I Haven't Really Got a Right to Sing the Blues but Here We Are

 Welp. Eve took the train back to school on Saturday. Week was too short. Hamilton is too far. I had a fitful, twitchy-leg, broken sleep the last two nights and I am sad and cranky.

Eve and I went to Bluesfest for the first time the year she was 12, even though we both have anxiety, especially about crowded places (Bluesfesting While Anxious, July 2015), and it became a tradition (which, let's be honest, happens with almost everything we do in this family and friend group that doesn't outright suck - our calendar of annual things is fairly crowded, which is cool because we are a family of lazy introverts, except Angus, he works out like five times a day, he's an un-lazy introvert). The day the lineup comes out is always exciting, and the two years it didn't happen because of Covid were weird and we missed it.

Well, the lineup came out on Wednesday and it was...not exciting to me. This is kind of disheartening for obvious reasons, and also because a lot of my friends seem to think it's splendid, so I also feel like a musical loser. I don't even know where my odd musical tastes come from. I seem to have missed a big chunk of the nineties somehow, and I like stuff in every genre, but I'm generally oblivious to what is cool right now, which means years later I am oblivious to what was cool right then. Collette has frequently urged me to come see certain bands saying "I swear you will know many songs, or at least a few". I did not. 

Not that there's anything wrong with going and listening to bands I don't know - I discovered Foy Vance and Chvrches and other bands that are in frequent rotation on my song list now. But it's nice when there's at least one or two acts where you can scream-sing most of the songs into the Ottawa July night (Blue Rodeo, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morrisette, Joe Jackson, Billy Idol, Sam Roberts, Colin James, Pink, Melissa Etheridge, and a few you'd probably judge me for if you haven't already). 

Usually I buy us both festival passes on the pre-sale day. I briefly thought I might not this year. But there were at least a couple of people we both want to see, and two one-day passes cost a little more than the pre-sale full festival ten-day pass, so I did. And it will be fun. I just could have used a bit more of a lift right now. 

Anyway, that was supposed to be a throwaway thought, not several paragraphs about my firstest of first world problems. My point was -- wait, I have to backtrack again.

Last Christmas Eve got me a gorgeous puzzle from the adorable little bookstore near her house. We started it during Christmas and finished it when she was home in February (it was 1000 pieces and really hard, there was a LOT of snow), and I just love sitting peacefully at the table with her passing pieces back and forth and hearing her funny little observations. We said we were going to do another one this year at Christmas but we forgot/ ran out of time. This week we almost ran out of time again, but on Friday (she was leaving the next day) she had some time in the afternoon so we took out a 500-piece one so we could make a little bit of satisfying progress, and did some late puzzling after Drag Race when her friend Jackson went home and she was showered and pajamafied. 

"I need the rest of Rusty Spotted Cat Adjunct Professor. I'm looking for Rus and fessor"

We did pretty well in that one day. Last night I was about to go upstairs, when I thought it might be a good thing to puzzle a little bit every night and listen to musicians that are coming to Bluesfest. 

I set an alarm for thirty minutes because I tend to get into the zone and look up and find that it's suddenly three a.m. I had to set another thirty-minute alarm when the first one went off, but I got the puzzle finished and listened to some good music. 

Also this week, we did our first buddy read. She was reading a book by Primo Levi for Social and Political Thought (three-hour lecture every week by a professor I had thirty years ago, half interesting, half torture). I thought I had read Primo Levi, but when I looked at his list of books I couldn't find any that looked familiar, and the one she was reading looked really good, so I ordered a copy and we read a bit every day and talked about it and it was terribly sad, of course, but the writing was amazing, in such a singular voice, and described so many things that were obvious once he wrote about them, but I had never thought about them or come across them in everything I've read about the Holocaust. We've given and recommended books to each other before but we've never read the book at the same time and it was very gratifying.

We went shopping and looked for jeans, which we also did at Christmas. She was very specific in what she wanted, and it's been very hard to find. First of all, why are there so many Mom jeans on offer? I mean, I guess I can allow for some people making the very unwise decision to purchase Mom jeans, but there were SO MANY. Second of all, why are all the jeans scattered around the store? There used to be, like, a wall of jeans, or a rack of jeans, and now there are walls and racks and piles and why? Eve was looking for straight-leg jeans, and all the ones that SAID straight had legs that obviously and perceptibly narrowed. "If these are straight, then what are skinny jeans?" she asked, justifiably. 

We split up briefly and she texted me "I give up. I'll buy overalls". 

Cool, I said, the overalls were cute. Then we went into one last store after we'd eaten and she'd had time to cool down, she took a couple of pairs of jeans into the changing room, and then I found one last pile hidden away (why?) and plucked one pair and that was the winner. 

She took the train home in the fall because we had tickets to Mean Girl the Musical from the Covid subscription year the week-end AFTER her fall break, and she really wanted to see it. She hadn't taken the train back yet, but she said she wanted to this time because one of her housemates was also, so she wouldn't be alone. This was pretty perfect, since it was snowing yesterday when she left, and there's a little station five minutes from our house.

