Waivers Are Making Me Waver

Do waivers make you nervous?  I had no idea I had a phobia of waivers until this week, when I’ve had to sign a BUNCH of them for H-T’s manatee trip.  Yep, this is the big week, and obviously that means time to sign away H-T’s life so that no diverone gets ((((shudder)))) sued or something.  They need waivers for his travel, waivers for his scuba dives, waivers for his snorkeling, waivers for his medical treatment, and back-up waivers just in case the first set didn’t cover something like a dolphin randomly jumping into his speedboat, knocking him from his seat and against the cup holder, giving him a concussion and a permanent beer-can-shaped ring on his forehead. 

As if I weren’t nervous enough sending my 12 year old off on a trip 11 hours away, with people I barely know….let’s throw in some legal waivers which detail every possible scenario H-T might encounter during his first adventure away from home!! Here is an actual paragraph from one of the waivers they sent me today:

“Hypoxia, hypothermia and drowning are also a danger when diving.  Hyperbaric injuries require treatment in a recompression chamber. Diving trips for fun, training and/or certification may be conducted at locations remote from a recompression chamber facility. It could take long time to reach a chamber facility, and I still choose to proceed with my diving activities.”

I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure that, as I mom, I have cause to panic if I don’t even understand the injury OR the treatment my darling son is subject to.  And checking the box in front of this statement just makes me feel neglectful.  It’s like they want you to chicken out, and refuse to put your child through the unspeakable torture of that LONG drive to the recompression chamber thingy. 

I’ve had a hundred second thoughts as I’ve read through these legal papers this week.  I can’t believe I was dumb enough to ever agree to this.  H-T is scheduled to leave on Thursday, and I would almost rather brave his disappointment than risk getting him “recompressed.”  I keep getting visual images of them poking holes in him like a balloon and rolling him up from the bottom to make sure they get all the air out.

I’m gonna need lots of good thoughts and prayers this week, friends, if I’m going to push through my fears and actually go through with this exercise in parental torment.   I’m thinking of having them sign a waiver that says if I have to sign one more waiver, they are going to have to monetarily compensate me for all anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications I consume during the full time period of the trip. 

They may make very little profit on this excursion.


Streaming Video Slugs

So you may or may not have heard of Hulu, but if you haven’t, please feel free to come over and have H-T give you a masters course.  Hulu takes the available online television and movie content and puts in all in one easy-to-veg-out-for-eternity location.  And H-T is pretty certain it was created with him in mind.  Besides having lots of Simpsons episodes (his current guilty pleasure), Hulu has let him discover “quality” programming he never even knew existed.  Where else could he have found old episodes of the A-Team, The Incredible Hulk, and Battlestar Galactica, and chanced upon classic movies like Planet of the Apes and The People That Time Forgot – – all in one place??  They can’t call you a couch potato if you are actually in a computer chair, can they?  So what is the new term for people glued to their internet on-demand programming??  Streaming Video Slugs??

H-T has lost all interest in our satellite television programming.  I mean who has the patience to wait for a show until some big-wig at a television studio in Anaheim decides to air it according to his whim?  Not H-T.  He wants customized programming on his schedule.  In other words, what he wants, when he wants it.  (I blame all those Beverly Hills 90210 reruns I watched while I was pregnant with him, and on bed rest.  I knew those narcissistic snots where no good for such impressionable fetal ears!)

When I was his age I had this little 13″ black and white set in my room, and I actually had to get up from the bed and turn a knob each time I wanted to change channels.  And at that time, we only got 3 – – plus PBS if I stretched the rabbit ears all the way out and wrapped aluminum foil on both ends (But who wants to go to all that trouble for another Benny Hill episode??!!)  H-T gets visibly shaken when I describe the barbaric scenarios of TV watching in the Pre-Cambrian era of my youth.

I’ve tried to explain to H-T that there are a few downsides of this new era of entertainment on demand. He will never ever know the sense of accomplishment that comes from peeing, pouring yourself a Dr. Pepper, feeding the cat, and finishing off a crossword puzzle all before the end of a commercial break.  He will miss out on that giddy butterfly feeling that comes over your stomach when you know that thisis the night you will finally find out whether Luke accepted Lorelai’s proposal.

Yep, H-T and his generation will never know some of the joys of doing TV “old style.”  What if everyone could have known who shot J.R. just by heading to the computer and clicking a mouse?  Would it have had the same “oomph?”  I just don’t think so. But what do I know….I’m just a couch potato.

Two Tickets to Vegas, Baby

Ok, so an important update on our free plane ticket conundrum……we’re goin’ to Vegas!!  Well, I should clear that up.  Two of us are going to Vegas.  The more we discussed our possible family vacation, the more Uber began to ponder the unfairness of little brother’s upcoming swimming with the manatees trip.  I mean, he has no interest in swimming with manatees (unless they happen to have swallowed a wi-fi transmitter), but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his own vacation, he asserts.  And, easily guilt-ridden parents that we are, his reasoning began to sound pretty darn sensible. 

So where would a newly-14-year-old computer geek wanna go with his parent?  I suggested several options…how about Yosemite?  I figured he and his dad could have a male bonding experience among nature at its finest.  Uber tried to look enthusiastic, but I could see his techie little heart quivering at the thought of being so wholly disconnected from all things electronic.  Other options came up, such as visiting Seattle (who knew Microsoft hasn’t created a theme park yet – – Bummer!).  We tossed around the idea of heading to a video game convention, but unfortunately they are all located in places like Nowheresville, Indiana this year.  Double bummer.  So we looked through our trusty 10-year-old family travel guide, and came to the page about Las Vegas.  I could almost swear I saw double cherries come up in both eyes as Uber read the descriptions of the lights, sounds, and non-stop technotronics of the Vegas Strip.   

