fix what ever he wants or go to his Grandmother. He said "she made meat loaf and I don't want any".. Well, you are not hungry.

At 3 pm, Man-child says "Hey Ma, can I grill those chicken breast?" Again, I say don't care. Then he says " well, where is the grill?" In the closet. Then he ask "What do I put on it?" Geoffrey... look in the cabinet. It gets quiet. I get up and go to the kitchen. He is standing there looking silly. The sink is full of dirty dishes from cereal, hamburgers, noodles, tuna fish and what ever else he has tried to cook. I tell him to clean the kitchen and I will fix him something to eat.

After three hours, I was able to fix him grilled chicken, rice with gravy, greens. I also made pasta salad for later and salmon cakes that he could place on the grill. Feeling exhausted, I crawled back to bed. Then, Man-child comes in the room and tells me that his friend LT invited him to dinner and he'll be back in a few hours. All I could do was rub my head and pull the covers up.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Man-child's Valentine

I knew it would happen sooner or later.
Man-child has a girl friend.

One weeks ago, we were shopping and he asked if he could pick something out for her as a gift. Well, Man-child picked up a teddy bear that cost $30 and a $20 box of candy. Problem - He only had $10. BREATH!!! Very delicately, I say, "This is an expensive gift. Let's go back and find something that you can afford" He rolled his eyes and I inhaled. We finally found a very nice box of candy with a teddy bear attached to it for $12.

This past weekend, his Dad BLESSED him with money to take his girlfriend to the movies. (I had to do a Hallelujah Dance) I listened as they worked out their plans. Man-child said "MOM, she is going to come over here and you can drive us to the movies". Problem - Man-child, you don't tell me what I am doing. You are suppposed to ask. INHALE... Once she arrives, we get in the car and he begins to send her text messages on the phone. HECK NO... TALK .. I dont' care what y'all are talking about (well, at least that's what I said out loud) I asked them what movie were they going to see. Both said "we don't know". Silence.

This was very awkward for me. Seeing him smile so much that his cheeks turned red. He changed his shirt at least four times, combed his hair, put polish on his sneakers (yep) and brushed his hair a minimum of six times. I am thinking "Dayummmm this what it's going to be like".

Inhale .. Breath.. Inhale.. Breath

Once we get to the mall, we stopped to see my cousin, who was promoting his new CD's for kids. Really, it was just my attempt to hang out a little while longer with them. I reminded Man-child that they were to remain at the mall, eat, see their movie and call me to come back to pick them up. He huffed and said I embarassed him -but I didn't care.

As I drove home, I thought about my son on his first date. Some would argue with me that 15 is too young to be dating. TRUE.. but I would rather take them then to have them sneaking around. I've watched too many of my friends SCREAM and HOLLER at their kids about dating. Unfortuneately, a lot of them have teenagers with kids. I also remembered some of the things I did at that age. GEESH!!!

I sat at home - half reading and watching the clock. As soon as the phone rang at 7 pm I was already in my coat and out the door. When I picked them up, they said the movie was "Good" and were silent again. I drove her home and I watched him walk her to the door. I laughed because he was trying to figure out if I was watching them and he began to whisper in her ear. (I think his attempt to get a kiss) When he got in the car, he said nothing and I just drove home.

These next few years are going to be difficult for me because I realized that minute that I am no longer the #1 Girl in my son's life. At least for now.

Inhale... Breath

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow Days

I have been in the house since January 25, 2011 thanks to the weather man. He started the week by stating we would get a dusting of snow, to 1 inch of snow, and finally 2-3 inches of snow. Well, we got more. I wasn't upset. After all what better way to celebrate your birthday - in the house on a snow day. Not just one day, I was Blessed with 3 whole days of bliss - oh, so I thought. I spent 3 days home with my Man-child.

Being home with Man-child on the first day was ok. He shoveled the snow, I cooked, and then we went to our corners (bedroom) and left each other alone. By day 2, the problem begins. He begins to eat every 2 hours. Just as I reached for the last slice of devil's food cake, he takes it. All of the kool-aid is gone, my snack crackers and chips. Then, he starts to eat the healthy food - yogurt, carrot sticks, salad, fruit cups and the rice cakes. I just smile and reason that being in the house is a good thing.

Later in the evening, here comes Man-child with a question "Do you know what I can do?" Well, it's snowing again. I tell him you can go out and shovel, go visit your friends or you can invite someone over for a few hours. He just looks at me and walks away. Then he starts pacing the floor like a caged animal. So I tell him - "why don't you do your laundry, clean your room or walk the dog". He looks at me like I grew another head. In the meantime, I am relaxed with not a care in the world.

Day 3 begins to get to me. He jumps in bed with me. Whew.. . "When was the last time you took a shower?" He looks at me like I am crazy and says "I'm not going any where". True - but we have to live here. Then he wants to lie his head in my lap and watch TV. All I want to do is read. I tell him -go get the playing cards. He doesn't want to do that. So I tell him - show me again how to play guitar wars -he says no because I still can't hold the guitar right. So I asked to play something else and he gives me 10 reasons why I can't play (and I hate to admit it, he was right on all counts). OK.. let's get dressed and go to the mall or movies. He doesn't want to do that either. Now, I am truely sick and frustrated. I go back to my room and say the Heck with it - I tried.

Today is Saturday. I am watching him eat and talk on the telephone. As much as I love snow days, I don't ever want to be in house with him this long again. Pray I make it throught the rest of the weekend.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back to Normal - I Think

2010 was a very difficult year for me. It began with the tragic death of my brother and it simply seemed to spirial down ward. I had to handle all of my brother's affairs, lost my part-time job, furlough days with the full-time job, crazy debt collectors calling, fighting to keep my house out of foreclosure, house repairs, keeping track of my Mom's medications and appointments, needy relatives, work drama, being turned down for six jobs, weight gain, and sooo much more. I was on the verge of losing it mentally, physically and spiritually. For me, I often take on projects that take my mind off of my problems. Even more, I was concerned about the affects it all had on Man-child. Despite it all, he made the honor roll and has been his regular self.

2011 has gotten off to a mild start. I am still job hunting -for both full and part-time jobs. I took the plunge and cut my hair. How is Man-child? OK. His room is a mess, he refuses to cut his hair and I am usually receive one word answers to all questions asked. I generally have learned to back off unless it is absolutley necessary. He keeps quiet but I've noticed that when I am upset or agitated with someone, mainly family, he speaks up and manages to get between me and the problem (person). Hmmmmmmmm.....

We are already more that 20 days into the new year. I don't know where or what will happen. My Faith is strengthen and I am sort of rejuvenated. Back to normal we go - I think. :-)