Friday afternoon, we drove over to PA to pick up the kiddos. I'd made Bolognese sauce, so I heated it, boiled some bucati, set out some salad, fruit & bread when we got home. I like having sit-down dinners together. Sometimes it seems like it would be more convenient just to pick up something to eat on the way home, but I think dinners around the table are important. Boot is to the point now, at 15, where he sits with us even after he's finished, just to talk. He is a good conversationalist. Although he still sometimes (okay, often) makes utterly absurd comments, he also has a lot to say of import. I was just really impressed with him over the weekend. Pie, at 13, is still pretty much in his own little world. He socializes with us, but entirely on his terms. He'd rather be absorbed in a movie or video game, stopping by the room we're in every so often to swoop in for hugs & "I love you"s or, better yet, having us watch with him. It's fun to watch their development. They both have some serious physical development going on, too. Neither looks like a little boy at all anymore & Boot's got huge biceps! Pie's legs are getting quite long-I think he's going to be taller than his brother. After Friday dinner, Boot helped me clean up the kitchen (without being asked or even hinted to), then retreated to his room to watch t.v. He is so incredibly helpful anymore.
Saturday, J had to work early, so I went back to sleep for a little while after she left, then did some schoolwork. The boys awoke around 11 and immediately got deeply immersed in a video game. I was headed to Crocker Park's farmer's market and to teen-watch for a class at the Borders café. I invited the boys along. Boot was interested in going but had promised Pie he'd hang out with him. Of course Pie loves staying home with the screens. They flipped a coin and Boot apologetically said he'd stay home with Pie. We ordered them some pizza, then I headed out. After doing some observation and getting some groceries, I got a call from J telling me that she was done at work. We took Pie to the rec center to swim while Boot had a nap. We had a grand old time in the water. My new favorite exercise is doing walking-and-swimming laps in the lazy river. What a blast! J and Pie had fun in the lazy river, raced each other doing laps in the big pool and went down the water slide. After our swim, J and I hit the sauna for a few minutes (I wish they had a hot tub), then we went home and I made dinner. Boot remained asleep. Pie, J and I had "cowboy" burgers (with chili and cheese), fries, salad and tangerines.
Pie and J fell asleep on the couch watching Constantine while I chatted with my aunt Jeannie on the phone. She told me about joining WW & that she likes the leader I recommended (and wish I still lived near), about her plans for the house, about the odd things she's found while cleaning the basement. The job she is doing is Herculean. I wish I were able to help her more with it. I wish we lived closer, too. I'm going to have some serious Jeannie withdrawal over the summer. We are planning a birthday party for me, her, my 18 y.o. cousin and my 1 y.o. cousin, all July babies. Jeannie wants to make celebratory shrimp in beer and I plan to make a fancy white cake. I worked on schoolwork after I got off the phone. Boot woke up finally and consented to be interviewed for my class. He was very serious and thoughtful about his answers. I'm pretty proud of who he is. We ate some cherry pie together and talked for awhile after the interview was done. Then, I cleaned up the kitchen and roused J so we could go to bed. Fitful sleep, then in the very wee hours, punctuated by Pie's loud voice coming through the bedroom wall every 15 minutes for an hour or so and me having to go ask him to pipe down. I finally took him paper and a pen, telling him either to refrain from talking or to write notes. That worked and I was able to sleep again.
In the morning, J got up early and made sausage gravy, biscuits and scrambled eggs with green peppers and Monterey jack cheese. I slept as late as I could before the wild ameroogins began shrieking with laughter and running through the downstairs like a herd of elephants in full stampede, then heated up some breakfast & got ready for church. We had Christian Ed recognition and also senior recognition. I spoke to one of the seniors and she is planning to major in forensic accounting, which I think is a fascinating choice. This young lady really seems to have her head on straight. Her folks have done a great job with her. I spoke to our pastor and discovered that not only is his wife (who is undergoing chemo for a brain tumor, which is scary enough alone) being treated for a blood clot, but her blood sugar also spiked this week. They are really going through it. He looks run-down and I wish there were more I could do for him. I also talked to one of the mission trip organizers. The trip this year is down to Pipestem in West Virginia. I would like to go. The boys are too young, although Boot might be able to go if he wants to. J will not be able to go since she'll have Pie. Another year. I hate being away from her, but I really think I need to go.
After church, J and Pie were both crashed out on Boot's bed while Boot played a video game. I did some school work and looked at the new Gourmet magazine. When they awoke, we went to the mall, where I did some more teen observation over lunch in the food court. Boot and Pie were at their silliest, but that didn't stop Boot from clearing the table for us, unasked. Pie got a video game that was just within his budget and Boot got himself some testosterone (just what he needs!) and some kind of bulk-up crap. I wish J wouldn't allow him to get it. She reasons that it would be illegal if it were too bad, but I disagree. I also don't think they should be allowed to get energy drinks. I worry that they will both die of heart attacks before they turn 40. They have an uncle who died of a stroke before 40 and one who died of a heart attack before 55. I returned an outfit that just didn't hang right and got a couple of tops while we were there. J found a cute jacket and shirt combo to wear to work today. We had to take the kids back to their father's right from the mall. I interviewed Pie in the car. Both boys were utterly silly and I don't know how seriously to take Pie's interview. I'd wanted to get him without his brother around to influence him, but that didn't happen.
Conversation in the car got pretty interesting, though. Boot was saying he's not afraid of their father, that he can "take him" and Pie said, "Oh, yeah? How come you were running when he had the golf club, then?" Boot said, "Oh, I'm scared of anybody with a golf club!" J and I laughed and said that was a sensible stance to take, but WTF? What is going on that their father has a golf club and Boot is running from him? Pie and Boot both told us over the weekend that they'd rather live with us, they like it better here. So much for the judge's theory that we have an unhealthy relationship with them. Pie said his dad is too strict, in the interview, which is what prompted Boot's comment in the first place. At one point, too, J said she'd always known she would have kids, always wanted them. Boot said his dad had always been "trying to get married. Loser. He always tried to get married." Pie said, "Yeah, and then he married a lesbian!" Boot said, "Yeah, way to go, Dad. You got him on that one, Mom." They thought it was hysterically funny. So, the hero, it seems, has fallen. Doesn't mean I don't think the kids would betray us all over again, given the chance to make it right, because their dad offers no forgiveness for betrayal while we do. They can totally screw us and still have a relationship with us, still be loved by us. Not so with their father. It's all or nothing with that crazy guy. I'm glad he's not my dad or my ex. I wish he wasn't J's ex, either, that she'd had illegitimate kids or at least had legitimate kids with a decent guy. But it does J's heart good to know the hero worship has ended. That sounds mean, but when you've been where we've been, it's what we can manage. Of course I'd love for him to find happiness, get a life & stop being so bitter, stop trying to get revenge on J by using the boys as weapons. But in the meantime, it's nice to know they are starting to see him for who he is.
After we dropped them off, we headed home and had chicken fattoush, along with grapes, Marcona almonds and Boursin cheese while we watched crime shows. It was the season finale of Dexter, a 2-hour episode. I hadn't meant to like that show. I mean, the "hero" is a serial killer, for Pete's sake! But, it's absorbing, even as it's disturbing and I ended up hooked. I also like that they portray Miami a lot more realistically than CSI: Miami. You never get a real feel for Miami on that show. Well, I should finish my school work so I can go out with J and celebrate Cinco de Mayo tonight.