“What do they mean ‘The Fun Never Stops’?”  You mean you get to stay up all night and gamble and watch live shows??!!”  Well—yes–technically.  “Oh, Dad, isn’t this gonna be cool??!!”  I saw my very intelligent husband looking to me for guidance.  Was I actually going to let him take my 14-year-old impressionable homeschooled son to Sin City for a man’s dream-vacation-come-true?  Not for all the chest hair on Wayne Newton. 

So, Uber and I are taking our first ever trip to Vegas sometime this fall.  It will be a blast, I’m sure, although perhaps not quite as scintillating as the trip he pictured with his dad.  After all, my idea of gambling is sinking $5.00 at the VFW on Bingo Ladies Night. But, I have ordered the kids guide to Vegas, and have been checking out family friendly Vegas spots on the web.  There is actually a video game mega-arcade in Vegas that was designed by Steven Spielberg and the Dreamworks folks.  I’m hoping we are able to hit this high-spot toward the end of our vacation, or else we might not ever see a single other neon inch of the city.   

I will drag Uber to a show or two, of course, because I am girlie like that, but I will try to make it up to him by ensuring that at least one of them features either scantily clad gals or dancing Wii remotes.  Whoa–wouldn’t I be mom of the year if I could find a scantily clad gal dancing with a Wii remote??!! And if the saying is true that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, then we might even sneak in a tug on a slot machine handle.  But I guarantee that this will be a trip to remember.  I mean how many guys get to look back and remember their incredible teenage Las Vegas trip with their mothers??  Well, I mean those guys that aren’t currently in therapy, of course. 

p.s.  Anybody have any Vegas tips for us newbies??  Please share them below!!

Separation Anxiety

Ok, so nobody likes sand in their keyboard, right?  So I made sure my laptop had lots of power, kissed it goodbye, and gently tucked it in for a long nap.  Then I was off to the beach.  Yes, there was some separation anxiety on the part of my little guy, who had never been without me for so long before, but I assured him that I would be back before his battery even got cold.  HPIM1683

And then I made the mistake of looking back.  The parenting books tell you to never look back.  But I did.  I was almost out the door. The minivan was packed.  The cooler was full.  The boys were waiting impatiently for me to get in the vehicle so we could head out, and right at that moment….I looked back.  My little laptop, sitting forlornly inside that deep dark carrying case.  It was all I could do not to well up with tears. 

So I ran back in and grabbed him up in my arms, and carried him lovingly to the van.  I totally ignored the eye rolling and sighing from the other passengers in the van, and found a comfortable shady nook for my laptop to ride out the trip HPIM1665in air conditioned comfort.

When we arrived at the shore, I patted his case and let him know how proud I was that he had been such a good little  traveler.  While everyone else had needed to make a series of pit-stops for food, stretching, or bathroom breaks, my stalwart fella had never made a peep of complaint from his cramped quarters.  I couldn’t wait to introduce him to the sun and fun of the coast in May, but it was late, and we were all tired, so I knew he wouldn’t mind if we all got a good night’s sleep before the merriment began.

The next day R-T and I awoke to the most incredible sight I have ever seen.  From our bed, we could look out and see the sun just coming over the water.  I wanted to stop time and just savor the beauty, but I knew I couldn’t, so I got out my trusty Canon and captured the moment. HPIM1662 Before long, the boys and my mom, who had shared the next room, were up and salivating at the chance to get down and dirty with those lapping waves.  So, hours later, we emerged from the foam and sand, and enjoyed a terrific lunch, then it was back to the HPIM1668beach!  We took a short break from the sounds of seagulls and the smell of salt water to take a dip in the indoor pool,  where the water was like a warm blanket for the soul.  After gobbling down some Mexican food for supper, the boys took a much needed rest, and R-T and I took a beautiful leisurely stroll around the resort and through the gift shops. 



 HPIM1700 The next day was much the same, although after lunch we headed away from the shoreline to Georgetown, one of theHPIM1692  oldest cities in the country, and soaked up some incredible history and ambiance.  The view from the marina was spectacular, and nothing will compare to traipsing through a local Episcopal cemetery to view gravestones dating back to the early 1800’s.  Priceless!  We celebrated Uber’s birthday with a trip to Gamestop, a huge seafood feast, and ice cream cake back at the hotel suite.  He said it was the best birthday he could ever remember.  And, since we were heading back home in the morning, it was time for one more trip to the beach for a long leisurely goodbye.

Sunday morning was spent packing all our belongings back in the van.  And that was when I spotted him.  My poor lonely laptop.  In all the excitement of vacation, I had forgotten all about him.  What kind of person could just unplug themselves like that, and completely neglect their online relationship??  I never thought of myself as the sort of person who would commit such technological negligence?  I didn’t even know I had it in me.  But as I packed the little guy safely back into the minivan, he had a look of forgiveness about it.  Like perhaps he was no worse for the wear.  Who knows?  Maybe we needed to give each other a little space.  A little independence.  And nobody likes sand in their keyboard, right? 

Thank God I got rid of her for a few days!!

Thank God I got rid of her for a few days !!