Sunday, May 25, 2014

Drama and Diving

Oldest Son and Youngest Son playing around before our 1st dive.
Our Summer is beginning with new and fun adventures.  Friday evening Commuter Husband drove in from Houston to meet us in Plano at Adventure Scuba. We picked up four of everything: scuba tanks, BCs and regulators. Dive shop dude gave us written information and directions to Clear Spring Scuba Park in Terrell, Texas. He said to us "The Google map will take you to the wrong place." Some would call this sentence foreshadowing.

At home, we gathered masks, fins, snorkels, dive booties and then The Big Question was "Would our 3mm Henderson wet suits fit?" Commuter Husband and I bought them in the late 90's and had not worn them in over 12 years. And ... and ... and ... they fit! I will admit I was surprised.

Saturday morning, we are rushed but manage to leave the house by 7:20am with a fully loaded Prius and should easily arrive by the 8:30am start time. As we are driving, Commuter Husband was particularly talkative much to the dismay of the rest of us who are half awake. Commuter Husband truly loves to scuba dive and he is excited.

It appears we are going to do the impossible: arrive at our destination with no drama. Alas it was not meant to be. Commuter Husband used the Google map which says we are there however we are in the middle of a gravel road with beautiful Texas wildflower fields surrounding us. I pull out the map provided by dive shop and I deadpan to Commuter Husband "he told us not to use Google." The atmosphere in the car takes a sudden shift as Commuter Husband turns the Prius around and speeds along the country road with dust swirling around us. Then Youngest Son says "You have cash - right?" Uhhh, no. The dive shop dude and the written information also said the scuba park ONLY takes cash. Now the tension is the car is thick. It is 8:20am.

As we backtrack, we see a small convenience store with an ATM advertised. We stop. Commuter Husband enters the store. We wait. We wait. I get out and enter the store. Commuter Husband looks sheepish as a woman counts the cash to load the ATM. Are you kidding? The money is not going to matter if our whole class is in the water when we finally arrive. The minutes tick away.

We get back on the road and find the scuba park a couple miles away. We arrive at 8:47am. The crusty dive master heads our way and another frazzled student arrives right after us. She also unwisely used the Google map. One of the best parts about diving is divers are a relaxed group - kind of like the hippies of the ocean. Dive master moves us along but he is not particularly worried about our untimely arrival.

We do rush to get all our expensive equipment organized in a safe fashion.  Not the ideal way to start the day but we are relieved to be there and get started! We enter the water with eleven students in Group A and are getting ready to descend 20 feet. All going well until Youngest Son announces "I lost my fin." What? How did that even happen? Dive master heads down to retrieve and thank goodness it landed on dive platform and not in the silt of the lake bottom. Crisis averted.

Our two check out dives and the rest of the day go smoothly. Commuter Husband says "I really had fun today." And that says it all ...
Boys play at any age!
Equipment, equipment, equipment ...
Dive group B in the water.
Youngest Son and Commuter "Daddy" - Love them.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been over the top, crazy busy. The next two weeks will be the same.
I do not have the mental energy to itemize but here is the highlight reel ...

ATLANTA & QUIZ BOWL (last weekend) - Commuter Family goes to Atlanta!
Quiz Bowlers tour Turner Field before weekend series and attend a Saturday rainy night game. 
Quiz Bowlers play roof top B ball!
Quiz Bowlers doing their thing at Middle School National Quiz Bowl in Atlanta. Oldest Son and team make it to finals finishing at 19th out of the 128 teams qualifying for Nationals.

BIRTHDAY PARTY (Friday afternoon) 
Birthday Candles. Youngest Son has cookie cake for his 12th birthday - finally a party.
Birthday Swimming. Cold for me but not for them!
Birthday Basketball. Yes - that IS a port-a-potty for the remodel workers.
Birthday Games. When house is a disaster from remodel - roll the party in FRONT of house.

