Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If the Name Fits

My husband came home from the gym last week and said we were going to have a house guest coming the next day for a week. There was no need to kill him as this guest did not require the beds to be stripped and remade or even a spotless house. We would be dog sitting for a friend of his. A little wiener dog, appropriately named, Oscar.
The kids were thrilled, I was underwhelmed. (but supportive - good karma and all that) Tuesday am the little guy made his appearance. Complete with little cage and unexplainable large food and water bowls. He happily integrated himself into the house and yard, barely casting a backwards glance to his owners. He hasn't cried or whined once. He has had exactly one accident. All-in-all he is nearly the perfect guest. 
EXCEPT he is driving our Daisy insane. She can not be on the ground for more than 5 minutes without the dirty old man bothering her. She has taken many different approaches to the issue. She has tried moving away, growling, nipping, and whining at my feet. Nothing phases him. He is determined to be near her. The fact that his parts don't work and she is disgusted doesn't phase him a bit. Daisy now gets to sit on the couch for the week as wiener-dog tries diligently to live up to his name.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Falling Off the Roof

One pleasant morning everyone was busy playing and relaxing. Boy and Hubby had gone outside to test fly Boy's new light weight remote control helicopter. They hadn't been gone long when Boy came in to tell me, "Dad got it stuck on the roof."
Being the nosy helpful creature I am, I went out to investigate. (Still sporting my slippers and PJ's) Hubby was warily eying the ladder and the roof when I arrived on the scene. Quickly sizing up the situation, I announced I would make the trek up the ladder. Hubby promptly held it stable as I climbed up to and then on the roof. I shimmied to the run away copter and returned to the roof edge with the prize. Hubby said he had the ladder and that I should watch my step getting onto the ladder. After making some flippant comment, as I've been known to do once or twice, I slid my slippered feet to the ladder. I am not sure, even now, exactly how it happened I blame the slippers. I know I had felt the ladder rungs and then I didn't. Just as my brain registered it was about to be bashed into the walkway leading to the front door, I was landing in Hubby's arms.
He looked down at me cradled there and said, "Hello, love." While trying to swallow back my heart which had lately realized the danger and was threatening to escape through my mouth, I hugged him close, speechless. (Boy of course thought this was hilarious and cool all at the same time and was laughing and babbling excitedly.) 
Though this happened over 2 years ago, it occurs to me today, on our wedding anniversary. There has never been a soul who I have felt is more firmly in my corner than my husband. And just as he illustrated so well that Christmas morn, we make a great team. So, to Hubby I say thank you, I love you and it's a good thing you caught me, or I wouldn't have a story for today!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dad's Stories

I could have been listening to a recording. The morals and analogies echoing in my ears were as familiar as a comfortable pair of slippers. The tone was calm and meaningful and at some points the inflection was so accurate I was tempted to sneak a peek into the backseat. But, it would do no good. 
It was not my father lecturing my teenage self. It was me! Lecturing Teen!
Her trespass, though not worthy of writing about, was enough to make me angry as all hell. And it was in this state of heightened emotional distress that I seemed able to channel my father's spirit directly through my words. Amazing really, how quickly we can become our parents. Teen sat stoically answering when one was required, enduring the uncomfortable silences when I was counting to 10 in my head so I wouldn't kill her I paused the conversation for reflection. No sign of listening was readable on her face or in her actions.
But, I know she was absorbing every word. Just as I had when my father gave them to me. So, to my storytelling father who always has a point, and all fathers everywhere I wish you a Happy Father's Day! Your work is not in vain, as children we hear your messages and they become part of who we are.

Now, it's FatherHood Friday. So, go ahead, click the link to head over to DadBlogs and take a break to read some wonderful blogs by some wonderful people!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

First there was the excitement of this.
Look closely - the flower girls are peeping out of the door waiting for their turns.

