I have a confession. I am wearing a linen dress. It is after Labor Day. At any minute, I am expecting the arrival of the fashion police, who will revoke my privileges at all of the highfalutin societies and clubs to which my family belongs. It is going to be eighty-six degrees today and the weather, going forward, should be on the warmer side. Social norms be damned. I will continue to wear linen. We are about to follow the footpaths of Indian Summer.
Those are not my words, “the footpaths of Indian Summer”, but the words of Ori. When she said them, I immediately saw soft footed humans walking in the warm autumn air surrounded by yellowing ferns and dappled light created from falling leaves, the forest hinting at what is to come. It is my favorite time of year. I held onto the words, because it was easier to focus on their image than the pain inflicted by Ori’s elbow, or by her knee. I am not sure which body part she was using as an implement of torture because I was lying on my stomach. Ori is my newly appointed structural massage therapist. My shoulder is frozen again, and rather than going through the proper channels of referrals, physical therapy, dry needling and all those exercises which did not work the last time, I made an appointment with Ori. “She is who you see when it is really bad,” a friend of mine once said.
When Ori finished, she promised swelling, bruising and the eventual return of mobility and blood flow. I go back next week for more. The deep layers of muscle are highly calcified and still need to be released. At least that is what she says. After that I only need to see her when I feel a twinge, which, at this point in my life, is all the time.
I will stop eating dairy, to avoid the calcified muscles, but that probably does not work.
I think I shoveled too much dirt this summer. However, it was worth a stationary body part. The yard is finally coming together. I moved countless plants, planted three Japanese holly hedges, flattened out the ten-year-old dirt pile in the back forty to make way for our new fire pit’s wood storage and then I moved plants again. Because of The Never-Ending Yard Work List, I wore shorts this summer, not my linen dresses. They hung, in the closet, untouched. Now with the weather the way it is I am determined to get some use out of them. I think I might figure out a way to wear linen all winter. Clothes should be seasonless. That would be efficient and have the bonus of cost savings. I will layer them over jeans and under sweaters while wearing boots. This will keep up my boho-hobo art look; a look, by the way, that will never be accepted by those fancy fashion police.
Or, maybe it will.
Recently, my father told me that the Menlo Country Club now allows denim at pool functions. I laughed, because for years I rolled my eyes at the “no denim at the club” rule, a rule so strict that even denim dresses were forbidden. Even denim couture was off limits. I like denim. It was not allowed in high school, which is why I now wear it all the time. In my younger days of small budgets and even tinier closets it was always hard to come up with outfits for those pool side events, because I had lot of denim.
I should have had linen dresses back then.
My father went on to say he is opposed to the new dress code. He has no desire to see middle aged Silicon Valley types running around in their two-hundred-and fifty-dollar skinny jeans. He wanted to know what happened to the classic khaki. I have noticed the Preppy Handbookis in vogue again. Are we swinging back? Who knows where things will land, skinny pants and top knots or tartans and tweeds? I am fine as long as everyone is free to express themselves as they see fit. I do have my limits. I will draw the line at wearing yoga pants for fashion and sporting shorts in January. Yoga pants are for yoga and shorts in January are ridiculous. How the teenagers do it, I have no idea.
I sound like my father.
How did you fare this summer? Never mind, I know the answer. It was pretty tough. I hope with school starting you will have more of a routine and feel less unmoored. I can’t believe you have been teaching French for twenty years. I still think of your map gig as if it were yesterday. The atlas you gave us is in the car, just in case all of our technology breaks. That will be a learning moment for the kids, reading a map. Also, kudos on your new found strictness. Do you wear your cat’s eye librarian glasses? That would be awesome. Tap your foot a lot. I think I might send you a ruler to complete the look. Emlen and I have to do some Amazon shopping this evening. I will put one in the cart.
My summer was filled with weekend trips to the woods (lovely), swimming, swim meets, ribbons and stroke and turn judging (fine) and lots of trips into Boston to see doctors (ugh). The big news is that the Mass Eye and Ear (MEE) speech team fixed Henry’s paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM). Not only is his breathing better but he can also burp. Apparently opening up one’s vocal cords allows the gastrointestinal gasses to flow upward and out.
Yay. More boy noises in my house.
After several sessions at MEE, where Henry ran stairs while breathing through straws, combined with hours of home exercises, he has been discharged. Now we just wait to see if he can swim the 200 freestyle without passing out. I wonder what his swim coach will think when he gets out of the water and starts breathing through a straw rather than grabbing his rescue inhaler? The rescue inhaler has been such a Henry-fixture for years. I have a December appointment with the speech team in the books, just in case. In the meantime, Henry has to keep up the breathing therapy.