The remodel is a big ole added layer of stress. We have no television and have been living out of two bedrooms and one bathroom. Youngest Son and Oldest Son share this bottom bunk tonight to watch Doctor Who on an iPad.
Love seeing the two them truly share this simple joy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Scuba and Sex

Oldest Son carries our masks, snorkels and fins along with towels and extra clothes.
Many families put a priority on shared experiences. This type of family bonding takes on an endless number of formats. Within a family there will be certain traditions that are the same every single time because doing it the same way is the point. Our Commuter Family definitely has a few of those. Paradoxically, we have a stronger tradition of exploring and learning different things.

New Undertaking
This weekend started Commuter Family down a new and exciting path. By the end of May, all four of us will have a  PADI Scuba Open Water Certification. Commuter Husband and I are already certified but have not been scuba diving in 13 years thus we are redoing the training. Oldest Son and I spent a total of eight hours together in the water this weekend. We completed the pool work which is part one of a three part course with Adventure Scuba. We now need to finish the six hours of online learning. Commuter Husband and Youngest Son will do their water skills in a couple of weeks and the same online learning requirements. Our Commuter Family will then spend two days diving in Terrell, Texas on Memorial Day Weekend to complete four check out dives.

Oldest Son is fourteen years old. He is taller and stronger than me. Our pool work required lifting a 40 lb scuba tank - several times. Oldest Son was caring and attentive. Without fail, he always tried to ease my lifting burden and help me wherever possible. Oldest Son is also more accomplished than me at all of the scuba skills. I did well but he did great. Oldest Son is a natural scuba diver with his calm, intelligent savoir-faire, fearless attitude and love of the water. Our class started with six and ended with four - scuba is not for all.

Oldest Son and I had fun together in an arena where we both had a shared interest and objective. So much of parenting in today's Western society is one way - we are helping the child or watching the activity or organizing the event. It is refreshing to do something that is of equal interest and benefits all members of the family including Mommy and Daddy.

Unforeseen Lesson
Even though Oldest Son sometimes takes on caring for me now, I am still his parent all day, every day. And I did have a most unexpected teachable moment during this outing with our teenage boy. Please note we are teaching our sons that the images of women presented in mainstream media and in pornography are not even close to real and create distorted views of sexuality. Many of these images are photo shopped and/or contain body parts that have been surgically altered. And sex does not look or feel like the ridiculousness in pornography.  We do not want our sons to expect unrealistic bodies performing crazy acts with their future life partners. All too easy access on the Internet to these kinds of images has the potential result of a generation of seriously skewed expectations.

So how do these thoughts relate to a scuba weekend? Our class included a sweet young woman with what can only be described as a beautiful body. While changing clothes in a communal area, I warned her about my lack of breasts and she excitedly told me she had just got new breasts. Well that made more sense. I had wondered how her particular body shape with a such a narrow rib cage and upper body could have that size breasts ... and yes I know it can happen.

On the way home today, I candidly discussed with Oldest Son all I have written in the two paragraphs above. I asked him if he had any idea that she had a boob job? He said no. We discussed not making judgements about other's individual choices. However, I want to be crystal clear with our two boys that expecting all women to have perfectly proportioned skinny bodies, flawless skin and extra firm parts is not acceptable. It is certainly okay to recognize physical attraction but it should be based on realistic bodies and the love of a person's being.

Oldest Son was a trooper and was an active listener during all of my many, many, many points. I would not say we had an involved two-way discussion nor did I expect one. We are in a new phase of parenting that requires us to share our philosophies on mature topics. I want these ideas planted. He will think about them. Some of them will take and others will not. I want Oldest Son and Youngest Son to know what their parents think about religion, politics, sex, family, education, marriage and on and on and on ...

So. Making shared experiences a priority and learning together can take all kinds of twists and turns for Commuter Family.
The deep end goes down 18 feet. We spent a allot of time at that depth. 
BCDs and regulators for students.