The One Where He Graduated

Harry graduates from high school tonight. Expect tons of pictures from the ceremony. Also, expect tons of pictures from all over time and space because he’s one of my favorite people on Earth and he’s graduating and I am so happy for him that I am positive I will spontaneously combust before the day is over.

Cap and Gown

Harry just came home from graduation practice. I made him try on his cap for me. I told him how proud I am of him and embarrassed the shit out of him. So that’s one thing that has gone right today. He’s decorating his cap now.

I need to get my good camera out of the closet in the office. I think I have used it twice during the pandemic. Tomorrow it has a lot of work to do. I’m going to need the long lens, but it’s going to be so worth it. I don’t even care if the pictures come out or not, I just want him to have those 2.5 seconds on the stage in front of everyone.

He has worked so hard for so long. I am crazy proud!

Concert Recap

Yesterday we went to Harry’s final band concert. There were four ensembles and he played with all of them. It was 90 degrees out and the concert took place in the school parking lot. The band director sent out an email with the details last week and somehow Jen and I both failed to read the part about bringing your own chairs. We were there a little early and Jen raced home in record time to get us a couple of chairs. She missed the first couple of Jazz Band songs, but she did not miss Harry’s keyboard solo. There were two keyboard players. On this particular song the other guy used a synthy sound that made things sound like the 70’s. It was a little rough, but he’s an excellent player and he made up for the less than quality patch choice. Harry’s solo was with an electric piano sound and it made me want to run out and buy a vintage Fender Rhodes piano because awesome. Now I understand that a Rhodes is also a very 70’s centric sound, but some 70’s sounds are better than others. Dig?

For the other three ensembles, Harry was in the percussion section. He played almost everything. Mallets, hand percussion, cymbals, and on a couple of pieces he played tympani. He played the shit out of those kettle drums. Let’s just say his step father was very impressed, and insanely proud.

The show closed with the concert band. They had a couple of different teachers/student teachers conducting different pieces. On the second to last song, the band director was inside the building while someone else was conducting. Those of us who were still outside saw the sky getting very ominous. Dark, angry looking clouds. It seemed like we were going to get rained on and it was going to be bad. The band director came outside, looked up, and even though were were on the other side of the parking lot we could see him visibly freak a little. We could almost hear the “oh shit” he was thinking. The song ended and he grabbed the mic and said there was one more piece and it’s about five minutes long and we can probably squeeze it in before the sky falls. The DarkSky app had just told me the rain was about eight minutes out. Go for it, dude! They finished the number before the rain hit and had just enough time for the kids to get their stuff back inside and for the audience to scatter. It was almost as if they planned it that way.

I loved every second of the whole thing, and Harry was totally beat when he got home. Not only did he play in all four ensembles, but prior to the high school concert there was a middle school concert and he filled in for a missing kid for part of that as well. The dude worked his ass off in the scorching heat. If anyone had earned themselves a good night’s sleep, it was Harry.

As with most things right now I am conflicted. On the one hand I am proud and happy and impressed at Harry’s hard work and excellent performance. On the other I am sad that it’s the last one. I’m going to say this a lot in the coming weeks, but Covid-19 seriously screwed him out of so many things. I am glad the school was able to sneak this one in at the last minute so that his final band concert didn’t turn out to be a Christmas concert in his Junior year. He’s missed out on a lot of things in the last year and a half. We have to find a way to make it up to him.

Thinking About Tomorrow

I have not played the guitar in a while now. It’s the weekend so you’d think I would be in the clear, but there’s a lot of stuff to do.

The grass in front of the house is getting long. The grass in the back and on the side have yet to be mowed at all this year. I’m super tall, six and a half feet tall or so, and I am literally scared to go into the back yard because the grass is so tall I am afraid I’ll get lost*. Seriously. That’s how badly it needs to be mowed. The weather looks clear, though slightly on the scorching hot, inferno, hell fire side of the temperature gauge.

More important, in the afternoon we have a high school band concert. The final high school band concert. I didn’t think we were going to get one, thanks covid, but we are. It’s going to be outside in the parking lot and my step son is playing with every single ensemble. Piano in some parts, and percussion in others. He’s awesome, the concert is going to be awesome, it is also going to be held in the parking lot because of covid in the scorching inferno hell fire temps, but it’s all kinds of awesome.

If I can sneak some guitar time in, I will. I’m not holding my breath though.

On an unrelated note, I got a notification on my laptop to reboot for a Mac OS update. I cancelled the notification because it was in the way of a window I was trying to use, but once I was done I rebooted my computer. When the computer came back up I was prompted to take a Mac OS update. What is this, Windows?

*When I said I was literally afraid to go into the back yard because I would get lost in the tall grass, I was not being literally. Allow me to stand here and watch your brain explode. Boom, babie.

Another unrelated note, I think the V key on my ancient apple keyboard is dying. Uh oh.

Wednesday Lunch Break

Lots of great stuff coming up for my step son, Harry. This weekend he will have his final High School band concert. Covid-19 is pushing the performance outside and there hasn’t been the usual time for rehearsing with the full ensembles, but it should still be a pretty sweet deal. I’m going to love it and I am sure he’s going to enjoy his last hurrah.

After that it’s his last week of school, and we all know what follows your last week of school… Graduation, babie! Thanks to Covid-19 (again) there are a limited number of seats available for the ceremony. We snagged four tickets. They also only provide one parking pass per kid… almost as if divorced parents weren’t a thing. The calendar says it’s 2021 but apparently in this particular town it’s actually 1920. He had to ask the school to give him two passes. The school agreed. Thanks, school.