Mental note: I need to put Stop and Shop milkshake straws on The Grocery List.
(I capitalized grocery list because it is a thing in this house, along with The Never-Ending Yard Work List, which I capitalized earlier. The To Do List and The Got to Get My Life Organized List are also things. Me and my Lists.)
As of this week we are in full swing. The Evening Run Around has begun. Five days a week. Not one night off. The laundry will never be folded.
For your pleasure: The Evening Run Around*:
(The Evening Run Around is capitalized too, because it is a thingas well.)
4pm: Emlen, swim lesson with Coach Hillary
5pm: Henry, high school preseason swim
4pm: Henry and Emlen, therapy appointment in Lexington, alternating
5pm: Emlen, preseason swim (Emlen will be late every other week)
4:15pm: Emlen, drum lesson
5pm: Henry, high school preseason swim
2:40pm: pick up Henry at school**
3:30pm: Henry, math tutor
5pm: Emlen, preseason swim
6pm: Henry, sax lesson
2:40pm: pick up Henry at school**
5pm: Henry, preseason swim
7pm: Henry, pep band at home football games
*This does not include extra band rehearsals for the upcoming Fall Concert, pep band practice nights, any middle school social activities, and, of course fitting in all of Emlen’s breathing meds and vest therapies. When swim team starts in early October, just add more swimming to each day. Fortunately, the pool is only 4 minutes away. I have that going for me.
**The tenor sax is too big to schlep back and forth on the bus all the time. Its case could use some wheels or a grandma type grocery dolly basket thingy. I wonder if Henry would use it.
If you noticed, Henry is back in the band. It was unexpected. Last spring, he announced that he was going to quit the saxophone and take up other musical endeavors, like learning to play the guitar. Christian and I tried to persuade him to keep up with his saxophone studies. We had countless discussions about how music is so good for brain development, that all the kids in the program are super nice and how he has a natural tone that some musicians never develop; but he is almost six-foot-three-inches-tall and ready to make his own way in the world, which, he decided, he would do with a guitar.
Then, the day before the new school year began the band director offered Henry the empty tenor sax chair in both concert band and jazz band. After hours of debate, which was torture for us, because we knew what he should do, but as good parents of an almost six-foot-three-inch-tall sophomore we had to let him figure it out on his own, Henry accepted. He loves jazz and confessed he was going to miss it.
Ok – actually, I have mixed feelings about the band gig. While I really want Henry to continue to be part of the high school arts scene and explore his love of music, I had been looking forward to a slightly more relaxed autumn, with less driving around.
Many more trips to the gas station for me.
A few days ago, Henry asked for sax lessons. He wants to get caught up. What can I do, other than find a teacher and try to figure out how I am going to eat dinner on Thursday nights?
When does Henry start driving?
One positive note in all of this (if you can call it that, and I am, as I am trying to be a glass-half-full kind of person) is the town’s newly instated curfew due to the close proximity of the EEE virus. All activities, town and school related that take place outside between the hours of six PM and six AM have been suspended. I believe Friday night football games have been cancelled, which means no pep band performances for Henry, which means no mad dashes from pre-season swim practice to the high school, which means no late-night pick-ups from the post-game parties. At least until the first frost. It is bit of a reprieve.
Because of all of this craziness I have to erase our penciled-in playdate for Saturday. I am so sorry. I was ready. I even have a box of chocolates for us to eat while the kids are not looking. I know Miranda is pretty good at sniffing out sugar, so I got a big box. I would mail it to you, but with Indian Summer fast approaching I am worried that they will melt en route. I will keep them until we are together again. Late October? Also, I will bring the ruler.
Oh – and as for the goldenrod discussion earlier this week. It is not allergies. It is a cold. The Annual Back to School Cold. (Again, capitalized. It is a thing. Every. Single. Year.) For three of us, it camped out in our noses for, maybe, thirty-six hours. Emlen’s cold went straight to his lungs. This is normal for his CF. He is now in battle mode. We had to skip pre-season swimming last night to ensure a lengthy session on his vest, and I have to pull him out of school for a bit to fit in extra mid-day breathing therapies. I think he will be OK given that he is inhaling a gazillion vials of antibiotics daily. If not, just add another trip into Boston.
Say hi to Miranda, Iris and Tim,