August 16, 2000
***TotFest 2000***

[Sponsored by Polaroid ... Pepsi-Cola ... and the fine folks at Alaska Airlines]
Countdown to Son #Only: One day!

"Is that your son?" Jocelyn asked me this morning in the Totem Pole lunchroom. And she pointed to the coffee cup in my hand.

I was standing at the sink, rinsing out my beloved World's Cutest Nephew coffee mug, a gift from my sister earlier this summer.  One side of the mug features The WCN smiling, in all of his glorious tow-headed baby adorableness; the other side features The WCN laughing, in all of his glorious tow-headed baby adorableness. It's probably my very most favorite coffee mug, ever.

"No, that's my nephew Connor," I said to her, smiling proudly. "He's the only *baby* in the family right now." And I went on the explain that my son is quite a bit older. 

"In fact," I told her, "he's starting high school in a couple of weeks."

And that's when it hit me.

My son is starting high school in a couple of weeks.


If THAT isn't enough to make a mother run screaming for that little box of Miss Clairol #455 ... I don't know what is.

***TotFest 2000*** continues tomorrow night when Kyle -- aka "Son #Only" -- touches down in our Zip Code for four days of palm trees, pizza, power shopping and embarrassing amounts of publicity on Mom's website.

If it seems that he is arriving with somewhat less fanfare than his sister did, earlier this month ... you're absolutely correct. 

He is.

His visit is no less important and exciting and anticipated than Jaymi's visit was. I'm looking forward to it every bit as much. I'm preparing for it with equal amounts of enthusiasm and energy and ludicrously obsessive maternal attention to detail. We've already stockpiled most of his favorites: Pepsi, honey ham, Dijonnaise, sourdough bread, corndogs. The only items on his list that we haven't been able to find are Tim's Cascade Potato Chips. Are those a local TicTac thing? I can't seem to find them anywhere in the Bay Area. We are also unable to locate something called Reese's Puff Cereal. (Which may be just as well. Any breakfast cereal with the name "Reese's" in it is trouble, I just know it.) David is home today, laundering towels and spot-checking for ants. By tomorrow, The Castle will once again be restored to 100% Tot-friendliness.

We'll be picking Kyle up from the airport tomorrow night, after work. I'm thoroughly jazzed.

But this latest Tot Visit hasn't been getting anywhere near the amount of pre-visit *hoopla* the last one did, for two reasons: 1.) Son #Only is not really a *hoopla* kind of kid, and 2.) I'm hoping ... no, I'm PRAYING ... for a drama-free/trauma-free weekend.

No drunken psycho boyfriends (or girlfriends) tossing suitcases and kittens off of second-story balconies. No broken hearts. No broken toilets. No tragic airline near-misses.No $200 long distance bills. No verbal showdowns with cranky bumper-sticker vendors in Berkeley. No police officers showing up at the apartment complex, dragging my neighbors away in handcuffs. (Unless they've come to arrest Upstairs Karaoke Guy, in which case, we'llhelp them drag him away.)

Just my calm, affable fourteen-year-old son, flying down to sunny California to spend a little quality time with his mom and her credit card. (I get to help pick out his school clothes for the first time in three years! I'm sooo excited!!  I wonder if he still likes Hammer Pants?)

It's been a tough week at the Totem Pole Company and it's only Wednesday. I just want one long, lovely weekend without a lot going on.

Introducing him around the office on Friday, maybe. Dinner someplace nice on Friday night. School clothes shopping and lunch at our favorite pizza place in the Richmond District, on Saturday. Maybe a rented movie on Saturday night. Sight-seeing on Sunday ... Metreon? Alcatraz? Chinatown again? ... before we put him back on his plane on Sunday night.

One easy weekend. That's all I ask.

And then next week it's right back to drama, as Daughter #2 -- aka Rainbow Girl/Rave Grrrl/"I Told Dad I Was Camping Last Weekend, OK?" -- packs up her rave beads and her eleven kinds of leave-in conditioner and her assorted romantic complications and gets on that airplane to head south for her four days in the sun.

I'm gonna be gluing those macaroni noodles to paper plates and drooling on myself by Labor Day ... I just know it.

Stay tuned.

Terri [griping to David in the Subaru this morning]: "The sun is in my eyes."
David: "Well ... at least you're not sitting at the bottom of the ocean
in a submarine, in total darkness."
[we hate it when he's right, don't we?]

two years ago

throw a rock