We got there pretty early, and she said we could leave her there but, um, no. We had a funny bet going where Matt, the seasoned world traveler, told us where Car 3 would be when the train pulled in, and I disagreed, and then the train pulled in and I had to whisper 'stop now, stop now, STOP NOW', and it was about halfway between. She got on and Matt sort of acted like we could walk away, and I was looking at the windows to see if I could see her, but they were darkened and Matt said I wouldn't be able to, but there was a kid in one window with a very distinctive hair profile and I said if THAT was our kid we would know it. We walked along and then we saw a silhouette waving at us. 

It's the conehead in front

I said "is that her?" and the figure nodded exaggeratedly and then she texted this:

There was one mom on the platform openly sobbing. I did not, but last night I was sad that I didn't have to try not to let the bathroom floor squeak too much because Eve was already in bed, and today I was out of sorts. Supposedly this gets easier at some point. Stupid independent kids. 


Beachmama aka Anna said…
Love reading about your time together. I have similar times with my kiddos, but one is here so she never leaves and the other is away and I never get to see him, so when I do I’m the sobbing mess on the platform ☺️
Busy Bee Suz said…
Stupid independent kids, indeed!
I'm so happy you had such a good time together, and I know the Bluesfest will be fun once you get there.
I had a good giggle at your pajamafied comment. The puzzle looks amazing: Cats with Careers!
So funny that you can't see INTO the train very well. Is that to protect ones traveling privacy or keep the sun out?
StephLove said…
I miss Noah pretty much all the time. You're a year ahead of me on this kids away from home thing (or maybe more than that because Noah was home longer than Angus for remote school), so I guess it's not getting better soon. What's freaking me out now is that he's going to Los Angeles for an internship soon after he graduates in May and is staying until the end of July and then... who knows? If he finds a job he could go anywhere. What stops me from expressing this much is that I remember what an amazing time of life this is if you're the young person and not the parent.
Pat Birnie said…
This parenting stuff is so hard. I think I’ve said before that my 2 youngest left home 10 years ago. They both moved to Calgary. Saying goodby to them is SO hard as they are so far away. One is still there & likely staying - I gave them strict orders not to fall in love with anyone & put down roots, but second youngest had the nerve to disobey me. My other 3 are within 2 hrs but it’s still hard to say goodbye (not so much to them but to the grandbabies!). I find that the bluesy feeling goes away a little faster each time.
NGS said…
A buddy read!! What a fun way to stay in touch and share something you both love.

(My parents never even looked bothered when I left home. I am starting to feel like maybe they didn't love me as much as these blubbering modern parents!!)
Nicole said…
Those overalls are adorable and totally remind me of the 90s. I had a pair very similar and I loved them!
I'm sad for you that Eve has gone home now. However! Love the buddy read and the puzzles.
Ms. G said…
Oh my, yeah. I'm still waiting for the one that left 9 1/2 years ago to move back home. Everytime she visits it takes days to readjust. You two have a wonderful relationship. It's a lovely thing to have : )

You remind me why I love you; Looking for a "lift" at the "Blues Festival" ;D Right there with you!
Ernie said…
I like how you have so many things that end up as traditions so long as they don't outright suck. Brilliant. Coach and I spent the weekend with Mini at college for parent weekend and I dragged out staying as long as possible. OH, LET'S GO FOR A WALK. It is hard when she is away, but much easier now that she loves it there. I love the idea of a buddy read. Great concept. It is an adjustment every time they leave again. I hope you get into some of the bands by listening to them in advance. You have some time before July. That photo of Matt and Eve is really lovely.
Sarah said…
A buddy read! AND THE SAME PROFESSOR!! I love this so so so much.
Tudor said…
OK, the Bluesfest lineup is NOT inspirational this year. It's the first year I haven't bought the kids full passes (of course, every other year I was also able to buy them U19 passes which were cheaper, so this year the lineup would have had to be VERY good to justify the full-price pass-buying).

However, after the initial disappointment we decided to go to Pitbull and I think there's no way it won't be a fun show. In fact, I'm already getting excited about it now, so that's half the value of it.
Awwww, I feel this so much. In like a pre-apprehensive (pre-hensive???) way, considering my kiddo has a few years left before she leaves the nest. Time together is so precious, and wow it sounds like you did some fun and enjoyable things together. I love that you did a buddy read! That is amazing.
Once again I am late to the party here.

I am a wee bit jealous of your buddy read with your offspring. I can't keep up with the reading that two of my offspring undertake, and the other one doesn't read books.

We had our youngest (age 23) here with us for 4 weeks in Dec-Jan. There are some stresses that result from her visiting for that long but for the most part it was MARVELOUS and I miss her a great deal but it is for the best that she is on her own.

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