Travelling Man

MaddSkillz is home.

What you didn't know he was gone?

Maybe because he left and I was in that blogger funk and didn't talk about it.  But my teenage son has been away from home pretty much all summer.

Most of it has had to do with scholastic and the other part was fun.

MaddSkillz is part of Duke-TIP.  It's a scholastic talent program he qualified for in seventh grade.  With the program he gets a mentor through high school to help him with academic choices leading up to college, as well as taking courses during the summer.

He chose not to participate in the "going away to college" part between 7th and 8th grade.  It had less to do with  not wanting to take a class during the summer and more about not wanting to be away from home in an unfamiliar place.  It was a very mature decision.

On his way to 9th grade things hadn't changed much and he was still scared about leaving home.  We took him to Texas A&M (my old school BTW) and dropped him off.  His first week was pretty bad, but a visit from his mother helped him finish the remaining weeks with little problem.

This year was different.  This year he had to go to TWO different colleges during the summer.  One was Texas A&M again (roughly a 3 hour drive) and the other was Duke University in North Carolina (roughly a 23 hour drive).  Between the two he went on vacation with his father's parents to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

We just got home from the A&M visit and he breezed through those three weeks with no problem.  Well I guess the only problem was that he was trying to pull money out of his debit card he didn't have.

Seriously, why do colleges and organizations need to make a shirt for every event??

When I dropped him off, I had the Dynamic Duo with me (Ladybug and Disco).  After we got the stuff in the room he was all ready for us to leave.  So I took the kids on a tour of the campus where Daddy lived.

The biggest concern leading up to the summer was MaddSkillz had to go on a plane to get to Duke.  He had never had to fly before and he was scared.  The thing about MaddSkillz is he's worst case scenario guy.  It doesn't help that he takes things that people [other than his parents] say as fact rather than researching it for himself.  So he was concerned that the plane was going to go through turbulence, crash and he was going to be stuck on a time travelling island with polar bears and smoke monsters.

At the airport he realized he had to face this inevitable fear and did.  So no longer is he afraid of flying on a plane.

Which is good because two days after getting home from Duke, he flew off to Las Vegas.  He spent time there and LA for about 10 days before coming home.  Only to leave for A&M a couple days later.

The whole time away there was only one bit of drama and it was at Duke during his first week away.  I actually went into work that day and I receive this text message from MaddSkillz:

"Police are in pursuit of a suspect.  We are on lock down.  We are safe.  This may have made national news but we are ok..."

Yeah when you get a text message like that from your teenager half a country away, you're not okay even if they say they are.

I immediately call KC and we get those direct to voice mail type things over and over again because we keep calling each other.  One of us finally gets through and she tells me about MaddSkillz message.  I told her I got the text and she was like "what text?"  She tells me that he posted something on his Facebook page that went something like this:

"Men with guns are on campus shooting people."

Crap just got real.

I tell my boss what we were told and I excuse my self to find out what is going on.  KC tries to call our contact with the program.  I google "duke shooting" and any variation I can think of.  I check CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC and any news website I can think of.


I go to Twitter because the people I follow have their hands on the pulse of world news.

Nothing about school shootings but plenty of blog pimpage.

I check Raleigh news sites and still nothing.  I check with my wife and she still has nothing.  Meanwhile relatives who have MaddSkillz as their friend on Facebook are freaking out wondering what is going on.  So I email the only person I know in the area, PJ Mullen of Real Man Drive Minivans to see if he has heard anything.  He lives in North Carolina and must be an expert on all news happenings in the NC.

News is finally updated on a local news station's website.

The story had NOTHING to do with guns or people getting shot.  The real story was police stopped a van adjacent to campus that matched the description of a vehicle involved in a burglary earlier.  When police approached the van, four men bolted and the chase began.  Three were caught and one was still on the run assuming to be hiding in a wooded area on campus.  The wooded area was right outside the building where my son was taking his class.

They were on lock down, police knew what was going on.  No students were getting shot.  So I immedietly placed a link on the frantic Facebook thread to quell any unnecessary flights to North Carolina.

Welcome home MaddSkillz.  You make us proud to be your parents.

Now get to work, you got dishes to do.

Have a great week my friends.