Covid-19 has ruined all plans for a graduation party, which sucks. It has also ruined all plans for a Disney World trip/graduation present. We need to come up with post-pandemic replacements. I’m not sure what that will be at this point, but there will be something. He’s worked his ass off for 12 years to get to this point and he deserves something beyond just recognition.

Until we get all of that figured out, we will just have to shower him with well deserved praise. I don’t have the words to express how proud I am of my step son. He has grown into a wonderful person and he has accomplished so much. I see fantastic things in his future and I can’t wait for him to get there.

Good work, Harry.

Lunch Break

I’m a little late with my lunch time musings today. I’ll keep it shortish.

My step daughter is heading into final exams soon. I remember college finals. I don’t remember them as happy experiences. Good luck, Bellana. We’re going up to Vermont next week to help her move out of the dorm. I should exercise before we go. I’m going to need all the prep I can get.

My step son is taking an Advanced Placement (AP) test today. I never took an AP class in high school. You know what AP is, right? You take an advanced class in high school, then at the end of the year you take a standardized test on the subject. If you score high enough, the class credits count toward your college degree. Cool. He took an AP Physics test last week that lasted four hours. Can you imagine? I think he has three more, counting today’s. Here’s hoping it’s less grueling than last week. Yikes. He graduates from high school in a month. That sound you hear is me bursting with pride.

My mother has had the TV on all day. She watched a little of the Red Sox game on NESN last night and hasn’t changed the channel. They just aired a documentary on my first baseball hero, Carl Yastrzemski. Triple Crown in 1967… three batting titles… 400 career home runs… 3,000 career hits… first ballot hall of famer… and zero World Series titles. He had two cracks at it and lost in seven games each time. 1967 against the Cardinals. 1975 against the Reds. If only we could turn back the clock and get him that ring. Of course, if we could do that we would have to do it for Ted Williams too. Sometimes the universe just drops the ball.

Okay. It’s 2:00. I just gave my mother her meds. Time to wrap this up. Talk to you later, folks.

My Step Son is More Awesome Than Yours

With all of the pre-fab furniture assembly on this weekend’s agenda, Jen figured it would be a good idea to offer Harry some money in exchange for getting a jump on things tonight. He was up for it and as I type this he is in the dining room putting together a humongous pantry that’s bigger than he is. It might be bigger than me.

Sure there’s a little bit of a bribe involved, but that doesn’t change the fact that my step son is awesome for doing this. He pretty much rules. My step son is absolutely more awesome than yours. It’s a certifiable fact.

Birthday Part 2

I don’t know if I’ve told this story here or not… I’ve probably told it 100 times but I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday never mind if I wrote a blog post about something that happened 14 years ago or not.

Back in 2007 when Jen and I first started dating, she had a rule that we needed to stick to. Anyone she dated had to be around for six months before they were allowed to meet the kids. I liked that rule, not because I was insanely nervous about meeting the kids (I was, of course) but because it was a sign to me that she cared more about them than anything in the world including any potential new relationships she might find herself in. It meant that the kids came first, and she wasn’t going to let them get attached to someone who might not be around for the long haul.

Six months later we were still going strong and the day came when I was to meet Bellana and Harry. The plan was to go to a Chuck E Cheese near my office in Framingham after work. Obviously I was terrified. I had zero experience with kids and if they hated me right off the bat it was all going to be over for me and Jen. She told me that Bellana (age six) was a little more outgoing and probably would be more interested in me. Harry (age four) was a little more shy and would probably clam up.

We met outside of the building so that we could all go in together. It went exactly the opposite of how we expected. Bellana hid behind her mother and was very shy. Harry, with all the confidence in the world, walked right up to me and asked if I wanted to see a paper he had worked on in pre-school that morning. He was completely fearless.

By the end of the evening both kids seemed comfortable with me and I was already loving them. They accepted me right away, and they accepted the idea of me and their mother being together right away. I can’t thank them enough for that. Even now, 14 years later, I am pretty stunned at how well that night went. I will never forget it, and I will also never forget that Harry was the first one to welcome me into the family. I love both of those kids more than I ever dreamed I could love anyone.

Once again, happy 18th birthday, Harry.

Birthday

Today is my step son Harry’s 18th birthday. I am so proud of him. He has grown up to be a fine man. He is smart, he is kind, he is caring, he is considerate, he is funny, he is charming, he is woke like a boss (which is nice). The last year has been a complete shit show but he’s managing it well. He’s going to be leaving for college in August and that is painful to think about so I don’t think about it, for now. I love him more than I can express and I can’t wait to see the great things he accomplishes in the future. Happy Birthday, Harry.

Procedures

We are a touch less than a year and a half on from my step son’s type one diabetes diagnosis.  That was the scariest thing I’ve ever been a part of.  Since then he’s had frequent check ups and his handling of his blood sugar has been closely monitored.  A few weeks ago his doctors saw something that deserved a closer look, and today he went in for a couple of procedures.

He was nervous about the IV, but he wasn’t nervous about being put under, or about the procedures themselves.  My wife and I were nervous enough about those for all of us.  The staff treated him well.  They explained everything they did at every step of the process, and worked very hard to make sure the IV process went as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

In the end, everything went by the book.  We have to wait a couple of days for the results, but the doctor who handled everything said it all looked good to him.  My step son is incredibly brave and unbelievably tough.  The universe keeps dealing him a weak hand and he keeps rolling with it and turning the lemons into lemonade.  I’m very proud of him, as always.  Good job, bro.