Then there was a whole lotta this.
It's no wonder she ended up like this on Dad's lap.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Oily Grief

For those of us that have live in society it is a given: no matter the steps you take, you can be reaping what your neighbor sows. If that neighbor finds it to be financially practical to run a shooting range in his yard, no matter the steps taken for safety you may be playing in the yard with your family and end-up shot. The same can (and is) being said for oil drilling.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not going to moan about oil drilling. As with the neighbor running a shooting-parlor in his yard, it is a financial decision made by that neighbor. The neighbor never intended to harm himself or others, and I know this is the case with the oil steadily heading my way. What interests me is the attitude of grief that has fallen over most everyone I run into. Grief in its various stages and accompanied by various coping mechanisms is evident everywhere the talk turns to our Gulf.
There are the speechless head-shakers. These folks have no words for the sorrows they face and the tragedy that grows daily. They merely give a slow shake, and try valiantly to change the topic.
The deniers. These poor people cling desperately to the hope that this tragedy won't reach them and to the relatively-low numbers of reported deaths. Completely ignoring the fact that the majority of causalities are well below the surface and wouldn't ever wash to shore.
The angry warriors. These folks are pissed. At everyone. They rant about oversight and oil companies. Sarcastic and biting comments are made about the situation at large and a certain oil company in particular.
The we can fix-it people. "If we just head-out and do "xyz" we can save the ecosystem." "There needs to be a better plan," they reason. Or, worse yet, they pin their hopes on the fact that it will not spread and while the destruction is devastating it can be contained.
Nowhere is there a person without some level of grief or fear that the oil will wash its way upon our beaches. If not by natural tides, then surely by the next hurricane. I, personally am a "hope for the best prepare for the worst" kind of person.  There is always hope. So, I will be heading to the beach with my kids today - as soon as I check my hurricane insurance to see if it covers oil-laden flood water.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grass is Greener

Way back when Hubby and I ran neighborhoods with the abandon and surety that comes with youth and knowing you are invincible we had a running joke about grass as in lawns, jeez Remember life was a bit simpler then. We actually went outside to skateboard. 
The ramp being conveniently located a few miles from my house meant that we all spent a lot of time walking through neighborhoods.  Since we weren't informed enough to talk politics at the ripe old age of 15 and we spent many, many hours cruising the town we would talk about anything. Front lawns were right there. They are diverse some with nice thick grass, while others are weed infested and sport bald patches. There was a house somewhere with green, lush grass that called to me. I proclaimed that the grass looked soft and my feet were tired. We had a seat near a curb and the grass was in fact luxuriously soft and thick. I'm sure I hammed it up a bit then we moved on. But, the tradition had begun. When boredom hit, or a walk brought us through new neighborhoods, we would rate the lawns with me running ahead to touch the grass for the feel-it test.
Fast forward too many years to count and we live in Sunnyville. The grass here is what Northerners would attack with hands or weed killer. It is infested with bugs of every size and shape. Not where you want to lie back and look up at the sky. But our children seem to have the need for "soft grass" embedded in their genes. 
So, every time we hit the north-of-fire-ants line they feel a need to just lie in the grass. This was exactly what happened while we were visiting the Statue of Liberty. The grass there wasn't even up to my teen standards, but we made do.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I guess they do clean-up pretty well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Italian Feast

An Italian family can overwhelm on the best of days. Put said family at a celebration and you better be prepared for overwhelming noise, public displays of affection, and unbridled joy.
At the end of our long road trip, we found ourselves smack in the middle of just such chaos. It was the evening of the "rehearsal dinner." As this was an occasion to be celebrated, a smallish Italian restaurant was chosen and fully half was being used to house the intimate dinner for seventy. Coming from quiet Sunnyville, it always takes the kids a bit of time to acclimate. Boy sat quietly next to his dad taking in the conversations & giving hugs to family - groom and bride included. Youngest began the evening in a relatively subdued manner as well. Sitting and waiting to see what would happen next. As could be expected from children who sport more Italian and Irish in their blood than anything else, it didn't take too long for them to acclimate.
Total acclimation was achieved when Boy watched his Uncle eat a pepper. After taking a bite, Uncle had been offering the pleasurable sensation of burning tongue to anyone who might want to have a go. No takers. Until Boy announced, "I'll eat it for $20." Come now, is it in the male gene somewhere that eating unpleasant things should come with bets? 
Uncle took the bet, threw a pepper on the table and before anyone could so much as utter "WAIT!" Boy had popped the fire-veggie into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. This act was swiftly followed by the downing of 2 water glasses, 1 Coke, and 1 glass of milk ordered especially for him. Copious amounts of bread were taken in at the time as well. When I returned to the table from a bit of mingling you didn't honestly think I would have allowed this to occur if I had been there did you? Boy was looking a bit green. Hubby filled me in, as he ushered Boy out for some fresh air hoping against hope that the vomiting would wait until they were out of doors
Though Boy was unable to eat dinner that night, he had $20 in his pocket and what's more, he was quickly becoming news around the feast. Family friends on seeing the pallor of Boy and in the spirit of good-humored ribbing, proclaimed $20 to be far too little for his achievement. As Boy told his story, received his hugs, and reveled in the laughter, this "too little" recurring theme seemed clear. Boy, who understands a good thing when he hears it, agreed whole-heartedly. Sure enough, as he was telling his tale around the room, his $20 bill, was taken in exchange for a $50. Did I mention my kids acclimate fast?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Road Trip

