Monday, June 25, 2007

Poetry, Amish and Police Camp

My Sunday started with trying to determine which medical acronym stood for "Tetanus Shot" on Oldest Son's Boys Scout medical form from 4 years ago. I had it down to DTP/DT 1 through 5, DTP/DTaP or Td. I was leaning towards DTP/DTaP but the date on that was 1995 which was more than 10 years ago. This would be bad since tetanus shots are good for 10 years.

I was doing this because I could not find the most recent form which I knew I had for his Boy Scout summer camp in 2006. Today he was going to a one week writers workshop held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA and they wanted to know if he had a tetanus shot.

I don't know why they wanted this information. I can't imagine that writing poetry increases one's affinity for lock-jaw, but as a dutiful parent, here I was on a Sunday morning researching when his last tetanus shot was so he could read and write poetry beneath shady trees.

This is the kind of thing that happens all time at our house: a last minute crisis for camp, scouts, band or school. It could be a water bottle for soccer, a check for a school trip or medical records. It doesn't matter.

In the end, I guessed. I know he had a shot, I just didn't have an exact date. If he happens to step on a rusty nail while writing poetry, I'm sure he'll be OK until we pick him up on Saturday. You learn what is important as you get experience being a parent.

The University is almost in the exact geographical center of Pennsylvania and we were surprised to see Amish out that way. I guess I never thought about the Amish being that far north but why wouldn't they be there? I guess I just assumed they were in a narrow swath from Lancaster to Harrisburg. Heck, they could reach all the way to Canada for all I know. Half the population of Buffalo might be Amish since I've never been there to check. Albany too.

As we were driving home I saw this same Amish couple headed south on route 11 on the shoulder of the highway. A few miles down the road we saw another Amish couple headed north on the same shoulder. It was like you knew an Amish head-on was coming and there was nothing you could do about it.

He is in a class of 12 writing poetry. When we left to say goodbye they were all sitting under a shady tree reading poetry out loud. The kid that was reciting his own poem had a def poetry jam thing going about smoking pot. It turns out this was Oldest Son's roommate, rapping about pot among the Amish.

This is another aspect of parenting that I did not expect - what the boys interests would be. I never saw poetry coming. It's not like we all sat around the table when they were younger reading Emily Dickinson every night. Where did he develop a mind for poetry?

Since all the regular students went back home in May, the campus is empty except for the Amish. There are the 48 high schools students in the whole workshop and the only other group on campus is a Pennsylvania State Police "camp cadet".

Two groups on campus - the writers and the cadets. The cadets march into the cafeteria and march about campus while my son and his "workshop" sit beneath trees and read poetry. Throw in a demonstration about a war and some guns and sounds like Kent State all over again.

So we'll pick him up on Saturday from his workshop and then we turn around and head off to Ocean City for a week. I'll bet he just has a great time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Pass and A Fail

Boy I know how to pick 'em.

I signed a contract for a new deck back in.... what 2006? and I still only have six holes and a circus ramp for our doggies. We have been failed three times now for water in the post holes for the foundation.

Three times.

The inspector is feeling sorry for us and saying things like "this is ridiculous". He asked to have the contractor call him so that he could tell them how to pass inspection. It will be fall before I sit on the this deck.

In other construction news, the shed passed final inspection.

You have no idea how happy this makes me. This ends the nearly three year effort to get a new shed. It sounds stupid, I know, but having the CO for the shed is a miracle as far as I am concerned.

I have been using the shed as my sanctuary. I grab my bible and head out there every morning for quiet time. I find it very peaceful instead of the mayhem that may days usually start with.

So one day last week, that is what I did. I headed out there at 6 AM and there to my surprise was the "passed" sticker you see above stuck to the door. I was shocked. I was worried that I was going to fail and prayed about. I did. I delayed calling the township. I didn't want to know.

Then Mrs F wanted a deck. And that takes permits. And permits get the township's attention. So as soon as the paper work came went in for the deck we got a letter from the township. They needed to inspect for tax purposes. They were very clear that it was not for construction inspection.

The inspector came out and of course my taxes are going up. Not because I got a shiny new shed, but because it has a 15 inch by 30 inch porch. "That's usable space" the inspector said.

I almost said "if you're a leprechaun like that Notre Dame mascot" but I kept my mouth shut.

Anyway we were finally approved.

It's funny how a man's mind starts to think about a retreat like this. You starting thinking a little dry wall, a little flooring ..... I could just move out here....

Since it was right by the pool equipment I was able to pop an electrical out in there no sweat. I moved the Stereo out there for the summer.

The other day I was in the Shoprite and there at the end of aisle 11 they had Air Conditioners. It was a small air conditioner, one that could cool up to 150 square feet. I did some quick math and figured out that a 12 x 16 shed is 192 square feet. I was this close to picking that bad boy up and putting it in the cart but I thought it just might blow my food budget for the week and it would be tough to explain.

I'm sure that winter will be different story. I may not want to head out there so quickly but for now I love being out there even if the petroleum fumes from the lawnmower make me woozy.

I am thinking of taking pictures of Men and their sheds. I could make a coffee table book.