Finally, I thought. He'd been tossing around three or four different possible careers since he was discharged from the Army almost 8 years ago. There wasn't any pressure for him to make an immediate decision. The twins were just four months old at the time; our plan was for him to stay at home until our last child (however many we hoped to have) started school. At that time, he'd either go to college or go straight into the workforce, depending on what it was he chose to do. Well, we knew when we had her that Kaelyn was most certainly the last bit of loinfruit that he would produce. Kaelyn's birth marked the start of Frank's countdown clock, and with her being at home for only the next school year, he was feeling the pressure of needing to narrow in on a choice.
I was getting edgy, because he seemed so non-commital and blah about every option that he weighed. "Just do what makes you happy, Frank. Don't think about potential income or your Multiple Sclerosis or stuff like that. What good is going to school for a career that might pay well, but you hate doing it? I'd rather you stay at home and have us keep walking the border between Quite Alright and Poor Ass Broke than have you spend your life working a job you despise." Still, he hemmed and hawed and teetered and tottered, all in that quiet, pensive way of his.
So when he solidly proclaimed his desire to major in Phys Ed, I exhaled and jumped around like an idiot, bombs on my ass be damned.
Today I took the day off of work to go with him to his appointment with the admissions coordinator at the university. With the military base here, the school has a coordinator who works specifically with soldiers and veterans, who are eligible for educational benefits. We knew that Frank has additional benefits called Vocational Rehabilitation due to being rated at 30% disability from the MS. Until today, we didn't know what the extent of his benefits were.
VocRehab will pay for 100% of his tuition and books. They will pay for a new laptop. They will pay approximately a $900 per month stipend directly to Frank (based on the number of his dependents) to help cover living expenses while he is in school.
Then, because of all the rain (in case you haven't noticed, the South is being flooded), we went to Blockbuster to pick up some new release movies for the kids since they wouldn't be able to go out to play after school. We got home in just enough time to do the surprise prep-work before the bus came with the kids. We blew up the air mattress and dressed it with sheets, blankets, and pillows and laid the kids pj's out on the couch. We made popcorn and divvied it up among the kids' five special popcorn bowls. We saw them come running down the street in the pouring rain, and they made sure to stomp in every megapuddle along the way. We met them at the door with towels and ushered them into the family room. They all screamed with glee when they saw their set-up, then scrambled to wiggle out of their wet clothes and into their warm, cozy jammies. YOU'RE THE BEST PARENTS EVER! (Kyra) I LOVE YOU INFINITY TIMES A ZIGMILLION! (Jordan) YOU GUYS ARE AWWWWWEEEEEEEEEESOME! (Teej) YOU MY BEEEEST FRIEEEND! (Kaelyn) YOU ROCK! (Jaiden)
With el Cinco mesmerized by buttery, sodium-laced carbohydrates and animated superhero dogs, I took a moment to check my school email. A student had written to ask if the rumor she heard on the bus was true – had school been cancelled for tomorrow? I didn't get my hopes up but crossed my fingers just the same. About ten minutes later, an email came in from the district superintendent – school is, in fact, closed tomorrow due to inclement weather. Our area has been under a tornado watch for most of the past week. Snow Days? Pshaw. Here in the Dirty South we get Your Ass Might Be Blown Away Days. Hell to the yeah. We get to spend tomorrow cozied up doing rainy day stuff like watching movies, reading, coloring, and having in-house water gun wars (what? you don't do that at your house?).
Best. Day. Ever.