Let me begin by saying all rest areas are not created equally. Some states offer the luxury rest stop: ample, shaded, picnicking grounds for the weary traveler. Bathrooms that never cause you to wonder who sat here before. Maps and welcome centers that give the cramped wanderer an excuse to stretch sore legs.
However, none of that will matter if the words, "Mom, I have to go potty," aren't spoken until you are 100 ft from the rest area traveling at 80mph in the far left lane. Yup, on those occasions you will often be forced to hit the gas station. Not an ideal choice. So, if you find yourself hitting the road this summer with a vehicle full of kids and a destination in mind I offer some tips:
1. Pay attention to rest area markers - some states offer a rest area every 30-40 miles. These states are the all-time best. When a rest area is missed you have an idea of how much longer you will need to sing along with VeggieTales to keep full bladders distracted until you can stop.
~ In the event you are traveling through a rest area-deprived state, go to the biggest truck stop you see. There are gadgets and gizmo's in there you had probably never imagined. And the bathrooms here tend to be clean.
2. Since duct taping small bickering mouths shut is frowned upon in virtually every state through which you are bound to travel, having MP3 players and portable DVD's is incredibly helpful. If you are blessed enough that your player doesn't blow a fuse and works for you - the most argument you will hear is what movie to play next and whose turn it is to pick it.
~ But if it does blow a fuse, the truck stop is bound to have replacements.
3. If you will be traveling to the Northeast bring lots of money for tolls. Culture shock is a definite possibility for those that live in a relatively free-travel area. Take a deep breath and be sure to enjoy the bridges - because they will cost you an amount equivalent to viewing a blockbuster movie on opening night. At some points, you may wonder when they will be asking for your first born. We were spared this experience, but we didn't travel too far into the area. It seems a definite possibility.
4. Eventually you are bound to reach your destination. If traveling with small children I strongly suggest some down-time when you arrive. They are bound to be babbling, wiggling maniacs for a bit - not the first impression you want to impose on friends or relatives you don't see regularly. 
~ A quick visit to a park or any area they can run and play will give them a chance to burn-off energy and make them acceptable company. They will be less likely to hang from the chandeliers or start a wrestling competition in the home of those nearest and dearest.
Happy Travels!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Living through the end of a school year can be a difficult thing. Students are antsy. There are a million things to be done. Kids want to play outside later and as a result have to roused more fully before they are able to open sleep bleary eyes to begin their days.
There are end-of-the-year performances, plays, and certificate ceremonies. Schedules are off and dinner is often served when bed time routines should be happening. Chaos in the best of times.
This year that chaos was compounded by a wonderful obligation. The seashore family was heading to the big apple for a wedding. A very exciting prospect, especially for Youngest as she was selected by her Godfather for the role of flower girl #2. There was packing to be done, car to be packed, sub plans to make, and arrangements for Oldest, who couldn't attend due to finals, to sort through and double check. Eventually we got everything sorted and organized enough to leave Sunnyville behind for a  long weekend. A trip and a time full of stories and observations.
So, while I may have taken a month-long hiatus, it is now officially summer and I am back! Look for a few articles about the trip that while they may not offer full bellied laughs, are sure to be good for an appreciative "hmmm!" Or maybe even a chuckle or two! See you tomorrow!