A few nights ago, I was lying in bed, and although I knew the fact, I guess the feeling hit me.
My daughter will be eighteen in November.
My heart ached.
She’s not a little girl anymore.
She got her permit this week, and I have the pleasure of teaching her to drive. I’m not being funny. This kid has a good sense of space and “where the car is.” I’m hoping driving is in the blood, and I’ve passed this on to her genetically. But she is excellent for a beginner.
But yeah, I’m losing my little girl, and I hope she will find her way in the world as she becomes a young woman and an adult. I can’t cover everything anymore. She’s going to have to face some things on her own.
But I’ll still be right here, kid. When you need me.
And if you can’t get here, I will tear the world apart to get to you.
Sam went out with me to pick up a push mower today. Our backyard is small, and the manual mower seemed like the trick, but it can’t handle some of the thicker grass. Still useable, but we bought a battery-powered Ryobi to do the job.
We had to stop by Walmart for some things on the way back.
When Sam was a baby, he had a couple of health problems. Rather than hire a nurse/babysitter for him during the day, I opted to stay home for a “little while” with him. That turned into five years. And those were some of the best years of my life.
When he was small, we did it all. Cleaned the house, did the shopping, most of all the house-related activities were covered by him and me.
Yes, ladies, he’ll be quite the catch someday.
This is when we first met Miss Sandra. She worked at Walmart as a cashier and still does. Sam was very tiny when he was born. His entire head would fit in the palm of my hand.
Today she saw me and then she saw him and yelled, “You better come speak to Grandma Sandra.” She really feels this way about him. She’s family.
You notice things about your kids that you haven’t sometimes. That moment of realization is painful sometimes. Looking at how big he has gotten in comparison to someone I see all the time. He’s growing so fast.
We left the house a little before 8:00 AM and headed for Charleston down the backroads.
We always take the backroads. Why? Because the traffic on the highway is usually horrible, and even when it’s flowing well, a lot of people shouldn’t be allowed to drive. It’s a privilege, not a right.
Secondly, there is nothing to see on the highway.
Year’s ago, I found Mayesville by accident. Then the old downtown was deserted. Now they torn down a lot of the old buildings and refurbished a couple.
I would have never taken my original pics of Mayesville if I hadn’t wandered the back roads and rolled into it by accident.
We stopped by Salem Black River Church as well for a break on the way. It’s one of the oldest churches around these parts and is reportedly haunted. It’s of such interest to local ghost hunters that there are security cameras and patrols after dark. No trespassing is enforced.
We finally made it to Charleston about 11:30 AM and made our way to the SC Aquarium.
The aquarium opened in May of 2000 So this year they celebrated their 22nd anniversary. It’s a great place. They have live touch tanks where you can actually touch some fish: Manta Rays, tiger sharks, starfish, and the like. Pretty neat.
The big boast of the SC Aquarium is the main tank which is called The Great Ocean tank.
The largest exhibit in the zoo is the Great Ocean Tank, which extends from the first to the third floor of the Aquarium and is the deepest tank in North America (42 feet); it holds more than 385,000 US gallons (1,460,000 l) of water and contains more than 700 animals…
We were standing on the first floor and my daughter was really excited and was oohing and ahhing like a little kid. She’s 17.
A volunteer, named Angela, came over to my daughter and said, “hey you wanna see something cool?”.
Let me stop here for a moment, for a little PSA.
You know all those things you tell your kids about not taking candy from strangers? Don’t get into the van? Don’t help look for the lost puppy?
All that went straight out the window.
The next thing I know, we’re following some strange lady through a door and into an elevator. Where were we going? Who knows? I was just along for the ride apparently.
You can raise your kids. You can give them all the knowledge possible. All of a sudden, forgotten!
Some weird things have happened to us over the years just by chance. This is how we ended up in an abandoned park on top of a mountain. That’s an older story. Today was pretty neat.
The tank that I was talking about earlier, The Great Ocean Tank, is where she was taking us.
We got a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of the aquarium. One of the cooler random things that has happened to us.
The wife loves turtles and got to meet Caretta today. A lot closer than most visitors do, I suppose.
