Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The lovely bride and I attended our favorite niece's high school graduation yesterday.   Endured the Valedictorian's speechification about fixing the world, ending racism and looking into oneself introspectively.  

I didn't hear him say anything about being redundantly redundant but I tuned out about a third of the way into it so he may have finally ultimately gotten around to it.   I logged onto the 24 Hour Campfire and read about Savage 99s and 20s along with several more things that were infinitely more interesting and less comical too.

After three or four more speeches by other eighteen year old movers and shakers we finally got one minute and nine seconds of seeing the niece walk the stage and get her diploma.  I know it was one minute and nine seconds because that's how long the video on my phone is.

Graduations were never really a big deal to me.  I didn't even go to my college graduation.   Its not like graduating is a big surprise.  You kind of know in advance that you are going to graduate.  

"Ok, Line up and count off.  Even numbers graduate.  Odd numbers go to the office to register for next year."  

It just doesn't work that way.

I really think that graduations are like funerals.  Not so  much for the person that graduated or died as for those that care about them.   

I always thought that the big deal was that the graduate was supposed to think that this was the last time in their life they would have to do something just so their relatives could take pictures of them.  In my family, my siblings and I referred to the photos taken during Easter, Christmas, graduations etc. as "Smile Dammits."  My dad was determined that there would be photographic evidence that we were a happy, functional family even it he had to cuss and beat the crap out of us to get it.   In this case, the graduation was a big deal to the niece so it was a big deal to us.  Smiling came naturally, without violence or even profanity.  Funny how that works.

The graduation isn't the only transition that's in the works.   The niece is going to be attending the local College.  The Lovely Bride and I live about an hour closer to it than the niece's mother so the niece is going to use our house as a sort of second home while attending.  

Right now she's disappointed with the College because she couldn't start the first summer term.  They wouldn't approve her financial aid until she had her diploma so she has to wait until the second summer term to get started. 

I like that.  

Most kids want to goof off all summer and hate having to take even one term of summer school.  She's ticked at the school  because she has to wait until "Summer B."  I don't expect her to be one of those kids that lives in their parent's (or uncle's) house "just until they finish school" for fifteen or twenty years.

So, TLB and I are gearing up for an new energy level in the household.  Its just been us and Bullet the Wonder Dog for years.  Now we will have to adapt to something like this:

Neither of those girls is actually my niece but the one on the left could be.  She even has a brunette friend and they post pictures of themselves making funny faces on Facebook.  When I ran across this picture while looking for brass catchers or tactical what-evers, I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn't her.

We updated the guest bathroom to make it more "girly."  New paint ("Turtle Dove" by Behr); fancy, gleaming white mop boards and bead board; new flooring; a new commode; new lights; lots of mirrors and such.  My office got moved out of the back bedroom into the dining room that we never use for dining.  The back bedroom got a makeover too.  We've been busy.

The niece likes to shoot her 10-22 and has a compound bow that she says she would shoot if the string wasn't bad.  I'm going to fix the string and get some hay bales so she can do that.  I have a brick of CB caps saved back for the impending  Zombie Squirrel Apocalypse.  They won't cycle her rifle but she can work it like a straight pull bolt action and still have fun.  My bullet trap hasn't been used in a long time.

What I get out of the deal is another worn out old car to work on.  She has a 90-something Neon that needs brakes and paint. 

Besides that, she will be helping me with some of my office work.  That should boost my productivity and make a financial difference that might even make up for what she and TLB will spend shopping.

Even Bullet is going to get something out of having her around.   The niece is going into Veterinary Medicine so she will be taking a lot of prep courses for that.   He will get his nails trimmed for free.

I think its going to be a good thing for all of us.  Mostly, I like the idea of helping the kid out.  We have lots of good nephews, a few good nieces (of which she is the most likable), some nephews that just plain creep me out (my sister's kids) and a couple of nephews that spend most of their time in jail.  (It would be nice if they could spend more of their time there).  If I had to choose just one as a long term house guest, this niece and one of the good nephews would be the only names on the list.

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