Caretta will turn 28 years old next month, and weighs over 220 pounds. She came to the Aquarium in 2001 at the age of 14. As a hatchling, a couple had taken her out of her natural habitat on a beach in Florida to keep her as a pet. Not realizing how large loggerheads become, they soon discovered that she was outgrowing the small enclosure they had kept her in. Once too big to care for and deemed non-releasable due to her upbringing in captivity, she was brought to the Aquarium du Quebec in Canada. The South Carolina Aquarium was in search of a sea turtle and she was transferred to our facility to live in the Great Ocean Tank in 2001. -From the aquarium website.
The moral of this story, I guess, is that sometimes, very rarely, stranger danger isn’t a thing.
And to think I wanted to go to the zoo today because it would be way cheaper.
We got more than our money’s worth today. Special that ks to Angela. You made our weekend.
More from today tomorrow. We just rolled in. It’s late.
Earlier this week, I posted about wanting to go to the mountains. Later this week, I was outvoted, and we are heading to the coast tomorrow. Charleston, SC, to be specific.
Which is fine.
I am not a fan of the coast. I do not like the beach. I would rather stand on a mountain than get sand in every crack and crevice of my body.
But Charleston is great for a day. The Aquarium, historic downtown, maybe we’ll stay for the ghost tour, who knows?
I’m on a wander, and I’ll get some decent pics, I’m sure—plenty of history and graveyards. Maybe I can get the crew to travel on a little further to the Angel Oak. The only problem with that is the last time we went there were so many people you couldn’t enjoy the size of the tree. It’s an incredible sight. It’s a lot to take in.
We shall see what we shall see. And then I’ll show it to you—the pics. Not…never mind.
I guess this is an extension to what I write every day. It’s personal without being personal. I don’t know if that makes sense. This is my outlet. Just trying to catch any new followers up with what this is about.
Knowing I had to go pick up those packages yesterday, I did some prior proper planning and asked my don, Sam, if he wanted to ride with me several days before. Rock Hill means one thing to him, Joe’s Classic Video Games.
My son is an avid collector of video games. It’s his passion if a twelve-year-old can have a passion. He collects older consoles as well. His oldest one being a Nintendo Game Cube (that will probably make a few who read this feel old.) The Game Cube is ancient tech to him.
So we rode together yesterday and were gone half the day. It was great!
When it’s just me and him we can just be guys. I’ve missed a lot of his school stuff this year. Awards, performances, Beta Club induction to name a few and this saddens me.
We talked about it a couple of nights ago, and he understands. But he shouldn’t have to. I should be there. Always.
Today is Sunday. We’ve rested and are preparing for another week.
Knives sharpened, nails trimmed (I consider them tools and weapons), and neat. Packed out the EDC bag. I probably carry too much but…
There’s no support group for this. No band dads anonymous. No. My wife was a band geek, and now both my kids are band geeks, and I get pulled along kicking and screaming and being my general gruff, mean-looking self. But to tell you the truth, I love watching what these kids produce.
If you tell anyone what I just said I will hunt you down and do unspeakable things to you.
The nice (?) part of this is that I have time to myself the next couple of days during band tryouts. The kids have to audition, and the band director decides who he cuts. Some will be overjoyed, and some will be crushed, but kids need these kinds of hard lessons. I am confident both of mine will be in the marching band again this year.
With my brief freedom, I get a lot of things done.
Today I installed some more lights in the garage. A couple of motion-sensitive LEDs over the parking spots for the cars. I like that I don’t have to worry about switching them off and the added bonus of pulling into the garage with light for security.
Also, I’m not blind, but my eyes aren’t what they used to be.
Added to my chores in the evenings is cooking super. Lasagna tonight Tacos tomorrow night.
And I take over the dishwashing because the kids don’t get home till seven.
Wait a damned minute! This doesn’t seem like freedom at all!
I’m not big on any holiday really. But today isn’t about me it’s about them.
For the kids a card with a little something inside and some candy.
For the wife a card and some candy and something she was really excited about…
No. Get your mind out of the gutter.
The wife has allergies, and this has been hard to find lately. It’s one of the few things that gives her comfort from congestion. I found some today and bought two bottles. I placed this under her valentines candy and she squealed.